How can I find co-founders to help me take my business to the next level?
I have built a content rich Knowledge Exchange Platform dedicated to Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed. It's a membership site, complete with extensive gamification, a virtual currency, revenue share and co-ownership.
However, I'am having difficulty getting the word out there and would like to bring on-board expert marketers as co-founders to help promote the business.
What could you recommend?
Being late to this party, I apologize if this is a Repeat. I would recommend 2 courses of Potential action. 1) Find a true Partner who will Invest time and effort to help you get where you believe you can go. They need to have relevant experience doing what you are trying to do. 2) Go to market with people will Market the Business. Call them Agents if you like, but people who will be incented Financially to get you where you think you can go.
If I read you correctly, you’re looking for someone to co-own your enterprise in exchange for spending time and money to promote and generate revenue for your business. I think this route may not work really. There is a lot that goes to make co-ownership work, not least because there has to be complete jelling of minds.
I’ll speak of 3 ways that I think may work for you.
As an online coach I can justifiably suggest that you can think of spreading your course to wider audience. You already have a membership site. You can break your course into smaller courses and sell them on Udemy. Many people say that only discounted courses sell on Udemy, which is largely true. But remember your target is to reach out to wider audience at negligible cost.
Second, if it is possible, break the smaller courses into self-sufficient tiny lessons, pricing them a few dollars. Consider selling them on Gumroad, Selz, etc. You can even open a Facebook store with them, which you can then advertise on Facebook.
My third point is about “influencer outreach”. There are many influential and experienced Internet marketers who may agree to promote your course for hefty fees, but then you’ll more likely than not recover your costs. Take a look at http://www.hiregun.co/.
I believe the failure of most Partnerships comes down to mis-alignment of VALUES! Before you start looking you need to become very aware of your 10 top Personal and 10 top Business VALUES. Some of the 20 will be the same and some will be different.
In Partnership (co-founders!) you need to know that you have alignment in both your Personal as well as your Business VALUES. Don't settle for "near enough"! It will cause you grief later on.
One way to express your VALUES is to create a Business Plan. This can be the way you communicate your VALUES. Before sharing your Plan, you need to ensure the identify for you their Business and Personal VALUES.
Richard Stern- Prepare a strong Action Plan outlining the business along with the strength and weaknesses.
Then outline the needs required to achieve the goals set fort in your Plan
Then outline an offering for the people you need and the potential rewards for their contribution.
This should bring the quality of candidates you seek.
You may want to start with a contract resource, and see how that works out. Alternatively you could consider posting on angellist.com.
I would recommend PR/Marketing agencies to help you get the word out. They have the portfolio of contacts and marketing expertise.
This is not going to be easy for you to achieve this. I've made the experience myself and had mixed results. One of my ventures, it took me about 1 year to find people, and a couple of months into it, they left but one. I'm back to square one as we need to get people on board to build a founding team.
I found the people on LinkedIn and freelance websites originally. I engaged on the desire to be part of a founding team first; and then I went on to share what the venture is about (with NDA in place).
Even with as much due diligence as I could make, people left.
I had more successful experiences using the same process.
So if you're looking for co-founders because you can't pay for services (which is understandable) prepare yourself for it to take a long time. Or you get lucky.
If you're looking for something to happen much quicker; then hire professionals and discuss any arrangements.
If you're looking for immediate action and you can't pay; I'm afraid you're going to do your marketing alone.
You are in a very crowded marketplace and need to establish your USP Unique Selling Proposition, and find a co-founder who believes and trusts in you and your message and is a big game hunter
Look for leaders that excel in the skills of influence. Consider leaders that are semi-retired and are only looking to supplement their social security. Leaders that accept 1099 and/or stock options. Leaders understand behaviors and through proper channels of influence can inspire people to follow in the exploration of something new (change) by overcoming the fears associated with change opportunities.
If I am reading this correctly, it sounds like you are looking for people with specific talents (marketers) to help you grow your business without having to pay them. It's a strategy that's fairly common with internet businesses. They invest their time and talent for a piece of the business down the road.
I believe many of the suggestions listed below are viable (Gin, RG, Jonathan as examples). I also like Tom's advice about legal considerations for one reason. Partnerships in any form create the highest level of business casualties of any ownership arrangement. Why, because most people looking for people to help them at an ownership level don't spend the time properly vetting the people they bring on. Then, when problems arise, they have no other alternative than to desolve the partnership to get out of it.
In addition to understanding what skills you need, you must pay attention to what kind of people you want to partner up with. I know of no better why to do this than meeting these folks to determine if there is a 'business fit'. Once you have identified who you are looking for and used some of the resources already mentioned, start a conversation with these people to find out who you want to work with based on skill set, mindset and trust factor.
Getting the word out is a broad based way of trying to find interested parties. I would shift to more of a strategic approach and target your prospects using sites like LinkedIn, local networking groups and referrals from your colleagues. Doing it the way you've indicated is as productive as posting a highly skilled job ad on Craigslist!
Networking your way to the individuals you want to meet and vet is a far better way to get the results you want.
Totally agree with Tom. You had better hire a few marketers and give them a share as incentive. That could also help you lower the hiring costs and still get your job done. Yes, marketing doesn't come free so be prepared to shell out the necessary fee for engaging promotional campaigns and platforms.
You definitely need a capable marketing company, one that is able to recommend as well as implement powerful, proven methods of promoting your platform and converting your visitors. The company that can help you will need to be down with scalable technology because once you gave any significant number of users, the WordPress platform and making pages with LeadPages just won't cut it.
Let me know the platform that you have built. I may be able to help you out.
I think you've made a good start by letting us know here that you want to bring on some partners/co-founders to promote the business.
I would like to suggest email marketing as one way to get the word out. It might cost about $50, but if you get the right database it can pay some good dividends. Again, I would have to take a look at the platform to really give you a proper answer.
Another thing you might want to try is advertising on Facebook. I'm sorry if I've given you all these options that require you to spend a little money, but advertising is very important and it often doesn't come free.
Alternatively, you could start a few different websites/blogs and try to get a funnel so that you have a targeted audience. I can help you out with the content/design/SEO if needed.
The first step is to determine what skill set you want your "partners" to have and what resources they need to contribute and for how long. They best way is to net work your way to find the people you need. One way is to attend conferences for entrepeneurs. For instance in Boston, MIT has meetings for entrepeneurs. Another is to contact attorneys and CPA's you know who may have clients, friends or simply just know people who can help you or can help you get to the right person. Go to incubators near you and talk to people there for leads and contacts.
Having skills as an online marketing person is one thing, but there is usually a cost in doing any such program. You need to know how much money it will take to get it done or a least substantially started.
I am sure you are talking about a lot more than a good SEO campaign, so you will need an advertising budget and promotion in magazines like Inc. Wired or a Game Magazine whether it is an online or paper adverstising source and other media that enterpenurs read or at least browse from time to time.
Your business structure would work well with a local Chamber of Commerce or a group that works with local entrepreneurs (such as SCORE or Angel investors). I have been involved with the Lincoln Nebraska SCORE group for years and find it to be a great connection with both young and more established Entrepreneurs. You may even find an Angel Investor that would be interested in becoming an investor in your business. To maintain control, make sure you retain 51% ownership.
Hi Andre, digital marketing would be the apt technique here. In fact you can follow a two pronged approach: one is direct marketing where you follow the usual route of SEO and SEM, but they usually take a few months to show results. Second, content marketing, tweeting and writing articles to enlighten users about the concept (and not just selling your company) should give you loyal users in a shorter timespan. However, this is easier said than done.
You are talking about a fairly complex legal arrangement, anyone who oversimplifies it hasn't seen the ramifications when things change over time. Why wouldn't you just hire marketers, even if you could arrange some payment as a percentage of results that can be tracked? And this isn't meant critically but shouldn't a a rich Knowledge Exchange Platform for entrepreneurs already have this knowledge/advice?
There are sites online that offer partnerships. Use search to type in 'business partnership wanted, joint ventures' anything and everything you can think of along those lines and you will find many results to explore and check out. Make sure you read any fine print so you're not signing your biz away once you find somebody.