Lean Marketing: Basic Metrics You Should be Watching. Now. Mike | April 6th, 2015

Marketing is an analytical process. Setting goals comes first. Developing strategy is second. Third is the execution of the specific tactics to support the strategy.  And fourth? Well fourth is measurement and data analysis. Simple right? Most small businesses and startups follow some version of this rational approach to operating and marketing a business. But when it comes to measurement, many managers struggle with developing and tracking the metrics specific to their strategy.

Well the answer is pretty simple: turn to math and leverage technology. A certain amount of  your data is right there on your computer hard drive and with some basic spreadsheet work you can answer the most important of questions. Plus, other powerful analytical tools are easily available to you just a mouse click or browser tab away. There are tons of free tools many of which are simple to implement and have a learning curve that is surmountable for most.

An important step is to figure out which metrics are the ones that are important to your business. But each business is unique, and the yours may benefit fro the analysis of certain metrics that are unimportant to mine, and vice-versa. However, there are certain fundamental metrics that are common to all businesses, and a basic understanding of these is where you should start.

1. Customer Acquisition Cost. Every business, whether B2B or B2C has to bring in customers. Without them we are nothing, with enough of them we can be profitable beyond our wildest dreams (usually). The important thing is to understand how much it costs you to acquire a single customer. This is the simplest of analyses: for a given time period (last year for example) divide the amount of money you spent on marketing expenses by the number of new customers that you brought in during that same period, ét voila! The result of this simple is your CPA, or Cost per Acquisition and this is the key to understanding whether your marketing tactics are working for you or not. Why, you ask? Again, simple: if it costs you more to acquire a new customer than you can expect them to provide you in earnings, you’re doing something wrong and you’ll be closing your doors before you can even spell CPA. This simple formula also allows you to compare your marketing tactics: for instance that giant billboard over on I94 that you rented costs you around $572 per customer acquired, while your PPC ad campaigns are costing you only $27 CPA, which one do you think you’ll do better to invest in? Hmmm?

2. Life Time Value. The second half of CPA is known as CLTV, or Customer Lifetime Value. This is the amount of earnings you can expect from an average customer over the life of the relationship – if you can increase this, you win. Some businesses (think subscription-based services) will generate meaningful revenue month in and month out from each customer, while others (think swimming pool installers) might sell an average customer one pool over the entire span of that relationship. The point being, that unless you understand the CLTV of your average customer, you can’t really understand if the CPA is too high to justify. Right?

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Twitter Link Roundup #263 – Ultimate Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | April 3rd, 2015

Science is fun! And, for sure, CERN’s Alice project is fun, but even more fun is a drone’s-eye-view of the experimental site and down down down a cavern shaft to 60m underground!

OK now catch your breath. Why? Because it’s time for our own flyover drone shot, AKA our weekly Roundup! Here is a whole slew of great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Small Business and Startups: Sustainability and Your Company | crowdSPRING Blog – bit.ly/1CRN3Np

Company Growth: Why everything breaks at 25 employees crowdspring.co/1MyQOtN

The Right Way to Use Compensation [for sales teams] – buff.ly/1af4n3Y

startupsblog

Is Authority Earned or Bestowed? crowdspring.co/18TlVBA

Scott Oldford on Becoming Transparent and Finding Authenticity crowdspring.co/1Bb0qDS

The Shut-In Economy – buff.ly/1FWcjEj

How to Consistently Hire Remarkable Data Scientists | First Round Review – buff.ly/199A8u1

Trada, the Google Ventures-Backed SEM Crowdsourcing Firm, Closes Its Doors mklnd.com/1xPy1rc

The 7 Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Startup’s Product | – buff.ly/1Nz6b62

The Throwback Sexism of Kleiner Perkins crowdspring.co/1BCgwKo

How Much Should Your Startup Spend on Managing Churn? – buff.ly/1F9JKjT

The Science of Creativity | Hubspot Blog – buff.ly/1xTOomA

This is what free, ad-supported Uber rides might look like. Mockups, economics, and analysis -buff.ly/1BMiT90

Tim Cook On Apple’s Future: Everything Can Change Except Values crowdspring.co/1FRLMGD

Psychology Behind Writing a Great Pitch | Convince and Convert: Social Media and Content Marketing Strategy crowdspring.co/1Hurrta

Winning Strategies for M&A March Madness crowdspring.co/1EbXfwp

15-year-old entrepreneur Brooke Martin on her ‘nerve-wracking’ Shark Tank appearance this week – GeekWire crowdspring.co/1xWCYc2

Richard Branson on Challenges: It’s More Fun Being David Than Goliath crowdspring.co/1CRUBkM

crowdSPRING Founder Mike Samson on Starting a Business htqw.co/1G0ZRmH

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Fresh from the SPRING: DavidStHubbins Audree | April 1st, 2015

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this brilliantly clever album cover design in this Print Design project.
Let us start the slow clap for DavidStHubbins. Check out more great work on DavidStHubbins’ profile page.
Nicely done, DavidStHubbins, nicely done!FFS-DavidStHubbins

Small Business and Startups: Sustainability and Your Company Mike | March 30th, 2015

A wonderful project posted to crowdSPRING recently has got me thinking lately about the role of sustainability in the context of small business. Iggesund Paperboard, a leading producer of high quality virgin fiber paperboard, issued a challenge to improve existing consumer packaging. The idea was simple: take a look around you at your local grocery, pick out a package, and reimagine how that packaging made of plastic, glass and metal could be redesigned using sustainable materials. The results are incredibly creative and the ideas are wonderful. If all of the consumer packaged goods manufacturers around the world took their own look and redesigned their own packaging,  we would see smaller landfills, a decreasing rate of climate change, an increase in recyclables, and a healthier planet.

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What can a small business owner do?” Let me tell you that the answer is simple and, if every one of the millions of small businesses around the world took these simple steps, the global results would be significant:

1. Recycle. Walk over to the nearest trashcan in your office and peer down. Does it contain any paper? Bottles? Cans? If so you should be separating those materials and sending them to recycling instead of to the local landfill. Check with your team – I can pretty much guarantee you already have at least one recycling enthusiast who will be happy to become the leader of your office effort at reducing trash and improving your internal practices. One idea is to start simple: provide everyone with two small trash baskets so they can separate their own trash and recyclables right there at their desk!

2. Stop using that printer. Not only are those ink cartridges expensive, but they contain plastics that choke landfills,  chemicals whose manufacturing process throws off pollutants, and  shipping and logistics support just to get them delivered to your door. Most of these printer toner cartridges are recyclable, so if you have to use toner, at least be sure to send them back when you buy new ones. Not to mention paper, right? How many reams do you go through in an average year? You can reduce the impact on forests, water use, transportation-generated pollution, and chemical runoff just by reducing your paper use. Seriously, in the age of email, smart phones, SMS, and Google docs, do we really need to print so many documents?

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Twitter Link Roundup #262 – MegaResources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | March 27th, 2015

Did you guys see Birdman, the Oscar-winning picture? If you’re like me the loooong choreographed shots really caught your attention and left you in awe. This is tough stuff to do for any filmmaker. Take a look at the video above and check out how the actors and creative team pulled one off!

OK then. Now it’s time for our own version of a long take, all-in-one-shot! That’s because it’s time for our weekly Roundup! Here is a hot mess of great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How To Start an Online Shop in 15 Minutes – Ecommerce Platforms crowdspring.co/1wFuDyh

5 steps to finding clients using LinkedIn | Self promotion | Creative Bloq crowdspring.co/1EImpYX

Small Business and Startups: Mind the Gap | crowdSPRING Blog – http://bit.ly/1D5LfSz

What Competitive Sports Taught Me About Running a Business crowdspring.co/1wFd1lX

The surprising secret about SMEs’ Churn crowdspring.co/1GzsBj9

3 Simple Tips for a Stress-Free Tax Season crowdspring.co/1DgJK3y

Types of Procrastinators & What Motivates Them (infographic) crowdspring.co/1A4oRCc

How To Connect Social Media Metrics to In-Store Foot Traffic crowdspring.co/1FalO0D

3 Steps to Stay Highly Motivated and Meet Your Goals crowdspring.co/1wFfqgA

Why Transparency Matters | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1Fj95cC

What is EMV? – Small Biz Daily crowdspring.co/1wFfoFj

startupsblog

From Chicago’s 1871: Howard Tullman’s heavily caffeinated life crowdspring.co/1EAvSyW

How to Build an All-Star Team Through Trust crowdspring.co/1Fl6QDh

Meet the Producers Behind Indiegogo’s Highest-Funded Film crowdspring.co/1aQIsA8

3 crucial marketing skills all entrepreneurs should have crowdspring.co/1CHZ09n

How to Ask for a Raise crowdspring.co/1A4oQOP

What I’ve Learned From 20 Jobs in 20 Years crowdspring.co/1Gr58E8

Reid Hoffman’s Two Rules for Strategy Decisions crowdspring.co/1G7cnxj

Habits of Incredible Networkers That Can Make You Awesome, Too crowdspring.co/1BboYzS

Techstars’ David Cohen on How to Get the Most Out of Accelerators crowdspring.co/1H7tQqu

The Denim Empire: See The History Of Gap In 4 Minutes crowdspring.co/1G7crx3

5 Questions Forward-Thinking Leaders Are Asking Themselves Now crowdspring.co/1EiCdPj

Behold: The Quantified Baby crowdspring.co/1CdEbkT

The Reputation Economy: Are You Ready? crowdspring.co/1MyYj1X

Do You Have to Be Crazy to Become an Entrepreneur? crowdspring.co/1wFd0P0

Entrepreneurs and Hustlers Are 2 Tracks on the Same Record crowdspring.co/1wFd0yk

Simple Ways You Can Build Self-Confidence and Succeed crowdspring.co/1BCejyo

GigaOm is Shutting Down crowdspring.co/1Ec7mRS

Research: We’re Not Very Self-Aware, Especially at Work crowdspring.co/1CdEeNv

How to Hire the A-team crowdspring.co/1EI6Kst

So, You’re an Industry Expert Now? How to Prepare for a Speaking Gig. crowdspring.co/1MyM4nV

6 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Longer – StartupCollective crowdspring.co/1FZF9jO

Lyft Raises $530 Million crowdspring.co/1EbWtzF

Selfless Ways to Build Good Karma and Generate Happiness crowdspring.co/1FZG4kn

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From the World’s Top Hedge Fund Managercrowdspring.co/1MyMvOZ

AskGaryVee Episode 80: Twitter Acquiring Periscope, Airports & Being Young crowdspring.co/1EbWu6y

Eradicating Your Limiting Beliefs crowdspring.co/1GB9EfY

Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed crowdspring.co/1xl5HXD

Famous ‘Trep Failures — and Comebacks crowdspring.co/1MyZ4YY

A Raver Walks Into ‘Shark Tank’–and Becomes the Best Entrepreneur on the Show crowdspring.co/1wFfo8u

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Fresh from the SPRING: ReesQ Audree | March 25th, 2015

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for ReesQ. Check out more great work on ReesQ’s profile page.

Nicely done, ReesQ, nicely done!

 

FFS-ReesQ

Small Business and Startups: Mind the Gap Mike | March 23rd, 2015

Marketing analysis comes in a variety of flavors, but perhaps the one most important and elemental analysis you can perform for your business or startup is the Gap Analysis.

Gap Analysis can mean different things in different contexts, but here we are talking about marketing channels. By understanding your customers needs, and analyzing your competition’s approach to filling those needs, a gap analysis can identify opportunity, help you to define marketing goals, and provide insight for your own strategic decision-making.

The first and most important step is to understand what your customer wants. All customers of all businesses have their  own “service output demands.” SODs are a customer’s essential needs that have to be met in order for them to purchase of your product or service. Most customer’s have a mix of requirements, which can range from the very simple (“What is the absolute, rock bottom price I can buy this product for?”), but more typically are a more complex and personally weighted mix of those quantitative SODs as well as qualitative elements such as expedience (“How convenient is the location and how long will it take me to drive there?”) and experience (“Does this salesperson have the knowledge and skill to train me in the best ways to use the product?”).

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Twitter Link Roundup #261 – Jaw-Dropping Resources for Small Business, Startups, and Design! Mike | March 20th, 2015

Bored? Bored on a plane? Well 2.3 million people must be, because this video has been viewed that many times already! All you need is a ticket for the flight, a recording device, and some readily available sound-editing software. Oh, and some talent would be helpful, too. Like this producer has, in abundance!

Time now to prepare for landing. Please power down your electronic devices (except for the one you’re using to read this, of course) because it’s time for our weekly Roundup! Here are a slew of great links and articles we shared with you over the past week on our  crowdSPRING Twitter account (as well as my own Twitter account). We so like to talk about fonts, logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

How to Build an All-Star Team Through Trust crowdspring.co/1Fl6QDh

The Perfect Office – Podo Camera, Logitech Daedalus Apex Mouse and Office Ideas abduzeedo.com/perfect-office…

3 Simple Tips for a Stress-Free Tax Season crowdspring.co/1DgJK3y

Meet the Producers Behind Indiegogo’s Highest-Funded Film crowdspring.co/1aQIsA8

How to Hire the A-team crowdspring.co/1EI6Kst

How do you stay productive? – Envato Live crowdspring.co/1aQClvM

startupsblog

Small Business and Startups: Why Transparency Matters | crowdSPRING Blog – crowdspring.co/1MysBUi

How Drug Company Gilead Outpaces Its Competitors—And Common Diseases crowdspring.co/1Mz2WZV

The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Of 2015 In Style crowdspring.co/1BOQaoO

14 Marketplace Mistakes That Are Killing Your Startup – buff.ly/1O5DTkG

Lyft Raises $530 Million crowdspring.co/19hvwmx

Techstars’ David Cohen on How to Get the Most Out of Accelerators crowdspring.co/1H7tQqu

So, You’re an Industry Expert Now? How to Prepare for a Speaking Gig. crowdspring.co/1MyM4nV

Questions Forward-Thinking Leaders Are Asking Themselves Now crowdspring.co/1EiCdPj

3 Types of Procrastinators & What Motivates Them (infographic) crowdspring.co/1A4oRCc

Do You Have to Be Crazy to Become an Entrepreneur? crowdspring.co/1wFd0P0

The Apple Engineer Behind The New MacBook Speaks–And What He Says Might Shock You! crowdspring.co/1EbVL5s

Entrepreneurs and Hustlers Are 2 Tracks on the Same Record crowdspring.co/1wFd0yk

Behold: The Quantified Baby crowdspring.co/1CdEbkT

Habits of Incredible Networkers That Can Make You Awesome, Too crowdspring.co/1BboYzS

What I’ve Learned From 20 Jobs in 20 Years crowdspring.co/1Gr58E8

Reid Hoffman’s Two Rules for Strategy Decisions crowdspring.co/1G7cnxj

The surprising secret about SMEs’ Churn crowdspring.co/1GzsBj9

How to Ask for a Raise crowdspring.co/1A4oQOP

The Denim Empire: See The History Of Gap In 4 Minutes crowdspring.co/1G7crx3

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: GoldBug Audree | March 18th, 2015

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we noticed this gem submitted in this logo project.

Let us start the slow clap for GoldBug. Check out more great work on GoldBug’s profile page.

Nicely done, GoldBug, nicely done!

 

FFS-GoldBug

 

Small Business and Startups: Why Transparency Matters Mike | March 16th, 2015

What we got here, is a failure. To communicate. Profound words from a film, that in retrospect, feels a bit dated and quaint. In the Paul Newman classic, “Coolhand Luke,” the antagonist uses those words to control the prisoners who are his charges, and those words usually communicate the punishment that is to follow.

In business, failure to communicate comes with its own form of punishment: poor performance, confusion, degraded teamwork, and reduced productivity. Strong communication, driven by transparency, can help to improve all of the above

Transparent. The word is variously defined as clear, see-through, or glassy. But it can also be used to mean obvious, self-evident, unconcealed, or simply, plain as the nose on your face. When a leader is transparent in her or his attitude and actions the results are palpable and unequivocal.

The last couple of weeks, with the brouhaha over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while she was Secretary of State, the media has been focused on this very issue. When is it appropriate for a leader to be transparent? What rights do the press and the public have to see our leader’s communications? Where is the line between what is shared and what is kept confidential? Of course, there is a vast difference between communications that relate to the security of a nation and those that relate to a small business, but the metaphor is a good one: by choosing to avoid the scrutiny that could come with transparency, Secretary Clinton has created an environment of mistrust, suspicion, and doubt. A little sunshine, where appropriate, would have gone a very long way to build credence, reach consensus, improve moral, and create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.

So how can a strong manager increase transparency and improve overall communication? There are numerous ways, but the low-hanging fruit is pretty simple: be inclusive in meetings, brief people with periodic written updates, enjoy lunch together and let the conversation flow openly and honestly and, finally, ask.

In meetings with your team, share your thoughts, share your data, and share your strategy. Don’t keep your ideas hidden, but rather air them out; take them for a metaphorical walk and let your team walk with you. Your ideas will be strengthened by their feedback and they will have the opportunity to share their own ideas, many of which will be excellent and worth implementing.

Take time to create and distribute a quarterly or monthly email with business intelligence data, notes on strategy, financial figures, and other relevant information. Investors, employees, and partners can benefit greatly from this shared material and the very act of sharing will generate feedback which you can incorporate as you see fit.

Spend relaxed time together with your team and other important stakeholders. You’d be surprised how a simple lunch with a client or an investor or a vendor or your team can generate meaningful ideas and input. Create an environment where the sharing of opinions and theories is encouraged and celebrated.

Photo, Wikipedia: Movie still from Cool Hand Luke, 1967

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