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Back in September I wrote a short piece about how I was spending my time. Since it’s about six months later I thought I’d update the graph.
These are 40 day moving averages. When I think about where my financial future lies, I think it’s mostly ArtistBomb and partly MassLandlords.net. The way I spend my time backs that up.
The period in December where I focused less on ArtistBomb and more on the Worcester Property Owners Association (WPOA) coincides with the end of the restructuring effort at the WPOA. This put in place a new Board of Directors and a new action team, and roles were changed for most folks. Now WPOA is moving forward smoothly and the focus there is on MassLandlords.net, which I’ve spiked out separately.
MassLandlords.net has the potential to be a unified source of digital resources for landlords in Massachusetts. I’m enormously proud of the work done by Stellar Web Studios and the WPOA Board of Directors to help get this project off the ground.
You can see that other projects, like the BagPack for Hands Free Groceries, and even this blog, are getting less attention now. Partly this is because they’re getting less traction, partly it’s because they’re more clearly “lifestyle” activities. Yes, I like selling little grocery carrying straps on the side.
ArtistBomb.com and MassLandlords.net have been improved by what I learned with Hands Free Groceries and dougjq.com. So even if the latter properties aren’t as valuable, it’s not like the time spent there has been wasted.
Last month I commented on an article written by Rob Go that included the idea entrepreneurs should focus on “one company at a time”. I think about that when this graph gets updated every couple of days. Would either ArtistBomb or MassLandlords.net go faster if I wasn’t also actively landlording? Yes. Would they go faster if I were focusing on one and not both? Yes. Well, am I doing the wrong thing by splitting my attention so?
It seems like both businesses – ArtistBomb and MassLandlords.net — have the same kinds of challenges. In particular, can you reach enough of your customers at a low enough cost to make it worthwhile? The interesting thing about working both at the same time is that each has a different set of tools available. So in theory I can work with two different teams trying different tactics. What I learn at one can be brought to the aid of the other immediately.
From that point of view, I don’t think split focus is really so bad. Not right now, anyway.
Thoughts? Leave a comment.
Last Tuesday I had the chance to give an elevator pitch for ArtistBomb at Boston ENET. (The pitch was recorded, so I can post a link if it gets uploaded somewhere.) I’d like to share the formula I used so that you can adapt it for your own work.
What’s the Goal of an Elevator Pitch?
You want to convince someone in a very short amount of time to do something helpful to your business. At last week’s ENET meeting, I had 90 seconds. If I were actually in an elevator with someone, I’d have between 5 and 30 seconds.
I know the pitch I gave was effective because the three investors in the room, who got to make one comment or question after I spoke, didn’t use their moment to ask for clarification or to suggest a refinement. Rather, they each asked a logical follow-on question, indicating that they had understood all that I had said. If the format of the meeting had allowed for me to answer them, I would have engaged them all in meaningful conversation. What more can you ask for at a first meeting?
Generic Outline of an Elevator Pitch for Investors
ArtistBomb exists in the live music universe and does this great thing for these specific people. Unlike all of our competitors, ArtistBomb is different in this one significant way. This matters because those other companies are missing something.
For $30/mo, our customers can use our service, which solves their problem. We solve their problem by doing X, Y, and Z. This helps them make more money with less risk.
ArtistBomb just recently hit a significant milestone. We want to raise $X in the next couple of months so that we can hit the next milestones B and C.
If the investor to whom you’re speaking is interested, that’s all you need to say. If they have money and like the idea, they’ll express an interest. If not, they may ask a question. Or if they really don’t like you or the idea, they’ll say, “Well, good luck!” and that’s your answer.
What’s so Special about that Formula?
Imagine I started my pitch with paragraph three. The investors would have been distracted by their own internal interrogation, “What’s ArtistBomb? Should I already know what this is? Why don’t I know what he’s talking about?” That’s why you lead off instead with a broad statement about your company’s space.
What if you didn’t include a differentiator early on? Now your investors are distracted by a different internal monolog, “Oh great, another XYZ company. Just like that other one I don’t like.” You want to let your audience know why you’re different and better.
What if you didn’t include a firm price? Now you leave your audience wondering whether you have any monetization strategy. Most investors prefer to invest in businesses that make money. Otherwise, finding any net profit is going to be pretty tough.
The rest of the pitch adds to your credibility by providing details and indicating recent progress.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.