Good advice from Dan Martell

I’ve been reading and watching Dan Martell’s short (i.e. time friendly) videos on startups & entrepreneurship. They are all simple straight to the point, sound bites for helping you grow your startup.

Here’s some quick notes.

Three stages of a startup.

  1. Start:  Founder Foundation and Product Development
  2. Grow: Marketing & Distribution and Building the Right Team
  3. Sell: Raising Funds and Exit Strategy

No Cost Development

  1. Find potential customers
  2. Find their “Deep Problem”
  3. Build clickable prototype (High Fidelity if possible)
  4. Iterate through Feature Specification (repeat 3,4)

True Customer Validation – Must have $ exchange!!

  1. Prototype (see no cost development)
  2. Find early adopters (those that tried it themselves but failed or have a kludgy system)
  3. Get 10 Pre-orders
  4.  Build the team

Fear of Rejection

  1. Its not about you, its the product
  2. Numbers matter…start with more!
  3. Get out early and often
  4. Look for opportunity to learn — Failure is just SPEEDY LEARNING!
  5. They really do need your product

Online business the new direct marketing

During our weekly, mastermind Core Four, meeting Paul, handed me his copy of “Dotcom Secrets – The Underground Playbook for Growing your Company Online…” by Russell Brunson; I’ve started reading and “wow – it just makes sense”. The book focuses on “copying” established businesses and shuns startups. Startups just don’t yet have a clear sales funnel process; and Russel thinks inventing is a waste of time, because its just easier to make money copying what someone has already done. Despite this sentiment, the book clearly outlines what’s necessary to build and manage a good sales funnel.

Click on book to order now.

The forward is written by Dan Kennedy, and is quoted as saying “Ultimately the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer, wins!”

I “mostly” whole-heartedly agree — I don’t agree that “startups should be shunned”. I think he’s saying, the startup may have a new product/service, but your own marketing doesn’t need to be re-invented. Instead, follow what has been shown to work.

Full disclosure, any Amazon purchase thru the link, result in a small affiliate payment, which I’ll use to defray the costs of this website.

The startup business – assembling the business with “just in” time advice

Here are a few of the resources I’ve recently used that have been valuable for helping me think about sales and marketing. I’ll update this as I read more…

One approach to creating a landing page

Updated May 22 2018, updates in blue:

With all the technology and web services available, there are endless choices on how to create a landing page for testing your startup idea.  One such service is The service looks intriguing, but as I looked into it, I decided it wasn’t for me, as I don’t really like monthly recurring costs.  At $79/month, after a few months it quickly adds up into a real expense. The service makes sense if you are in a rapid mode to test many landing pages, but for many early stage ventures, their just isn’t enough time to maximize the service.

In my case, I have access to a wordpress server — In fact this blog is running from a wordpress server. I would consider it a sunk cost. So I headed over to the local WordPress meetup for some advice — I came away with several new ideas.

What WP Theme Is That. — very useful for getting information about a wordpress website, as to what theme and plugins are being used. In otherwords, if I see a website I like, I can see if its wordpress and get some insights into is underlying services.

DesktopServer — Is a free tool that allows you to create a WordPress site on your machine and then push to an online location. Excellent for setting up a WordPress site in a safe and private environment. The tool also has a premium service that automates some of the manual deployment processes. Here you just have to put a price on your time and opportunity cost.  Note: DesktopServer’s site recommends their Duplicator product for copying sites from a local to remote system or visa versa —  don’t use the duplicator – the product  is poorly maintained; and not formally tested with the latest version.

All-in-one WP Migration — my recommendation for copying/moving wordpress sites from one place to another. It worked for me flawlessly with no futzing at all. 

Elegant Themes – Divi — for DRAG and DROP self created themes the wordpress meetup  recommended this site for quick and rapid prototyping.  Their overall comment was — good for many many situations not all — i.e. 90%+ for most use cases.

WP Engine — the general consensus was this is the best WordPress site since it includes many services that any sane WordPress developer would use….i.e. each site comes with three environments (development, test, production)  and SSL (a $150 value), WordPress specific firewalls and comment spam filters (at least $300/year from Sucuri).  They charge ($420/year).

For now I’m going to see if I can utilize my existing wordpress server and forgo a new service. If nothing else, for the learning more about hos the stuff works.

So for now, I’m using my own pre-exisitng webserver, the free DesktopServer, and the $89 Divvy Theme from Elegant themes (which I’ll also be using for another business.) I was able to install a second copy of wordpress on my GoDaddy host, using a domain I already owned.  Simply use cPanel to  “add-on domain” the domain. Then install wordpress, following the standard wordpress installation instructions. Just choose the file path location for the “add-on domain” home directory.

Shark Tank Secrets – Finding Money for your Startup from Core Four

If you going to raise money from Shark’s (angel investors) you need to know what your up against. After all, to the inventor, your business is just another minnow in a large school of fish. What makes you the golden fish?  We’ve collected some videos and nuggets of wisdom from Orange County groups to help you answer your own question.

2 minutes
Gary Vee answers the question “How do I raise money”?

Techstars panel
Good inside information from the perspective of an investor (and a periscope video too):

Your customers can be investors?
A good place to find an investor that’s not talked about often enough: “Your early customers and/or your largest customers are good potential investors/partners. A company that has the problem that you are solving is another potential investor.”

Want money from Tech Coast Angeles?
Check out the application process here:

4 minutes
First 4 minutes Guy will tell you it’s not necessarily “the team”:

Asking for money:
Bad ask:
I am seeking $200,000 for a 5% equity stake in my company.

Good ask:
I am taking $200k investment into my company and would like to get to know more about you to see if you would be a good fit for this venture.

Take 60 seconds to see a snippet of an interview with Oren Klaff:

Pitch deck ideas:

  • TCVN – The 30 Second Pitch
    • What pain (in the market) are you trying to solve?
    • What is your solution?
    • How big is the market? and How do you make (me the investor) money?
    • Who are you and what makes you think you can solve the pain?
    • What do you need?


About the Core Four – We are four Orange County entrepreneurs that have come together to help each other be successful.

Smile and Put your Best Foot Forward to Accelerate Sales and Attract Amazing Investors to Your Startup with Engaging Headlines

It true, you need to put your best foot forward. We judge stuff in the first few seconds. Your blog or content is judged in even less time. We’ve all been there, scanning the google results – thinking – “next next next…. what this? <CLICK>” That’s precisely what we want. We want a person to click and give us a second look.


My good friend Paul, alerted me to a wonderful tool that will improve your first impression. I’m talking about Headlines an online tool from Sharethrough


I tried it myself and started with something simple “A Tool for Helping you Write Better Headlines” and scored 68.

After many iterations, I was able to increase it to 79 a 16% increase with “Smile and Put your Best Foot Forward to Accelerate Sales and Attract Amazing Investors to Your Startup with Engaging Headlines”