CoupleWise Contracts The Allasso Group For Management & Capital Raise

CoupleWise logoJanuary 27, 2016 Greenwich, CT. In mid-September 2015 Dan Gallo responded to an unusual post by CoupleWise‘s Founder & Chief Psychologist, Dr. Gary Krane, PhD. His start-up software company needed seed capital and a new direction if he was to succeed in his quest to serve the 35-40 million couples in the USA & Canada having relationship problems. His vision for a robust online app that did more than just provide relationship advice, but contained the wisdom and best practices of couples counselors, therapists & counselors–combined with the wisdom of “wise couples” who’ve stood the test of time, had stalled.

After several interviews with top contenders, Dr. Krane chose to work with Dan Gallo & The Allasso Group. “It was clear to me Dan and Allasso ticked the most boxes for the things we needed to achieve our goals,” said Dr. Krane. “Experience launching & developing a team to build & support a software product, digital marketing experience–Direct Marketing, SEM, and Social Media, successful at fund raising & building compelling investor pitches. Experience writing business plans and building economic business models.  I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made these past 3 months.”

CoupleWise’s business objective is to reduce the divorce & separation rate by revolutionizing the way people repair & strengthen their most important adult relationship by: 1. Dramatically lowering the cost, 2. Delivering a private & confidential online service, and 3. Increase access to time-proven, leading therapeutic practices combined with the power of internet technologies. All elements combine to provide a support system that helps you implement & modify relationship-damaging behavior.

CoupleWise is approximately 30% completed with the 6 functioning tools posted on their website. A user interview & survey of more than 200 couples using CoupleWise brought encouraging news:

  • 89% would recommend CoupleWise to other couples, &
  • 90% felt it improved their relationship

Divorce and separation are wreaking havoc on our society. Consider these facts from various studies:

  • Only 5% of  the almost 40 million unhappy/dissatisfied couples can afford & go to counseling
  • 80% of these couples cannot afford counseling to strengthen/repair their relationship
  • Of the remaining 15% who can afford therapy–they refuse to share their issues with a 3rd party
  • Over a 41% divorce & separation rate — an astonishing 63% for second marriages
  • Significantly higher disability rates from stress related illness (254% increase for women)
  • Increased drug & alcohol abuse
  • An estimated loss of $300B in business productivity/year
  • Long-term psychological & health impact on children

CoupleWise site users & board certified/leading counselors & therapists have had this to say:

  • “The first use of the Internet we have seen that shows real promise for helping vast numbers of couples from the privacy of their own home.” Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz – America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts, authors of Golden Anniversaries and Building a Love that Lasts
  • “Couplewise is a fantastic tool for anyone in a relationship. It opened the lines of communication between my husband and myself, was quick and easy to use, and in minutes helped us create solutions that really worked.” Lisa, San Jose, CA
  • “I see Couplewise as a great complement for therapists to use in their practice to make therapy much more efficient and to track a couple’s progress.” Dr. Jeff Gardere, regular guest on NBC Today & CBS Early Morning, author of “Smart Parenting for African Americans”
  • “I think Couplewise can be a powerful complement to therapists and a valuable aftercare program for couples.” Harville Hendrix PhD, founder of Imago Therapy, author of NYTimes best seller “Getting the Love You Want” – the Dr. Phil before Dr. Phil on Oprah

For more information on CoupleWise please click here to visit the website. For information on the company, or investment interest please contact

Dan Gallo, The Allasso Group, or call 203 858-9780

Why did you start your Small Business?

I commute from Norwalk, CT to Hicksville, NY four days each week. 58 miles each way. 3 major traffic patterns. 2.5 hours each day. For some reason, last week as I was driving down the Hutchinson Parkway, it hit me that every day I drive right past the exit for City Island…City Island

City Island just might be the very reason I’ve run my own companies for most of my life, because City Island brings to mind the best years of my Dad’s work life, and some of my best early memories with him. With not quite a 10th grade education, my Dad kicked around from job to job–some worse than others, but in early 1966 he scored big and bought a Snap-on Tools franchise.  With that and a small box truck he was in business. His exclusive territory: The Bronx.

Circa 1965, my Dad in his office on Tremont Ave, Bronx, NY

Circa 1965, my Dad in his office on Tremont Ave, Bronx, NY

I vividly remember the sparkle in his eyes when he talked about “his business.”  I casino remember his neatly organized office in the front room of our small rental house on Tremont Avenue in The Bronx. He’d come home from work and sit down to write up his product orders from a day full of stories of colorful mechanics, funny encounters, and tall-tales of sales closed and future potential orders. I was only 6 years old but I remember desperately wanting to go to work with him.

After a few months or so, he finally gave in (maybe it was me hanging onto his leg, crying hysterically every morning while he dragged me across the living room floor to leave for work that wore him down…). Wednesday was his shortest work day when his territory route took him to the auto shops, boatyards and mechanics on City Island, a small bucolic island nestled in the midst of New York City’s masses… and he said he’d take me with him.


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Developing a Marketing Plan

When developing a marketing plan we need to recognize there are two sides to marketing. We’ll classify these two sides—except face-to-face selling—into two distinct categories, each with its own process:  Market Planning and Product Marketing (which also applies to service offerings).

Market Planning (sometimes called “Market Analysis) clarifies what our market is and will be.  It helps us choose the most attractive market segments and—most important—decide what we’ll need to offer them in the future.

Product Marketing is the process of making prospective customers aware of the products and services we’re offering now, creating a strong image for them, attracting prospects, canvassing for opportunities, and preparing the ground for closing sales.

No example or description of these will fit every company, market, product, or service.  The following examples are either 1) the general components of any Market Planning or Product Marketing initiative, or 2) examples of components, criteria, or factors from which to select for specific situations. The components, criteria, or factors you do include are most important and should be given considerable thought.

As an overview, the two sides of marketing may be described as follows:

Market Planning – Developing a comprehensive view, with sound analysis, of:
1. The market(s) we serve and will serve in the future
2. The offerings we’ll need to gain or maintain an acceptable market share and profit
3. Other requirements for success, for example, funding, staff, organizational change, partnerships

Product Marketing – A variety of initiatives to:
1. Promote our brand and offerings in the market segments we’ve chosen
2. Keep our customers with us—understanding our value proposition and confident of our strength and stability
3. Motivate prospects to do business with us—create orders or selling opportunities
4. Communicate our direction and future positioning

The Market Planning Process

The following items should be analyzed, decided, and documented as part of the Market Plan.  Any that were developed in previous planning or just evolved in our history should be reviewed rigorously.

Market Definition – the big picture of our market, especially:
1. Target customers, and their distinguishing characteristics
2. Where they fit in the larger market—their industry or line of business, their customers and suppliers
3. Their major dependencies and determinants, for example, economic conditions, government actions, demographics, technology, innovations outside their own

Market Outlook – where this market is going, for example:
1. Size and growth rate
2. Established competitors
3. Barriers to entry for new competitors
4. Stability—rate of change in products, services, customers, competitors, market conditions
5. Expected Profitability—considering margins, sales and support costs, R&D requirements

Segmentation – grouping customers of similar characteristics for analysis, for example by:
1. Size—revenue or people
2. Age—startup to stable long term players
3. Geography
4. Industry or line of business
5. Position in value or contract chain, for example, finished goods, components, prime contracting, subcontracting, sub to subs, outsourced support services, distribution, retail
6. Diversity qualification or requirement

Segment Analysis – quantified assessment of “best feel” segments on selected dimensions, for example:
1. Growth rate and potential
2. Longevity—startup to long term player in their market
3. Fit with our competencies, culture, and business practices
4. Stability of requirements—frequency and rapidity of change in what they want and need
5. Competition, barriers to entry, need to beat established competitors
6. Product/offering differentiation potential, value of innovation
7. Scope of decision to buy our type of product or service
8. Key buying criteria – for example, price, TCO, productivity, innovation, added function
9. Margins and profitability potential
10. Development cost
11. Marketing and sales cost
12. Length of sales cycles
13. Government requirements
14. Potential partners, primes, subs

Segment Attractiveness and Selection – choosing or confirming Target Segments, based on analysis results

Requirements of Target Segments – what they’ll want to buy in the future, and how
1. Products or services
2. Buying process—for example, RFPs, long term contracts, one-off subcontracts, online ordering
3. Compliance—diversity certifications, ISO, etc.

Products or Service Offerings (for those future products and services)
1. Fit with our capabilities and depth of understanding
2. Development time and cost
3. Maintenance time and cost
4. Staffing time and cost (development, production, admin, etc.)

Product Marketing and Sales Plans (for those future products and services)
1. Main product or service marketing strategy and tactics
2. In house or outsourced?
3. Time and cost

Now that we’ve defined the market(s) we’ll serve, evaluated which markets have the best long-term prospects for our industry, determined the most attractive segments, evaluated customer product/service needs in these segments, and determined which of our products would provide the best long-term success for our business, we can move on to the Product Marketing process.

The Product or Service Marketing Process

The following items need to be analyzed, decided, and documented before we develop new content or choose marketing media.  Some may already be in place for current products and services, in which case they should be reviewed rigorously.

1. Offering name
2. Descriptive sub-name—examples: “Expert help without an expensive hire,” “The World’s Best Solution for Great Requirements,” “Audit, tax, consulting,” “Premium web design”
3. Selling tag line—examples: “People who know know BDO,” “The quicker picker-upper,” “Engineered to amaze,” “Web design like it was our own site”
4. Logo
5. Advertising metaphor (gimmick?)

Value Proposition (relative to customer needs, not competitive offerings),
1. ROI and Payback—preferably with a tool which calculates these from input in typical industry or local terms
2. Improvements in customers’ operations, quantified whenever possible and prioritized by expected customer impact, for example:
• Sales
• Quality
• Speed
• Accuracy
• Information
• Customer relations
• Command and control
• Process management
• Staffing requirements
• Organizational capability and expertise
• Employee capability
• Employee satisfaction
• Compliance
• Overhead

Product Differentiators (versus competitive offerings), for example:
1. Functions and features
2. Performance
3. Volume capability
4. Adaptability and update or growth potential
5. Reliability
6. Price
7. Ease of installation
8. Ease of use
9. Ease of maintenance
10. Customer support
11. Reputation (track record and references)

Service Differentiators (versus competitors), for example:
1. Content of deliverables
2. Delivery time
3. Price (rates or fixed prices)
4. Processes, for example:
• Needs assessment
• Solution design
• Development or customization
• Installation and assimilation
• Project management
• Customer involvement, communication, and feedback
5. Expertise and experience
6. Staff strength (number, stability, reliability)
7. Reputation (track record and references)

The Business Operating Environment

Customer Decision Process
1. Typical scope of decision—at what level will the decision be made
2. Typical decision owner—who will need no other approval
3. Key implementation departments
4. Key evaluation departments—technical, legal, finance, marketing, etc.
5. Most important factors, for example, product or service fit, price, relationships, references

Customer Communication Preferences (for current and prospective customers)
1. Sources of input—how they learn about offerings—for example:
• Trade shows and associations
• Thought leaders, influencers
• Industry publications
• Sales calls
• Direct mail and email
• Internet searches
• Social Media

2. Opportunity communication, for example:
• RFPs
• Current suppliers
• Networking
• Internet posting (government, e-commerce, exchanges)
• Trade publications

Now that we’ve defined our value proposition, identified differentiators, evaluated the target customer’s decision process, and considered how and where to communicate with them, we’re ready to design our marketing campaign, write copy and chose media to reach our customers and prospects.

Welcome to The SBE Lifer

The following article was written by Dan Gallo for the Supplier-Connection initiative launched by Fortune 100 companies committed to increasing their spend with US-based small business to help spur job growth and economic recovery.

Supplier Connection has the potential to become your biggest new business generator. And I want you to leverage it for all its worth.

I’m Supplier Connection’s Social Media Director & Small Business Advocate, and I’m one of you.  I’ve been a small business owner since 1985.

People come in all shapes and sizes, with some hard-wired predilections, especially about earning a living.

I believe I was born to run small businesses: Errand-boy for small storefront businesses at seven. Reprimanded by the manager of a newspaper for taking customers from other paperboys at 11. A 15-customer lawn maintenance service at 13. A rock band with notarized contracts at 14. Etc.

It seemed natural when, at 25, married 18 months with a newborn son and a newly mortgaged condo, I grew frustrated with the service quality of my employer and started Corporate Multi-Media, Inc.

The stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know could fill several books. But I had passion in spades, a cast-iron stomach for handling pressure, and $15K borrowed from our families.

Five years later when that business failed, I didn’t run for the security of a paycheck. I started another company with more focused, more profitable services. Too risky? Maybe, but I didn’t hesitate.  It’s as if it was ordained.

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