Just like 99designs, there are many other great tools on the web for entrepreneurs to take advantage of. One key service to take a look at is Launchrock. Launchrock allows you to set up a “launch page,” which is the page that is shown on your domain name while your website is being built. There is no reason to leave your domain blank during website construction as a launch page is a valuable tool. It not only represents your company and gives you a chance to tell the world what you do, but it also allows you to collect email addresses from potential customers. These will be valuable when you are beginning your marketing. In fact, this is exactly the service that Launchrock.com offers. Launchrock offers an easy to use site builder that allows you to make a two page website that allows you to give basic information about your business and collect email addresses from potential customers. Another page allows the now registered customers to share the page with their friends through a variety of social networking options including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
“There are more than 27 million businesses in the United States. About a thousand are huge conglomerates seeking to increase profits. Another several thousand are small or medium-size companies seeking their big score. A vast majority, however, are what economists call lifestyle businesses. They are owned by people whose goal is to do what they like and to cover their nut. These surviving proprietors hadn’t merely been lucky. They loved their businesses so much that they found a way to hold on to them, even if it meant making bad business decisions. It’s a remarkable accomplishment in its own right.”—Can Mom-and-Pop Shops Survive Extreme Gentrification? - NYTimes.com (via jenbee)
Many people have asked me if I could explain search engine optimization. In this web based world that we live in, Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is key to success. This first SEO post will just be a basic overview of the first steps you must take to optimizing your site for search algorithms. A step by step guide will be posted soon. Please take advantage of these tips before the guide is posted as it will save much time and even make your site more appealing in the short term. The factors that contribute to the algorithm that is Google’s search bot are:
External links on other websites to yours
Freshness of content
Technical soundness of site
Relevancy of data
Time site has been on web
Link popularity of a specific page
Let me elaborate, the external links on other websites are important as search engines such as Google are driven to organize websites by the amount of other websites linking to it.A website with hundreds of thousands of websites linking to it will be listed much higher than a website with few.Be careful though, as most social media links do not apply to these rankings.In addition, over optimization, or purely posting links around online in a spamming type manner can earn you penalization by Google, such as ban or becoming buried in the listings.Freshness of content and time on the web are other major factors as the engines look for the newest material to list first.New content will make you appear more important to Google.A blog on your website is a solid way to be sure that the content stays fresh and up to date.In addition, make sure the data and text on the site is relevant to your company and keywords.Technical soundness of site is crucial as well.You cannot have broken links or elements of the website not optimized.By making these changes and being sure that your site fits this framework, you are already well on your way to moving up the Google rankings.Keep checking back for future E-Tips, including and SEO step by step guide.
E-Tip: Structuring Equity when bringing on Investors
When starting a company, many entrepreneurs wonder how they should dole out shares in their company. Even structuring an agreement with your partners can turn into a messy situation. This can be especially difficult when bringing in external financing. I recommend that you use the 3 T’s to structure how you would divide your company:
Time would include how much time have you invested in your business since inception. This is extremely important to consider as some entrepreneurs have invested years of time into their business. Talent would encompass all of your skills and knowledge. Was it your business idea? How did you develop it? What value did you add? How can you help it move forward? These are all important questions to consider when evaluating talent. Treasure is exactly that, what investment did you put into the business? How much will other investors put in? How do you value that? Remember that once people get their skin in the game (ie. put their money into the business), they will usually become extremely invested in the business in both the time and talent categories. I will touch on this later.
Many investors feel that because they are taking monetary risk, they should be receiving a significant chuck of the company. While it will come down to your negotiating, you must consider your time and talent. While as an entrepreneur you may have only had limited funds to invest yourself into the business, it is important to remember what you bring to the table.
Despite this, I want to urge you to completely consider what value venture capitalist’s can add to your business. Too many times on Shark Tank have I seen entrepreneurs leave empty handed because they would not give away merely 30% of your business. With venture capitalist’s with such expansive networks and experience, it confuses me why an entrepreneur would not give 30%+ of their business to a magnate such as Mark Cuban. Remember that while an investor may be at first contributing equity, they are businessmen as well and will want their investment to grow. Evaluate and talk with them about what time and talent they plan on contributing. Get to know both sides and see the total value that an investor is adding. Owning 100% of a company making $30,000 per year is much different then owning 30% of a company making $1,000,000.