Why You Should Get an 'Idea Editor' and 4 More Business Tips From the Week
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
David Karp has always been Tumblr's idea man, the one with a vision for how to drive the product forward. But his second-in-command, Marco Arment, served a necessary role as Karp's "idea editor" in the startup's early years. Karp was always dreaming big, and he sometimes needed a colleague to give him a dose of reality. "David would come in with a grand new feature idea, and I'd tell him which parts were infeasible or impossible, which tricky conditions and edge cases we'd need to consider, and which other little niceties and implementation details we should add," Arment said.
Although the two men disagreed at times over Tumblr's future direction or the question of whether or not to seek additional funding, Arment emphasized that Karp was usually proven right in time. Nevertheless, it's easier for high-flying entrepreneurs to succeed if they have down-to-earth colleagues watching their backs -- and working hard to refine and implement their big ideas. More: 3 Leadership Lessons From Tumblr's David Karp
Engage millennials with casual conversation.
Millennials are used to interacting with their favorite brands on social media, and they want to be treated more as conversation partners than as mere consumers. So all of your communications should seem authentic and natural, like a real conversation. How? "Just talk to people like people," says Michele Serro, founder of New York City-based Doorsteps, an online tool for prospective homeowners that targets young buyers. Try using casual language. (Tumblr's David Karp recently signed off the note announcing Tumblr's sale to Yahoo with a gleeful expletive.) Your brand's messages "should feel like a dialogue that honors real human emotions," Serro says. When people feel emotionally connected to your company, they are more likely to be loyal customers. More: 4 Tips for Marketing to Millennials
Make sure your app fixes a headache.
Successful products tend to sell themselves not as products but as solutions. Mobile apps are no different, says Rahul Varshneya, a startup coach and co-founder of Arkenea LLC, a mobility and cloud solutions company with offices in San Jose, Calif., and Pune, India. "Your app needs to be the aspirin that people need," he says. When brainstorming and building your app, you can choose either to solve an existing problem -- like the Flashlight app does -- or build a better version of existing solutions, like a new-and-improved weather app. "Each of these approaches works equally well as long as it satisfies a need for consumers," Varshneya says. More: 4 Essential Ingredients to a Successful Mobile App
Don't discount your service for big companies.
If you're one of the many startup founders who dreams of landing her first big client, there are a few things you should know before sitting down for a meeting. For instance, big companies will often ask for a "most favored nation" clause in the contract, which means they will enjoy the same rate for your service as the lowest rate you have ever given to any client. This is problematic for startups, which often have to cut sweetheart deals with early clients in order to get off the ground. Once you have a whale on the line, the last thing you want is to get minnow-sized payments. The best defense is to have a valuable, unique service that the big company couldn't easily build itself, says Kathleen Utecht, a senior associate at Comcast Ventures. In that case, the startup can say no to the clause and still land the client. More: 3 Tips for Doing Deals With Big Companies
Stay true to your brand as your business evolves.
As brands evolve, they risk losing touch with their core principles. This is dangerous, because authenticity is crucial to any brand, says Ken Carbone of Manhattan design-and-branding firm Carbone Smolan Agency. And consumers today can smell a fake. Carbone holds up Apple as a positive example, because although it has changed a lot since its founding, "those changes are always planned and have been very well-nurtured over the decades," he says. "You must make sure that your company's fundamental tenets and beliefs are intact, and only fine-tuned by changes in culture, society and customer taste." More: The 5 Branding Rules of Attraction