Start-ups 5 things you need to know

Startup Business

Starting a new business entails understanding and dealing with many issues—legal, financing, sales and marketing, intellectual property protection, liability protection, human resources, and more. But interest in entrepreneurship is at an all-time high. And there have been spectacular success stories of early stage startups growing to be multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Uber, Facebook, WhatsApp, Airbnb, and many others.

We designed and built the Yahoo! brand

As the owner of Rainfire Media I have worked with some of the most successful start-up businesses over my 27 years in the industry. I was the architect of the Yahoo! brand and logo designer and worked with the founders Jerry Yang and David Filo to put a face on the business in 1994. I was fortunate to work with several other startups as well in the infancy of the Internet birth. Some names may be familiar to you,, Excite Networks,,, and others. Most recently we launched a startup company for and are currently working with

Here is Our 5 Step Guide for Getting Your Start-up Business Going

1. Come Up With a Great Name for Your Business

Selecting the right name for your start-up can have a significant impact on your business success. The wrong name could result in insurmountable legal and business hurdles. Here are some basic tips on how to name your startup:

  • Avoid hard-to-spell names.
  • Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.
  • Conduct a thorough Internet search on a proposed name.
  • Get a “.com” domain name (as opposed to “.net” or another variant).
  • Conduct a thorough trademark search.
  • Make sure you and your employees will be happy saying the name.
  • Come up with five names you like and test market the name with prospective employees, partners, investors, and potential customers.

2. Focus on Building a Great Product – Don’t Take Forever to Launch

When starting out, your product or service has to be at least good if not great. It must be differentiated in some meaningful and important way from the offerings of your competition‎. Everything else follows from this key principle. Don’t drag your feet on getting your product out to market, since early customer feedback is one of the best ways to help improve your product. Of course, you want a “minimum viable product” (MVP) to begin with, but even that product should be good and differentiated from the competition. Having a “beta” test product works for many startups as they work the bugs out from user reactions. As Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook has said, “Done is better than perfect.”

3. Build a Great Website for Your Company

You should devote time and effort to building a great website for your business this is our specialty. Prospective investors, customers, and partners are going to check out your site, and you want to impress them with a professional product. Here are some tips for building a great company website:

  • Check out competitor sites.
  • Start by sketching out a template for your site.
  • Come up with five or six sites you can share with your web site developer to convey what you like.
  • Be sure the site is search engine optimized (and thus more likely to show up early on Google search results).
  • Produce high-quality original content.
  • Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices.
  • Make sure the site loads quickly.
  • Keep it clean and simple; visual clutter will drive visitors away.
  • Make sure you have a Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy
  • Make the navigation bars prominent.
  • Obtain and use a memorable “.com” domain name.
  • Make the site visually interesting.
  • Make sure it’s easy for site visitors to contact you or buy your product.

4. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

An “elevator” pitch is intended to be a concise, compelling introduction to your business. You should be able to slightly modify your elevator pitch depending on whether you are pitching to prospective investors, customers, employees, or partners. Here are a few tips for developing and delivering a great elevator pitch:

  • Start out strong.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic in your delivery.
  • Remember that practice makes perfect.
  • Keep it to 60 seconds in length.
  • Avoid using industry jargon.
  • Convey why your business is unique.
  • Pitch the problem you are solving.
  • Invite participation or interruption by the listener—this shows they are interested and engaged.

5. Make the Deal Clear With Co-Founders

If you start your company with co-founders, you should agree early on about the details of your business relationship. Not doing so can potentially cause significant legal problems down the road (a good example of this is the infamous Zuckerberg/Winklevoss Facebook litigation). In a way, think of the founder agreement as a form of “pre-nuptial agreement.” Here are the key deal terms your written founder agreement needs to address:

  • How is the equity split among the founders?
  • Is the percentage of ownership subject to vesting based on continued participation in the business?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the founders?
  • If one founder leaves, does the company or the other founder have the right to buy back that founder’s shares? At what price?
  • How much time commitment to the business is expected of each founder?
  • What salaries (if any) are the founders entitled to? How can that be changed?
  • How are key decisions and day-to-day decisions of the business to be made? (by majority vote, unanimous vote, or are certain decisions solely in the hands of the CEO?)
  • Under what circumstances can a founder be removed as an employee of the business? (usually, this would be a Board decision)
  • What assets or cash does each founder contribute or invest into the business?
  • How will a sale of the business be decided?
  • What happens if one founder isn’t living up to expectations under the founder agreement? How will it be resolved?
  • What is the overall goal and vision for the business?
  • If one founder wants to leave the business, does the company have the right to buy back his or her shares? At what price?

Following these 5 guidelines will get you started on the right foot. And remember Rainfire Media is here to help. Rainfire Media is uniquely positioned to develop and launch new business concepts. Through our bundle of professional creative and technical services we are able to brainstorm ideas, conceptualize and identify revenue streams, design business identity systems, design and build marketing collateral, provide strategic marketing plans, design and build business websites and mobile applications, software applications, author, design and build pitch decks, create and support the business concept as a partner.

Much of what is needed in the start-up phase of a business concept is capital investment. Our focus with the entrepreneurs at this point is to help guide their energy to deliver the business concept as to “What is the problem?” and “How will you solve it?”. Then the two things investors want to know is “How much money will it take to build the business?” and “When will I get my investment back and at what percentage return?”. Let’s face it, if there is a high risk there should be a higher rate of return for the investor to even consider spending their capital.

Rainfire Media Hears You

We listen and understand the business idea the founder presents and we work closely with them to define the concept. If, in our opinion, the concept is not viable we will advise the client as such. We learn all that we can and do our due diligence to provide the market research supporting the concept.

World class logo and business identity now takes shape, we hone in on the specific concepts that make the business come to life. We design and develop system prototypes and MVP’s (Minimal Viable Product is a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.) All of this learning is then translated into a pitch deck used to present the concept to potential investors.

The Pitch Deck

This is where Rainfire Media excels. Over our long history we have gained the experience to help develop concepts and convert them into presentations that capture the audience’s attention. This ultimately translates into the initial capital investments needed to start the business. People believe what they see and a long drawn out written document describing your brilliant business concept might work for you but to an investor they need to hear the 60 second elevator pitch. This also dictates then length of your pitch deck hitting all the hot buttons without losing the attention of your audience.

Business/Product Development

Once the start-up gets its initial round of capital investment the actual business production begins. Rainfire Media works hand-in-hand with the founders on product development, software development, product branding, market messaging, vision and mission, website design, social media, SEO, traditional print marketing collateral, trade show materials (booths), and other business marketing and technology support.

All Under-One-Roof Approach

The entrepreneurs benefit from our under-one-roof services approach that maintains quality, consistency of message, budgets and production milestones. We manage the entire project from initial concept to business launch and beyond. We work as an extension of the business marketing arm and work closely with the founders to maintain their vision.

We also consult on human resources and technology needed to run and grow the business. Ultimately, turning over all operations of the new business to the owners. We maintain a support team to continue with the new business team to design and build new phases of the business or move the business in a new direction. We provide services in all areas or as needed by the client.

Services we provide:

  • Business Concept Development
  • Marketing Strategy Development
  • Creative Services
  • Software Development
  • Mobile Application Development
  • Website Design and Ecommerce
  • Marketing Collateral Design and Production
  • Marketing Presentation Design and Development
  • Digital Marketing Services (email campaigns, advertising, social media)
  • Technology Consulting
  • And more…

We are excited to learn about your new business ideas and concepts. If you have an idea and want to make it into reality you should contact Rainfire Media and tell us your story. You might be the next Yahoo! out there turning your concept into millions of dollars!

Give Rick Romano, President of Rainfire Media, a call today 949-412-9281 and get your start-up launched!