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Startup Port Newsletter - Issue #8

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“Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.”  – Vincent Van
 

Startup Port Newsletter

March 31 · Issue #8 · View online
Create + Collaborate + Launch

“Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.”  – Vincent Van Gogh
In this issue: State of Entrepreneurship & Startups, The Midwest & the Benefit Of Being “No-Coastal”, Do You Really Know Who Your Ideal Customer Is? And about What Google Has On You & How To Get It, Bitcoin Tremors, and Lies & Deceits. Happy reading, and hope you will keep us in your mail box. Until next time.

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State of Entrepreneurship and Startups
Recently the Kauffman Foundation (The leader in startup-entrepreneurship and innovation education and insights) completed it’s 2018 survey of startup entrepreneurs. In addition to optimism for startup growth, one of the takeaways is that entrepreneurs want to see government leaders prioritize startups. 
Nearly 80 percent of startups said the government favors larger corporations over startups. Instead of focusing efforts on government grants and funding, they’d like to see the government work to create a more business friendly environment. 
It must be noted that 2/3 of job creation is done by small businesses and startups! This fact somehow keeps the Federal and Local governments from the importance the startup ecosystem has in new local economic development. Instead of making it easier to start, operate and fund startups some local state governments crate even more burdens for entrepreneurs. 
Having more incubators and accelerators is really not the answer. There needs to be an initial governmental support for entrepreneurs starting a new business (not like the useless SBA programs!) just like the federal home-ownership and home-buying assistance programs, on top of other programs sponsored by state or local government or other organizations that provide first time home buyers an average “subsidy” of $5,000. 
The same process needs to applied for helping startup founders launch their business. This “initial push” process is very prevalent across the pond, in many if not all of the EU countries and even in countries like Turkey. Where startups that take part of university sponsored campus based incubators are provided with initial subsidies for various needs.  
One way States are tackling this problem is by giving “tax credits” to Angel investors as an incentive to invest more in the startups ecosystem. This is really not answer for priming the startup businesses and help entrepreneurs. Research (From the Kauffman Foundation and other NGOs) shows that startups and good ideas do not need a huge initial capital investment. In the contrary many of the most successful ideas and businesses have started with very nimble initial investments. We call this dilemma the “Valley of Death” where a startup needs only few thousands of dollars to validate an idea and move on to make the idea a reality. 
More work has to be done by startup support activists like us to promote the idea of better support and even financial assistance to the startup entrepreneurs by and from the government (Local and State.) The amount of a subsidy grant to buy a single house buys a single house, but the same subsidy if given to a startup can provide the foundation to hire tens if not hundreds of employees and page the way for a better economy.
America’s economic future depends on startups! We need to foster Innovation and the Startup ecosystem with properly created and supported public policies and programs that make it easier to create and fund new businesses.
By Hal Tezcan, co-founder Startup Port
Almost 80% of US startup entrepreneurs feel unsupported by the Feds and States
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The Benefit of Being “No-coastal”
This Rise of the Rest, middle-America entrepreneurial movement isn’t some homer, rah-rah, public relations stunt. There are real advantages to building companies outside the traditional hubs that is the coastal elite magnets —and it’s not just because it’s cheaper. (Because let’s be real. It’s always been cheaper.)
Somewhere between the easy slide into skepticism and “Pollyanna” optimism, is hope—maybe more appropriately put—is opportunity.
If we just can bust some myths—that great entrepreneurs are born in glossy Palo Alto collaboration spaces, that talent access and retention is reliant on a coastline, and that every city wants to be the next Silicon Valley Uber of bubble (and bacon) wrap unicorn—we can get to the advantage of being no-coastal.
Chris Olsen of Drive Capital believes the one-two punch of rapid product ideation with customer engagement is the true Midwestern edge.
“The ability to iterate super-fast works anywhere,” Chris says. “You’re not going to out-Silicon Valley Silicon Valley.” But in the Midwest, customers are easily accessible unlike California where engineers are limited to feedback from product reps. “They out-compete Silicon Valley companies that are going after the same customers.”
You are limited only by the pace at which you can refine, he says.
Firms outside the usual hubs are embracing their unique geo-identity and leveraging local assets. They’re applying new technology to old processes, reimagining manufacturing for the post-industrial economy.
“They’re not tech companies, they’re applying technology to problems that couldn’t be solved until this technology existed,” Chris says.
That’s the future of work.
Speaking of the Midwest, we are biased in our views about Chicago (We live and work here.) Interestingly, even though Chicago is in the Top 10 list of investments hubs and having launched some of the top Multiple On Invested Capital exits, it is still referred to as a “fly-over” destination between the coasts. But slowly both startups and investors are discovering that the cost of starting and doing business in the Midwest and Chicago could be lower than the East or the West Coast. There is also plenty of young, hungry talent from the many high caliber Universities and even from the corporate world. Hopefully this discovery will entice more startups and investors to keep a closer eye on the Chicago startup ecosystem. 
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Do You Really Know Who Your Ideal Customer Is?
Your ICP may be even smaller than your Target Market
Having a clearly defined market is one of the most important components to any startup’s success. Without a clear market in mind, product development, marketing tactics, and sales strategy become disjointed and unfocused. In fact, many successful founders have gone as far as to say that focus on a single, specific market is the key indicator of a startup’s potential for success. With a clear market in mind, deciding which product features to build (or not build) becomes easy, developing and targeting marketing personas is simplified, and devising an effective sales strategy is possible. That being said, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right.
The problem is, many founders only go as far as to define their Total Addressable Market (TAM). They consider: what is the entire audience of potential customers who could use my product or service? From here, they dive headfirst into creating and releasing a minimum viable product (MVP), scaling up marketing efforts, and laying out a sales strategy. But a TAM is much too broad and unfocused to guide your startup’s development and sales efforts. Instead, a more effective approach is to use your TAM to develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Your ICP is a small subsection of your TAM that challenges you to focus on only those who would be best to sell to, instead of focusing on everyone you could sell to (or not for that matter…)
While many early-stage founders might cringe at the idea of reducing their potential market size, developing an ICP can benefit your startup in many ways. A smaller target market size means your product development team can refine features with razor sharp focus. Your marketing team can create highly-specific messaging to appeal to a narrow audience. And your sales reps will target less prospects, but the ones they do target will have a pre-defined need and use case for your product or service.
Startup Port’s Sprint 90 Program has a complete Guide To Creating the Ideal Customer Profile and Persona. Contact us for a free assessment. 
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We are expanding our Ecosystem of Matter Experts
At Startup port, Connecting, Networking, Collaborating, and Sharing is in our blood.
It’s almost impossible to do it alone! You need experienced advisors / mentors / partners / collaborators along the way to success.
Over the years we have built a successful and vast network of supporting partners who can help with all the details of setting up a new venture.
Our network is made of thoughtful and experienced professional people who value both your individual growth & the collaboration that contributes to your success.
We are very happy to have increased our shared wealth of master subject matter experts by adding a professional writing expert (copywriter - editor) to our Ecosystem. He brings a wealth of expertise, talent and knowledge in helping businesses convey the right message about their knowledge, solutions and offering in a way that persuades readers, prospects and customers to take action. We will introduce and launch his offerings in our next Newsletter.
May founders forget the impact of a powerful written message for your audience. In a digital age convoluted with text-speak and shortcuts, crafting a meaningful message is more essential for a company’s prospects than ever, so always write truthfully and write with conviction. It is vital to cultivate a sensitivity to the effect words can have on your readership.
“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Short takes and newsworthy stuff...
Great article form Quartz about the (lack) of good governance with investors and startups
A new study found a correlation between those in credit card debt and high stress levels. Read more at Payment Week.
If you use Google services,  even Gmail alone, Google knows a whole lot about you.  You can have access to most if not all of your data. Here is how to download a copy of everything Google knows about you. Read more on how to do it.
BITCOIN continues to suffer from a major downward trend, along with the rest of the cryptocurrency market as prices have plunged once again this week. All the major cryptocurrencies have taken a battering this week, declining by nearly $100 B across seven days. Bitcoin (BTC) took heavy losses, dropping by 12.6 percent, from $7,900 to $6,600 in a 24 hour period. As of 2 pm EST, Bitcoin dipped as low as $6,580. Read more about the beatings.
A great article about Lies and Deceit in the startup ecosystem. The take away from all this mess that founders need to realize (and hopefully the investors will smarten up a bit!) that deceiving investors, customers and public with a product or service that doesn’t work as advertised is not okay! You should not pretend a fiction to be a vision and as you go along the startup journey turn the fiction into a deceitful proposal! Sadly, investors are often complicit in this charade. 
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About Startup Port: We partner with outstanding entrepreneurs and founders to help them build successful companies. Beyond just plain dollars, Startup Port brings “intellectual capital” in the form of matter experts who provide guidance, mentoring, operational advisory and coaching to entrepreneurs, by serving on their boards, providing much needed contacts/networking relationships, assisting with strategic growth planning, key hiring decisions, and preparing them for fundraising
                                - Create + Collaborate + Launch -
If you like this, please share with a friend, a colleague or better yet a young entrepreneur. Thank you, and make sure to manage your TIME properly, we do not have the luxury to restart it with a few keystrokes!
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