Last night I presented to a group of entrepreneurs participating in 100 Urban Entrepreneurs and it turned out to be an amazing session! I shared how I entered the field of technology and what helped to me to decide I wanted to an entrepreneur. I stepped the group through my discoveries of what worked and the obstacles I encountered. Finally I recommended three essential web apps that were instrumental in helping me grow and manage my business.
Here’s my presentation which I created in SlideRocket (love this tool!)
A Business Built On Communication
My key points were:
- Communication can make or break your business
- Make it easy to do business with you
- Your goal as a business owner is to make the customer feel at ease
- Make sure what you deliver matches the customer’s expectations
- Be available pre and post sales
- Focus on making the ordering process easy for your customers
- Billing should be straightforward and clear
- Your customers are your biggest marketing tool
- Use WordPress to build your business website
3 Essential Communication Tools For Entrepreneurs
After I shared my personal story of becoming my own boss, I moved into a toolkit to help these budding entrepreners professionally manage their interactions with prospects and existing customers including:
Contact Relationship Management tool to keep track of who you talked to and when. Keep all your staff in the loop and close more deals
There were a TON of questions from the entrepreneurs after the presentation!
Everything from SEO to marketing strategies. I’m listing the links I covered during the QnA here:
Question: How can I market my online cupcake business and not spend a lot on marketing?
- #nomnomnom on Twitpic – This was used to illustrate that you can follow and participate in conversations on social media platforms for a specific vertical like food (cupcakes to be specific)
- Flickr: A Food Photography Experience! – Use the power of a visual experience to drive traffic and interest to your site
- Food porn – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Research internet phenomena using Wikipedia
- Niche Food – Follow the lives of interesting, passionate and influential people online who love food. Reach out to them
- Amazon.com: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman – Selling a spice? See if you can incorporate it into a recipe listed in best selling book like the one by Tim Ferriss
Takeaway: SEO zen is happens when both Google and people agree your content is valuable. Focus on what your visitor’s needs are and answer it with great content.
Question: How can I grow my membership site and figure out what my competitors are doing?
- iDevAffiliate – Affiliate Tracking Software – Affiliate Program Software – Take advantage of affiliate networks. Use software to create and reward people for referring new members. You can also hold offline events and ask existing members to bring new members, rewarding them with say, 50% of their renewal for the next year.
- Compete – Compare your site traffic to a competitor. Visit similar sites and understand how visitors at the other sites are engaging with the content…and each other.
- “Do you want to grow your membership or your profits? More members doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue.” <– everyone liked this reply I gave!
Question: How can I get more exposure for my product?
YouTube – Channels – Show people how to use it. Record interviews of people who should be using it. If it’s food, show people how to cook with it. Be visual. Make your product fun.
And more links as the QnA continued:
- SlideRocket – Excellent tool for creating beautiful presentations
- We Love WP – Get ideas on just how amazing WordPress can be by viewing this WordPress showcase
- But You’re A Girl – My tech blog
- WordPress ecommerce and member management plugin | Cart66 – Shopping cart plugin for WordPress
- BigCommerce Ecommerce Software & Shopping Cart Software – An excellent and flexible hosted shopping cart solution. Has a WordPress plugin
- Volusion Ecommerce Solution – Hosted shopping cart solution. I put a client on Volusion and they generated over $40,000 in sales their first month
- TheCASHFLOW – Organization behind 100 Urban Entrepreneurs
- Membership Plans « Freshworkshops – My technology training site
- WordPress › Blog Tool and Publishing Platform – WordPress.org homepage
- WordPress Jobs – Find freelancers and list your WordPress jobs
- WordPress Meetups near San Francisco, California – WordPress Meetups – San Francisco – Find WordPress developers at your local meetup group
- Farm Fresh To You – Order organic fruits and vegetables online. Allows you to filter out things you don’t like (I don’t <3 grapefruit)
- Search engine optimization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Use Wikipedia to decode the world of technology
The tweets were super awesome:
What is 100 Urban Entrepreneurs?
This is an excerpt from the website that Ryan Stoner provided to me. He’s the one who contacted me a year ago about helping with this mentoring initiative and I am really proud of how it’s developed and it was an honor to be involved and I’m looking forward to more involvement with this organization!
100 Urban Entrepreneurs (100urbanentrepreneurs.org) is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping provide a meaningful, long-term economic boost to urban communities throughout the United States by supporting
entrepreneurship and risk-taking businesses at their earliest stages.
The primary goal of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs is to identify, fund and mentor 100 of the most promising people who might otherwise lack access to startup capital and a professional network. The urban community in particular has always exhibited an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit and good ideas, and our goal is to provide the tools to help talented young dreamers create viable, profitable companies.
The 100UE Funding and Mentoring Program is the leading partner for young urban entrepreneurs who are looking to start and build a business. Our aim is to break down the barriers between you and professional success — improving your company by exposing you to the business-building essentials, valuable resources and expert mentors you need to fuel your growth. At 100UE, we pride ourselves on our accessibility — we’re here to help you start your business, and we’ll support you when you encounter obstacles. We know what it’s like to be a first-time entrepreneur who needs guidance and assistance.
Once you’ve “graduated” from the program, you’ll become even more deeply integrated into the 100UE family — encouraged both to rely on and to assist other graduates and those currently in the program as well. The 100UE Funding and Mentoring Program is an eight-week bootcamp in startup entrepreneurialism. We’ll help you develop your idea, enabling it to get to the point where it’s ready for additional outside financing — or whatever further steps you decide to take. You’ll be paired with other entrepreneurs in your incoming peer group; once you’ve successfully completed the program, we’ll pair you with a graduate entrepreneur group specific to your industry.
The presentation was recorded and I also recorded the audio so if they send me a copy, I’ll post it otherwise when find time (oh, that oh so precious commodity that continues to elude me), I’ll post it here.
I’d also like to spend time exploring some of the interesting businesses the entrepreneurs have created and how they can save money by reinvesting marketing efforts in their core customers.
The goal of this program is to prepare these new business startup to have the right mindset to be successful and which is managed by the organization, The Cash Flow.