recentpopularlog in

jerryking : product-market_fit   5

How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast
Apr 10, 2014, 07:00am
How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast

Michael Skok

What’s in it For Them?

One mistake small companies make when they get the chance to approach a larger company is that they make the conversation about them, the little guy. They begin by asking how the large company can help them sell their product or service when it should be the other way around. The best way to make a partnership pitch is by approaching a company and telling them what you’re going to do for them.

So flip all the points above and ask yourself how you’ll pitch to your potential partner to ensure this is a must-have partnership for them.

Usually, one of the key benefits a large company will want to realize is competitive advantage from faster time-to-market and more nimble development. Start there and figure out how you can build out things like opportunities to increase average revenue per user or ARPU for them. But be prepared to prove it and don’t rush it. Like any relationship it needs to be two way.
Gulliver_strategies  large_companies  minimum_viable_products  partnerships  product-market_fit  serving_others  small_business  value_propositions 
december 2018 by jerryking
How to approach your own career like an entrepreneur - Fortune
1. Choose growth over profitability. Rather than focus on short-term gains, think long-term goals and what you need to get there.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not on where. Job seekers should invest in people, not ideas. That means pick the place you’re going to work for the people you’re going to work with. They’re the ones who will train you and lead you to other opportunities when the time comes.
3. Find your special sauce. Fetishize your product-market fit. This may be one of the hardest challenges in the new economy.
4. Celebrate uncertainty. Iterate. Seek feedback and adapt. Pivot where necessary.
5. Be public. Be on Linkedin. Give away hard-won information and knowledge, you’ll get something back. Be more transparent.

Nitin Julka was 31 and working like a dog in Cleveland when he got the itch. For six years he’d been a VP of his family’s business, a $20 million company that sold IT to schools. He had moved home after getting an MBA, excited to grow the company and make a difference in educational technology. It had been a “wild ride,” but he was ready for change. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

The jobs that interested him most were in tech. He started calling friends, friends of friends, business school classmates, and even distant contacts to talk about Bay Area companies and about what professional roles he might actually qualify for. After 30 or so conversations, he made up his mind: He wanted to be a product manager at a fast-growing Silicon Valley–based startup.

This struck few as a logical or even feasible next step for Julka: “I was changing job functions, industries, and geographies. People told me you can do one of those things—not all three at once.”

But Julka is more self-aware than most. On a quarterly basis, he conducts a life assessment and reviews what he considers to be his professional competitive advantage. Among his “most unique” attributes he lists his receptiveness to feedback. Indeed, in his quest for continual improvement, he has recorded personal and professional feedback in a single, running Google doc since 2010. He reads it once a week, when prompted by a recurring calendar invite.

And so began what Julka considers the “abnormal part” of his job search: He drew up a spreadsheet of 60 target companies, a few of which he researched for 60 to 80 hours (he admits he “overinvested”). He read 10-Ks and 10-Qs and a hundred CrunchBase articles; he mined his personal and virtual connections; he enlisted a friend, a former Google programmer, to tutor him in code; and he found free online videos from which he learned UX/UI design. With his wife’s support, he gave himself five weeks in Silicon Valley—no mean feat given that he had an 18-month-old baby at home. He met with three or more people a day, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and rode the highs and lows of pitching himself for a job that many thought he was an odd fit for.

It ended on a high. In September 2013 he got several job offers—including one, through a contact of his business school professor, at Bizo, a startup that has since been acquired by LinkedIn LNKD .

Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days.

The truth is, wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote in their zeitgeist-tapping book from 2012, The Start-Up of You, “All humans are entrepreneurs.” To accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula—“adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself”—no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.

Imagine you’re a founder. You’ve been working for days—years, really. (You can’t remember the last time you took a day off.) You’ve networked like crazy. And now, at last, you’ve landed one of those much-coveted meetings with a high-profile venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road.

the start up of you bookIt feels as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for this: You’ve prepared your slide deck, rehearsed your pitch, and honed your talking points. You’re ready to be grilled about even the finest details of your marketing and monetization strategies. You’ve gone so far as to research your VC’s hobbies. But the product you’re selling isn’t some whiz-bang app or the latest and greatest cloud-computing platform; the product is you.

Here’s where your potential backer steps in: What’s your competitive advantage, she asks? The questions come rapid-fire: What’s your addressable market? The opportunities for growth? Your five-year plan? Your 10-year plan?

You may not be used to thinking about your career in such calculating terms, but old standards like “follow your passion” get you only so far. You won’t get Series A funding, but the analogy is apt: If you are the startup, you’d better start answering to your inner VC.

“You’ve got to have a sense of purpose, authenticity, self-awareness, intellectual honesty, and the ability to navigate ambiguity,” says Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm. That’s what he looks for in companies—and people—he invests in. Alan Braverman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who co-heads the Giant Pixel, a tech startup studio, speaks more bluntly: “What most people consider a safe career path, I consider falling behind.”

You don’t have to be a TaskRabbit (or a VC) to know that the world of work has changed. Technology, globalization, and one long recession—in which nearly one in six Americans reported losing a job, according to Princeton economist Henry Farber—have all disrupted old-fashioned employment. Corporations have downsized, outsourced, and rightsized. They slashed training budgets during the recession, and though that spending is coming back—up 15% in 2013, according to a Deloitte survey—corporate talent development is thought to be a dying art. “As companies see it, the incentives are just so perverse,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton Business School. “Typically you train someone, and once they become useful, they’re hired away from you.” Meanwhile, the slow march of automation continues: Robots now fly planes, perform surgeries, and in some cases write news. That leaves you, dear worker, in a tight spot—whether or not you’ve got your dream job now, you’ve got to stay relevant and evolve.

That’s not as easy as it once was. The half-life of desirable skills has shortened with the hastening pace of technological change. (A Python programmer now eats the once-hot Java programmer for lunch.) Fabio Rosati, CEO of the online freelancing platform Elance-oDesk, says these dynamics are moving us from the era of employment to one of newfangled “employability.” Professionals, like the 9.3 million who find work on his site, are now being viewed as mobile, independent bundles of skills. In this universe the most adaptable talent rules the day. Increasingly, learning agility is an attribute sought in corporate leadership, says Vicki Swisher, a senior director at Korn Ferry, an executive search firm. What’s more, she says, it’s what employers are looking for in all new hires.

That agility is also mission critical for your personal enterprise (formerly known as your career path). Rather than climb a single corporate ladder like the company man of yore, you’re more likely to spend your career scaling a professional jungle gym, maneuvering between projects, jobs, companies, industries, and locales. By the reckoning of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest job-tenure survey, you’ll pivot every 4.6 years (make that three if you’re a millennial, a demographic that will dominate the workforce in 2015). To do this well requires imagination, initiative, and some guts. Much like a startup, you’re forging your way ahead in a dynamic world where there is no conventional path.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” advises Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who knows as an entrepreneur and as someone whose career zigged to Microsoft, Palm, and Twitter before it zagged to venture capital. In his case, he sought discomfort. “That’s how you learn the most.”

While the ideas of a free-agent nation and personal brand building have been with us for a couple of decades, DIY-career building has gotten a big push from the digital (and old-fashioned sharing) infrastructure that fosters this independence. There’s the rise in communal workspaces like WeWork and educational alternatives like Coursera, which offers college courses online, and General Assembly, which trains workers in the most in-demand tech skills. (As Julka’s case shows, YouTube and Google can also be empowering resources.)

A slew of online platforms has made it simpler to drum up employment, from one-off gigs to full-time jobs. Professionals can peddle their services, whether it be supply-chain management or legal advice, more easily and independently too, through sites like Elance-oDesk and TrustedPeer, which sometimes cater to big companies.

The data are messy on the size and shape of this new, more independent workforce. The BLS, whose classification system dates back to 1948, counted 14.4 million self-employed Americans in April 2014. That’s a far cry from the results of a study commissioned this year by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, which put the number of freelancers—a broader category that includes temps, part-timers, and moonlighters—at 53 million, or one in three American workers. (A report on freelancers … [more]
Ben_Casnocha  customer_growth  discomforts  Elance-oDesk  free-agents  gig_economy  invest_in_yourself  it's_up_to_me  job_search  large_companies  learning_agility  Managing_Your_Career  non-routine  personal_branding  pitches  preparation  product-market_fit  readiness  Reid_Hoffman  self-assessment  self-awareness  self-employment  Silicon_Valley  skills  slight_edge  special_sauce  start_ups  torchbearers  transparency  TrustedPeer  uncertainty  value_propositions  via:enochko  WeWork 
july 2016 by jerryking
The Single Worst Marketing Decision You Can Make
Oct 29 2014 | LinkedIn | Ryan Holiday, Founder, Partner at Brass Check

Make something people want.

—Paul Graham

Growth hackers believe that products—even whole businesses and business models—can and should be changed until they are primed to generate explosive reactions from the first people who see them. In other words, the best marketing decision you can make is to have a product or business that fulfills a real and compelling need for a real and defined group of people—no matter how much tweaking and refining this takes...Some companies like Airbnb and Instragram spend a long time trying new iterations until they achieve what growth hackers call Product Market Fit (PMF); others find it right away. The end goal is the same, however, and it’s to have the product and its customers in perfect sync with each other. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch publicly with what we think is our final, perfected product...marketers need to contribute to this process. Isolating who your customers are, figuring out their needs, designing a product that will blow their minds—these are marketing decisions, not just development and design choices.

The imperative is clear: stop sitting on your hands and start getting them dirty.
business_models  coding  data_driven  delighting_customers  experimentation  good_enough  growth  growth_hacking  hacks  iterations  lean  marketing  minimum_viable_products  Paul_Graham  product_launches  product-market_fit  Ryan_Holiday  start_ups  visceral 
october 2014 by jerryking
Fine tuning for the perfect pitch
August 3 2005 18:49 | Financial Times | Fergal Byrne.

The pitch is the business plan distilled to its essence: a 10- to 20-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. In some cases, particularly when facing venture capitalists, the Q&A can take place during the pitch....“The business plan is the all-encompassing thesis on why the business is a good opportunity, the pitch is the entrepreneur’s defence of the opportunity,”...
The odds of pitching success are not high: one study of Canadian business angels, for example, suggests almost three-quarters of opportunities were rejected at this stage before the business plan was given serious consideration.
(1) Passion wins hearts and minds.
(2) Less is more. A pitch needs to be concise to whet investors’ appetites. Guy Kawasaki, from Garage Venture, encapsulates his approach in his “10/20/30 rule”. He recommends entrepreneurs present no more than 10 slides, speak for no more than 20 minutes and write in 30-point font size. “The brevity forces an entrepreneur to purify his or her pitch.
(3) Become the product. Entrepreneurs need to apply the same discipline to sell themselves as they do to sell their product,
(4)Solve a problem – segment the market. Products need to solve a specific problem. Too often investors see ideas that are “solutions looking for a problem” or solutions trying to address too many problems.
(5)Master the domain – be candid. Answering investors’ questions during the Q&A is a vital part of the screening process. Entrepreneurs need to respond intelligently, to show they can read people, listen and interact...It is vital that presenters do not become defensive or aggressive during the presentation but respond in a calm, conversational manner.
industry_expertise  entrepreneurship  start_ups  pitches  business_planning  angels  Guy_Kawasaki  Communicating_&_Connecting  presentations  problem_solving  passions  specificity  concision  brevity  product-market_fit 
november 2011 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: All's fair in love and war, but hard to measure in business
April 26, 2010 | Globe & Mail | GEORGE STALK JR. "These
laws also mean that the informational "glue" that defined the boundaries
of industries and companies is dissolving, enabling industries to be
redrawn again and again. Companies can no longer rest comfortably in a
market position but must continually cannibalize their own and their
competitors' positions; incumbents must go on the attack to remain
viable....These competitors will not target product-market niches, but
instead define their business as the layers of events and processes that
produce a product or service, as Microsoft and Intel have. This will
happen not only in high-tech and communications but also in industries
such as biotech, media and retail. We already see successful strategies
of "layer mastery" in payments processing, contract electronics
manufacturing, and aircraft leasing. Industries and markets will be
redefined in ways that will make the traditional assessment of "fair"
increasingly difficult.
George_Stalk_Jr.  competitive_landscape  competitive_strategy  Intel  Microsoft  Google  Moore's_Law  Gilder's_Law  Metcalfe's_Law  Coase's_Law  complacency  layer_mastery  industry_boundaries  offensive_tactics  BCG  kaleidoscopic  informational_advantages  product-market_fit  market_position 
may 2010 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read