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Closing Your First Big Deal

- by Anton Chernikov

A Toolkit in Sales, Networking & Fundraising

How to turn your ideas into invoices


We created this masterclass to introduce

you to the art of networking and fundraising
so that you can go out into the big bad
world and make your ideas happen.
Lets begin
The structure of this masterclass will be as follows.

Foundational Tips : From Transactions to Relationships

Building Your Narrative / Tribe
Networking Events & Sending Emails that Get Replies
Stakeholder Mapping & B2B Sales
Raising Equity Investment
Raising Grant Funding
The Consult-Strapping Guide
Online Marketing, Analytics & Sales Pipeline

Our philosophy is simple. We focus on the essentials. We base our masterclass on

tangible day-to-day tasks so that you can start taking action as soon as possible.
The best teams and Why this masterclass matters
ideas do not always
A Reality Check
make it to the top. The
simple truth is that if you
are well connected you
Our Closing Your First Big Deal masterclass is
get more; more
knowledge, more all about helping you to master the art of
opportunities, more sales, networking and fundraising. Like any
money. If you know how skill, sales is something that can be taught and
to play the game, you
are are rewarded with
developed with the right processes and
funding and mindset. We have remixed dozens of books,
partnerships. If you hundreds of online articles as well as our own
dont, you will end up
experience to create this masterclass. Our
wasting a lot of time and
energy trying to catch an goal is to help you develop your own
uncatchable fish. personal sales strategy and networking /
communications style that will help you catch
those uncatchable fish.
About the Author

Anton Chernikov is the Founder of

The Exponentials and Studio X
Online. He is a self-taught designer /
entrepreneur and has supported
dozens of social ventures in
securing over 4million in funding
and deal flow over the past 4 years.
From Transactions to Relationships
The Golden Rule of Sales

No one likes to be sold to your goal is to

create the conditions where your client or
customer wants to buy.
Cold-calling and pushy sales is a
thing of the past.
We must leave behind the idea of sales as a transactional
numbers game, where aggressive macho sales people force
Reciprocity is part of themselves onto unsuspecting customers. The smart salesman
human nature. If you (or fundraiser) does not appear to be selling. For them, its all
show kindness, curiosity about the long game. Their goal is to listen and learn as much as
they can about the needs and challenges of their potential
and seek to add value to customer, client and/or partner.
someone, they will
unconsciously seek to do At the heart of effective sales is the genuine, authentic desire to
the same in return, add value and to serve. The goal is not to manipulate someone
into buying from you, but instead to listen and learn from them. In
without you even doing this, you will build trust and eventually uncover
needing to ask. opportunities for collaboration, partnership and mutual benefit.
Coaching is the new Sales!
One of the great skills that you can acquire in sales is the
ability to actively listen and guide potential partners and/or
It may seem counter- clients through meaningful questioning. Forget about your
intuitive, but the less you own agenda and seek to add value through small actions like
sell, the more effective offering advice and making introductions. Dont dive in with a
you will be at selling. If direct sales pitch. Just enjoy the conversation. Talk openly
about your passions and challenges. Ask yourself is this is
you treat your potential someone that you can really trust and work with long term?
clients like future friends
rather than sales targets, Over time, trust between you both will grow and opportunities
for partnership and collaboration are likely to arise. This is what
you will get better results Michael Porter calls Creative Shared Value -
and you have a lot more 2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value. I repeat, play the
fun along the way. long game, plant your network seeds. Take the time to really
know and understand your partners before jumping in.
Start Planting Seeds

Intuition, primitive or high level, is

essentially driven by memory. When we
A great way to plant network
seeds with investors is to
take in information of any kind, we store it in
regularly update them on mnemonic networks in the brain. The
your progress (new high
profile advisors, new hires,
stability and disability of these networks
press, product launch, etc) depends on repetition, intensity of
can tilt the decision in your experience, and how deeply we pay
favour. Do whatever you can
to build familiarity. Check in attention. Familiarity will tilt decisions in
for a catchup from time to your favour, its how our brains are
time. Dont pitch, ask
questions and see how you
can help them.
Read Influence by Caldini

To master sales and fundraising you must first

become a student of psychology and human
motivation. A great place to start is reading
Influence by Robert B. Caldini, who is in many
ways the father of behavioural economics. In
his book he covers six key themes

1. Reciprocation
2. Commitment & Consistency Blog Links
3. Social Proof
4. Authority 2012/07/cp-book-summary-influence-
5. Liking
6. Scarcity
Read Nudge & Made to Stick

1. Simple
2. Unexpected
3. Concrete
4. Credible
5. Emotional
6. Stories

Online Summaries / Reviews Blog Summary http://
stick.html summary-of-nudge-by-thaler-sunstein- summarised-by-paul-arnold-trainer-facilitator-
discussion-chip-and-dan-heaths-made-to-stick.html paul_arnoldme-com/
The Art of Sales = (Psychology + Storytelling) x Timing
There are three core components that make an effective
Its not what you know. Its deal maker.
not who you know. Its what
1) The ability to connect with people and build social
you know about who you capital.
know that counts. 2) The ability to communicate authentically what you do
and why it matters.
Mark Lewis, Dean at SCA 3) The ability to construct opportunities and collaborations
for mutual benefit.

It is a subtle mix of psychology (understanding people) and

storytelling (communications), combined with the luck of
being in the right place at the right time that will give you the
edge. Thats why it helps to play the long game and plant
lots of network seeds, because you never know from where
and when the next spark will come.
All human
Observe and accumulate transactions have in
knowledge on human nature them an emotional
Most of us view people through the lens of our own
emotional needs. We project our own values onto them.
The question to keep asking ourselves is How can we Every one of us has a rational
become more patient and open-minded in our mind; we can make individual
dealings with new people from many different cultures assessments and decisions. We
and backgrounds? also have an emotional mind; we
can enter into deep bonds with
To truly understand and connect with someones mindset other people that transcend our
and values you have to get outside yourself and immerse individual intellects.
your mind in their world. Attune yourself to their energies,
by thinking deeply about how they are experiencing the The most effective communicators,
world What are their worries? What are their cravings? marketers and deal makers are
What are their values? able to appeal to both the rational
and the emotional.
Building a network is not just about having
coffee and meeting lots of people. It is also
about getting good information on what is
going on at the cutting edge of your niche /
market.#Knowledge is power!
Networking at its best is a hybrid
The best way to surround yourself with process that mixes the social (people)
great people is to be generous with your with the intellectual (ideas and market
ideas and your research. Talk about the insights).The two go hand in hand. This
is also why it pays to invest time into
thing you really care about. Share your
deep thinking, reading and rigorous
market insights. Dont force collaborations online research. This will mean you
until the timing is right. Check in from time always have something valuable to
to time. contribute to any conversation or
meeting you find yourself in.
Using dating as a metaphor for sales.

Casanova would have made an

excellent entrepreneur. He knew that to
win the affection of a potential lover, he
has to first create the conditions of
desire within her. Then he must wait for
her to come to him. His famous line
was Be the flame not the moth.
Using dating as Think of a business deal as being like a
a metaphor for courtship. You cant just dive in with a sloppy
kiss on the first date. You must be patient,
sales. send the right signals and maintain an aura of
mystery and possibility. Eventually, when all
Tip: When a concern comes up during a
heated negotiation dont jump into an concerns have been cleared, the deal will find
instant 'emotionally charged' defence. its way into your arms.
Take a pause, acknowledge that concern
and commit to exploring it together, from
the same side of the table. Focus on Remember that people make decisions intuitively and then
asking questions and understanding the rationalise using logic. If they agree to a second meeting
context behind the concern. Make this into
a habit, so that when you find yourself at a
they have intuitively said yes, and now they are looking to
negotiation table you never jump into a rationalise. You must not rush in. You can only open the
rushed answer. door and show then what is inside. They must walk through
on their own.
Its human nature for people to
take precisely as much interest
Understand the Nature of Value
in you as they believe youre
taking in them. There is no
stronger way to build By giving generously to your network
relationships than taking a
genuine interest in other human and being open about your challenges
beings and allowing them to
share their stories. When we
and ambitions you create the
take an active interest in the conditions for serendipity.
guests at our restaurants, we
create a sense of community
and a feeling of shared
Being an effective networker and entrepreneur doesnt mean
helping everyone you meet and saying yes to any request for
a favour. What it really comes down to is understanding the
nature of value. For example, we could spend days cold
calling potential customers, or we could do a favour for a
friend and then they go out of their way to make an
introduction to a CEO. The deal goes through in weeks.
If you could trade in more than just money and time, how
would you run your business and invest your time?

Financial Capital. Cash in the bank.

Social Capital. People wanting to help you out (because you helped them or their friends).
Marketing Capital. Your social reach & digital reputation. Likes. Followers. Connections. Mailing lists.
Intellectual Capital. Things you know. Your ideas & market insights. Skills you have. Industry expertise.
Technology Assets. Digital platforms / code that you can re-sell / deploy at little cost.
Property Assets. Things you own. Apart from real-estate and art, things you own depreciate fast.
Your Time / Labour / Skills. Your salary or your day / hourly rate.
Epic Life Moments & Experiences. The things that we live for!
If we think in terms of The best networkers and
trading value rather entrepreneurs ask How can I use
my time to make the biggest
than just time and contribution possible? How can I
money, we can be turn one hour of my time today into
much more strategic ten hours tomorrow and then
and creative with how thousand hours next year?
we invest our time.
For example, one hour spent helping people out in
your network could save you weeks of business
development when you get that perfect introduction
and close a quick deal.
It is not what you
know, but whom you
Think of your network as
listen to that counts. your community, and treat
Dont try to build a network. Instead
your connections as good
try to grow a community through friends.
many small acts of kindness and
contribution. This is how you connect
The essence of community, its very heart and soul,
with someones human nature.
Community requires no currency, is the concept of non-monetary exchanges of value;
contracts, government, laws, courts, things we do and share because we care for others,
police, economists, lawyers and and for the good of the place (our shared
accountants It requires only environment). Community is composed of that which
ordinary caring people with a fabric of we dont attempt to measure, for which we keep no
trust. True community requires record and ask no recompense.
proximity, continual, direct contact
and interaction between the people,
place and things of which it is - Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table
For Further Research

How to connect with anyone

Simon Sinek Talks (people centric business) (leadership)
How to build a high quality &
engaged network
Show your passion. Be persistent. Share
interesting content. Make yourself useful.
Have the attitude of 'How can I help you?'

Live your legends offers great free content on making

connections and building your tribe
Are you surrounding ourself with people and opportunities that
will bring out your best? blog post
For Further Research Thinking Fast and Slow A great
foundational book to read on understanding human behaviour

How I learned to love networking

McKinsey - A marketer's guide to behavioural economics

Behavioural Economics: How a flamingo taught me about priming
Building a network is Challenge :
essential to every
startup journey. Your Identify your top 10 role models. Who are the leaders in
network is your bank. It your field or industry? Which companies are scaling
is your source of talent fast? Do you know anyone who works for them?
and expertise. It is your
most powerful Pick an industry trend or question. Do some research, then use social
media to get their email and send them a request to meet or Skype to
accelerator. However, discuss a specific question or project. Get their attention, spark a
building and nurturing conversation and see if you can turn that conversation into genuine
a high quality network connection.

is not easy.

Check out these links for inspiration
Purpose is the story you tell Begin with a subject you love, zero in
on what you most enjoy about it and
yourself that brings meaning then envision a new context for it.
to your journey.
Juan Guerra, CEO StudentFunder

Building Your Narrative

Start with your WHY Watch these videos
One of the first challenges you will face as an
entrepreneur is how to communicate what you are doing.
This is no easy task because in many ways you are still
figuring that out. Thats why before writing out your
product or service pitch is helps to define your purpose
and values. What do you really care about? What
problems do you want to solve? Why do you exist? Which
market do you want to focus on and how do you think the Watch Simon Sineks TED talk
on the power of why
market ought to operate to maximise its impact on the

Start from your own personal career story an authentic

place that you know well. Then build up towards your
theory of change. You dont have to say I have all the
answers, what you need to say is that this is where I am
going and how I am approaching it.
Watch this movie, Steve Jobs
talking about marketing
Personal Branding Questions & Diagram

What do I do that adds

remarkable, measurable, What am I What does
What am I
distinguished, distinctive particularly the world
interested in?
good at? need?

What do I do that I am most

proud of?

What have Iaccomplished that I Is someone realistically going to pay me for this?
can unabashedly brag about?

What do I want to be
famous for? YOUR SUPER
TALENTS / strengths? This is
your Niche!
What you do. What is the most obvious way that you can say what you do?
Polishing It needs to be so simple that even your Mum can get it and explain it to her
Your friends.

Pitch Why you do it. What is purpose of your venture? How will you make
peoples lives better? Make it real make it personal dont get lost in the
big words. Try to tell the story of your business through the eyes of one
If you want to build a beneficiary or one customer.
tribe / team around
your vision and How you are different. Know your market inside out, and never stop
researching. Where is the growth? What are the trends? Where will you be
business idea you focussing your energy that will give you the long term edge?
need to construct an
authentic and What you have done. This is where you demonstrate traction. Use logos of
compelling narrative. partners and clients. Show your team. Provide a few testimonials and a
couple of in depth case studies, if you have them. Always ask clients for a
testimonial when they have just paid your final invoice and are happy with
the work.

Whats the next step. Know how to answer the question How can I help
or get involved? Im sold, what are the next steps? Dont go into a meeting
or event without being clear on what you want.
Dont forget this!
Whats your brand message?
If you had to create a 60-90 second animation communicating the impact / vision /
purpose of your business venture what would you say? Check our AirBnbs branding
campaign Belong Anywhere. When networking you want to start the conversation
talking about your purpose. Why does your business really matter to you?
Whats your breakthrough product / market insight?

Google was founded on a simple product insight - a

webpage is likely to be more relevant to a particular
search if lots of other relevant webpages link to it. They
are now one of the biggest companies in the world.

So whats breakthrough insight is your

business built on?
Dont re-invent the wheel. Learn your market inside out!

If I have seen further it If you want to win the trust and support
is by standing on the of smart people you need to have a
strong understanding of your market.
shoulders of Giants.
Tip: Keep a running list of useful links,
competitors / potential partners.
Isaac Newton.
There are over 7 billion people in
#Know_Your_Market the world. Chances are someone
has thought of the same idea, and
perhaps even tried it and failed. It
It is SO IMPORTANT for you to really takes many years or exploring and
embed yourself into the ecosystem of experimenting in a niche market
until you know enough to have a
your market / industry. Go to the events, genuine breakthrough idea.
read the popular blogs, be aware of the
latest trends and buzz words. Ultimately, it is Getting positive feedback from
not your initial idea that matters but how fast your family and friends is going to
be less useful that getting
you can learn and pivot. Think of your first feedback from someone who
idea as a stepping stone towards knows your market, and has
understanding the details and dimensions of probably come across similar
ideas in the past. These are the
your market. Use it as a way to make people you want to meet. You
connections and get feedback from smart want them to be critical and to ask
people. the tough questions. You need to
go deep.
Heres my example

How do I want to live & work? What impact do I want to have? What am I passionate about?

Supporting Entrepreneurs Accelerated Learning Technology as a Service Business for Good

Design - Applied to startup process Curation vs Teaching Future of Education Travel / Adventure / Being in Nature

Reading & Painting Always Curious & Open to New Experiences Partnership Mindset - New ways of working

To live a life of adventure with a tribe

of Exponentials!

...discovering new ways to use design &

digital to make peoples lives better.

"If we are not learning, we are not living.

The pursuit of mastery is what makes it possible for us to contribute to the world.


Unrestricted autonomy & culture of partnership.

Rewarding people based on results not rhetoric.

Working on meaningful problems.
Ultimately it all comes down to explaining one thing

How do you make peoples lives better?

(Get this right and the success and profits will follow...)
Review Your
Brand Narrative

Take time every 3 months to

repeat & review your pitch. Ask
yourself regularly What am I
actually doing? What is the
most obvious way for me to
explain what I do?
Its not what you know. Its not who you
know. Its what you know about who you
know that counts.

Mark Lewis, Dean at SCA

Networking Events & Sending

Emails that Get Replies
Look for the leveraged actions Make a strong first impression. Be fun. Ask
smart questions. Leave them wanting to know
where your contributions and more.
actions can make a significant A good networking strategy is to endeavour to do
more listening than talking. However, you dont
impact. want to be invisible. You want to find a concise
and confident way to present what you do and to
Build social capital by giving first. redirect the conversation back to them, or a
If you can make a meaningful introduction or shared interest or passion. When answering the
share a link to a relevant article, just do it. Be inevitable, so what do you do question, a little bit
proactive. This is how you build social capital. By of name dropping is helpful; client brands,
making lots of small actions (gifts) that have a headline metrics, advisors and partners involved,
big impact on the people around you. One of the etc. How you come across is almost more
easiest first steps is to send over useful links, important than the exact works you choose. Its
questions and market insights. Thats why its about enticing curiosity so that when you follow
worth creating a .doc where you copy interesting up later they will open your email. Eye contact,
links with tags and summaries of why you found humour, a warm smile, a firm handshake, great
them interesting. You can just review the .doc questions these are much more important at a
and pick out the most relevant links for each new networking event than a polished and rehearsed
connection. pitch.
Networking Tips

No one makes a sale at a networking event, so dont try. Do you find networking a
The first step is to adopt a giver rather than a taker mentality. draining and exhausting
Develop a list of questions that you can ask to get people into experience? Are you fed up
their favourite topic of conversation. So whats the thing you
really care about? Perhaps starting with a more neutral How of collecting piles of business
did you end up being here today? ACTION - Studio X Online cards and connections that
discussion page what are the best (most creative) questions lead to nothing? We all want
to ask at a networking event?
to cut through the bullshit
Write it all down. of human interaction and
Develop a practice of mapping your connections, and logging get to the core (genuine
your interactions.After an event make a record of what you connection). But how can
learned. Think about potential synergies. How can you add
value to them? How could they help you? If you dont write it we do this?
down you will forget! Remember the line Its what you know
about who you know that counts.
Networking Tips

Ask the first question when the speeches / Thank the host.
talks finish. Send an email as well as saying thank you in
There is often a 5-10 second pause after the host person. This is a great way to be invited back and to
asks any questions make sure you hand is up potentially ask for an introduction a few months later.
with a question you prepared earlier. Asking a Hosts tend to be great connectors and useful
question gives you a great excuse to talk to the contacts.
speaker afterward to ask a follow up question
and grab their business card. It is also a great What if you lack confidence?
way to build connection and notoriety with the When starting out, networking events can feel
audience; you were the guy or girl who asked intimidating and awkward. The best advice would
that question be to visualise yourself going up to a group, smiling
Think about how to engage the speakers, while and saying hello and offering a simple question.
listening to the talks. Thats all it takes, really. Sometimes the simple act of
standing next to a group is all you need to do. Dont
think you are being rude or interrupting, the purpose
of networking is to meet new people.
Two questions to ask when you meet someone remarkable

Who do you think I should talk to that

I have not met?

What do you think I should read

that I have not read?
Make sure you do pre-event research
& post-event follow up

When you buy your ticket for the event, set three
Be specific in your follow up. calendar events or reminders:
Explain why you want to meet
and share a few available
dates. It helps to get the ball
1. For the date and time of the event. (My hope is
rolling on their end. youre already doing this.)
2. For the evening before the event, so that you
Make sure you also connect with
them on Linkedin with a short
remember to do your research.
message referencing the email. 3. For your lunch hour on the day following the
People move jobs, change event, so that you take the time you need to
emails and business cards get
lost, but they will always have an
compose well-written follow-up emails to those
up to date Linkedin. interesting people you talked to.
Getting the meeting
How to write a purposeful and concise email that gets a response (and hopefully a meeting).

Hi Jessica,
Use a meaningful subject line.
Use their first name, never sir/madam. It was nice meeting you at the event the other day. I really
Reference how you met or got introduced. enjoyed our chat about I think I can help.
Google them and check out their recent blog posts, tweets,
A brief background. I work with insert brands and we have
etc make a positive point of feedback. achieved insert great stuff. We also share insert shared
Give them an ego boost. Flattery goes a long way connections. Small world!
Keep it short and to the point. Add video links.
(Your email shouldnt take more than 2 min to read). I read your article insert title or link, and you mentioned a
Name drop shared connections, recent achievements and few things that really resonated with me. I was hoping that
we could connect when you have a spare 15 minutes over
any brands you are associated with. coffee or Skype.
Explain clearly how you think they could help you and you
could help them. I would like to talk about something specific.
YOU suggest the day and time.
Be persistent. Here are times and days that work for me in the coming
Always ask them Is there anyone you know that I could
benefit from meeting? Hope to speak with you soon,
Always say thank you, politeness goes a long way.
Dont be pushy Interesting sparks for
further research
Anytime you ask for voluntary support, make sure
you provide plenty of time flexibility and Kevin Kelly :
empathise with the fact that they are probably Attracting 1,000 true fans
very busy. You dont know the context of their
day / week. During a busy time, making any
demand in an impolite and aggressive tone, even 1000-days-of-building-our-first-start-
to friends, can enrage the other person. Never up-epiclist-ea0c07a7964b
show rudeness or impatience. Say thank you, and
make it easy for the other person to gracefully say
Im snowed in, maybe another time.
Tip: Start your email with a bit of flattery, make
your ask super specific, explain why it matters
right now and end with a Thank you for attracting-1000-true-fans/
considering, it means a lot.
Create You Own Networking FAQs & Answers Doc
And keep adding to it!

There are questions you are always asked

What do you do? Whats your long term vision?
What makes you different? What are you passionate about? What
challenges are you facing? How can we help / get involved?
Every time someone asks you a tough question, write it in the FAQs, work up a good answer and
review how your answers change over time. One day you can publish these on your website or
use it for raising investment or funding.
That includes questions
you want to ask
Think of scenarios and then brainstorm fun questions
to ask so you can have a bank of great questions to
ask in any situation to get the conversation flowing

Create a list of questions that you can

use in different scenarios in your life. For
example, questions to use in a party,
questions to use at a networking event,
questions to use to help someone think
through their problem and challenge.
And think about your response too in
case you get their rebound question.
Tools to grow your contact list
Apps for scheduling lots
of meetings

The most beautiful free option

Finding a date

Do helps
people run
Two beautiful apps, one for email and
the other for your calendar
If you find yourself doing the same task over and over, find a
Digital Tips way of automating it or at least speeding it up. The best way to
do this is to customise your toolbars and your desktop sidebar
favourites. Also, use the columns display in your Mac finder. Saving
just 5 min every day with quick shortcuts adds up to over 4 months
over the course of your life / career.

Use as many browsers as you can. Your can jump

between accounts and product testing. You can set up
one browser for work and one for home. You can set up
one browser for a particular set of tasks and then
another browser for another set of tasks.

Change the location of Put the internet

your browser to get access to work for you
to content from any country.
Read this article.

Use Cmd f as a shortcut to search for keywords in your browsers, Google docs, preview files and webpages.
Dive into this great
Gmail resource How to manage your email
Think of your email inbox in the same way
as you think of your desktop. You wouldnt
have every file on you computer on your
desktop. You would create folders and sub
folders. Its the same principle for you
email. However, with email, not only do you
have folders but you also have filters that
automatically move your incoming
messages to where they need to be. This
Gmail plugins is a great article on how to set up Gmail
filters. This is extremely useful if you are
managing several projects at once.
Why you should be using Search is key
Google The most important feature of any email
service is search. This is what Google
When it comes to digital tools and devices we all does better than anyone else. Also,
have out own preferences. However, when it they have supplemented their email
comes to business development and sales Gmail service with loads of great collaboration
is essential. The reason for this is due to the and file sharing tools. And its free!
plugins that you can add to Gmail. Also, Gmail
automatically saves everyone you communicate There is just so much you can do
with Gdrive
with in your contacts.

Email is best for external communications. However, as

your team grows your internal communications are best
managed on a collaboration and messaging platform like
Tracking Emails (Opens & Responses)

Tip: send your sales / client emails using

Sidekick or Streak in Chrome. Send normal
non sales emails using firefox. It will be
helpful to separate internal and external
communications in this way.
You can use http:// Where to go to export all your, a Gmail connections on Linkedin
App for quickly building up LinkedIn hides this well
your Linkedin connections
without leaving your inbox.
It is also a useful way to
quickly check if you have
mis-typed an email address
or not. Just hover over the m
address and the social
profiles should appear.
Why you should be connecting with
as many people on Linkedin as
The more connections you have, the more second and third
degree connection you will have. Linkedin allows you to
message second degree connections directly when you
click to connect with them. LinkedIn also allow you to view
the full profiles of your third degree connections. Most
people are on Linkedin today, so the more connections you
have the easier it will be for you to get information and send
messages to people you havent yet met. Rather than
wasting time attending events, you can focus on targeting
specific influencers in your market through online referrals
and introductions. You can quickly move towards having
lots of one-to-one meetings, which are much more
enjoyable and impactful than suffering through big events
and conferences. (especially for undercover introverts)
Stretching your networking
Use Evernote to log the information
Researchers claim there is a human limit to that you gather about people in your
the number of people with whom one can network. Things you read online, things
maintain stable social relationships. This you hear at events, email exchanges
number lies between 150 and 250 and is and of course rigorous post meeting
called Dunbars Number. It is based on two review notes. You can then search their
factors knowing who each person is and name and find what you need to know
in seconds. Trello is good if you have
how each person relates to every other
networking actions to manage Its
person. However, by developing smart like a dynamic virtual to do list.
information habits and leveraging the latest
digital tools and social networking platforms
I believe it is possible to stretch that number Context : A great Guardian blog about
to over 1,000. If we use digital in the right Dunbars number
way, we can literally develop superhuman
networking powers.
Linkedin is good for building a mailing list Challenge : Build an excel doc of
that never expires and seeing what 1,000 people who you trust and
connections you share with people. admire and then actively try to
engage and support them. Send
Twitter is good for promoting stuff when them articles and ideas. Refer them
you need to, and getting a live feed of to any people, books, networking
content. opportunities and events that you
know they will have an interest in.
However email is still by far the best Set up Google alerts so you can
when it comes to engagement. Get into send them a message straight after
the habit of sending high quality content a big press release. Also, be open
to your connections. Make sure to mention about your life vision and career
any recent accomplishments and wider goals to your list of 1,000. This
long term goals. These emails can generosity and openness is central
become great sources for introductions to building your personal brand and
and collaboration sparks. to developing a proactive network.
Trello is a powerful tool. Think about how
you could use it to maintain and grow your
You can also use Trello collaboratively with your team as a
makeshift CRM system. Everyone add names and companies to
the board and then you can search anytime to see if someone in
the team has made contact with that organisation or person
recently. Give it a try. Trello can become a power tool for getting
things as a team.
If you are planning to sell any product or service
to a large or medium sized organisation you are
going to have to master complex sales.

Complex Sales : B2B

The three dimensions of scaleable B2B sales

Build a Relationship Capture their Imagination Engineer Scarcity

There is a really exciting If we dont act /

I like this person
future ahead. All my buy now we might
and want to work
problems could miss out.
with them
be solved.

Connect with people on a Be theatrical. Get the client to Play hard to get. Ask new
human, emotional and personal break out of their critical clients to pay up front to make
level. Build social capital by perspectives, and encourage sure you dont miss the next
making introductions and them to really imagine what is ride (only 20 places left for next
offering your advice free of possible with you. year!). Mention other high
charge. profile clients and partners who
are involved / signing up.
B2B Sales Offer a commission to consultants who regularly meet
with potential clients. 5% for a successful introduction.
Tactics 10% if they are involved in the process (attending multiple
meetings, advising on the proposal document, etc).

Speak at events. Identify the most relevant conferences

and events. Contact the host and try to get a speaking slot
by suggesting topics you could speak about. You then
have an audience of potential clients and customers
giving you their full attention.

Host a roundtable discussion. You can also mobilise

your referral network by asking influencers in your network
to invite colleagues to a roundtable discussion about the
future trends of the industry / market. Invite speakers. This
is a great way to develop credibility. As casanova would
say Be the flame not the moth.
When selling to large organisations, the best approach is to get
B2B Complex your champion to arrange many one to one meetings with key
Sales: influencers and decision makers. Never go into a big pitch
meeting before you have at least met half the people in the room
in person. When you have the one-to-ones prepare relevant
Find your questions, listen to the language they use, and make sure you
champion & play acknowledge their past attempts at solving the problem you
have been brought in to solve. You want to create the
the long game. impression that they are part of the journey, co-creating the
project with you. It is also important to be polite, enthusiastic
and friendly. If they dont like you, or have a negative first
impression, they will slow everything down.

In B2B sales you have a minefield of politics and egos to

navigate. The more one-to-one connections and conversations
you have, the easier it will be for you to adjust and adapt.

Never underestimate the emotional and political (people)

components of a complex sale.
If you want to cut to the essentials
there are two things you need to know
A good way to break down and think 1) Who signs off the plan (CTO / CFO)
& 2) Who writes the check (CEO /
about the different internal stakeholders Head of Department).Then your job is
Lots of people have to say yes for you to to build momentum and support one
get your deal. So make sure you build 1-1 meeting at a time.

relationships with each decision makers Great articles to read for further
within the organisation research

1) Economic Buyer - Pays the invoice and agrees with the
strategy. Our_Products/Manage-Opportunities/
2) User Buyer - The promoters / enthusiasts who will drive Advanced-Concepts-for-Strategic-
early adoption. Selling/
3) Technical Buyer / Project Manager - The gatekeeper
who will sign off your plan / product. caught-in-a-never-ending-sales-
4) Coach / Sponsor - The person who brings you in and cycle-21c12ebc1ca8
champions your product or service.
& Remember
The Power Pitching a solution often divides a room.
People take sides and you end up with
of Co-creation tension and argument rather than
Create a sense of alignment and co-operation. When dealing
ownership! with complex problems we must embrace
co-creation. Dont get attached to any
Nobody in the history of the single solution or idea. Instead evangelise
world has ever wax polished
their rental car. We have a
the co-creation process and the need for
tendency to undervalue everyone to be united and invested in a
things that arent ours and to common purpose. Start by listening and
overvalue things because
facilitating a rich dialogue and then
we own them or have
participated in creating eventually you will figure out what the best
them. idea or solution pitch really is.

"We have a whole presentation to show

you, but perhaps you would like to tell us
first what it is you are looking for'.
Listen closely to what the other side is thinking. Sometimes
people only tell you what they are thinking on the doorstep
as they leave. In my experience the last thing to be said is
generally the most significant.
Tip: Startups (especially those run by
younger entrepreneurs) have a habit of
You cannot really negotiate well unless you put yourself in
under-pricing their products and services.
a position psychologically where you can walk away from Carefully break down your costs. Think
the deal. And when you are designing the deal focus on about the margin you need for sustained
making it as fair as possible. Create a sense on the other growth. Research similar products and
side that you are going to be a good partner. To achieve price points. Then see how high you can
this you have to have a view of what you want and what is go. Base your price not on how much
time you need to spend delivering the
fair, to you as well as to the other side.
service but on the value that you can
bring to the client or customer.
This exercise is all about diving deep into the dynamics of
Stakeholder your market. Heres how it works
Mapping &
1. STAKEHOLDERS: List out every type of person /
Value Flows organisation that your venture will touch. (perhaps create
fun personas to help)
2. FLOWS: Write down the value they bring to you and what
value you bring to them
3. DOCUMENTS: Tailor communications to each
stakeholder individually. Put yourself in their shoes.
Imagine you are having a one-to-one conversation with
them. Thats what you need to put into your personalised
pitch deck / proposal. It is normal to have over a dozen
different presentations tailored to the needs of your
different stakeholders. Its all about being super
focussed and specific. If you try to say everything you
end up saying nothing.






Communication has as muchto do with context as it does content.

Understanding who needs to know what, when people need to know it and why, and then presenting that information in an
entirely comprehensible way is fundamental to great leadership. Clear, timely communication is the key.
Example: StudentFunder Value Flows Stakeholder Map & tailored
document to send to lenders
Make sure you understand the cultural context



3 3

3 3


3 3

3 3



? ? ?
? ? ?

A: Q:
Q: A:
Q: Q:

A: A:

Make it about them, not about you.

People dont want to listen to a

summary of your whole business
plan. They want to hear the bit
that is relevant to them. Thats
why you need to create a
Stakeholder Map.
Raising Equity Investment
Momentum & Relationships Start sending regular updates
to potential funders and
investor 3-6 months before
you will be investment ready.
Fundraising is all about relationships and
Tell them about your latest
momentum. What you want to do is create a high profile advisor, share
snowball effect that creates the illusion that your your press release, update
venture is going to be the next big thing (in reality, them on your spike in users
and sales with a few specific
no one really knows and luck plays a big part). questions (seeking advice).
Investors (& venture capital firms in particular) are The strategy is to start
betting on that big success story that gives them a building a relationship early
on so that when you are
20X or more return on their investment. Therefore
investment ready, you have
you need to give them the feeling that you are several warm investors in the
on a rocket ship about to take off. The way you game, which will give you a
do this is by engaging with investors early on, much stronger negotiating
position when it comes to
asking them not for money but advice, and of equity and valuations.
course updating them on progress
The Snowball / Domino Effect

Give equity investors the feeling that their money will

have immense leverage. A small investment now will
knock down large funding and milestones later on.

What you want to do is create a snowball effect that

creates the illusion that your venture is going to be the
next big thing (in reality, no one really knows and luck
plays a big part). Investors (& venture capital firms in
This is a diagram that we use when particular) are betting on that big success story that
helping startups close their 100k+ gives them a 20X or more return on their investment.
investment rounds... Therefore you need to give them the feeling that you
are on a rocket ship about to take off. The way you do
this is by engaging with investors early on, asking
them not for money but advice, and of course
updating them on progress.
Advice from a VC Further Research: Article 1 Article 2

Make a good first impression. Investors make Talk about the black box. Investors are looking
an intuitive Yes or No judgement in the first few for scalability. What can you build once and sell
minutes. So look smart, smile, be calm, show many more times, and how much profit will you
confidence, tell your story and dont over sell. make per sale? It is also important to demonstrate
Leave them wanting to know more, but never that you have management experience in the
bullshit. Be genuine. Win their trust. team.Ultimately it will come down to a judgement
call of do we believe they can execute?
Have good answers. Know your competition and
how you differentiate. Dont bullshit. Be honest Keep your accounts in order. All investors will
about where you are in your journey. No startup is want to see your history of monthly accounts that
perfect in every department. Everyone has gaps you can bring to board meetings. Getting a
and strengths. For the difficult questions the key system (probably outsourced, one day a month to
is to emphasise the quality of your team and the an accountant) in place early on will make life a
people you are working with. This will indirectly lot easier. You want to show that you are
demonstrate your leadership and management organised and on top of your numbers!
The ingredients that investors look for
Big Market. Good Idea. Right Team. Traction.
With a ready to go platform, a client deal worth 30-50k, a
Raising Investment strong group of advisors and a smart team of 2-4 people
at a 1M-1.5M you could raise between 150-250k at a valuation of
1-1.5M. At the end of the day you need to demonstrate
valuation that you are making money and that there is a pipeline for
your sales to grow.

It is also important to be aware of the tax incentives that

investors get for early stage investment
The key is to get your timing right. Ask around and get lots
of advice.

And finally you will need a detailed business plan. Here is

Download the word a template that you can work from
doc business plan
Advice from Peter Theil In the boardroom, less is more. The
smaller the board, the easier it is for the
When investing in startups the most
essential thing is to study the founding directors to communicate, to reach
teams. Technicalabilities and
complementary skillsets matter, but the
consensus, and to exercise effective
trust and bond between the founders oversight. However, that very effectiveness
matters more. It is best if the founders
share a prehistory of working together. means that a small board can forcefully
So show that team unity and history in
oppose management in any conflict. Thats
how you pitch the project. why its crucial to choose wisely: every
single member on your board matters.
Try not exceed five people. The ideal
number is three. If you want an effective
board, keep it small.
Even if you can negotiate hard for a better equity deal, you
If its a good fit, should question whether this is a good idea. If you like the
be generous investors and think its a good fit (take you time to figure
this out) perhaps its best not to negotiate too much. You
with your are on the same team after all. You want them be fighting
your corner and really committed to riding out the
equity challenges with you. If you are generous at the beginning,
and value a positive relationship over a few percentage
points, you will set a precedent for future challenges.
Remember that most startups fail even after they get
funding. You want to have a friend not an adversary on the
other side of the table if things get tight.

A similar approach works with partners and early

Get good legal
advice before
committing to

Negotiate for more control

always. Google around for

Read about how

Zuckerberg maintained
control of Facebook.

Y Combinator have open sourced their investment contracts

If you dont need investment, dont take it

If you take investment you will have to spend half your life managing
your board and dealing with lawyers and paperwork. If you can
bootstrap or consult-strap, then this is by far the best way to go.
#Keep your freedom. Focus on what matters sales & impact.
Nailing Pitch Day : Presenting
Try not to fill your talk with everything. Instead think about what
you want the core message to be and the impact that you
want to have on the audience (e.g. what actions do you want
to inspire?). Write down 5-10 tweets (your killer memes,
soundbites or phrases). These act as scaffolding for the
content of your talk. Then fill in the gaps with stories,
examples and questions. Try to pause regularly at key point to
add emphasis. Repeat key phrases. Think of your talk as a
performance. How will you build suspense? How can you take
the audience down and then raise them up again like they do
in the movies?

Here are some great voice coaching tips http://
Nailing Pitch Day : Presenting

Make it personal. Tell a story. Finish on a bang.

Here are some videos for inspiration

Listen to Steve Jobs talk about marketing

Listen to Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford

Watch Don Draper pitch The Carousel

Listen to the Guardians list of Great 20th

Century Speeches
Prepare and anticipate In intense environments your ability to
the adrenaline rush. think on your feet and short term memory
might be a little more compromised than
Practicing Tip : Record your
practice on your iphone, mac or
usual. Be prepared for this! Expect a little
ipad. Watch it back and do it again bit of anxiety and adrenaline to kick in a
and again. Observe the tone of few minutes before your name is called.
voice. Observe the pace. Check
your timing. Make sure you pick
Memorise your first 1-2 lines so that you can get started in
topics and stories that you have told
a confident and clear way. Also take a long pause before
many times. If its your first talk, start
you start to look at the audience and establish a connection.
with your personal story. This is
We all feel anxious and nervous, a simple practice like this
something you will be able to share
can make sure those nerves do not effect the performance.
with conviction and authenticity.
Dont leave it till the last minute to prepare and practice
Write out the core argument and
your talks. Always keep a note of interesting ideas for a talk.
points of your talk. You dont need
Collect photos, quotes and ideas. When you get asked to
to stick to it word for word. However,
speak it will be much easier to put something together if you
writing it out helps you to design a
have most of the raw ingredients already assembled.
great structure.
Preparing for important meetings Visualise how you want to be in
that meeting. How will you walk
into the room? How will you shake
Before the big day make sure you get lots of rest. Most hands? Who is going to be in that
people enter a meeting visibly tired and stressed after a late room? Who is the decision maker?
night session changing slides and practicing their pitch. We completely ignore the
importance of nonverbal
Try to avoid a long opening pitch. Keep it short and to the communication... e.g. How
point. Then anticipate the questions and make sure to have someone holds the space,
good answers. Hold good eye contact and when you don't maintains eye contact, listens,
bullshit. Thank them for the probing question and say that etc. Be sensitive to the tone and
you want to think about it overnight and come back with an energy in the room. Are you
appropriate response. Remember openness and dialogue showing confidence and clarity or
is what makes a meeting flow. anxiety and stress? Content is
important, but it is not enough.
Disarm your audience by showing humility and honesty. You need to be emotionally
If things are running late dont rush through your slides. prepared as well.
Focus on the essential points and offer to cover more of the
detail at another time. Be flexible and adapt to the natural
flow of the meeting. Be ready to improvise if your audience
wants to go in a direction you didnt expect.
Treat your funders
like clients

Grant Fundraising
Its all about the details. Submitting the same application (with a few
Focus is Key tweaks) to dozens of grant funds does not work. Every grant is different
and to be successful you need to know the hidden (organisational and
political) agendas behind the fund. And then you have to spin the story
to fit their goals. Just like a school exam or essay you need to know the
mark scheme and tick their boxes. You need to use their language and
know their rules. Then there is the personal touch. Meet and network with
the decision makers. Build familiarity and get into their good books.
When the decisions are being made you want a champions (influencer)
fighting your corner.
Funded organisations Its best to focus on a few grant funds that are best suited to your startup. Focus on
that are able to deliver building a long term relationship with the funding team. Keep them posted on
on their promises are progress. Try to schedule meetings a few times a year. Help where you can. Also,
much more likely to get connect with bid writers and fundraisers that have a track record with a specific fund.
follow on funding.
Dont overcommit and make sure the terms and promises of the Grant funding is
aligned to the strategic direction of you business. Otherwise, you will be distracted
and drift from your core mission / strengths. If you are hungry in a supermarket
everything looks good. Beware! If you take funding and under deliver you risk
repetitional damage that is difficult to repair.
Fundraising is Sales! When fundraising, it is
important to treat your funders
as customers. Your job is to
Traditional sales involves selling products and figure out how you can best
services to other businesses (B2B) or directly serve them. You must seek to
to individual customers (B2C). When you are build a relationship, and make
fundraising you are not selling a concrete yourself familiar to them. Read
product or service, but rather you are selling their website content thoroughly.
an idea or the promise of growth. Nonetheless, Listen to the language they use
at events. Understand their
many of the same principles of sales apply.
priorities and needs. In return,
How you package your idea or your you will eventually win their
investment opportunity can make all the business (i.e. funding), because
difference. Ultimately, the decision to allocate unconsciously they will be
funding or investment is made by people. fighting your corner when the
They are likely to be very smart people, but final funding decisions are being
they are still human beings, influenced by made.
emotion and mood.
A great article
Educational Fundraising
The most important aspect of
fundraising large sums is a
strong vision combined with
compelling and tangible
projects. It's a long game that
could take between 12-18
months (with 5 different
conversations spread out
across that time - getting high
value individuals and
company leaders to come
together takes time). The
diagram below shows the
different layers at play, and
how each level is built on the
level below >>>
A quick tip : dont go into battle blind

Hire proven bid writers.

Give them 5-10% on success. If they take your offer, then you know you have a
shot. You can always reuse their work for other bids. Grant fundraising is like doing
an exam, and they have the marking scheme.
You may think that in the charity / social enterprise space everyone is
Stick to a friendly with the best intensions. Dont fool yourself. Grant fundraising is
no win no fee just as cut throat as equity fundraising, the only difference is the rules of
arrangement. the game.

Write your own When dealing with bid writers (that you do not know well and trust) do not
contracts. sign their contract, or at least have a lawyer (friend) check it over. If you
are being rushed into an agreement (with the funding dealing close),
dont sign. Instead, create your own simple one pager document /
contract that keeps everything super simple and clear. Stick to a no win
The top bid writers can no fee arrangement at first. Dont give away equity (this is for investors
earn in excess of 50k and team members who are in it for the long term). If the bid writer backs
for a weeks work. Dont out of the agreement then you know that they didnt really think your bid
think for a second they was likely to be successful.
are doing you a favour.
This is their business, The best bid writers have a track record, and usually focus on specific
and you need to define funds (e.g. like TSB / UK innovate). Each bid has its own unique
the terms. language and criteria. You want to work with proven bid writers who have
been successful with the funder you are aiming for. Do your due
diligence and clarify exactly what is expected from both sides.
Fundraising and raising investment is time consuming. The
There is no such second you take someones money you are tied to their
thing as free
money! On the receiving side, its often comes down to suffering
through endless forms, tiresome events and valueless
If you can, dont get free-money-from-the-uk-government-is-anything-
but-326be348443d. On the VC and investor side, its about
investment, bootstrap
spending days of your life with lawyers reviewing complex
(grow through sales) shareholder agreements.
and consult-strap
(consult on the side In both cases it is easy to get distracted. You end up
while developing your chasing the money and managing investors rather than
product). Its amazing building your business (e.g. delivering great products and
how much you can do services). If you are looking to build a business and exit in
3-5 years then this is the road for you. However, if you are
with less.
building a business to solve a problem you care deeply
about or you want the freedom to control your schedule
and do work you enjoy, then you should be wary of going
for funding or investment.
Balancing selling and doing is a very challenging part of
Startup Zen being an entrepreneur.

On one side you are telling people the vision and how money
One question that is rarely asked should be thrown at you left right and centre because this is
by entrepreneurs is the life vision the next big thing. On the other hand you are back in the
question How do you want to office and no one is doing their work properly, you are
live? behind on technology and its a nightmare. But at the same
time if you lock yourself up in a bubble and all you do is
Surely your life vision should be build product, then you wake up one day and ask why isnt
driving your career, not the other anyone using it or buying it and whats going on.
way around? What is the lifestyle
design that you aspire to? The constant oscillation between selling and doing is part of
the journey and designing silence and mindfulness in your
week is important. Because you can reflect on where you are
on that balance. Even though it can be appealing to run
after bigger and better deals it might not always be the
smartest thing long term.
Sales can become

Thats why it helps to take time

to actively slow things down.

It is so easy to start believing your own narrative

and fall into a vicious cycle of over promising and
under delivering. Design the practice of silence
and deep reflection into your week.

Tip: Time to be mindful is essential and it needs

to go into your calendar, or at least at the
beginning while you are establishing a new habit.
Its something that should become a practice in
your life rather than something you do when
everything crashes.

Playing the long game is a great The art of consult-strapping is learning

which clients to say yes to and which to
deal making strategy. However, say no to. The goal is to make some cash
this can put a strain on cashflow. quickly without having a big drain on your
time. This means being very clear with your
Thats why it helps to keep your clients on the value you bring and the
monthly overheads / costs as low service that you offer. You dont want old
as possible and to have a way of clients calling you up for changes a year
later. You also dont want to take on a
making some quick cash on the project that is so big that it distracts you
side. from your core mission and business.

A great article on consult-strapping Planting seeds in your network about the

fact that you take on projects from time to time is also useful. The work comes to you,
bootstrapping-through-consulting/ rather than you needing to chase the work.
Sell Tools, Not Time The classic mistake that
beginner freelancers do is
Try to get into the headspace of your target client. that they sell their time
instead of selling their value.
What are their problems and how much are those The fact that something
problems costing them? What price point would they takes you a short amount of
think is fair for solving this problem? (Often time to do, doesnt mean you
freelancers undersell themselves quite a bit). Position have to charge a small
yourself as an expert and package up your services amount for it.
as tools that deliver specific and measurable
outcomes. For example, we charge 2-3,000 for
branding, comms strategy and web setup, which
seems like a bargain to most companies. They dont
know that we have a system that makes it possible for
me to deliver high quality website and branding in
only a few days using Illustrator and Wix.
Our Approach to Consult-strapping This approach only works if you have
built up great skills and expertise in
We always start any potential consulting relationship with a one- your niche. When you first start out,
to-one session with the client. Our primary goal is to understand you take on everything you can get
their business model and wider vision. Our secondary goal is to (even unpaid work) in the pursuit of
learn about the client themselves and get a sense for what they mastery. However, once you have
would be like to work with. We start with rigorous questioning acquired in demand skills you can
and then we end by trying to add as much value as we possibly design a process that will maximise
can. We never commit to taking on a project until we have given the returns you get from your
a few days to think it through. consulting hours.

These are the questions we ask ourselves Another smart approach is to offer a
price range. The client can choose
Will we learn something? what is fair once the service has been
Do we believe in the project / business? delivered. You are trusting their
Do we like and believe in the person? honesty and as a result building their
Can we make money now? trust in you. Also, make sure you get
Can we make money later? payment upfront (e.g. 30-50%).
How can we add lots of value without committing
too much of my time?
The goal is not perfection. It is
Design Services : We only give to solve the clients problem in
the client ONE option the minimum time possible.
This means leading the client
through your process rather
Today, our golden rule when it comes to design and branding
than letting them order you
services is only give the client one option. It never ceases to
around in an unfocussed way.
amaze us how much indecision and time wasting can be
generated when you give a client more than ONE option. One
We have a minimal and flat
option has two responses I like it or I dont. With options the
design style that we know how
client begins to suggest different combinations Maybe we
to execute on fast and at a high
could do something in the middle a little bit to the left or a little
quality. If a client wants
bit tot he right and then you send the next two weeks messing
something else, we politely
around.Beware the paradox of choice.
encourage them to look
elsewhere. Our goal is to deliver
The ONE option rule will lose you some clients. However, the
results fast and if we are
goal is not to attract lots of clients. The goal is to secure a few
messing around with hand-
brilliant clients. The ONE rule is a great filter for identifying
drawn sketches, textures and
quality clients who share your desire to avoid waste and get the
gradients then we will not
job done fast. Remember, your are not just saving your own
maximise the returns on our
time, you are also saving their time.
Sometimes Before offering any suggestions ask many
rigorous questions. Try to get under the skin of
its good to the business model. Do your own market
ignore the research. You are the expert, thats why the
client brief. client is coming to you. You need to lead the
process and they need to be comfortable with
following. The way to create this level of trust is
to demonstrate early on to the client that you
understand their core business needs and
market differentiation.
Position yourself not as a designer who needs
to be managed. Instead you are a fellow
entrepreneur who can leverage the design
process to deliver high quality results, fast.
A consulting trick

Sometimes the best way to get the deal is to be an

unpaid consultant. Demonstrate your value for free
and then your perfect deal will come to you
Online Marketing, Analytics & Sales Pipeline
How to Focus your energy on referrals.
Engage? It is tempting to want to launch big and

send thousands of emails to your network.
However, it is in fact much more powerful
to start by focusing on building one-to-one
relationships and then testing whether
those connections would be willing to
promote your product or service to their
networks. Remember, you can only do one
or two big blasts to your own network
without falling into the category of spam,
so you need to make them count. Thats
why it is wise to start by testing how viral
your value proposition really is.

The holy grail of all marketing is Go beyond your network.

Make a list of your top 100 influencers and
organic word of mouth growth. then see how many coffees, responses
and meetings you can get. PR / media
The best way to achieve this is to find the network nodes / relationships are also good to build.
influencers in your market niche and the focus on getting one to
one meetings with them to establish a deeper connection and
share your long term vision.
Master the sales funnel
Most successful online marketing follows a
simple process. You engage on the social
media platforms around key conversations SOCIAL MEDIA
and issues. You focus on contributing high
quality content that brings genuine value to
your target audience. Users visit your SIGN UP
website / platform and sign up / contact your
team if your core landing pages are well EM AIL
designed. This is where you move from
conversation to conversion. Your mailing list CONVERT
becomes your point of engagement with your
core community / fans / power users. You treat
them well and in return they will spread the
word through organic referrals.

Measure growth at all levels of the funnel. Referrals

Also, tailor your messaging and
engagement strategy for each level.
A sales page structure used by

1.Headline and Subheadline

2.The Opener: Hooks and Leads
3.Pain and Solution
5.Future Pacing
6.Why You
8.Social Proof
12.Incentives and Discounts
Mindvalley Insights is one of 13.Price Justification
the best platforms for finding 15.Scarcity
16.Guarantee -
free online marketing advice 17.Call to Action
This is a great video that explains the science of designing landing
pages that convert startups
Ask for feedback in the right way
Practice active listening / avoid leading questions. You are not selling, you are learning.

People try to be nice.

Therefore they lie to you
without realising it.
Also, ask the right people for feedback, e.g.
designers & leaders in your field. General feedback
from customers, friends & family often lacks deep
knowledge of your market and can give you a false
sense of security.
Whats your hook? That unique element in your product or service that
does not exist anywhere else. It can be small.
The value of regulars. This is the essential ingredient to opening up a
financially successful high end restaurant. People coming back. 50% of
all your business comes from regulars. Lets study the nature of referral
and customer retention / loyalty.
Theformation of community and the importance of a genuinely welcoming

The power of the unexpected gesture. Unexpected gestures go a long

way. Be creative. Stretch your quotes (expected time of client project
delivery), then deliver early. Make your clients want to return for more.
Tip for great customer
Those satisfied customers become not just your regulars but also your
service. Encourage your
team to take ten minutes a evangelists. Theyll proceed to sell your product for you by telling the
day to make three gestures world how much they like it. The great brands have understood that
that exceed expectations people buy their products not just because of how the product itself
and take special interest in performs, but to tell a story about themselves. We want as many of our
our guests. guests as possible to be proud to identify themselves with our restaurants.
Our job is to give people a story worth telling. Building a community of
regulars is critical for organic exponential growth.
FeverBee offers some of the
best advice on how to building
thriving communities
When you first set out to launch an online community ask these

Growing an online community is not 1. What will the community be about?

rocket science. Its mostly common 2. Who is the community for?
sense stuff. Just put yourself in the 3. What type of community will this be?
shoes of your users and ask yourself 4. What is the purpose of the community?
honestly what would make you come
5. What will happen in the community?
back and invite your friends?

Community Launch Approaching your first members

Research and draft a list of potential The outreach needs to be genuinely personal with a focus on user motivations. It
founding members for your community. is essential to understand what the audience is motivated by. This, as per our
In creating this list you should aim for second lesson, will usually be something primal in human nature. For example,
100-150 founding members. We this might be the need to be appreciated, the need for power, the need for
already have this we just need to get recognition, etc.
the platform / pitch right.
Be sure that youre inviting your founding members to do something
Write an outreach message which you specific within the community, not just join the community itself. This will
can use when reaching out to your usually be to contribute a piece of content, rate a topic on a poll, suggest
potential founding members for the ideas or provide their expertise/perspective on a topical debate. After the
first time. initial contact, it is usually acceptable to follow-up once, but not more than
1) The organization must select a specific person for a specific reason. What
Brief does each individual contribute to the community?
Guidelines 2) Every e-mail must be personally written. Every outreach message should be
for Outreach personally written and not copy/pasted. These messages should include
personal information about the individual discovered through research of the

3) The e-mail should explain why the individual is being approached. By

specifically explaining why the individual has been approach (what skills/
knowledge/experience will they contribute?), it massages the ego of the
individual and increases the motivation of the individual to respond positively to
the message.

4) Ask for ideas/expertise on a particular issue within the community. People
have a strong motivation to feel appreciated and influential within their
surroundings. By asking for ideas and expertise, it both shows appreciation
and satisfies the individuals need for influence.
5) Keep it short, no more than 200 words (150 is better). The longer the
message, the less likely it will be read. Online, longer messages have low
Brief readership completion levels.
Guidelines 6) Offer an exclusive. One approach used by organizations to attract interest
for Outreach is to offer a unique exclusive to the individual being approached. This
exclusive may be an opportunity to get news or information before others,
take responsibility for areas of the community, meet key people within the
organization, represent their side of a debate on a topical issue.

7) Mention individuals the recipient knows. If the recipient of the outreach

knows others within the community, it is useful to mention those people.

8) Leave open-ended questions. The purpose of leaving questions open is to

solicit replies. You dont just want a member to join. You want to begin a
conversation with that member. Try to understand who is joining your
community what they might need and, perhaps, others who they might be
willing to invite to join the community.

9) Stay informal and in the first person. That means I think you would be
perfect for this community as opposed to We at Widget Inc. would cordially
like to invite you to join the community.
A community manager has two paths to
acquire influence in the community:

3 simple engagement tips: 1) Become a highly respected member of the community
platform. This would involve being highly active, gaining
The community manager should
keep a calendar highlighting which credibility amongst members and being well liked by
content will be created and members. This means to literally become an influential
published every day. This calendar member of the community in their own right.
should repeat the same categories
of content every week/month. 2) Build relationships with influential members of the
community. The second approach is to build relationships
1) Create a 1-month calendar of
content with the influential members of the community. The community
manager may then work with these members to make things
2) Recruit 3 members to write happen within the community. This is a consultation process
regular guest columns for the in which the community manager receives feedback on plans
community and builds a base of support for what s/he wishes to achieve
3) Write a daily news post updating
the community on whats new
Likability requires two consistent attributes: positivity and
friendliness. Friendly and frequent.

Start with a very small market. 1) Show genuine interest in other people.
2) Talk in terms of the other persons interest.
Always err on the side of starting 3) Make the other person feel important, and do it
too small. The reason is simple: sincerely. 4) Show respect for peoples opinions.
its easier to dominate a small 5) Admitmistakes.
market than a large one. If you 6) Appeal to noble motives.
think your initial market might be 7) Show praise.
too bit, it almost certainly is. 8) Dont criticise or complain.

The most successful companies The mantra to this approach is interact less, but better.
focus on dominating a specific The community manager should take the time in every
niche and the scaling to adjacent contribution they make to the community to ensure its
markets. Focus on the customers unique and adds insight/value that cannot be gained
/ power user who really need from elsewhere. This will be in the form of exclusive
your product. information, a deeper analysis of the situation or a unique
opinion/perspective to the discussion.
Community content should include more in depth feature articles. There are a
variety of potential feature articles:

Interviews. Interviews should be a regular feature of the community. This shines

Ensure every first-time participant an immediate spotlight upon members of the community. These interviews may be
receives a quality response within with either members of the community, those from the organization and VIPs from
24 hours of signing up. within the communitys ecosystem.

Concentrate activity in as few places Analysis. Content may include in-depth analysis on relevant issues within the
as possible. The activity in a community. These issues may be gathered from the sector analysis described in
community should be concentrated in Lesson 3. These should ideally be based upon data and evidence.
as few places as possible. Empty/
unused areas of the community make Stories/Articles. A major source of articles are stories about members of the
the community feel empty. Remove community and information articles on an interesting topic. Stories might involve
any feature/area that is not highly how members became interested in the community, the opinions other members
used. have of the member and their achievements. Articles can concern any topic of
Expand slowly. The community should interest to the community. This might be a profile of a relevant company or
grow slowly. Dont try to predict what individual, an overview of a major issue or a narrow focus on something specific.
will be popular, dont launch with
hundreds of features. Add new Surveys. A community may undertake a survey and collect research that it can
features/groups carefully and promote later publish as a feature article.
each until they have gained a high
amount of use. Reviews / Previews. As we covered in the previous lesson, the community may
publish reviews or previews of upcoming events, products, services or
happenings within the eco-system.
Product launches. A community might celebrate the launch of a new product or
service within that category. This can include building anticipation of the product/
service through a gossip column about possible features of the product/service, a
live-blog leading up to the launch, and/or discussion threads asking members to
Types of Community Event submit their views and thoughts on the topic. These threads will be sticky for the
Events play an essential role in Member achievements. The community may also celebrate the achievements of
the growth and development of a member. This might be the release of a book authored by the member, a birth of
communities. a child, gotten married, the launch of a new company or anything the regular
member takes a significant amount of proud in.
They unite audiences and create
Small, frequent, events. Communities that are either localized around a specific
the social foundations for great
area or have clusters of members living in close proximity may consider holding a
things to happen. Events can regular meet-up. This is usually a monthly event in which members gather in a
make communities more fun and nearby venue (usually rented) and talk about their communitys interest. This
provide a cause for constant usually requires very little planning and, indeed, might be organized by community
activity. Events give members a members.
reason to visit frequently to see . .
Decentralized gatherings. Some communities with a large following have recently
what is happening in the
begun asking members to organize their own events local to them. Mashable will
community and provide select a day and then invite members to create events for community members to
motivation for lurkers to attend near their city.
Thoughts. Members of the community, the community manager or people within
the organization may write thought posts on a topic of their passion. This should
rotate between different people to sustain a high level of interest. Members who
contribute good ideas consistently should be invited to provide a weekly column
Show activity on the landing page. for the community.

Cultivate more engaging landing page Predictions. The community manager or others may create prediction posts about
material. Many communities show an upcoming topic. Or, better, the community manager may ask 10 to 20
newcomers a static, welcoming, community members to make predictions on a topical issue relevant to the
landing page graphic. This is a community. These predictions can then be presented as a single feature on the
mistake (we will cover this in a future community.
lesson). It is better to ensure a visitor
can see the most recent, featured, and
most popular discussions taking place Members will share content or invite people to join the
within a community at any single time.
community for one of four reasons:
This increases their propensity to sign
up and participate in discussions.
1) Increase status within the community
When a newcomer joins the
2) Increase status amongst friends
community they are likely to be
seeking to satisfy an immediate need. 3) Support community
What is the immediate need you are 4) Support friends
trying to satisfy?
You can also read our article on
Digital Engagement
Start with a very small market. Leveraging Network Effects
Always err on the side of starting
too small. The reason is simple:
To reap the rewards of the network effect
its easier to dominate a small you must focus completely on your early
market than a large one. If you adopters / power users. By generating value
think your initial market might be for your first customers you enable
too bit, it almost certainly is.
networkeffects to kick in.
The most successful companies
focus on dominating a specific
niche and the scaling to adjacent
markets. Focus on the customers
/ power user who really need
your product. Kevin Kelly Ted talks
A great article by Kevin Kelly watch?v=ap-ZC21bk18
Every business is successful to the Design Hybrid Systems. Think in terms of
extend that it does something
others cannot. What is your unique technology-enable innovation.
angleor insight that will help you
rise above the competition in your Men and machines are good at fundamentally different things.
niche? Thats why we need to build hybrid systems. The computer
flags the patterns and out of the ordinary content via a well-
Beware the copycat game where designed user interface / dashboard and then the human
you lose focus on your vision and makes the final judgement.Software is great at extracting
start focussing on your rivals patterns in data through statistical analysis of huge bodies of
instead. What can your company text.The human brain is great at comparison and interpreting
become the best in the world at? complex behaviour. Actionable insight can only come from a
human analysts.
One of the best questions to keep
asking as an entrepreneur is how Computers are complements for humans, not substitutes. The
can computers (tech) help most valuable businesses of the coming decades will be built
humans to solve hard by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try
problems? to make them obsolete. Man and machine together can
achieve dramatically better results than either could attain
See Palantir. alone. What valuable businesses could be built around this
core principle?
If you dont measure the details, you wont
know what is working and what is not
Exponential working. A carefully designed dashboard /
Systems interface for you business is essential for
sustained exponential growth.
Dive deep into
the meaning of Avoid vanity metricssuch as free users, free downloads, visitors, etc that
your data / might give you a false sense of security. Focus instead on the rate of
change month on month so you can better understand the seasonal cycles
of your market as well as noticing when you have a big drop or jump in
performance. Think about your real value metrics like repeat usage,
retention percentage, monetisation and the Net Promoter / Virality Score
(how many times a new user or customer is likely to promote your product
or service to their friends and colleagues).

Dont just think about the metrics. Think about how that data can be
communicated to your team (ideally in real time) so that they can make
better decisions. Too many numbers lead to confusion and paralysis. You
want to get everyone in the team to think creatively around how they can
leverage data to optimise their performance one small insight and change
at a time.
Deciding what to All smart systems start as manual processes
Measure that gradually become automated around
the edges. Eventually, the process becomes
Most organisation are set up to a platform / digital interface that enables an
scale efficiencies. In the new
digitised knowledge economy what
organisation to seamlesslyscale, especially
we actually need to scale is on a global level.
learning. What is needed now are new
dashboards that measure the learning A good way to develop your business dashboard is to start by
capability of organisations.
mapping out all the activities that happen within your
Ask yourself organisation. Then brainstorm all of the touch points where your
How many (Lean Startup) experiments organisation interacts with customers / users. Then brainstorm
or A/B-tests did customer service run all the metrics that you can measure and how you can collect
last week? this data. Just keep digging down into the detail and intuit
How many innovative ideas have been which metrics are most important. Make sure you relate your
collected over the past year? How
metrics to your finances (bottom line) as well as your long term
many have been implemented?
What percentage of total revenues is impact goals (purpose).
driven by new products from the last
three years?
Deciding what to
Dave McClures AARRR Model
Measure Acquisition: How do users find you? - growth metric
Activation: Do users have a great first experience? - value metric
Good metricslist for a digital product Retention: Do users come back? - value metric
Revenue: How do you make money? - value metric
Total users Referral: Do users tell others? - growth metric.
New guests within last day
Total number of Personal Users (active) Ask these questions Periodically.
New Personal User registrations Who is your customer?
within last day Which customer problem are you solving?
Percentage of New Personal What is your solution and does it improve the status quo by at least 10x?
Users vs new Guests within last day How will you market the product or service?
Total Pro Subscribers How are you selling the product or service?
New Pro Subscriberswithin last day How do you turn customers into advocates using viral effects and technology
Percentage of New Pro Subscribers vs. to drive down the marginal cost of demand?
new Personal Users within last day How will you scale your customer segment?
Total Cash receipts How will you drive the marginal cost of supply towards zero?
Cash receipts within last 30 days
Cash receipts within last day When designing a product or service think about how you will measure
performance from the very beginning. When you start to grow, you will be
Capturing this information each month will thankful that you designed smart analytics into your product, trust me.
give you unique market intelligence and
customer insight.
A few digital tools to explore
A few digital tools to explore
If you dont know, Ask!

Great sources of Action Research

Best Q&A site. . Skimlinks University

A great place to get tips on online marketing.
Great place for finding developers.
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