First, the Business Model: Advice from Nucleus Founder Jonathan Frankel

Business Plan

There is a lot of discussion in tech circles today about whether or not we are in – or rapidly approaching – bubble territory. While I do not intend to prognosticate on that exact question, it does seem clear that there are an increasing number of startups following the hallowed business model of “Step 1: Build something cool. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit!”.

When I launched Nucleus – a company building a smart, Internet-connected intercom system – I was determined to first figure out the business model, and only then begin development.

I am an unlikely candidate to be launching a hardware startup. While I do have a CS degree, the rest of my training – JD from Harvard Law, rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University – does not exactly shout, “hardware!” Yet, after a brief sojourn as a management consultant, I find myself at the helm of Nucleus. These are the steps I used to research the market and find a business model; hopefully it will demystify the process and allow you to found your own startup as well. (more…)

Brothers and Co-Founders

This is a guest post by Isaac and Omer Palka, co-founders of Zenly,the first online marketplace for apartment rentals in NYC. We asked them to tell us what it’s like working as brothers and to share some of the lessons they’ve learned thus far.

Zenly Logo

 

 

 

 

 

We often get asked, “What is it like to work together as brothers?” It’s pretty awesome, we tell them. Sure, it may be uncommon, but it’s not unheard of (think Winklevoss twins). Many siblings can’t even get through a family dinner without squabbling, but the dynamic works well for us. The reasons why can be applied to any co-founding team, siblings or not.

You will often hear that investors mostly look at the founding team when considering investing in a startup. But investors are not the only ones who think like this. Everyone from the media, to clients, to your own employees, will look to the founders to form an evaluation of your company.

Why do the individuals behind a company carry more weight than the startup itself? Ideas will evolve, and your company may change direction. But the personalities, experiences, and skills of the founding team can make or break a company, especially in the difficult early stages. That said, anybody considering forming a company should put a lot of thought into who he or she will partner with. We’d like to share what we think are important factors for forming a core team: (more…)

We Are All Brands

(Taken from Joseph McKeating’s upcoming book “Calculated Impulse: a guide to incorporating the philosophy into personal branding and public relations efforts”)

To a certain extent, we’ve always been brands, or at least parts of brands – representing our families, friends, communities, countries, etc. – but never like this. Now each of us is a personal brand, and organizations are collections of many personal brands rather than hundreds or thousands of faceless employees.

The ways we find talent, discover new thoughts and decide what to watch is being flipped on its head. Where we used to trust music labels to find us artists and publishers and a handful of media outlets to shape our thoughts, there is now a free flow of information, a super highway without many rules. We are finally getting a genuine look at what people are interested in, what we would listen to and read if it were up to us, because, for the first time, it is.

Here’s what we’ve found so far: (more…)

Best Sales and Marketing Tool for Growing Revenues

introspection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best tool for growing revenues, bar none, is introspection. Introspection is best done frequently at notable milestones. Great milestones are at the end of a promotion or program or after a sales call. The calendar is filled with all sorts of milestones that may be appropriate for you. Depending on your business you may want to do a short introspection at the end of every week or even the end of every day.

Introspection is a simple exercise where you pause and think about what has happened recently. You should ask yourself a series of questions, for example:

  • What just happened?
  • What good came of it?
  • What opportunities were missed?
  • What did I learn from it?
  • How would I do it differently next time?

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Be a brand! Be yourself! Be different! Be consistent!

personal brandingUh. Come again?

Branding advice, especially with regards to personal brands, can be a bit confusing and, let’s face it, a little contradictory too. One of the reasons for this is that times have changed. A personal brand isn’t about simply demonstrating that you’re competent and trustworthy anymore.

These criteria have become basic prerequisites and the expectations have since increased. You also need a unique selling point, or in plain English: Your personal brand needs to make you stand out and show that you’re different from the competition. Hopefully so much so that you become the only option. This is where it can get a bit tricky. How do you decide in what way to be different? Should you just make something up and roll with it? (more…)

Interview With Robert Phillips, former CEO & President of Edelman, EMEA, Author of Trust Me, PR is Dead

In December of 2012, Robert Phillips quit his high-profile, high-paying job as President and CEO of Edelman, EMEA – the world’s largest Public Relations firm, responsible for over 1,200 people and 19 offices across fourteen markets. (To understand the sheer size or Edelman, consider that in 2013, globally, client fees exceeded $734 million.) The decision to leave came less than a month after also being appointed Global Chair, Public Engagement & Future Strategies for Edelman.

Robert Phillips

There were no unspoken conspiracies or massive disagreements behind the move. Under Phillips’ leadership, Edelman grew 55% in the UK in three years. The reason was simple: he no longer believed in either the business model or the purpose of the business he had chosen to profess. He felt like an imposter and a hypocrite and knew it was time to quit.

Phillips is a co-founder of Jericho Chambers, a Progressive Communication Consultancy, a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, London, co-author of Citizen Renaissance (2008) and a frequent essayist, speaker and media commentator on citizenship and business. He has appeared on BBC TV and the BBC World Service – and contributed to The Sunday Times, The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, among others.

He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and the University of London. He is a Trustee of The Creative Society; a Fellow of the RSA; an Associate at the Centre for London; and a Fellow of the Public Relations Consultants Association and Vice Chair of its Diversity Network. Past memberships have included the Advisory Board of the Global Economic Symposium (the Kiel Institute for World Economy) and the Steering Committee of the Circle of European Communicators plus spells as a Trustee of the New Economics Foundation and on the London Council of the Confederation of British Industry and its Climate Change Taskforce. Phillips sat on the Edelman Global Executive Committee and created (and chaired) the firm’s Global Ethics Committee as well.

Joseph McKeatingI contacted Phillips after he shared a recent post of mine concerning the current state of Public Relations on Twitter. We soon discovered that it’s a topic we have a shared passion for, and I knew that Editorial IV readers, myself included, could learn a lot from his perspective. Having come to this realization, I asked if he’d be willing to do a Q&A with us. He graciously accepted. (more…)

Misplaced Inspiration

Jordan Belfort’s “The only thing standing between you and your goal…” quote (see below) seems to have inspired a lot of people. If you don’t get to the movies much, Belfort, nicknamed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s most recent film by the same name. It’s been turned into countless memes and posted ad nauseam. Can’t say I find the quote, or Belfort himself, especially inspiring. Maybe after seeing the movie or reading Belfort’s book, also by the same name, it’s just the raw ambition that people admire, the way Blow portrayed George Jung’s twisted, blind ambition in an admirable way at times back in 2001.

jordan belfort

Looking at it from that angle, I sort of understand the hype. What Belfort did was extraordinary. Extraordinarily bad, but still remarkable. (more…)