Category

Startups

Understanding-Conversion-Rates

Understanding Conversion Rates

By | Insight, Startups, Website | One Comment

Conversion rate is a discussion I have with my startup clients on a regular basis.  It’s the rate at which a customer/user performs an activity you want them to perform.  It is often a telltale sign to answering whether or not what you’re offering is what customers are interested in using/buying. Read More

Focus

Focus

By | Insight, Startups | No Comments

I’ve been guilty of ignoring my own advice.  I haven’t been focusing on my business as I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cutoff going after multiple opportunities.  Don’t get me wrong, these opportunities have been amazing and will likely lead to further work, but I just haven’t spent time giving any love to this business. Read More

Free Website Usability Testing

By | Software, Startups, Technology, Website | No Comments

Was reading up on blog posts in Pulse today and stumbled across a site that offers free usability testing with real feedback, from a real person.  Cool.

The site is called Peek and it offers free usability testing of 3 sites each month.  You put in a URL, click Start! and then enter your email address.  That’s it!  The site is in Beta currently so no news on price options in the future.  I have to assume they’ll offer pricing if you want more than 3 sites per month.  This is a great tool for freelancers and entrepreneurs like myself that are constantly launching new sites, but don’t really have anyone (or the money) to do some usability testing.

I’ll let you know how it goes once I get feedback on my 3 sites: jbwoodruffdesign.com, meals4you.org and campfinder.co

Get to Know the Land Before Moving

By | Insight, Startups | No Comments

If you’re getting started in something new, breaking into a new industry or exploring a new customer base I would suggest you ask yourself one question: Do I really know this space/industry/product/customer/etc?

My experience tells me that we often blind ourselves with the excitement of an opportunity. We feel that our skills will translate immediately and things can’t be really any different from what we’ve done in the past. Also, we often come from a land that we’ve grown to dislike so much that we feel that anything would be better; the grass is greener conundrum.

Get to Know the Land Before Moving

If you really want to try your hand at something new why not become an employee first? The risk is removed and the stress isn’t yours to bear. It may slow things up a bit or you may miss out on an opportunity, but it may save you greater pain in the end.

Now, I naturally haven’t done as I have written here, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

Whatever your choice, good luck and enjoy the ride.

Is Silicon Valley Really Public Enemy No. 1?

By | Insight, Startups | No Comments

Post copied from my article on Kikai Mining
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Just finished reading an interesting article by @DannyCrichton on TechCrunch.

The article is entitled “Silicon Valley Is Now Public Enemy No. 1, And We Only Have Ourselves To Blame.” Danny points out that public sentiment on startups has begun to sway against them.

Oh great! I switched my career last year to focus solely on building my own startups and helping other startups.

But apparently not all is lost. The reason for this trend appears to be a PR issue for the startup community. Here you have hot-shot, 20-year-olds who are appearing to avoid the trend of working their entire lives to be ‘successful’*, upending entire industries and not really doing much to improve the communities in which they work. So pretty much, don’t be cocky, complement vs. destroy and give back. Good thing it’s simple to solve.

It’s not that easy to solve

Wait? Didn’t I just say it was simple?

It’s not that easy. The rate of change in business has been astounding and naturally there will be some push back. Startups are so focused on Minimum Viable Products, Cost per conversion rates, Business Models, Pitches and Investors that there is very little time to think about the overall impact you might have to society. You’re passionate about your solution and you know it’s better than anything else out there. I’ve been there and I’m living it. I focus so much energy on begin successful (in a business sense) that the other aspects aren’t often considered.

What’s a startup to do?

Here are some initial thoughts that I’ve considered.  I’ll certainly be thinking more about this as I continue with my startup-based career:

  • Give back – mentor, volunteer, donate.  I do all 3 because it helps my community and makes me a better businessman.
  • Can you complement instead of compete? – Your idea might be awesome, but does it necessarily have to compete in the industry?  Reality is that if the industry is big enough you can probably make plenty of money without directly competing.
  • Be humble and thankful – yep, you worked hard to get where you are, but i’m pretty sure you’ve had a lot of help along the way.  I know I have.
  • Sometimes you can’t win – Even if you know the fight is the right thing to do and you’ll prevail, it doesn’t necessary mean anyone wins.

* Success in my mind is not determined by material wealth, but by what you do with the opportunity.

[Read the whole article at TechCrunch]

CampFinder – Beta Launch in Cincinnati

By | Startups, Technology | No Comments

I’ve been working for the past couple of months with my business partner, Brennan Sweeney, to develop CampFinder.co. I’m happy to say that we recently launched our beta site for the Cincinnati Area.

When you search for a flight, a place to eat, a hotel to stay in, or a car to rent, you know where to go on the Internet. However, if you have kids and you want to find a camp for them, there wasn’t really a service to help you out. CampFinder.co does just that. Summer camps, Academic & Enrichment Camps, Adventure Camps, Sports Camps, Religious Camps, you name it, we want to list it.

We’re in the process of adding camp programs daily to ensure we have a complete list. We feel the real value is offering this complete list because without it then you’re not really afforded a complete choice.

Best of all, this service is 100% free to parents.

Right now, parents can search for camps based on information including: Location, Program Type, Camper Age, Program Date, Program Price and Program Rating. Additionally, parents can reach and leave reviews for camp programs to aid in the selection process.

CampFinder Search

We hope to soon be able to offer complete camp program registration, but we do offer camp booking and payment if the camp chooses to use our service. It’s our hope that camps will see the benefit of allowing parents to search, research and register all within a single site.

Please check out CampFinder.co and let us know what you think!

JB and Camilo

Reconnecting with Old Friends

By | Startups | No Comments

I had the distinct pleasure of reconnecting with my old college friend, Camilo, this weekend while in New York City. We met each other while studying in Barcelona during our time at Penn State. We had a lot to catch up on and great to have him meet my wife and good friend.

It had been 9 years since we last saw each other due to mixed schedules and living in separate countries. You see, Camilo currently lives in Bogotá, Colombia. It’s not really a good excuse, but it’s been a reality. I want to go and this visit has renewed that interest.

I wanted to share what he has been up to. Camilo has helped form a startup business down in Panama. The company is called Lion Trader (http://www.lion-trader.com/) They have created a tool that is able to quickly harness the activities of the best traders in the business and allow you to benefit by mimicking their actions. Essentially using the power of social monitoring to allow everyone to benefit. Certainly this method has some inherent risks, but so does buying into a Twitter IPO. Check it out and see what you think. I’m always interested in disruptive methods in established businesses, but even more when it’s a good friend of mine.