Professional Presentation ENT 645

I gave an inspirational and motivational presentation on, Sunday, August 1, 2018 at 7:30 EST. In the days and weeks leading up to my chat I racked my brain endlessly trying to decide what I was an “expert” in and could talk about via a Facebook LIVE chat/talk. I ultimately decided that I would talk about what I know and can talk about freely and excitedly. As an entrepreneur, I know how much courage, hard work, dedication, drive, and support it takes to be self-motivated and work hard on a dream and on a business. I talked to my audience of around 20 attendees about following their passions, using the resources at hand, and finding others that inspire and support them. I told my story in hope that someone could relate to the fact that things do not always turn out exactly how we plan but that if we keep pushing, they’ll turn out exactly how they are meant to be. The responses were positive, and though I was nervous during the presentation, seeing that everyone was so supportive and receptive really gave me a boost of confidence and it felt amazing. I learned a ton from this experience and hope to do more public speaking in the future. Those who watch cheered me on in the comments, told me how proud they were, and more. I even got a few texts from some supporters who thoroughly enjoyed my talk. You can few the talk below.

Regina Nicole Boutique-How To Get First Dibs & Great Deals on New Boutique Fashion That Fits & Won’t Hurt Your Wallet! Direct Response Tool and Analysis

Click here to go to form at www.shopreginanicole.com

Direct Response Tool Analysis

In creating a “two-step” direct response marketing tool for Regina Nicole Boutique, I found that the most difficult task was deciding what I could offer of value to consumers. I determined that offering entry into our exclusive VIP Shopping Group would be the best route to take. Our group currently consists of over 600 members but growing the group will only allow us the opportunity to be in front of the eyes of new potential customers. The group operates as a small community of mostly women. We post great deals, funny graphics, inspirational quotes, and more. To be a member you have to be invited to the group by an existing member, so it really limits our visibility. I knew that offering a way into the group that does not require knowing someone within would allow for increased and valuable reach.

Creating the tool was very straight forward. I used JotForm to create a form with a headline, a picture, a little info about the boutique and what the group offers member. The form asks for the client’s name, email address, birthday, phone number (optional) and feedback on what they value or would value receiving from us. I also included in the form a note that informs applicants that by filling out the form, they are also signing up for our email list, which is why they are asked for their email address.

Email acquisition is very important to us as we really are looking to beef up our email campaigning. Our current conversion rates are low, but our open-rates are slightly above industry averages, so there is great potential in that avenue.

The birth date, we can use to surprise and delight our customers with a special offer just for them, just for their birthday. The feedback is great because it allows current and potential customers the chance to tell us what they want from us, and existing customers can give us quick feedback on what they think about what we are already doing. I edited the form several times before I got it where I wanted it both in aesthetics and functionality. I was sure to include branding, including our logo, voice and terminology. I also included a real review from one of our customers.

The form breaks down as follows:

Starting with the catchy headline.

How To Get First Dibs & Great Deals on New Boutique Fashion That Fits & Won’t Hurt Your Wallet!

Followed by a subheading. Briefly describing the offering.

CONNECT WITH REGINA NICOLE BOUTIQUE TO GET YOUR INVITE AND GAIN FREE EXCLUSIVE VIP ACCESS TO SPECIAL OFFERS, DISCOUNTS, GIVEAWAYS, AND PROMOTIONS.

Then I addressed the customer in a small body by saying…

Hey There Beautiful,

We want to give you free access to our exclusive VIP Shopping Group. You’ll find fashion tips, inspiration, motivation, and best of all member-only discounts, giveaways, and promotions. Regina Nicole Boutique features hand-picked boutique fashion at affordable prices in a wide range of sizes for all women. We break the mold when it comes to the boutique world. Fill out the form below to be added to our email list and gain access to our VIP Shopping Group. You won’t want to miss the fun!

Love,

Regina Nicole

Next I inserted the attractive graphic we use in the group pinned post.

That is followed by the form requests for information.

And then I added some pertinent info or “small print”.

By completing this form you are also subscribing to our email list. Don’t worry we only send good things!

You will be redirected to the VIP Shopping Group on Facebook where you can request to join!

Lastly, the submit button and a review from one of our customers.

The form then directs the applicant to our Facebook Group where they can simply hit “Request to Join”. We then approve or deny all requests within 24 hours.

Before evaluating my direct response tool, I wanted to see how my ideal clients received the marketing piece as well as understand the results.

The feedback both on the form and from those I sent the link to was very positive and customers were receptive. I even had a few people share it with their friends. The only negative I received was the page is not secure and therefore information entered in could potentially be compromised. This individual did not fill the form out for this reason. That is something that I am trying to remedy.

At the time of this blog post being written, we had received 9 responses. I really want to find more ways to put this tool to use and see more responses. When thinking of ways to really expand the reach for this form, I think paid advertising on social media could be a great start. I also think that taking a tablet to our next event could also work to go along with our email acquisition efforts.

We will certainly be using this concept as well as this particular form to continue to gain leads. This is a much less evasive way to really gain some important information and hopefully create new customers by creating value.

 

 

 

Positioning Grid

The positioning of your business demonstrates where you stand in comparison to your competitors. A positioning grid helps to create a visual tool which assists us in seeing where we can improve to better align or outrank our competitors in the aspects that really count.

I chose to focus on two major components, price and variety/selection. Price is important to customers when it comes to their first impression. In the clothing industry, sticker shock can prevent a customer from further browsing your selection. In our current market-space, our ideal client is not attracted to flashy and expensive pieces. This is a constant frustration for shoppers who want to shop in local boutiques but do not have a large budget. As consumers within this market, we knew what was missing and what we want to provide to create a solution to this frustration.

We realize as a new business that our variety and selection is slightly lacking in comparison to our competitors. However, we have made sure that what we do carry is broad in sizing. We carry a wide range of sizes something that is also often lacking in many boutiques.

To begin my research, I reached out to existing and potential customers in our “Regina Nicole Boutique VIP Shopping Group” on Facebook. This group consists of around 600 interested consumers who have either bought from our business or has engaged with us about the  products we carry. I had them complete a poll, there were about 20 or so participants. This was really just a way for me to get a good idea of how our ideal client perceives us in comparison to our competitors. The results show that the majority of our sample find us to be as or more affordable than our competitors. It also heavily indicated that we offer less variety and selection of products than our immediate competitors. There were no votes that showed that we are perceived as more expensive than competitors.

The next step I took was to reach out to some women in our ideal client category and have them rank Regina Nicole Boutique in comparison to immediate competitors based on price and selection/variety. It should be noted that as an existing business, we also gain a good bit of insight from our customers when they come into the store to shop. Customers will often make comments such as, “Wow, your prices are affordable for the quality.” or “Your prices are much less than __________.” or even “I think you all will do well if you get more selection.” As involved and visible owners we are directly getting this feedback from customers and can see their level of appreciation for our pricing.

By reaching out to clients and researching, it was reiterated to us that we really need to up our selection of products to really compete. We knew going in that our store is small and one of our goals is to grow, but it just became blatantly obvious that when it comes to selection we fall below the competition. I really saw this in the ranking lists that I received back. Every one of our immediate competitors has a wider range of offerings than we can provide at this time. When you look at our competition though, only one other women’s boutique exists in our area. This particular boutique is longstanding and has a large variety, however, we strive to differentiate ourselves in other ways. Our other two immediate competitors are a general store (these types of stores sell boutique brands) and a department store (which contains several departments, some of which we are not aiming to provide).

Though, some data we were already privy to, I can appreciate the honest feedback, tips, and advice we received from customers because of this research.

It is obvious that we compete well on price but our variety puts us at a slight disadvantage. So, this brings to question, in what other ways can we differentiate ourselves? For one, we must have the understanding that we are not just selling clothes. We strive to get to know and remember our customers, and provide a welcoming ambience and comfortable environment. We also offer a wide size variety that is not common in the boutique industry. We are selling confidence, friendship, and influence. Since we can provide a level of service and an experience that our customers can value and are unable to receive at, say a department store where things are a lot less intimate, we can sell our products at a premium price. While we compete well on price we are not the cheapest clothing option if customers were to break out of our immediate market. Our customers are willing to pay these prices because they can shop local, feel the pieces, try them on, and take them home that day. They get the full shopping experience and leave feeling great about their purchases and the service received.

We make ourselves and our brand visible to our customers in a variety of ways and we are looking to expand this area and our brand visibility.

Current Points of Contact and Visibility

  • Email (four different email addresses)
  • Facebook Page
  • Facebook Group
  • Owner’s personal Facebook profiles
  • Phone
  • In-person/Storefront
  • Newspaper (rare)
  • Instagram
  • Website

Future Points of Contact and Visibility

  • Billboards
  • Radio Ads
  • Direct Marketing
  • Community Involvement

We also use a variety of material and mediums to communicate our competitive advantage to our clients:

Materials and Messages

  • Name and Logo
  • Email Newsletters
  • Facebook Page
  • Facebook Group
  • Instagram
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Networking Events and Opportunities
  • Customer Service
  • Direct Mail
  • Business Cards
  • Employee Attitudes
  • Signage
  • Our Story, Mission, Values, Vision
  • Owner Visibility
  • Vendor Events
  • Website
  • Smells, Sights, Ambience, Environment
  • Attire
  • Invoices
  • Presentation of Products/Merchandising
  • Package Branding for both In-store and Shipments

Our positioning statement is very unique and further demonstrates what sets us apart from the competition.

For the average women 25-34 looking to feel stylish and comfortable no matter her size or budget.

Regina Nicole Boutique is the affordable local boutique that helps inspire confidence and encourage a sense of empowerment and community to the local women of Jackson County, North Carolina.

We go out of our way to handpick quality pieces from brands that provide a full range of sizes. We keep our pricing reasonable and our styles fresh.

We are a woman-owned boutique striving to make the average woman feel more than average.

In conclusion, we have gained much insight from looking at our positioning in the local boutique market. We know where we stand and can work to grow in the areas that we need to. I am interested in seeing what this positioning grid will look like in a year’s time.

Angel Investors from the Entrepreneur’s Eye: Harvesting

This post concludes my series of blogs on my reading, Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamentals of Early-stage Investing by David Amis and Howard Stevenson. Which brings us to the last and final fundamental of early-stage investing, harvesting.

For angel investors, the harvest is essentially the exit.

When I sat down to write this blog, I was not really sure which way I wanted to take it. Per usual I really want you as the current or future entrepreneur to understand how to look at this fundamental in a way that benefits you.

In my external reading I found an article by Venture Giants (VG) that posed a great question. “What would be your answer if an Angel Investor asked you how he/she could exit from your business angel investment in the future?

VG suggests that you should already know the answer to this question before you even throw your elevator pitch at a potential angel investor. I agree. How an angel investor is going to exit can affect the entire deal.­ Think about it, if this fundamental is part of the reading for angel investors, then it is understandable that they would want to know how it is all going to play out for them in the end…from the beginning. They will expect to see an exit strategy according to VG. You as an entrepreneur should also have a fine understanding of harvesting and the exit from where you stand and be sure that you and the angel investor are on the same page.

Angel investors will not only want to know the how of the exit, but also the when, the how long. You should also have a good idea of what your growth potential and plans are when you are calculating the “how long”.

There are several different exit opportunities that you can offer to your angel investor. Will you want to sell your company? Perhaps a partial sale. There is also the option of an initial public offering or IPO or stock where you would take your business public, to name just a few. There are also negative harvests and exits, such as a bankruptcy or what Amis and Stevenson refer to as, total annihilation. I think it is very important for entrepreneurs to understand the many different outcomes and possibilities before they even have an initial meeting with an angel investor. Knowledge and education is key and it is pertinent that you are realistic in what the future could be by doing all of your research, getting the numbers, and really having a road map of what your venture looks likes from every single angle.

I would recommend looking into Venture Giants article as there are some great links to other articles that will help you to craft an elevator pitch as well as provide info on looking at your growth strategy and expansion.

Amis, D., & Stevenson, H. (2001). Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamental of Early-stage Investing. Pearson Education Limited.

What is your proposed Exit Strategy for an Angel Investor? (n.d.). Retrieved from Venture Giants: https://www.venturegiants.com/news-channel-344-what-is-your-proposed-exit-strategy-for-an-angel-investor.aspx

Angel Investors from the Entrepreneur’s Eye: Supporting

This is the second to the last entry in my series of blogs on angel investing. I have been nose deep in Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamentals of Early-stage Investing by David Amis and Howard Stevenson. This particular installation brings us to the sixth fundamental of early-stage investing, supporting.

Angel investors can provide more than just financial support via capital investments. Supporting takes into consideration what level of participation or role an angel is to play in an investment deal. This is where it can prove important for the angel investor you are working with to have experience working in your industry or working with similar ventures. According to authors Amis and Stevenson, some investors seek out and choose opportunities that need a lot of support, and then take on participation roles that address the needs and wants of you, the entrepreneur, your business, and themselves.

What I found odd in this section is that Amis and Stevenson talk about the “five” participation roles in Chapter 43, but they actually list six roles. Nevertheless, what I really want to deliver to you is the short and quick on what support angel investors can provide for you, the entrepreneur. In my reading and research on the particular fundamental, I found an article by the IESE Business school on Entrepreneur about the six supporting roles which lines up directly with Amis and Stevenson’s work.

Silent

A silent investor makes their financial contribution and stays out the way with no involvement. This type of investor will support you in a monetary manner but will keep their hands out of your business while they wait for their return on investment. For entrepreneurs who want to keep control of their business, working with an investor who plays this role could be very beneficial.

Reserve Force

The reserve force investor will step in where needed and will help you when you ask for their assistance and support. Otherwise these investors will be waiting in the wings.

Team Leader

Angel investors that take on the lead of team leader are very active and can take on a full or part time role. Here, you have to be careful as a business owner as investors can become overbearing or begin to micro-manage especially if the investor has a huge investment in your business.

Lead

The lead role is taken on by an investor that either contributes the majority of capital or if they bring other investors in after them. A lead investor can have a heavy influence on other investors joining in. It is very important for you to understand who your lead is as they have a major impact in a lot of areas.

Coach

An angel investor that takes on the coach role will mentor the entrepreneur. Amis and Stevenson say this is the highest impact investor who does not actually control the company. I feel that this type of investor could prove beneficial for small business owners. They will give advice and support to the entrepreneur but remain on the sidelines.

Controlling Investor

A controlling investor will take control of the deal and in managing the company. An entrepreneur that wants to have control of their company would never want to enter into a deal with an angel investor looking to take on this role.

From the entrepreneur’s standpoint, it is very important for you to understand the different roles that an angel investor can take and even more important for you to make sure that you understand what role the investor you enter a deal with is going to take in your business.

 

Amis, D., & Stevenson, H. (2001). Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamental of Early-stage Investing. Pearson Education Limited.

School, I. B. (2015, 10 16). The Seven Secrets Of Top Angel Investors. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/iese/2015/10/16/the-seven-secrets-of-top-angel-investors/#6b30ee256eae

 

Angel Investors from the Entrepreneur’s Eye: Negotiating

Here we are at the negotiating fundamental of early-stage investing. Knowing how to negotiate the terms of an investment agreement with an angel investor is going to prove pertinent to you as an entrepreneur looking for additional capital.

In Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamentals of Early-stage Investing by David Amis and Howard Stevenson the authors discuss negotiating from the angel investors chair, which I will only touch on briefly. My real focus here will be the quick and dirty on what you need to know as an entrepreneur sitting across the table from that angel investor.

Angel investors will either want to negotiate terms, perhaps even tediously, or not negotiate at all. Some investors will even accept or reject the deal without any kind of negotiation or second thought. So, do not be surprised if an angel does not negotiate the deal and just accepts as-is. In some cases, things are good as-is or if the investor is not the lead in the investing chain, they may not negotiate or participate. Just be sure that you are not giving up so much of your company, that the investor knows they better snag it up quick and in a hurry.

Amis and Howard speak to the angel investor in this section about the importance of how they look at negotiating because it has an impact on the entirety of the deal, the terms, price, and structure. The negotiating stage also impacts the relationship between the investor and you, the entrepreneur. Angels negotiate four parts of a deal, the structure or terms, the price, the amount of capital they will be investing, and their role. In these negotiations they will take into consideration what role they want to play, the time they have available, what relationship they want to have with you, if they are going to be the lead investor, and how much money they are going to invest into your business.

Note, that one of the most important factors that angel investors will consider is their relationship with you. Of course, if the investor does not have the time or does not see the value in investing with you, that could be the reason they walk away as well. I would not necessarily take an investor passing on a deal very personally. Just try to learn from the experience, grow, and try again elsewhere.

Knowing how to properly negotiate can have several benefits to you as an entrepreneur, according to Under 30 CEO contributor, Rishi Anand. You can receive better terms, you can get the capital, and you can keep a proper percentage of equity ownership in your company. You can also avoid losing a good deal because you overlook the value of the angel investor, their actual capital offering, social capital, time, and their experience. Futhermore, you can learn when the deal is just not right for you and can leave it on the table.

There are a few things to consider when negotiating with an angel investor says Anand:

What is the investor’s experience in your industry?

What resources does the investor have that you could leverage for your business’ benefit? This could be access to real estate, social capital, experience, knowledge, or connections with wholesalers or suppliers.

What does their investment portfolio look like? Do they have a positive track record? If your investor was found by you through recommendations and research, you should already have a good idea in this area. You may even be able to do additional research by reaching out to others in his/her portfolio. Make sure it is okay to contact before doing so.

What is the payback period, terms and conditions?

Can you trust and build a relationship with your investor? Anand says to beware of “good cop, bad cop” from the investor and their advisor.

How much involvement will the angel investor have in your business?

Will there be legal involvement in the deal drafting and deal structure? You may consider having someone to counsel you legally during the negotiations.

What will the deal structure look like?

And finally, what is the angel investor’s net worth?

These are just some of the considerations that you as the entrepreneur should be looking at when negotiating a deal. They will greatly assist you in making sound decisions and choices so that your business can benefit from an angel investor’s involvement rather than make the wrong decisions that lead to your business’ demise.

If you are looking for the questions from the angel investor’s chair. Anand provides a link to a great source here, Angel Investor Due Diligence.

Amis, D., & Stevenson, H. (2001). Winning Angels: The Seven Fundamental of Early-stage Investing. Pearson Education Limited.

Anand, R. (n.d.). An Insider’s Guide: Negotiating with a Business Angel Investor. Retrieved from Under 30 CEO: http://under30ceo.com/an-insiders-guide-negotiating-with-a-business-angel-investor/