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3 Strong Alternatives For Startups To Raise Capital

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Keeping with the same theme of bringing you worldwide game changers to help give your startup the best advice, I recently interviewed Jonathan Barouch from a company called Local Measure. With clients like Starbucks, McDonalds, Newscorp, Sydney Opera House, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Qantas and one of Disney ABC’s subsidiaries in the USA, they are now getting ready to expand into Europe. These organisations use Local measures platform to see engagement, manage customer service and help with publishing, and tracking of operational issues.

Local Measure is a local content platform that aggregates location-based content from social media, for brands and businesses to leverage. If you’re Newscorp and you want to have local content to support your editorial, then local measure is really good at grabbing local photos and videos from breaking news or a concert. You might be wondering if many people actually tag their location.

On a platform like Instagram, most people share their location or tag the event that they are at. Facebook has a much smaller number of users that tag their location and geotagging on Twitter is growing more and more.

If you were at the Sydney Cricket Ground for a cricket game, Local Measure could track where in the stadium a tweet came from and aggregate all the tweets around the stadium. This information could then be used by the stadium, team, sponsor or media to get a 360 view of all the content that was shared from that game. The only tweets that are visible in this example, are ones where the user has checked in or geotagged their location, which means it’s in the public domain. Local Measure’s technology then allows a brand to converse with the fans, engage with the influencers and grab all the content from the game to use on their website.

Local Measure’s technology then allows a brand to converse with the fans, engage with the influencers and grab all the content from the game to use on their website.

Being a tech startup, Local Measure didn’t take the usual route of raising money via venture capital and raised money through cash flow, a few different funds, high net worth individuals and a company listed on the Australian stock exchange.

 

1. Using cash flow to pay for growth

It’s often seen as very cool for tech startups to funds via Venture Capital and before they actually need to. However, the normal way that businesses raised capital for 100’s of years was to plow their profits back into the business, rather than taking money out or paying dividends.

If you had a cash flow positive business (where you are paid before you have to expend money on goods or services) there would be a cash float to fund the growth. A great example of this was Jonathan’s previous e-commerce business, which was one of the first flower and gift sites in Asia. Money Plant. Advice for startups and successOften customers paid up front for their order before special occasions like Valentines Day, but they didn’t actually need to deliver the goods until 4 weeks later.

This created a healthy cash balance which they could invest a portion of, for growth, on things like marketing. Even though this business didn’t create any profit in its first year, the following years were profitable and they invested this money back into their business. This simple strategy is often overlooked by entrepreneurs, but it’s a great way to raise capital.

If you’re not getting money in advance then this strategy can still work but it depends on how profitable your startup is. The choice you have to make is do you want to fund for growth, pay dividends or pay the founders a higher wage? The answer should be pretty simple; short-term pain for long-term gain.

 

Tips for improving cashflow
  • Invoicing on the first day of the month can be really helpful especially if you have corporate clients who might pay in 60-90 days. The quicker you get your invoice out the quicker you get paid.
  • Consider your payment terms and try and invoice a month in advance so that you have been paid before you have actually had to provide the service.
  • Negotiate with your existing debtors to see if you can change the payment terms more towards your favor (this is quite hard with corporates).Don’t get lazy with your receivables and make sure that you only have very minimal amounts of money owed to you at any one time. A great way to help with overdue invoices is to send out reminders to your debtors on one week and the on the alternate week, follow this up with a call to the payables officer within the debtors company.
  • Don’t get lazy with your receivables and make sure that you only have very minimal amounts of money owed to you at any one time. A great way to help with overdue invoices is to send out reminders to your debtors on one week and the on the alternate week, follow this up with a call to the payables officer within the debtors company.
 All of this helps fund your growth!
Local Measures Office

Local Measures Office

2. Private Equity

The simplest way to start is by looking to your family and friends to raise capital from. If this is not an option then you might go the next step, which is private equity.

Traditional private equity is middle age men in dark suits, sitting in big city offices, who run big funds or private equity firms. Private equity is now a lot broader and can really be anyone who has money to place in return for equity.

When you look for private equity you might find that your startup could be too small for some and too large for others. It’s a matter of having the meetings to work this out as you go. Don’t despair, if the private equity fund says you are not right for them, individuals within the fund could invest in you personally – this actually happened to Jonathan.

 “Pounding the pavement is the best friend of an entrepreneur”

A warm intro from family, friends, people you went to school with, people you went to university with, or even people you work with, are the best avenues to find someone to invest in you privately. There are quite
a lot of high net worth individuals and angel investors who will happily write cheques in the thousands to help you. These people are located in the USA, Australia, Asia and even starting in Europe now. This route is great for a Seed Round or even a Series A Round. If you’re a tech startup, once your past these rounds then Venture Capital is the next place to start looking unless you have assets which you can get debt over.

In Jonathan’s Local Measure business, he visited around 15-25 different sources of funding before he found the right one. Raising this money happened within about 48 hours because they had some large corporates already using their service. Having corporate clients can really help to give belief in your startup and raise money quickly.

“The better you’re doing, the easier it is to raise money”

Before approaching a bank, remember that most of them won’t lend money to early-stage entrepreneurs unsecured. A bank is a good when you want them to finance over a fixed asset like some computer equipment or stock, and they can use that asset as collateral (security). If you’re building a tech startup a banks probably going to be less interested in providing debt because it’s higher risk, even though it has a higher return. Funding growth, expansion or research and development, is just not what banks do.

If you don’t want to give away equity you can also look to raise money privately via some sort of debt facility where you pay a higher amount of interest (10%-15%). The downside of this is that you’re stripping out cash flow every month to pay back the interest.

 

3. Crowdfunding

Every country has a different landscape with crowdfunding. Places like the USA have lots of money available on these platforms, but obviously that comes with a lot more competition for that money at the same time. When looking at crowdfunding you need to choose the platform that best suits your product or service. A cool success story that Jonathan invested in and used crowdfunding, was Life X who had the lightbulb that you could control with your smartphone.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Funded with kickstarter startupsBoth of these platforms are great when there is a physical product or service, and you’re raising money on the promise of delivering that product or service at some point. In this case, the crowdfunding is not really funding but more pre-purchasing. These platforms can also be a quick way to generate marketing or interest for your startup so that you can generate the cash to go and execute it.

Angellist

People put up their profile and their bio and keep it up to date. It’s like a mini LinkedIn for tech companies. As a tech startup, you can put out a call for funding and then angels can band together to fill up a round.

Our Crowd (John Medved)

They have their own fund and invest off their own balance sheet. They then split the rest of the equity across high net worth and angels. By packaging up the two methods, it makes it easy for startups to raise capital. On this site you upload all your financials, the story, the model and a video, and then investors login to the site to see if they like your business. Even if you don’t raise money from the platform it’s a good marketing exercise because some relatively influential people are getting to hear your story.

Chuffed

If you’re into social enterprise or not for profits then you should look at Chuffed. There are lots of great causes although the sums raised are usually below $100k.

 

Final Note

Knowing how much equity to give away is always challenging and you have to do what you need to in the moment. If you need other people’s money to grow then giving away equity is the price you have to pay. With the benefit of hindsight, every entrepreneur is always a genius.

“Every entrepreneur always wishes that they owned more of their own company”

As entrepreneurs, you often try and raise money too early because you are naturally bullish and want to grow. Sometimes it’s better to hold off on raising more capital and demonstrate traction first. When you can demonstrate more traction you can have more of a premium in your valuation and then you don’t have to give away as much equity – don’t go broke in the meantime though. In a B2B business, like Jonathans, the types, quantum, and quality of the customer base demonstrate traction. It’s also demonstrated by the recurring revenue, having low churn, a high renewal rate and a revenue stream that’s constantly growing.

When you can demonstrate more traction you can have more of a premium in your valuation and then you don’t have to give away as much equity – don’t go broke in the meantime though. In a B2B business, like Jonathans, the types, quantum, and quality of the customer base demonstrate traction. It’s also demonstrated by the recurring revenue, having low churn, a high renewal rate and a revenue stream that’s constantly growing.

“The only two things a startup should worry about is hiring great people and not running out of cash”

Having what’s called “smart money” is more important than just having money. This is why venture capital is quite attractive to a lot of entrepreneurs because they add prestige, knowledge, street cred and advice that is highly sort after. When you have smart investors on board it’s a good idea to try and have some local ones so that you can be involved with them hands on. When you combine these investors with great advisors you have a really solid group of people around you that can be out talking about your startup.

Local Measure has an advisory board made up of a very senior Vice President of Google in North America, a Senior Product person at Salesforce in San Francisco, a Senior Executive of a tech company in Singapore and a well-known Chief Operating Officer of a large media company in Australia.

Bringing these types of people on to offer advice is really valuable, but try and make sure they have some skin in the game (equity) so that they can be rewarded when you succeed. Jonathan says that how you tell your story and how you demonstrate traction is what will help you to attract talent to your startup. People who are a little bit further on in their career are really keen to give back and might be attracted to help your startup.

Jonathan Barouch of Local Measure talks about raising money for startups

Jonathan Barouch of Local Measure

 

I hope you got some ideas on some other ways to raise capital and feel free to head over to Local Measure if you want to know more about what Jonathan Barouch and his team do.

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely Tara

    Mar 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Great resource list. Definitely some crowd funding resources I’d never heard of. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tim Denning

      Mar 18, 2015 at 8:54 am

      No problem Tara and thanks for checking out the article.

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Startups

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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Startups

‘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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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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stuck in a job you hate

Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap? (more…)

Vanya Lazarova is a certified professional coach, specializing in helping people create their life's work by starting with purpose and authenticity. She loves writing, reading, psychology, philosophy, arts and all forms of self- expression. She co-founded a personal development podcast called "The Coaching Journal", where she offers thought provoking concepts to empower people intentionally design the life they want to have. You can find more about Vanya and the work she does on her website www.LiveAuthentic.net and at her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely Tara

    Mar 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Great resource list. Definitely some crowd funding resources I’d never heard of. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tim Denning

      Mar 18, 2015 at 8:54 am

      No problem Tara and thanks for checking out the article.

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Startups

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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Startups

‘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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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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