In our current economy where services are becoming more and more commoditized, the new economy, even now, has begun to center on experiences – the next evolution of services. And not just any experiences, but those that are perceived to be authentic on some level. So a successful business now pays attention to everything that might affect the customer’s experience (yes, including things in which the ROI isn’t entirely obvious or calculable), as well as openness, transparency, honesty, care, and respect.

The way to grab the vital attention of a consumer is to appeal to their emotion and logic, but emotion first. Reel them in with emotion, and remind them why they’re there with logic – and you’ll create loyalty.

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  1. See if it’s already been done. If it has, continue to the next step if you can devise a way to improve upon whatever exists or offer value to the existing player(s) in that market.
  2. Ask others for feedback on your idea. If you can’t find anyone else who thinks your idea is good, head back to the drawing board.
  3. Develop a Minimum Viable Product to give your idea a real-world test using your little corner of the market. This MVP is something that should be feature-complete only in its core functionality. Continue if it turns out to be useful to people.Continue reading

I’m starting a business, so one big thing I need to succeed is clients. How on earth am I going to get them?

Well, there’s the obvious ways for starters, like knocking on doors, cold calls, cold emails, advertising, etc.

So I started by making some cold calls. Not too many, just a handful – which, as you might expect, didn’t get me much of anywhere.

One business I called told me that for my type of call, they prefer to receive emails instead, and she gave me an address to write to. So I wrote up what I thought was a good email pitch and sent it off to that business and a few others while I was at it.

Then I ran across some blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) about how to do that very thing better and realized I had room for improvement, so I am summarizing them here for myself and anyone else who finds this useful. I’ve put them in a relative order that they should be considered.

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In trying to start my own business, I’ll be chronicling everything I do so that maybe a succinct formula can emerge to help me and others in the future.

The first and most important step, to me, is to get down on paper what defines this business idea I have. I need to force myself to look at this idea from every angle to determine if it will work and how.

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A while back, I heard of a new web app that would let cofounders of a startup easily determine how much equity they are owed based on their contributions in the forms of labor and capital. This new website was Accumi.com.

But I found the name of that site extraordinarily hard to remember, so every time I needed it, I would Google whatever terms I could think of that seemed relevant – except for some reason, even that rarely got me the result I was looking for.

So today, when I yet again performed a similar search, after a few query revisions I uncovered a website offering a similar app which it released sometime between July and November of this year, based on what I can see on the Wayback Machine’s archives for that site.

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