FORTUNE Small Business:

How to get noticed

A Web entrepreneur seeks ways to attract potential investors and customers to an innovative technology.

By Elaine Pofeldt, FSB senior editor

(Fortune Small Business) -- Dear FSB: I have run an interactive sports games company since 2000. Our sector is heating up. Networks and website consolidators are paying a lot of attention to businesses in the sector and investing in them, but I'm having trouble getting noticed, despite having done work for some household names, leagues and teams. We're tight on cash, but growing anyway. And the couple of patents we have seem valuable in other areas of prediction/outcome, such as elections, awards shows, and more. How can I help myself get noticed on a very small budget? -David Langan, Co-founder and president, Grand Central, New York, N.Y.

Dear David: You need to create a remarkable story to get noticed, says Verne Harnish, CEO of Gazelles, a consulting firm for fast-growth companies in Ashburn, Va.

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He cites the example of FMS Advanced Systems Group (, a Vienna, Va., company that wanted to attract potential clients to an innovative technology it had developed for use in preventing terrorism. It set up a website called, in which anyone could research terrorists.

"This cost them very little money," says Harnish. "It generated a lot of buzz in the intelligence communty. Now the company has major contracts within the industry."

For ideas that you can use to raise the profile of your business, he recommends reading Seth Godin's marketing manifestos: "Purple Cow" (Portfolio, 2003) and "All Marketers are Liars" (Joseph Michael, 2006). Our excerpt, "Be a Better Liar," offers a quick crash course in the ideas he discusses in the latter.

You should also identify a handful of players in your industry who have significant influence over others, advises Harnish. These may range from a key writer at a trade journal to the CEO of a big company. ( can help you find their e-mail addresses and phone numbers).

Let them know briefly that you have an important piece of technology that will help them do their work, says Harnish. If you can set up meetings with them, you'll be able to gather valuable feedback that will help you achieve your goals, and, if your approach is right, you should be able to make some deals.

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