Friday, September 13, 2019

Funny Trends in Retail

As you know, I include odd-ball, but useful trends in products or businesses that I think are not only unique but push the envelop in a good way. Here's several recent ones I found.

Restaurants for One Guest
Restaurant 1:1 - Solo dining only!


With single person meals - the Irma Restaurant chain in Denmark operates the 'Restaurants 1:1'. Set up to seat single diners only, the chain said they wanted to break the stigma around solo dining for a main meal.

The 1:1 only requires one chef and one wait-staff and is set up for intimate dining. Diners can converse with staff or other diners while enjoying their solo meal.

So far the restaurants are a hit and there is a month wait for a reservation.

KFC's Wearable Picnic Anywhere Attire



KFC's latest marketing creation is the 'Picnic Polo' , which allows the wearer to instantly create a picnic anywhere. 

The gingham print polo shirt is designed to convert into a blanket (a large pocket in the shirt houses the picnic blanket extension) for impromptu tailgates and such.

Branded by KFC as the must have for office parties, summer concerts on the lawn, airport hold-overs, or family/twosome outings in parks and rec-areas. "Please pass the gravy".

Porsche On-Demand Subscription Service
All the benefits without ownership


Started last year, the Porsche subscription program allows customers to access the use of 20 different Porsches at prices which vary from $2,100 on up.

There is a subscription fee to join and you must have insurance but the program, started in Atlanta is being expanded to four other cities - Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, and Toronto.

Flexibility and choice push would-be Porsche customers to the on-demand program, with over 80% of members not being previous Porsche owners.  "Happy driving".

Jim Lavorato
Founder Fund-House Ventures & 4M Performance
jlavorato@fundhouse.us  

Thursday, August 29, 2019

PR : Often Neglected It Can Make A Business Soar!

You have been toiling for weeks in an effort to launch your new business. You are more than excited. It's your dream come true.
Then..... launch comes and goes. Now, one month later, you've run out of social media marketing ploys and the excitement is over ..... now what?



Could you have gone down another path? One key marketing element that many entrepreneurs overlook is a public relations strategy.  Fact is, many business people don't know or have an understanding of PR and its critical value.

PR is how your business is portrayed to the consuming public and is interwoven with your brand - it matters, Big Time.


Hiring a good PR person or firm (also known as a publicist) can be the make or break of many businesses and must be considered particularly when launching a new business, product, or service.

Why PR Matters

- 'Our Team'  'About Me'  'Our Mission'       'Our Vision'  these buttons appear on very website and lead you to a            narrative (hopefully a compelling one) that may never be read and              therefore never connect with customers. You need to get your WHY            out to the public - it needs to get displayed! That's where PR comes in.

- Market-reach is significantly increased with the right PR strategy: TV and radio shows, broadcast streaming (live and recorded), podcasts, magazines, print media, etc. can be of great influence when placed in front of the right audience.

- PR can have tremendous impact on the public perception of your brand. The more positive exposure and news about you and your company from a variety of sources the greater your importance in the marketplace.


Memberships Start in December 2019



PR is the icing on the cake. It's about exhibiting the positives. Good things happen to good companies and PR is the extra marketing element that will place your business above the fray.

By: Jim Lavorato, Founder/Principal
Fund-House Ventures / 4M Performance




How Does Your Website Stack-up

From start-ups to multinationals - websites are requisite. The all important link between the 'business' and the world. Websites are as varied as the businesses they represent - some are very nicely constructed, while others are poorly conceived and displayed.  How does yours stack-up?



Websites are portals for the world to look through and be informed as to the Why, What, and How of the business. In addition, they must be engaging, customer-centric marketing and sales vehicles. Following are some issues/questions developed by 4M Performance that you can use to compare your site against the norm.
  •  Putting up a static website does nothing for the business - it must be active. 
  •  Companies running online marketing campaigns get 4X more traffic and 6X more leads.
  •  The most clicked-on pages are 'About' and 'Contact'. 
  •  Look closely at your Conversion Rate. What is your site's ratio of contact form submissions   vs. site visits. Hopefully it is in the 2% or higher range.
  •  How hard is it NOT to submit a lead form?  Make sure your contact page is appealing by:          - Putting it on the Home page                                                                                                          - Putting it on VERY page                                                                                                              - Attach a compelling offer to it         
  •   Get more 'qualified' leads. At 100 site visits per month you can expect 1-3 leads. With 600 -      1,000 visits you'll get a healthy flow of leads and a higher conversion rate.
  •   Focus on the pages that get the most traffic. Review your site's stats. Note which pages get        the most visits and make sure lead/contact buttons are on these pages along with compelling      offers.
  • 4M Performance Memberships Available in December
 A website must be viewed as part of the business' larger branding and marketing effort. A great site needs to be marketed (consumers must find it) and marketing needs an amazing site.

Jim Lavorato
Founder/Principal
Fund-House Ventures / 4M Performance

      

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Look To Airports When Thinking Retail

                                                       
According to the International Air Transport Association 4.4 billion people took an airplane in 2018 - this figure is expected to grow to 8.2 billion by 2037.  Airports are a great place to open a business and getting better all the time.


Airport Retail on the Rise Worldwide

A properly designed and executed airport retail strategy can result in huge success. Why are airports exception to the retail rule? Because foot traffic is never going to be a problem in this space. And this is the reason why top luxury brands are popping up and placing great emphasis on airport retail. In fact, these brands are realizing more success in airports than traditional retail environments, such as stand-alone shops in malls or in department stores.

4M Performance - Accepting Memberships in December

Very few sales channels have guaranteed traffic and certainly not ones that are growing at the rate  airports are. Anyone looking to open a store, shop, or food establishment of any sort must include airports on their list of where to locate. Airports present a unique opportunity to take advantage of a captive customer sales strategy - go for it.


Jim Lavorato
Principal/Founder
Fund-House Ventures & 4M Performance





Sunday, August 25, 2019

Startups ..... Juggling Bowling Balls

There are lots of things to consider when launching a business and the process, for many, is overwhelming.

The failure rate for startups averages 50% - but this doesn't account for the ones that start but never reach the launch point. Here are some tips to assist in getting your 'rocket' off the launch pad.

Have a Plan


What, When, How, and How Much are the bowling balls you'll be juggling and that the Plan should answer. Spend the time thinking and developing the Plan which must include benchmarks and goals to be reached over specific time periods.

Money, Money, Money

Make sure you have the funds necessary to launch your new venture. This is a must. If you don't have the money - don't start until you do! That includes all the funds relevant to the kind of business you are contemplating and is enough to cover all of the anticipated expenses.

Marketing The New Venture

There are only two endeavors that generate sales for any business: marketing and innovation - everything else is an expense. You must have a marketing budget and it should be one of the more significant expenditures in your Plan.

Spend your marketing dollars wisely and track the return value of each promotion dollar. Use both online marketing and traditional media. Segment and pin-point your target market.

Create An Identity

You are the protector of your company's brand. Every business, no matter size, must have a brand and that brand needs to be forged and nurtured. The Brand is the Business - they are one in the same.

You must create an identity for your new business and that identity is market driven. It is based upon a promise you are giving to new customers that your business well perform and 'serve up' exactly what you are marketing.



     Only two actions generate revenue:         Marketing and Innovation -                     everything  else is an expense!





Use Technology to Increase Productivity

Make sure you are using all of the latest technology in building and operating your new business. Only purchase what is needed to manage the business in a efficient and productive way. If necessary  (I say necessary because many of the business apps available come with free tutorials and/or host assistance) seek professional help. Keep in mind that what cost thousands just a few years ago can now be had for hundreds.

CX

The most important task required for a startup is making sure your business is providing a great Customer Experience. This is crucial. Place yourself in your  customers' shoes to ensure that they are receiving what you would require as a customer. The experience must be honest, engaging, easy, and complete.

These startup tips are the ones you'll need to juggle. They are hard. They take time. They demand effort and thought. And they are essential to success.

James Lavorato
Founder & Principal
Fund-House Ventures and 4M Performance






Friday, August 23, 2019

Jim Lavorato Bio

I've been authoring this blog for almost two years and several readers have requested I post my bio, here it is:


Mr. Lavorato is currently President of Entertainment Equipment Corp., which he launched in 1988. EEC sells, installs, and services projection, sound and related equipment to motion picture theaters and educational institutions.

Throughout his career he has been at the forefront of cinema technology - working, for example, with the major Hollywood studios and the Texas Instruments Corp. to spearhead the movie industry's transition to digital presentation and distribution with the development of digital cinema and was instrumental in the success of the first commercial release of a digitally screened feature film ('Star Wars: Attack of the Clones' 2001).

In May of 2000, he founded Cinema Training Central, which offered the first training programs devoted to the cinema exhibition industry.  Further expanding EEC's scope, in 2009 he co-founded the Arboreal Group - an environmental consultancy which transforms existing movie theaters into sustainable structures through the implementation of a compliance and certification process.  Arboreal was conceived and developed based upon the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System.


Over his career he gained extensive domestic and international experience, living and working in Boston, Buffalo, Los Angeles, New York City. Phoenix, and Pittsburgh, and holding assignments in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Tokyo, and throughout Central America.

Prior to launching EEC he had a successful career at the Mellon Bank  where he attained the position of Senior Vice President. He also functioned as the Chief Financial Officer of Mellon International, being responsible for all financial activities at the Bank's Wall Street operations.

Previous to Mellon Bank he worked as a Corporate Analyst for the Itek Corp. which developed and manufactured high-tech optical systems and products used by the U.S. Air Force and NASA. Prior to Itek he worked as a Financial Analyst for the United Brands Company in their Chiquita Food Division.

He has authored numerous articles on the entertainment and media industries. His works have appeared in Film Journal International, Boxoffice Magazine, Theatre World, and is currently a contributing editor to ScreenTrade Magazine. He also authors two blogs - Cinema Mucho Gusto, which provides news, information, and commentary on the cinema industry and Launch Pad, a business advisory provided by Fund-House Ventures/4M Performance - cinemamuchogusto.blogspot.comfhventures.blogspot.com

In 1978 he earned a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Phoenix, AZ. In 1973 a Masters in Business Administration from Suffolk University, Boston, MA and in 1971 a BA in Accounting from Suffolk University.

Currently he is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. A certified SCORE Mentor, and a past director of the International Cinema Technology Association.

He resides in Scottsdale, AZ.




Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Launching of 4M Performance

4M Performance will be launching shortly. An adjacent product to Fund-House Ventures, the investment and coaching company for emerging and established small businesses, 4MP is an online subscription- based business accelerant. 

As the name implies 4MP will center around the four basic growth factors required by any business, of any size: Management, Marketing, Money, and Momentum. All of 4MP's web-based services will focus upon these four determinants and will ignite very member's business revenue generation and market-reach.

Look for more on 4MP in the coming weeks. Its official launch date has not been as yet set but that doesn't mean you can't have a headstart on obtaining pertinent and useful information about managing your business. Just by reading the posts on Launch Pad (the name of this blog) you'll gain specific and solid information about the current business landscape and how to transverse its many perils and pitfalls.

You will be receiving upcoming news and the official 4MP launch party date/timing shortly. 

Best,
Jim Lavorato, Principal & Founder
Fund-House Ventures & 4M Performance.
James@4MPerformance.com

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Customer Quadrant



The above graphic is called the Customer Quadrants Determinant and is used by businesses in planning how to assess and attack adjacent markets, introducing new products, or launching a new promotional campaign, among other things.

The #1 quadrant is the easiest to market to, which is selling a current/existing product/service to a current customer base.

The #2 quadrant is next, and a bit more difficult to attack. That is, selling a new product/service to a current customer base.

#3 is again more difficult. Marketing an existing product/service to a new customer base.

And lastly, the #4 quadrant - the most difficult and expensive. Marketing a new product/service to a new customer base.

Each quadrant demands a different marketing and sales approach to be successful and a different level of funding and staff to succeed. However, revenue growth and profitability is commensurate as the quadrant number increases.

Jim Lavorato, Principal & Founder
Fund-House Ventures, LLC and 4M Performance
www.fundhouse.us
James@4MPerformance.com

Monday, July 29, 2019

The DiGoddi Method : What Goes Around.........

Nico DiGoddi ran a small grocery store in the neighborhood I grew up in. Everyone in the neighborhood shopped at DiGoddi's and everyone called him by his surname.

DiGoddi styled Italian store

DiGoddi lived in a small apartment behind his store with his aging mother - there was no Mrs. D.  The store was small, about 30ft. wide x 60ft. long but was a mecca of  Italian food which was piled high and filled the store -  barrels of olives to umpteen varietals of pasta and olive oils, along with produce, can goods, cheeses, meats, and baked goods. DiGoddi's was always busy. 

I was about 10 and had been going to DiGoddi's almost on a daily basis for several years, making purchases for my mother, aunt, and grandmother. It was at this time that I was introduced to the 'DiGoddi Method', which marketing gurus now term mystery or suspense marketing. 

The Scenario

One day there was buzz in the neighborhood. DiGoddi had just returned from his annual August visit to "the old country" and brought back a giant Provolone cheese. Without hesitation, I ran down the block turned left and went another half-block - I was in awe. Right in the front window was a Provolone 6ft.high x 3ft. in diameter with a thick white cord wrapped around it. WOW!
Normal sized Provolones

For weeks 'the cheese' (as it was now referred to) just stood there. Customers continually requested  a piece of the cheese but DiGoddi stood firm and non-committal as to the fate of 'the cheese' - it was now mid-October.  Then suddenly, it was announced that 'the cheese' was going to be pre-sold in 5 lb. increments only.

Marketing At Its Best

DiGoddi was a master at marketing. He knew that if he had cut 'the cheese' right-off and sold it in one pound pieces it would have taken weeks and weeks to sell and perhaps much would have gone to waste. Instead he played on the mystery and suspense, the exclusivity - he created the desire! The whole cheese was sold before it was cut.

I was there the day DiGoddi cut 'the cheese'. It was a Saturday morning in early December and he was in great form, weighing out 5, 10, 15 pound parcels at a time. Customers filled the store and went down the block and were not only picking up 'their' cheese but purchasing lots of other items needed for the upcoming Holidays. DiGoddi had planned it that way.

Suspense Marketing Today

The hint, the rumor, the exclusive, the first-to-have, the bespoke - these are the buzz words used in marketing circles today when a product or service is introduced, a sales event is planned, or a new company or product is launched.

Sneak previews and lures via email, blog posts, Instagram, social media marketing, and influencers.These are the new 'cheese' that DiGoddi used years ago - and it works.

For more on this topic and other pertinent information read this blog or get on to our new membership listing - its FREE and comes with lots of 'goodies' and ways to win swag.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
www.fundhouse.us
jlavorato@fundhouse.us


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Modern Marketing : Transforming How We Sell

Marketing is currently all about brand management and advertising, but this model is quickly transforming into a more subtle and complex endeavor.
Consumers: more engagement, less loyalty
  


Given that there is much more data available for better targeting, segmentation, personalization, and analytics within reach of very business changes the dynamics of marketing. For example, largely driven by mobile, digital-media spend now outpaces TV- ad spend. With all that said, consumer loyalty is declining and competitors are only one click away from your customers. 


So, more data, more digital, more mobile, more opportunity, but less loyalty.


Today's marketers must drive and be accountable for revenue growth, delivering ROI on every marketing and promotional dollar. Their role is morphing to brand protector and overseeing of the constant improvement of the end-to-end customer experience (CX). 

Responding to what the market is communicating in a very agile and swift fashion, consumer connection at the emotional level, messaging and imagery, personal engagement, are all very relevant particularly given the trend of the less loyal customer.



Every business MUST improve their end-to-end customer experience - as competitors are only a click away.

Allocating marketing dollars between spending on digital media, data analytics, and building its martech stack vs. spending on creative copywriting, design, ad campaigns, and other traditional modes is now the norm. Today, very business should be thinking about having an always-on marketing campaign. 

Going forward, for all businesses the accelerant will be based upon being and not doing. Being agile and creative not doing creative one-offs. Being CX not doing CX. 

Jim Lavorato, Founder & Principal
Fund-House Ventures / 4M Performance
fundhouse.us

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Heavy Cost of 'Free' Social Media

Social Media has been around for almost 20 years and today billions use it on a daily basis. Soon, however, all of us will need to decide whether to continue paying for 'free' services by providing unending amounts of personal data or pay upfront for better services that do not exploit our privacy for commercial gain.


When we use data-driven social networks we feed these platforms information regarding our identities, personal relationships, and experiences - this meta-data is than used to bombard each of us with unrelenting, user-specific advertising with uncanny precision. For example, Facebook, despite its denials to the contrary, focuses not on creating a community of users but in developing an ever more efficient advertising/marketing platform.

Consumers are recognizing that there is great value in obtaining 'real' news that is well-researched, fact-checked, and truthful - and are willing to pay for this vs. getting 'fake' news, unverified press releases, and click-bait.  This situation will force people to migrate to quality services and give rise to new, smaller fee-based social networks rather than those that collect our personal data, use it, and provide us nothing of value in return.

It was only a short-time ago when the experts said consumers would never pay for music or streaming movies, but people have demonstrated that they are willing to pay for quality 'experience'.  I believe, at this point in time, consumers are willing to pay a little to get access to sites and services that aren't awash with bots, fake news and antisocial behavior.

People are waking up to the heavy cost of 'free' social media. It's time for us to recognize this and move to more beneficial and useful ways of using the power of the internet.

Jim Lavorato, Founder & Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
fundhouse.us










Saturday, July 6, 2019

Part #3 - Gen Z And How They'll Impact Business

This is the final part in a 3 part series-post on Z Generation and their impact on business.


Three forces are emerging from the Z Generation that will force businesses to think and operate differently and those forces are driven by technology and behavior.

Possession Replaced By Access

The Gen Z'er is a more pragmatic and realistic consumer and is inclined to access and evaluate a wide
range of information before purchasing.

For Z'ers, consumption means having access to products and services but not necessarily owning them. Car-riding services, video streaming, and the subscription model for almost any good or service is quickly becoming the norm.

For example, auto manufacturers are renting out vehicles directly to consumers, so instead of selling 100 cars they sell one car to 100 people. The sporting-goods business is transforming by providing access to equipment and coaching vs. just selling sport gear. Companies, to succeed, must  create products, services, and experiences that 'connect' consumers to their brand.
Gen Z - it's all about identity

Singularity: Consumption Expressed As Individual Identity

Gen Z'ers are all about identity. Consumption therefore becomes a means of self-expression vs. adhering to the norms of a group. More importantly, Z'ers are willing to pay more for personalized items. The days of the bespoke are upon us.

To cater to Z'ers, who are always and everywhere online, companies must develop a data strategy that guides what they offer in terms of product/service by collecting and interpreting customer  information - while, at the same time, protecting the privacy of that data.

Companies will have a two-track business model: one for scale and mass production and one for customization catered to specific consumers. Companies will have to become more agile and flexible to survive.

Consumption Steeped in Ethics

More and more, consumers expect brands to 'take a stand'. The goal being to take positions on topics or causes that make sense for the brand. In most cases, these should not be political in nature but  must match the brand's ideals.

Gen Z'ers are well educated about brands: the origins of what they are buying, where it is made, what it is made from, and how it is made. Therefore, marketing, in the digital age, will pose complex challenges as traditional channels of distribution become more fragmented and ever changing.



In Summary

Young generations have always influenced trends and behaviors in societies. For Gen Z'ers the search for truth is at the center of their behavior and consumption patterns and technology has given them unprecedented connectivity and access to information.   For companies, this brings both challenge and opportunity - but a business must be open to it, recognize it, and embrace it.


Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures
www.fundhouse.com


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Part #2 Gen Z - How They Differ & Their Impact on Business

In the first part, of this three part series on Generation Z, I addressed the issue of how Z'ers were the first 'all digital' generation - which influenced their views on consumption. In this segment, I further discuss this 'generation gap' and how, going forward, the Gen Z'ers will impact the customer experience and further the employee experience.


Z'ers now largest in terms of population


Gen Gaps

Baby Boomers (those born 1940-59) are best represented by consumption as an expression of ideology. Gen X'ers (1960-79) consumed via status, Millennials (1980-94) consume experiences. For Z'ers, the main consumption motivator is the search for truth. They search for authenticity to gain a greater expression of openness. For Gen Z'ers, the main point is for individuals to experiment with different ways of being themselves and shaping their identity.

For example, Z'ers are religious. 76% of them belong to a mainstream religion but they are also  liberal. So, although they have religious beliefs they also align with non-religious themes.Thus, 20%  do not consider themselves exclusively heterosexual, while 60% think same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children - both viewpoints polling much higher than prior generations.

Gen Z'ers are always connected, they are 'communaholics. They filter tremendous amounts of information and influences. For them it is the 'self' that needs improving. 7 out of 10 feel it is important to defend causes related to identity, including: race, gender, and sexual preference issues.
Z'ers are very inclusive and don't distinguish between people met online and those met in the physical world.


AD: www.fundhouse.us



39 % of Gen Z'ers  expect companies to answer customer complaints the same day - the three prior generations felt that 52% of companies should fix issues the same day. They are more pragmatic and analytical about their decisions than members of previous generations were. Many are keenly aware of the need to save for the future and see job stability as more important than a high salary. They show a preference for regular employment vs. freelance or part-time work.

In the final segment to this series I'll address the Z'ers consumption and implications for companies.


Jim Lavorato
jlavorato@fundhouse.us
www.fundhouse.com



Sunday, June 30, 2019

GEN Z : How They Differ & Their Impact on Business

This is the first in a three part series-post on Generation Z and its future influence on companies.  Called 'true digital natives', Gen Z'ers are in the 0-16 age group and are the first generation raised in a totally digital world.


Full-life exposure to the internet, social networks, and mobile platforms produced a generation that is at ease collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences.

Gen Z'ers, it seems, have four core behavior traits:

- value of individual expression and avoidance of labels
- mobilize themselves for a variety of causes
- believe in the value of dialog and verbal interaction to solve conflicts and improve the world
- make decisions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way

This value system is in vast contrast to the Y Generation (Millennial) which are often referred to as the 'Me' generation - that were raised in an era of economic prosperity and focus on the 'self'. Y'ers are more idealistic, more confrontational, and less willing to accept diverse points of view than Z'ers.

Given this very significant 'values-shift', it is incumbent upon all businesses to attune themselves to address Gen Z'ers wants. Consumption as access vs. possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern - all working in tandem with fast-changing technological advances and all leading to a transformation of the consumer landscape.

Businesses must now rethink how they deliver value to the customer (see prior posts on the importance of the CX), reset their thoughts on scaling against personalization, and live-up to their brand's promise and ethics.

McKinsey & Company has preformed extensive research on the comparison of generational values and emotional purchasing behaviors, I will be using some of this research in part two of this series on Gen Z.


Best
Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC





Friday, June 28, 2019

Case Study: CONSTRUCTING A LOGO

A logo. A metaphor for a Brand. A symbol that imparts, at a glance, the image and essense of the company.

A logo should contain at least three of the following : an image, a font, a color palette, a name, a tagline, a symbol, sizing, all wrapped-up in a great graphic design.

The process of  developing a logo consists of the following: conceiving, designing, selection, re-designing, re-selection, final selection, tagline determination, tag conceiving, writing, selection, placement, size.  All leading to a final logo.

Case Study: Building A Logo

I had embedded within Fund-House Ventures a unique business consult process based upon the four cornerstones of business performance: Money, Management, Market, Momentum. I wanted this new service to have its own name, image, and logo while still being part of  F-H .   To accomplish this I needed to do the following:

-  Create a name for the new service
-  Design an image that would best represent the new service.
-  Decide on how to co-brand the new service with the existing Fund-House brand.
-  Decide if a tagline was required and, if so, create one.
-  Finalize Logo

The Name

Since the four cornerstones all started with the letter 'M', incorporating 4M into the name was obvious. It was also apparent that the cornerstones were all about performance so the name quickly became '4M Performance' - an accelerator model for revenue generation and market expansion.

The Image

I wanted to incorporate the number 4 and the letter M into the logo. The problem was, what to do with the word 'Performance'?  To have the logo incorporate the 'P' or to spell out the word? And what about using the key words Marketing, Money, Momentum, Management in the logo or as a tag.

After a lot of thought and the aid of a great graphic design firm, Electronic Ink, 14 logo designs were created. Of the 14, three were selected as the finalists with color changes. From those three, one was selected. It is a very stylized image but imparts what 4MP is all about - a forward moving business consult model.

The Use and Image It Portrays 

This particular logo is going to be available in three separate color combinations, depending upon its use: business cards, brochures, letterhead, sway and give-aways, etc. It will be embedded into the Fund-House literature as well and in all slide show and advertising/PR promotional  materials.

This logo comes with or without the '4M PERFORMANCE' tag.

This is a strong logo. It is bold and stands on its own pillar. It also has an arrow pointing upward that, coincidentally is in the shape of the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Summary

A logo must stand for something and be relevant to the company brand.  It must be easily understood and identifiable. Logos are fun to conceive and more fun to develop.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
Phoenix, AZ

Monday, June 17, 2019

Being Aware of Your Biases

From a one person start-up to a major corporation, all decision-makers must be acutely aware of where and what their biases are and how to conquer them.


There are a variety of biases and many of us have more than one type. Biases can be Action, Interest, Pattern-recognition, Stability, or Socially oriented. Following are examples of Action, Interest, and Social biases.

Action Oriented - Push to take action less thoughtfully than we should.

- Excessive Optimism: The tendency for people to be overoptimistic about the outcome of planned actions, to overestimate the likelihood of positive events, and to underestimate the likelihood of negative ones.

- Overconfidence: Overestimating our skill level relative to others', leading us to overestimate our ability to affect future outcomes, and neglect the role of chance.

- Competitor Neglect: The tendency to plan without factoring in competitive responses, as if one is playing against a non-competitive opponent.

Interest Oriented - Arise in the presence of conflicting incentives, including non-monetary and even purely emotional ones.

- Misaligned Individual Incentives: Company incentives for adopting views or seek outcomes favorable to themselves at the expense of the overall company interest.

- Inappropriate Attachments: Emotional attachment of individuals to people or elements of the company (such as legacy products or services or brands) creating a misalignment of interests.

- Misaligned Perception of Business Goals: Disagreements (often unspoken) about the hierarchy or relative weight of objectives pursued by the business and about the trade-offs between them.


www.fundhouse.us For business coaching

Social Biases - Arise from the preference for harmony over conflict.

- Group-think: Striving for consensus at the cost of a realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.

- Group-management: Tendency for people to align with the views of their management.

Biases come in many forms and it is incumbent upon all managers to recognize their biases and disregard them when making decisions about business operations.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
jlavorato@fundhouse.us




Thursday, June 13, 2019

WHY START-UPS FAIL - It's NO SECRET

- 70% of all tech start-ups fail
- 97% of all consumer hardware start-ups fail
WHY?

9 out of the top 20 reasons start-ups fail (and five out of the top 10) were related to CX - not meeting customer needs, not listening to them, or flat-out ignoring them.

The number ONE reason start-ups fail was 'no market need.' NO Customers. Start-ups fail when they are not solving a market problem. When the business model doesn't solve a customer pain point in a scalable way.

Nearly the same number of reasons for failure (seven of the top 20) were related to the people and/or culture of the company (EX).  Not having the right people on board. Team building is important and oft neglected by the company founder(s).  A lack of focus or passion or both dooms start-ups.

It's noteworthy that only two of the top 20 reasons start-ups fail was due to money or lack of.  What this tells you is that failure rates are people related - inside and outside the company.  The most tragic failures happen when people inside the company don't care about customers, or don't cultivate a culture centered on the customer.

The moral of this warning to entrepreneurs: Customers must be your priority and their needs must be in sync with employee objectives. Ignoring either will result  in failure.

The CX - Why It's So Important

Product development and operational excellence drive innovation and increase sales. However, every company should be innovating in the customer experience and view it as a top priority. CX must be a deliberate, distinct, disciplined effort.

CX innovation differs from other kinds of innovation as it starts with the customers purchase journey. But knowing that CX is the primary way to compete and win in today's market how to get there is another story. Here's what you need to do.

CX Innovation As Priority

Just like any product or service provided by the company, CX needs a dedicated space, process, program and staff.  The purpose is to identify, develop, and test new CX ideas. The idea is to facilitate a test-and-learn approach to CX.  This can start out small with minimal investment, but any CX effort must have two clear
criteria:

1. Does it solve a problem for the customer?
2. Does it enhance the customer relationship?

Collect data from sales staff, company management, outside consult.

Contact us for developing your CX programs or Bootcamps

Must Have Company-wide CX Training

Every company needs to cultivate a CX mindset throughout the business. Every employee needs to know who your customers are and what their needs and journeys are.  They need to be motivated to adopt new ways of doing and thinking. They need to be empowered to implement new CX programs and work together to support the desired CX.

Set up a CX Bootcamp to train employees about the ideal customer's behaviors and their emotional pull to purchase.

Everyone Must Be Involved with Solving CX Problems.

Employees know how important CX is, as they are all customers themselves and aware of the problems customers encounter. To encourage and instill a strong sense of ownership for CX improvement is not an over-burdensome task.

On of the ways to improve CX is to assign to an employee or several a customer pain-point and ask her (them) to develop a solution for it. It is surprising how good the solutions are as the employee puts themselves in the customer's place.

CX and EX are the two must important business issues of the day and into the future. They are inexorably connected and need to be developed and nurtured simultaneously.  Fund-House, along with the 4M Performance model can assist with both your CX and EX issues - contact us for a verbal, free consult. Don't let you start-up fail due to CX issues.

Best,
Jim Lavorato
Principal  Fund-House Ventures, LLC
www.fundhouse.com
jlavorato@fundhouse.us












Friday, June 7, 2019

How CX Helps EX, Don't You Know?


The major theme that runs through a successful customer experience (CX) is to align it with the employee experience (EX). 



This makes full sense because they want the same things, a smooth, seamless experience, few problems, and satisfaction with the service or product. The link between the CX and EX must be clear and understandable.

The Customer Journey

Customers want consistent and engaging experiences at all stages of their purchasing journey. This is accomplished by addressing their pain-points quickly with clear and meaningful employee interaction. This is done by establishing 'control points'  - those key points, in the customer journey, where it is essential to control the risk of poor CX.



The Branding & Identity Specialists : www.fundhouse.us 



Customer Pride

The CX must be hassle-free.  Problems must be quickly and completely resolved. If not, negative
word-of-mouth travels fast and wide and creates problems for employees. Reacting to frequent problems frustrates and alienates employees and negatively effects their sense of
pride in providing excellent CX.

How It's Done

Simply giving employees access to customers usually increases employee engagement and therefore
CX traction. At many companies, employee success and customer success are at odds. The solution is that whatever the customer defines as success is also what the employee views as success.

All companies, of all sizes, should be instilling a customer-centric culture and ensure that everyone feels responsible for CX.  Once established this culture will foster best CX.

The approach to CX makes sense and seems simple but that doesn't mean easy. Discipline, commitment, and patience are required to connect the dots between CX and EX pain-points, drive excellence, and push sales.

Jim Lavorato
Fund-House, LLC
www.fundhouse.us


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

New Products: To Help Our Living

We have received a good bit of commentary regarding recent posts written on new trends and products which impact our lives in positive and profitable ways. In that regard, we will be posting on new trend products and services on a regular basis.

Median AMB Vehicle

Resting directly on top of any highway median, this vehicle speeds past traffic and roadway congestion. Drivers don't need to maneuver past other vehicles and gets to their destination much faster. Look for the Median Ambulance in the near future.

Emergency Traffic System


Designed to help keep ambulances and other emergency vehicles out of harms way when racing to an accident or other emergency.

The system works by warning drivers of on-coming emergency vehicles to prevent them from entering an intersection.  Both visual and audio warnings work to keep drivers informed and make sure they can hear the siren warnings over their radios or headsets.

What We ALL Need


Limited edition donut sneakers. A joint venture between Dunkin' Donuts and Saucony shoes - this use of double branding is becoming more prevalent as companies use collaboration as a means to attract more attention to their brand than would otherwise be by branding solo.

The Dunkin' sneaker pays homage to the Boston Marathon further co'labing with a third brand.

Multi-scoop Chair/Stretcher


Shape-shifting solution for both paramedics and at-home patient transport. Goes from stretcher-to-wheelchair instantly. At only 22lbs. this Dutch designed chair will be a best seller.

Co-work Space While On Vacay 


The new trend in resort locales is to offer guests a co-working space to stay in-touch with their biz and customers while on vacation. 

A bungalow on the beach in Belize, for example, boosts all the office needs: high speed WiFi, adjustable desks, free parking space, conference rooms, private cubes, etc.

The Phone-booth is Back

'Outdated' - no way.  The phone-booth is back! For privacy and security there is nothing else like it - a custom space that's sound-proof and safe from hackers.

Assembled in 30 minutes, these booths are mobile and inexpensive. Every cafe should have several, they work and enhance the customer experience in a big way.



Jim Lavorato
Fund-House Ventures, LLC








Friday, May 24, 2019

BRAND & CULTURE

- 100 million businesses are launched each year globally - 3 every second.
- In the U.S. about 1/5 of startups fail in the first year, 1/2 in 5 years.
- Only 1/3 of startups survive 10 years or more.

Major reasons for failure:
- Lack of market need
- Insurmountable business/economic issues
- Inability to secure funding
- Organizational culture

Let's key in on Culture


From first employees to 100+ people the culture that fueled early growth becomes ineffective and diluted. Founders take organizational culture for granted and/or get consumed with other demands of scaling. One day, they wake-up to find their small startup is now larger with 20, 30, 50 employees who are disengaged and unproductive.

Scaling Culture

There are 3 factors that play into the scaling of culture: Clarity, Design, and Practices.

Clarity of Culture: any business's desired culture must be defined precisely and communicated consistently.  Why the business exists? What are its goals/core values? These should be communicated and be the prescribed mindset for everyone in the company - through consistent communication.

Culture Design: it's not enough to talk about the desired culture, leaders must also role-model and create an environment that supports and nurtures it. Employee Experience (EX) is another design feature. Just as companies now identify Customer Experience (CX) organizations must do the same for employees.

For example, Airbnb was able to scale so quickly and successfully because its management imbued their mission - to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere - into every step of its employee experience including extending hospitality to potential recruits.  Providing "landing stations" where employees store their personal items so they can work wherever in the building they want. These are but a few things that assist in designing culture.


AD: We'll Help Build Your Culture
www.fundhouse.us

Culture Practices: merely intending to make culture a priority doesn't ensure it will happen. Leaders must engage specific practices to build culture into the way their business is run, and include:

- Value-centric Recruiting : in addition to skills, experience, and job fit, potential employees should be screened for 'values' fit - their personal values should align with the company's core values. Companies must develop ways of identifying the attitudes and behaviors that indicate alignment (or lack thereof) with the company's core values and using them to evaluate every candidate.

- Founders' Vows: documented promises that keep the company's founders aligned with the culture. For example: 'admit mistakes and unknowns immediately' and 'not hinder company growth for any reason (personal or professional)', 'try no to do everything yourself', 'slow down and be thoughtful, collaborative, and patient'. This goes a long way in achieving culture.

- Culture Audit/Assessment: like financial performance, a firm's culture needs to be assessed - preferably on an annual basis. Walking around offices and work areas, taking notes of what is seen and heard. How are employees reacting to each other and their environment. The audit should be conducted by a cross-functional team with outsiders  who can offer fresh, objective input. Management should review the audit and assess if the health and values of the culture are what is desired.

Summary  

Scaling is impacted by things that are outside the control of management such as competitive developments and market conditions. However, culture is within the control of management. By implementing culture clarity, design, and practices, management can scale culture - and successfully go from start-up to scale-up.

Fund-House Ventures, LLC
Jim Lavorato, Principal 



Monday, May 20, 2019

Fund-House Review : What We've Been Up To


Over the last year the Fund-House has been busy - in both its investment and consulting capacities.

Detail of Projects:


  • Joint Venture w/ eMotive Pull Communications:  Fund-House entered into a business relationship with eMP, a strategic marketing company that determines the emotional motivation behind the purchasing decision of a given company's customers. The reason for the joint venture was to afford both F-H and eMP the ability provide clients a full range of marketing and brand/identity services. We are currently working with our first client, Haven Inspections, to provide these joint consulting services. 
  • Gracious Gifts, LLC: Fund-House made an investment is GG, a manufacturer of  one-of-a-kind greeting cards that come with or without a gift included with the card. These gifts, are pewter bracelets with a charm. To be marketed at the retail level and on the GG website. Indications point to a strong demand for this type of product. "It Not A Card, It's A Gift" is its tag and it serves as a convenience purchase - as both the gift and greeting card.
  • 4M Performance, concept and development: a performance mechanism that will be offered as a enhanced consult service to our clients. A revenue accelerator for already established companies looking for 2nd growth opportunities or expansion into other business lines. 4M: money, marketing, management, and momentum are the four accelerator components that are addressed under this service. We will be reporting on 4MP's success as it is implemented and executed in the marketplace. 
  •  American Modern Music Academy (AMMP): one of F-H's spheres of interest is the consult and/or investment in arts and entertainment based companies. AMMP is one such entity. A recording and visual arts production studio, AMMP is at the forefront is providing instructional and studio rental by recording artists through membership/subscription programs. It is a full-service sound and visual production facility consisting of nine separate studios - each offering a different customer service - from audio production and recording to green room video production and editing.
  • Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO): a Phoenix-based business development corporation with Federal, State, and local municipal funding has retained F-H to provide consulting services regarding the analysis of NEDCO clients requesting funding for their businesses. F-H will work with small business clients to assist them in the loan application process and their ability to service and/or collateralize funding received through ongoing business operations. NEDCO is part of the New Leaf Initiative.
It has been a busy and lucrative year and we will continue to offer our services to a diverse clientele where we truly believe we can make a difference. We have high expectations for 4M Performance and its ability to bring together a diverse skill set and essentially a one-stop consultancy for marketing, branding. corporate identity, website development, logo/image design, and financial analysis and planning. 

If you have a problem contact Fund-House and we'll be happy to talk about your particular situation and requirements. 
Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
www.fundhouse.us
jlavorato@fundhouse.us