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New Media Women Entrepreneurs Summit


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10 Lessons for new media venture founders and advice from those who have launched successful startups.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
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New Media Women Entrepreneurs Summit

  1. 1. Presented by Ju-Don Marshall Roberts September 2013 10 Lessons From Startup Land
  2. 2. ☞17 years at The Washington Post ☞Restart no. 1: NewsCorp-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 ☞Various work with startups About Me (AKA Do I really know what I’m talking about?)
  3. 3. ☞They Might Come  If they know and trust you – your personal brand ‒ What have you already done?  If you can sell yourself effectively ‒ Are you believable? ‒ Are you credible? Lesson 1: If “You” Build It…
  4. 4. ☞They Might Come 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 Lesson 2: If “You” Build It…
  5. 5. ☞Good ideas don’t always make good businesses  What problem are you solving?  Do a substantial number of people care about the problem and need the solution?  Do you have the skills, time, resources to make it work?  And even if all else is true, is it worth your time? (ROI) Lesson 3: Have a Plan, Not Just an Idea
  6. 6. ☞Build a team that you trust and that trusts you  Hire people with passion  Strive not to be the smartest person in the room  Encourage independent thinking  Build a culture, not just a business Lesson 4: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
  7. 7. ☞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 Lesson 5: Lose the Emotion; Keep the Passion
  8. 8. ☞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 will likely be corrosive and impact the execution of your actual priorities Lesson 6: Stay Committed
  9. 9. ☞Recognize when a strategy is flawed  Wrong assumptions  Marketplace changes  Audience shifts ☞Seize the opportunities you cannot afford to miss Lesson 7: Know When to Pivot
  10. 10. ☞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 Lesson 8: Bigger Is Not Always Better – at Least Not Immediately
  11. 11. ☞ Define your brand or others will define it for you  Your Advertisers  Your Competition ☞ What’s your key differentiator? Lesson 9: Be True to Yourself
  12. 12. ☞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 Lesson 10: Don’t Fear the Disruption; Be the Disruption
  13. 13. ☞Stay laser-focused on what you are trying to accomplish.  Don't let VCs, funders or staff allow scope creep to kick in. If you have a great idea, then don't let anything get in the way of building or perfecting that. ☞ Avoid growing too fast.  Quick success doesn't mean long-term success, so stay cheap until the long-term path is clearer. No big staff expansion or fancy real estate. Jim Brady President & Editor, Digital First Media Founding GM TBD @jimbradysp Advice From Founders
  14. 14. ☞Turn a competitor into a mentor  Build a partnership, where you share ideas with each other, ask questions, and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Befriending your competition and developing a pathway to strengthen both businesses is what some of the most successful entrepreneurs are doing today. ☞Ask the “dumb” questions  I see a lot of bright young people miss great opportunities simply because they were too embarrassed to ask for clarification. … There's a big difference between confidence and hubris. It's easier to be flashy and act cocky. It's a lot harder to find quiet inner confidence and to be comfortable asking people for help, or admitting when you don't know something. Advice From Founders Amy Webb Founder and CEO Webb Media Group @webbmedia
  15. 15. ☞Dig deep to find your purpose. It matters for everything. ☞Don’t underestimate the work required.Hamet Watt Cofounder bLife and MoviePass @hametwatt Advice From Founders
  16. 16. ☞Establish a terrific group of advisers. ☞Avoid not having a detailed and executable Action Plan  You have to prioritize what is really important from what is not. Greg Behrman Founder & CEO, NationSwell @GregBehrman1 Advice From Founders
  17. 17. ☞Establish shared values  Talk openly with your founding team and establish your shared values. Then hire for them, teach them and be true to them. ☞Don’t blindly adhere to a model  Your model helps you understand the levers in your business, but it's always wrong in ways you don't expect. Tom Gerace Founder & CEO, Skyword Founded Gaither @tomgerace Advice From Founders
  18. 18. ☞Have a partner  Building a company is hard - it's a big existential struggle - and nothing improves one's odds of success more, or makes the process more enjoyable, than a another person to share the crusade. ☞ Avoid Editing Yourself  In the face of bleak prospects or long odds, the tendency is to second guess and to avoid risk, i.e. to narrow the vision, and to be quick to dismiss "crazy" ideas.… This doesn't mean that you embrace every half-baked idea, but that you allow ideas to live for a while, before settling on a course of action. Innovation is a very fragile process, and it can be so easily killed without sufficient vigilance. Oliver Ryan Founder & CEO, Social Workout @eauryan Advice From Founders
  19. 19. Thank You!