May 10th, 2013 by Jared Reitzin
For the past decade I have been focused on a bunch of things, but besides selling, my top two priorities have been:
1. To develop a web-based software that companies can use to grow their business.
2. To create a very special company culture that makes mobileStorm a sought after place to work.
My travel to India (still here actually), has allowed me to combine these two passions. I started mobileStorm, not because I thought mobile was going to be the next big thing (even though I knew it would be), but ultimately I didn’t want to work for anyone. I wanted freedom of choice. I cover “why” mobileStorm is in business, on our company page. At the end of the day, I wanted to hire I liked (not because I needed them), I wanted to focus my efforts on features I was passionate about (and thought companies would want to buy), and at the same time, I wanted to travel the world and learn about other cultures. Money is only the third reason people to go work somewhere. There is something much more important than money. I waited tables and delivered pizza for years to be able to enjoy the type of autonomy that comes with being your own boss. I knew if I just hung in there, eventually it would happen.
I wanted to personally invite my readers to an awesome event we are hosting with Kony Solutions during the mHealth Summit in D.C. on Tuesday December 4th.
We are taking over the Cherry Blossom, a replica of a 19th century Victorian riverboat. We will have a complete open bar, dinner, and great music that will have you dancing for the entire trip. We will dock for the first hour and then start our journey around D.C. taking in the sights and enjoying each other’s company. The boat will dock directly behind the Gaylord for easy access to the event.
Spots are very limited so if you are going to come, please email getontheboat[at]mobilestorm.com as soon as possible.
Also I will be speaking on a great panel on Security, Communications and Location along with people from Locaid, qualcommn, and Cell Trust. I would love it if you could attend.
Looking forward to seeing you at mHealth Summit!
Everything is going great with your prospect. You think you have a potentially huge deal, and are way down the road on closing it — then bam; your prospect stops engaging and you get an email that they went in another direction. Or how about this; you have been working with your client on a huge upgrade, and the next thing you know they are going in a totally different direction and their reasons make no sense. You are blindsided because you thought everything was going to happen, but after a bit more thought you realize its because the decision makers had the wrong information.
Do any of these stories sound familiar? If you sell a product like software, you are probably nodding your head up and down right now; a few of you have whiplash. What you just experienced is the culmination of two things:
- Your failure to get to the decision maker.
- Your contact is a B or C player employee who held all of the cards.
- Being unprepared: Too many times I have seen someone slap together a presentation the night before a meeting. They don’t do their homework with who they are meeting or how their prospect makes money. Going to linkedin and looking up the people you are meeting with goes a long way, especially when you realize that Sally has the same alma mater as you. I can’t imagine not going to the company’s website and learning about what kind of products they have, how they make money, and how my solution will fix their problems, but many people just show up and hope their charisma will get the deal done.
- Ignoring personality styles: There are 4 types of personalities. In the upper left hand quadrant you have analytics, in the bottom left you have amiables. In the upper right hand quadrant you have drives and in the bottom right you have expressives. You need to be able to know which personality type you prospect is in. For instance if they are an amiable, you don’t jump into your sales pitch, you might ask them if that is a picture of their kids on the desk and have a conversation about what their hobbies are. If you are talking to an analytic, you need to state only the facts and don’t get to excited about your vision. You may consider jumping to a slide in your presentation that shows the facts and figures about what your solution will solve. When talking to a driver they don’t want to chit chat, they want you to get right down to what you are there for, what you are looking for and how you can help them. Keep it quick and to the point. However if you are with an expressive (that’s me) it’s more of an emotional sale. Talk about your vision for the company and the industry, excite me with other things about your organization that makes you different or unique, it doesn’t have to be all about the product. People who fail to match personality styles will never click as quickly as they need to.
- Ugly presentations: Analyticals aside, most people will care about the quality of your presentation. I might tell you the meeting is over if I see clip art from Microsoft word. The companies who spend time on all aspects of their companies brand are the ones who put more effort into their products. If you have recently read Steve Job’s autobiography you will know that Mark Markkula, the third co-founder of Apple told Steve early on that one of the most important principle’s to marketing was Impute. He goes on to say “People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.. ; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities”. You only have a chance to make a first impression once, so your presentation should blow people’s mind.
- Not inquisitive enough: Nothing is more annoying than when someone is pitching you, and it’s all about them, their products, and how they can help you. I always try to ask as many questions as possible. The customer will give you the key to how you can win the deal, you just need to ask enough questions and then shut up.
- Stand the *%$# out: Everyone is going to walk thru that door and compete on three things, pricing, features and service. The prospect will hear the same pitch just said three different ways. You have this knowledge so why don’t you do something about it? Why don’t you spend time talking about what truly sets you apart from everyone? At mobileStorm we celebrate freedom. I founded the company because I wanted to be free to do what I wanted to do. I have spent a long time trying to figure out what that means internally to my employees as well as externally to our customers. Internally I let employees manage their own schedules, wear what they want to wear to work, and make major decisions usually reserved for executives. For customers we make products that are dead simple to use; and we hope the time they save using our products, is more time that they get to spend with their friends and family. We also don’t require long term contracts; we let them decide how good our service is. So imagine if you are up against a company like mobileStorm who is selling something more than just an inexpensive, product with a lot of features, you have your work cut out for you if you want to win the deal.
I’m honored to be delivering a presentation tomorrow on “Making Money with Mobile Coupons” during a Power Breakfast for EO Los Angeles.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching countless clients earn incredible revenue using SMS and mobile coupons over the past decade and I always love the opportunity to share our secrets for success (some of them at least). It certainly helps having case studies like this one and this one to prove just how powerful mobile coupons can be.
I just launched my About.me page yesterday: http://about.me/jaredreitzin (Check it out and let me know what you think).
I think this is a pretty cool concept. I spent some time with Tony Conrad the founder at Summit Series, and he gave me some great advice on building a Board of Advisors. I need to get a cool picture like him where it takes over his whole page. Looks a lot nice than my sideways picture of me starring at dolphins (it was a nice day at the beach in the middle of winter though).
What I like about this site is just how simple it is to create a site that you can send someone to you that is a business card on steroids. You can link all all of your blogs, favorite links and social media presence for easy acces. Also the design is very pretty. They have this font I fell in love with (I know that sounds wrong, but a good font is hard to come by) called ”Proxima Nova”. Its a bit like Helvetica.
Have I inspired you to create your own, or do you already have one? Please comment below.
I woke up today pleasantly surprised that mobileStorm was on Wikipedia. It feels good to be recognized for all our hard work; and what a long road its been. Here’s to many more successful years storm troopers!
The following is a guest article from James Kim is a writer for Choosewhat.com
Small businesses now generate 64% of net new jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. As the small business community surges into its economic reign, now, more than ever, investors are willing to shell out the dough for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Even so, finding money for your business is sometimes easier said than done. Here, we’ve provided a list of 5 business solutions and fiscal resources for your business:
1. Venture Capital
Venture capital (or VC) is, in short, capital provided to a firm in exchange for equity, or an ownership share, of the firm. According to data from research firm CB Insights, “venture capital investments rose 19 percent, to $21.8 billion in 2010 — the first annual increase since the downturn.” With venture capital on the upswing, it is quickly becoming one of the most efficient ways to get large sums of money, usually from about $500,000 to $1 million. Usually these firms require a structured business plan. The obvious disadvantage with this funding option is that you have less ownership in and control over the company.
2. Angel Investing
Angel investing is notoriously less structured than venture capital and is usually sought out in the earlier stages of company development. Angels are typically single individuals who provide capital in exchange for convertible debt or equity (like VCs). Angel investing, like venture capital, has experienced an increase recently. The number of angel investors has surged 22 percent in the last year, according to the National Venture Capital association.
3. Debt Financing
Debt financing includes soliciting a bank for loans with a repayment schedule at a fixed interest rate. Banks often consider previous history with other financial institutions and entrepreneurial experience when dictating whether or not to issue a loan. The upside to debt financing is that you don’t have to give up equity and you can thereby stay in full control of your business.
While many people think it is nearly impossible to receive a grant for their small business, it is always worth a shot. This funding option will, like VCs, require a business plan. Usually these grants can be found at the state level, but government operations such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) also provide grants. It never hurts to check out these “free money” options.
5. Friends or Family
At the earliest stages of company development, it may be a good idea to approach the people you trust most, like your friends and family, for funding before asking the bigwigs. If you don’t need enormous amounts of cash, friends and family are always a viable option. It’s always a good idea to write an informal contract for these exchanges so you can avoid potential future conflicts.
So there you have it, the 5 most common ways to get cash. Remember: always analyze what stage of company development you’re in, how much money you need, and if you’re willing to give up equity before picking the funding option that best suits your small business.
James Kim is a writer for Choosewhat.com. ChooseWhat is a company that provides product reviews and test data for business services and products. Their goal is to help small companies make informed buying decisions on business solutions that help their business.
I just got back from a 3 day cruise. I don’t quite know exactly where we went. I do know however that words can’t quite describe the experience I just had. To put things in perspective, one tweet I read today by @Tim_Rutten said “unreal & mind-blowing experience! ROI? A new life!”. I think that’s a great way to put it. Sure I am an entrepreneur and yes I loved meeting VCs, rock star CEOs and potential clients/partners, but that was only quarter of the story.
Our trip began on Friday where a thousand of us boarded a Celebrity Cruise Lines ship. Brett Leve (the Summit Series Co-founder) pointed out that never before had Celebrity let a DJ pump music thru the customs hall, but you have to set the tone right? Summit staffers walked around handing out cookies and brownies, a cocktail would have been nice, but I am sure they were already pushing the limits with the music. Right when we boarded we ran into Gary Vaynerchuk who would later
turn out to give one of the most inspiring speeches of the trip (he had a standing ovation). Gary’s friendly attitude kicked things off right. Here is a best selling author and Internet celebrity, yet on board he was just “one of us”. That to me was the main theme that kept swirling around my head on the ship. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was super cool. There wasn’t a sign that said “check your egos at the door” (actually it said “Make No Small Plans”) but their might as well have been.
Here is a ship that if it had sunk, global markets would have crashed yet the entire weekend I didn’t run into one asshole. Hard to believe I know.
If we were at SXSW, CES, TED or Davos there is always going to be this clear separation from the billionaire rock star celebrities and the hungry “up-and-coming CEOs” who just want to learn how to become billionaire rock star celebrities. However once you stepped foot on that ship, everyone was equal. There wasn’t a conversation I couldn’t step into and immediately get a warm welcome. I don’t care if it was Tony Hseih, Russell Simmons or Peter Theil, everyone was warm, generous and on the same page. What other conference has this class? Well if you know about one, please tell me because I haven’t experienced it until last weekend.
I attended Summit in D.C. last year and it was still a wonderful time, but there is just something about a captive audience. In D.C. there was other people staying at the hotel besides Summiters. Also you had a lot of people who lived in D.C. so I felt at times things were a bit cliqueish. However on the boat it was the ship’s crew and our crew. There was no outsiders to disrupt a conversation. Nobody to give you a weird stare if you were talking about a subject they didn’t care about.
Summit Series is invite only so as the old saying goes, “good people know good people”, and that’s what happened.