(2) E-Commerce: How do e-commerce startups like One Kings Lane, Manpacks, and Dollar Shave Club handle the inventory fulfillment side of their business. I'm not going to get into the software side of things, just the basic logistics/order flow.
Lets look at the options, and lets assume that this is early stage and money is tight. 1. Buy Inventory, Ship out of your garage. It depends on the price of your sweat but in many cases this is the most viable option. If you were doing something like Manpacks (small items), it would be reasonable to pick up everything "as-needed" at a local store and ship. Ballpark Fulfillment PricingShipping - $3 USPSPackaging - $1.50 (maybe a nice flier/sticker for that personal touch)Total - ~$4.50/order 2. 5 Lessons from 150 startup pitches. I just reviewed several hundred startup pitches for Capital Factory.
Most were on paper and video; 20 were invited to pitch in person. Interesting patterns emerged: Everyone makes the same classes of error.Those who avoided just one of those errors stood out in the crowd.These are problems with the business concept or the founder’s attitude, not specific to raising angel money. You’re probably making a lot of these errors too. Not that I blame you! So for the next few weeks I’m doing a series on these mistakes and what to do about them. Here’s the list: Invalid competitive advantages “Superior SEO” and “unique features” are not competitive advantages.Lacking an unfair advantage You need one killer advantage that no one on Earth can beat you on.
There’s also this list, equally common but I didn’t feel the urge to write an entire blog post on each one: The Science behind Viral Marketing. The Science behind Viral Marketing is a look at the key factors that drive growth in viral marketing.
(Hint, the most important factor is not the one everyone expects.) It also looks at what is needed to get virality to work, and how to create and optimize viral marketing campaigns or viral products. This was a slide deck presented at the Inbound Marketing Summit, Boston, Sept 2011. Suitable for marketers or for product designers. Further Resources Check out Andrew Chen’s blog, as he has written extensively on the subject of Viral Growth.
Uzi Shmilovici has a nice list here of the Eight Ways To Go Viral. Kevin Lawler very kindly created a post explaining how to derive the formula for viral growth used in this post: Virality Formula. Acknowledgements and Thanks My thanks to Antonio Rodriguez, the founder of Tabblo, who got me started on thinking about this topic several years ago. Be Sociable, Share! Lessons from Leaders: How JBoss did it. JBoss was an Open Source company providing free middleware software to it’s customers.
By the end of 2003, JBoss had been downloaded 5 million times, and the company was doing about $1m a year in revenues, selling training, documentation and consulting. Around that time, Bob Bickel joined the company, and initiated a process to raise venture capital. The raising of VC funds was a trigger that was needed to hire a professional management team, and to enter a new growth phase.
Together with Bob, the company had figured out that once an application migrated from development to production, they could charge their customers for a subscription based initially around support, that should result in a better monetization than the other revenue streams. I joined the board, and we immediately started working together as a team to build their sales and marketing machine.
Starting the lead flow Dealing with an overflow of leads: Lead Scoring Most companies suffer from not having enough leads. Multi-axis Pricing: a key tool for increasing SaaS revenue. Scalable pricing is a powerful tool to grow revenue in a SaaS or software business. It allows you to capture more of the revenue that your customers are willing to pay, without putting off smaller customers that are not able to pay high prices.
It also provides a great way to continue to grow revenue from your existing customers. This post looks at how to create scalable pricing using multiple pricing axes, and discusses the different types of axes that can be used. Introduction Many SaaS startups begin life with one product that has a simple pricing model. However as time progresses, they may hear comments like: “I would have been happy paying far more for your product as it provides such great value to me”“I didn’t consider your product as it was too cheap, and didn’t look like a credible option to handle our more advanced needs”“I only needed a subset of your functionality, and your product was too expensive” No, Your Job Is NOT To Create The Flashiest Product Possible. Building a great user-experience means creating a flashy, impressive product, right?
Kevin Kearney, co-founder of experience design and strategy company Hard Candy Shell, says NO. "Most people think they should come up with an idea, then work on features, then create a product," says Kearney. "Instead, you should think about what problem your product is solving. " If you can't answer that question easily, your product probably just isn't that good. Kearney encourages people to think about their product category in the past, present, and future. A lot of designers enjoy creating flashy products. "People think things are cool that work," Kearney says. He also stresses that designing and art are two entirely different things. Another common mistake that can destroy user-experience: using cute, gimmicky interactions that don't fit with the product. Kearney emphasizes that a product interface should NOT be entertaining. In summary, innovation is the reduction of complexity.