There are more opportunities today than ever before for entrepreneurs who are willing to look at what is available and match those availabilities to the needs of potential customers. CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, provides a hotbed of bustling new ideas. Entrepreneurs and smart business leaders who embrace the enormous opportunities will profit.
To find out some of the excitement going on and how you can tap into it, I connected with several people and will share these ideas with you here at business journals over the next few weeks.
Crowd funding and your opportunities
One of the breakthrough concepts to come from the digital revolution is from organizations like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These firms, and others, provide funding for start up and other organizations who need funding. Interested people can study a new project, consider its merits, and invest at various levels of involvement.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Slava Rubin, the CEO and cofounder of Indiegogo. In that interview he talked about the advantages for getting funding today versus what it was like earlier.
In the past often the only way to receive funding for many was through bankers, venture capital firms, or perhaps friends and family. Today many are seeking funding for projects through organizations which provide online crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding today is a lot more than just raising money. Other features that crowdfunding provides can be even more valuable than immediate money. Market validation is one of the best features of using crowdfunding. Many entrepreneurs know the dangers of going only on their “gut feeling.” With crowdfunding you find out quickly if the market likes your idea in a very tangible, monetary way.
The biggest benefit of crowd funding is the ability to immediately attract a large group of dedicated, enthusiastic customers. This is one of the best benefits of using crowdfunding for projects.
Ruben also told me that it is critical to have a strong video when you’re entering crowdfunding. He said that your video must contain three strong elements; 1) An intro to your concept, 2) The concept, and 3) How you need help. Remember that any company is all about the people. Let your video demonstrate the people involved, their background, and their expertise. These are key points that can make or break your new venture.
One of the exciting areas of crowdfunding today is involvement by large corporations. For example, GE appliance wanted to test out a new ice making machine. They were able to get the answers for 1/20th of the R&D normal costs. GE was able to not only save money in the R&D, but most importantly, they attracted many enthusiastic customers.
To learn more about crowdfunding watch the full video interview
What Works Today in Digital Marketing
It’s not the way it used to be. That can be said of many things, particularly digital marketing. Tom Edwards, the Chief digital Officer at Epsilon, a digital marketing agency based in Dallas, Texas, had some astute observations about what is working today– and what isn’t. In a video interview I had with him he stressed the importance of thinking mobile today and creating interactive experiences with users.
This is in contrast to what was said years ago in marketing about creating a personification of your brand. Today consumers want to interact with the brand and technology empowers that. Successful marketers will use the idea of customer interaction rather than blasting a message.
In these environments the consumer is in control. Getting the attention of consumers is more difficult than ever. Today we need to generate content that can be targeted to consumers and is contextually relevant. Even further, the content must be personally relevant to the consumer.
Another interesting thing that Tom Edwards told me was that he was more interested in partnerships than tools. Your success today will largely be determined by those partners with whom you align yourself more than the tools that you use. This makes sense since tools are readily available to you and your competitors. However, the unique relationships that you have with key partners will be give you a differentiating competitive advantage.
To see the entire video interview:
The world has a lot of wonderful opportunities today. Don’t get despondent with current news. Focus on the possibilities that technologies like crowdfunding, digital marketing, and other tools make available to you today.