Silicon Prairie News

Posts by Guest Contributor
5319_d135764dca_small February 22, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Lincoln (Guest post by John Wirtz.) I'll never forget the most intimidating spreadsheet I ever had to face. It was winter 2009, and this piece of paper was just sitting there on my desk staring at me. It wasn't our sales goals for the year. It wasn't a list of the hairiest bugs in Hudl. It wasn't our steadily-decreasing statement of cash flows. It was a list of head football coach names, email addresses, and phone numbers from high schools here in Lincoln, Neb., and it was scaring the hell out of me. | Hudl in winter 2009: Going into the 2008 football season, our Hudl video analysis system was up and running … read more

5307_c69da46dcc_small February 15, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Des Moines (Guest post by Mike Colwell.) Selling to businesses (B2B) can be hard but I will argue it can be very rewarding. I gained my selling to business experiences in the 80s and early 90s with a company called Norand Data Systems out of Cedar Rapids Iowa. We were selling new technologies (mobile and wireless computing) to established and mostly lethargic large corporations around the world. Based on those experiences, here are six things I think are critical to successful selling to businesses. 1. Sell on hard ROI. What is hard ROI? It is a return on investment that eliminates a budget item … read more

5279_e44e8862ca_small February 8, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Lincoln (Guest post by Collin Caneva.) I just completed testing for a new fitness boot camp. I'm not sharing this with you to brag, but because sales and this experience go hand-in-hand. To many people, "selling" is a dirty word. Of course every business needs sales, but the sales process is where the negative tone sometimes comes to mind. Who hasn't had an experience with a pushy, know-it-all salesman that seems numb to the word "no"? You say "no," but it seems like he/she hears "yeah, maybe" and keeps pushing. Yuck. Whenever someone cold calls me and wants to meet, I instantly build … read more

5257_99887f8a40_small February 1, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Kansas City (Guest post by Kirk Hasenzahl.) There are a number of tremendous ideas and new startups in the Silicon Prairie these days. It is an exciting time to be a startup around here. In all my worldly travels as a startup founder (2 years worth), it amazes me that many of the most incredible ideas I hear consistently are missing a key part to the solution: sales. The goal, I believe, is that at some point you do this to generate cash flow. Right? Or am I missing something? Even if you start a non-profit; money creates jobs, growth, and helps the company accomplish whatever ... read more

5229_996b6ecff5_small January 25, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Kansas City (Guest post by Nathan Benjamin.) I don't pretend to have a fail-proof recipe for a successful business, but I do know that for us, it's about purpose, the planet and a bunch of people who all see a baseball game where others see only a field. A recent study in The Wall Street Journal found two-thirds of people would take a pay cut to work for a company that focused on sustainability. Why? Because we want our lives, and our work, to matter. InvenQuery was created around an environmental mission, and we stay true to that. It infuses who we are, what we do and why we do it. … read more

5197_f5b0efad77_small January 18, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Lincoln (Guest post by Paul Jarrett.) If my title was polarizing enough to entice you to read this, I'm guessing I have about two minutes and thirty seven seconds to get a few points across about company culture before you decide to stop reading before I lose you to /r/AWW. I could spend some of that time leading you to believe that Bulu Box has "the secret" to company culture… but we don't. And that's not how we roll. For me, there's nothing more refreshing than someone with less than one year of entrepreneurial experience (that's me) calling it how it is and sharing their experiences, candidly. That said … read more

5180_9db93a8798_small January 14, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Las Vegas The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest gathering of technology suppliers, buyers and techno-nerds possibly in the world. I attended CES for three full days in hopes of getting new leads for my startup, Bawte. Bawte is a consumer-facing app that allows our users to tag the products they buy to create a custom product catalog consisting of only the products they own. When Bawte partners with brands, we can offer a much richer … read more

5176_3cb83bae60_small January 11, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Omaha (Guest post by Joe Petsick.) The word is thrown around rather frequently in the world of startup businesses, and is largely regarded as being pretty important, but at times, I'm not sure everyone defines it the same way when they process the word - culture. What is culture? For the purposes of this post, let's agree on this definition: cul·ture [kuhl-cher] noun - the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group working toward a common cause. I recall during an extensive interview process for a particular key hire at a critical, high-growth time for Proxibid, that culture became … read more

5156_d1b7a78c03_small January 6, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Kansas City (Guest post by Matthew Marcus.) During one of his more memorable speeches, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs told his employees, "We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" At first glance, one might presume Jobs was simply telling his minions that he wanted Apple to change the world. But, I believe Jobs had a deeper meaning in mind. I think he used the word "here" not … read more

5150_90924f5442_small January 4, 2013 by Guest Contributor

Iowa City (Guest post by Michal Eynon-Lynch.) Creating a positive company culture is much like creating a positive classroom culture. As former teachers and camp counselors, this is something we enjoy actively considering. When intentionally attempting to improve company culture, I recommend following these three tips: 1. Laissez-faire it up 2. Hire well 3. Make it enjoyable. Laissez-faire it up: In the classroom, I can easily make a lot of really firm rules and structures. I can make my students do worksheets every night and give them points for completing their homework on time. I can penalize … read more

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