For years I've been setting up daily metrics spreadsheets for companies that I own or consult for. I have learned how critical it is to 1) set goals, 2) track results every day, 3) look for new channels continually, 4) and test new creative regularly. When a startup company looks at a mature internet company's analytics and daily spreadsheets, it can be overwhelming.
If you run an internet business with the potential for rapid growth, and you use a merchant account for processing credit card transactions, please check your merchant account monthly limit before you encounter the problem that we experienced over the weekend. Wikipedia has a decent article on Merchant Accounts, but until I edited it today it said nothing about monthly transaction limits.
Today in our training at the Provo Labs Academy for Entrepreneurs (yes, I know, we probably should think of a more creative name for it) we discussed how important it is to become familiar with the fastest growing companies in your own local area. In Utah, there are a lot of lists that make this quite easy.
If I were an active investor in internet stocks, I would read everything that Bambi Francisco has to say, especially about the large internet companies. She has amazing prescience. I've been reading her for columns for years. Today she has an excellent post at AlwaysOn.
Provo Labs has opened an Academy for Entrepreneurs in Provo, Utah, in the new office building adjacent to BYU on 9th East in Provo. Our address is easy to remember: 1234 N. 900 E., Provo, UT 84604. (See us on a Google Map.)
Last night I caught part of Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on cable. Donny was interviewing billionaire Mark Cuban, who is one of the smartest entrepreneurs I've ever followed. The best written article I've seen about how Mark turned Broadcast.com into a multi-billion dollar company is the chapter in Net Entrepreneurs Only, published around 2000, to highlight a dozen or so successful online entrepreneurs. The work ethic that Mark and his partner Todd had back then is nicely described there. Mark talked about it again last night. He described a typical work day.
Startup companies with finished products need publicity, media and blogger coverage, and analysts and reviewers to take note of what they are doing. They also often need investor interest. Since investors often flock to the same hot deals, it can be good to have a large number of investors exposed to your deal at the same time. Some launch events give startups a chance to reach all these audiences at the same time. DEMO is a semi-annual event that has featured pitches from some of the remarkable technology companies of our time. Investors and the media pay a lot of attention to the companies that get selected to present at DEMO. At every DEMO, conference organizer Chris Shipley chooses a number of DEMOgods that are worthy of special attention.
In May 2005 Fraser Bullock, one of Utah's brightest lights in the financial world (formerly with Bain Capital, now runs Sorenson Capital, helped with the 2002 Olympics turn-around), spoke at the Edison Conference in Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I had my blackberry and I took extensive notes. Here are my notes from the middle part of his talk:
Management has to be adaptable. 1990 someone brought him into run home shopping network, pre-internet. Challenge was to get consumers to buy. They had a patent. Decided they had assets, what could they build that might be of worth. Built transaction processing engine for remote banking. Sold it to Visa International in 1994. In fast moving tech environment, if I didn't step back every 3-6 months to fundamentally re-assess our assets and the environment, I might be missing a paradigm shift. You need the discipline to step back.
Kelly Anderson blogged about her lunch visit with Shawn Nelson of LoveSac and his wife Tiffany who owns a shoe boutique at the Gateway in Salt Lake City. Shawn gave her advice about retail and brand building.
I'm back from a 10-day vacation to Florida and the Western Caribbean (I even swam with stingrays at Disneys Castaway Cay). I am well-rested and eager to spend more time promoting entrepreneurship. This week I have several important things on my calendar. Tomorrow at 1 pm MST I will be doing another Conference Call University teleseminar on entrepreneurship. Normally listeners pay to join these conference calls where we answer questions submitted by attendees.