Today in a veterans entrepreneurship class I had an active duty SFC Army recruiter ask to look at my Heidi Neck book opposite. It is the latest and newest academic entrepreneurship textbook, and well written. Her book is being adopted by many curriculums across the country because of its “meat” and “modern” content. I had it in class because in its marketing section she believes entrepreneurs in today’s world are better served and can even the playing field by using (her new term) “entrepreneurial marketing” She defines it as, “the creative use of affordable, innovative, and easy-to-use marketing tools such as viral videos, social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and mass emailing to grab the attention of the customer. Citing Zappos as one of the first companies to use social media as its main marketing strategy, they were able to attract a large customer base very quickly by emphasizing free, easy, returns on shoe purchases and excellent customer service. Her point was that entrepreneurs can even the playing field by using just the internet. While industry giants may have bigger budgets and more resources, that cannot not stop new entrepreneurs from waging their own successful social media campaigns. Their use of social media is just as valuable as that of Proctor & Gamble.
Her term of ‘entrepreneurial marketing’ and ‘evening the playing field’ struck me between the eyes. Yes, we all have used social media for part of marketing a new business, but never exclusively and never to be as good as the big boys. I agree with Professor Neck. To get a new idea with no brand recognition, established marketing channels, and probably a better product, it takes creativity and innovation. What better medium to use for these actions than the lower cost internet?
So, Sergeant Norman, my student immediately balked at the cost of her text at $120 (it is a new book and these collegiate texts are often required reading for students). I quickly suggested he pick a recent text in a superseded edition. (There are none for the Neck book because it’s a first edition). The price drops dramatically after it has been replaced with a new edition. Generally speaking, if you are new student or person to entrepreneurship, one as old as ten years will contain the meaningful information and explain the basics. Heidi Neck’s book is new, but other professors of renown (Bruce Barringer and Steve Mariotti come to mind) have meaningful books being sold for much less money. Not only that idea, but I have a good friend out in CA at Cal State Domingues Hills who teaches minority students with little spare cash. He uses the Entrepreneur Magazine book, ‘How to Start a Business’, selling for $15 and containing some 200 plus pages of a good material on the subject of starting your own business.
Being an advocate of lean entrepreneurship (the newer, better way to design a business plan), I must add a caveat. If an older text uses a traditional business plan as its planning method, please disregard that one section. It is now obsolete because Silicon Valley has given the world lean entrepreneurship, meaning use of a one-page business model canvas (BMC) to work with the end-user, the market that will pay money for your product. Called validated development, when the person with the problem or need, works an entrepreneur through their situation and personal desire, the idea or concept is either a “go” or a “no-go” before launch. The end market either validates and express a serious interest in the product or they do not. Hope this concept helps wannabe entrepreneurs out there who want some meaty, inclusive entrepreneurship content like Sergeant Norman. Editor.