Lead411 nominated for “Influencer” Award!!!

Vote-120x240-aSo someone nominated us for the “Small Business Influencer Awards” on SmallBizTrends.com. Whoever did that… we want to say “thank you”! We are very honored as some great companies have been nominated/won in the past. Last year companies like Hubspot, HootSuite, Paychex and Constant Contact were nominated and won. Unfortunately we just found out about our nomination over the weekend so we are playing catchup. We missed a full week of votes.

Anyway, we need your help. Can you click on the badge to your left or the link below to vote for us?

Vote @ http://influencers.smallbiztrends.com/corporations-2014/lead411-2/

Website IT Intelligence + Contacts = Great Leads

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 2.24.13 PMOne of the most requested data sets customers ask for is information on which technologies a company uses. For example, many customers want to build a list of companies or employees that use Marketo, Salesforce or MailChimp. Because we are planning to test out pricing models we have decided to offer this as a free add-on to our Enterprise solution.

Those of you who already have Enterprise now receive this feature. For those that don’t, you are able to upgrade to enterprise with our normal pricing($1999) for the time being. This is just an introductory offer as we don’t know what the pricing will look like in the future. Not only are we are the first solution to bring together website IT Intelligence and company contacts, our pricing is currently a third of what our nearest competitor is charging… so we don’t know what the plans are in the future. Also notice that our company profiles now contain a section called “IT Intelligence” where you can “view” this information. If you would like a live demo please use our contact form.

Most Business Friendly Cities for Technology Startups

Thumbtack just released the results of their small business survey.  They surveyed 7K+ small businesses around the country to find out which states and cities are the most small business friendly.   We wanted to know what that meant for tech companies and startups so we took their raw data and filtered it down by their industry category of Technology/Creative.  The top 10 cities/metros are listed below.

#1 Jacksonville, FL
Although a great spot for small business, Jacksonville is not home to many successful startups.  One successful exit is Vurv Technology who was acquired by Taleo for $128M. 

Photo Credit: snarkybytes.com

#2 Denver/Boulder/Co Springs, CO
Not only is this state/metro small business friendly, it also has the accelerator TechStars which is helping the tech community in Boulder really grow. Other notable startups include NewsGator and Rally Software.
Photo Credit: Sascha Bruck

#3 San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. While it doesn’t have as many startups as its neighboring Austin, it does have a large public tech company – Rackspace.

Photo Credit: getintravel.com

#4 Minneapolis, MN
The Twin Cities Metro area is number 4 on the list. on2 Technologies was acquired by Google for $106 Million and Code 42 software hit #24 on our 2012 Tech 200 list with $18M+ yearly revenues.
Photo Credit: sherkys.com

#5 Raleigh/Durham, NC
Research Triangle Park has had numerous startups come out of its region. Recent ones include Right View Technologies, ChannelAdvisor, and ReverbNation.

Photo Credit: raleighskyline.com

#6 Cleveland, OH
Most people don’t think about Cleveland as being a startup hub, but they have a few… SageQuest, Sparkbase, and ExpenseWire was acquired late last year.

Photo Credit: csuohio.edu

#7 Orlando, FL
Orlando has had a few successful startups. Highwinds has raised over $100M in venture financing and Voxeo’s revenue in 2011 was above $60M.

Photo Credit: alexshay.com

#8 Portland, OR
Portland has a thriving tech startup scene. JanRain recently received $33M from Salesforce and did almost $10M in 2012 revenues. Other startups include Act-On Software, iovation, and Cedexis.

Photo Credit: davidgiralphoto.com

#9 Dallas, TX
Dallas has a surprisingly large amount of tech startups. It must have to do with its 6.4M metro population. Softlayer, Xtera, Match.com, Woot, Quickoffice, and RealPage.

Photo Credit: Jean-Jacques @ wikimedia

#10 Austin, TX
More and more companies have been moving and starting in Austin. Google and Apple have recently announced building new large facilities in Austin. In addition, there are just too many to mention. Some of the largest include HomeAway, BazaarVoice, SolarWinds, and RetailMeNot.

Photo Credit: usembassy.gov

5 Surefire Ways to Kill a Startup

There are a lot of posts floating around about how to help a startup succeed, but I wanted to look at the other side to that coin: startup killers. More of us are at risk of killing a perfectly good startup than we’d like to believe. Word to the wise: here are ten situations to avoid.

1. Launching before you’re ready

Sure, you’re antsy to get your startup up and running, but launching too soon can make your brand look shoddy, and can invite all manner of customer service issues, especially if you’re in software. Instead, aim for a soft launch to a limited number of people who can test your platform and find bugs that you can then work out before the larger public sees them and writes you off.

Read More

How to Accept Payments on the Go

Ain’t technology great? These days, you can accept payments no matter where you are, from your smartphone or tablet. This is great if you sell products at a farmer’s market or need to process customers’ credit cards when you’re out of the office. Heck, mobile payments are great even if you have a brick and mortar location and just want a more flexible (and cost effective) option than your traditional merchant payment processor.

Here are some of the latest and greatest apps to help you accept payments on the go.


Square was one of the first mobile payment options to really take off. You can use Square with an iPhone or iPad to swipe credit cards (they’ll send you a tiny card swiping device you plug into your phone). Transaction fees are 2.75% per swipe. Read More

So You’re Starting a Business: What You Need to Know

If you’re on the verge of starting your first small business or startup, congratulations! Having the guts to take the leap is huge. That being said, you’ve got your work cut out for you! Here are the very first things you’ll need to do.

1. Choose a Business Structure

LLC? S Corp? Partnership? These business entities can sound complicated, but they’re really not. Sites like CorpNet help you determine which business structure best fits your company’s needs. And they’ll even file it for you, faster than you could do yourself.

2. Set Up a Business Bank Account

Once you have your DBA (Doing Business As) paperwork, take it to your local bank to open up a checking account. Consider whether you will be the only person to access the account, or whether you’ll need to get additional debit cards and allow account access to other employees once you open up shop.

Read More

Lead411 Rolls Out 2012 Hottest Companies in Pennsylvania Awards

The Keystone State recently got ‘hit’ by the Lead411‘s award series, as the Hottest Companies in Pennsylvania Awards was rolled out. This particular list of awardees came from an extensive 460, which was narrowed down to the most innovative 23 tech companies in the state.

The awards is a result of daily scouring of more than 600 business launches, press releases, venture capital fundings, and other business documents.

Read More

Should You Join an Incubator?

The problem with startups is that they have such a short trajectory. As soon as they launch, it’s a race to either getting funding, getting acquired or failing miserably. Startup founders need every resource they can get their hands on to make sure they succeed. Incubators have started popping up all over the country, since Y Combinator launched in 2005. And while startup incubators can provide a much-needed injection of cash, as well as mentorship and contacts, is it really what your business needs?

Drawbacks to Incubators

1. If you work full-time, you’ll find it hard to keep up with the work. The Founder Institute requires at least 15 hours of work on the incubator each week. That’s a 3.5 hour weekly session, as well as oodles of homework. If you’re working a job (either your startup or another 9-to-5), you’ll find it difficult to balance both (we won’t even throw in family time to that equation).

2. Incubators take some of your revenue. This is pretty standard, but if you’re not prepared to share on average 6% with your incubator, it might not be for you.

Read More

5 Hot Books for Startup Founders

I love reading business books. I glean a bit from every one that I read, and each book influences what I write. I like giving you some of my recent favorites, so here goes!

1. Think Write Grow by Grant Butler


My favorite form of marketing is content marketing, something I’ve always said helps establish you as an expert in your field. Whether you call it an expert or thought leader, it all boils down to one thing: more sales and a level of trust with clients you can’t get through advertising. Butler outlines some of the most effective types of content marketing in his book, Think Write Grow. He discusses the aim of blog posts, books, whitepapers, essays and speaking engagements, and provides useful tips for getting started. The latter half of the book provides useful tips on writing in general; great for both beginners and seasoned writers.

Read More

Lessons on Pitching VCs from Shark Tank

If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, you’re probably like me: begging startup founders not to stumble over the valuation question. Telling Mr. Wonderful not to be so harsh on the entrepreneurs. Urging business owners to go with Mark Cuban’s offer, as he’s best suited for helping the company. It’s my equivalent of talking to the TV during sports.

Whether you talk to your TV or not, there’s a lot to be learned from Shark Tank.

1. Know Your Numbers

The single most fact that seems to turn off the sharks from a potential deal is a founder not understanding valuation. You don’t have to have an MBA to know that if you haven’t made any sales, your company is not valued at $1 million. And know that the percent you want to offer the sharks also determines your valuation. That’s why the sharks start calculating on their notepads the minute a founder mentions the amount he’s seeking and the percent he’s willing to give up.

Read More