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13 Things Every Startup Needs to Know About Raising Capital

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Raising Capital For Startups-Business

Bluedot is a success story out of Melbourne that to date has raised a total of USD $3.1 million in the two years that they have existed. Their recent round of funding allowed them to raise USD $2.2 million and was lead by Jeffrey Katz who sold his company, Mercury Payment Systems, for USD $1.7 billion.

Filip Eldic and Emil Davityan founded the company and have managed to revolutionise location-based technology that has been previously been dominated by providers that have a significant drain on the smart phones battery. In short, if you’re building an app you can add their technology and be able to trigger actions to the user such as payments or advertisement’s based off a geographic location, without their privacy being breached and having any personal identifiers of that user.

The guys have had success in being able to engage large US mobile commerce applications and Big 4 Australian Banks. They also have successfully completed live trials of the world’s first mobile tolling platform on Melbourne roads as well as being able to present their technology to the likes of Microsoft and Samsung.

After having a chat with them, these are their top 13 tips that all startups need to know about raising capital.

 

1. Consider an incubator program before seeking serious investment

Before you go out trying to raise a large amount of money you should consider an incubator program first, where you will typically be given a sum of money that is less that $100k to test your idea. In the case of Bluedot, they saw this process as fundamental because they were trying to sell their technology to a large, slow moving industry in the early stages, which would have burned a lot of capital trying out the idea.

Being first-time entrepreneurs without the experience, the incubator was able to point out the deficiencies in their business model that then allowed them to pivot their idea very early on.

The only consideration, that startups need to be aware with these programs is that you usually have to give up a little bit of equity although Bluedot believe they wouldn’t be where they are without it.

 

2. Decide if the valuation investors are giving you is fair

Test the market and see what investors will be willing to pay you and expect investors to negotiate very hard with you. It’s also important to know what sort of equity they expect in return for that valuation of your business.

It’s not uncommon for investors to offer you half as much as your initial seed funding. Try and benchmark your startup against global averages that can be obtained from websites such as pitchbook. They produce quarterly reports about global raises and how companies perform in the Venture Capital context and then you can take their valuation, reduce it a little to be conservative and then put a valuation on your startup that is less than the average. The advantage of this is that you’re making it look attractive to investors at the same time.

 

3. Be prepared to say no to more investment opportunities than you say yes too

Often you will sit down with investors and everything will sound fine until you get into the term negotiations and then realise that their idea of what the companies worth is a lot less than yours.

In these circumstances, be prepared to walk away and to have to do this many times.

 

4. You will need to engage multiple sources of funding before you find one that will invest

For Bluedot, they contacted between 200-250 Venture Capital, private equity institutions, and individual investors before they found one that met their requirements – they did this on a global scale in Australia, USA and Asia.

“It’s a numbers, game like anything else. Get the word out and try as many different leads as you can until you convert to a successful one. “

 

5. Be methodical in what material you give out to potential investors

You need to have a pitch deck and a two pager for an initial approach. The most important thing is to have your pitch deck incredibly summarised and very much to the point. You also need your pitch deck to talk about what you do, where your market is, your traction so far and your unique selling point.

Bluedot found that in a lot of cases potential investors depended a lot on the covering email with the first couple of sentences. This must be good and to the point, otherwise you won’t get them to read your pitch deck or the supporting material.

As a second step, if the investor had gone through those two things then Bluedot would provide them with a complete due diligence pack which contained every possible, conceivable thing about the business such as employee agreements, insurance contracts, sales pipeline, product descriptions, business plan, information memorandum, shareholder resolutions, director resolutions etc. This would be provided to the potential investor via drop box so that it was very easy for them to digest the business in the due diligence phase.

 

6. Getting your staff to contribute their own capital is not necessary

This is important because some founders ask their own staff to assist in raising capital by investing their own money into the startup. Staff are an important factor to the startup but not when it comes to raising capital, the main investment you need from them is their time, although, before taking on new staff you should always get them to show some skin in the game first. This can be achieved by them working part-time, contracting to you or even working for free for a period of time. They need to show some sort of dedication.

All the people that put in the least and asked the most usually never have enough commitment to stay through the good times and the bad.

 

Blue Dot Group

The BlueDot Group

 

7. What you do with the money when you get an investment is important

The first thing you should do if you get an investment is put it into a high-interest account or term deposit and then crack a beer or two to celebrate after. Clear a lot of the liabilities and get up to date with your bills so you have clean books.

The obvious thing to note is that investors will usually put something in the term sheet to stop you withdrawing large amounts of cash without board approval.

 

8. There is not that much difference between raising the money locally or overseas

A lot of startups focus only overseas when raising money, but it’s worth looking locally as well. For Bluedot, they were firm believers in raising money locally as well and successfully raised $1.1 million before they went offshore. Be prepared though that if you attract overseas investment, you could be asked to move the company over there. Whilst it’s not a must to do that it’s worth being able to know how to answer the question if it does come up.

If you are looking to the popular USA to raise capital one difference that you will see is that because they are fairly experienced in the capital raising industry, compared with other countries, their questions about your startup will be very direct and a lot better thought through. This means that you need to think through the aspects of your business a bit more.

The biggest goal with these conversations is to get to the first meeting and then sell your heart out. If you have done this successfully then hopefully you will get someone who buys in on the vision of the business.

The raising landscape in each country can be very different though. For example, in Australia its very easy to get up to $1 million or $5 million plus if you have the right business metric’s but if you’re trying to raise money around the $1-5 million mark it can be very challenging, so your better off going overseas for this level of funding.

 

9. Understand what investors are looking for in your startup

They are generally all fairly similar and are looking for where they can put their money and get the biggest return with very low risk. Things that can affect their decision are your team, current traction, the product, history and ability of the company, the size of the market and the competitive landscape.

You should never just rely on one of these and make sure you hit every aspect.

 

10. Give the investors a really good demonstration of your product

You absolutely must demonstrate your proposition and features in a simple way to investors so that they can relate to how it works and feels, without them having to go away and test it out for themselves. This is an important point because it can often be hard to demonstrate what your startup does and for Bluedot, their technology is not always easy to explain.

A great thing that the BlueDot team did was to use Webex instead of doing a Skype call with overseas investors so that you can share your desktop with them and really demonstrate the whole offering effectively.

 

11. The way you deliver your pitch to investors is important

Before you go the meeting you should spend some time, in the days leading up to the pitch, to read about the fund / investors / venture capital firm and where their focus has been. The focus of the fund is very important because your not just getting money you’re getting their expertise, their connections and their experience instilled into your business. On the day of the pitch you must make sure that your confident and fully prepared as winging it will most likely see you fail.

The first part of the meeting should be you asking them about where the focus is, what their previous successes have been and what they don’t like to see and then that immediately shapes what you’re going to tell them in your pitch that follows this conversation. The types of things that they might focus on could be customer acquisition metrics, intellectual property, servicing enterprise level clients or the market.

The first part of your pitch should be a short, concise, one-sentence summary of what your startup does and the benefit that you deliver. Then go into the rest of your presentation from there with demonstrations, etc.

 

12. Partnerships are important and will get you bonus points with investors

The partnerships are important because they provide you with extra revenue streams and eliminate some risk that investors might perceive by diversifying your fundamental business model.

A quality partnership with an established organisation can also show credibility and that someone else has confidence in your business so much so that they are willing to align their brand with you. Bluedot were able to demonstrate this to investors with companies like Braintree, who they had partnered with.

The only caveat around having this conversation with investors is that you must be able to clearly proof to them that they’re beneficial relationships and how the actual revenue streams work.

 

13. Demonstrate to potential investors the small wins early on

One thing that’s important to grasp when trying to raise capital, is that investors want to see a few wins early on. In the early stages, you need to run fast and try and win the business that is the low hanging fruit. This will allow you to raise the money so that you can chase the large, slow moving companies later on.

The typical sales cycle, to win a large business like a bank, is 1-2 years and so if you only have small amounts of capital, you can’t afford to waste time chasing these prospects early on. Investors will not be impressed if you tell them that you haven’t won any clients and that you are focusing on a few large sales that may or may not happen down the track.

 

Visit Bluedot’s services for more information about their company or follow them on Twitter @BluedotInnovate.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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7 Main Reasons Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy in 2018

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digital marketing strategy

The face of marketing has changed significantly in the past few decades and even more so in the past few years. People are more informed when making purchases, thanks to the overwhelming availability of information online for virtually all products, companies, and people. Now, followers are your potential customers. As a result, digital marketing has become the preferred marketing strategy for many companies that exist today.

Even so, not all companies have a solid marketing strategy from which they work. While many companies are successfully trucking along without any clear digital marketing strategy, they are not necessarily harnessing the full power of this online trend. If you are serious about making gains with your company or brand, then you must create a clear, actionable digital marketing strategy.

Not totally convinced your company needs one? Here are seven reasons why your company needs one stat:

1. A clear strategy will help you focus

Most companies want to increase their online reach by getting more Instagram followers or growing their Facebook page. This, however, does not serve as a sufficient goal. Companies must determine how many followers they want and by how much they want to increase their conversion rate. Without a clear, written strategy, it is difficult for companies to come up with an effective action plan since they aren’t quite clear on what their goals are.

2. Existing & start-up competitors will take your potential customers

Digital marketing is a very competitive industry and if you’re not actively competing then you are losing. For every hour that you are not making your brand known and accessible, you are losing potential customers to your competitors and all of your future competitors. This alone, should inspire you to get your digital marketing game strong.

3. Help you optimize and adapt

With a well-written plan, companies are able to regularly check in on their current methods and determine if they are working as effectively as planned. A plan can not only help you set goals, but it can also include built-in “check-ups” that allow you to regularly assess your methods. By regularly checking the efficacy of your methods, you can be certain that you won’t be wasting any valuable time or resources on things that simply are not working.

Iconosquare, for example, allows you to fully monitor the statistics of your Instagram page. By having access to detailed real-time stats, you can quickly adjust your strategy to follow the methods that work best.

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus

4. Limit duplication of content or resources

Most companies have several people working in marketing and outreach. Even in small businesses, communication can get mixed and initiatives can be duplicated. By creating a clear digital marketing strategy, you are able to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page. This will prevent not only duplicate content but also duplicate accounts, tools, and programs used. This saves both time and money.

5. Prepares responsive and efficient organization

The difference between a traditional marketing strategy and a digital one is that you are given a lot more wiggle room in your digital marketing strategy. One of the main challenges in marketing is responding to your audience, the market, and the everyday problems that come with running a business. With a solid marketing strategy, you can experiment with new approaches to gaining and keeping customers. This also means that you can eliminate methods that do not work.

6. You won’t know your online demand

You may think that you have an incredible tool, but your target audience may not agree. By crafting an online marketing strategy, you are better able to not only provide better services but also find out which services your potential customers actually want. In fact, many companies function solely through Instagram, placing all of their product and marketing efforts on the social media platform. By doing so, they are able to closely monitor customer profiles and behaviors, the behavior of competitors, and the latest trends in the market. An Instagram account can help you easily achieve each of these things.

Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.” – Susan Cooper

7. Helps in the management of resources

Without a well-thought out strategy, your business can quickly overspend on resources or tools that many not be effective. By setting a budget within your plan, you are better able to allocate funds in an efficient manner. This is absolutely crucial for any business that is looking to make a profit.

A super common strategy among Instagram marketers is to use helpful tools that don’t break the bank. Many marketers pay for programs that gain Instagram followers for a minimal cost so that they can focus their main resources on ad campaigns and creative design, instead.

Creating a digital marketing strategy doesn’t need to be a high-brow project. You can simply begin by stating clear goals and experimenting with tools that fit within your budget. In fact, a good online marketing strategy will likely change several times each year as it adapts to the audience and trends. The important thing is that you make one.

How are you growing your digitial marketing strategies for 2018? Let us know through the comments below!

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5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Intuitive Wisdom as You Design a Successful Life

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wisdom

Success, true success, can only be experienced when you are living life based on your particular design. The best way to know and design a life based on this is to be in constant connection with the wisdom present within you. Wisdom that goes beyond yourself and that, very possibly, put you together originally. People call it different names and intuition is a great way to describe it. (more…)

Rosemary Nonny Knight used to be a pharmacist but replaced her income in her own business and now works as a Spiritual Business & Life Strategist coaching people to live the deliberate life - A life of abundance, fulfilment and freedom. Download a free copy of her book - Pray. Affirm. Receive - How to get clear, stay clear and take action to get what you want out of life - RosemaryNonnyKnight.com/freeguest.

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7 Main Reasons Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy in 2018

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digital marketing strategy

The face of marketing has changed significantly in the past few decades and even more so in the past few years. People are more informed when making purchases, thanks to the overwhelming availability of information online for virtually all products, companies, and people. Now, followers are your potential customers. As a result, digital marketing has become the preferred marketing strategy for many companies that exist today.

Even so, not all companies have a solid marketing strategy from which they work. While many companies are successfully trucking along without any clear digital marketing strategy, they are not necessarily harnessing the full power of this online trend. If you are serious about making gains with your company or brand, then you must create a clear, actionable digital marketing strategy.

Not totally convinced your company needs one? Here are seven reasons why your company needs one stat:

1. A clear strategy will help you focus

Most companies want to increase their online reach by getting more Instagram followers or growing their Facebook page. This, however, does not serve as a sufficient goal. Companies must determine how many followers they want and by how much they want to increase their conversion rate. Without a clear, written strategy, it is difficult for companies to come up with an effective action plan since they aren’t quite clear on what their goals are.

2. Existing & start-up competitors will take your potential customers

Digital marketing is a very competitive industry and if you’re not actively competing then you are losing. For every hour that you are not making your brand known and accessible, you are losing potential customers to your competitors and all of your future competitors. This alone, should inspire you to get your digital marketing game strong.

3. Help you optimize and adapt

With a well-written plan, companies are able to regularly check in on their current methods and determine if they are working as effectively as planned. A plan can not only help you set goals, but it can also include built-in “check-ups” that allow you to regularly assess your methods. By regularly checking the efficacy of your methods, you can be certain that you won’t be wasting any valuable time or resources on things that simply are not working.

Iconosquare, for example, allows you to fully monitor the statistics of your Instagram page. By having access to detailed real-time stats, you can quickly adjust your strategy to follow the methods that work best.

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus

4. Limit duplication of content or resources

Most companies have several people working in marketing and outreach. Even in small businesses, communication can get mixed and initiatives can be duplicated. By creating a clear digital marketing strategy, you are able to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page. This will prevent not only duplicate content but also duplicate accounts, tools, and programs used. This saves both time and money.

5. Prepares responsive and efficient organization

The difference between a traditional marketing strategy and a digital one is that you are given a lot more wiggle room in your digital marketing strategy. One of the main challenges in marketing is responding to your audience, the market, and the everyday problems that come with running a business. With a solid marketing strategy, you can experiment with new approaches to gaining and keeping customers. This also means that you can eliminate methods that do not work.

6. You won’t know your online demand

You may think that you have an incredible tool, but your target audience may not agree. By crafting an online marketing strategy, you are better able to not only provide better services but also find out which services your potential customers actually want. In fact, many companies function solely through Instagram, placing all of their product and marketing efforts on the social media platform. By doing so, they are able to closely monitor customer profiles and behaviors, the behavior of competitors, and the latest trends in the market. An Instagram account can help you easily achieve each of these things.

Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.” – Susan Cooper

7. Helps in the management of resources

Without a well-thought out strategy, your business can quickly overspend on resources or tools that many not be effective. By setting a budget within your plan, you are better able to allocate funds in an efficient manner. This is absolutely crucial for any business that is looking to make a profit.

A super common strategy among Instagram marketers is to use helpful tools that don’t break the bank. Many marketers pay for programs that gain Instagram followers for a minimal cost so that they can focus their main resources on ad campaigns and creative design, instead.

Creating a digital marketing strategy doesn’t need to be a high-brow project. You can simply begin by stating clear goals and experimenting with tools that fit within your budget. In fact, a good online marketing strategy will likely change several times each year as it adapts to the audience and trends. The important thing is that you make one.

How are you growing your digitial marketing strategies for 2018? Let us know through the comments below!

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5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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