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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how. Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

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Recent posts

Why Facebook and Google Want to Market Your Reputation Online

Social proof is critical when creating influence and trust.
Can I trust you? If I can trust you, I'll share a little secret with you. I want to buy from you! Of course, if I can't trust your business, I'm going to buy from a company that shows me I can trust them more than you.
This is the subconscious mind of your customers whispering to their conscious brain while visiting your website and deciding who is going to win their hard-earned money today.
It's harder than ever to earn the trust of a would-be customer, and the competition is only becoming more intense. With the entrepreneur being the new rockstar, starting your own business is almost as cool as being the lead singer or guitarist in a band -- almost. As a result, new businesses are opening their doors every day and looking to take your customers away from you.
With such fierce competition, how do you stand out in a competitive marketplace? One key strategy to focus on is to leverage the power of social proof by i…

10 Things You Must Do Before Quitting Your Job to Start Your Company

You have a dream but you need a checklist to achieve it. So you've decided you're ready to take the plunge, quit your job, and get your own company up and running. You have an amazing ">businessidea you are ready to launch. You're probably excited and nervous at the same time, which is perfectly understandable. If this is the case, you need to take a step back and remember that you simply can't walk into work tomorrow with your resignation letter.
Being impulsive could be a huge mistake so you need to create a list of the advantages and disadvantages you will face when quitting your job. If you decide it's still what you want to do, there are a few things you must put in place before you quit. 
To help you get ready before your big day of freedom, I've highlighted 10 things you should do before quitting your job and starting your own company.
1. Do research. Quitting your current job before getting your company off the ground may seem like the best option, b…

4 Lessons Learned in Getting Bank Financing

Lending isn’t quite as tight as it was after the recent economic downturn, but it’s still a delicate process. Many small- and medium-sized businesses find it difficult to obtain bank financing because they don't know how to navigate the process. But, if you’re persistent enough, however, raising the necessary capital is still possible. At Blank Label, we were offered over $500,000 in debt financing. To help you secure the financing you need, we’re going to share the four important lessons we learned about getting bank financing.
1. You might not need financing. The most important step in the process is figuring out if you even need financing. Moreover, make sure debt financing is right for you. If you don't have the cash-flow to support interest payments, but anticipate high future growth, equity financing might make more sense for you. At Blank Label, before we raised our debt, we firstraised a $1 million equityround. Some reasonable things to take out a bank loan for include co…

5 Easy Exercises to Find Your Brand's Voice

It's what every consumer should hear whenever and wherever they encounter your product or service.
Each day, consumers are bombarded with a cacophony of brands. Taglines and slogans shout from TV, radio and the Internet; they vie for attention on store shelves and billboards. It can be difficult for consumers to make sense of the noise, and it can be even more difficult for brands to be heard. Brands with strong, consistent voices are able to stand out from competitors and connect withconsumers. Your brand's voice is what every consumer should hear whenever and wherever they encounter your product or service. It is the voice that drives all content, from marketing materials tosocial mediaand customer service.
Who are you talking to? One of the first steps to shaping your brand voice is to identify the voice of your audience. If you're like many companies and have more than one core target audience, select an individual within each segment. Create personas for these individuals…

Beyond Brand Building: When You Are Your Brand

These four companies manifest their brands in a way that is indistinguishable from their products or business activities. We are seeing a shift in what it means to be a brand and how to build your brand. From about 2007 or 2008 -- alongside the rise of social media as a mainstream technology -- we cultivated a mindset around building our personal brands (where the winners were the ones shouting the loudest). This in turn led us to reimagine business brands where the focus was on humanizing those brands. Brands evolved beyond the words and visuals to describe them and manifested more as “what we do, is our brand.”
In recent times, this evolution has continued as brand building has focused on greater authenticity, transparency and empathy. This evolution has been inspiredby consumers who have become more demanding of the businesses that supply them of products and services. Gone are the days where branding was considered a marketing activity purely for the benefit of the company doing it.
N…

5 Strategies for Creating Epic Content Marketing on a Tight Budget

Even when you know what you're doing, content marketing can be a daunting task. Still, it can and does pay off. What's the best way to promote your brand? “It’s easy,” everyone says. “Just create amazing content.”
But, the truth is, even if you know what you’re doing, content marketing can be a daunting task. Still, it can and does pay off
Distribion used content to increase its blog traffic by 2,000 percent and boost revenue by 40 percent. And that company is not alone. Qualtrics generated 2500-plus leads at less than $1.30 cost per conversion, and Kraft says its content marketing ROI is up to four times higher than any other advertising technique it offers.
Read the following tips to learn how to make even a small budget reap big rewards for your company’s content marketing.
1. Identify the most effective content type for your business.
There are a lot of different types of content that the market wants you to produce. These include, blog posts, videos, slideshows, infographics,…