NPR’s How I Built This is a fantastic podcast that brings the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. How I Built This interviews innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists about the movements they built.
Peloton co-founder: John Foley
In this episode, they interview John Foley, one of the co-founders of Peloton; the fitness and media company that you’ve probably seen commercials for.
In the interview, they greatly undervalued John Foley’s network and experience but nonetheless, this episode touched on several relevant topics my clients often face. I picked this episode because it was a little more in-depth and enlightening than other episodes in that Foley he talks about:
- having the discussion with this wife about moving in with her parents if the company fails,
- how everyone is similarly able including Harvard MBAs,
- the CEO being the janitor when starting out; something I discussed in a previous post about bootstrapping
- how VCs are not very adventurous,
- how Peloton is only recently profitable after 7 years
There are also great questions asked by interviewer that touches on market trends such as arcades no longer thriving due to user experience-to-price dynamics (i.e. video game consoles vs arcades due to quality of experience), penetration/awareness strategy which led to their distribution model given that malls are making an industry correction, and lastly the trademark question: “How much of this was because of your intelligence and hard work, and how much of this was just luck?”
FYI, I always discuss market and industry trends, launch and penetration strategy, as well as bootstrapping in all my business plans.
The entire podcast can be heard here
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Your Startup Guru created financial projections for founder, Chris Marshall. With the help of this important document, entrepreneurs can see how much they need to make and save in order to meet their financial needs; in addition to many many other uses. You can read more about the importance of a financial plan.
Excess inventory, cost management, and other issues are a reality for most businesses. When uncontrolled, a business can face inadequate cash reserves and even bankruptcy.
To mitigate these issues, proper industry and market research coupled with financial planning for contingencies is crucial for any business. Whether you’re in the ideation phase or are already up and running, knowing how much to allocate to the various activities a business engages in is difficult so contact me and let’s create a strategy that works for your business.
It’s summer and festival season is here. Events are big business with over 87 million people attending trade shows, conventions, & conferences; while 32 million people attend music festival. Some annual industry and market stats:
- Trade shows, conventions, conferences
- Number: 284,600 annually
- Participants: 87,728,000
- Music festivals, fairs, and other festivals
- Number: 1,413 annually. Music festivals alone total over 800 annually
- Attendees: Over 102 million people annually. 32 million people go to at least one music festival annually.
- Attendees spend on average, $207 a year on live music events and digital music/streaming
- 1/3 of all festival fans go to more than one festival per year
- Farmers’ Markets
What It Means To You
Events are targeted. So attendees are in your market, many in your target market. Renting a booth, depending on the event, can be fairly inexpensive. This is an economical means of raising awareness for your product/service for the following reasons:
- You are not locked into a commercial lease contract
- Can test the viability of your product/service
- Get targeted market feedback
Some of what you may need depending on the event:
- Mobile merchant services such as Square
- Email collection method
- Banners and booth appeal
- Ready-for-market product/service
- Or compelling marketing materials (videos, images, samples) of your product/service.
Read more about festivals and marketing.
Contact me and let’s see what strategy works best for your business.
I was chatting with my buddy who is the VP of Product at MomentFeed, an online customer experience management platform for multi-location brands, and we talked about The Hard Thing About Hard Things a book by mega-investor and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. There are many very tough decisions with no “right” answer. As such, I tell a lot of my clients that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. To the many up-sides, there are many down-sides that unless entrepreneurship is a calling, can be too much.
In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies to offer essential advice and practical wisdom for navigating the toughest problems business schools don’t cover.
His advice is grounded in anecdotes from his own hard-earned rise—from cofounding the early cloud service provider Loudcloud to building the phenomenally successful Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, both with fellow tech superstar Marc Andreessen (inventor of Mosaic, the Internet’s first popular Web browser). This is no polished victory lap; he analyzes issues with no easy answers through his trials, including demoting (or firing) a loyal friend;
whether you should incorporate titles and promotions, and how to handle them;
if it’s OK to hire people from your friend’s company;
how to manage your own psychology, while the whole company is relying on you;
what to do when smart people are bad employees;
why Andreessen Horowitz prefers founder CEOs, and how to become one;
whether you should sell your company, and how to do it.
Filled with Horowitz’s trademark humor and straight talk, and drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.
An eye-opening, sobering, and inspiring read. Recommended for anyone interested in business.
Creators of the board game The Contender: The Game of Presidential Debate raised $140k on Kickstarter but ended up $40k in debt due to inaccurately predicting future sales. This caused them to order more games than they could sell and ultimately caused them to go into the red for some time.
So how do you predict sales? Forecasting is as much art as it is science, finding a right method that is accurate will greatly enhance the efficiency and profitability of any business: over-ordering materials, under-allocating resources, etc. all undermine a company’s operations.
The selection of a method depends on many factors—the context of the forecast, the relevance and availability of historical data, the degree of accuracy desirable, the time period to be forecast, the cost/ benefit (or value) of the forecast to the company, and the time available for making the analysis.
When a company forecasts for a particular product, it must consider the stage of the product’s life cycle for which it is forecasting. The availability of data and the possibility of establishing relationships between the factors depend directly on the maturity of a product, and hence the life-cycle stage is a prime determinant of the forecasting method to be used.
All my business plans come with projected financial statements. I use a combination of industry growth data, historical sales data (if my client has any), seasonal adjustments, advertising expenditures, and other factors pertinent to my specific clients.
Which method is right for you? Send me an email and let’s figure out how to plan for your company’s future.