Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I need a developer. Can you introduce me?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Many people walk in our doors with ideas they believe will change the world and make them rich. The problem they invariably have is that they can't build it. 95% of these potential founders have an idea for an mobile app or web app and they want the LaunchYourCity team to play matchmaker to a developer. These potential founders don't realize that the developer probably has his own awesome ideas. Why would he switch from developing his ideas to developing yours? These potential founders will get no where fast with developers because they have ignored the obvious: a developer is your first investor.

Like all investments you need to earn the right to ask!

Here is the typical scenario. A non-technical founder approaches a potential technical co-founder with just an idea. These potential founders usually have very little skin in the game. They haven't invested a ton of their own time, but expect a developer to contribute 100s of hours. They haven't even dipped into their own funds to get something mocked up or designed. These potential founders have not invested energy into determining who the customer is, understanding their buying behaviors, or even determine if they would want the app and pay for it. The outcome is always the same. The developer says no and gets annoyed with wannabe entrepreneurs and gets turned off to the startup world.

This is a very bad outcome for our entire community. It could all be avoided.

Imagine going to a technical co-founder and saying the following:

"I have been working to validate an idea for a new app over the past couple of weeks. I didn't know if this was a good idea so I talked to 50 customers and found out that not only was it good, but also determined what the minimum features would be to satisfy the customer. Because I wanted to continue to make progress, I taught myself to code a little bit. With a logo that I paid a local designer to polish up for me, I was able to get a one page website up and running articulating the features of the future app. I also was able to code the website to capture email addresses from future customers. I created a blog to talk about the industry and my perspective on the changes coming. I got a lot of feedback and interest from the blog — one post has been viewed 10,000 times and has 56 comments. I started to market a bit to garner interest and I didn't get 1,000 email signups — I got over 5,000 people to give me their email address. Because I figured out how to market more effectively, I get about 100 signups day now on the website and I'm only spending $10 a day on ads. I went ahead and contracted with a designer to get some wire frames done and some screen mock ups. I showed them to some of the customers who signed up and they gave me feedback to refine the app. I'm currently working on a new set of mocks ups with the designer. Along the way I reached out to the CMO of a big local bank and he agreed to mentor me and my future team as we startup. I think I'll get another rock star mentor to commit next week. I did all this in just 60 days. I'm looking for a technical co-founder that believes in me and how we can change the world. I think you would be a great co-founder. Will you join me?"

  • Please?

Guess what a technical co-founder will say after hearing this pitch?

People invest in execution, not ideas. If you’re willing to do the work you will have no problems getting the right talent on the bus. Prove that you are a worthy founder by doing the leg work before going to a technical co-founder and you will find many people jumping on board.

48 Hour Launch: Women's Edition on December 7-9

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:11 AM

As part of the new Upstart Memphis initiative focused on fueling women's innovation and entrepreneurship, LaunchMemphis and Upstart Memphis present a special edition of the signature 48 Hour Launch. Entrepreneurs, developers and diverse professionals converge to launch innovative concepts and build the companies of tomorrow.

Are you a woman with an innovative idea and an entrepreneurial streak? You have two minutes on Friday night to pitch your concept and inspire the crowd. If successful you’ll get to publicly introduce your new company on Sunday evening.

More interested in applying your professional skills toward a goal that fuels economic development and elevates creative talent? Then vote for your favorite pitch, join a team and dive into development. Startups need marketers, lawyers, accountants, graphic designers, developers, and UX specialists. In short, they need you.

Please note: while we're kickstarting women's owned businesses, we invite men and women of all skills and backgrounds to be part of the teams that build these companies of tomorrow.

On Sunday evening each proud albeit exhausted team will present its business to the community. For every 20 attendees we create opportunity for another startup to be built. And the more entrepreneurs we recruit, the higher the chances of discovering bold, audacious ideas with high growth potential.

More than community engagement, this event fosters true community investment. Where else for only 48 hours and $40 can you:

- Launch brand new tech-supported companies, contributing toward our local innovation economy and creating jobs;
- Learn by doing, experiencing firsthand entrepreneurial principles that can be applied to any endeavor or work environment;
- Connect with like-minded and talented professionals, developing your network;
- Play an active role in Memphis’ entrepreneurial community, volunteering your current skills while learning new ones;
- Eat and drink well, including all meals and copious amounts of coffee and Red Bull; and
- Be a part of something this collaborative, creative and cool?!

So what are you waiting for? Register today for the one and only 48 Hour Launch, and get ready to spend your weekend doing something extraordinary- building both companies and community.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Investing in Digital Word-of-Mouth

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 9:29 AM

I recently took my car to a local repair center for the first time. My first visit was generally the same as with others except that I noticed that they seemed more interested in customer care. I was especially intrigued when I received follow up emails after my first visit welcoming me as a new customer and another asking me to provide feedback on the visit. They even offered a ‘refer a friend’ promo with $10 off my next visit. As a new customer and user of many digital channels, I found this to be a very convenient way to promote this business and get something of value in return. I’ll most likely take my car there again and tell my friends about them.


It makes a lot of sense for local service providers, especially those highly dependent upon word-of-mouth, to use digital marketing tools to grow their business and stay competitive. And a lot of small and midsized businesses are learning how to gain benefit in shifting marketing efforts from traditional to digital marketing in a big way. There are several reasons for this.

Consumers are increasingly influenced by and want to do business through a wide variety of channels including the in-person storefront, as well as digital channels such as the website, email or social networks. According to a recent BIA/Kelsey study on local commerce, small businesses are marketing to their customers across 5 to 6 digital channels on average, and the number of online channels used for advertising by the average small business has nearly doubled in the past five years. More than half (52 percent) of small businesses now use Facebook and 25 percent use email for marketing.

Also, trends show local consumers continue to trust word-of-mouth, such as a recommendation from someone they know, much more so than traditional advertising. According to Nielsen’s recent Global Trust in Advertising Survey (PDF), almost all (92 percent) of consumers trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. And most (78 percent) trust online reviews, while only 47 percent believe traditional broadcast and print ads.

And consumers are increasing using digital word-of-mouth to promote small businesses they like. This is especially important as most local business recommendations occur by way of word of mouth. A recent Local Consumer Review study by BrightLocal found that that 8 out of 10 people have recommended local businesses to friends, family, co-workers or other acquaintances, and most people (65 percent) that do business locally will recommend a business which provides professional and reliable service. 32 percent of them use Facebook to recommend businesses.

To get the most out of an investment in digital tools for word-of-mouth marketing, here’s a few quick tips. First, know and understand who your target customers are and connect that to your business strategy. Second, hire a digital marketing consultant to find the best tools that match your strategy and customer. These local professionals can help navigate the vast landscape of new tools that are available and provide consultation and training to put them to use for the best investment return.

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