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Before You Launch for Hyperlocal Startup Workshop


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Before You Launch for Hyperlocal Startup Workshop

  1. 1. Before You Launch: Things to Consider Before Beginning a Startup Presented by Ju-Don Marshall Roberts March 2014
  2. 2. ☞ Director for the Center for Cooperative Media/NJ News Commons ☞ 17 years at The Washington Post ☞ Restart No. 1: News Corp- owned Beliefnet ☞ Restart No. 2: Beliefnet was sold; had to start over, rebuilding and training new team for the new company ☞ Restart No. 3: Everyday Health ☞ J-Lab’s New Voices Board ☞ J-Lab’s New Media Women Entrepreneurs Board ☞ Work with various startups About Me
  3. 3. ☞Is this really for you?  Are you a solo act or can you lead others?  Will you devote the necessary time?  Do you have the resources or resourcefulness to make this work?  Are you overwhelmed or excited by challenges? Are You an Entrepreneur? ☞ Resources:  Dan Isenberg’s entrepreneur checklist
  4. 4. ☞If they know and trust you – your personal brand ‒What have you already done? (reputation) ☞If you can sell the package of you and your idea effectively ‒Are you believable? (passion) ‒Are you credible? (experience) If “You” Build It, They Might Come
  5. 5. ☞But they won’t stay without a fight  Don’t rest on your laurels.  As fabulous as you/your idea/your product are, you will be in a death match for audience and revenue.  You may be a visionary, but can you execute? If “You” Build It, They Might Come
  6. 6. ☞Market opportunity  It may be a brilliant project, hobby or distraction but is it a business?  Are you solving a problem and for whom?  Do enough people care about the problem and would they be interested in your solution?  Is it scalable?  Do you have the skills, time, resources to make it work? Good Ideas Are Not Enough ☞ Resources:  Dan Isenberg’s business opportunity checklist
  7. 7. ☞Who are your competitors?  How will you differentiate your product or service?  Does your product or service compete with or complement them?  Is market strong enough to support another product in this category?  Use free tools to analyze your competitors and sharpen your positioning. Know the Competition ☞ Resources:  Measurement and comparison tools:,,,
  8. 8. ☞Summarize your idea  Is it clear? Does it convey value, differentiation, excitement?  Create an informal advisory group and pitch them. Do they understand it? Would they use or fund it?  Survey random people to test the idea/market.  Use others’ questions/comments to refine your idea. Define and Refine Your Idea
  9. 9. ☞How will you support the site and yourself?  Advertising may not be enough to sustain your business; do you have alternative revenue streams in mind?  Other options: Grants, sponsorships, services, crowd-funding, events, products, etc.  Subsidize income: Freelance, PT work Is It Worth Your Time? ☞ Resources:  Sustainable business models for journalism  Sample business models from CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center
  10. 10. ☞You’ll need a team that you trust and that trusts you  Hire (or team up with) people with passion.  Find people with complementary strengths, expertise.  Strive not to be the smartest person in the room.  Build a culture, not just a business. Can You Build the Right Team?
  11. 11. ☞Your passion is your driving force  Allows you to effectively motivate your team and yourself.  Provides inspirational leadership. ☞Unchecked emotions are dangerous  Leads you to blind adherence or belief in your own ideas in spite of indicators or team feedback.  Results in erratic decision-making. Can You Lose the Emotion, but Keep the Passion? ☞ Resources:  Article: Lead and motivate – not just your team, but yourself, too
  12. 12. ☞Good ideas need time to grow  Do your due diligence to make sure your ideas are sound and then give them time to work. ☞Avoid chasing every shiny new penny  Distractions (nonstrategic pursuits) will likely be corrosive and impact the execution of your actual priorities. Stay Committed and Focused
  13. 13. ☞Recognize when a strategy is flawed  Wrong assumptions.  Marketplace changes.  Audience shifts. ☞Seize the opportunities you cannot afford to miss Know When to Pivot
  14. 14. ☞Build a solid foundation  Make sure what you create or sell is replicable and scalable.  Invest in the infrastructure, teams, technology to adequately support your initiatives. Bigger Is Not Always Better
  15. 15. ☞ Define your brand or others will define it for you  Your Advertisers.  Your Competition. ☞ Remember your differentiator Be True to Yourself
  16. 16. ☞Never stop challenging your assumptions  Why won’t your product work “tomorrow”? ☞Figure out the game-changer in your niche and become it  Lessons from legacy media  Gamification Don’t Fear the Disruption; Be the Disruption
  17. 17. ☞ Center for Cooperative Media and NJ News Commons Grow & Strengthen Incubator ☞ Entrepreneur’s 2 Weeks to Startup ☞ CUNY Online Entrepreneurial Journalism Bootcamp ☞ JStart: Resources for Startups ☞ ReadWriteWeb’s Legal Resources for Startups ☞ Quantcast: Traffic and Demographics ☞ Alexa: Traffic ☞ New Business Models from the Tow-Knight Center ☞ Entrepreneur and Business Opportunity Checklist ☞ SuBMoJour: Database of Startups and Business Models ☞ Similar Web and Similar Sites: Measurement and Comparisons Resources for Startups All links available here:
  18. 18. Thank You!