You have an idea, great! Here’s what to do next:

5 04 2013

You have an idea. Great! 🙂

Copy this article into a Google Doc.

Write the idea down here:

 

 

Write the idea down in less than four sentences:

 

 

If you can’t easily explain why you exist, none of the subsequent steps matter.  A good format is “We help X do Y by doing Z”. If you really have trouble explaining what you do, give a friend/stranger/whatever a longer explanation and ask them to summarize that back to you. Other people are often great at crafting an understandable value proposition.

Write a minimum of 300 words about the idea or how it came about:

 

 

Rewrite the idea down in less than two sentences:

Continue to step 1.

  1. Find a name you like.

    1. Use LeanDomainSearch.com to brainstorm/validate the name. Domai.nr works too if you are looking for a specific name.

      1. Create a list of ten names you REALLY like!

      2. Cross reference the name with Google search to see if you have any mega competition. Look at the number of results (under 15 million is ideal) and the quality of the top results.

        1. example of Mega competition: spicy pop

        2. example of Little competition: spicy unicorn

      3. Cross reference the name with Google Keyword tools to see if people search an exact match (this can also be used for domain name idea generation)

      4. See if your domain is used in social media with the Name Checklist tool.

  2. Create a Gmail account. Use the name you decided on.

  3. Signup for Unbounce.com

    1. You do not have to put in billing info.

    2. Read this from Unbounce or this from Kissmetrics… I am not sure which is better.

      1. If you are really a reader, and you don’t want to learn by doing (shame on you), you can read this awesome guide.

    3. Create a page that takes peoples email

  1. Get a domain (www.retailmenot.com/view/godaddy.com)

    1. Link it (DO NOT FORWARD, LINK).

  2. Signup for MailChimp and link it also.

    1. I am willing to do steps 1-5 for $300.

    2. You can do it yourself in a couple hours.

    3. It’s a bad sign if you are not willing to learn/do it and want to pay me to do it… but whatever 😉

  3. Do 7 – 10 concurrently

  4. Go back to Unbounce and make three ‘variants’. Try different wording. More, less, funny, serious, etc.

  5. Get 500 local emails to sign up.

    1. Aim for 1 month (max).

    2. Start with the subcategory of Reddit and Quora that relate to your idea.

    3. Use your network to find target customers – ask your contacts, “Do you know someone with problem X? If so, can you forward this message on to them?” and provide a 2-3 sentence description

  6. Create a Wufoo form and embed it into a new page.

    1. The form should be unique to your idea.

    2. Ask a question, design a profile page… anything. Find a way to get people engaged. (asking for help here is okay… I need to explain better)

    3. Maybe put a “pre-order” form in place (collecting billing information) even before you’re ready to collect money or have a full product.

  7. Get a Wistia account.

    1. Watch their video on “explainer videos” and “lighting”.

    2. Create a quick down and dirty explainer video.

      1. Do not spend more than 5-8 hours!!!! Ideally less than 2. Perfect isn’t the point. In this exercise, done is the point.

    3. create a variant of your landing page / home page

      1. in the new variant, embed the video above the fold

    4. Run an A/B test.

  8. Comeback, and ask me what the next step is.





What is an Entrepreneur?

29 01 2012
English: Harvard Business School

The best answer I found comes from the Harvard Business School professor, Howard Stevenson.

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” – Stevenson

Back in 1983, Stevenson told entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone, “people tended to define entrepreneurship almost as a personality disorder, a kind of risk addiction. But that didn’t fit the entrepreneurs I knew,” he said. “I never met an entrepreneur who got up in the morning saying ‘Where’s the most risk in today’s economy, and how can I get some? Most entrepreneurs I know are looking to lay risk off—on investors, partners, lenders, and anyone else.” As for personality, he said, “The entrepreneurs I know are all different types. They’re as likely to be wallflowers as to be the wild man of Borneo.”

Stevenson’s definition focus’ on entrepreneurship as a process. “They see an opportunity and don’t feel constrained from pursuing it because they lack resources,” says Stevenson. “They’re used to making do without resources.”

The perception of opportunity in the absence of resources helps explain much of what differentiates entrepreneurial leadership from that of corporate administrators: the emphasis on team rather than hierarchy, fast decisions rather than deliberation, and equity rather than cash compensation. (1)

“Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.” – Burgstone

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Airbnb Takes the Lead!

23 05 2011
Image representing Airbnb as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Airbnb is a triumph in the start-up world. Here is a quick recap over the life of Airbnb‘s finance:

Airbnb has raised $7,800,000 to date. Here is our complete financing history. Airbnb approaches many investors in 2008. Most say “the market is too small.” Some are concerned 2 of the 3 founders are designers, thus creating a founding DNA different from the success patterns they are looking for.

Running out of money, Airbnb starts selling collectible cereal, and makes $30,000 in the process.

With their website low in traffic, their kitchen is without food. Airbnb starts living off their collectible cereal. This is a low point.

At a dinner with the founders of Justin.tv in November, 2008, Airbnb is convinced to apply for Y-Combinator, and gets accepted. PG says he is skeptical of the idea, but likes the founders because they “won’t die,” and are “very imaginative.” Airbnb finally raises $20,000.

By Demo Day in April, 2009, Airbnb becomes “ramen profitable,” and finally stops eating the leftover collectible cereal in their kitchen. Sequoia Capital takes notice. Sequoia leads a Seed Round of $600,000, led by Greg McAdoo. Keith Rabois, Kevin Hartz, and Jawed Karim of Youniversity Ventures participate.

700,000 room-nights booked later, Airbnb announces a Series A Round of $7,200,000 led by Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners to expand from 8,000 cities to every city known to humankind. Reid Hoffman leads the round for Greylock Partners. New angels include Ron Conway, Jeremy Stoppelman, and Elad Gil.





Airbnb, A Self-Hosted Priceline

22 05 2011

Unlike Priceline.com, after signing into Airbnb via their Facebook integration, I quickly feel in love with the website’s social design. Airbnb uses community, conversation, and identity to creates a great experience for each viewer. The designers at Airbnb use many dynamics:

Simplicity:  It is extremely easy for viewers to become users. The website structure is simple and intuitive; anyone can navigate the website. This is great because what you want to do, is exactly what they’d like you to do—act. View’s use their Facebook account as an identity to surf Airbnb. This not only builds trust, the identity simplifies users actions.

Converging, Diverging and Conveyor Belts: When you sign-in, you choose either to look for a room or host a room. When users offer to host,users are directed and diversified by your city and type of place (such as a house, beach-front, or even a boat, etc).  When you look for a room, Airbnb offers you exactly what interest’s you based on instinctive appeal. Once directed to exciting places, like Cress Grove Manor, you see comments other’s have posted about the host before desciding. This architecture is very difficult to design, and part of what makes Airbnb so valuable to investors.

Roadblocks: Airbnb uses many game like features. In the example of roadblocks, hosts begin with limited actions until they complete desired tasks.  Once host post a picture and 250 word description, new path ways open up and more customizing is available, for example.

Are You Sure?: Without invading your Flow, options to save and confirm your movement throughout the site is constant. Similarly, this compares to pressing the call button after typing a phone number into the phone. Airbnb is exceptional at preventing errors.

Choices: Default prices are recommended for your room. The nights you set available are interactive in a calendar. No matter how you decide to price your room, finding the next move to book-up your room is a game you hosts love to play. Just like a MMOP, users are wheeling, dealing, and spending time on the user interface. Remember, Airbnb is a website designed so you do what they wants you to do; effortlessly have fun and make everyone money!

Continue to Page X. 

What dynamics stand out the most when you surf the internet?





How an Extra Frappe a Week Saved Chris Over $700

22 05 2011

Meet Chris, a freelance artist making a living off the art he sells on Art.com. Three times a week, Chris goes to Starbucks and drinks his tall Strawberry Soy Frappe as he responds to business related emails. Chris loves the atmosphere. What’s better than being productive, and having less distractions while enjoying the strawberry bliss? The problem is, not to mention long lines, the $733.20 per year he hands over to Starbucks.

One afternoon, determined to save his money, Chris looks for options to keep the money where it belongs… in his pocket. Welcome Option A:

Option A [Cutting Cost]

Chris decides to cut his expenses by ordering one less frappe ever week to save money. He still spends the same amount of time working in Starbucks each week, but the free internet is not enough to keep him paying.

(One less tall Strawberry Soy Frappe at $3.75 plus an extra $0.60 for soy, or $4.70 after tax. After a year, that comes out to a savings of $244.40. His total price will change from $733.20 to $488.80.)

Option B [Strategic Option]

Cutting expenses can only save you so much. I always recommend looking into more strategic options for developing your wealth. Consider Chris’ other options. Chris really does not want to give up a Strawberry Soy Frappe every, but he still wants to save money. Chris recalls his Starbucks routine; waiting in line for his frappe, finding a table, opening his laptop, and responding to work emails. He averages 30 minutes at Starbucks when he goes. What if he decides to come an extra afternoon every week, assuming he can profit from that added time?

Chris searched Craigslist, and realized that people will pay $20 to $50 dollars for computer lessons… $20 to $50 for that! Excited, Chris posted his first ad under services offered.

Hello Craigslist friends! Yesterday I was a geek. Yep, I hate to say it but I was. Don’t worry, I am cool now! Guess what, though?! I am still a computer genus even now that I am cool. Let me show you the circuit… I mean, how it works 🙂

Do I have references?! Definitely! Ask my neighbors, parents, or old high school teachers. If you spoke to my grandmother, she would tell you how she could not even turn on her laptop before our training sessions… back when I was uncool 😉 Now she even has her own blog (probably town gossip)!

Send me an e-mail with a proposal bid for my services (i.e., $XX for X hours X times per week). I’m available Tuesdays or Thursdays at Starbucks for 30 minute lessons. I look forward to hearing from you!

– Chris

Within a week, an older man responded offering $15.00 for his 30 minutes of availability to teach him the in’s and out’s of the internet; something Chris can do in his sleep. Chris took the offer. Since he can switch clients anytime, $780.00 a year from the old man sounds pretty good to start (assuming he can keep the man paying that long).

Chris decided to do some research over Starbucks as well, looking for a coupon or two. Instead, he found all sorts of savings from Starbucks. Using a membership card, he gets free birthday beverages, free syrups and milk options such as soy, free refills on brewed coffee or tea and free beverages after every 15 purchased. Chris also downloads the Starbucks Card app on his phone, where he can order his drink ahead of time and not wait in the rush hour line.

Chis actively changed his savings. 1 tall Strawberry Soy Frappe at $3.75 with free soy, at $4.05 after tax 4 times a week comes out to $789.75. That is including his 13 free frappe bonus. He saves about 9 minutes in line every time using the Starbucks app, creating an extra 27 minutes of productivity during his normal Starbucks routine. One day a week, Chris grabs his Strawberry Soy Frappe, and teaching internet browsing to the man.

Chris looks at the numbers, scratches his head, and looks back again. Spending an extra 3 minutes a week due to the time he saved, Chris is feels like he is making $5.00 a minute after this deal. Huh? Well, that is $5.00 a minute for time he normal did not spend working. Since he can do 9 extra minutes of work each normal visit, he does 27 minutes less work during the rest of the week. So for an extra 3 minutes (and a tall frappe) every week, he can make $15 dollars more than how he started out.

So how much is he actually saving? With option A (at 2 frappes a week), his total savings is $244.40. In option B (at 4 frappes a week with a 3 minute expense), Chris saves $723.45. Three times the amount of the conventional option A! Chris spends only $9.75 a year now. I think I will take option B, and but the $700 into savings for a later time.

Most of us do not have to give up anything, but we do need to start doing something. Play it safe, and make a small time investment researching alternatives to your own personal routines. What ways can you spend less time and produce the same results? How can you save yourself, or another, money? Than again, maybe we can brainstorm excuses instead… such as, “I am so busy. What do you think? I have time to kill?!” To all thinkers like that, all I hear is, “I am lame and do not care about my sanity. I will create stress instead. Leave me to my traditional ways of being. I am lazy and more than likely always right, anyways.”

Bonus Tip: You can actually earn free coffee as a reward for your daily spending. And you don’t even have to open a credit card. Open an online checking account through PerkStreet Financial and get a free cup of coffee as your reward for every $200 in spending. This isn’t a promotion. This is for the life of the account. This reward system includes free cups from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Bruegger’s, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea. This will create about an extra $15 dollars in savings annually. You never know, maybe he will use all this knowledge and include a Starbucks beverage in his lessons for a little extra cost; creating his own Starbucks affiliate marking scheme!

Followers, in the comment section below, tell us in what ways you save time and/or money on your every day tasks? What was the change of lifestyle like, if any? Thanks!