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3 Examples of How to Build a Strong Foundation for Your Startup




successful startups

No one likes to fail. It’s a fact that every startup, however, is flirting with failure. No matter how badly you want to succeed, there’s still a possibility your business just won’t make it. The good news is, there are concrete steps you can take to make sure that doesn’t happen. A great way to ensure your success is to look at other startups that have made it, and see what they’re doing that you can emulate.

Check out these 3 startups and see what your business can learn from each of them:

1. Codeship

Codeship is a continuous development solution and support option for coders, working off of the motto “building for the builders”. They’ve worked for over 100,000 developers since 2010. Moritz Plassnig, co-founder and former CEO of Codeship, says, “A great team is the lifeblood of a fast-growing startup. I would even go so far as to say that people are the foundation of every organization, big or small, high-tech startup or huge corporate juggernaut.”

The lesson? Invest in recruiting and build your team carefully.

Hiring the right people for your team doesn’t just happen. As a startup, it is important to know how to identify the best fit candidate for each position. Design a recruitment process that will enable you to do this in the best way possible.

A highly productive team needs a combination of experience, skill, culture, and different personalities. Hiring only the ‘clever’ candidates does not guarantee outright success. Success goes beyond the books and skills. Develop a good culture for your company by setting a set of accepted values which should be followed by all. If you lead by example, the rest will follow.

Last but not least, hiring a great first team is crucial. Really take the time to select hardworking, reliable, creative individuals for your first hires. You’re setting the tone for your business’ future, take the time to do it right.

2. Anaplan

Anaplan, a cloud-based enterprise for connected business planning founded in 2006, had humble beginnings. Michael Gould, founder, started Anaplan out of a small barn on his property in York. That didn’t stop him from succeeding; Anaplan now serves more than 30,000 clients, and is called “the spreadsheet killer” since it so effectively plans for businesses across one platform.

The lesson? Find the need, be the solution.

Anaplan was started because of one simple reason: ““The tools that were out there were not really meeting the needs of businesses,” says Gould. He was frustrated with the tools of the time for online management, and decided he was going to create the solution. This approach to ideas is crucial for entrepreneurs. If you can see a need in the market and immediately fill it with an excellent service, you’ve guaranteed yourself an audience.

3. Slack

Slack is a wildly popular team management system, that allows employees to communicate across different channels. Founded in 2014, it’s “the fastest-growing business application in history.” There’s a good chance you’ve already used it or thought about using it for your team. How did Slack get so popular? Stewart Butterfield, a co-founder of this cloud-based company, shares their secret.

The lesson? Demonstrate your value.

Slack worked hard to set themselves apart from the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, and it shows. They actively listen to all customer feedback, and have a team entirely dedicated to solving customer problems as soon as possible. They also marketed themselves by showing what Slack can do.

Their strategy was simple. They would invite prospective clients and teach them how to use the platform. By providing free demonstrations and informative sessions, clients could try out Slack and form their own opinions, risk free.

Show your customers what makes you different. Don’t hammer them over the head with your company’s benefits; allow them to explore your service and they can see for themselves exactly why you’re excellent.

Move Your Business Forward With Confidence

Pay attention to what these businesses are doing right! Your small business will have a greater chance at success if you build an excellent foundation. By investing in recruiting, creating the solution to common problems, and demonstrating your value to potential clients, you’ll be a step ahead of your competition.

Codeship, Anaplan, and Slack didn’t just happen overnight. It takes time and careful planning to set your small business up for success, but the results are more than worth it.

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Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

Phil Collins



Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.


Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.


Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.


Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.


Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.


Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!


Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!


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