Strategy Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: 75th Session Spotlights The Midwest
This week’s One Million by One Million roundtable was our 75th session, and we worked today with three entrepreneurs from the Midwest region of the United States. Our co-host for the program was TiE Midwest, based in Chicago.
First up, Priyanshu Harshavat, from Evanston, Illinois, presented Socioclean, a service for cleaning up your reputation on social networks. The company addresses a widely-experienced pain: employers are now using social networks for background check on issues such as comments about prior employers, substance-usage, and general image issues that may come across as red-flags to a prospective employer. Jobseekers, therefore, need help cleaning up their social media profiles so that objectionable material does not find its way to these background check scenarios, disrupting their chances of getting hired.
Socioclean already has about 25,000 users, and has good interest from a dozen colleges and universities who want to offer white label solutions through their career development offices. Monetization models, while not yet validated, can come from charging the customer base that is already acquainted with the service, as well as selling the white label solutions to colleges. In addition, Priyanshu is also considering an enterprise solution with the notion of cleaning up the profiles of employees (based on social media policies) of objectionable material.
The discussion today was around Social Media financing and go-to-market strategy. My assessment is that this is a good company that should be able to raise money at this point. Additional work in figuring out the precise go-to-market consumer, academic institution, or enterprise – each is a different business), and consequent business model and pricing model will help enhance the company’s valuation.
Next Chris Ruder from Chicago, Illinois, pitched Spikeball, a new volleyball-esque game that is being played at camps and college campuses. The game set retails online at $49.95, and about 2,000 unites have already been sold. Chris is primarily trying to assess his customer acquisition strategy, which requires that people see the game being played.
This pretty much rules out SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing, etc. at this point, because no one is really looking for Spikeball online unless they have seen the game being played. Campus sales reps is a good strategy that Chris is experimenting with, as well as marketing to camp directors. I like these two strategies. The missing piece is getting reviewed by campus blogs and newspapers, which I advised Chris to look into.
Then Satish Tripathi from Skokie, Illinois, discussed Biomedical Consulting International Inc., a consulting company that provides consulting services in writing and reviewing regulatory filings and other kinds of highly specialized applications in the biomedical field. Satish has about 20 customers, and 60 consultants around the world. His customer acquisition strategy, however, needs a lot of work. Being a domain expert in the biomedical field, and not having much experience in marketing and sales, Satish is hitting the wall on business development.
I advised Satish to study his current customers, what problems his firm has solved for each, and create a target list of other potential customers with similar issues. Then we need to define a precise process of how to approach them, and how to make them aware of the firm’s expertise.
Next week, the 1M/1M roundtable will be co-hosted with TiE Chennai and TiE Mumbai. You can register for the next roundtable here.
You can also listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here and select the business you like best through a poll on the 1M/1M Facebook page. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Photo by nazreth
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