Saturday, October 25, 2014

Marketing: Where is that Purple Cow without the Hay?

Marketing: Where is that Purple Cow without the Hay?

I have been thinking a lot this week about my cream puff business. I need to get orders but to get orders I need flyers and/or pictures of my product to market. If I market this way that means I will spend $20. I found it fitting that this week I read about Marketing. I am trying to think of some disruptive means to market my product for the $100 challenge. I have contacted my mother for pictures (if she has any) seeing that the cream puff recipe I am using is hers. Up to this point I have not got anything or heard anything back from her. I started thinking about the Seth Godin article about the purple cow. I thought specifically about how there are not very many 'Purple Cows.' I thought to myself "If there are not very many purple cows because people are AFRAID then what am I afraid of with this start-up that is preventing my $20 Start-Up from being a successful purple cow?"

So, with no further adieu I made a list of my current fears that I need to over-come to win and be successful not only in this effort (and getting the extra credit) but also in building myself so that no matter what challenge I step into in the future I will be successful.

My Fears: Looking stupid, Not selling, Not getting extra credit, not being the best, not being able to follow the recipe, not being able to prove to my wife that I can run a business/ start-up, not being able to prove to myself that I can do any of this.

I made the fears section small because I do not want it to be the focus. As we learn in faith if we fear it will cripple us from acting and I have a habit of being afraid. It may or may not be a coincidence that I just got through watching "Rudy" while I was trying to develop this blog post. I thought to myself about how this young man had everything in the world to be "afraid" of and every reason to go sit down or never even start. I thought of how so many people in my own life tell me I look like the actor from this movie (I can't see it) but I started the process of likening this look-a-like to myself. How can I be more like Rudy? How could I in my life and my business life and future be like Rudy?

I thought back on my own life of playing football. I thought to myself of how good I used to be and my own story playing football. I was a young boy who started to like football simply because he was not liked and had no friends and it was the "cool" thing when I was in elementary school to be good at sports. My 6th grade year I joined a football team being a chubby nonathletic kid who knew nothing about football only to quit after the first practice because it was "Hard." I was not ready mentally, physically, and most of all emotionally. After the embarrassment and more importantly the despair of failing had passed somewhat I told myself that I was going to get into shape and play again. I had all winter to think about it. By spring I was roller blading every day and throwing a racquetball ball against our carport wall because I assumed if I could catch that I could catch a football or basketball. I grew up in a single parent home and I was the oldest boy so I was on my own. To spare the internet from my personal story I want to sum up what happened next. I convinced my financially struggling mother I wasn't going to waste her money again by quitting. I played this next season and was one of the fastest kids on the team. I hardly played at all (though the coaches wanted me to start) because I simply did not understand the game or the rules. Again, I could have quit but something had changed. Me. I had a desire. I had hope. I had a challenge like Rudy. By the next year I didn't come off the field and was the highest scoring defensive and offensive player in the league I led the league in every humanly possible statistic within my realm of influence. My the following year I was a freshmen in high school and dressing with the varsity. I quickly began to play with the varsity and became a 4-year lettering football player.

So who am I going to be the rest of my life? In business? In my marriage? With my talent? The young man who was ignorant and had every reason to quit and be scared and did? or the same kid who did something about it? Is that not what business and life is all about? Is my good or service the purple cow? Or am I? I need to feed the cow right? Why is it everyone always says in the self-help and personal motivation world that you should read or listen to positive materials daily? Because there is no Purple Cow there is no ME if I am to scared to do anything and I am busy convincing myself why I can or can't do something in the depths of fear hiding my LIGHT under the bushels of life. Be the purple Cow.

Total raised money: $0

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Power of Advice

"If you ask for money you will get advice but if you ask for advice you MIGHT get money."
                                                  -Peter Diamandis

While accomplishing the homework for this week I watched a clip from a speak given at Stanford where Peter Diamandis made the above statement. Seeing that I have been working out the back end details and making and then re-making my business plan raising funds and boot strapping my business has been on the front of my mind. So I had to experiences this week I feel like have been directly applicable to what we are learning and doing. The first started with questions inside of my head about my business. Questions like: "Should I bring in outside investors to loan me $20?" (for my $100 challenge business) or "Should I just finance this endeavor myself?"

Seeing that this was such a small sum of money I found myself thinking "Oh I will just give myself $20 bucks or more if needed...." Then I thought to myself "WAIT. What did I just say in my mind? I will give myself MORE if I need it? No. I will not. This is the $20 challenge. Not the $21.52 challenge or the $52 challenge it is the $20 challenge!" After I had this battle within the not-so-silent chambers of my heart I felt a iteration taking place within myself. I started looking for ways to not have to loan myself even $20. I starting "boot-straping" as Guy Kawasaki says. I found myself thinking about how I could use some of my own raw materials that would go into this and that to cut the cost of my business.

The second experience was after I pitched two ideas and then asked for "advice" or feedback. I did not receive money directly but I saw an abundance of other forms of payments through intellectual suggestions and experiences on the back end of the technology aspect of my business idea from individuals with much more experience then me. Overall I felt like the above quote was very accurate not only for potential and future business but in our own lives.

Consider when we want God to remove something hard form our lives. We may pray that He remove this bitter cup from our current lives and sometimes He does more times then not this is not the right prayer. When we ask God for advice then He usually if not always "pays" us and helps us know hot to iterate and make it through the challenges of life.

I hope to find connections with entrepreneurs so that I can go to them and ask advice in times of need and want to utilize the interview assignment to make some of these connections. I have been brainstorming some individuals and thinking of how to approach them.

Follow up on my $100 Challenge

Here it is I am doing a Cream-Puff business. I have pitched some friends and starting looking into means to produce sign-up sheets and flyers (virtually and possibly by paper) to have people order this good. I have not spent a dime but I have recieved commitments to take flyers and word of mouth advertising to a few different businesses and my mother who was coming up from Utah this weekend is bringing some plastic containers (for free) that she doesn't want that I will be able to use for storing the final product.

After this challenge and if (and when) I recieve the extra credit for raising the most money I want to challenge myself in the future to the $100 challenge with a start-up amount of nothing. Gotta get these boots on and get it done! Yes, that is a big statement to assume I am going to be the highest grossing individual but things like that motivate me. I want to win and win big. I want to get an A in this class because I am passionate about this subject. Period. Bring it.


Saturday, October 11, 2014



This week I was able to read This Simple Little GEM Can Help Your Business Grow and Grow by Stephen W. Gibson. He pointed out his three main points he felt that were  applicable for business growth. I found myself agreeing with his points but I felt the argument was not full. The three different aspects of business he pointed out were: Gathering, Enhancing, and finally Marketing. So I wanted to see if this was true as I have been thinking about my $100 challenge. So I went to the Business Model Canvas and tried to evaluate if these "three gems" could really fulfill all the needs of this canvas.

The Categories of the Business Model Canvas and the applicability of the "three gems":

  1. Customer Segments- 
  2. Value Proposition-
  3. Sales Channels-
  4. Customer Relationships-
  5. Revenue Streams-
  6. Key Resources-
  7. Key Activities-
  8. Key Partners-
  9. Cost Structure-
Upon reviewing each of these categories I noticed that as a business owner and entrepreneur can "gather" data for each of these sections. Surely if you and I want to be successful in business we better go through a cycle of "enhancing" which may look something like this (See The Startup Owner's Manual By Steve Blank and Bob Dorf):
  1. Gather and Create Business Model Canvas and Generate Hypothesis
  2. Test Problems ("Gather" Data)
  3. Test Solution or Value Proposition ("Gather" Data) 
  4. Pivot or proceed ("enhance")
As for the final gem of "marketing". One of the biggest problems Sir Richard Bronson pointed out in Start Up Mistakes that stood out to me was this simple statement "A mistake often associated with the first step is signaled by an entrepreneur's inability to clearly and concisely convey his idea."

$100 Start-Up Challenge Up Date: $0 Raised
The hardest thing that I am coming into contact with is picking an idea that I actually want to pursue. I feel I can make any of these ideas work but which one do I actual want to spend my time working with? This week I hope to finalize this issue. I find myself thinking about each and every idea "To Be? or not to be? that is the question!" -Hamlet

Saturday, October 4, 2014

So Many Doors!

So Many Doors!

“A hard thing is done by figuring out how to start.” – Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
Rand Fiskin pointed out rightly so that in life hard things are figured out by knowing where to start. I have always been a dreamer. I used to spend hours setting up my army men all over the kitchen table. I would have the whole story figured out. I would identify where the weak areas were in the game scenario and try to build up defenses on both sides. I would find scenarios I thought would be challenging to know what to do (hostages or a surprise attack) and I would try to work out in my mind what and how I would play. I literally would set things up all day long until it was perfect. Finally, you would think (as a child) I would desire to go through the scenario and "play" but I seldom would. After every scenario had been conceived and thought through there was no point for me to play it I had created a picture in my mind and I would not ever start.

There are a few principles I have come to think about within this idea. I thought of these principles as I went through a power point pdf about entrepreneurship. Within this slide there was a slide that had a lot of doors on it. Each door was labeled a different way to be an entrepreneur. Atop the page the sentence read "What door will you go through?" My answer: I - D-O-N-T - K-N-O-W.

Like that little boy I enjoy the scenarios and the challenge of thinking it up. I am what is stated in the e-myth as an Entrepreneur (Although I do have a little manager in me). I have little if any technician in me though not because I can't do it but because I would rather manage and plan things out or dream.

So the question remains what door will I choose? And yet.. I still have no solid answer. I think for the time being I will pick inside each and every door and see if there is one that feels right. I wish that I had some deep dark plan for the rest of my life but I like to dream and think of the many things I can do "when I grow up." One day I think it would be cool to backpack across the country the next I want to go to Stanford or Purdue to get my MBA and teach. I don't know what door I am going to choose so I think I will simply walk down the hall and hop out the window.

I suppose it is hard for me to want to go through any door because a door is something someone else has left to welcome and greet or leave other behind and say "goodnight." I do not want to walk into someone elses' door I want to walk outside into the wilderness and create my own world with my own door wherever that may be.

As for my $100 challenge I am still at $0 raised. I wish there was a remedy for many moods of an entrepreneur. Some days I think my ideas are genius and the next I don't think anything will work or I lack the motivation to put my ideas into motion. I blame it one laziness. Its not. I am scared to fail. I am also horrible at managing my time. Perhaps, I am OCD enough that I procrastinate most things in life not because I am lazy but because I want to properly student and do all that is required. Teachers have never allowed me time adequate for what I feel is my full potential so year after year I struggle intrinsically as I submit assignments or perform what will be considered adequate but never my best.

I always have lofty goals of being the best and doing better than anyone else. This same attitude haunts me for the $100 challenge. I do not know how to "figure" out how to start. 

I have learned a lot this weak and have been doing a lot of self reflection. Which door?