Can you defend your pricing niche against your competition?


This week, we continue our series on marketing and positioning. There can be nothing more important in your business planning that selecting the proper pricing niche, making your story clear using that niche, and the defending your position against the competition.

Here’s how NOT to define your competition


An entrepreneur pitches using a deck with no slide for competition. We have no competition.”. Perhaps buyers cannot obtain attractive financing in the current market. We investors see this all the time. When asked (as we always do,) the response is “This is new.

Helping Startups Understand Salespeople & the Sales Culture

Both Sides of the Table

Specifically what is often not in the DNA of founders are sales skills. The result is a lack of knowledge of the process and of sales people themselves. I had never had any sales training so everything we did for the first couple of years was instinctual. Sales

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Improving Sales: The Excuse Departement is Closed

Both Sides of the Table

Specifically what is often not in the DNA of founders are sales skills. The result is a lack of knowledge of the process and of sales people themselves. I had never had any sales training so everything we did for the first couple of years was instinctual.

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Be careful how you define your competition.


Professional investors laugh when they hear an entrepreneur state, “We have no competition.” Perhaps buyers cannot obtain attractive financing in the current market. Widen your search to include companies with products peripheral to yours, where extension of their product would seem logical, especially if you plan to be successful early in making sales into their market. That statement has killed more investment deals than almost any other.

Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: Mobile Therapy


From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year competition at our annual Celebrate Conference in October. Among the dozens of participants that applied for the online competitions, only a few progressed into the semifinals. Tech.Co: Since launch, what was the most challenging part of gaining market traction?

The Best Entrepreneurs Are Hyper Competitive & Hate Losing

Both Sides of the Table

Competitiveness - One attribute that I believe most VCs look for in entrepreneurs is competitiveness. If you stumble on to a really good idea believe me it will get competitive really quickly. This competitive streak paid off. Vente Privee already had market power.

TrueCar Names Dealer Marketing Head


Santa Monica-based TrueCar is continuing to bolster its links to automotive dealers, as it looks to improve its relationship with the auto dealer industry, saying this morning that it has named Paul Edmonds as Senior Vice President of Dealer Marketing and Opeartions. TrueCar has been in a big push this year to become more friendly to automotive dealers, many of whom have had a highly adversarial relationship with the company, due to its focus on price transparency and pricing competition.

Interview with Fariborz Maseeh, Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition


Last week, the University of Southern California 's Viterbi School of Engineering announced that it had established a new, business plan competition, the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition ([link] specifically aimed at students in the engineering school.

Using Technology to Realize a Competitive Advantage

Tech Zulu Event

Computers and the Internet have now brought in a new era that relies on data to make profitable business decisions in the competitive environment. Below is a full explanation of how small businesses can leverage technology to earn a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Scaling Sales: Arming & Aiming – Objection Handling

Both Sides of the Table

This is part of a series on sales & marketing. I previously covered how early phase sales teams should be “evangelical&# and consultative in nature. Prices are too high – Inexperienced sales reps will try to convince you they need to lower price to win deals.

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Here’s Why a Booming Tech Market May Fool You into Thinking You’re Successful

Both Sides of the Table

Since 2009 we’ve been in an unequivocal bull market. You’d imagine that companies selling tons of shelfware would quickly meet their deserved fate in the market, yet the spin around a category of software can fool buyers into thinking they “must have this product to compete.” Growth markets have a way of fooling us all. When markets start to turn shelfware companies are the quickest to die. Sales Startup Lessons

Why Taking Some Risks in the Sales Process Can Improve Results

Both Sides of the Table

Many people are too cautious in sales processes and as a result when they present their solutions they end up sounding milquetoast and undifferentiated from anybody else in the market. In this post I advocate taking a harder stand on where your product or solution differentiates in the market – even if it means you lose some deals as a result. I recently wrote about the three rules of sales. You must know when to sell to leads and when to market to them.

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CapLinked Worldwide Pitch Competition | Submit Your Startup

Tech Zulu Event

CapLinked , the online platform for private investment funded by members of the “ PayPal Mafia “—announced that it is launching a worldwide pitch competition for entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to a panel of all-star judges from Idealab, Rincon, Rapidfire, and Actarus. Entrepreneurs from all over the globe and in any industry can submit their pitch to CapLinked’s Business Plan Competition.

3 Important Facebook Marketing Trends in 2016

Tech Zulu Event

Social networking continues to be a superior force in marketing, especially Facebook. Top 3 Important Facebook Marketing Trends to Watch and Emulate. The way to get ahead of the competition is to look at what they’re doing right and do it better.

RingRevenue Creates A New Performance Marketing Revenue Channel


Value Prop Twitter Style : “Ringrevenue’s call performance marketing platform enables ad networks, agencies, advertisers & publishers to generate more inbound sales calls.”. In today’s market, so much focus is placed on transacting business online.

If You Don’t Define Your Personal Brand the Market Will

Both Sides of the Table

It is simply the most important way to proactively control your career development and how the market perceives you. That was fine with me – the market is the market. That was the market. I knew that if I didn’t define myself the market would.

Some Thoughts about Selling at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

Jeff (also an HBS alum) co-teaches the LTV course with Professor Eisenmann about a student of theirs who had written a blog post about sales taking on some of my previous assertions. My list of excuses includes: product, pricing, competition and lack of sales support.

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How to Get Your E-commerce Site Noticed In A Global Market

Tech Zulu Event

As the Internet continues to become populated with e-commerce sites, it’s becoming more and more difficult to generate web traffic, leads, and ultimate the sales for your website. Incorporate Advertising into your Marketing Strategy.

Close5: eBay's San Diego Move Into The Mobile, Local Market


In the last few years, Southern California has been a key market in launching mobile applications and services, due to a huge, mobile-savvy consumer population. So, it''s no surprise that the area--specifically, San Diego--was chosen for the pilot launch of a new service from eBay, called Close5 (, which offers up local, peer-to-peer sales. San Diego is a great market for us, because it has strong smartphone usage, and a great, mixed demographic.

When Should You Allow Exclusivity in Deals?

Both Sides of the Table

As the desk-based Internet emerged it was initially sold through telecom carriers (after players like AOL and EarthLink innovated the market). A large, wireless carrier (AT&T) was willing to break it’s traditional rules in order to get access to innovation that it believed (correctly) would help it to sell more contracts and win more market share against its primary competitor (Verizon). Sales Tech Market Analysis

M-GO's Take On The Digital Entertainment Streaming Market, with John Batter


We caught up with M-GO''s CEO, John Batter , to hear about where M-GO fits into the streaming media market. If you look today at physical and digital transactions, it''s a $20 billion market, and more than half that market is still physical today.

What Amazon Hopes to Achieve with Prime Day

Tech Zulu Event

On July 15, Amazon’s Prime Day , an ostensible celebration of the online retailer’s 20th birthday, will offer members “more deals than Black Friday,” including seven Deals of the Day, thousands of lightning offers, and flash sales every 10 minutes. Beat The Competition.

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Why buy IT? Why buy MINE? Why buy NOW?


These are so succinct, so well defined, so precise that everyone in sales and everyone involved in marketing must be able to answer these three questions without pause, and convincingly. Can you, your sales people and your marketing staff answer this succinctly?

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Five ways to make your company stand out.


Me too” positioning is lost in the noise of today’s targeted marketing and corporate reach through inexpensive, but effective, use of Internet marketing. There must be at least several companies out there right now positioning to compete with you.

The #1 Question to Ask Before Starting Any Case Study


Before beginning customer success stories or case studies with a new client, I ask a LOT of questions of my marketing contacts - well before ever talking to one of their happy customers. How are they different from the competition?

6 Tips for Building Relationships with Journalists

Both Sides of the Table

File this under both Startup Adivce and Sales & Marketing Advice. Guy Kawasaki said it best (paraphrasing), “you can’t do great marketing with a bad product.&# Given a choice of your marketing person or talking to you (the founder) there’s no competition.

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REACH NeXT Alumni Gets Into 500 Startups! | Batch 15 Announced

Tech Zulu Event

Batch 15 is a group of scrappy start-ups that explores unusual markets, including postpartum care (Mahmee), underwater robots, airplane maintenance, and even crocheting. Fun Fact: Beeketing is named from Bi (beloved dog of Alice) and Marketing (our interest). Sales Huddle Group.

Lime is building its first scooter ‘lifestyle brand store’ in LA

TechCrunch LA

As for what will happen at the store, Fifth Wall’s Adam Demuyakor tells me “There will be deployment of scooters, charging of scooters, and some sales of apparel and accessories that are related.

Should Startups Focus on Profitability or Not?

Both Sides of the Table

The most obvious way to explain this is with sales people. If you hire 6 sales reps in January at $120,000 / year salary then you’ve taken on an extra $60,000 per month in costs yet these sales people might not close new business for 4-6 months.

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Canters restaurant royalty raises $9.5 million for Ordermark, a takeout order management service

TechCrunch LA

The younger Canter upgraded the menu, brought in a point of sale system and renovated the bar. ” So Canter went back out to the market. Alex Canter knows the restaurant business.

Cash – is time – is cash.


If it takes eighteen months to get a new product out the door and into the market, and if a product’s gross margin is ten dollars but the corporate overhead is a million a month, it will take the sale of 67,000 more units to break even than if it were to take only six months to market.

Super League Gaming Heads For IPO


Santa Monica-based Super League Gaming , which operates its own e-sports competition site and community, is headed for the public markets, hoping to raise as much as $31.36M for the company, according to a regulatory filing by the firm. The company--which hopes to list as SLGG on the Nasdaq Capital Company--said it had a net loss of $20.62M for the year ended December 31, 2018, on sales of $1.04M.

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How to battle the dragon AND avoid the encounter.


In one industry I know well, the dominant player with 22% market share was acquired by one of the largest companies in the technology world. Forgotten about selected vertical markets within the niche?

What’s the minimum information to give your investors?


Others worry that we will latch onto individual line items within financial data and engage in inquisitions regarding telephone bills, marketing costs and other tactical line items in detailed financial statements. Every investor wants regular information from companies taking their money.

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