Google Makes It Easier For Advertisers To Track Which Ads Generate Phone Calls

Over the course of the last year, Google’s AdWords advertising platform started launching a number of new products that allow advertisers to link ads and phone calls. Those include click-to-call ads, call metrics and calls as conversion in your AdWords stats, but today, it is taking this concept a bit further with the launch of Website Call Conversions.

Here is how they work. You set up your regular search ads, but every time somebody clicks on them and lands on your site, they will see a dynamically generated phone number that is linked to those ads. When potential customers then click on the number or dial it directly from their phones, the call will automatically be linked to the original ad the customer saw and you can more easily track which ads drive phone calls.

Untitled drawing (50)

Until now, it was surprisingly hard to link incoming phone calls to ads. Google cites1000bulbs.com (“Looking for a great online deal on light bulbs, halogens, batteries, light fixtures or other lighting products?”), which beta tested these new dynamic phone numbers, as an early success story for this service. “After implementing website call conversions, we discovered that AdWords was not only driving over twice as many calls than previously thought, but that our customers also talk to us for over five minutes on calls originating from our site,” says the company’s director of marketing Jeremy Foster. “Insights like these are helping shape our web strategy and the way we serve our customers.”

Based on the conversion data, advertisers can then optimize their ads and bids to drive calls that are more likely to generate sales leads, for example.

To enable this feature, advertisers only have to add a small code snippet on their desktop and mobile sites. The design of the numbers can be styled according to the advertiser’s website’s branding, and numbers stay active for 90 days.

The only problem I see here is that many potential customers may want to call you back a few months later. If they saved the number they found on your site and that Google forwarding number isn’t active anymore — or was recycled and now points to a completely different business — there’s quite a bit of potential for confusion here. I asked Google for clarification about this and will update this post once I hear more.

The service is now available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain and Australia.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

How to make Facebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’

The “Like” button on Facebook seems harmless enough: It’s an easy way to express your appreciation of something.

But as some people are discovering, that innocuous little like has some unintended consequences.

Wired writer Mat Honan found out what happens when you like every single thing that shows up in your Facebook feed. The results were dramatic: Instead of his friends’ updates, he saw more and more updates from brands and publishers. And, based on what he had liked most recently, Facebook’s algorithm made striking judgements about his political leanings, giving him huge numbers extremely right-wing or extremely left-wing posts. What’s more, all that liking made Honan’s own posts show up far more in his friends’ feeds — distorting their view of the world, too.

But Medium writer Elan Morgan tried the opposite experiment: Not liking anything on Facebook. Instead of pressing like, she wrote a few thoughtful words whenever she felt the need to express appreciation: “What a gorgeous shock of hair” or “Remember how we hid from your grandmother in the gazebo and smoked cigarettes?” The result, as you might guess, is just the opposite of Honan’s experience: Brand messages dwindled away and Facebook became a more relaxed, conversational place for Morgan.

While far from conclusive, these two personal experiments are highly suggestive. Facebook’s algorithm is tuned in a way that makes it respond to likes by giving you more of what it thinks is related — and those suggestions are usually driven by brand marketing. Stop liking things, and Facebook eases off the marketing messages, letting your friends’ updates come to the fore.

“Once I removed the Like function from my own behavior, I almost started to like using Facebook,” Morgan wrote, concluding:

Give the Like a rest and see what happens. Choose to comment with words. Watch how your feed changes. I haven’t used the Like on Facebook since August 1st, and the changes in my feed have been so notably positive that I won’t be liking anything in the foreseeable future.

Not so secretly, I think the humanity and love, the kinder middle grounds not begging for extremes, that many of us have come to believe are diminishing in the world at large are simply being drowned out by an inhuman algorithm, and I think we can bring those socially vital experiences back out into the light.

 

-Courtesy: Venturebeat

The 6 Elements of Persuasion (Infographic)

The word “influencer” gets thrown around a lot in business, but how does the power of the persuasion really work? An infographic from U.K.-based virtual phone service Everreach, explains the elements companies can utilize to impact their customers and get to “yes.” The list is based on the teachings of Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the popular book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

For businesses, the principles of “reciprocity” and “scarcity” are big factors in the persuasion game. Customers feel more inclined to appreciate your business, for instance, when they’ve been given something personalized or unexpected. In that same vein, they also tend to want things that are scarcer, which is why limited-time offers tend to be a big selling point.

Customers are also big on trust. Your company can build lasting customer relationships by emphasizing your knowledge and “authority” in your industry. Try providing a trial period for your service, allowing your future clients to make a small commitment to start.

For more on how to influence your customers and potential clients and the importance of consensus and finding common ground, check out the infographic embedded below.

The 6 Elements of Persuasion (Infographic)

-Courtesy: Entrepereneur.com

The 5 Signs of Failure: How to Tell When an Investment Isn’t Working Out

No matter how many precautions you take, not every investment that you make is going to work out in your favor. Thus, it’s important that you’re able to realize when an investment is one of the duds, and know how and when to back out before you lose everything. Having an exit strategy when you go into the investment will certainly help in this process, but before it even gets started, you have to be aware of the investment’s true state and leave. In order to do that, you should look for these five signs of a failing investment.

The Investment Isn’t Bringing In Positive Cash Flow

This should be a no-brainer, but one of the first signs of a failing business or investment is the lack of a positive cash flow. It should be said that a negative cash flow for a just few months doesn’t mean that the investment is a failure, as many industries have slow seasons and startups can take a few months to get on their feet, however, a prolonged period of negative cash flow is definitely a warning sign about your investment.

So, before investing your hard earned money into an early-stage startup or other unproven investment opportunity, be sure to analyze the financial records or growth of the business and make sure that it is trending upwards. As an investor, you’re not in the business of losing money; so, make sure that you’re putting your capital into something that shows signs of growth and a promising future.

Review Stock Prices Over the Past 12 Months

If a company’s stock prices continue to plummet, you should liquidate yourself of that stock before it falls any further. Negative trends that continue for that long are bound to continue further into the future, so you need to cut your losses while you are still somewhat ahead if you spy this pattern in motion.

Always keep your eyes on your investments and watch the trends that are happening in the marketplace so that you don’t find out before it’s too late. You should never expect to invest in a company and then just sit back and reap financial rewards. Stay observant and try to make informed moves based on how your investment, as well as the company that you’ve invested in is performing.

The Yield Is No Longer Competitive With The Current Market

If your investment isn’t yielding a competitive return, then it’s time to cash in and get rid of that investment. Having money in a company or a stock when it’s not yielding a competitive return means that you’re tying up money that could be utilized in a more profitable part of your investment portfolio.

Know what your investment is worth, be it in a company, a stock, or a bond, and make sure that you’re getting a solid return from your investment. Look to the performance of similar, or competing companies or stocks and compare your return to what you would be getting elsewhere.

The Business You’ve Invested In Is Hemorrhaging Employees

If people can’t stick around a business for a paycheck, what does that say about the business itself? A business that’s not able to hold on to talent is a business that’s probably being mismanaged, and even if it’s not losing revenue, mismanagement will certainly lead to failure in the future. If you notice lots of unexpected change or employees abandoning ship, then it’s probably time that you do the same and get out while you still can before you lose out.

Nobody Cares About The Business

If customers, employees, and management have a lack of passion for a company, then the business is likely going nowhere, and heading there fast. To be competitive in today’s market, startup founders and their employees must be dedicated to the growth and success of their business and have a passion that will make sure that they see it through from start to finish.

If you get the feeling that a startup team is all in, then they probably are and the company could turn out to be a great investment; if not, then it’s time to look elsewhere.

In today’s business world, nearly 75% of all new companies fail–an undeniably daunting statistic for potential investors. However, as long as you identify the early warning signs of failure, you can make sure to dodge poor investment opportunities and dying businesses to protect your hard earned money and invest only in the businesses that will reward you handsomely for your investment.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Don’t Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem

Last Things First: 4 Secrets to Acing Your Product Development Process

Here are a couple pieces of insight to get you started.

Focus on building a must have not a nice to have product.Consumers are overwhelmed with the paradox of choice on daily basis. Attention spans are getting shorter in the age of multi-tasking and only few products are getting noticed – with many being a solution for a must not a want. The demand for quicker and faster results make it difficult to fully satisfy the needs of consumers. You need to be doing something different and better to make it in this world, as donsumers expect and demand more than just another product.

Solve real painful problems. Google made search better. Amazon simplified online buying and selling. Netflix solved on-demand streaming media. Uber is trying to make on-demand car service better. What can you make smarter or better?

What is the one painful problem you can solve without struggle? To grab your customer’s attention, start by solving their needs, wants rarely make the cut. If your product is not a must-have, you could still find a way to repurpose it to solve a pressing need. If you have been able to identify a crucial problem that you can effectively execute and deliver to market, you will be able to create a real business that matters.

Your business should be your passion. Some entrepreneurs look to solve problems they identify with or feel passionate. They choose this path because work because less about work and more about enjoying the journey.

You will need all the inspiration, commitment and the perseverance you can get to make it as an entrepreneur, hence the need to start a business you are passionate about.

“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them,” Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston said during the 2013 MIT commencement address.

Coupled with passion, is the ability to execute. If you can’t deliver, you are not in business. Products with a real need are easy to market and you won’t have to convince people about the existence of the problem and the need for your product because they identify with it.

You don’t want to start a business that may not survive. Do your homework, validate your idea and make sure you have a real market for your idea. Don’t just start another business, solve a real problem people actually have to increase your chances of success.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

4 Secrets to Success Richard Branson Learned From Nelson Mandela

 
 

As Virgin America announced plans for its long-awaited IPO, Sir Richard Branson confided over a late-night beer just how maddening it can be to launch any high-flying business, even with more than 350 other companies under the Virgin brand. Back when the Bay Area-based airline was getting started, Virgin America’s competitors viciously contested the newcomer’s arrival for what seemed like an eternity. Price wars, lawsuits, and regulatory battles all soaked up precious resources.

“The knee-jerk reaction you feel when you’re under attack is to assume a siege mentality,” Branson said. But your fight-or-flight instincts are “a self-indulgent waste of time and money.” Instead, the legendary entrepreneur and his partners focused on reinventing the customer experience for domestic air travel, eventually winning share in the insanely competitive airline industry.

Branson said that rather than ever feel threatened or even sorry for himself, he’s always comforted by four principles that guided his longtime mentor, Nelson Mandela, whose circumstances were obviously far more desperate than any of us will ever experience.

1. Let your mission, not your nightmare, define you.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” Mandela once said.  Vengefulness and victimhood would not erase the crimes done to him in the past, nor would they help him build a better future. Mandela could have emerged from decades of jail “still imprisoned by bitterness,” Branson said. “Instead he devoted every ounce of creativity to building a lasting legacy–just as each of us should during our lifetimes. Get over it and build a great business!”

2. Focus on what you’re for (the customer), not what you’re against (the competition).

Rather than getting sucked into a protracted, bitter feud with competitors and the government, it’s much better to let your adversaries waste their energy fighting each other. Virgin America didn’t get distracted by turf battles and name calling, and instead focused on building a community of customers who loved Virgin’s fresh, edgy vibe.

3. Being persistent does not mean being inflexible.

“Do not judge me by my successes,” Mandela admonished. “Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” When you’re suffering a setback in your startup, imagine how much worse Mandela had it–and just how creative he had to be in a cramped cell every night. From dawn to dusk, he dragged stones in the blinding heat. You can’t steel yourself year after year dreaming that hopeless circumstances will change, he said. You have to change the way you deal with the circumstances. Being flexible in finding a new door every time the last one slams shut is the difference between those who find their way and those who self-destruct. “That’s the kind of grit and creativity you need to be an entrepreneur,” Branson insists.

4. You don’t have to be perfect to make a difference.

I will never forget Mandela’s warm embrace as he almost collapsed in my arms after midnight during his last visit to the World Economic Forum, the invitation-only summit in the Swiss Alps where CEOs, presidents of nations, noble laureates, artists, educators, and billionaires convene every winter. I was executive producer of Schwab.com, and I was writing a book interviewing hundreds of leaders in Davos for my sequel to Built to Last with Stanford professor Jerry Porras. Almost every thought leader I met pointed to Mandela as a role model for leadership. With a smirk, Mandela told me that perfection was never a part of his plan and he “never achieved it.”

In the years before Mandela, an activist lawyer, had been sent to a death camp, he was rarely without zealous overconfidence about his mission to end apartheid. Although Mandela initially advocated a peaceful solution, he eventually took up arms when the path of peace appeared to be a dead-end. In 1964, he was convicted of conspiracy and sabotage and sentenced to life in prison. The fact that he didn’t start out as a complete saint with perfect grace or humility before his long walk to freedom, makes his journey even more useful to the rest of us.

“You have enduring impact not because you are perfect or lucky,” Sir Richard sighed as he finished a beer, “but because you have the courage to stay focused on building a better future rather than dwell in the past.”

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Facebook’s VP Of product management Sam Lessin is leaving the company

Facebook’s VP Of product management Sam Lessin is leaving the company

Lessin was considered a very high-profile acquihire by Facebook at the time. In his announcement, Lessin didn’t say what he’d be doing next other than taking some time off and helping his wife, journalist Jessica Lessin, with her tech news site The Information. Here’s Sam Lessin’s full announcement:

Esteemed colleagues, it is with quite mixed emotions that I write to say that August 29th will be my last day at Facebook. I am tempted to stay in character and dash off a cool 10,000 word as a parting salvo, but I will spare you all and keep it to a few relatively short — though not Emoji short — thoughts.

First, thank you. Being part of this community over the last few years has been an unbelievable privilege and honor. I won’t do the traditional parting ‘colleague-tagging’ exercise both because there are far too many people to mention, and because it would be besides the point to call out individuals. But suffice it to say that you collectively as a community have pushed me to my best, and taught me to be better. The fond memories are countless, but I find myself thinking back to the late nights and hard debates as the moments which I most cherish. I am extremely proud and thankful to have had the opportunity to play a small role in a chapter or two of the grand adventure that is Facebook.

Second, keep playing your heart out, as you always do. This company is a very important part of the future. I sincerely believe that it has every ability to be the most important company of our generation and carries with it the power to do unbelievable good in our world. Even today, I am a firm believer that ‘we are 1% done’. That said, Facebook is what it is today only because of a succession of amazing people who have breathed into the company not only amazing intellect and drive, but an amazing amount of heart. The intellect and drive of the Facebook community is unparalleled, but in the end it is the unique spirit of the company that sets it apart and gives it the truly stunning potential to be all that we dream it can be. As the company continues to grow, keep leading heart first.

As for me… My immediate plan is to take some time for kite-surfing, skiing, and general adventuring / possibly some trouble making. This is the first time I can think of since middle school where I didn’t have a very concrete next step to take in life, and I intend to not squander the opportunity. That said, you can only kite-surf when the wind is up, so I hope to also have the chance to pay down some balked at New Year’s resolutions, like learning to play the guitar, and help out Jessica at The Information where I can and when she wants it.

If past performance is any indication, I will be starting something soon enough… What, I don’t know, but generally volume of ideas has never been much of an issue for me. I make the promise to all of you here and now that it will not be boring. With any luck most of you will think whatever I choose to build next is crazy, but maybe not.

In the closing words of Hook “That Was A Great Game”. Hurray!

-Courtesy: Venturebeat.com

These 7 Motivational Navy SEAL Sayings Will Kick Your Butt Into Gear

Whether you are an entrepreneur, working in corporate America, or building a startup, it is imperative to continually seek new ways to stay inspired and driven. Being a self-starter is a fantastic quality, but we are all human and get distracted by the minutiae of our day-to-day responsibilities.

Here are seven Navy SEAL sayings I keep top of mind while moving toward achieving my personal and professional goals.

1. The only easy day was yesterday.

This is one of the more well-known sayings of the SEALs. When constantly pushing yourself to excel, there will be challenges that make every day a battle.

As an entrepreneur, this concept keeps me motivated, because it puts things into perspective. If you wake up knowing that every day will pose new challenges and that you are ready to face them head-on, you will be well equipped to achieve any goal you set.

2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

One exercise in SEAL training is “surf torture.” You link arms with your classmates and stand, sit, or lie in the frigid Pacific Ocean until your body reaches the early stages of hypothermia. During the initial phases of training, you do this daily. Then you cover yourself from head to toe in sand and stay that way for the rest of the day. You might follow this with running the obstacle course, weapons training, or classroom time, but you are expected to push the discomfort aside and stay focused on the task at hand.

There have been many times as a business owner that I have been in very uncomfortable situations. That could be a difficult conversation with a team member, a lawsuit, or dealing with a demanding board member. Discomfort comes in many forms. But the more you embrace that as a reality, the wider your comfort zone becomes. This boosts confidence and provides the tools for facing even larger challenges down the road.

3. Don’t run to your death.

In SEAL teams, this is not a metaphor. When conducting raids that put you in close-quarters combat scenarios, restraint is often the best approach. Once you breach and gain entry to the target, being slow and methodical often wins the race. Hence the phrase, “Don’t run to your death.”

As I mention in one of my previous Inc. articles, knowing when not to act is as important as knowing when to push forward. Restraint is crucial for business leadership. This is especially important if you are running or managing a rapidly growing business. Growth is fantastic, but smart growth is even better. Have a good plan, slow down, grow intelligently, and never, ever, run to your death.

4. Have a shared sense of purpose.

A shared sense of purpose is hard to continually communicate. The economy changes. New technologies emerge. Employees come and go. There are many moving parts, which is why it’s critical for the leadership to always be communicating the reality of the situation and what the “win” will look like when you get there. And, most important, what everyone’s role is in helping the team achieve that goal.

5. Move, shoot, communicate.

As a SEAL, you must be able to perfectly execute these three functions to ensure mission success. Move: You have to be able to work as one well-maintained mechanism with the ability to have constant fluid motion. Shoot: That’s self-explanatory. Communicate: All good teams have frequent, open, transparent communication. When the bullets start flying, everyone needs to know what the next move is.

The same philosophies apply in the fast-paced world of business and entrepreneurship. The team has to have the ability to communicate effectively to adapt to changing environments. Which takes us to the next saying.

6. No plan survives first contact with the enemy.

This is from Helmuth von Moltke, a German field marshal from World War I. Similar is this sentiment from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That is why preparation and training are even more critical than planning.

When you have a team of the right people doing the right things, they will know how to adapt when the you-know-what hits the fan. And they will adapt with composure, not panic. This is why ongoing training and professional development are so important.

7. All in, all the time.

I wanted to close with another one of the more well-known SEAL sayings. Just being a good performer won’t cut it to make it into the SEAL teams. You have to give everything you have just to make it to the next day. Just like managing stress, you have to focus on one piece at a time. So don’t worry about the test you have in the afternoon. Your goal is to make it to breakfast. Then lunch, and so on.

Whether you are building a startup, leading a team in a large organization, being an active parent, battling cancer, or training for a triathlon, it’s got to be all or nothing. Mediocrity and moderation won’t get the job done. Give everything you do everything you’ve got.

My heart welled with pride when I heard my 8-year-old son’s flag football coach give the team one last piece of advice in the last couple minutes of its championship Super Bowl game. He said, “Now is the time to dig deep. Leave everything you’ve got on that field. If you do that, win or lose, you will be the champions!” So whether you are 8 or 58, get comfortable being uncomfortable, get well prepared, and be all in, all the time.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

4 Winning Startup Strategies From Pro Football

Anyone who follows professional sports today knows that they’re as much about money as competition. They’re businesses, after all.

As a Tampa native, I’ve lived and died with the Buccaneers since childhood. There have been many horrible years. The 27th game they played was they first they won. They missed the playoffs 14 straight seasons. Their uniforms looked like Creamsicles.

The club was in financial straits when the Glazer family purchased it in 1995. The club’s makeover eventually included new branding, a new stadium and a first-time head coach, Tony Dungy, followed by the inimitable Jon Gruden of “Monday Night Football.”

By January 2003, the club was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. While we wait for the Buccaneers’ next championship, let’s examine the traits of successful NFL teams and how those attributes can be applied to startups:

1. New England Patriots. The Pats are three-time Super Bowl champions and perennial contenders whose discipline and structure are personified by their steely coach, Bill Belichick.

Patriots players are expected to execute with proficiency and poise. For any team, it’s important for the leader to set clear expectations and exemplify the qualities you want to see in your employees.

2. Dallas Cowboys. While not recent winners, the team has a heritage of success. Owner Jerry Jones’ passion has made him pursue revenue streams other teams hadn’t tapped. He personally put up two-thirds of the money for his franchise’s $1.2 billion stadium. It’s hard to argue with that kind of drive.

While you may not have that much to invest in your business, seeking new ways to differentiate your company always pays dividends.

3. Green Bay Packers. Although this team is located in the league’s smallest market, the Green Bay Packers have cultivated a rabid fan base as they returned to glory the past two decades. The fans are more passionate because they are owners.

The Packers are the only publicly held team in major American sports. That feeling of ownership is key for any startup. When your employees feel they’re part of something bigger, the company’s success becomes their success. They’ll work harder to produce results.

4. Seattle Seahawks. This most recent Super Bowl winner has leveraged a front-office staff of personnel experts with a plan to find several diamonds in the rough. The team drafted several vital players, such as star defender Richard Sherman (5th round) and quarterback Russell Wilson (3rd round).

Hiring smart, capable employees who know enough about your industry to help you create a winning strategy (and pivot if necessary) is key for any startup trying to break out in the market.

Play Like a Champion. All-star franchises aren’t built overnight. As the leader, it’s your job to coach your team through major losses and other setbacks that every startup will face. Here are some tips for leading your team to victory:

Hold yourself accountable. Successful leaders must have financial discipline. Use a tool such as Mint to manage your finances. Set calendar reminders to review your budget every week.

Maintain a sense of ownership. Your business means everything to you at first. It’s important to maintain that sense of ownership and passion as it grows. That fire will carry you through the tough times. Constantly look for new revenue streams. Make smart investments in your company’s future. Your commitment is the fuel for your startup’s success

Don’t get carried away when things go well. Short-term success means little in the grand scheme of things. You may have a great team and a winning record but players get injured or leave the organization.

As an entrepreneur, not getting carried away means always having a financial game plan. You’ll need to take a vacation at some point, the market may stumble, or you may incur an unexpected business expense. Planning ahead for these expenses, especially in prosperous times, is critical.

You’ll probably never own an NFL team but you can apply lessons from successful clubs to running your business. Learn from the best, and implement these practices to put yourself on a winning trajectory. If you become an industry leader, just beware the victorious splash of ice-cold Gatorade down your back.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

The Art of Acquisition Comes Down to 4 Essential Variables

The number of mergers and acquisitions is soaring. Transaction volumes increased 70 percent in the first half of this year, and deal volumes have reached more than $1 trillion for the first time since 2007.

My company, CallidusCloud, has acquired eight companies in the last 20 months and dealt with a lot of entrepreneurs. Whether an entrepreneur is looking for his or her company to be acquired or interested in acquiring another firm, a thorough assessment of the enterprise in question is vital.  

It all boils down to considering the guiding principles of the four Ts — team, technology, traction and trajectory, as follows:

1. Build a team.

To find a company’s pulse, ensure that everyone, from the administrative staff to the CEO, holds unique characteristics that add value. Most important, the CEOs of both companies and the executives of the development, customer-success and sales departments should be able to answer deep questions about their products, clients and financials. 

Remember there’s no one-size-fits-all type of entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs with whom I’ve worked have founded six or seven companies, while others have been first-timers. One telltale sign of weak leaders however, is when a lawyer runs the transaction for a company and has all the say in every clause. Lawyers should be there to provide guidance but not run the show. 

2. Possess the technology prowess.

An investigation of the company being aquired must examine how defensible its technology is — an undertaking necessary to protect the growth potential and subsequent acquisition potential of the enterprise. If a company can do something that’s relatively difficult but easily understood while using technology that it owns, then it has created a technical barrier that protects its value.  

The technology involved — or the intellectual property — can be a design, a line of code or a process and will vary by industry and organization. For Coca-Cola, it’s the secret recipe. For Pfizer, it’s the formula for the latest breakthrough drug. Regardless of the type of intellectual property, every business should prioritize its protection. Is the intellectual property fully owned by a business? If not, then the acquisition may need to be reconsidered. 

3. Assess the traction.

The company targeted for acquisition should show progress in terms of profit and demonstrate a healthy momentum. It’s a matter of finding balance. Don’t underestimate a company solely on the basis of the fact that it’s small and unknown.

Conversely, don’t overestimate a company for being well-known and having a growing team. Look at the product or service and ask, Is this the best of its kind? Does it solve an industry problem? And does it have the potential to be the best in the industry? The more focused the enterprise the better, rather than its being a jack-of-all-trades. 

4. Plan the trajectory.

Take a look into the crystal ball. What’s lying over the horizon is just as important as what’s currently happening. Take out the binoculars and if it’s possible to see potential in the distance, then that’s testament to how well a path has been laid.

A paper trail of accounting, taxes, agreements, contracts and transactions should be generated by every business, especially those in the early stages. When it comes to setting a company’s valuation, tread carefully during the funding stages by not accepting too much venture capital.

Too often, entrepreneurs find themselves locked up in a deal, with venture capitalists not wanting to retreat from controlling a stake in the company. 

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

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