Here is today’s edition of the Best of the Blogs. Every day we review the top 200 business blogs and bring you the best and most important content.
More small businesses are finding ways to preserve their cash—particularly startup cash—by trading goods and services with other companies interested in doing the same thing. If you want to start an office cleaning service and need brochures made to handout to other businesses, a good starting point is to approach printing shops and offer them your cleaning services in exchange for the brochures.
In the beginning, entrepreneurs should write down a series of “guesses” about their product, the founder of start-up accelerator Startmate, Niki Scevak, says. This may include who are the best customers, how much they’ll pay or how difficult they will be to find. Once a product is built there should be a process of “testing and observing how they do and don’t use the product”, he says. “Pivoting is the reaction after going through that cycle and seeing if a lot of your guesses are wrong or right.”
One of the big key changes that we have seen is the Web is the primary way people are looking to go to market. In this day and age marketers, in particular, are now responsible for corporate strategy. They are responsible for top of the funnel activity and for driving Net-to-lead and driving top line revenue growth.
That means for marketers today it is not just about leveraging the Web to build brand, it is about driving demand. Literally leveraging the website to funnel leads into your backend salesforce automation systems, to directly conduct transactions and to once again increase corporate growth.
I think one of the challenges with that is, how do you drive demand in an age where consumers have very fragmented attention? Where consumers don’t necessarily know to go to your own Web property because they are spending all of their time on external social networks like Facebook.
If your marketing is too effective with too many people, you’re not going to be able to focus on the best customers. The ones who really, really need what you provide, the ones who will come back to you again and again.
You don’t need a hundred thousand new customers (yet); you need a few really excellent ones.
Blogging can be a tricky monster to face. The relative creativity that is required of the blogger as well as the fact that the posts need to be well written can be a daunting task to most business owners. Focus on what you do best and work to continue and improve the blog as you go.
For entrepreneurs, then, the math is simple: any asset-building opportunity that will generate a long-term profit is worth considering and even worth borrowing money to acquire.
But if your business needs to borrow money to simply pay your expenses, to keep you at a steady state, you’re doomed. Unless those expenses are demonstrably building a bigger asset for tomorrow, you’re going to regret the investment, because it’s not an investment, it’s just a waste.
The second thing to keep in mind is this: you probably have to pay the money back. Don’t borrow money to pay for an asset unless you can see a clear path to paying it back.