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9 Tips for Negotiating With Key Vendors


  

Question: What is one tip for negotiating with a vendor who will provide a key service to my new business?

Let Them Make the First Move

“Let them go first when giving you a quote. This way you see where they stand and don’t make the mistake of accidentally up-selling yourself without realizing it.”

Jessica Baker
Aligned Signs
@alignedsigns

Ask for Help

“The old saying “it never hurts to ask” is true! Whether you’ve “made it” or are a startup on a shoestring budget, get over your pride and ask your vendor if they can help on cost. Assure them you want to do business for the long haul and build a relationship.”

Steven Newlon
SYN3RGY Creative Group
@stevennewlon

Make It Easy for T...



Article

A Chat with Unforeseen Startup Warrior Nick Frost


  

…when I started StartupList, I didn’t know where it would lead or even that I was actually creating a startup. It was just a project I was working on to learn more about startups and how to build a website. It evolved into something I never could’ve imagined at the time.

There is no better way to hear the story of how Nick Frost came to champion startups than to hear it straight from his mouth. Startups Live was incredibly fortunate to have such an opportunity.

Often this collection of Founders turns over nitty gritty details of building startups, examining a particular question or aspect of the work. This talk does some of the same, but it also brings the role of fortune into the field of play – not luck, or the unexpecte...



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

6 Mistakes to Avoid During Your First Pitch


  

Question: What is the No. 1 thing I should avoid when making my first-ever pitch and why?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

Not Communicating Your Value Proposition

Don’t lose focus of the overall goal of communicating your value proposition. If the prospect fails to see it, you’ll never get them sold no matter how hard you tried or how much effort went into your sales deck.

Steven Newlon
SYN3RGY Creative Group

Winging It

The best pitches look like they’re off-the-cuff, but they’re not. Smooth delivery and confidence comes from a lot of practice. I’ve heard so many people say, “I speak...



Article

How Do I Get People to Take Me Seriously?


  

Getting taken seriously as a Founder is real work.

It's not some entitlement that's handed to us when we've achieved some career milestone. No matter who we are, we all have to fight for our ability to get taken seriously.

Why do I need to work so hard, shouldn't people reserve judgment?

That would be fantastic, but the world just doesn't work that way. Especially among Founders whose credibility is tested on so many fronts — from acquiring customers, to pitching investors to hiring staff.

Our ability to establish our credibility early and often is critical to our success from the moment we found the company.

How can I change the way I present myself in a room?

Believe it or not, body language sends huge signals.

A well-presented Founder ...



Article

The 20 Best Startup Podcasts for 2020


  

The past few years have seen an explosion of podcasts — it seems like everyone wants to get in on the audio. And startup founders (many of whom have probably been listening to podcasts since they started in the early aughts) are no exception! But how do you know what to listen to in this vast sea of startup podcasts?

Don’t worry — we have you covered. Here are the top 20 best startup podcasts as we head into 2020. Grab your noise cancelling earphones — and get listening.

1. Startup Therapy

Hosted by Startups.com founders and serial entrepreneurs Wil Schroter and Ryan Rutan, Startup Therapy is an inside perspective on issues startup founders really care about. From what to expect in your first year after launching to how to deal with the e...



Article

What Do I Do Now? The Startup Lifecycle


  

Last week I got a call from Patrick an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He was now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles in startups), but he wanted to talk about his third startup – the one he and two co-founders had started.

“We’re at 70 people, and we’ll do $40 million in revenue this year and should get to cash flow breakeven this quarter.” It sounded like he was living the dream. I was trying to figure out why we were meeting. But then he told me all about the tough decisions, pivots and firing his best friend he had to do to get to where he was. He had been through heck and back.

“I made it t...



Article

Early Stage Fundraising with Boris Wertz


  

Boris Wertz is the founder of VersionOne Ventures, an early-stage fund that has made over 35 investments in consumer Internet, SaaS, and mobile companies across North America. Clarity sat down with Boris to discuss how to find funding sources, how (and how much) to ask, and crafting the perfect pitch.

In order to raise money, most startups go through the same process: create a pitch deck, and then pitch it to investors.There are many types of investors, such as institutional investors who invest other people’s money, angel investors who invest their own money, and venture capitalists who privately or publicly provide total capital for a new venture.

Where can you find funding?
First, you should think about what the right funding is. Everyon...



Article

Millennial Bosses: 8 Values That Make Those Of Us Born in the 80’s Different


  

We recently hired someone in our finance department that lasted about a week. He happened to be in his 50’s. During his exit interview he said “I wasn’t prepared to work for a company ran by Millennials”.

Until that moment I have never actually considered myself a “Millennial”. I talked about them as “they”, but never thought I was part of the “them” group. I Googled it — turns out “Millennials” apply to anyone born between 1982 and 2004. I was born in 1984….. I guess I AM a Millennial.

Okay, I’ll own it. If that is the case, what makes working for Millennials “different”?

1. I’ll call you out.

The Baby Boomer generation grew up on Dale Carnegie leadership principles. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve read “How to win friends and influence p...



Article

How to Create a Customer Service Culture on People Power


  

The biggest brands in the world become what they are with the help of one elusive ingredient: customer loyalty. In a world over-saturated with scattershot marketing messages, successful companies take the time to truly get to know their customers — their motivations, fears, ideas, and priorities — and tackle customer service with relentless dedication.

If you’re an entrepreneur, this is good news and bad news.

The bad news? You’re likely competing against established brands that have worked for years — or even decades — to build loyalty among customers.

The good news? You can make customer-service commitment part of your company’s mission early on and be hyper-focused on giving a smaller number of customers the best experiences possible.

If...



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