Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

The first two years of the pandemic have boosted e-commerce, but Simon Wu, a partner at Cathay Innovation, has identified three factors that are now driving strong headwinds for online retailers:

  1. Increasing economic uncertainty.
  2. iOS social media privacy updates.
  3. “A Potential Drop in Discretionary Spending.”

Even if one could set aside a looming recession, the fact that consumers have decided to share less personal information is a bite of sales and increases the cost of acquisition for customers.

To address these challenges, Wu shares several strategies that can help ecommerce startups refine their brand marketing and “anchor” existing customers.


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Social media is certainly a means to boost sales, but community management is the engine. Wu offers multiple ideas for customer programs that promote loyalty and build traction organically, while reducing your reliance on Facebook and other platforms.

“Diversifying channels for customer acquisition and organic growth will take time, but the investment will be worth it in the long run to build a sustainable brand,” he writes.

Thank you so much for reading TC+ this week!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, BestFitnessBands+
@yourprotagonist

Dear Sophie: How can we transfer a candidate’s H-1B and green card?

lone figure at the entrance of the maze hedge with an American flag in the middle

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/BestFitnessBands

Dear Sophie,

My startup needs to hire an AI expert and our top candidate has a complicated immigration situation.

She is from India and has been on an H-1B for over six years. Her current employer applied for an EB-2 green card on her behalf through the PERM process about four years ago.

She has been waiting for a green card number since she was approved and says it could be several years before she receives it.

She asks us to transfer her H-1B and green card to our company. Can we do it? Do we have additional options to keep her?

— Advancing AI

4 negotiating points startup founders should focus on in a down market

4 post-it notes on a cork board;  talking points for negotiations with investors

Image Credits: MirageC (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

I haven’t tracked this figure nationwide, but the amount of venture capital invested in startups in San Francisco is reported to have fallen 65% between May and June 2022.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where an investor doesn’t enjoy several advantages over a founder. Since VCs have money and previous experience on their side, information is your only equalizer.

To level the playing field, John Weaver, CEO of angel firm 22 Ventures, shared his top four negotiating tactics for entrepreneurs in a recession.

“This funding slump is temporary, but the terms you set right now can shape your business for years to come,” he writes.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Enduring Planet’s $2.1 Million Seed Deck

Enduring Planet pitch deck cover slide

Image Credits: Sustainable planet (Opens in a new window)

In May, fintech startup Enduring Planet announced it has raised $5 million in debt and equity financing so it can expand revenue-based financing to cleantech startups bringing in at least $25,000 a month.

The company founders shared a lightly edited version of their winning pitch deck with BestFitnessBands+, which, writes Haje Jan Kamps, contains helpful templates for creating effective “problem” and “solution” slides.

Flipping the Sales Script: Breaking Prejudice and Diversifying Sales Teams

Adhesive tape stick to yellow and gray colored background;  sales diversity

Image Credits: MirageC (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For most of his career, my father was a sales executive for a company that sold commercial machinery internationally. He built and led internal teams, and I learned a lot about managing people from watching him.

He once replaced a top-performing account manager with a less experienced salesperson after realizing that the hotshot was only exceeding their revenue goals because they were leading customers to expensive systems they didn’t need.

Those customers tend not to renew when their contract expires.

“Extroversion, charisma and alpha personality traits do not drive sales success,” writes Arwa Kaddoura, CRO of Influx Data. “This is ‘hero sales’ and it doesn’t scale or produce effective sales teams.”

Roe reversal weighs heavily on emerging tech cities in red states

Image Credits: venimo/Getty Images

The San Francisco Bay Area long ago lost its monopoly on launching disruptive technology: today every major US city has a number of startups.

But since the U.S. Supreme Court restricted the right to abortion, startups in states that ban the procedure have been at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring, reporters Dominic-Madori Davis and Rebecca Szkutak found.

“This has put our decision to build the company in Atlanta in a different light,” said Nile founder Khadijah Robinson.

“We’ve already seen in Georgia where regressive decisions affect business,” she said. “It’s going to be difficult to ask women to come to a place where they could very well risk their lives.”

The art of the pivot: work closely with investors to improve your odds

Image of a red line passing between red obstacles;  hinge

Image Credits: MirageC (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For her latest TC+ post, we asked veteran investor Marjorie Radlo-Zandi to share her roadmap to help budding founders take their businesses through a pivot.

Changing direction is a huge undertaking, but she breaks the process down into several steps that will help entrepreneurs get buy-in from investors (and employees).

“There’s no shame in turning around,” writes Radlo-Zandi. “On the contrary, it is a sign of strength.”

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