Five on Friday: November 13th, 2015

five on fridayAs the curator of the INSIDER Guide to New Product Development (NPD), I’m constantly keeping an eye out for bite-size information that will help you develop and scale better subscription products. Here’s my “Five on Friday” compilation for November 13th, featuring the five best trends, tips, quotes or stats from my reading this week.

1. Skip the On-Site Help and Leverage YouTube

As small business owners, we face daily challenges that test our skills.  One minute we’re handling finances, the next, trying to figure out how to improve our SEO.  What’s the quickest way to get help with a skill you’re not totally proficient in?  My vote is – YouTube. Why? 1) YouTube normally has more up-to-date and detailed help than all but the very best-funded vendor sites and 2) vendors as well as users generally post their videos on YouTube, so you get all help options in one spot and 3) there’s nothing like a video.  Some elements to consider:

Date of production/upload.  Look for video that is less than a year old if you’re looking for digital how-to tips. For more timeless issues like creating a revenue forecast or giving a speech, older video may still be valuable.

Producer.  Vendor-produced videos aren’t always the most helpful or reliable, but knowing whose advice you’re taking is always a good idea.

Filters.  In order to leverage the first two tips, use filters to narrow your results down to a meaningful window of time, the video duration you’re willing to sit through, and whether view count or relevance is most important to you.

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2. One More Holiday Shopping Milestone to Maximize

In their article, “Six Big Days To Bring In Local Holiday Shoppers,” referenced in last week’s “Five on Friday,” Gannett/PNJ Media Solutions mentioned one more holiday-shopping date to keep in mind as you finalize your year-end marketing: December 19th = Super Saturday.  This is the most popular shopping day of the season, according to the article.  The great news for subscription products is that they can be “delivered” with the same ease and speed of a giftcard, and yet are much more thoughtful and personal gifts.  This is a great competitive advantage over many other types of gifts – be sure to leverage it.


3. Low-Cost, Creative Perks to Attract Good Employees

employeesBusiness Insider offers some fresh ideas on perks businesses can offer employees. While many of these are cost-intensive, and therefore not a fit for the early startup, DigitalOcean came up with an idea that’s generous, but not enormously costly: giving each employee a Kindle loaded with books that influenced the company founders.  Other good ideas?

Flexible Hours.  Often, it’s the delivery date of the work that matters in a subscription business, not the times of day worked.  If that’s the case for your business, consider letting the team set its own hours.

Partial Schedules.  Subject-matter experts are busy leading the field; others may just be more productive after a month off, or a 4-day weekend, and be willing to accept significantly lower pay to get them. A practice already used in the Scientific-Technical-Medical publishing world, a trade-off between salary and partial schedule commitments lures experts to take editorial positions.

Fitness.  For those of you with a little spare cash, local gym memberships can be surprisingly inexpensive to offer your team.  A great way to promote health and job satisfaction.


4. 25 Entrepreneurs: What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started My Business

In a recent Business Insider post that’s worth a scan in its entirety, several entrepreneurs answer the question, “What do you wish you’d known before you started your business?”  While there are thousands of posts like this, the one from BI offers at least some pithier responses that could actually help you if you’re in the early stages of the game.  Some of my favorites include:

“Pick a big, growing market where you have a distinct advantage.” Dharmesh Sha, Founder and CTO of HubSpot

“Seek out the most critical opinions of your plan that you can find. The natural tendency of a first-time entrepreneur is to fall in love with an idea and then look for friends and colleagues to support it.” Blake Williams, Co-Founder of Keepsy

” . . .In the beginning, it’s okay to validate your assumptions with a half-baked product.” Otto Hilska, CEO and Co-Founder of Flowdock


5. The Cost of Ad-Blocking

According to an often-quoted Adobe and PageFair study, ad blocking software is estimated to cost publishers $22 billion in revenue during 2015.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Diane Pierson has deep experience in product management and marketing, having delivered results to companies including Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis, American Lawyer Media and Copyright Clearance Center. She has built products & services that have delivered over $100 million in revenue and knows what works, and what doesn’t, when executing product plans and strategies. She is also a contributor to Subscription Insider. (Read Diane’s full Bio)