Multiple topics

TOPIC 1.
Marty Fahncke, an outstanding direct-response marketer, finally convinced me to join with him as he launches www.learnfrompaulallen.com. I guess he really couldn’t have done it without me. Our first conference call, where I will answer questions from listeners about internet marketing and other entrepreneurial topics, will be held on Thursday, September 7th at 1 pm MST. This is a free conference call, so register now for one of the limited spaces.

Please don’t think because I’m doing this that I know everything or that I wouldn’t rather be learning from someone else. I view this whole conference call experience as a group learning experience. Like my brainstorm lunches, I love the questions entrepreneurs ask and the answers that everyone else at the lunches give. We all can learn from one another.

TOPIC 2.
In the last week, I’ve been promoting the Provo Labs Academy, where we provide office space and internet marketing training to startup companies for as little as $200 per month.

We’ve had nearly 30 inquiries so far, and two individuals who want to promote the Academy for commission. A large local newspaper wants to do a story about the Academy. And the city has been showing a lot of support. Economic development activity, according to Governor Huntsman, drives everything else by providing funds for education and transportation. Provo City really supports entrepreneurial activity. I am thankful for all they are doing to support the Academy.

Before we spend tens of thousands of dollars on furniture, equipment, and phones, I decided to create a little online survey for all of our possible tenants. It took me about 20 minutes to write 4 survey questions after signing up for freeonlinesurveys.com. It’s an okay tool. Does anyone out there use something else that they like even more?

Once we get feedback from the possible tenants on their phone and computer needs, then we’ll make the necessary purchases. It is so nice to have email and the web to attract customers and then find out when they want.

My favorite experience in finding out customer needs was at MyFamily.com where as VP Marketing I wrote many surveys every week (sometimes several in a single day) and got thousands of responses every day from our active users. I loved finding out what my customers liked, disliked, and wanted us to do next.

TOPIC 3.
The FundingUtah.com speedpitching event at Thanksgiving Point yesterday was superb. Out of the 10 companies that pitched, Simplifile was rated the best pitch by the investors there. But there were several other excellent ones as well, including more than one company that was profitable. One of my favorites is a company that had its first profitable month in August after 18 months in business. None of the six founders have ever been paid. They are all working to create future equity value. Hopefully they’ll get funding so they can eventually pay themselves, but I am very inspired by a team of entrepreneurs who can build a great company simply because they don’t take any salaries.

If all startups did that, I bet nearly 100% of them would survive.

TOPIC 4.
I’m speaking at the Provo Orem Chamber of Commerce lunch on Friday. I think I’ll talk a lot about how startups can become worth a lot if the founding team will defer all of their compensation.

I’m listening to an audio book called the Portable MBA or something like that. It claims that companies that incorporate stay in business for at least 8 years 50% of the time. 25% of them are still run by the original entrepreneur. 25% of them are run by someone else.

I guess the really bad statistics about business failure might take into account companies that never incorporate. Maybe they were never really a serious business in the first place.

The author also says that 4 of 5 venture funded companies are still alive after 5 years.

TOPIC 5.
I accidentally posted this blog without a title. Makes me wonder how all the RSS readers out there will handle it? And how will it show up in MyYahoo, which usually links from the title of a blog post to the blog site.

So I’ve updated the post and it now has a (lame) title. But does anyone know what happens out there if people post without titles?

5 Comments

  1. David

    I worked with caspio.com. They allow you to create your own database (their online tools are easier then Microsoft Access) and survey questions and post them on any domain. The survey then sends its answers to your database housed by caspio and you can get your responses. I found it quite nice in that you don’t have to use some of the dorky layouts with adds that other companies want you to use. Also, it is highly customizable but doesn’t require a lot of internet programming knowledge or time.
    Surveymonkey.com is also a pretty good site for designing simple surveys.

  2. My guess is that this will not get out of moderation, but I would be very interested in your perspective on the state of Provo Labs. I was turned onto your blog about 3 months ago and have been very interested in your work. On the day that I read about the academy taking in customers, it seemed like I read major changes at Provo Labs from other blogs. Yet reading your blog makes it sound like business as usual.

  3. Looking forward to the conference call. Do you know if the transcript of the call will be available afterwards? I think that would make it very powerful, and long-lasting obviously.

    You mentioned you were listening to an audio book. What would you recommend for your top 2 or 3 business audio books (or just books) for an Internet entrepeneur? My personal pick is “Good to Great”, but I’d love to find several others that are as inspiring as that.

    Thanks!

  4. This might be a biase comment but there is a software company here in Provo call Qualtrics. We work with 15% of the fortune 500 company’s helping them with all their surveys. One of the cool things that we do is we provide branded sights for our clients. They can create as many skins as they want with there brand on the survey. All our clients really like that. We also work with the top business schools in the country such as the Kellogg business school and Wharton.

  5. Marty M. Fahncke

    Michael,

    We won’t have a typed transript of the call, but it will be recorded and available for replay either as streaming audio, or as an MP3.

    We look forward to your participation!

    Marty

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