Here is video recap from the Startup Grind Triangle tech conference in Raleigh, NC! Stay tuned for the new Startup Summit coming this October! You can learn more about the new Startup Conference at NC State University this October here. Hope to see you there. Any questions, let me know! http://startupsummitnc.com/
Each May Startup Grind celebrates female founders and last night was a special evening to recognize great people and companies. In partnership with Smashing Boxes, Startup Grind/Triangle honored female founders in the area. It was a nice occasion for networking, awards, and learning. What was most impressive was the numerous open and candid discussions on challenges faced, opportunities ahead, and how as a community we can better support female lead companies.
The award winners were fantastic and pleased to share them here. Top Female Entrepreneur Newcomer: Jessica Mitsch, Momentum Learning Top Female Social Entrepreneur: Heather McDougall, Leadership ExChange Top Female Entrepreneur, Courtney Tellefsen, The Produce Box
A special thanks to everyone who attended and shared. A special gratitude to the sponsors like Smashing Boxes for hosting event, Lonerider Brerwery, and Big Al's BBQ. More to come with Startup Grind sessions each month and the Startup Summit Conference October 15th and 16th at NC State. Exciting times! Go RTP!
Happy to share with you wisdom gained from ProductCampRTP featuring keynote speaker: Marshall Brain. Mr. Brain is a serial entrepreneur, Founder of HowStuffWorks.com, Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at NCSU, and author of more than a dozen books. He talked about a framework for turning ideas into successful products. Here are 8 rules on successful product attributes to pass insights your way. Enjoy!
Rule #1: Find something that resonates! You really want that "thing" if you show someone they really like it and want to share it with others. He used "Viagra" as an example. It really resonated with people. Viagra got your attention and people talked about it. Many people need it, use it, like it, and pass on the word! Viagra resonated so it took off!
*Alternative to Rule #1: You want advertisement to product that causes a, "Wow, I need that!" An equation perspective: When person A sees that person B has it, person A thinks I need that too!
Rule #2: Offer a killer value proposition! Find a big fat pain point, offer a solution that addresses it, and make it reasonable to acquire for what seems like little investment for a lot of gain. If you can solve a problem and/or make the world a better place through your product and value gained is far greater then the cost to acquire you have a winner!
Rule #3: Need product people are willing to pay for! People are used to paying for a $5 coffee, but not used to paying anything for an APP. Make sure your product is something people have an expectation to pay for and are willing to open their wallet.
*Alternative to Rule 3: If you can't easily get people to perceive paying at first, offer a creative way for people to pay. For example, DropBox gives free accounts, but if you use DropBox a lot and need more storage they ask you to pay. Subscription fees and re-occuring revenue is holy grail!
Rule #4: Business needs to be able to scale up! Need large audience to go big and have business model with resources that can peak up fast too. Think big, start small, and then scale from small to big! Example, Walmart started with one five & dime store!
Rule #5: Need to reach audience easily! For example, going after college kids would be a reasonable accessible market. You know the campus with access to thousands of students, marketing boards you can impact, sidewalks you can market on, street fairs to attend, and mailing lists to send materials so clear defined path to reach audience.
Rule #6: Keep in mind the magical three: A) Growth potential (People like and share it) B) Sticky (People come back to use product again and again) C) Monetize (You can make money on product/service efficiently)
Rule #7: You can copy an existing successful product idea! If an idea works and already has proven market then consider doing it yourself with unique twist or better! There was Viagra and then came Ciallis! Or take something that is hard and make it easy like Uber did for Taxi.
Rule #8" Price matters! You need right price that makes it easy for people to say "Yes" to buy! Test product and pricing. Do surveys. Offer a website with the product to see if it resonates!
Overall in the USA $18 trillion of dollars of commerce flow like a river over our head every year. If you can put up a product into this stream of commerce and people like it and tell others you can pull that money stream your way. The only way to know is to jump in and play ball! Follow these 8 rules and it will ensure your idea has the ingredients for success. Kudos to Marshall Brain for sharing these great insights and Productcamp RTP for hosting great educational event! Wishing you the best!
For this year’s ‘Professional Pathways’ program, Elon University’s Triangle Alumni Chapter presented a moderated panel with local experts who shared insights and anecdotes about the Triangle’s robust entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The Raleigh-Durham area has earned a national reputation for embracing and fostering entrepreneurship. This has led to a gathering of creative minds and a startup community launching many new products and services. In this session the panelists comprised of four accomplished Triangle professionals with firsthand experience turning good ideas into successful enterprises talked about their respective career journeys. Here was my take on top insights gained from panel. Enjoy!
Tatiana Birgisson, Founder & CEO, MATI Engery
Emily Sexton '07, Founder & CEO, The Flourish Market
Craig Stone '90, CEO, HireNetworks
Liz Tracy, Director, HQ Raleigh,
Are you looking for ways to improve your communications, better manage any business crisis, and understand how social media can help you? Here are three tips I learned at Duke University during my executive program studies that can support your improvement.
1. Tip one on your communications is stand tall and smile. Whenever you are tasked to speak in front of audience it's proven your message will be better received when you stand to communicate. Also, research shows when you stand to deliver a message you're viewed as more credible then someone who delivers the same message sitting. In addition, smile! Smiling makes you more like-able and your message is better received when audience has affinity for you. By standing and smiling you kill two birds with one stone for an easy way to improve communications. In terms of content and delivery when you are using slides, the key is keeping each slide to one main point. And show a visual that helps communicate this point in the most effective way. Do not fill a slide with stats, figures, and tons of words like many people do and lose the audience. To see how to best use slides, watch a video of Steve Jobs from Apple presenting. He keeps the main thing, the main thing.
2. The advice on managing crisis is understanding three responses to crisis and executing on option three asap if that is the bottom line. For example, your response to a crisis can be 1). I didn't do it 2) I did it, but I was justified 3) I did it and I'm sorry. The key is to go straight to response three if that is the truth and deal with it head-on asap. Goal is to make any press a one day story event versus weeks of stories. You want to pull oxygen out from flaming media fires. By admitting a mistake and apologizing upfront quickly you can nip most press flares at the bud.
3. Lastly, the tip on social media is around the branding of you. You need to get out in front and take control of your presence online. People, employers, and future employers will Google your name and the best way to have results show what you want seen is to have a strong social media presence you control. Own your own URL like your name.com to present who you are. Then be active in your social media to build content around you. All of your social media sites feed your search results bringing forth content that you manage versus sites popping up with info controlled from outside sources.
All the above tips around communicating effectively, handling crisis, and managing social media are easy things to do and in your control. These small tweaks can effect big results. Taking the communication for leaders class at Duke University gave hundreds of valuable tips, but these three are worth thinking about and taking action on. Enjoy!
Find The Red ThreadToday at the American Marketing Association in RTP we had opportunity to hear speaker Tamsen Webster talk about "The Red Thread". Tamsen is the executive producer of TEDxCambridge, “idea whisperer,” and brand marketer.
A lot was shared on wisdom in marketing and business like why the process of branding doesn’t create great brands. What “consonance” is and why it’s key to driving action. And the universal template for meaning and how to use it to build a better brand.
Here are my top 5 insights gained from the event today. I hope it helps you.
4. Remember the five step process: 1. Goal: What is the goal customer wants to achieve with you and focus in on deliver that goal. 2. Problem: What is the problem you help them solve and ensure your offering a great solution that drives results on that problem 3. Ideas: What ideas do you give that offer to help overcome these identified problems 4. Change: What positive change do you deliver that result in goals being obtained 5. Action: Identify the actions needed to accomplish change, implement the idea, overcome the problem, and deliver the solution. Then execute on these action items!
5.Good quotes from presentation:
Tonight we reviewed the topic of sales with a perspective on what the CEO thinks of the role of sales professionals and growth implications for a company. An all-star cast filled the stage for a stellar panel consisting of Scot Wingo (CEO, Spiffy & Founder/Executive Chairman, ChannelAdvisor), Doug Kaufman (CEO, TransLoc), Darren Pierce (CEO, etailinsights), and Todd Olson (CEO, Pendo). The tech CEO’s provided valuable insights on sales management and keys to success in sales results. An engaging and stimulating sales-related conversation. Here are some wisdom points shared at the session:
How do you define sales?
*Sales is all about driving growth. Help find customers and close them.
*Sales is about trust earned. Be honest and committed to genuinely help your customer and sales result.
*First starts with a great product then sales helps ensure the great product cuts through the clutter and gets into the hands of buying customers.
*Create a sales driven culture. Listen to the customer and have a feedback loop into company to help serve the customer better through sales process. Everyone in company is part of the sales quota. Everyone plays a role in sales achievement. Every deal counts no matter what group or source. Everyone should care. Collaborate.
*Making sure the sales are healthy and not selling ahead of product or having hairy deals with bad terms.
*Reviewing the demo to close ratio and understanding how good the prospects in sales funnel are for what's best for business.
*Hard worker. A networking champion. Relationship builder. An excellent listener.
*Ability to work your way up the food chain at companies to get to the executive level for buying decisions and then ability to navigate meetings, listen, and get customer to talk about price. What do they think the service or solution is worth to them?
*Sales professionals who are problem solvers and authentic. Real deal rain makers with proven success obtaining results for companies.
*Strong energy and passion.
*Four main things: Proven past performance, Intelligent, Creative, and Positive Attitude!
Per Chris Damico's favorite insights, "Remember the mind shift you have to make as a CEO vs Employee. As a CEO it's all about working "on" the business vs. working "in" the business (CEO/Leadership position vs. Employee). This is why the CEO needs to let sales management own their role and stand back to work on company having good sales culture. The panel also noted that the sales profession is a great career path worth doing per gaining valuable people, relationship, and team building skills. The sales profession often leads to important executive roles at companies so worth a go!
Overall a great event. Thank you Pendo for hosting and the great panel members for sharing insights!
On July 13, 1937, Krispy Kreme opened its doors in North Carolina. Fast forward 80 years and Krispy Kreme is sharing the Hot Light, creating virtual reality experiences, promoting emoji doughnuts, and digital social interactions. Today at the American Marketing Association luncheon we learned how Krispy Kreme stays relevant in culture using social and digital marketing to drive consumer engagement. Kelley O’Brien, the director of social media at Krispy Kreme, gave a great presentation on social media/marketing/branding. The presentation points focused on these three areas:
Social engagements help people remember Krispy Kreme moments and create new ones. Krispy Kreme has leverage virtual reality, live events, and surprised fans across the globe by sharing smiles and joy in many ways like "Power Ranger" themed events tied to movie releases. Here are some key takeaways from talk to help your business:
RevBoss and ExitEvent hosted SalesJam at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham today. This was a half-day event combining speakers,content, and networking with aim to help sales pros build more effective sales organizations and deliver more sales results. It was presented by sales development software provider RevBoss and powered by ExitEvent. Keynoting the event was Brad Brinegar, CEO of the global ad agency McKinney. He shared experiences helping companies like Sherman Williams and Travelocity meet sales and revenue goals through successful marketing and branding campaigns. In addition, Todd Barr, the former vice president of sales and marketing at Ansible who now leads the division inside Red Hat. Other speakers included, Sue Harnett, founder of Replay Photos and Rewriting the Code; Justin Winter, co-founder of Boostopia and Diamond Candles; Brandon Walker, vice president of sales at Untappd, and Larry Long, vice president of business development at Pendo.
This was a great sales training event both inspiring and educational providing access to some of the most successful sales leaders and entrepreneurs in NC, who provided best practices and tips for sales success. Here is my take on key points shared:
II. 5 Steps For Closing Deals Successfully:
1) Make sure you are talking to the right decision maker who can help you win the deal.
2) Demonstrate ROI and solid data that shows how product/service will help their customers and business in tangible ways. Build up so much value that the price looks small in comparison. Make product a "Must Have" vs. "Nice to have" for their business.
3) "Roll into price casually". Present the value proposition so strongly so when you offer the price they think it will be much higher so price comes across like a great deal!
4) Listen closely with empathy to any objections and work to overcome them with best efforts and strong diligence.
5) Ask for the sale and ask for next steps to move forward. Work toward a firm yes or no.
Overall a great sales event here in Raleigh-Durham. Special thanks to all the speakers and RevBoss and ExitEvent for hosting!
Thank you sponsor: