Derric HaynieI help you straighten up your business online.

You may not know it, but your business has an online presence and an online reputation. Are you managing it? Are you owning it? Are you driving customers to your business by leveraging the awesome power of the internet? I hope you are doing something, because otherwise you are letting your competition trample you, and your customers slip through your fingers.

If you need help with anything pertaining to maximizing your businesses potential online, let me know. I would love to help.

Local Listings and Online Reputation - Google, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, etc

Social Media - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube, etc.

Website Development - lead generation, blogging, optimization, tracking, etc.

Online Advertising - Facebook, Google, Adroll, Bing, etc.

I am the co-founder of Splash - Online Presence Management - a digital marketing agency focused on helping small businesses in the San Diego area.

If I can't improve your business in 10 minutes, the call is on me.

Recent Answers

I have a slightly different approach than the listed ones.

The first one is set up a referral/partner network with associated documents, talking about what kind of business you are looking for, and most importantly, HOW MUCH will you compensate them for finding you a lead, and/or a customer.

But before you expect a current client to do that, you need to test their NPS (Net Promoter Score). After having some sort of "proof" with the client about your value proposition (in my case, after I bring in 10 leads and they make 3 sales or something like that), you should send them a really quick survey asking them how they would rate your service and how likely they are to recommend you to others. If they respond positively, email (or better yet call or sit down with them) and ask them if they know any other people that might be in need of your services, tell them of your referral program and politely push them to help you get in contact with the new prospect.

Hope that helped.

The lean startup methodology teaches customer development over product development, yet everything here is talking about product development.

Two things to quickly note:
1. Everyone says they use the lean startup approach
2. Very few people actually use the lean startup approach

Does the product have to launch in 18 months? Can you show your progress to the next round of investors and get more funding that way, without a full scale launch?

Paid marketing should be one of the last things you do. Paid marketing is meant to put people into the top of a working marketing funnel. There are other ways to get your first few hundred customers that I would recommend before paid. Blogging, Social, word of mouth, and doing startup speaking, etc.

I would also recommend finding your first customer before writing one line of code. Go to the mall and ask around for people looking to travel (or whatever specific niche you are in), give them your value proposition, and judge their reaction. If you are B2B this is a little bit harder, but you can still do it. This will save you $100k. I am not exaggerating. And yes, peddling at the mall is slightly embarrassing, but telling your angel you just built a travel site for mice (or something else that flops) is much more embarassing.

As for equity, it ALWAYS depends. You got $100k, you are the original founder, that's worth something. Would your technical co-founder be forming the concept of the business, or would he really be "employee #1" but with a larger role than your real employee #1?

Think of it this way, if he put in $100k and worked side by side with you to develop this, he should have 50%, right? At least 40% I would think. Who had the original idea, wireframes, and forming a business entity barely account for anything. If you tell me, "Well, the idea is worth 5% alone," then I would tell you, "OK build the entire business yourself and keep that equity," and when you can't, you will see why the idea is worth nothing, the execution is worth everything... Unless you have a patent on the idea, but most ideas are just ideas, not patentable products.

So back on topic, you have to get the tech co-founder on board with the concept and the idea of not getting paid for a while. You have to sell your business to them! That's the hard part.

After that, I would offer up a large chunk of equity, vested over 3 or 4 years (same as yours). Maybe 10-25%. And of course if they are the other half to the business, you both accept that that equity will become diluted upon hiring the next 10 employees, etc.

So the "founding" team might look like:

You: 40%
Angel: 35%
Co-founder #1: 25%

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