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Ask the EAL (Entrepreneur at Large)

 |  NYCEDC

Steve Rosenbaum, NYCEDC’s Entrepreneur at Large here (pictured center), your sage source on all things NYC startup. Send me your questions and I will anonymously answer them in this advice column, explaining how to handle everything from Adtech decisions to Zero revenue.

Get ready to launch!

Dear Steve,
How can we do a better job of getting noticed in the tech industry?
- The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower

Dear Wallflower,

Getting noticed is important, and the companies that do it well often have the best chance for success. There are three main components to this.  

  • First, make sure you've got an exciting, clear, and distinctive story to tell. There are lots of startups out there, so standing out in the crowd means you need to punch through the noise. Different teams and companies can do this in different ways. If you have a founder who's got a very strong public persona, then use that in social media, panels, press, blogging, Twitter. It's almost not possible to be too active these days—there are so many outlets that the odds of someone seeing you too often is pretty unlikely. If your product has marquee customers, make sure they are public about their endorsement of you. If you have a unique take on your space, then that's the hook.

    Overallyou need to know what makes you different. Think of it like a PR elevator pitch. You've got thirty seconds to get folks excitedand... go.
  • Second, engage your community. Fashion, Food, Finance, Media, The Arts. Wherever your product has friends and fansbe there. That means conferences, panels, meetups, and gatherings. You can't expect to sit in front of a keyboard and have the world notice. People like to meet you, and that’s the best way to build visibility and relationships. Even more so in a world where so much is digital and virtual. 
  • Third, press. Let me say that againpress. There are tech reporters, columns, blogs, video blogs, podcasts and more. And the more you can connect with the market and build leadership and visibility in your field, the more potential partners and customers can find you. Make sure they have a way to reach youa LinkedIn page, a Twitter accountand use the tools you have at your disposal to provide content and updates to all those channels.

Dear Steve,
What is the best way to turn a profit through sales online?  
- Dearth of a Salesman

Dear Salesman,

It depends on what you're selling. Profit is a challenge for any business, online or off. If you're selling something that customers need, then most of your efforts will go into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This is the effort it takes to make your website visible to customers. From there, sales is pretty much sales, no matter how you cut it. It takes a mix of capturing leads, listening to what customers want in terms of pricing and packaging, and adjusting to increase results.  

P.S. SEO/SEM are vast topics, fraught with complexity, and requiring careful study. However, for some starter information, I recommend checking out:

Steve Rosenbaum will also be holding Virtual Office Hours via Google Hangout this Friday, January 18 at noon. Sign up here to chat with him face-to-face.

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