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3 lessons to take away from Google’s acquisition of Adometry

(Business News) When Google brought Adometry into their fold, the unique acquisition revealed some interesting paths your own company could or should take for greater growth.

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From what I’ve heard, Google comes close to buying a company per day. Adometry was one of those companies and was acquired by Google in May of this year. I’ve had the opportunity to research the company and acquisition, and here is what I learned that I think will be important to you.

1. The right problem

In order to be acquired you have to have something worth acquiring. The guys at Adometry weren’t just building their business for acquisition. They were building a great business and a solution to a tough problem that people are willing to pay big dollars for. Attribution is one of those big problems. Attribution, as it refers to marketing and advertising, is the ability to give credit to the advertising sources that helped convert your customers.

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Most people give attribution to the last point of contact that brought a user to their website, but there’s so much more to it. How do you know which methods are effectively raising awareness about your product and bringing you more customers? Go to Adometry’s website if you want to learn more about that. I’m going to continue talking about what we can learn from this business.

Problems are not created equal. Being able to see where the money will be be in relation to a problem to be solved for a given market is a special skill set that founders and leaders need to work to develop. Adometry did not start out doing attribution. They pivoted into that space as they saw the opportunity emerging. Clayton Christensen does a great job laying down theories that help leaders identify where the profits are going to be in the value chain in his book The Innovators Solution.

Have you ever laid out the value chain surrounding your business? Where are you in the value chain? Are you focusing strategic meetings on where the money will be, rather than where it is going away from?

2. Market leader

The team at Adometry was able to focus their efforts on a market where they could become a market leader and give themselves a chance for a great acquisition. Sure they had competition, but if you aren’t a market leader how attractive can your business really be for a nice acquisition? The exception to this rule might be more of a talent acquisition, and those certainly happen.

I’ve heard entrepreneurs say things like “The market for animal food is a $62 billion market. If my business only takes 1 percent of the market we could be doing $620 million in sales! Let’s face it, all they eat is ground up [fill in the blank].” Here’s a bit of advice from one of my investors that applies to this situation: “I’m not interested in a company that can’t dominate a market!”

If you aren’t good enough to dominate a market than getting 1 percent of a market is going to be really tough. Maybe there’s a really good reason that 1 percent of the market is underserved, but if that’s the case your market size is the 1 percent that’s underserved not the other 99 percent.

Early stage investors want to invest in companies that are headed for market domination and where they can make a great exit – generally from 4x-10x or better depending on when they get in on the deal. As you pick your idea or consider potential pivots, try to find a place where you can say “we’re number one in…” as soon as possible. It’s easier to market, sell, and all the rest when you’re number one at something.

3. Disrupt yourself, even if you’re at the top

The last take away from Adometry (now Google) that I found interesting had to do with Adometry’s attitude. They were never content with where they were. They were a market leader with a great product, but they put time and energy into things like attribution of offline marketing – meaning understanding how well traditional marketing methods like TV or Radio converted into sales.

When I first heard about attribution of offline advertising and marketing, I thought it had to be close to impossible. Now that Adometry is part of Google, I imagine their ability to attribute offline marketing efforts gets a heck of a lot easier. That leads me to my last point.

Adometry was one of a few market leaders. Now that they have been acquired by Google, their ability to take their business to the next level has increased dramatically. As part of the Google team, they have access to way more data and are even closer to the actual searches themselves. What will happen to other “market leaders” as Adometry continues to integrate with Google and its amazing data? I’m not sure, but it’s clear that they now have a major competitive advantage. As for the Adometry team themselves? I’m sure their fine with how things have worked out, especially given the fun perks of being a part of Google.

Most recently Jordan was the Co-founder and CEO at Unbill - a FinTech startup that was acquired by Q2ebanking (QTWO) in January of 2017. Before that, Jordan was an early employee and product manager at NextPage which sold to Proofpoint (PFPT) in December of 2011. Jordan is happily married and has 3 children.

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Business News

Corporate-franchise relationships: How has COVID affected them?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being a part of a franchise has made sense for a long time for both the corporation and the franchisee, but the long stretch of COVID is adding complications.

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A franchise cup on a wooden table.

Americans love a franchise. We love knowing that every Dunkin Donuts iced coffee will taste the same as it did 3 states away – and every McDonald’s snack wrap will meet our expectations.

Franchises rose in popularity after World War II, and the corporate-franchise relationship since has generally been a happy one – that is, until COVID-19.

What’s their relationship?

Franchises are easier to start than a small business from scratch. You receive a business playbook and brand loyalty from corporate – if the business at large is doing well, chances are your franchise will mirror that. No need for independent advertising!

From the franchises, corporate gets an upfront fee and ongoing royalties. (For a McDonalds franchise, that’s $45k and 4% of monthly gross sales, respectively.)

Basically, it’s win-win. Both parties are happy.

Pandemic strain

The pandemic has shrunk margins across most industries, and the chain hotels, restaurants and services have been hit hard. As a result, corporate is adding more costs for franchisees, such as big cleaning bills and promotional discounts to bring back some revenue during COVID.

However, with corporate still taking the same amount from the franchises every month, these newly instated policies threaten to drive some stores into the ground – and franchisees are fighting back.

“I get that franchising isn’t a democracy,” said a Subway franchisee, who objected to the unprofitable “2-Subs-for-$10” promotion that corporate was pushing for. “But at the same time, it’s not a dictatorship.”

What I see here is corporate greed at work; they need to keep their margins up in a sinking economy, so they’re looking to the pockets of their franchisees to make up for that lost dough.

The pandemic has not been easy on any business (with the exception, of course, of Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla, which is a whole other story). However, that’s the draw of being connected to corporate – you are tied to something bigger than your individual store, and will thus stay afloat as long as they do. It’s a big reason why many opt for starting a franchise as opposed to starting their own, independent small business.

I’m glad to see individuals fighting back against corporate policies that don’t benefit them. They held up their side of the bargain – let’s see if corporate can continue to hold up theirs.

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Business News

What to do if you think you have been wrongfully terminated

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being fired hurts, but especially if you were wrongfully terminated. Here is what you can do if you need to take action.

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Stressed man staring at computer after being wrongfully terminated.

While there are plenty of ways an employer can legally fire an employee, there’s also a long list of unethical and illegal methods. If you suspect you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job, it’s imperative that you fight back.

Common Signs of Wrongful Termination

Research shows that around 150,000 people are unjustly fired every year in the United States. That’s more than 410 people per day – roughly 17 people per hour. Here are some common signs that you’re a victim:

  • Violation of written rules or promises. The vast majority of employment is known as “at-will” employment. This means you may be fired at any time for any reason (so long as the reason is not illegal). However, if there’s a written statement or contract that implies job security, then you’re probably not an at-will employee. Review all of your employment documents to see what sort of language exists around the topic of termination.
  • Discrimination. It doesn’t matter if you’re an at-will employee or not, employers can never fire someone based on discrimination. It’s illegal – point blank, period. If you suspect you’ve been fired because of your color, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or pregnancy, discrimination could be to blame.
  • Breach of good faith. Employers are known to breach good faith when they do things like mislead employees regarding their chances for promotions; fabricate reasons for firing; transfer or fire an employee to prevent the collection of sales commissions; and other similar situations.

Every situation is different, but these three signs are clear indicators that you have a potential wrongful termination claim. How you proceed will determine what happens next.

How to Respond to a Wrongful Termination

Emotions tend to run high when you’re fired from a job. Whether you loved the job or not, it’s totally normal to run a little hot under the collar upon being wrongfully terminated. But how you handle the first several hours and days will determine a lot about how this situation unfolds. Now is not the time to fly off the handle and say or do something you’ll regret. Instead, take a diplomatic response that includes steps like:

1. Gather Evidence

Wrongful termination cases are usually more complicated than they first appear on the surface. It’s important that you focus on gathering as much evidence as you possibly can. Any information or documentation you collect will increase your chances for a successful outcome. This may include emails, screenshots, written contracts and documentation, voicemails, text messages, and/or statements from coworkers.

On a related note, remember that your former employer will be doing the same thing (if a claim is brought). Be on your best behavior and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Avoid venting to coworkers or firing off short, snappy emails to your former boss. As the saying goes, anything you say or do can and will be used against you.

2. Hire an Attorney

Don’t try to handle your wrongful termination case on your own. Hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in situations like yours. This will give you a much better chance of obtaining a successful outcome.

3. Get Legal Funding

If you’re like most victims of wrongful termination, you find yourself with no immediate source of income. This can make it difficult to pay your bills and stay financially solvent in the short term. An employment lawsuit loan could help bridge the gap.

As Upfit Legal Funding explains, “Wrongful termination lawsuit loans provide the necessary financial assistance they need to reach a settlement. This funding helps cover basic living costs until the plaintiff is able to get assistance from their settlement.”

The best thing about these loans is that you only have to repay them if there’s a successful outcome. In other words, if the claim gets thrown out or denied, you owe nothing.

4. File the Proper Paperwork

Work closely with your attorney to make sure that your complaints and claims are filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies (and that you meet the required deadlines). Depending on the type of claim, there are different groups that oversee the complaint and can help you move in the proper direction.

Adding it All Up

Getting fired is serious business. And while there are plenty of legal reasons for being terminated from a job, it’s worth exploring what’s actually going on behind the scenes. If it’s found that your employer stepped out of line, you’ll be compensated in an appropriate manner. This won’t typically help you get your job back, but it can provide some financial rectification.

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Business News

Everyone should have an interview escape plan

(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but sometimes things can go south – here’s how to escape when they do.

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interview from hell

“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.

The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.

“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”

My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!

At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.

And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45-minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.

So, why do we put up with it?

Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.

While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.

Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well, and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.

Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.

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