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Analyzing 32 Startup Failure Post-Mortems to Find the 20 Top Reasons that Startups Fail


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We’d previously highlighted the top startup failure post-mortems of all-time here (32 in total) written by a group of startup entrepreneurs gracious enough to share their lessons learned from their startup’s failure.  Many of you read those post-mortems and asked, what are the most common reasons for failure cited across those posts?

Well, we’ve done the work, and below are your answers.  After a thorough analysis of those 32 start-up post-mortems, we have determined the common reasons founders gave to compile this list of the top 20 ways to have your startup fail.  First, a handy chart to highlight the top 20 reasons for failure followed by an explanation of each reason and relevant examples from the the post-mortems.

If getting VC or angel money is one of the ways that will help you avoid failure, why not check out the free Funding Recommendation Engine here?

top reasons startups fail - post-mortems

Learn the top 20 reasons for startup failure

Shark Tank TV Show – Reality or Not? Is this How Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists Behave In Real World?


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ABC show Shark Tank shows entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas/companies to a group of high net worth individuals (angel investors).  If you are an entrepreneur, watch the show.  It offers some good insights into how to pitch and the types of questions investors might ask although obviously made TV friendly (read: drama).  And it’s fairly entertaining to boot so even if you are not an entrepreneur, check it out.  (Here are Shark Tank investment results over season 1 and 2)

The obvious question you may have after watching it is:  How realistic is Shark Tank and similar to interactions with venture capitalists and angel investors in reality (and not reality tv)?  David Rose, an angel investor, with NY Angels and Rose Tech Ventures offers a thoughtful perspective on Quora that the show is not at all realistic saying it is akin to comparing an archaeologist’s work to Indiana Jones.  And on many counts, we think David is right.  The show obviously is made for TV so the investors (especially Kevin O’Leary) have big personalities and act outlandishly to make it “good for tv”, but here are some other ways that Shark Tank differs from reality followed by some ways the show may be similar.

Shark Tank Reality or Not? Learn More

3 steps to find the right healthcare plan for your start up


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Health insurance is often an overlooked cost when it comes to being part of a startup. Most entrepreneurs want to spend every minute they can coding, talk to customers, selling, networking, etc.  However, as you think about growth, it is important to consider that there are a number of different plans out there for startups, and it is important to pick a healthcare plan that fits your startup’s personality, capabilities and financial wherewithal.  Here’s an overview of a few sites, and comments that can help with picking out the right healthcare plans.

I’m a small start up – do I still need it?

In short, it is good to have.  Health insurance is important to have for regular check-ups as well as the emergency situations that may arise out of the blue even if you’re young and healthy. You just never know.  Also, as you think about employing people, health insurance becomes important to have.  While the legal requirements vary by state and you should look into them, many states now mandate that even the self employed must get health insurance under the new healthcare legislation.  But nevertheless, it’s probably a good idea to get health insurance if your start up is any size and it helps provide comfort that if  someone gets sick, there is a safety net.

What types of details should I look for in various plans?

A good first step is to look over this list of questions that cover most of the important factors involved in picking a program. By considering these questions, it’ll help to clarify your company’s needs.

  • Does the health plan utilize a network of providers? Is my current provider part of that network?
  • Will I have free choice of all type of providers?
  • Will I be required to get a referral to see specialists?
  • What happens if I live part of the year in a different state?
  • Will this plan cover expenses when I am traveling?
  • What will my total cost be each year?
  • Are there deductibles? What is the maximum out-of-pocket costs? Are there copays? Is there coinsurance?
  • What services does the policy cover? Does it cover prescription drugs? Are there limits on the number of days the company will pay for these services?

Since startup workforce demographics likely skew younger (and hopefully healthier), there is a preference for plans that have low visits and high deductibles, and hence lower premiums. But of course, this is a personal decision for your startup and your employees.
Is there anyone who can give me good advice?
Sometimes, it is important to get a professional opinion as a starting point. Most healthcare insurance agents are happy to provide a free consultation, so here are a few links that can help find various insurers in your area.

Any tips for New York area startups?

  • Brooklyn Health Works has a great program for northern Brooklyn’s employees. Read more here.
  • Healthy NY is a New York State program that helps cover businesses for 12 months before they need to give health insurance to employees. Find out more here.
  • Health pass also has a program that helps cover small business for several months with a wider range of options than Healthy NY. More information here.
  • LIA health insurance gives access to 5 insurer plans. It focuses on small business in Long Island.
  • Working today is a freelancer’s union that gives group health insurance to various temporary workers. Read more here.

How can I conduct due diligence on the insurers?

AM Best provides an insurance look up tool that helps make sure that it has a reputation for being good to its customers. It’s a great site to check out other insurers in your area too.


Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs and Leaders (The Same Breed? Or Different Species Altogether? — You Decide)


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Many an experienced entrepreneur would argue that launching a start-up requires many leadership traits; that those qualities often associated with leadership are in fact critical to running a successful business. In past Businessweek post Being an Entrepreneur and Being a Leader, Rod Kurtz disagrees, laying out what he sees as very explicit differences between entrepreneurs and leaders. In his demarcations, Rod seems to lean heavily in favor of the leader, arguing that leaders have better listening skills, are better teachers, have higher emotional intelligence, etc. Matt Heaton, President and CEO of Bluehost.com, takes a more leveled approach, arguing that while entrepreneurs and leaders both strive to solve a need/deficiency, the way they achieve success is different: “An entrepreneur literally wills his/her idea to come to life and succeed. It all comes from drive and ambition from within themselves. A great leader does the same thing through the people around them.”

What’s ChubbyBrain’s contribution to this debate? We’ve assembled two lists of ten qualities each, one for the entrepreneur and one for the leader. The following lists are culled from many sources, including what the US Marine Corps considers to be the 14 essential leadership traits. They are presented in some order of importance (generally, the top five qualities showed up again and again, while the ordering of the lower half of the lists is arguable). We’ll make a few remarks on the breakdown, but ultimately want to hear what you have to say on the matter.

Here goes:

The Entrepreneur The Leader
Creative Character
Passionate Vision
Determined Good judgement/decision-making
Willing to take risks/make mistakes Inspiring
Confident Courage
Self-aware Team Builder
Disciplined Passionate
Self-starter Driven
Open-Minded Forward-looking/willing to take the initiative
Strong people/communication skills Confident

On Entrepreneurship:

Overwhelmingly, creativity and passion top the list, which makes sense to anyone from the entrepreneurial world –entrepreneurship is all about thinking of creative and new solutions, and you better love what you’re doing if you’re spending 12 hours a day on it. On that same note is determination, persistence, perseverance, or whatever you want to call it — a favorite is David Lerner’s use of the term “enlightened stubbornness.” Another biggie on the list is a certain willingness to take risks and make mistakes, which is echoed in the oft-quoted start-up mantra, “Release early, iterate often, fail fast.” Self-awareness means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, being aware of your competition, and knowing when to ask for help. Successful entrepreneurs also need to be extremely disciplined; creating a business from scratch is no easy task (check out this Chubby post for all the things that go into launching a start-up).

On Leadership:

Above all, pundits, the US military, and leaders themselves agree that character and integrity are essential to strong leadership. A close second is the need for a clear vision; what good is character if the line leader doesn’t know where he’s going? A strong leader also needs to have good judgement, and be able to make decisions under crisis (dilly-dallying’s not gonna cut it here).
Also notable under leadership is humility, a trait which didn’t quite make it into the top ten.

At first glance, the two lists don’t seem to have many similarities, just overlapping on “Passionate” and “Confident.” But look again, and you’ll notice that they actually share five out of ten traits, just worded slightly differently:

The Entrepreneur The Leader
Creative Character
Passionate Vision
Determined Good judgement/decision-making
Willing to take risks/make mistakes Inspiring
Confident Courage
Self-aware Team Builder
Disciplined Passionate
Self-starter Driven
Open-Minded Forward-looking/willing to take the initiative
Strong people/communication skills Confident

On Both:

Interestingly enough, confidence, a quality commonly associated with strong leaders, is much more prominent in the entrepreneur’s list of characteristics. Also unexpected is the fact that all five of the shared traits appear in the bottom half of the leadership list.

Why is that? We have a few hypotheses, but would love to get your feedback on the topic. Do you agree with Rod or Matt? Or are entrepreneurs and leaders really one and the same? Feel free to leave us notes in the comment section below.

Find Your Next Big Startup Idea: Resources and Techniques to Help You Find Your Pot of Gold


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1. Identify Hotspots:

“A hotspot can be an area of high information density, clutter, stress, disorganization, or any place that has a suboptimal solution.”

Look for hotspots and what you can do with them. For more information follow the link here

2. Look for “The One Feature”:

“Entrepreneurs like to stuff features into their products. And they often make the the false assumption that one more feature will win the day for them. It’s not about more features, but it very well could be about one feature – the one feature (or use case) that drives the bulk of activity, virality and momentum.”

For more information follow this link to “7 Key Points for Brainstorming Startup Ideas”

3. Create a google spreadsheet of every idea, even half-idea, that you come up with. And share it. Share your ideas! Yes – share them.

For more information on the how to share your ideas and with whom to share them follow the link here

4. Follow “The Trip Method”:

The Trip Method revolves around the principle that “A startup is not one just one idea, but a series of ideas put together”.

Read more about the Scribd Story and how to follow the Trip Method here

5. Paul Graham of Y Combinator :“Startup Ideas we’d like to fund.”

“We don’t like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want people to work on them. So we’re trying something new: we’re going to list some of the ideas we’ve been waiting to see, but only describe them in general terms. It may be that recipes for ideas are the most useful form anyway, because imaginative people will take them in directions we didn’t anticipate.”

For more information follow the link here

6. Learn from Ford, Disney and Google among others:

“Great business ideas don’t occur as bolts out of the blue. Instead, they’re usually just lying around in plain sight somewhere, waiting for someone to notice them — like, for instance, the little scrap of lightweight material Henry Ford picked up off the ground at a racetrack in Palm Beach in 1905. A bit of debris from the wreck of a French car, “it was very light and very strong. I asked what it was made of,” Ford later recalled. “Nobody knew.” ”

For more information follow the link here (http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/04/how-to-come-up-with-better-business-ideas/).

7. Look no further than thy family and do what you know:

“Members of my wife’s family were Irish tea planters operating in Kerala, southern India. She’d written a couple of articles about it for the Hindu Times, which also fuelled my interest in tea and helped inspire my business idea.”

For the complete story on how Henry Virgin leveraged his family heritage follow the link here

8. Buy an idea: From Startup ideas by Rene Andreasi-Bassi.

“The reason for this online platform full (of) ideas is simple: My mind produces so many creative ideas, I can’t keep up with them.”

For more information follow the link here

9. Pay close attention to the Media:

“Watch what is being currently discussed in the media. What areas are getting real attention? These are typically the areas that matter most to people.”

But while reading the news or watching TV, one’s focus is not usually on new opportunities.

For more information follow the link here

10. Solve your own problems. Or.. Create a New Problem!

“No kids needed Pokemon cards until the other kids had them. I didn’t know I wanted biodegradable shoes until I was told I did by Crocs. And who knew that so many people needed to buy virtual seeds for their virtual farms and tell all their virtual friends about it?”

Remember that not every new idea needs to solve a well-known problem.

For more information follow the link here

At the end of the day, remember that there a ton of startup ideas out there, but its an idea that makes money, it’s a startup that does! So explore these resources, find your Aurum and then get started on making your idea into a reality!

1. Identify Hotspots:

“A hotspot can be an area of high information density, clutter, stress, disorganization, or any place that has a suboptimal solution.”

Look for hotspots and what you can do with them. For more information follow the link here ( http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/business-ideas/)

2. Create a google spreadsheet of every idea, even half-idea, that you come up with. And share it. Share your ideas! Yes – share them.

For more information on the benefits of sharing your ideas follow the link here (http://cdixon.org/2010/03/14/developing-new-startup-ideas/)

3. Look for “The One Feature”:

“Entrepreneurs like to stuff features into their products. And they often make the false assumption that one more feature will win the day for them. It’s not about more features, but it very well could be about one feature – the one feature (or use case) that drives the bulk of activity, virality and momentum.”

For more information follow this link to “7 Key Points for Brainstorming Startup Ideas” (http://www.instigatorblog.com/7-key-points-for-brainstorming-startup-ideas/2010/01/07/)

4. Follow “The Trip Method”:

The Trip Method revolves around the principle that “A startup is not one just one idea, but a series of ideas put together”. Read more about the Scribd Story and how to follow the Trip Method here (http://www.scribd.com/doc/15777171/How-to-Come-up-with-Good-Ideas-for-Startups-the-Scribd-Story-and-the-Trip-Method)

5. Paul Graham from Y  Combinator: Startup Ideas we’d like to fund.

For more information follow the link here (http://ycombinator.com/ideas.html)

6. Learn from Ford, Disney and Google among others:

“Great business ideas don’t occur as bolts out of the blue. Instead, they’re usually just lying around in plain sight somewhere, waiting for someone to notice them — like, for instance, the little scrap of lightweight material Henry Ford picked up off the ground at a racetrack in Palm Beach in 1905. A bit of debris from the wreck of a French car, “it was very light and very strong. I asked what it was made of,” Ford later recalled. “Nobody knew.” ”

For more information follow the link here (http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/04/how-to-come-up-with-better-business-ideas/).

7. Look no further than thy family and do what you know:

“Members of my wife’s family were Irish tea planters operating in Kerala, southern India. She’d written a couple of articles about it for the Hindu Times, which also fuelled my interest in tea and helped inspire my business idea.”

For the complete story on how Henry Virgin leveraged his family heritage to build his startup follow the link here (http://www.startupdonut.co.uk/startup/you-and-your-idea/how-i-came-up-with-my-business-idea)

8. Solve your own problems. Or.. Create a New Problem!

“No kids needed Pokemon cards until the other kids had them. I didn’t know I wanted biodegradable shoes until I was told I did by Crocs.  And who knew that so many people needed to buy virtual seeds for their virtual farms and tell all their virtual friends about it?”

Remember that not every new idea needs to solve a well-known problem.

For more information follow the link here (http://www.onwardly.com/how-to-come-up-with-business-ideas-types-of-startups)

9. Buy an idea: From Startup ideas by Rene Andreasi-Bassi.

“The reason for this online platform full (of) ideas is simple: My mind produces so many creative ideas, I can’t keep up with them.”

For more information follow the link here (http://buymyidea.com/category/retail-ideas/)

10. Pay close attention to the Media:

Watch what is being currently discussed in the media. What areas are getting real attention? These are typically the areas that matter most to people.”

But while reading the news or watching TV, one’s focus is not usually on new opportunities. For more information on follow the link here (http://www.rajeshsetty.com/2006/02/13/10-ideas-to-get-new-ideas/#ixzz1OuK29XwF)

At the end of the day, remember that there a ton of startup ideas out there, but its not a startup idea that makes money, it’s a startup that does! So explore these resources, find your Aurum and then get started on making your idea into a reality!

25 invoicing and billing tools for entrepreneurs and small business


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Invoices are great. If you have invoices, you have customers, and if you have customers, you have revenue. So first off, congratulations!

Now down to business. As much as you might like billing your clients, it shouldn’t take up too much of your time or money. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of 25 apps that are worth taking a look at. Most have a free trial version, but you almost always have to pay in order to get reasonable functionality. Some even come with other management tools, so give them a read and see if they’re fit for you!

1) Freshbooks is a pretty cool app. They offer a good number of features, such as the ability to personalize your invoices with your logo, mobile apps, and even an API if you really want to build your own invoicing platform. With the paid packages costing from $20-$40/month, it’s not a bad deal either!

2) Bill my clients, the name says it all. It’s simple, cheap, and good enough. Not the most high-tech in terms of apps and features, but will get the job done for those that just want to make quick invoices.

3) Simply invoices is another aptly named invoicing product. Very easy to use and you get some pretty cool features for the price (<$25/month).  Also, it integrates fully with Basecamp.

4) Invoicera is a useful online tool. With pricing plans that range from $10-$50/month you can probably find a package that meets your needs. Again, there is not an abundance of features, but still worth a look!

5) Billing manager from Intuit is completely free! Of course, it wont have the same services as the paid counterparts, but it might be exactly what you need.

6) Curdbee is an online invoicing tool created specifically for small businesses. Yes, it even has small business prices with the premium package costing only $5/month or $50/year!

7) Blink sale is reasonably priced at $15/month, and comes with some nice features such as unlimited invoices and clients, that other apps don’t offer.

8) Zoho invoice ranges from $15-$35/month for its paid services and offers a pretty standard set of features.

9) Less Accounting delivers what it promises. For $30/month you’ll get a full set of invoicing and bookkeeping tools that will certainly make your accounting and billing easier.

10) Ronin costs approximately $15-$49/month and has some features that are especially attractive to small businesses with many clients.

11) Pay Simple is a great tool for online payments. Careful though, the pricing is tricky. The monthly rate of either $11/month for the simple or $35/month for the premium does not include the payment processing fees.

12) Rapid Billing offers a large number of plans ranging from $7/month to $100/month for the paid versions. These plans offer almost identical features, but allow for different numbers of customers, so it could get pricey if you are the kind of firm that bills a lot of customers.

13) Invoice place costs between $12/month and $20/month and comes with a money-back guarantee.  The features are, however, very basic.

14) Cashboard is a full financial tracking software package, and comes at $10/month + $0.25/active client each month.

15) Simply bill has paid packages that range from $5/month to $25/month, as well as a free package. Again, the features between the plans are very similar, but the number of invoices that you can send increases drastically for the more pricey ones.

15) Billing orchard is another good tool for invoicing and processing online payments. Prices range from $10-$70/month, but there is also a free trial.

17) WorkETC is a full project and business management tool that also offers billing services. The price is a flat rate $39/month with no extra fees, so it might be worth a look for those of you that would be interested in extra features with your invoicing app.

18) Invoices made easy is a $10/month services designed for small businesses who just want simple, easy-to-use invoices.

19) Invotrak ranges from $9-$45/month for paid packages, with the free package offering shockingly little functionality.

20) Time59 costs about $50/year for unlimited use, and is quite well suited for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

21) Bill4time is great for users who are interested in billing clients by the hour. Paid packages are either $20/month or $40/month.

22) Invoice2go costs between $100-$200/year. The features are simple, but the flat rate is attractive for users with many clients!

23) Excel invoice templates are completely free! Definitely take a look at these if you are excel-savvy and want to save some money of your billing.

24) The excel invoice creator is great if you like the thought of working from excel, but want a more premium package. This one’s not free, but the $29.95 flat rate makes it very competitively priced.

25) Paypal is last, but certainly not least, on our list. Pricing varies depending on usage, but is a pay-per-transaction system rather than a fixed monthly fee.  They’ve had a somewhat checkered history with startups but they’re big, established and safe in some sense so worth checking out.

The Ultimate Startup Playlist – 50 Pick Me Up Songs For Startup Entrepreneurs


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Being an entrepreneur is tough. Having one of those days (or months) where nothing seems to be going your way?

We know how hard it can be. So we delved back through the years to compile a list of songs – pick me ups with peppy beats or inspiring lyrics – for all those times when your running on empties.
Rap and Hip Hop

Let’s Get it Started by Black Eyed Peas

Foe The Love of Money by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk

All I do is win by DJ Khaled

Not Afraid by Eminem

Flipsyde by Flipsyde

Remember the Name by Fort Minor

Amazing by Kanye West ft. Young Jeezy

The New Dork – Entrepreneur State of Mind by Pantless Knights ft. Grashopper

Live Your Life by T.I ft Rihanna

Rock

Dream On by Aerosmith

Move Along by All American Rejects

Time of Your Life by Green Day

Wonderful Life by Hurts

Drive by Incubus

Are You In by Incubus

Shine On by The Kooks

Rollin by Limp Bizkit

Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park

Let’s Work by Mick Jagger

The Underdog by Spoon

Dare You To Move by Switchfoot

Retro and Classics

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

My Life by Billy Joel

Living on a Prayer by

When The Going Gets Tough by Boyzone

Tubhumping (I Get Knocked Down) by Chumbawamba

Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

Heal the world by Michael Jackson

Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar

Money by Pink Floyd

We are the Champions by Queen

I Believe I Can Fly by R.Kelly

All Star by Smash Mouth

Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

International

Dil Se Re by A.R Rahman

Hakuna Matata by Elton John (from the Lion King!)

I Can Go The Distance from Hercules

Country

Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin

Country Roads by John Denver

How Bad Do You Want It by Tim McGraw

Pop

No Boundaries by Adam Lambert

I Need a Dollar by Aloe Blacc

Never Say Never by Justin Bieber

Firework by Katy Perry

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Billionaire by Travis McCoy

12 Free Legal Services and Tools for Entrepreneurs


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Lawyers often get it tough in the comedy world. Something about their line of work just make them easy targets. Is it the exorbitant fees? Is it their willingness (eagerness?) to get involved in frivolous lawsuits? We here at chubby brain would like to propose an alternative reason, but first a little more about this post…

The below 12 resources are designed to save you money. Lawyers are expensive, and the legal issues surrounding start-ups are daunting. From launching the business to getting your first hires, there are a host of legal questions that need answers. These sites should help you get started and do as much as possible on your own before turning to an attorney. All of these were either created by, or in some sort of collaboration with, lawyers! And they are all 100% free. So you see folks, lawyers aren’t all bad.

Now that we’ve said at least one nice thing, our proposition as to why the legal field is constantly victim to the wrath of comedians… In fact, I think I’ll let the attorneys themselves answer this one. The following are extracts from a book called Disorder in the Court and are true transcripts from hearings. Enjoy:

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?

WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney.
Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: He’s twenty, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?

WITNESS: No .

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

But we digress… Now on to the actual reason why you came here, 12 usefull and completely free legal resources! Happy reading…

1. Entrepreneur.com’s legal blog addresses a wide range of topics. These include how-to guides on issues such as getting permits to opinion pieces on best practices when it comes to legal services for small businesses to follow. Overall, this is a good place to start looking for the answer to your legal questions.

2. The US Small Business Association has a pretty great collection of resources. These are applicable to entrepreneurs who are just thinking about getting started as well as to those who are well underway.

3. SCORE is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to helping small businesses in the US. They offer a range of services, all of them free, which might be of interest.

4. Free Advice basically delivers what it promises. They have articles, interviews, FAQs, as well as live chat services that can give you guidance on a huge range of issues.

5. Find Law is a site that is mainly geared towards helping entrepreneurs find lawyers. However, their blogs and discussion boards do have some valuable activity, so it might be worth a look!

6. World Law Direct is an online legal service with a ton of free tools. Of course, some of them are also paid, but check it out, you might get exactly what you’re looking for free of charge.

7. Barbara Weltman’s page has a few articles that might be of use. Most of them are opinion pieces, but some offer actionable guidance.

8. NFIB’s Small Business Resources lays out quite a bit of legal advice in a pretty easy to understand manner.

9. Legal Forms Kit is like a beginner’s guide to a small range of legal procedures. Not much detail, but it might get you started.

10. Nolo’s legal encyclopedia tries to cover all bases. Only a small part of this will be applicable to entrepreneurs (hopefully!), but overall the quality here is pretty good.

11. Yale Small Business Legal Services is free, but available only through application (and their criteria are pretty strict!). If you’re in the New Haven area, check them out to see if you qualify.

12. Rocket Lawyer offers some pretty great free services. Despite the silly name, this site gives useful, no-BS information on a whole host of issues such as how to set up direct deposits, what to include in an employee contract, and much more.

GoFundMe – Thanks for the Crowdfunding Spam


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This morning, we got a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in a dating website via crowdfunding site , GoFundMe.  This is also known as spam.  Thanks guys.

This sounds like an amazing opportunity but we don’t have $500k laying around.

GoFundMe spam

Tiggzi – Your PR Pitch is Insanely Jargon-Infested


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Although, we are not a tech blog, we get pitched from time-to-time.  We usually read the releases because we are interested in what’s going on in techland, but we never write them up as that’s not really our schtick.  But today, we got one that had a description of a company that we thought was so epic-ly bad and indecipherable that we had to share.  Here goes (copy & pasting from the email)

Continue reading “Tiggzi – Your PR Pitch is Insanely Jargon-Infested” »

19 Cheap and successful guerrilla marketing campaigns


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Guerrilla marketing conjures up images of flashmobs (of which we include just one) to magic tricks. It can be inspiring, offensive, hilarious, in poor taste, well it can be anything really.

For the purpose of this blog, we only really had one condition… It must be cheap. Yes, here is a list of 19 inexpensive (mostly, we threw in a few pricey but cool ones as well) guerrilla-marketing campaigns that all achieved some level of success. Whether it was a well-conveyed message, or just incited some reaction, the below examples have some takeaways, especially for those of you who are looking to launch a guerrilla campaign on a budget.

Without further ado, happy reading!

1) The Eichborn Flies is one that you probably haven’t seen before. It’s a little known name in publishing, but this stunt they pulled at a local book fair was cool and got them some attention.

2) The Vodaphone Streakers might be something that you’ve seen before; you would probably remember if you did. Not particularly clever, inspired, or clear as to why they are doing what they are. But it did create quite the stir and was definitely quite cheap, so here it is.

3-5) H&M’s projection and HP’s projection and The Vienna Projection are all examples of 3D building projections. Ok, fine, these are definitely not low budget, but they are really cool and these are three of our favorites.

6) Absolut Vodka found a pretty cool way to distribute free samples. Maybe a bit complicated legally, but certainly not expensive.

7) Sixt’s campaign is an awesome example of how to use technology to keep costs down and reach more people.

8) Voltswagen’s metro slide is another good example of a clear message. On second thought, not sure what the budget was on this one… But it’s probably still cheaper than airtime.

9) This Nike Campaign combines a bunch of common guerrilla marketing themes in one campaign. It’s topical. It’s cute. It’s a pun. Check it out.

10) Loctite’s Campaign is simple and brilliant. Simply brilliant? Well maybe not, but definitely clever, albeit just a little annoying to it’s victims.

11) Folgers’ manhole covers are a great example of how you can cheaply augment existing structures for nice effect.

12) This movie poster is similar to the Folgers’ cover in many ways. It’s clever, it’s optical, and it exploits existing structures for effect.

13) Axe’s emergency exit appendix is similar to the above two in that manner as well

14) Sun Smart’s campaign has an awesome interactive element to it.

15) Ikea has tons of geurilla marketing campaigns. Some of them look pricy, others relatively cheap, but they all are quite effect in terms of message.

16) Mentos’ marketing creatively uses subway vents for a cool effect.

17) No list would be complete without at least one flashmob, so there you have it. A slightly tired idea, but at least this particular routine, put on by PacSun, features good-looking people scantily dressed. Another valuable marketing lesson: show skin.

18) This magician certainly found a cheap way to draw some attention. Not the most creative, but we figured it had a spot on the list if only for how easy/inexpensive it was.

19) Meister Camera came up with a pretty cool way to convey their message. Easy, cheap, and clear… Overall this isn’t a bad campaign – pretty considering how little time it must have taken them.

FastPay


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FastPay (http://www.fastpaypartners.com/) is located in Beverly Hills, California. Continue reading “FastPay” »