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Starting an Entrepreneur Club Update #2

What I hope you will get out of this update:  

  1. Registering and setting up an online business
  2. The mystery ingredient that makes businesses successful
  1. Some useful collaboration tools

 Step 1:  so the first thing we did was pick a name and figure out how to register it.   We choose GoDaddy to keep our costs low in our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) but once the idea is validated and moving forward we plan to use Shopify. 

If you haven’t heard of Shopify they are an amazing product for small business and are now a public company.  They make creating online stores easy and have a great community around them that helps small business help themselves.

 

  • Quick lesson – COMMUNITY – it’s the most important word you will hear today. Why did Facebook succeed where MySpace failed?  Why is Tesla more successful than all the other cat companies?  How did Apple come back from the dead?  COMMUNITY, the mystery ingredient in all these companies is COMMUNITY.
  •  Starbucks has it, LuluLemon has it, what else can you think of that is successful because of it? I shutter to say it but the reason GoPro has succeeded with pretty basic technology is because of it’s GoPro Channel that has created COMMUNITY through CONTENT. 
  • Now think of a company that failed and think about their COMMUNITY.
  • Shopify has the Shopify Masters program, http://shopifymasters.org/welcome-10k they have great COMMUNITY.  It’s a group of Small to medium businesses helping each other through tips and video lessons that are committed to helping each other grow.
  • We were able to reserve the name on GoDaddy for $6.99, build and host our website for $17.88 for 12 months for a total of $24.87.  We could have done all of this on Shopify but it is at least $29 per month so we weren’t ready for primetime yet.  To validate our model, we wanted to keep costs low.

There are a lot of payment systems but we narrowed it down to Paypal and Amazon Payments.  Both charge about the same 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.  This enabled us to put a buy button on our website and give our customers the security of knowing their payment information is safe.  We wanted to be able to put our customers on a subscription service so we researched and found www.recurly.com but realized we needed to be much bigger.  We will try to jury rig it like the Wizard of Oz for now so that we keep our costs low during the testing phase.   We initially chose Paypal but have since moved towards Amazon Payments for reasons I will explain tomorrow.

Many MVPs involve testing something that should be automated with manual processes.  There is the famous story of the Webvan team that spent $800m on infrastructure only to have no one purchase the product, simply because they didn’t test their market.  They are now synonymous with the word FAILURE.  There have been a few startups in the spaaaaaace since that have hand delivered the product and watched the customer and how they interacted with the product to get their reaction, before they even thought to scale.  This MVP certainly works better than what Webvan tried.

 

 

 

Some useful tools we found for collaborating on the business were Trello, Pinterest and LinkyDink.

  • Trello is a collaborative toll to keep track of everything. Slack is a great alternative.
  • Pinterest was great for keeping track of things we researched or found on the web
  • LinkyDink (doesn’t the name just make you laugh) is a Google Chrome extension for sharing information

Tomorrow we will talk about order fulfillment and it moves us one day closer to launch date!  Today’s CALL TO ACTION is If you know anyone that would be interested in these updates, feel free to forward or let me know and I can add them to the list, especially if you know anyone gluten free. 

Keep the comments coming.  I have tried to provide enough detail to introduce you to the subject but not to bore you.  If you are interested in more detail or something, feel free to let me know.