We Help You Achieve Your Objectives
We work with entrepreneurs to create companies that work. Our process allows for growth and expansion. We’re always working to create new ideas that help.
The EntreDot Vlog
Entrepreneurship starts with you determining your readiness to take on the challenges and then a spark of an idea for a great business that you are passionate about.
Mentor Guidance – Having a mentor guide you from the very beginning will help you make great progress and avoid terrible mistakes by keeping you focused on the most important things that need to be done and how to do them correctly.
Start With an Idea – The beginnings of a business has everything to do with your evaluation of a business idea to fulfill a compelling need with your product and/or service.
Have an Impartial Mentor – At any stage of business maturity, having an impartial mentor to provide advice and guidance and hold you accountable for your own objectives is quite important. Get a good one.
Entrepreneurial Readiness – Undertaking an entrepreneurial endeavor is a very serious path in your career. It requires some thoughtful consideration as to whether this is the right thing for you to do. You will need your friends and family behind you.
Passion for your Business – Entrepreneurs have a never-wavering passion for their business. It is what keeps them positive and helps them weather the many storms encountered when running a business.
Burnout – Entrepreneurs are famous for long hours and weekends that often leads to this. Take the steps to “have a life” and avoid burnout.
Ageless Entrepreneurs – You can become an entrepreneur at almost any age from high school to your 50’s and 60’s. The discipline is the same. See what is entailed.
Big Ideas, Big Business – All businesses need a lot of attention and some focused work to get them planned, launched and operated. Have a complete perspective of all of what goes into this.
Mom Bosses – The number of women entrepreneurs is increasing, but still has a long way to go. They are prevalent in the small business world, but more need to enter high tech and life sciences.
Entrepreneurship in Action (In Depth) – Interview with Jim Roberts, talking about what makes great entrepreneurs, what they need to do to be ready, and how great entrepreneur ecosystems are built.
Build the Right Team – The most important thing you need to do is start your business with the right team of people that can get the business launched and running, gaining your first customers.
Finding Your Purpose – At the foundation of every business is its purpose. As a founder, determine what it is and communicate it constantly and consistently to your team.
Advisors and Mentors – All good entrepreneurs surround themselves with the right advisors and mentors that can guide them at every stage of the business. Get your team together now.
Major Startup Challenges – Ready to get started? Here are some of the substantial challenges you will need to take on. Take the time to be ready with all the things you need to actually start the business.
Figure out what your market is all about: size, growth, trends, buyer and competition. Be sure to know how the part of the world you are in is changing and be sure the timing is right for your business idea.
Create the Premise First – At the very beginning, before all the marketing research starts, you need to have a fundamental premise for your business in the form of a compelling need that needs to be fulfilled and a competitive and winning solution for the need.
Focus, Focus, Focus – In case you didn’t get it the first time, you need to be entirely focused on your market and your business objectives for it.
Pace of Change – You really have to focus on the pace of change. It’s going to be more challenging to keep up with innovation.
Competitive Positioning – You really have to be in the right market segment that will maximize your chances of success. Figure this out first, and then select the competitors you will be up against.
Marketing Differentiation – Your business has to be positioned as the best marketing to be in and then you need to be clearly differentiated from all you competitors who are going after your market as well.
Marketing Differentiation (In Depth) – Consider these seven ways to differentiate your business from all your competitors. One or more of these has to be compelling in order to win.
Marketing Differentiation Through Support – Your entire customer support processes can be a major differentiator for potential customers and also help retain them as customers.
Marketing and Sales Differentiation – The more efficient and productive you are at marketing and sales means that you get leads and close sales faster than your competitors. It’s creating more business for you over time.
Differentiation by Listening – The better you understand your potential customer’s needs the more likely it is that you will establish the trust that is needed to accelerate your sales process.
It is important to understand your competition so that you can determine how to win against them in the marketplace.
Know Your Competition – You really have to focus on who exactly is your competition. It is usually the company that your buyer will buy from instead of yours.
SWOT Analysis – This is a “must do” for your business for you to really understand who your competition is and to discover how to beat them.
Competitive Positioning – Not only do you have to position yourself within a market segment, but you need to also position yourself against the competition so you can isolate your positive differentiation.
Differentiation – Differentiation is about all those things that make your business different, but in a very meaningful way that shows great value to your customers. Remember, it is all about them.
Customer Support Differentiation – Better get on this bandwagon too. Customer support will be a major differentiator, mainly driven by innovations in artificial intelligence.
Competitive Analysis (In Depth) – Doing a comprehensive analysis of your competition is a must to be able to determine that you have what it takes to win. Here is what is entailed.
Preparing Your Competitive Analysis – There are some prerequisites for get ready to do your competitive analysis, like selecting and knowing your market as well as well as how you will position your business within it.
Advanced SWOT Analysis – Once you have done your basic SWOT analysis on your own business, take the next step and do the same for your key competitors. Then, see what you can learn to develop a focused strategy to compete with them.
PEST Analysis – Take your SWOT analysis to the next step to assess the implications of trends that are outside of your control. Then, put a strategy in place to mitigate them, if possible.
Voice of the Customer – Don’t ever forget that your competitive analysis is in the context of meeting the needs of the customers in your selected market. All your decisions will be based on meeting their needs.
Future Competitors – If your are in a very active market, you better keep your eye out for future competition. They can appear very quickly, so stay in touch with industry watchers.
Reach your prospective customers through the right marketing channels.
Referral Marketing – One of the most common and most lucrative forms of marketing is generating leads by referral from people that you know and trust. Think of this one first when you are creating your marketing strategy.
Referral Marketing (In Depth) – Here’s a Facebook Live broadcast that covers referral marketing in depth. This could be the best way for you to get new prospects by nurturing trusted relationships with people that refer you to new business prospects.
Three Steps in Marketing – Marketing is a three step process at the highest level. First create awareness, then give them an opportunity to evaluate you and make contact, and then qualify them. There are lots of ways to do this, but this is what they all come down to.
Marketing Channels (In Depth) – The ultimate role of marketing is lead generation and there are many approaches to it. Make sure you pick the right marketing channel(s) that will be the best to create awareness and qualify potential customers.
Assessing Customer Needs – The first step in a marketing campaign is to figure out the needs of your potential customer. Duh. Simple. If you don’t do this, how the heck can you put together a campaign that addresses them?
The Right Marketing Approach – There are lots of marketing approaches. The task is to pick the one that works for reaching your potential customer and then refine it further to get better results.
Finding Customers – “Finding customers” is what it is all about. Really. Without them, you don’t have a business. Pay just as much attention to this as you do in creating your product and/or service in the first place.
Marketing Lead Evaluation – Once you have created some form of customer lead awareness, the next thing that will happen is they will go to your website. Make sure it is in top shape.
Marketing Awareness Campaigns – The first step in marketing is to create awareness of your product and/or service in the eyes of those that might be your best customers.
Marketing Qualification – The second step in marketing is to qualify the customer lead that has just taken your call to action. Verify their needs and confirm that they want your solution now.
Marketing Conversion – This third step in marketing campaigns is conclusively determining that they would like a sales presentation. You will have then converted them to a sales prospect.
Marketing Analytics – It is essential to know how your digital marketing campaigns are performing. Deploy the right tools that give you the metrics you need to know that confirms this.
Digital Marketing (In Depth) – Just clearing the fog here with some plain talk about the three steps in marketing lead generation. Not hard to understand, but very hard to execute.
Differentiation By Listening – Be different when you approach new prospects. Start by listening to their needs before you talk about what you can do for them.
Marketing and Sales Differentiation – The most important thing you need to do from the day you first meet a customer prospect is to establish a great working relationship.
Differentiation Through Support – A very big differentiator is innovative customer support keeping your customers delighted with your products and services.
Competitive Positioning – Get very focused on who your competition really is by being properly positioned in your market and then nail your points of differentiation.
Marketing Differentiation – It’s not good enough to just be different. You have to be better at providing for your customers needs in total. Know the value of your differentiation.
Networking For Introverts – Adapt and overcome on this one. Put on the extrovert face and go into these networking events with enthusiasm and determination.
Networking Discussions – You are at networking events to meet people that you don’t know to find out if they have the need for what you offer. Start by asking them about their needs.
Breaking the Ice – Getting the conversation started a networking events is easy. Come prepared with a few ice-breaker questions. They work every time.
Working the Room (In Depth) – Working the room at networking events is a discipline. Be prepared and apply the discipline needed to meet as many people that you can help as you can. Here’s how.
Advanced Networking – Here are some additional techniques you can employ to be even better prepared to succeed at networking events.
Networking Events – Networking events are only good for you if people that you want to sell to show up. Do the research to be sure that you are spending your time wisely. If so, be prepared and land some new leads.
Authenticity in Marketing (In Depth) – Being authentic in marketing is a necessary characteristic. If you are not, your potential customers will pick up on it and not engage the way you hoped they would.
Referral Marketing (In Depth) – This is all about building trusted and loyal partnerships by nurturing referral source relationships. You will get referrals without ever asking.
Empathy in Marketing – We have heard about the voice of the customer and customer relationships, but being really empathetic captures the mindset you need to have to really understand customer needs.
Digital Advertising (In Depth) – Digital advertising has a lot of twists and turns. You need a marketing professional to really help you do this. Spend the money for it and monitor your progress daily.
Influencer Marketing – You probably are already doing some form of this. Get into this more deeply to determine how best you can utilize influencers you may already know and then proceed to establish additional influencer relationships. This is one of the most rapidly growing forms of marketing.
Influencer Marketing Trends – You need to seriously consider this. Watch the trends on engagements and the costs. Chances are you need to consider a micro-influencer to get the best rates on both cost and engagement.
Influencer Marketing (In Depth) – You probably are already doing some form of this. Get into this more deeply to determine how best you can utilize influencers you may already know and then proceed to establish additional influencer relationships. This is one of the most rapidly growing forms of marketing.
Content Marketing – In order to be anywhere near attractive to potential customers, you need compelling content(information) to offer them, and do so frequently. You should have a drumbeat of information you provide weekly to feed search engines and your potential customers with interesting and helpful information that attracts them to your call to action.
Personalization of You – Think about it. You know so much about the demographics of your potential customers. But, what do they know about you? You should seriously consider being more open about who you are and sharing it frequently via your website and social media outreach.
Sales is a process. You should have one and continually improve it so you are very efficient at closing new business.
Sales Relationships – Closing the sale is very important, but it represents the beginning of a long term and hopefully successful business relationship. The care and feeding of this relationship is an essential part of sales and maintaining a customer base.
Marketing and Sales Alignment – Even though marketing and sales are distinctly two different disciplines, they have to be cohesively aligned with each other in order to have the best possible chance of success. Make sure they are acting like they are on the same team.
Marketing and Sales Process – Marketing and sales are processes that have to be defined and then managed, and you have to be sure that they are integrated into one continuous set of steps culminating in a sale.
The First Sales Call (In Depth) – The first time you make a sales presentation to a potential new customer is very important to starting what could be a long term relationship with them. Need to do it right.
Self-improvement in Sales – Investing in your own self-improvement is not only important to your career in sales but to your family as well. Do all you can to get the right training and coaching to be the best.
Coaching in Sales – Having a coach is a very good idea for sales people. There is so much “art” in being a great sales person that having an experienced and seasoned coach is almost a must.
Handling Sales Objections – There are some pretty standard ways to handle objections from sales prospects. Learn them all and practice them with your coach.
What is a Sales Strategy – I am often asked this question from startup entrepreneurs. There are some pretty standard and necessary things to plan for when embarking on your sales efforts. Be well prepared.
Sales Competencies – Sales people are on the front lines of battle to close new business. They have to execute the sales plan, understand the customer’s needs, and nurture the customer relationship. Lots of pressure to get results.
Make sure you are getting the best technical people and have a well thought out development process that produces high quality products.
Cross Functional Teams – Cross functional teams are an essential way to complete projects successfully. Move fast, get it done, go to the next one.
Quality Assurance Teams – When you are developing serious software products that will have broad usage, it is wise to have a quality assurance team do the final testing.
Software Development Perspective – Software development has changed a lot over the decades, but the principles are very similar. Have the customer in mind and build with the end in mind.
Professional Software Developers – I hate the term coder. Your software developers are professionals that can certainly code, but they can design and test, and most importantly follow the voice of the customer. Hire people like that.
Quality Assurance Teams – Incorporate the appropriate quality assurance processes into your development plans. Make sure you are thoroughly testing the software paths as well as the functionality as specified. Don’t let bugs get through to your customers.
Software Development Perspective (In Depth) – Software development tools and methods have changed considerably over the decades, but the main principles of architecture, design, coding, testing quality assurance have not. Here’s a perspective that should help.
Product Development Teams – Product development takes intense and directed teamwork, and that teamwork includes product planning, marketing and sales, in addition to the voice of the customer.
Remote Product Development – Great product development should be all in one place. Don’t try remote development unless you have a dire need for it and have put in place solid process control and team communications.
Technology often creates your differentiation. Be sure to follow technology trends and exploit those that bring you value.
Blockchain for Cybersecurity – Blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the protection of data and privacy. Seriously consider it for your business and the services that support your business.
IOT Advancements – Internet based technologies continue to march with integrated video and audio devices that when coupled with artificial intelligence and facial recognition create incredible business security systems.
The 5G Promise – 5G is on the march but will be awhile as a few technological problems get resolved. Enhancements in the speed of Wifi will give you more in the interim.
Innovations in Data Handling – As more and more massive amounts of data become decoupled from applications, we know more about the habits, behaviors and preferences of people almost in real time. People will get more services but at the price of their privacy.
Technology Outlook For 2020 – The most significant seem to be artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, blockchain for cybersecurity, virtual and augmented reality, 5G, advanced IOT devices, cybersecurity and privacy. Watch these as they bring new value to your business.
Technology Disruptions – Technological innovations are moving faster than ever before. Businesses need to be very aware of how new technologies can enhance their businesses and exploit them quickly.
2020 Technology Innovations – Some exciting technological innovations are going to come to fruition this year, after all the hype from previous years. Be aware of them, and modify your own business strategy accordingly.
2020 Technology Predictions – More predictions. Some old, and some exciting new ones. Be very conscious of what is going on that might effect the competitiveness of your business or effective your overall value proposition. Don’t get caught short.
The People Side of Business
Creating a supportive culture and hiring the best people is essential to your longterm success. Treating them with respect and nurturing them in their careers is also essential.
Creating a Business Culture – The top executive of the company and their direct reports are the spark plugs for creating the culture of the company. It all comes from them.
Company Culture – Having a supportive company culture is essential to business success. Here is what one might look like and how people conduct themselves within it.
Employee Retention – With the economy booming with opportunities, there are new challenges facing management in retaining their best people.
Employee Retention (In Depth) – The challenges of employee retention are greatly magnified today with the great improvements in employment we are seeing. People can easily find other jobs than the one in your company.
Improving Employee Experience – Today’s employees have a lot on their minds. The are seeing lots of opportunities and are demanding more consideration in their job. Your task is to fulfill them.
Introverts in Business – Yes, there are a lot of introverts in management. They simply put a lot of energy into being more like an extrovert in their daily work life. It is done all the time.
Memorable Moments – Creating memorable moments is simply taking the opportunity to recognize people for what they do and helping people get to know one another. Everyone will appreciate it.
Keeping Employees Satisfied – This takes considerable time and innovation, but it all starts with building trusted relationship with employees. Trust is at the root of satisfaction.
Annual Performance Reviews – Annual performance reviews should not be a surprise. They should simply be a summary of what you have discussed throughout the year.
Good Management – Job satisfaction has many elements, but do you know what the #1 reason why employees quit. It’s bad management. When there is not trust, they leave.
Know your numbers, especially your cash position, and make sure you are financially efficient and spending your cash wisely.
Cash Management – You have heard the phrase, “cash is king” haven’t you? Well, it is. Don’t mess this up and be sloppy with your management of cash. It’s the life blood of your business.
Cash Flow Management – There are many very important techniques and processes you should employ to help you manage your cash flow. You want money in the bank as fast as possible so you can put it to work in your business. Be on top of this and you will greatly improve you chances of success.
Cash Management (In Depth) – Here’s a Facebook Live broadcast that covers cash flow management in a lot of detail. Learn about some of the various techniques that you should consider for managing your own cash flow.
Cash Flow Issue Management – Sometimes it is necessary to take decisive action to fix serious cash flow issues. This is similar to handling a “turnaround” situation where you have to perform triage on the business by first stopping the bleeding and then moving to stabilization.
Wise Spending – Before you make a financial commitment to spend money, think again. Do you really need it? Is there a less expensive alternative. Are their good ways to delay or spread the payments out? Be wise about spending money at all.
Financial Readiness (In Depth) – Yes, you have to know your numbers, probably every week; at least the key ones that matter. Put the platforms and processes in place, along with the expertise, to manage your financial status.
Managing Gross Profit – The only thing standing in your way of being able to pay your operating expenses is your gross profit. Make sure you keep enough.
Managing Business Expenses – Carefully determine what expenses are really needed and when you need to pay for them. Do this well, and your cash flow will thrive. Spend wisely.
Financial Accounting – This is something you do not want to mess up. Get a financial professional to help you with this. It is both worth the money and worth freeing up your time in doing this yourself.
Accounting Readiness – I do recommend you get professional help, but you need to prepare them with all the information about how revenue comes into the company and what all your expenses are. You still have to give them financial information.
Accounting Success (In Depth) – The advice you can get from an accounting professional will be both enlightening and critical to your financial success. Be sure to engage with them frequently to make sure you are on track.
Improving Business Model Profit – There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering that you are not profitable, or you are not meeting your profit objectives. Pay attention to it, monthly. Take action to stay on track. Put the green eye-shades on and get to work.
Raising money might be your only way to get started and expand your business. This is a process that must be managed wisely.
Business Funding – Financing your business is often a much misunderstood process. EntreDot can sort all this out for you and help you determine which approach to financing your business makes the most sense.
Business Credit – Having a buffer of cash that can be used to shore up you finances is often necessary. A good way to start is to have a business credit card that helps in a cash crunch. Later, you will consider having a line of credit from your bank.
Raising Capital – There are lots of options for raising capital for your business, like friends and family, debt financing, credit cards, lines of credit, equity financing let along paying for it yourself out of your own pocked (bootstrapping). Choose carefully.
Starting an Investor Presentation – There are plenty of mistakes to be made when presenting to investors, but don’t start with one. Establish the premise of your business so you are on solid footing before you explain your plan for it. Else, you will lose your audience.
Approaching Investors – When approaching angel investors in any venue, be sure to know how to communicate with them and be prepared for their typical questions. Get some coaching before you try this. No need to look dull.
Financing Plan – When going after funding, know what you are asking for. You business is at what level of maturity? Know that. Then, create your financing plan for reaching the next major business milestone and beyond. Have a roadmap for this.
Financing Milestones – Sometimes your financing strategy is going to be several steps, achieving major milestones along the way. Before you go to your first investors, have some idea for how all this is going to play out. Your investors will ask anyway.
Financing Options (In Depth) – Here’s a FB Live broadcast that goes into much more depth on financing options. This will help you understand the choices you have, but then get help from a financing professional to take the next steps.
Meeting Investors – When meeting investors, it is very important to make sure that you have common interests, especially when it comes to the expectations for an exit. It is best you know what they expect and whether or not you agree with it.
Crowdfunding – Crowdfunding is becoming an ever increasing alternative for raising certain kinds of capital under some special terms, either donation based or financing through loans and buying equity. Chose wisely and create a great campaign.
Exit Strategy (In Depth) – When you have investors that are looking for a substantial return, you should be creating an exit strategy at the very onset of your business and enhance your relationships with possible exit partners throughout the life of your business.
Management and Leadership
Using proven management and leadership practices is essential to the success of any company. Be a great leader first of all and an accomplished manager eventually.
Goal Setting – Good leaders establish business goals, as well as personal goals, and then instill them into the organization and then proceeds to manage for results. Start with well thought out goals.
Coaching Dynamics – In the moment coaching is all about transforming a confrontation into a collaboration built on mutual understanding. You have to lead it by starting the process by just listening and gaining clarity.
Mutual Trust – At the core of a great culture is mutual trust amongst the whole team. This is a very delicate relationship that has to be nurtured frequently and with thoughtful care. Do it well, and you will have a great culture that attracts great employees.
Management By Walking Around – Employees really want to know where they stand. Management by walking around helps employees learn what is going on and helps prevent employees making up things that they think is going on. Checking in with them frequently is a great communication technique.
Communicating Decisions – Hey, management has to let employees know what is going on. Frequent management communications will prevent people from making up stories based on rumors. Tell them directly.
Make Requests; Not Demands – “Telling” people what to do will eventually get you in trouble. When you change your approach to “asking” for a commitment to get something done, you have relied on their opinions and their initiative.
Leading From the Heart – Top executives really have to have a big heart for what they do in the businesses they run and the communities in which they live. It is essential.
Leading From the Heart (In Depth) – When management puts people first in their decision making, usually better decisions are made. After all, it is people that make the accomplishments in the company.
Collaborative Teams – Team work is important and having great collaboration amongst team members is essential. But, still, someone has to be in charge to lead, manage and make decisions.
New Manager – Are you a new manager? Congratulations. This job requires a lot of preparation and study in order to be really good at both the management as well as the leadership role you are about to play.
Being a Great Manager – You can be kind of so-so as a manager, or you can be the magnet of energy that everyone will be drawn to that creates a great place to work.
Being a Great Manager (In Depth) – There are some many management best practices that will lead you to being a manager that everyone relates to. Consider adopting a few.
Making Great Job Assignments – Think more than twice when making new job assignments. You should take into account the entire scope of peoples’ skills, talents and interests.
Building Trust – This is at the core of being a good leader and manager. Without trust from your employees your company is in for a very rocky road resulting in mass exodus to other companies.
Hybrid Teams – This is a new, but old, concept of building short-term teams from across the organization dynamically. Today’s collaboration technology makes this even more possible to manage.
Advisory Boards – You should seriously consider having a board of advisors who formally meet with you to provide business advice and make connections. Incentivize and reward them.
Manage or Leader – Are you a leader or manger? You know the answer don’t you? Yes, you are both. Managers need to be able to exercise all these skills.
Good Manager, Good Leader – When you think of a really good manager you once had, chances are that they were also a good leader. These traits go hand-in-hand.
Annual Planning (In Depth) – Towards the end of the year, it is time to reflect on accomplishments and issues and map out an operational plan for the next year that takes into account how the company is going to further its business strategy. Here are the things you should consider.
Relevant Business Advisors – Not everyone needs to be on your advisory board. Continue to establish business relationships that you can occasionally go to for advice and referrals.
Personal Advisors – You may have some long term business relationships that are also friends. Confide in them when you need some great advice from a valued friend.
Business Mentors – These are seasoned business professionals that have a special and confidential relationship with you to get impartial advice and to hold you accountable for your own objectives.
Your Go-To Team – These are proven and trusted business professionals that have provided important business services under contract with your company and whom you will engage again.
Business Advisors (In Depth) – Here is a in depth explanation of the various kinds of business advisors you need to consider for your business. You will eventually need all of them.
2020 Vision and Commitment – Take the time to reflect on your successes and challenges and create a strategy and plan to respond to them for the coming year. This will serve you well in keeping you on track.
2020 Vision and Commitment (In Depth) – Happy New Year. Make your resolutions (business commitments) for the New Year and share them with your team. All the best for the New Year.