//This post originally appeared at OnStartups, where all my writing appears exclusively. upport is often an after thought for many startups in terms of the impact it has on your time, sanity, and development resources. It’s usually a tedious chore that is a second class citizen. Or…Maybe it’s not. Maybe your startup worships at the altar of Zappos. If you do, odds are the influx of support hits you from out of nowhere like a sucker punch. Here’s what I’ve learned about preparing for support, how it decreases churn, and increases sales. Pre Sales Support Will Bring Up Patterns Of Lost Sales Everyone seems to think that their funnel and their website copy is absolutely awesome. In reality, it comes down to not knowing what you don’t know. There are usage patterns that will cause confusion amongst potential purchasers of your product, that you could have never imagined. By implementing…Continue Reading
I outlined 16 must have customer acquisitions techniques for startups in a post last month. One of the most important techniques comes in the form of Public Relations and I think it’s important enough to warrant its own article. PR is how you launch companies, build buzz, and get valuable attention that ranks well above the noise of buying advertising. For example Apple only aired the 1984 ad once, but received over five million dollars of free publicity due to everyone talking + airing the ad again on the news. Like anything worth striving for in life, getting attention from the press is hard, but if you attack it with the right approach, it becomes fairly easy to do. We’re launching a new version of Padpressed later this week and I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned over the years. A lot of entrepreneurs ask me how I got…Continue Reading
There’s a common question brought up in the entrepreneurial community that goes something like this: “Should I go to college?” or “Should I drop out of college?” It’s even the subject of a good analysis by Vivek Wadhwa over at Techcrunch. . I’ve seen the question pop up often enough, it’s certainly an important one, and a question that I have a lot of personal experience with (I went to college, started a company, “stopped/dropped out”, and eventually went back to finish my undergraduate degree). By no means am I 100% right on this subject, but hopefully this serves as some guidance to those struggling with the question themselves. Short answer: Yes, you should go to college. Here’s why and some tips on how to maximize the experience + prepare yourself for a startup. Meet As Many Smart People As Possible The great part of going to college comes in…Continue Reading
Quick Personal Update: I just started writing with Dharmesh at OnStartups.  I’m completely honored to be contributing there.  You can check out my first post: Lessons Learned From Startup Bootcamp 2010. A good portion of my writing will be going on there along with the awesome posts that Dharmesh has been delivering to a great community over the past 5 years.  You should subscribe via RSS as I’m already writing an awesome article to be released there next week.  I’m also now based in Boston and you should say hi if you live here or plan on being in town. Real entrepreneurs ship, don’t ever forget that. An idea is worthless until it has been translated and executed into a tangible product that your potential customers can use. Getting from inception of an idea all the way to shipping it seems like a pretty straight forward process, but so is…Continue Reading
Earlier this week there was a post about an entrepreneur losing 4 million dollars in sales due to his reliance upon Google as their primary sales+distribution channel. The same problem faces Demand Media with their IPO, Zynga with diversifying beyond Facebook, and many other startups that are primarily platform plays dependent upon the mercy of the platform overlords. As an entrepreneur I find it very important to have a large diversified distribution channel for customer acquisition. The goal of this article is to outline the plethora of distribution channels that exist for startups. Public Relations Public Relations is a strong distribution channel due to its low cost and repeatable nature. PR certainly has a human capital cost, but can be fairly easy to execute with the right story. It can also be highly segmented ie- verticals, industries, and audiences. It can also help bring forth social proof. As seen on…Continue Reading