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What Appearing on “Shark Tank” Taught Me About My Business


  

Seven months after filming an episode for season six of ABC’s hit television show “Shark Tank,” I finally received the email I had been waiting for: my episode had an air date, and it was only 18 days away!

My immediate thoughts were relief and terror, in that order. Relief because it was the end of an almost year-long waiting game since producers had first contacted me with an invitation to appear on the show, and terror because I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea what my business—or my life—would be like in 30 days’ time.

Moments after receiving the email, I shared the “Shark Tank” news, along with my feelings of excitement and uncertainty, with a friend, Colin McGuire. After a short congratulations, he said something that r...



Article

The Day After: 11 Things to Do After You Publish a Post


  

Clicking the “Publish” button is one of the highlights of my day.

Working hard on a post and then putting it out there to help others is extremely rewarding. It’s one of the main reasons why I continue to write so much.

But it’s not the only reason….

Content marketing remains one of the most effective strategies to grow a blog – any blog.

Eighty-six percent of marketers in North America use content marketing, and 71% of marketers (overall) are planning to increase spending on content marketing.

Creating great content is an extremely important part of any successful content marketing strategy. But it’s just one part.

If all you do is hit “Publish” and then move on to the next article, your blog won’t grow as quickly as it should.

And if you...



Article

Have You Tried Wishing in One Hand?


  

You know how the rest of that sage advice goes. Dreamers can only take an entrepreneurial venture so far, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t vital. However, dreamers need to be balanced with doers.

It’s the doers who get the funding – and without funding, you don’t have a business. In this video by StartupGrind, founders and investors talk about what actually gets a check written.

George Zachary of Charles River Ventures says he’s just recently figured it out after 17 years of being a venture capitalist: “Almost all the investments I wrote a check into, I had to have the feeling, ‘Would I be a co-founder of this company?’” In other words, are you barking up the right tree with investors?

This doesn’t mean a venture Zachary passed on wa...



Article

The Age of Napoleons: Conquerers in Tech


  

It’s no secret that our time in history is unique. Our times are unique in a myriad of ways, but an area of some concern is the state of entrepreneurship in the world of technology.

In recent decades fund-raising has become not only much easier, but also more popular. Even businesses with seemingly little potential to truly become scalable, try to raise money, and they even sometimes succeed. While fund-raising is a decent way to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, it’s not end-game for aspiring entrepreneurial-Napoleons.

In some ways, the entrepreneurial scene hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. For example, the average age of entrepreneurs today is not significantly younger than 100 years ago.

Steve Blank considers...



Article

How to Make an Easy Transition From Employee to Employer


  

Most people who start their own businesses must make a transition from employee to entrepreneur. There are some exceptions, such as people who are brought up in a family of business owners. For the most part, though, society trains us to be employees. This starts in school and continues as we begin to earn money with part-time and full-time jobs.

So when you decide to take the plunge and start your own business, it can be easy to unwittingly bring an employee mindset with you. Here are some pointers to keep in mind to help you make this crucial transition:

Consider a Gradual Transition

There are both pros and cons of leaving your job and putting all of your energy into your own business. On the one hand, you can devote all of your time to ...



Article

CMO of FreshBooks Talks About the Biggest Problem with Scaling Startups


  

Stuart MacDonald is a digital business guy who loves making customers happy and building great teams. A mentor, investor, consultant and frequent speaker on things digital and entrepreneurial, Stuart is the veteran of several startups including starting Expedia.ca in Toronto. Stuart went on from there to become CMO and SVP Packages of Expedia.com in Seattle. He also co-founded mesh, Canada’s web conference discussing how the Internet is impacting how we live and work, and meshmarketing, Canada’s one day digital marketing power conference. Most recently, Stuart joined FreshBooks as the CMO, responsible for marketing, sales, support and revenue.

Q: You founded Expedia.ca and changed the way Canadians book travel. How were you able to change t...



Article

Renovating Your Startup Office: Creating a Google Space on a MySpace Budget


  

Years ago, I was having ice cream with my wife on a hot summer night and I overheard a group of 16-year-olds talking about how one of them went to work with his dad. I remember him saying:

“I went to his office and it was so boring. Everything was bright lights and pale colors. If I had to be in an office all day I’d make it just like my bedroom and enjoy hanging out there.”

I distinctly remember looking at my wife and saying, “That kid has it figured out. I spend 14 hours a day in a room I don’t want to be in with a job that I love.” I vowed one day to change that.

That was ten years ago. It apparently took a really long time for me to act on this one, but I finally did, and I have to say the kid knew ...



Article

Good Enough Never Is (Or Is It?)


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One of the sayings I hear from talented managers in product development is, “good enough never is.” It’s inspirational, always calling the team to try harder and do better. It works to undermine excuses for poor or shoddy work. And, most importantly, it helps team members develop the courage to stand up for these values in stressful situations. Especially in teams that are managing by objectives (or OKRs), the pressure to deliver is intense. Under such pressure, the temptation to cut corners, to quit prematurely, or to hand off shoddy work to another department is overwhelming. It requires courage to stand up and say: “this work is simply not good enough. Sure, we could get away with it, but that’s not how we work.” Good m...



Article

How to Conquer the New Frontier of SEO


  

Every year, we’ll hear people declare that SEO is dead. Well known entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has declared that its been dying for quite some time. It might be changing, but it’s not dying. Not even close.

Wouldn’t we all love to go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s – a time when simply stuffing keywords into a website’s meta tags, footers and CSS files was enough to guarantee high rankings in the search engines? Not to mention getting paid big money for these simple hacks.

As search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, most of these tricks have died out. You’ve probably already heard the tagline “SEO is dead”, but for some reason the mindset still persists that figuring out the latest on-page tweaks is the key to natura...



Article

What's a Cap Table and Why do I Care?


  

The cap table is a ledger of who owns stock in our company. If you and I are the only owners of the company, there are exactly two entries in the cap table.

Easy peasy.

But as the company grows, and we start handing stock out to more people, the accuracy of the cap table starts to become really important

It's easy now...when does it get complicated?

The moment we start handing stock out to more people than ourselves.

At that point, we start to run into keeping records of not only who we've allocated stock to, but who we may be taking it back from (former employees who may not have exercised their stock options for example).

The constant changes within the cap table start to become a bit more complex, and having an accurate ledger become...



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