What do you do once your startup is off the ground and it’s time to make a “real” investment in advertising? Should you work on optimizing AdWords since they’re working, or optimizing banner ads since they’re not working? Should you cut off the affiliate program since it’s a waste of time, or redouble your efforts in affiliate management? Should you optimize these existing channels or try to find a new, more productive channel?
When you’re just getting started, and don’t yet have sufficient data around conversion rates, cancellation rates, LTV or anything else, how do you determine how much you can afford to spend per click in a cost-per-click campaign? Here’s a good rule of thumb.
Seems like every third startup nowadays is using the “Freemium” business model: The lowest service tier is free, and the business is designed to get those users hooked and then upgrade to a paid plan.
It can work wonderfully of course, but usually it crushes and destroys companies, not only because it costs more than anticipated but because the founders didn’t realize the business model itself caused them to make incorrect decisions.
Unfortunately, due in part to the popularity of Lean Startup and the concepts it promotes, the pivot has been bastardized to the point where it doesn’t mean much to people anymore. We hear the word “pivot” and groan or shrug, knowing there’s a good chance that people are using the pivot as an excuse.
The first emotion I felt after selling Smart Bear was a profound sadness. Not depression — not hopeless or rudderless — but a pure sadness, when your lungs sink into your belly, the punch-in-the-stomach of discovering your dog was hit by a car or that your dad is terminally ill.
“What the fuck?” I thought, “Why am I feeling this? I’m supposed to be feel… happy? I guess? Something other than this.”
They told me I couldn’t sell to The Enterprise with a silly company name like Smart Bear.
They told me I couldn’t sell to The Enterprise without a human sales force using Salesforce.
They told me I couldn’t sell to The Enterprise over GoToMeeting, with a demo and no slides, from a geek with no webinar.
They told me I couldn’t sell to The Enterprise with amateur design and a small-company, human voice.
This is part of an ongoing startup advice series where I answer (anonymized!) questions from readers, like a written version of Smart Bear Live. To get your question answered, email me at asmartbear -at- shortmail -dot- com.Frustrated Engineer writes: I’ve been writing code for ten years, recently promoted to a position where I have to…
All founders define their business as being “better” than the encumbents. But most don’t say anything beyond that. Being specific about “better” leads to the good stuff.
A compass tells you which way is north, not whether you should be heading north. So what *is* the map to startup success?
In an era where more people can devise their own lifestyle and career than at any other time in history, it’s interesting to ask how a startup can support and encourage its employees beyond a paycheck.
In an era where job-hopping is a badge of honor instead of a mark of disloyalty, it’s interesting to ask how a company can retain great employees over significant stretches of time.
In an era where “friend” means one of 852 on Facebook, it’s interesting to ask what a friend really is.
Do this stuff, and I guarantee you will literally be happier, smarter, more productive, live longer, and most importantly you will not feel like you’re missing out on life.
I get a constant stream of requests to look at new startups or to announce something that a startup just did. But most of it is spam, and I don’t have much time even for the non-spam. Here’s how to pierce my email firewall and get some attention.
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- 10 things I’ve never heard a successful startup founder sayAugust 15, 2011
- Rich vs. King in the Real World: Why I sold my companyOctober 19, 2009
- Color Wheels are wrong? How color vision actually worksJanuary 31, 2011
- It’s time to nut up or shut upSeptember 27, 2010
- Enough with the “expert” guiltFebruary 22, 2010
- Don’t write a business planDecember 14, 2009
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