Startup Essentials: Marketing & Culture by Far Reach
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Startup Essentials: Marketing & Culture by Far Reach

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Marketing and Culture essentials for small businesses and startups. By Kate Washut and Megan Horn of Far Reach. Presented on 10/10/13 at I/OWA in Des Moines, Iowa. http://www.farreachinc.com

Marketing and Culture essentials for small businesses and startups. By Kate Washut and Megan Horn of Far Reach. Presented on 10/10/13 at I/OWA in Des Moines, Iowa. http://www.farreachinc.com

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  • Business name – sometimes forgotten as marketing; research for SEO, trademarks, how well it helps explain your businessLogo – visually pleasing, scalable, unique, symbolizes your organization; spartan logo has been recognized as one of the best Need to have the right file types. A professionally designed logo Colors/fonts – determine standards so things look consistent; understand CMYK, RGB, hex, pantone usesStationary – even in an online world, print stationary matters: business cards, letterhead, folder, etc.
  • Make them as complete as possible, even include hypotheticalsDemographics: who they are, income, geography, gender, Behaviors: where they shop, factors in their buying decisions, how they research, social signals
  • There are infinite ways to market a businessStrategy is your roadmap; it will changeGet help from advisors, friends, agencies, and elsewhereUse research to form your strategy. What works in your industry? But you know your business. What do you THINK will work?Plan ahead, but be willing to adapt as you go; plan for incidentals
  • Research costs online and by asking business advisors; this will help you set a reasonable budgetCategorize by importance so you understand priority when it comes to costsSet minimum and max budgets so you have wiggle room, based on expected revenue, industry standards, and available funds
  • If you don’t have a website strategy, get oneGoals: online purchasing, driving foot traffic, collecting leads, Do you need a mobile friendly site? Let me answer that for you: yesFirst impressions are important. If your website doesn’t make a good one, you may have lost a customer
  • Entrepreneurs tend to be do-it-yourselfersAre you making more money if you’re focusing on the business while someone else does some marketing?Find pros that you can work well with, who fit the skills you needBe careful in choosing a partner; don’t just look at short-term costs
  • You need to ensure your actions support these attitudes and beliefs. If they don’t, you run the real risk of your culture being something other than you want it to be.
  • if you don’t define your culture, it will define you - over time, the way you do things will define how people work, interact, and talk about your company. Get out in front of this so you have at least some control over what they’re doing and saying.it will help you attract the right clients – talk about your culture during the sales process and you’ll attract like-minded clients.you’ll create a shared sense of purpose – the work of living your company’s core values and promoting its culture will bring your team together, give them something to rally around and share with others.it will help you attract better, higher performing employees – hiring for culture fit first and experience second will ensure your team plays well together. If you hire the most qualified person in the world, but she’s a big jerk, face it. It’s not going to work in the long run.you’ll do better, more meaningful work – because it will align the whole team toward realizing a vision
  • it provides a framework for decision-making – If you know what you stand for, it takes a lot of the uncertainty out of decision-making. For example, if honesty is one of your core values and a deal or a client comes along that feels like it’s might be even a little suspect, you know what to do without even having to think about it.it can have a significant positive impact on financial performancelower turnover costs – “Best Places to Work” as much as 50% lowerhigher referral rateshigher customer loyalty100 “Best Places to Work” have been shown to outperform major stock indices like the S&P 500 by a factor of 2 (10.80% compared to 4.49% for the S&P 500 overall)
  • it makes a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it?
  • Commit to it – this is not something you should half-assCollect core values from key team members (or everyone, if you’re a small team)Combine/de-duplicateTest your commitment:Double-check: Are you willing to hire/fire people & clients based on core values?We’ve made an effort to hire for fit, but haven’t yet fired anyone based on culture. We have, however, fired a client for this reason. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary, though it took us longer to get to that point than it should have.
  • Share and get feedback from whole company (if you haven’t already)Combine/de-dup again (if necessary) – you definitely need to weed these down as much as possible. We have 11 and they’re hard to remember! (SHOW SLIDE 19)Roll out to entire companyIntegrate the core values into everything you do – this will take a lot of work and certainly won’t happen on day 1. Or even day 100.
  • Here are our Core Values. Two things I would change about them:I would have defined them from the beginning instead of waiting 3 or 4 yrsI would have narrowed them down even more. Though they all have meaning for us, 11 is a lot to remember!
  • Getting total buy-in – Change is hard. You may not get 100% participation in the beginning. Take the time to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing and the benefits everyone will see as a result.Setting expectations/modeling behavior – Some of your core values may require you and your team to stretch. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds! E.g., open communication – you’ll be amazed at how easy this is to say and how hard it is to do. Effective teams require an unbelievable amount of communication. You simply can’t assume people know what you’re thinking, what was said when they weren’t there, or what your plans are. Consistency – Again, much easier said than done. It’s like raising kids, though. If you’re not consistent, the message you want won’t get through.Not everyone will be a good fit – Accept this, but try to weed them out as early as possible. For employees, ideally this happens in the interview process. We’ve started using what we call a Culture survey. Shout out to Zappos for the idea and the template! It’s a living document that changes as we learn.For clients, act on the first sign of a bad fit. If they’re mistreating your employees or generally being a jerk. Call them on it and let them know that’s not how you work. Give them a chance to change. If it happens again, cut ties with them (courteously, if possible)Making the tough decisions – As I just mentioned, at some point, you’re likely going to have to fire someone who doesn’t fit your culture, be it an employee, a client, or a vendor. It will be hard, but to be true to your culture and your values, you have to do it.
  • Making decisions is easier – When a tough or important decision comes along, the first question you should ask yourself is, “does this decision align with my core values?” You’ll be surprised at how many “tough” decisions become clearer by doing this.Team members hold each other accountable – You’ll see people calling each other out (gently, maybe humorously, hopefully!), when they’re not acting in a way that aligns with the culture.People are happier and actually look forward to coming to work – There will be a synergy that happens. People will want to be a part of it. The energy in your office will change.People are more productive & creative– Assuming your culture isn’t one of rigidity, rules, and process upon process, you’ll see people settle in and really get things done.
  • You’re known throughout the community/ industry for your awesome culture – word will get out, partly because you’ll be promoting it and partly because your employees will talk about it.Client relationships are healthy – because you’ve fired all the bad apples.Financials are healthy – because people are happy, productive, and performing at a high level.
  • Defining your core values and integrating them into your culture and your culture into your business is a process that will take years.The key is commitment. Stick to it. It will be worth it.

Startup Essentials: Marketing & Culture by Far Reach Startup Essentials: Marketing & Culture by Far Reach Presentation Transcript

  • Startup Essentials: Marketing & Culture Megan Horn Kate Washut
  • Let’s Start This Thing Right Tweet. Now. #Iowaconf @meganhorn @kwashut
  • • The basics • Audience profiles • Budgeting • Planning • Online presence • Web strategy • Getting help Marketing Your Startup
  • The Basics • Business name • Awesome logo – Don’t stop at “looks cool” • Colors, fonts – Be consistent • Stationery – It still matters
  • Audience Profiles • Create 2-5 audience profiles • Make them as complete as possible – Give them names • Define: – Demographics – Behaviors
  • Planning • There are infinite tactics • Put together a strategy • Get help if you need it • Base it on research… • With a pinch of intuition • Be flexible
  • Budgeting • Align with strategy and goals • Understand costs • Categorize tactics by importance – Needs, Wants, Nice to haves • Set a minimum and max based on – Expected revenue – Industry standards – Available funds
  • Website Strategy • Have one or get one • What are your goals? • Mobile? – Yes • Your website is your first impression
  • Getting Professional Help • You can’t always do it all • Costs vs. saving time/redundancies • Where can you benefit from a pro? – Writing – Design – Online • You get what you pay for
  • To Review • Cover the basics • Plan and budget • Get on the web • Find assistance • Get yourself out there!
  • And Now Culture
  • Culture • What is it? • Why should you care? • Core Values - Getting started • Challenges • What does success look like? • It's a journey • Questions?
  • Culture is… …the attitudes, belief sets, values, written ground rules, and unwritten ground rules that set the tone of the organization.
  • Why should you care? • If you don’t define your culture, it will define you • It will help you attract the right clients • You’ll create a shared sense of purpose • It will help you attract better, higher performing employees
  • Why should you care? (cont.) • You’ll do better, more meaningful work • It provides a framework for decision- making • It can have a significant positive impact on financial performance
  • Core Values - Getting Started 1. Commit to it 2. Collect core values from key team members (or everyone, if you're a small team) 3. Combine/de-duplicate 4. Test your commitment – Double-check: Are you willing to hire/fire people & clients based on core values?
  • Getting Started (cont.) 5. Share and get feedback from whole company (if you haven’t already) 6. Combine/de-dupe again (if necessary) 7. Roll out to entire company 8. Integrate the core values into everything you do
  • Our Core Values
  • Challenges • Getting total buy-in • Setting expectations/modeling behavior • Consistency • Not everyone will be a good fit • Making the tough decisions
  • What does success look like? • Making decisions is easier • Team members hold each other accountable • People are happier and actually look forward to coming to work • People are more productive & creative
  • What does success look like? (cont) • You’re known throughout the community/ industry for your awesome culture • Client relationships are healthy • Financials are healthy
  • It’s a journey Defining and integrating your culture into your business is a process that will likely take years. The key is commitment. The results will be worth it.
  • About Far Reach • Based in Cedar Falls, Iowa • Started at the UNI business incubator • 16 full-time employees • We do: – Software development – Web development – Internet marketing – Mobile development
  • Questions? Megan Horn Marketing Specialist Far Reach Megan@farreachinc.com @meganhorn Kate Washut Partner Far Reach Kate@farreachinc.com @kwashut