Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Does Silicon Valley Own the New Wave of Entrepreneurship?

(From Toptal's blog, The New Wave of Entrepreneurship;Photos from http://www.ablogtowatch.com, http://securityaffairs.co, http://geniusapp.com, and http://www.rakenapp.com )
I recently read a blog by Matt Swanson on the Toptal site that discussed the difficulty for innovative startups outside Silicon Valley to raise capital from Silicon Valley VCs (The New Wave of Entrepreneurship). Swanson says that Silicon Valley suffers from a closed ecosystem and accompanying tunnel vision. (I suspect this same exclusiveness is what keeps most of those VCs from funding women-owned or minority-owned businesses as well.)

He makes the point that developing the next cool app or the next iPhone is all people in Silicon Valley focus on, when instead there should be a way for entrepreneurs looking to solve problems in varying own industries in other parts of the country to have access to the capital and the brain power that is concentrated in Silicon Valley.

Swanson predicts this situation will change. I believe it already is. CB Insights says that AI deals are at an all-time high, and they are being done in 35 states. AI is only one fast-growing industry that is not just concentrated in Silicon Valley - think Real Estate Tech, FinTech, and HealthTech.

Harness Technology to Change Your Industry

Entrepreneurs come from all sorts of backgrounds and industries. But they can be uniquely successful if they can harness technology to fill a need in their field. My coauthor, Ed McLaughlin, did that with his real estate services business by starting a separate company called Sequentra. Sequentra delivered a proprietary software solution that enabled workflows, improved access to critical information, and tightened his company's link to their customers. (You can read more about it in our book, "The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business")  

How can you harness technology to create a new business in your own industry? As he says in his blog, Matt Swanson wants to help you do that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Writing a Book Is Like Starting a Business

When you've worked for 3 1/3 years coauthoring a book, the feeling of seeing the actual physical book offered for sale on Amazon and in brick and mortar bookstores is one of pure elation! But what makes my coauthors, Ed McLaughlin and Paul McLaughlin (pictured above), even more excited is when someone tells us that our book has actually helped them with their business. Comments like that make all the work worth it.

When we started out to create a book for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, we didn't realize that the endeavor would be just like starting a new business. Before we knew it, we found ourselves immersed answering a lot of the basic questions all entrepreneurs must answer:

  1. What was our main idea for our product?
  2. What was the purpose of our book?
  3. Who was the target audience? (Who was going to buy and read the book?)
  4. What unique value would we deliver?
  5. Were we filling an unmet need?
  6. How would we create the content and design its final form?
  7. Who were our competitors?
  8. How would we manufacture and distribute the book?
  9. How would we market the book?
  10. What other resources would we need to bring our creation to the market successfully?
These were not easy questions to answer. We spent hours discussing them and doing the homework necessary to develop our product, build an audience, and finalize and distribute the final product with the help of our publisher, Greenleaf Book Group. We not only wrote, edited, and rewrote every chapter; we also spent hours developing and executing our marketing strategy, which included feeding the social media machine, writing blogs, and developing an email list, in addition to using traditional marketing tools such as public relations.

The Purpose Is Profit

Here's a description of the book in a nutshell:

My coauthor Ed McLaughlin bootstrapped his first company, USI, grew it into an Inc. 500 company, and 14 years later sold it to a Fortune 100 company. The book uses the full arc of McLaughlin’s journey, including the failure of a second startup, to reveal the essential business principles all aspiring entrepreneurs need to know, including:

  • Why distinctive competence trumps passion in selecting the business to build.
  • Where and when to get funding without losing control.
  • How to build an entrepreneurial brand that lasts.
  • Why profit should be factored into every business decision.
  • How ethical behavior breeds trust and unlocks profit.

As a special feature, the appendix includes two essential guides: The Startup Roadmap and The Startup Funding Guide.

In the End

In the end it was worth the effort. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com wrote, "Here's a book every entrepreneur needs to read." Not only that, the book was the #1 New Release on Amazon in the New Business Enterprise category. All that made us feel pretty good.

If you want to learn more, go to: www.ThePurposeIsProfit.com. I'd love to know what you think of our book. Email me at wyn@thepurposeisprofit.com.