Excellent Advice From a Very Rich Man

Li Ka-shing is one of the riches men in Asia.  He said this to Anthony Scaramucci who later wrote in LinkedIn.

“…leave money on the table for your partners. Not only will you be very rich, you will be very happy. If you allow your partners to benefit from the deal, they always come back and want to do business with you. There will never be a shortage of opportunity.

It is the man who goes to the table to ask and squeeze for the last nickel who is never happy. Do you know why? It is because that person leaves the table, typically getting the nickel, but then hates himself for not asking for the two nickels. As a result, he is never happy.”

I guess if you think you have a shot at one deal in your life, you would not follow this advice.

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$19.5m Sports Memorabilia Company

SportsMemorabilia.com hits $19.5m in revenues in six years. They started out as more-or-less an affiliate listing vendors inventory on their site and doing a revenue share. Then, in 2011, they started buying merchandise and inventorying it in-house. They’re secret is knowing how to buy merchandise more intelligently, using complex analytics developed in-house.

I find two things remarkable about this company.  First the founder, Jesse Stein, is not into sports. He decided to surround himself with ten executives that are passionate about them. By his admission, he also handed out large chunks of equity.  Second, they’re building a business with triple digit growth in a down economy.

I read about SportsMemorabilia.com in Inc . Magazine titled, What a Killer Domain Name Is Really Worth.

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Killing ideas fast. This idea was a mobile app.

I think there is a benefit to killing ideas fast.  I’m not talking about knee jerk reactions.  I’m talking about researching correctly.  The conundrum with business ideas is:

  1. Somebody already did it.
  2. If no one is doing it, is it necessarily a good idea?

Recently, we wanted to start a mobile app for ordering concessions at a sporting or music event.  Sounds like a cool idea?  You enter your seat or scan your ticket, a menu pops up, order and someone brings you all your food and drink. Apparently it’s not that good of an idea.  It’s called FanGo (or Bypass Lane see the bottom)  .  At that time, FanGo raised a little over $550k.  They were looking for another $435k.

  • It did make it to Inc. magazine where a few VC’s proceeded to shoot down the idea.
  • The idea is over two years old and I’ve never heard of it.  Sure, it’s been in Mashable, but it never really made it past that.
  • Then you look at the mobile app.
    • Less than 200 downloads.  This is very telling.
    • 50 1-star versus 68 5-star.  If you remove the friends and family, that’s closer to 10.
    • Not compatible with the most current version of Android, which means they probably trashed it.

Now, they created some buzz, probably realized that there were some major flaws like:

  • Mobile internet at sporting/concert venues sucks b/c of the density of people.  If it’s not instant, it will not work.  Someday, the arena will provide it, but that may not be enough.
  • Sure, the venue’s made more money, but they had to spend money and change the way they do things.

So is it a good idea?  Owners like Ted Leonsis wants to bring it to the Verizon center in DC.

I guess we’ll see what Bypass Lane does.  They look more invested and claim to have 39 venues (Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and more).  I would love to know the economics.  On the Android side, they have at least 10,000 downloads, but only 63 Android and 65 iPhone reviews.  I still think it’s a cool idea b/c I would use it, but………………….. a dog from a business standpoint because I don’t see the support from the venues and you still have to compete with the stand alone concessions.

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Start your day successfully.

Inspired by an article in Fast Company titled, “What Successful People Do With the First Hour of Their Workday“.  I’ll put their list at the bottom.

  1. Stretch a little, breathe and realize all the good things in your life.  I think this prepares your mind to work better and get you off to a good start.
  2. Look at your list from last night.  I think it’s important to write down three things you want to accomplish from the night before.  I feel like this helps with focus and it gives you something to look forward to in the morning.
  3. Spend the first hour (what I call) planting the seed.  This is where you work on tasks that will position you for success one year from now.  The opposite of busy work.
  4. Now do the things that you have to do.
As an aside, I also think the people you surround yourself with make a monumental difference.  You need to be around people that match or exceed your ambitions.  These people are not necessarily your friends (or family) and you may be better off if they are not.  For me, family is the most important thing.  Why let something (like money) get in between that.  Here’s another post I wrote on doing business with family titled, “3 Rules of Starting a Business“.

Here is the Fast Company list:

  1. Don’t check your email (David Karp of Tumblr).
  2. Gain Awareness, be grateful (Tony Robbins).
  3. Do the hard stuff first (Brian Tracy – author).
  4. Ask yourself if you’re doing what you want to do (Steve Jobs).
  5. Customer service (Craig Newmark of Craigslist)

 

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Good article on your website’s design

With a website, I think the best methodology is to work from the back forward.  What is your ultimate goal and work backwards from that.  For example, if you want them to fill out an application, how do you fluff them into doing this?  Here are some pretty good concepts from Michael Mothnerof of an online marketing firm named Wpromote.  You can read the full article at Inc Magazine Online.

Here are the main points:

  1. Avoid buttons that ask too much.  My personal favorite is not on this list:  “Learn More”.
    1. Best Button:  “Next”
    2. Worst Buttons:  “Free Consultation” or “Get Started”
  2. Your Headline.
    1. Short and simple.
    2. Make sure it prominent and eyes are drawn.
  3. Limit the Navigation.  This is my personal favorite.  I think websites are evolving to look more like an ad as opposed to a website.
    1. On your sign up / contact form remove your other menu options.
  4. Keep the content short and simple.  You don’t want to much data there.  My opinion is that your website is step 1 of a few steps to getting a customer.
    1. You want them to “Like” you on Facebook
    2. Sign up for your newsletter.
    3. Request a consultation.
  5. The Hero image.  This is the main image on your home page.
    1. Make sure it’s personable.
    2. I like short videos.

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You get rich on your free time.

Let me qualify that I am not rich (yet).  One of the problems I see is people that are constantly working for someone else or themselves.  They do not have the time, or maybe the ambition, to improve their situation.  You do this on your free time b/c what you do during the week is work and it’s hard to get rich working.

So what can I be doing in my free time.   This relates to business and money or anything else you want to be great at, like music, sports, bird watching, etc.

  1. I can network with other people that are trying to get ahead.
  2. You can develop ideas that get you closer to your goal.

I remember listing to some Rich Dad Poor Dad cds and he said one (of many) things that sticks with me and I’ll paraphrase:  “If you look around and see who you spend your time with, you’ll see your future.”  Now, by no means does this mean try and be friends with rich and successful people.  If that’s what you want, fine, but what it means to me is that if you’re not in the right circles, it’s hard to get ahead.  You don’t have to neglect your family or friends, just make a higher priority to being around others that want to get ahead.  IMHO, no one complains about the 50 hours you spend at your job, but if you want to grow your network for five hours a week, some friends and family start feeling neglected.  You have to ignore this.

 

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Please use safe sunscreen on your kids.

Not a business topic, but near and dear to my heart.  Most sunscreens are dangerous.  You have to remember that your skin is an organ.  When you put something on your skin, it’s similar to ingesting it.

The problem is that very effective, reasonably priced, safe sun screen is not always available at the big box stores, until now.  Coppertone came out with Coppertone Sensitive Skin for the face and body.  This product got a 2 rating (1 is the highest rating).  The only downside is that it’s tough to rub in and wash off.  Personally, that’s a perfectly good trade off if it keeps ou safe.  You could call this product the Toyota of sun screens.  Here is the group that tests sun screens.

If you want the Rolls Royce of sun screens, you should look at California Baby.  I’ve been using California Baby on my little guy.  This stuff is amazing.  It blocks everything and rubs in nicely.  The problem is that it’s expensive.  Not a bad thing b/c it’s worth it, but not every family feels comfortable spending a lot of money.

Both these products are available at Target.

To put thinks in perspective, here is the general cost per ounce:

California Baby (marketed towards kids):  $9 per ounce

Coppertone Sensitive Skin (Face):  $4 per ounce

Coppertone Sensitive Skin (Body): $1.40 per ounce

Now, what’s the difference between Coppertone Face and Body?  The Face version probably adds ingredients found in face moisturizers.

These are just two that I think are good.  There are many others that will work for you.  You can view any brand on EWG.org.

What do I use?  I use the Badger, which is hard to find.  I bought Badger at REI Sports.  This stuff blocks everything, which is great.  It’s about $4.75 per ounce and a little goes a long way.  I only use it for face and neck b/c it’s challenging to rub in.  I’m going to use the Coppertone Body for the rest.

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I can not live without Boomerang for Gmail. Here is why:

I felt compelled to recommend this product.  I’ve been using it for about 2 months now.  Boomerang for Gmail is great and worth every penny of the $4.99 per month.

Why is it so great?  For starters, it makes me look more professional and solves a specific problem.   The problem is that I have a very sporadic work schedule.  I am a partner at a loan software company named Intro XL, and it’s hard to just turn off at night.  If I have a support issue or need to follow up on something, I’d rather take care of it and sleep better at night.

The problem is that I don’t want my customers thinking that we read our email at 10pm at night or they’ll think it’s ok to respond back, email or call me that late.  In the past, I used to save an email as a draft and then put the email in my Gmail Inbox.  It was effective, but a distraction.  Occasionally,  I would forget.  Today, I respond to the email and typically schedule the email for 8am the next day.  If I really want to show off, I’ll send the email at 7 am.

Funny thing, when people see you working at 10pm, they think you’re a procrastinator or a workahalic.  When you’re sending emails out at 7am, you’re an organized go-getter.  Perception is a funny thing.

This also works in my favor another way.  We have big customers and small customers.  We love them all, but small customers seem to have more time on their hands and they like to ask questions.  Responding to them right away sends the wrong message.   If you’re too friendly and responsive they keep pecking at you.  I find the longer you wait to respond to someone, many times, they solve their own problem.  Sure, we provide faster response times for companies that pay us more money, but if it takes five minutes to respond to a small guy, it does not make sense to revisit the topic three hours later.

All of the above is definitely worth the $2.50 per month and it makes my life easier on a personal level.  Here is the reason Boomerang is good for your business.

I’ve found after all those years that one of the biggest difference makers in business (and life) is following up.  So why do so few people do it?  Most likely, they’re not organized.  I can set Boomerang to notify me on a per email basis.  I have the option to notify me “if nobody responds” or automatically.  I can set this to a time period or a time/date in the future.

I find when I follow up with people, I slowly train them to get my stuff done.  No one likes explaining to someone that they forgot or did not prioritize something high enough.  Also, following up shows that it’s important.  I’m getting a lot more done now.  Is that worth the other $2.50 per month?  For me, it’s priceless.

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What’s this? Unlimited cloud space.

  • Sync: Changes you make on one computer will be updated on all computers you are logged into.
  • Send: Instantly send terabytes of data to your friends by just right clicking anyCloudified file or folder.
  • Invite: You can now invite a limited number of friends to Bitcasa. Instantly send them terabytes of pictures, movies, and music! Choose wisely!

Click here for an invite.

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CTR on Google SERP for #1 spot is around 18%

Ever wonder what percentage of people click on the first result in Google?  Well, you better redo those projections.

Here is a good illustration:

 

This totally awesome post is on SEOmoz with empirical evidence.  It’s titled “Mission ImposSERPble: Establishing Click-through Rates“.

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