Spark Notes* -- 15 Painful Lessons You’ll Learn Working at a Startup -- How to Get Recognized at Your Next Conference -- Funny Tweets -- 20 Pieces of Business Advice You Should Ignore --
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SPARK NOTES* - Abridged Media Goodies from Spark Media Solutions


When You Shouldn't Seek Out Investors

Seidman Boardroom. Photo by Steven Depolo.
You have no plans for that money

The point of the investment is to evolve your business. That may be breaking into a new market, increasing production, or hiring more talent to move beyond the prototype. If none of that is in your plans, forget the investment.

You just need money

Go get a loan. If you still have cash flow and all you need is equipment or to move to a new location then a loan will probably suffice. That way the only thing you'll owe is the principal and interest, not ownership in your company.

Your business/product is not scalable

Not every business is easily scalable. Our firm, Spark Media Solutions, is a media production agency. We're scalable only by the people that we employ to do the work. Business models like ours are difficult to scale, making them unattractive to investors.

You have no plans to exit

Do you enjoy running your company? Investors would like to see a day when you're not at the helm. That's an exit, and if it goes well everyone makes money. It's also a gamble, which may not be the case with the day-to-day operations of your business.

Funny Tweets

Fowl Storm. Photo by JD Hancock.
"Don't hesitate when you come to a fork in the road. Be bold. Pick that fork up and take it home. Free cutlery!" - @Tups13

"Sometimes, late at night, I'll look up at the stars and wonder if you're also stealing lawn furniture." - @KimmyMonte

"The biggest problem with prison is that you can only rearrange your cell in so many ways because of where the toilet is." - @E_lok44

"You aren't supposed to strip during Zumba. Apparently." - @BuffyMaddingly

"Why is this wet? Just one of the fun games you get to play as a parent." - @philco816

Mistakes Startups Make When Talking with Investors

Grow Conference. Photo by Kris Krug.
You're eager. You want to find the person who has the money. If you corner him/her and just blurt out your elevator pitch, they'll love you. They'll start throwing money at you...

Yeah, that technique rarely works. Learn about that mistake and many others from a video we produced for Verizon Ventures. Three minutes of advice from investors and startups who have already felt the pain will save you a lot of aggravation in the future.


Michael and David's Podcast Preparation Now Involves Cupping

Olympic Swimmers USO Tour 2015
In this episode Michael and David talk about the pathetic attendance at the Olympics, eSports, and online harassment. They promise not to harass you, if you listen.


Make Your Trade Show Conversation Memorable

Three Feet from Seven Figures illustration of two women at a trade show by Christina Brown.
We talk to so many people at a trade show, yet after the show, when you look at the stack of business cards you collected, how many of those conversations do you remember? How many of those people are actually going to follow up with you? What can you do in the future to make sure your conversations are both memorable and worth following up on?

Here are some tips:
  • Have a few prepared opening lines beyond, "How are you doing?" At VMworld last week, people in booths asked how I was doing as I walked by. We both knew they didn't care how I was doing. Instead of using the world's laziest and least effective line, they could have said, "Love that shirt/shoes/hat" or "What's the coolest thing you've seen at the show today?"
  • Once you start the conversation, ask them, "In 30 seconds, tell me what's the coolest part of your job?" When the conversation shifts back to you, do the same. Instead of starting with your official job title and department, focus a cool and unique element of your job. 
  • If you can get to the point where there's going to be a follow up, pull out your mobile phone and shoot a selfie video of you and your new contact talking about how you're going to both follow up. You can use that video when you follow up so you both can remember the moment.
This scenario is not hard to pull off, but you may need a little practice. Try with a few colleagues to get your rhythm down.
Book cover for Three Feet from Seven Figures
Get your copy of


One-on-One Engagement Techniques to Qualify More Leads at Trade Shows

Articles You May Have Missed

ALA Conference registration
How to Get Recognized at Your Next Conference
Work. Photo by McClave.
15 Painful Lessons You’ll Learn Working at a Startup
 Mursi / 180 bs Nosegrind a fakie. Photo by  Andrés Navarro García.
Increase Your Visibility by Pulling a PR 180°
Smoking man
20 Pieces of Business Advice You Should Ignore
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Copyright © 2016 Spark Media Solutions, All rights reserved.

*This newsletter is not even mildly affiliated with the book note series of the same name.

Funny Tweets from Funny Tweeter.

Creative Commons attribution to Flickr users Steven Depolo (Seidman Boardroom), JD Hancock (Fowl Storm), Kris Krug (Grow Conference), The USO (Olympic Swimmers USO Tour 2015), ALA The American Library Association (Registration), Andrés Navarro García (Mursi - Skateboarder), and McClave (Sleeping man).

Illustration of women at trade show is by Christina Brown, and is featured in the book Three Feet from Seven Figures.

Stock image of man smoking cigar courtesy of Bigstock.

Spark Media Solutions is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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