Monday, April 30, 2012

Find a Mentor

Once you have formed your team, see the Find a Mentor page and look through the comments to see the bios of those who are interested in mentoring a team through the course.

If you see a mentor you'd like to work with, leave your contact information as a response to their comment and if there is mutual interest, they will contact you. If you do get in touch with a mentor, I will tell you the same thing I tell my Stanford students, which is to arrange your schedule around that of your mentor's. Make it easy for them to meet with you and mentor you. They are busy people and want to give back, but you should make it as easy on them as possible. Please thank them for whatever time and advice they can offer.

Some of the mentors are ready to get started now. Others will join once the OAP projects have been submitted on May 19th and we will match the top 30 teams up with mentors to help for the final project presentation.

Thank you to the Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs group for your support!

How To Build A Successful Small Business Website

Every small business needs a website. Let me say that again ..... EVERY small business needs a website!!!


We are in the midst of the internet age ... and the entire world communicates and searches for information via the internet. People want information at their finger tips. If you aren't "there" .... they won't find you. If they don't "find" you ... your business suffers. If they DO find you ... your business soars.

So which would you rather be? Found .... or not found? Successful ... or failing?

The answer should be easy. Of course you want to be found and successful.

But how do you do that?

Again .... easy. Simply use the tools and follow the guide provided by SBI. Thousands of small business owners just like you are doing so today. They've learned "how to build a small business website" ..... and are reaping the benefits that come with that.

Here are some short testimonials from real SBI users whose lives and businesses have been changed by Site Build It! ......

* "Having the opportunity to share Vieques and Puerto Rico with so many people around the world is a great satisfaction. As a bonus, I get to go on a tax-deductible vacation every year. I can visit my beautiful island, ride my jeep, take lots of photos, meet great new people, and write travel guides about places I love. I felt that money would just be the icing on the top. Of course, I did not realize how much icing my cake would have."

~ Luisa Cupeles

* "The web site has allowed me to seed the market, prove the concept and create incredible buzz among the public who now go into stores demanding the product. This is how I was able to level the playing field and run around the big corporations to get my product to market."

~ Richard Bergman

* "Actually, I'm more of a broker or a sales agent than a distributor. To my customers, though, I look like a large national distributor with multiple warehouses across the country.In fact, I do use several warehouses across the country, I just don't have to tie up any of my money in owning inventory because I let the "old school" distributors do that. I am a virtual distributor, a modern-day sales agency..."

~ Jerry Mack

* "My photography website is producing so much work offline it is stopping me from building more sites (which is what I want to do). I have started another which is also starting to take off, and now "work is really getting in the way of work." The beauty about everything I am currently doing, and plan to do for the next few years, is that my efforts will create passive and residual income. I am creating a pension that I can actually pass down to my kids. How many people have one of those?"

~ Nick Stubbs

* "But the important thing I realized was that we could build, maintain and power the site by ourselves with little down. And, what was more important, we would be in control at every stage and could adjust the site quickly to our changing needs. Another big advantage is that SBI! saves not only time, but money, too. When I showed my colleagues the total expenses associated with the development of our English-speaking site, SBI! was nicknamed as an "Internet guerilla tool".

~ Nadir Burnashev
Chief Economist, Kazkommerts Securities

* "Frankly, I don't know much about online systems and technology but I do know about Audio, Video and Home Theater, and the SiteBuildIt! system let me focus on what I know best -- my business. I have been able to create a professional web site that gets significant traffic that provides us with qualified leads that convert into Axiom Audio sales which have an average value of over $800 per sale."

~ Alan Lofft
Axiom Audio

* "My puny little hand-built, local-dentist Web site broke the Alexa 100,000 barrier today and none of this would have been possible if it weren't for the power and effectiveness of the SBI process. (OK - I did put in a little elbow grease)"

~ Dr. John Burch DDS

* "I was able to reach the global market 24X7, rather than just the local market for my paving company that I was used to reaching in the past. I had left the manual-labor era and had become what Dr. Ken calls a digital worker... a knowledge worker who can reach the globe by using his brain."

~ Judd Burdon

Now that you've read what the SBI experience has done for your fellow small business owners .... would like to enjoy the same OR BETTER success yourself?

You can..... just watch this video tour and see for your self right here:

How To Build A Successful Small Business Website

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Opportunity to Meet VCs and Fundraiser to Cure Cancer

Dear Chuck,

My name is Tiffany Lan and I am participant in Venture Lab and a PR agent for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society(LLS). I am writing to you to let you know about a great opportunity for the members of Venture Lab to meet with VCs! The Venture Capital Master’s Lunch Series(Round two), an online eBay auction of meetings with area VCs is a fundraising initiative lead by Roger Royse - a candidate for Man/Woman of The Year. 

The LLS reaches millions of people each year and is the leader in scientific research in finding a cure to blood cancers. The first round of the auction raised $46k for LLS and we are hoping Venture Lab can help spread the word -- perhaps a forward of the Ebay site to the members of Venture Lab?

See the EBay site for our second round.

The following are up for bidding in the auction:

Private Meeting with Kittu Kolluri, General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
Private Meeting with Scott Sandell, General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
Lunch with Patrick Chung, Partner, New Enterprise Associates, & Jonathan Heiliger, General Partner, North Bridge Ventures
Lunch with Byron Deeter, Partner, Ethan Kurzweil VP, Bessemer Venture Partners, & Sarah Tavel (former VP at Bessemer, now at Pinterest)
Lunch with Josh Stein, Managing Director, DFJ

See the articles at:

First time here? 
  1. See the class description and frequently asked questions
  2. The course operates according to the flipped class, where team-based, experiential education (learning by doing) is central and video lectures and readings are there for support.
  3. If you'd like, form a team and follow along at, like us onfacebook and join the group, or follow the Google+ page.
  4. Start with the intro and course overview videos.
  5. See what some of the teams did for the last assignment and the description of the next assignment.
  6. View the videos for Sessions 1-3 to catch up here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mom always said I should go into business for myself…

And I always said I didn’t want to as I did not want to deal with the headaches and management issues.
But, then the Great Recession hits and the career you built over 35 years is gone as you’ve been laid off and cannot afford to relocate or travel for extended periods. After a while you realize the so called recovery is not reaching your part of the country let alone your chosen field.
Luckily, I obtained a brief consulting project involving my field of expertise and suddenly a light comes on…you can go into business doing this and put your 35 years of experience to work for you!
I should point out our small business is comprised of my wife and me where as I do the consulting/field work and she handles the scheduling and accounting. I wish she were much busier!
Having never had the desire to be a business owner and no formal education that might include business we were brand new to every aspect of how to start up. Fortunately this information is relatively easy to find, from a number of sources and with only a few decisions you can be up and running in no time…really?
Some decisions you will have to make are:
1.)    A business name or I should say names. The name you choose will have to be researched for matching any other business name and approved by the state in which you plan to start up.
2.)    What type of entity your business will be, such as an LLC or a corporation. This is a critical decision for tax and other purposes, but should be a relatively simple decision as long as you have taken the time to understand the differences.
3.)    Do you want to deal with the business filing and name research yourself or pay to have someone else do it for you?
For us, we found our state, Florida, website information invaluable. It was, also, clear to understand and allowed us to do the filing ourselves, on line and for only the cost of the fees. I am sure other states have a similar system. By the way, you can choose to file your LLC in another state than the one in which you live. There are reasons for some people to do this, but for us all we needed was to protect our own personal assets and open a simple LLC.
The whole process took less than a day to set up and I submitted our request for incorporation late afternoon and received notice we were approved by 9AM the following morning. With that, Construction Analysis & Consulting LLC was born…and somewhere, my mother smiled.
So, yes, you can get to this point very easily and with minimal effort. However, some of you may need to, also, set up with local governing authority for a business license prior to opening your doors. Your state may take longer to process your request and or the number of filings increase to the point it takes longer to process on a regular basis.
But now the real work begins and depending on exactly what your business is the level of difficulties you will face can vary dramatically. Ours is a very simple and inexpensive business to get started and maintain. However, as is true of most things there are always certain basic problems all small business owners have to face and overcome. We are nowhere near past all of these issues, but we desire to share our overall progress in this endeavor and some of the accomplishments and failures we have and will face.
Good planning should keep you on schedule…right?
Be sure to see my next post, One of our professionals will get back to you shortly

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Interview with Andy Bechtolsheim

First time here? 

  1. See the class description and frequently asked questions
  2. The course operates according to the flipped class, where team-based, experiential education (learning by doing) is central and video lectures and readings are there for support.
  3. If you'd like, form a team and follow along at, like us on facebook and join the group, or follow the Google+ page.
  4. Start with the intro and course overview videos.
  5. See what some of the teams did for the last assignment and the description of the next assignment.
  6. View the videos for Sessions 1-3 to catch up here.

If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users. This can also be used to playback the video at a faster rate of speed. 

[Transcript download]

Andy Bechtolsheim founded Sun Microsystems in 1982. He is a serial entrepreneur and investor in Silicon Valley and wrote the first check out to Google, Inc.

William Miller, former Stanford Provost and I interviewed him and asked him about founding Sun, risk, how to decide when to pursue a startup opportunity, venture capital and the story behind investing in Google. It's a terrific interview with some great material and Andy Bechtolsheim is extremely insightful about entrepreneurship. I hope you enjoy this video.

If you're still looking for a team to participate in the startup project, there's still time to sign up at before May 1st and find search for a team. You can also look at the facebook group, find us on LinkedIn or Google+.


Some of you have been asking for feedback on the 2nd assignment.

Overall, I was very happy with the creativity and energy people showed in creating these! I'll be highlighting some of the most viewed and up-voted ones here soon.
Here are three of the videos that have received the most views and upvotes thus far:

The 2nd assignment was intended to help you practice see the flaws in a business model and then changing that business model or idea in some way to improve it. This is one part of what you will be doing during the rest of the course. These "worst" ideas all had some fairly obvious flaw in one or more aspects of the business model. Some of you attempted to fix them by changing the target customer while others kept the target customer the same, but then changed what the "solution" being offered to them would be.

These were called "commercials" rather than pitches. What you all did was not what an investor would want to see in a presentation for fundraising. We'll go over that in a later part of the course and how to do those effectively.

Now that you've practiced "pivoting" or changing the business model in response to part of it not working, we're ready for the next step. In the next assignment you will take the best idea you can come up with as a team and start testing it to find out if customers really have that problem or are interested in your solution. Often you will get some negative feedback and have to pivot or change the business model in response to this feedback. That might require changing the market or changing the solution or the value proposition you're offering to customers. This will be much harder with your own ideas than it was with someone else's idea. So this exercise was meant to help get you ready for working on your own startup projects in the next phase. In the next projects we will help you to crowd source feedback from your peers and mentors along the way. This will be a key aspect of the next project.

If you're still looking for a team, there's still time to sign up and join, it's not too late to get involved and get started even if you've missed the first assignments.

Some people have asked how to switch to a different team after they have committed to one team. Eventually we should have this feature. One workaround in the meantime is to sign up again under a new email address and join a different team.

How To Position Your Small Business As The "Go To" Expert

You want your small business to be considered as the "Go To" in your market niche. To get to that lofty position as the "Go To" expert you need to raise your business visibility in your market demographic.

To do this you need your marketing to demonstrate your knowledge, wisdom, expertise, testimonials and case studies. You can accomplish this by creating digital assets and syndicating them online -

For example ....

Maybe as part of your cloud marketing strategy instead of limiting yourself by doing everything on your own website, you perhaps leverage other resources out there in the cloud to help create sales opportunities for yourself.

Think about the digitial assets you may already have but not be leveraging...

* Ebooks
* Case Studies
* Reports
* White papers
* Presentations
* Articles
* Checklists
* Powerpoints
* Pdfs
* Spreadsheet tools
* Videos
* Software

You could of course also consider ....

* Registering on various "Experts Sites"

* Blog on various social networks

* Participate in niche groups on Facebook

* Participate in niche groups on Linkedin

* Participate in niche forums

* Answer questions on Linkedin answers

* Be a guest blogger on other people's sites using

* Upload your own instructional videos on digitalmotion, youtube etc

* Use slideshare, docstoc, scribd

* Write articles and submit em to various article directories

* Spin your articles and create more

* Publish video testimonials online

* Create audio podcasts of your blogs, or chapters of your book

* Create your own phone app

Theres just a few to get you started. Pick a few and and set those up. Once they're established move on to a few more ... and so on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Opportunity Analysis Project Due 5/19

Great job with the commercials, I hope you're enjoying watching them as much as I have been. You all did a great job turning someone else's "worst" idea into something with potential. This experience will serve you well for the next project, the opportunity analysis project (OAP).

Please search for teammates form your final teams (3-4 people recommended) by May 1st and start brainstorming together on a startup idea to pursue for the rest of the class (OAP and OEP). 

You should then start:

  1. Testing your "value proposition" with potential customers by talking with them face to face, the more face to face interviews with users/customers the better. The people with a "technical" background on the team should focus on setting up and running these meetings.
  2. Estimating the market size in dollars (or your local currency) 
  3. Potentially doing a survey to gain more information about your target customers (see the Resources and Tools page for help). 
We will give you specific instructions later for how to blog your activity and create the website for your project, so don't start on that just yet.

The goal is to test your value proposition, to figure out if your users really have the problem/need you're hypothesizing and to create a very simple version of the website for it. 

The deliverable for OAP is a 2-5 minute presentation (again, video, slides, and/or text) covering what you learned from talking to potential customers, the market size and whether they would pursue this opportunity or change some aspect or the entire idea for the OEP final project. You can also change your idea along the way in response to feedback from customers - in fact this is exactly the process we want to see evidence of you doing.

The due date is May 19th, 6pm (18:00) PST/UTC-8.

UPDATE: Some people have asked how to switch to a different team after they have committed to one team. Eventually we should have this feature. One workaround in the meantime is to sign up again under a new email address and join a different team.

UPDATE: Scott Rakestraw put together a playlist of the YouTube video submissions for the last assignment:

Please go and view some of the videos and comment as well as "like" the ones you think are better so that we can see which ones are getting upvoted more.

Part One

Part Deux

Part Three

Monday, April 23, 2012

Videos for Sessions 1 to 3

SEGMENT 1 For help in finding a team go to
Remaining videos will come one session per week.

Session 1

Course Overview: Silicon Valley and Key Frameworks

  • Videos
    • Video 1 - Overview
    • If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users. This can also be used to playback the video at a faster rate of speed.  
[Transcript download]

    • Video 2
    • If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users.
    • Video 4 - This video encourages you to set up a blog - do NOT do this just yet, we will provide more detailed instructions for how to do this so that they can be aggregated more easily.
    • If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users.
    • [Transcript download]

Session 2

Creativity and Improvisation


Session 3

From Idea to Opportunity:

  • Videos
    • Video 2-3
    • If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users.
    • Video 3-1
    • (note that we will not be doing case discussions, so you should pay more attention to the business models section in the 2nd half)
      If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users.

  • Recommended Reading
  • Assignment
    • Submit 2nd assignment (commercial for another team's worst idea) at by 4/23, 6:00pm (18:00) PST (UTC-8)
    • Startup the OAP project - form your main project team, begin brainstorming and deciding on a startup idea for the OAP project. For help in finding a team go to
    • Your team should update a blog each week with the hypothesis you tested, what experiment(s) you ran, and what the outcome was. Start with talking to potential customers.
  • Additional Resources

"Commercial" for 2nd assignment

If you're following along on the blog only and want to submit your 2nd assignment, you can insert a link to the YouTube video, Slideshare or just the text in the comments here.

If you're in a team on venture-lab, please upload it there. Thanks!

UPDATE: Scott Rakestraw put together a playlist of the YouTube video submissions thus far:

Part One

Part Deux

Part Three

Please go and view some of the videos and "like" the ones you think are better so that we can see which ones are getting upvoted more.

Online Marketing For Small Business

As I've said many times, and feel like I need to reiterate, I would encourage you to take a good long look at your online marketing efforts that you are currently using. Really evaluate if your small business is getting the results you want, or if something needs to be changed or added.

One of the things to keep in mind is WHO are you marketing to, which should always be the forefront of your mind when you are considering a new marketing venture for your web sites.

In other words, if you were fishing, which of the two photos below would you hope would represent YOU after a day of fishing:

That is actually a pretty good analogy because if you only fish where the little ones are, all you're going to get is going to be sushi wannabe catches, but if you are looking for the BIG fish, you need to fish where the big catches hang out, and that is NOT in the local retention ponds or drainage ditches.

But don't spin your wheels on things you cannot control. Instead, focus and concentrate on the things you CAN control. That means fishing where the big fish are and using the bait that attracts the kind of fish you want to catch. That is done with KEYWORDS and BACKLINKS, both of why contribute heavily to the kind of bait you are using on your hooks and which waters your cast lands you in.

One of the inevitable truths of virtually ANYTHING you do, especially when it comes to producing revenue, is that:
"Hobby-sized efforts will produce hobby-sized income"

And it really can't be said more succinctly than that. So are you looking for hobby-sized income where all your efforts to do marketing effectively may gain you enough to buy a pack of gum at the end of the month, or are you serious about it where you are looking for income that can make your car payment, house payment, or fatten up your 401K at the end of the month, or even more?

There is a saying that "the one thing that determines if you are a winner or a loser is whether or not you take action". Have you taken action? Have you taken positive action consistently? Or do you just THINK about things you could or should be doing every now and then but haven't implemented much of anything so far? Nothing happens if ACTION is not taken. Nothing.

So at the end of it, it comes down to which road you want to travel, where your options can be depicted as shown in the following picture:

Hey, we are ALL busy, no issues there, I've been a charter founding member of that club for many years. Spouse, kids, church, yard work, social commitments, so much more, I understand. But what do you do in your spare time? Or if you don't think you have spare time, where can you CREATE some spare time? Did you really need to watch NCIS or Glee last night when you know it's being recorded on your DVR anyway? Did you really need to spend 3 hours a few nights ago reading other people's posts on Facebook? Did you really need to spend a whole evening last week reorganizing your paper clip collection? You know what I'm saying, because if you examine the things you MUST get done (and YOU are in charge of defining "must"), I don't believe that you are busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. And as sobering as that might be, the choice of what you spend your time doing is entirely in your hands.

So again, keywords and backlinks.

Digging Into Keywords

You could be selling new Lexus cars for cheaper than dirt but if nobody knows about it, especially people who are actively LOOKING for a great price on a new Lexus, you could be GIVING them away and it would not make a difference. So how do you let people who are looking for what you have to offer that you have something they should stop and take a look at?

That is done via the right keywords, plain and simple. Simple? Yes simple when you consider where these people hang out and what they are searching for that you can easily get your web sites RANKED FOR in the search engines. In fact, that is simpler than you probably think. To avoid giving you the whole enchilada on a silver platter, I'm going to use the keyword of "dogs" but hopefully you can catch my drift here.

So you have a web site that is specifically geared towards "dog collars". You sell various different makes and models of dog collars and have super prices from the leading makers of dog collars. That's good, but at that point, how do you get the word out? So you add some content to your web page about dog collars and how great they are, taking care to use your keyword phrase in that content at the 2-3% level (to avoid venalities of "keyword stuffing") and you include include phrasing in that content to include what the search engines would see as "LSI" phrases, or "Latent Symantic Indexing", or in other words, things that may not specifically SAY "dog collars" but are known to be related to that topic. This is unique content you have written, not simply snarfed of someone else's page and pasted verbatim on your page. So when the search engine spiders come around and read your page, they understand what your site is all about.

But this is a huge market! How do you get your site ranked for dog collars so that your rank in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) isn't on page 2,763 which people will never find?

You dig deeper. You look for keywords for the dog collar industry where you may have 4000 competing pages instead of 40 million competing pages! For example, if I do a search in Google for "dog collars", I find that there are 9.1 million search results. Yowsers, how do you compete against that? So you revise your site to talk specifically (with content) about "red dog collars", because you see in a Google search that there are only 2.1 million results for the term "red dog collars". Ok, you've eliminated about 75% of your competition but that is still a pretty hefty number to compete against.

Dig deeper still. You add more content to your page to talk specifically about "golden retriever dog collars", because you note in a Google search for "golden retriever dog collars" that now you have only 215K competing pages. NOW we're getting somewhere with a term that is MUCH easier to rank for! You could dig even deeper and lessen that but you get the idea.

To find the real shoppers instead of the people just doing their college term paper on the topic of dog collars, maybe you want to check the results for "buy dog collars" or "install dog collars" or "discount dog collars" or "quality dog collars", etc. Yes, it's a bit of manual tabor with checking and re-checking, but at the same time, doing this research hasn't cost you a cent.

Let Google Help You

Did you know that Google is more than happy to help you? But did you also know that Google will give you exactly what you asked for and not provide insights into better ways to ask? Let me example.

A great place to go to get keyword/phrase information is Google itself. Hey, go right to the horse's mouth! But there are some things you need to know. First of all, the Google External Keyword URL is:

Bookmark that URL, put it on your browser favourites task bar, just keep track of it because this can be ONE (not the only) of your best friends. You can enter a keyword or phrase there and find out how many searches are done for it and how many competing pages you have for it, but like I said earlier, Google only provides answers what you ask, and there are some things Google won't tell you to get better results from this tool.

First of all, if you don't have Google account (like gmail), get one. (It's free). Then when you go to the URL above, click the "Log in" link in the upper right to log into your Google or Gmail account FIRST and THEN do your keyword research. Why? Two reasons: (1) if you are logged in, Google gives you more and allegedly better results. I haven't been able to confirm or deny that but several SEO experts have mentioned that, so since there is no harm in doing so, it is a good idea; and (2) after you enter your search phrase, if you are logged in, then Google won't ask you for the "captcha" before it works its magic, which is that funky phrase in graphics that you need to enter just right before Google will display any results.

The default, if you don't change it, is BROAD match. That means that Google will show results based on many variations of the search term you entered, many of which may have little to no bearing on the type of traffic you are really looking for. This can be changed on the left side of that page by clicking the search type box.

Another type of search is PHRASE match. This will match the exact PHRASE that you entered as your search term and is the type of search that I personally do myself most of the time.

The last type is EXACT match, which means that. This is the most specific type of search and means that your specified search term MUST be contained within the results that come back. You will notice that there are significant discrepancies in the numbers coming back from each of these query types so it helps to understand what the different types mean.

After you get your results page, you probably want to filter it using the link on that page (only shown AFTER you've done a search) titled "Advanced Options and Filters". You should only be look at the US since almost all of our carriers need to have at least one circuit end in the US, even if they have international locations where they also want a circuit. You can also click the title of the Monthly Searches column to sort them in order by ascending or descending, since as they are initially displayed, there does not appear to be an order (as it relates to number of searches).

Many of the people that spend a lot of time doing keyword research correlate the Google keyword results with results from other programs that may also include Yahoo and Bing search volume numbers. There are many of them out there, too many to list, but one that I have used (they have a free version) is called Traffic Travis, which will also show the competitiveness of each keyword shown in the results in terms of your ability to rank well for that term based on the competition. The "Cadillac" of keyword research is arguably the Market Samurai software, which is not free but provides tremendous insight into keyword and each keyword's relative competition.


So how do you utilize those holy grail keywords you were able to uncover? Go back to previous articles here at Small Business Resources Cafe about backlinks. Create a blog about them, which points to your small business site! You could create a Wordpress blog for free at -- in fact, create say 3 off them, one targeting red dog collars, one targeting labrador dog collars, and one targeting spiked dog collars, where each of them would point back to your main dog collars web site. Then create another set of blogs at that targets blue dog collars, diamond dog collars and leather dog collars, again all pointing back to your main dog collar site.

What you've just done from the 6 blogs above is to create 6 different keywords, all of which provide a one-way link back to your main dog collar site. And it hasn't cost you a cent! Now rinse and repeat -- create blogs at some of the other "Web 2.0" sites like Tumblr, OnSugar, Zimbio, Gather, WorldVillage, Xanga. LiveJournal, Thoughts and/or so many more and target the heck out of keyword phrases that you want to rank for, because from EACH of these sites, you are creating a one-way link back to your main dog collar site.

Oh and by the way, do you have a Facebook account? Chances are high that you do. Is your small business site listed in your Facebook profile as one of your favorite sites? If not, it should be because Facebook links are valuable and noteworthy to the search engines.


I hope these articals are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: "Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn't get to about 5 minutes earlier". The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware ("situational awareness") of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. "More money" is not a sufficient direction, any more than "up" is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Technology Entrepreneurship, 2012
Charles Eesley, Assistant Professor, Stanford University

For help in finding a team go to

The course is divided up into 2 main sections and each section has a team project in the form of a writeup and presentation. The first section is the Opportunity Analysis Project, here you will test whether the startup idea you have is worth pursuing and customers agree with the problem you are solving. The second section is the Opportunity Execution Project, here you test the rest of the aspects of the business model. Each session corresponds to one week. Each session gives you a different aspect of the business model that you should test for that week. Your team should update a blog each week with the hypothesis you tested, what experiment(s) you ran, and what the outcome was.

Due dates:
  • 4/16 - assignment 1 (brainstorm best/worst ideas - discuss in teams, submit individually)
  • 4/23 - assignment 2 (commercial - team submission)
  • May 12th for Identifying the market opportunity and testing your value proposition.
  • 5/20 - Opportunity analysis project (team submission) - Your team will brainstorm an idea to work on for a startup project and test that idea with customers and market analysis. You will work on that idea (or you can switch to a new one throughout the remainder of the time.
  • 6/19 - Opportunity execution project (final team submission) - same teams and 2nd phase of the OAP, here you will be testing your solution and the rest of the business model
  • 6/23 - Personal business plan

Segment 1

Session 1

Course Overview: Silicon Valley and Key Frameworks

Session 2

Creativity and Improvisation

Segment 2

Session 3

From Idea to Opportunity:

Session 4

Customer Development and Lean Startups

Segment 3

Session 5

Entrepreneurial Sales and Marketing

Session 6

OAP Presentations

  • Upload to YouTube with "technology entrepreneurship venture lab 2012" as a tag and/or by 5/19

Opportunity Execution Project (OEP)

Segment 4

Session 7

Partnerships and Negotiations

Session 8

Intro to venture finance

Segment 5

Session 9

Session 10

  • Videos
    • Guest lecture by Fergus Hurley - Founder, Focal Labs
    • Guest lecture by Eric Case - Co-founder, Domainr
  • Assignment
    • Work on OEP
    • Specifically, test the revenue model
    • Update blog
  • Recommended Reading

Segment 6

Session 11

Financings and Teams

  • Videos
    • Venture Finance Video 2
    • Venture Finance Video 3 
  • Assignment
    • Work on OEP
    • Update blog
  • Recommended Reading

Session 12

Segment 7

Session 13

  • OEP Team Presentations
  • Upload to YouTube "technology entrepreneurship venture lab 2012" and/or venture-lab by 6/19 

Session 14