Advice from Paul Allen’s Free Conference Call

Missed the call? Didn’t take notes? I heard most of the call, here are my notes from the questions they asked…for more, visit www.paulallen.net; you can read his post about finding a distribution channel today.

How to Market on a Budget (for local)?
Distributing materials on cars, signs on property, post URLs on brochures, signs. You can get legitimate permission and this can be a great way to get yourself started and people to know who you are.

Build, Buy, or Outsource?
Traditional thinking was to do everything in-house, your own marketing dept., product development, it is changing! There are so many tools, applications, methods, so it is better to focus on what you do well…and hire professionals outside of your company.

Book title: The Only Sustainable Edge, by John Hagel and John Seely; the philosophy is to outsource as much as you can, but do your research…but you must do your homework really well so that you are tied to people who are really good (for example, if you choose wrong webdevelopers then it can be a problem on the front or back end).

NetGain, also by John Hagel, is about how now consumers have all the power, consumers conversations with each other on line has more focus and power than the actual companies. User generated content… learn to ride the wave and not fight it

Where To Get Start Up Capital?
Infobases:
Paul and his friend had full-time jobs and they built the first products before they quit their full-time jobs, his partner was a sales guy and he got them orders before they quit jobs, etc. they used personal credit cards and then only paid themselves $18k a year

Second company, they had sold part of their first company and invested $400k into Ancestry.

It seems impossible, I hate the “fools” part of the phrase “get it from friends, family, and fools”…but, that is what a lot of people do and it is very hard to do, to borrow from them, implications with that…

How do you raise capital?
*Bootstrapping is the answer!

Seatability, a company that designs cool chairs, has a team of 6 that have put $194k into the company, they have been doing this for 18 mo, they will be likely to stay profitable

Funding Universe.com; Paul started it…it is very hard for entrepreneurs to meet Angels, this company puts them together through events and online services.

*Speed Pitching…through Funding Universe can be an excellent way to get funding by meeting 25-30 angel investors in one day

Regarding venture capital…only about 1000 a year raise from VC’s, 100x more likely to get from angel investors

Sales?
Not his expertise, but his partner was a great salesman…he was excellent at it.

We are all sales people, we have to sell our audiences, market, families, etc.

Finding good sales people, recruiting…she would talk to people in the parking lot of a telemarketing company (and offer a bounty if they could refer someone from the best sales reps to work for her).
College dorms and offer free pizza if people would come to a meeting…50-100 people, then she would add 10-20 new sales reps that way.

Listening and asking the right question is the key…There is a reason we have 1 mouth, 2 ears! 🙂

Contact management? His favoite, Folio views is no longer sold, it allows him to google to his own mind…however, salesforce.com, salesteam.com are good programs.
Has Paul spread himself too thin? He has too many companies!? (He has 11!)

Despite what he does personally, he encourages entrepreneurs to focus, don’t try to do too much…the way to wealth is focus, if that is important to you…

Paul isn’t driven by wealth, he loves the world of innovation, ideas
He reads a lot from Wired, Popular Science, always thinking about the future. For example, when he was writing CD-Roms he knew that the internet would be popular, so he moved to the web.

He gets more satisfaction out of the beginning, gets bored when revenues start coming in…then he wants to be on to the next thing

The most important thing a start up company can do is to find a channel…Fraser Bullock (Sorenson Capital) says the only companies he will fund have solid management and an excellent distribution channel…you must have strategic partners, a well-thought out plan for selling product. Even if it is a kiosk, eBay, Craig’s List…this is the key to success!! If you don’t have distribution, then you won’t succeed.

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  1. Kelly –

    Kitty, my business partner, listened in today and found him very inspirational! We already reserved those books at the library.

    Can’t wait to hear more. Thanks for letting us know about the broadcast.




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