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How Do I "Buy Out" An Equity Holder Fairly?


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Getting equity back from an existing stakeholder isn't easy — but it is possible.

It's a situation that very few Founders have ever been through before, so no one really knows how to go about it. Let's talk a bit about how the situation develops and what we can do to get some of that precious equity back into our coffers.

Remember, Equity is a Promise of Payment

More than anything, equity isn't just a stock issuance. It's a promise that at some future point that stock will be worth cash money — maybe.

When we think about pulling the equity back, we have to think in terms of how to redeem that promise of payment in some capacity. It's not just a matter of "taking it away" per se, it's a matter of trading the terms of the initial agreement ...



Article

Everything You Need To Know About Pitching Investors


  

The investor pitch. It's feared. It's desired. It's terrifying.

But don't worry: We've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about that all-important investor pitch.

What should your investor pitch include?

Invisu.me Co-Founder and CEO Donna Griffit is a master pitcher who has helped countless founders distill their pitch down to exactly what they need — and nothing they don’t. She had the opportunity to sit in on a private pitching event where a delegation of startups had the opportunity give a five minute pitch and receive direct feedback from a group of top-tier Silicon Valley VC’s. (So top tier that she can’t even say who was there but, trust us, you will want to memorize this section before your next pitch.)

Here’s what ...



Article

What's Product Design?


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What is product design?

Product design is the entire process of taking a product from idea to customers — and everything in between.

“There’s a widespread misconception that design is all about aesthetics,” product designer Eric Eriksson writes. “Most people don’t seem to understand that it’s about solving problems instead.”

There’s another, more limited, definition of product design which we’re not going to explore in detail here. But basically, that other definition is talking just about how a product looks and functions. For the sake of product design for startups, we’re focusing on the more holistic, process-oriented definition.

What’s the difference between product design and product development?

While product design is part of produc...



Article

What Is Product Differentiation?


  

What Is product differentiation?

Product differentiation is process used by companies to clarify the differences between their products and other products on the market. Those other products can include competitors but also a company’s own products, to prevent overlap between the offerings. The goal is to find a product’s unique selling point (USP).

Why is product differentiation important?

Product differentiation is important because it makes your product stand out from the crowd! It’s easier and easier to create a company or sell a product or connect directly with factories in China these days. So what makes your housewares product or dating app or SaaS product different from all of the other housewares products, dating apps, and SaaS pr...



Article

How to Be a Successful Marketer if You’re not Super Smart


  

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m not that smart, and yet I’m a pretty good online marketer. I am actually probably one of the better ones out there.

So, how’s that possible? Well, you don’t have to be smart to be the best marketer. Instead, you need to be creative, execute well, and continue to learn from others.

Here’s the process I used to become a great marketer, and here is how you can follow in my footsteps:

Don’t be afraid to bug people

When I first started out in the world of online marketing, I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know how to edit HTML; I thought MSN was a bigger search engine than Google; and I had no idea where to start.

But the one thing I did know is that there are marketers out there who are a...



Article

Simple Ways to Create Delightful, Cross-Device Experiences


  

It’s a crazy, multi-device world.

According to one report from Facebook, 60% of online adults in the U.S. and U.K. use at least two devices each day, meaning that mobile is at the epicenter of many brands’ marketing, sales, and product strategies.

This trend creates a window of opportunity for companies that are looking to reach audiences at multiple points in their buyer journeys. The challenge, however, is that mass-market tools and analytics technologies haven’t caught up—basic reports in Google Analytics only provide aggregate-level traffic data, for instance. It’s tough to dissect the steps that your audiences are taking to become customers and repeat customers.

Despite this lack of transparency, one concept holds tried and true: you’r...



Article

Women’s Business Magazines Don’t Contribute Anything


  

When I first left my full time job to try my hand at being an entrepreneur, I thought it would be helpful to join a women’s business networking group. The membership included a subscription to their women’s business magazine which provides exclusive content, advice, and tips for being more business-y.

I won’t name the organization, but I won’t be surprised if anyone recognizes it. I joined just over 6 months ago and every time I have received an issue of this quarterly magazine, I become a little more enraged.

The very first red flag is that inexplicably and despite the fact that the women’s magazine is only available to pre-paying members and can’t be bought in store, it has a price tag on it (but no barcode), presumably to con...



Article

Getting Hacked: What to Know and How to Recover


  

Unfortunately, my site (SujanPatel.com) was hacked again, but I’m happy to report that everything is back up and running – no data lost and no personal information compromised.

I wish I could say that this was the first time somebody messed with my site, but what I’ve come to learn is that getting hacked is part of the price of admission for running on WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong – I love WordPress. The fact that it’s open source and widely adopted means tons of great templates, plugins and add-ons, many of which I use to power this blog. But those same pros turn into cons when you take into consideration the fact that hackers have the same amount of access as you do.

Dealing with the potential for WordPress hacks requires two things – be...



Article

Sales Funnel Optimization with Hiten Shah


  

Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, is a proven sales and growth expert. His years of experience founding, advising, investing in or working with startups have crystallized into a wealth of knowledge about how to grow a successful company.

If you have the time, watch the video below to hear Hiten reflect on how he thinks about sales funnels. To help you out, we’ve outlined the major points below for your easy perusal, as well as provided some foundational information about sales funnels to further illuminate Hiten’s point of view.

Hiten explains that essentially, a sales funnel is the “step-by-step process of things your user or customer does to accomplish a goal.” You may not think that your customers go th...



Article

Show, Don’t Tell: The Future of Résumés


  

Trying to recruit an extraordinary business developer to get more sales? Or maybe a top-notch developer to create an app that will make you millions? Regardless of who you are seeking, the rules of recruiting have changed.

Essential supplies include:

  • A helmet
  • Military-level strategies and tactics
  • A whole lot of tenacity

It is a war zone. I am not trying to discourage you. Rather, I’m trying to prepare you – to find the very best candidate that will propel your business to the next level and contribute positively to the culture that you’ve worked so hard to create. Not necessarily an MBA, but even “hungry creative kids that want to step up,” says Jason Khan.

Possible hazards you might encounter in the field include:

  • Stacks of secretly key...


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