Monday, December 12, 2016

4 Takeaways from Growing a Start Up in the Digital Age

4 Takeaways from Growing a Start Up in the Digital Age

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The mom and pop shops are starting to be a thing of the past. Most people are going digital and it looks like we’re not stopping. We’re at a time now where people can either go to the grocery store or have their grocery list delivered by Amazon. As we’re more digital, it’s a bit easier to put yourselves out there, but it’s a lot harder to get noticed. So how do you keep your business growing in the digital space? In Growing a Startup in the Digital Age, Howard Tullman explains key techniques to help your business grow.
If you don’t know Tullman, he’s the CEO of 1871 and Managing partner of an G2T3V. 1871 is a start-up hub in Chicago cultivating a digital start-up ecosystem. The hub holds over 500 digital start-ups with entrepreneurs craving to make their business grow in the Digital Age. G2T3V is an investment firm focused on financing and developing disruptive innovation. I got the chance to read through Tullman’s book and here are 4 takeaways I came up with.

We Live in a world of instant gratification. (Tweet This)

The world’s attention span is at an all-time low. I can go into Best-Buy with the intent to buy a tv, compare the price of the same tv on my phone, and buy it on Amazon. If you run a business, you can’t afford to advertise and assume customers will flood your doors (or website). It’s not that easy. Everything you can think of is trying to grab your customers attention. From Snapchat to memes, there is something constantly in their face. If you want your business to survive, you have to figure out how you will grab your customer’s attention (and keep it). The current trend is social media, especially Facebook. Connectivity and mobility is all the rage these days and connecting with your customers on social media is crucial to keeping your business afloat. Also, each social media site behaves in a different way and attracts its own unique audience. One way to attract your audience is to show that you care.

“Make people care so they can share”. (Tweet This)

“The basic objective is to figure out how to make me care and then how to make me share.” If you have a product or service you want to get out to the masses you have to figure that out. The main objective for my site is getting people to care about building wealth and sharing that with others. (Tweet This) As simple as it sounds, it’s harder than it looks. Our world is interactive and developing a connection with your customer base is no longer an option, but required. “Businesses exist because they have customers and taking care of your customers is ALWAYS Job Number one.” Which brings me to my next point.

Be there when they’re buying

Once a customer is on your site (or in your doors) you want to make sure you’re in the best position to close a sale. Tullman has an excellent term for this called Smart Reach. “Smart Reach is all about the need to deliver engaging, demonstrably relevant, content to your target at exactly the right time(s) and place(s).” Knowing where to engage your target customer, envisioning what they would be doing at the time, and why it’s the appropriate time is crucial in putting yourself in place to be successful. It’s all about being in the know, and not being there could lower your chances of surviving.

If you want to survive, sell services and solutions

There is one attribute a company needs to live by in order to survive, flexibility. For instance, if you sell furniture online, it’s a good idea to follow up with customers to ensure their assembly experience was smooth and painless. I can’t stress this enough connecting with customers anyway you can is imperative. Providing a product and service allows you to grab hold of more customers, and (most importantly) keep them.
Before almost everything became digital, businesses could afford the occasional customer walking in their door. Not anymore. Why? Because everyone is competing for the scarcest resource every customer has, time. If you want to be in the ‘know’ then arm yourself with the knowledge to become successful in the new age.

1871 Welcomes Victor Yuan - Chairman of Dataway Horizon in China - for Tour and Visit

1871 CEO Howard Tullman on Bootstrapping - Tasty Trade


Watch the Whole Thing Here:

This segment is a wide-ranging discussion about current trends in business and society with a focus on recent developments in the the field of technology. Howard Tullman, the CEO of 1871, the largest tech incubator in the United States, stopped by the studio to talk with Tom and Tony.
The discussion opened with Howard describing how much he enjoyed a Bruce Springsteen concert at the White House and how impressed he was after seeing how Springsteen created a song (he learned this from information on a Boxed Set of Springsteen albums). Howard also mentioned the lyrics of recent Nobel laureate Bob Dylan. This led to Tom’s story of how his cousin acquired a Dylan signed Les Paul guitar that they sold years ago for not much more than pizza money (ouch). President Elect Trump’s upcoming meeting with the heads of tech companies was briefly mentioned and the subject eventually turned to IPOs. Howard explained how Private Equity Funds were making all the money (mainly through M&A) and little, if anything, was left for individual investors. He thought the equity crowdfunding rules would make it difficult for the little guy to win.
Howard congratulated everyone on the coming launch of tastyworks and promised he would be back shortly after its launch on January 3, 2017. Tom then asked what was new at 1871 and Howard discussed Knowledge Hound. Knowledge Hound is a marketplace for marketing knowledge and market research. It organizes the data so firms can know what they have and gives them the opportunity to sell the information to others, in an anonymous fashion, which will result in cost savings for the buyer and seller. For many CEOs the truth is that “We don’t know what we know”. Knowledge Hound will help CEOs and others know what they know and be able to put it to better use.
This led into the conclusion of the show and how AT&T is offering to test employees for their deficiencies (mainly tech). They will pay for their employees continuing education (on their own time) and pledge loyalty to their employees in response. Howard explained the advantages to the employee of having a good paying job and to the employer in in less turnover. The discussion could have gone on but we ran out of time.
Watch this segment of “What I’m Thinking” featuring Howard Tullman, Tom Sosnoffand Tony Battista for an interesting, wide-ranging and in-depth discussion of technology and cultural trends.

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