Recently, I had a pleasure to speak at Expand – a big tech conference organised by Engadget about the future of food. I was on the panel with Greg – cofounder of Exo – protein bars made our of the cricket flour. Its a really good watch as we explore Niwa, environmental problems, hydroponics and crickets.
10 lessons in Business and life
The dream of driving your own project, the thrill of creating something, the thought that you can inspire or provide value to others on a bigger scale, that you are doing something meaningful – is what made throw myself into entrepreneurship in the first place. Over last few years I have done and fail a number of project, but the lessons I have learnt are invaluable for anyone who is thinking about setting up your own business. Here are a few of them.
Believe in Yourself
So simple and so hard. You might not have all the skills in the world but you need to believe that you will find or create a way no matter what. You need to believe that you have the power to pull resources, work out strategies but all the more believe that you can learn. Its ok to not know – you will learn as you go. Just believe you can make it no matter what.
Develop a Strong Vision
This will drive you. Anytime you will have a down time – come back to it. Feel it, touch it, smell it. It will instantly bring you back on your path. Remember the biggest the why the easier the how.
Do It for the Right Reason
It’s easy to get caught in ideas especially those which promise quick money returns. Make sure you are not chasing just money. Focus on creating the value and the bigger value you will create and deliver to as many people as possible the more money you will make. Financial feasibility is important but make sure that the number are not the only reason you want to make it. I promise you it will make you miserable.
Whatever you want to build there will be lots of confusion going on. Embrace it – you are creating something, and learning. That is why startup environment especially at the beginning its so hectic, we are learning hence the strategies we are applying will be changing according to what we learn. Every time you are confused – tell yourself this is a good, think – that are the only means you are learning and growing. Push through it and soon you will see the light.
Fail you way to success
Get used to it. You will fail. And its not going to be fun, it will be very uncool, people will think things about you, you will not be a cool entrepreneur with cool things. You will be a looser and a winner at the same time. Your learning will help you win. Failing is good unless you are moving forward and learning from it. Fail fast and learn quickly move on to the next idea/project. Use the Customer Development Frameworks and Lean startup up to quickly test your market and your idea and move on. Customer interview can be done in less than a week.
Most important, stand up, get yourself sorted and move on. The longer you stay in the fail state the worse it will end up for you.
It will take time – Be patient
I heard a lot of people making money overnight especially in internet marketing space, you hear about entrepreneurs mostly when they are successful and you believe that these things happen instantly. But hardly anybody talks that the 20k in one day was followed by years of learning, experimenting, testing, adapting. Your success will be built on hard work and patience
If you are hyper like me with extreme drive and need for speed – then learning patience will be the hardest and most important thing on your journey. Focus on making progress on a day to day basis. One step at the time and you will get there.
You bet you hear that a lot. But be prepared for that. There will be times when u will be fed up, you will question your ideas your actions and your existence – the usual. You will be sick of where you are, that thing doesn’t seem to make progress etc. This is the moment when you need to push harder and stick with it! That will make you the winner! There will be situations when you will have to make a pivot, or it will be a time to change your strategy, but most of the time stick with it.
Build Strong Networks
Nobody is a self-made millionaire. Even if you do not want to be a millionaire and you just want to build a small lifestyle blog or business you need support. And people will want to help you. Find the best in your industry and follow them. Develop a strong network of friends to support you. Get a mentor and a coach to keep you accountable.
Be humble/ listen and learn from others
So you have a biz idea, and maybe your business already – now you are a cool kid entrepreneur. Most successful ones listen and are committed to never ending learning and improvement. Be ready to listen and learn especially at the beginning. Listen to your customers; to you team, to your grandma, to people in the bus. Filter but acknowledge. If you can master that you are on the right track.
Trust Your Gut
It comes ith your confidence. I made many mistakes following the advice of other people inspite of trusting my own feelings. No matter what others say look inside yourself and get the answers. Ultimatley you need to learn from others but its your path you need to follow not anybody elses.
Bring on a great team
When the time is right you will want to bring people on board. Make sure every single one is better than you. Enough said.
Celebrate all successes.
The smallest ones. Develop a habit of being successful. We practice in our team and with my close friends what we call a success thread. Everyone sends an email everyday with their successes from the previous days/ goals for this day / biggest challenges we face now and what we are grateful for.
If you are successful at small things you will be successful at big things.
You are exactly where you should be
You can have the “thing” you most want, when you realize it’s no big deal.
Rise and shine
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” -George S. Patton”
Dear Startup CEO – 4 things you should focus on as a CEO
Short or Long Sales Copy for Testing Your Product Online
The conversion optimization craze continues. While demographics offers wide range of data that allow you to evaluate different measurable metrics in analyzing the market behavior, the use of a value system in your internet marketing strategy can be game changing and you will be surprised that you can optimize your sales with a significant boost in your market performance. The small changes can make a big difference especially when testing for new products or services.
So lets take that. Using the testing frameworks following Tim Ferris, Noah Kaghn and many others supporters of lean startup we very often put new products out there to see if they stick. And believe me that copywriting here can make or break you. The debate about whether we should do a short copy or a long copy always arise. So this time I decided to do a bit more research and look into what its better
Sales copy strategy can become a lucrative business scheme however this target goal only becomes possible whenever you do it right. And what is interesting what is right is not black and white. Most internet sellers use both long and short sales copy and there are varying views on which of the two are more effective in boosting market sales. Nevertheless let`s have a look at what arguments we have behind each one.
Short or Long Sales Copy
Both the long and short sales copy has its own pros and cons. The key in determining which one works best will depend upon the subject matter of your sales copyrighting. Here are some of the revealing insights that evaluate the benefits of both and their disadvantages as well.
Roland Mirabueno of Mind Valley Insights provided a critical analysis about the sale performance between long and short sales copy by running a test between the two on their Silva Life System website. The long copy presented loads of detailed information on the website while the short copy mainly provides a brief presentation of information only highlighting the essential elements that the customers will likely be interested to know about the services. The outcome showed that the short copy yields 300% of revenue boost than the long copy. It turns out that long copy can be quite laborious for a customer to read and can be a daunting task to absorb wide range of information. Chances are a customer will lose interest once they are going through this laborious process of long sales copy presentation. Short copy on the hand provides a more concise presentation of valuable information that helps a customer make a quick buying decision.
Contrary to this above analysis favoring short over the long sales copy, the website Marketing Experiments revealed that the long copy offers higher revenue in sales. In this case, the findings were drawn from comparing the site conversions between two landing pages (one consists of long description of the product and the other with a short product description) that prompt visitors to click on an order page and shopping cart. The outcome results a higher return of profit from the long sales copy. This is because sending customers to a short copy takes the customer too abruptly to the order process without giving them the ample opportunity to get acquainted to your products well.
The variance in outcome
There is a varying result in terms of which is better between the long and short sales copy. In one aspect, the long copy may be more beneficial with a better return of investment and in certain instances, the short copy is better. Long sales pitch tends to bore your customers however it is beneficial when you are selling technical products that require your customers to be properly educated about its use and benefits. Some customers will want to learn more about the products features and benefits and a long sales copy tends to satisfy their needs to obtain more information with more knowledge to gain that will help them make an informed buying decision.
Short sales pitch can offer concise and quick information that will be persuasive enough to convince your customers to buy your product. However, a very short sales copy may not provide you your target ROI whenever it is too concise that will not answer some of the information that your potential customers need to know. The key to an effective short sales copy therefore is to write concisely but must include important information that will be relevant to the usual query of a customer about a particular product. Writing too short and too long can be disastrous to your internet marketing efforts.
Which is better – It Depends
Internet marketers should be prudent enough to understand their customer buying behavior before they choose between the short and long sales copy. Both have its own advantage features that can be drawn out from your marketing efforts to convince your customers to make a sale conversion. A sales copy guideline will help you identify which will work best for your needs. The general rule in sales copywriting is writing as much as you can but nothing more than necessary. A long sales copy can answer more objections and it helps a marketer explain important technical details which a customer will likely not familiar about. It is also more important when marketing high value items in order to convince customers to buy expensive products. A short sales copy can bring more actionable information to your potential customers which can prompt them to buy immediately. Using a hybrid sales copy scheme seems to bring your options to a neutral ground of bringing both the long and short sales copy integrated together in your hybrid sales page. You can easily engage your customers by using infographics like posters that will give valuable instructions to your customers and at the same time will reveal information that your customers need to know. You can then start marketing your hybrid sales pages through email and social media marketing.
Angel List Syndicates Game-Changer for Start-Up Funding
As the rest of startup community I am really excited about the recent changes and the launch of Angel List Syndicates. It a game changer for Startup funding. Below its a simple rant on what its all about, what changes will it bring and what we can expect! Get ready for the some incredible startups coming up and innovation happening even quicker!
Angel List Syndicates What It Is About
Service allows angel investor to pool resources of other venture capitalists
Come up with an idea for a technology-based product. There’s smartphone apps, computer hardware and software, digital media devices, and technology-based services that can do just about anything you can think of. Watch security camera at your home from a remote location. Test your blood sugar level or take your blood pressure with a device plugged into your smartphone and send the results directly to your doctor. The possibilities are endless and the hyper-connected tech world is driving innovation and competition among entrepreneurs for new products and services faster than ever.
The Challenge of Traditional Start-Up Fund Raising
If you’ve been a player in Silicon Valley for some time, or you work for a large company like Intel or 3M that funds start-up ventures, getting funding to turn an idea into a viable product or service is one hurdle that likely won’t be problem. But for the vast majority of entrepreneurs who develop an idea in their basement or over a cup of coffee and turn those concepts into a formal business plan, a major challenge that can hold a lot of start-ups back is their financial resources to handle research and development, legal costs, and all the other expenses that pile up to get a company off the ground.
It wasn’t that long ago that start-ups had to do their own door-to-door shopping to drum up the cash they need from investors to get things started. Or they could hire a venture capital firm to help them do some of the legwork and get in front of potential investors to pitch their idea. One of the biggest drawbacks for this method of fund raising has always been the amount of time it takes to fly from city to city to make your pitch. And for some over-coffee business ideas, even the start-up expenses of trying to raise enough cash to move forward has been prohibitive from some companies. But in the digital age, that way of fund raising to launch a business will soon be taking a back seat to locating angel investors online.
Angel List Announces New Option to Help Fund Star-Ups
The venture capital site AngelList.com has been helping start-up companies find investors to back their ideas for the last few years. But it recently announced an addition to its services that may be a game-changer that reduces the amount of time it takes to raise start-up funds while increasing the amount of money available to get started. Angel List Syndicates allows an angel investor to invite other venture capitalists to add to the pot of money to fund a start-up. Based on the typical agreement, the lead investor can charge a fee for directing additional venture capitalists to invest in a particular start-up, and everyone collects on the investment when the start-up becomes profitable.
It’s not an entirely new idea, but the technology behind Angel List Syndicate capitalizes on the social networks of a lead angel investor. This service makes it far easier to raise a lot of cash for a start-up without the traditional headaches of fund raising. And in it’s infancy, it’s already proved to be a highly successful funding model that could launch the next big tech innovation.
Service Makes It Easier to Raise More Cash in Less Time
Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris, who wrote The Four-Hour Body, recently raised $250,000 in 53 minutes for a start-up company called Shyp.com. This company Ferris helped fund eliminates the need to go to the post office or office supply store to ship a package. Instead, you just take a picture of the item you want to ship, log it online with some basic information, and a short time later a Shyp contractor arrives to package your item and take it to a drop-off location where it will be shipped. Ferris’ investment along with funds from all the other investors who raised a quarter of a million dollars in under an hour will help Shyp expand it’s reach by hiring more people and reinvesting in the business to provide better service and software. And that’s all thanks to Angel List.
The concept of Angel List Syndicates helps an investor leverage their existing network of connections to raise more money for a start-up. In a way, it like the global reach your social media accounts have that can turn an ordinary video into a viral phenomenon overnight. Angel List Syndicates allows lead investors to raise more money for the companies they feel most confident about breaking the mold in a crash-and-burn environment and becoming successful, and do it in far less time. It also allows those venture capitalists with smaller amounts of cash for investments to partner with a lead investor on a project they also see as potentially profitable.
For southern-California-based venture capitalist Mark Suster, Angel List Syndicates makes it easier to help launch start-ups with the money they need and cash in on the profit when they become successful.
“I can have 40 investors but just one signatory on deals,” says Suster. “I don’t have to chase down tons of individuals. Helpful because if I know that [a lead investor] or others are ‘fronting’ others in a deal I can deal with one person to negotiation in difficult times. Helpful because at the time of rounds we’re not herding cats.”
More Funding Resources Good for Entrepreneurs
If you’re an entrepreneur with a big idea, money doesn’t have to hold you back from pursuing your passion. Angel List Syndicates is the perfect environment for start-ups to seek out enough cash to get going without relying on a single investor to back your project. Instead, you can potentially pool enough money to launch your research and development, or expand your existing business to increase profitability with smaller investments from more people. So if you’ve been sitting on a big idea or dream to take your small business to a whole new level, what are you waiting for. The cash you need from investors may be in your hands in a matter of days, not years, with Angel List Syndicates.
12 Critical Copywriting Lessons from Mind Valley
We are in the process of testing some product ideas in a random hair loss niche ( I will be posting a blog post on the actual process and results very soon). As a part of it we have been learning a lot about copywriting, what makes a great sales copy but also an email copy.
Let’s face it, we live in a world of information overload. An estimated 294 billion emails are sent every single day. In the United States, about 6 billion text messages are sent by smartphone users every day. There are more than 644 million active websites on the Internet. And every one of these things are vying for our attention, along with thousands of other distractions that make it difficult for any one message to stand out.
But that’s exactly what copywriters need to learn how to do, especially when using email to do things like generate business, sell products, increase traffic, build brand awareness, or anything else that is going to ultimately add to the bottom line.
I am a big fun of MindValley and they have tonnes of incredible information for free at their MindValley Insights Site which you can check out here. Looking for quick actionable information as I started writing my copy i come across this video 12-step process for making the most of email messages you send to promote your business from Mindvalley founder and CEO Vishen Lakhiani .
Here is a run down of these 12 critical lessons which you can apply straight away to create an incredible copy. Also as recommended by Vishen I use it as a checklist for all my copy-writing emails.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you start hammering away at the keyboard to get the message out about your new product, special event, or mind-altering epiphany, make sure you know your audience. If you’re communicating with highly-skilled brain surgeons about a new surgical device for the operating room, you’re going to address them differently than reaching out to skateboarders to highlight a new style of wheels. Before you craft your message, take some time to think like your audience and learn to speak their language.
2. Personalize Your Messages
If you’re planning a massive e-mail campaign, you can’t get around the fact that the same message will go out to the thousands on your list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize it, says Lakhiani. Consider writing specific emails for the same campaign, but tailor them to target people with a specific interest, by gender, or by location. And when appropriate, use the recipients first name in the body of your message. Research shows that when you personalize your message, open rates increase. But don’t overdo it. Research also shows that too much personalization decreases open rates.
3. Use Images
It’s kind of a no-brainer these days. If you a media consumer, you’re almost been programmed to expect visual imagery to go with any form of communication. It’s almost expected with blogs and social media. And e-mail readers are no different. They’re more engaged when the text of an email is complemented by visual images. Look for ways to add images that might generate curiosity and encourage readers to click and continue to your website. Vishen said they’ve experimented with this at Mindvalley, and found that emails with text and images perform better than text-only messages.
4. Include A Call to Action
Or two, or three, Vishen suggests. Your call to action might be the classic, “Click here, buy now.” But it doesn’t have to be that direct. Even including hyperlinks to articles and resources in your e-mail acts as a kind of call to action that engages the recipient beyond simply reading the text of the message.
5. Use a Sign-Off
Listen to a radio broadcast or watch the news on TV, and the reporter will always sign off with a signature statement like: “This is John Doe reporting for Channel 2 News.” And you should use a similar kind of signature sign-off in your e-mails. Don’t just close your email with “Sincerely, Company X.” Vischen recommends signing off as yourself and include your name. It helps the reader develop a better connection with you compared to the generic “Thank you from the customer support team.”
6. Revisit the Purpose of Your Message with a P.S. Line
Before you hit the send button, take a minute to include a P.S. line in your email. Don’t make it a long, novel-length letter. Just condense your message into some bite-sized morsel with a link that directs them to a page you want them to visit. It’s one more way to capture the attention of an already-busy reader and engage them in your message.
7. Keep E-Mail Subject Lines Short
If you want to improve the open rates of your e-mails, make it a priority to keep your subject lines short. In a recent marketing study, researchers found that shorter subject line messages get higher open rates. Lakhiani recommends keeping subject line messages within the range of 4 to 15 characters. And tantalizing messages like “You’re not alone,” “Check this out,” “A powerful idea (video inside),” can really improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
8. Make it Personal
Lakhiani suggests approaching your emails from the perspective of talking to a friend. Find ways to make your email message conversational, like you’re telling a friend a story about your weekend or some experience you had. What they don’t need is another form-letter sounding message that will put them to sleep about what makes your company or product so amazing.
9. Connect Subjects to Engage More People
In some cases, you’ll be trying to promote or draw attention to more than one thing in your message. Look for ways to connect topics and help the reader make sense of what’s in it for them if for spending the time to read your message. Point out the value they can receive by following through with the calls to action you’ve presented.
10. Incorporate Current Events
After you’ve taken some time to understand your audience, you can spice up your email messages by incorporating current events or hot topics important to them. Read the news, trade journals, or industry publications, follow the message boards and feeds that your contacts follow. Then look for ways to mention those hot topics in your message. Lakhiani says this practice plays on the emotions of people who are already interested in those hot topics and captures their attention.
11. Be Entertaining
Not many people would consider product warranties or tax code laws interesting to read, so don’t write your email like that. Be entertaining. Lakhiani says adding an element of humor or sarcasm to your emails will improve conversion rates. Do it well, and you’ll train people to look forward to your next email.
12. Leave the Door Open
One more way to maximize your email marketing efforts is to leave the door open. Tease your readers with a tidbit of information, but don’t give it to them right away. Using this approach can create curiosity for your product, event, or announcement and keep people on the edge of their seats waiting to find out what will happen next.
E-mail marketing is still alive and well. And if you want to maximize your efforts, incorporate these 12 tips from guru Vishen Lakhiani to make your email messages sizzle.