Connect with us

Startups

5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Startup Right Now

Published

on

Spanish Startups - Angel Navarree:Bloomberg News files

If you have been thinking for a while about doing a startup, the time is now.

Maybe you thought you couldn’t or you needed a lot of money, but in reality, you really don’t. It’s never been cheaper to start a business and test the idea before going and putting all your time into it.

I remember thinking back in the early 2000’s that maybe most things had been done on the internet in terms of retail, which could have been true, but turned out to be incorrect. Just because it’s been done doesn’t mean that it can’t be done again, better. Around the same time that I had this thought I remember being offered the opportunity to distribute coffee pods and thinking everyone would only ever buy freshly roasted beans.

Coffee pods are now one of the fastest selling consumables around so it’s not always easy to pick trends, nor should you just focus on trends. It needs to be a mix of good research and something you can see yourself being involved with.

Before you make your mind up that most things are done, I urge you to think about all the things you buy in your own life, is each transaction 10/10? If you’re like me it’s probably far from it. Therein lies the opportunity for you.

Below are five reasons why I believe you should start a Startup now!

 

1. The age of disruption is here

No longer will a lot of us put up with substandard industries. Taxis are a classic example where for years it has been difficult to book one, go where you want, seek accurate directions, have a friendly driver and ride in a clean car. The people have spoken and now we have Uber and other competitors coming into the market. We are going to see this keep happening to companies and industries that fail to innovate. Even large companies like Kodak don’t exist anymore because of a lack of innovation, yet a company like Go Pro can disrupt the market, and make billions, by designing a simple camera that can be used anywhere.

Culture KingsLook at Culture Kings as another example, you would think that America has done Hip Hop clothing to death, but Culture Kings showed that there was still plenty of room for new entrants to the market. I should point out that the business started at a local market on the weekend. Don’t underestimate popup stores and market stores as a great way to test your product.

So often, I see business owners try their idea out at one of these locations and give up too easily, but the trick is that once you build a small customer base and prove that your product has some demand, take the next step and build an online store. It’s the step that most of these small businesses never take seriously and it’s what made Culture Kings so successful.

 

2. Quality advice is needed like never before

People are crying out for quality advice all the time because there is now, so much variety with our economies becoming more global than ever. Whether it’s managing people’s finances or finding out how to be healthy, it’s still so hard to get unbiased advice. The businesses that can master this will be successful in this new age.

If you look online for health products it can be a minefield of finding out exactly what works and what doesn’t, and a lot of the time the claims can’t be proven. New businesses are popping up all the time and are now trying to become trusted advisors, rather than sales people because they know that quality advice and the truth will often determine whether a sale is won in this new era.

So many of us are tired of the used car salesman trying to sell whatever car he can, for the highest price, so he can make the biggest commission. The average person now is so much savvier. The answer to quality advice is to take advantage of the internet and help to inform your prospects with quality content, videos and other rich media. Not so long ago this was quite a challenge, but now it can be done quite easily, and at very little, to no cost. Whilst you could argue that this capability has been around for a while it’s only now, thanks to smart phones, that consumers are using technology even more, to get the right advice.

Even baby boomers are now using smartphones with Google Search.

How can your startup take advantage of this?

 

3. It’s never been an easier time to find your mastermind group

Technology has made it even easier for us to connect with people. Initially, sites like Facebook were only for the under 30’s but now most of our parents are on it too.

LinkedIn has also exploded and it’s very rare these days to find professionals that are not on the platform.

This means that once you have your vision laser focused; you can begin by attracting the mastermind group you will need to support you (no great business can be built alone). Finding people that can help your business case is crucial and the beauty of Social Media is that it will help you find people in niches rather than just business people in general.

When you have found a potential candidate, I don’t recommend that you only communicate via Social Media. I think Social Media is a great way to become top of mind and at least intro yourself, but try to do the rest with a face-to-face meeting or a video call via Skype / Facetime for overseas candidates. If you can, try and record this video call (with permission of course) so that you can go back and reference them later on.

Many startups make the mistake of trying to do everything online and often a lot more can be achieved in person, and the cost of an airfare is worth every cent for the right person – don’t let the fast moving tech age fool you of this.

Startup Quote Wasting Time 

4. Poor service still exists

How many times do all of us go to an eating-place and experience poor service or an ordinary meal? For me, it’s still happening now and then. There are so many hospitality businesses that open and close because they don’t understand what’s going to make them successful.

I remember going to a takeaway shop a few weeks ago and getting the bare minimum. I had to pour my own glass of water, get my own cutlery and ask for them to get me a serviette from behind the counter. It sounds like a few small things, but it shows that the customer experience has not been thought of and that they are not trying to impress me or make it easy for me to do business with them.

A business like Fonda Mexican has become so successful because they get the formula for success. You need to try and be different, provide outstanding service, simplify the menu and innovate. If you put yourself in the minds of your clients and you ask people for their feedback you really can’t go wrong, yet most businesses don’t do this, so they struggle to continually have to find new clients and waste money on expensive advertising / giveaways.

The other area to look at is the large retailers.

I recently bought an iPhone 6 from an Apple store and another one from a large retailer. The Apple store went above and beyond to make sure I knew what I was getting and was in love with the product. The sales person was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and never left my side to check stock or take the payment. Once I was done they then set the phone up for me on the spot. The total time for this transaction was about 10 minutes although I could have taken as long as I liked to make a decision.

Comparing this experience to the large retailer was completely different. The sales person at the store had no passion for the product, knew nothing about it, asked me for ID to make sure I wasn’t a criminal and wasn’t sure if they had stock. Once they confirmed they had stock they then needed to get manager approval, as there had been a high amount of staff theft of iPhone 6’s. The total transaction time was 45 minutes and there was hardly anyone in the store.

The reason I tell you this story is not to complain, but demonstrate to you the abundance of opportunity that lies before you if you decide to see it.

 

5. Most eCommerce sites are still so primitive

If you compare your retail experience to buying from an online store, there is still such a massive gap. Most eCommerce stores still have very limited product descriptions, unreliable stock levels and no quick way for their clients to be assisted.

If you want to see a site that has nailed product presentation, (it’s almost as good as holding it in the store) check out Bellroy.

The product range is small, descriptive and it tells you exactly what you want to know. Again they are one of the few, so there is still so much room for disruption. Kogan is another monster business that showed social proof when buying, is fundamental to making a sale of a product. A lot of websites still give you that empty feeling of “Am I the only one that’s ever brought this?”

Tim Denning and Ruslan Kogan | StartupGrind (Melbourne)

Kogan shows you in real time, people buying their products, so that you have social proof that you are not alone.

Even something like reviews, which have been around for a while, is still massively under-utilized. So many products I see still don’t have online reviews on them or very few. You then go to Youtube and find that there might be one or two videos demonstrating the product and the quality is not great.

There are more and more private people doing reviews of products and getting paid in the form of affiliate marketing. Again, there is a lot of opportunities to add this ingredient into the mix and launch a really cool site.

The key is obviously to pick something that you’re passionate about otherwise when you hit your first roadblock; you will struggle to find the momentum to keep moving forward. The time for startups is now!

 

GET OUT THERE, GET AMONGST IT AND GET EXCITED!

Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tim

    Apr 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Great article. I have been racking my brain of late looming for ways to create a startup out of an already existing family retail business. I feel that there is a niche market that we are not tapping into yet and with a little innovation we could increase sales and receive more feedback from clients. I’m trying to create an engaging social media environment around the business so that customers feel that the are not just clients but part of a club.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Tim love the way that you are thinking, and you can definitely achieve it with a family business. Your job is even easier than most because you already have a platform with a customer base. Think to yourself, what can you do that would make your customers love you and tell all their friends.

  2. Tim Denning

    Feb 3, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for reaching out Tasia all the way from the Carribean (one of my favourite spots) I’m glad the article got you thinking. Don’t let the word startup bother you as it’s all positive. It used to give me a weird feeling too until I realised that it means you have a massive advantage. Startups are able to pivot quickly, innovate and run ideas at a very low cost. Having worked for a large company, I now appreciate how important this is. Big companies just can’t operate like a startup so they can’t be nearly as innovative.

    Bad service equals a massive opportunity for you so don’t see it as a negative at all. Keep in touch and let us know how your startup journey goes.

    Much Respect

  3. Tasia

    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Whenever I hear the word Startup, I get panicky (ask me why I can’t tell you).

    Your post shows me the error of my thinking. I love the insights and it brings to mind the many ways down here in the Caribbean where improvements are sorely needed to provide better service in a lot of areas.

    Thanks for the post and I’ll certainly refer to it as I ruminate on a few ideas circulating in my head.

  4. Jane Pryor

    Jan 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Hi Tim.

    Thank you for your article and insights into startups now.

    Funnily enough, it’s Australia Day today (26 January) and we took the family out for a drive and a lunch near the bay. I booked online and got a confirmation emailed to me within 30 minutes. When we arrived, however, they not only did not have our booking, made an explanation (excuse) as to why this was (the receptionist is only part time – not our problem) and seated us inside, away from the entertainment and seabreeze. I queried whether we could sit outside until those people arrived but was told a firm “no”, not possible, and even received some, what I would only call, an affronted reaction from the staff member that I was questioning this.
    Our meals were served timely but all but one meal was poor quality and three of us didn’t finish our meal.

    I’m astonished that, at such a city iconic venue, that the establishment can rely on such poor service and continue to make a profit. Imagine if a few things were improved: booking service; on site personality; quality of food; opportunity for feedback.

    My point to this is that good ol’ customer service seems to be well and truly on the back burner for many businesses and that, if they’re not careful and sensible, will lose out to places like the local fish and chip shop who have people with personality and caring.

    Not that I want to be in the hospitality business, but, from my example above, if there was another similar business to open up nearby and to include the attributable improvements I’ve mentioned above, there is no reason why they shouldn’t outperform this original restaurant.

    I’m taking onboard your suggestions to apply to my own experience and taking a well thought out chance; and jumping in.
    Cheers for now and happy intrepreneuring.

    Jane

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 2, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Thanks for taking the time to reply Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more. Bad service is everywhere and as long as you have the mindset that this creates opportunity, you will do well.

      If you put customers first and you try and add value to them, you will become a magnet for success. At the same time don’t make the mistake of trying to sign up everyone. Focus on good quality clients that bring you a good return so that you can have the resources to provide them with outstanding quality and service.

  5. Tim Denning

    Jan 20, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Would love to hear where you made your mistakes Mary if you’re willing to share.

  6. mary okungu

    Jan 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

    very tourching stories indeed i now realize whare i made mistake and the reason as to why have not been successefull,thank you for sharing with us.mary from kenya

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Startups

You Are The Problem With Your Business

Published

on

A great way to screw up your company is to get into the habit of blaming your suppliers, the market, your staff or your product for your failures.

I recently heard a story of a business that had set up a website. They sold various products and services focusing on helping people with psychological issues. The business owner was smart. The product solved a problem.

Unfortunately, the company was making almost no money. They’d hired someone to help them with their digital marketing and it wasn’t working.

Plenty of traffic was coming to the site, users were having a look around and then not buying a single thing. Who’s fault was this?

Well, according to the business owner it was the person running their digital marketing. As a result, they wasted approximately eight months marketing a website that couldn’t make any sales. The reason the business was failing according to the owner was because of the keywords that were being targeted in the marketing campaign. This is a horrible excuse.

The reason your business fails is because you’re blaming someone other than yourself. It’s the quickest way to bankruptcy. Don’t do that.


Your company is a reflection of you.

It took me a long time to figure out that a company is a reflection of its founder.

One of the businesses I had, had a toxic culture and a bunch of people that were rude to customers, arrogant and not nice people. That was a reflection of exactly who I was at the time.

The company was reflecting the flaws of my own life and what I refused to admit.

In the case of the business owner above, what was obvious is that they were good at telling lies to themselves. It was easy not to change as a business owner and insist that the change needed was nothing to do with their vision.

The issue of their company was not the digital marketing strategy but their lack of understanding around what their customer wanted.

The thought that their products were too complicated, not solving a real problem or priced incorrectly was an admission of guilt they wanted no part in. Hence the eventual demise of their company.


Take responsibility and it will change.

When you own the business, everything is your fault.

You have the power to solve any problem you choose. It starts with you being brave enough to admit that there’s a problem, and then secondly, being bold enough to insist it’s your fault and that you can change it.

The problems in your business can all be solved. That’s what it took me a very long time to understand. When I changed as a person and faced up to my hidden battle with mental illness that I didn’t want to talk about, the odds turned in my favor.

Had I have not taken responsibility for my mental illness, I would have never become a leader in a business or started another side hustle. I would have been crippled by the big, bad world that I thought I could control.

Control came from responsibility, and responsibility solved the major problem in my business: me.


Change is a must.

Not with your digital marketing strategy.
Not with hiring new people.
Not with developing a new product.

Changing yourself is the *must* because YOU attract the problems and the solutions into your business”

You can’t find the solutions or stop the never-ending problems until you stop the cause of it all: you. You’re the problem with your business. The good news is that it’s entirely within your control to fix.

Change you.

Not the business.

<<<>>>

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

Continue Reading

Startups

The Different Ways of Measuring the Success of Your Start-Up

Published

on

startup success
Image Credit: Unsplash

You’ve probably heard people use the term “unicorn” in a business context. This means a privately held start-up whose value has grown to at least one billion American dollars. Think Airbnb, Uber, and so forth. There is no doubt that some start-ups have been major financial successes. And many smaller-scale start-ups are doing great as well, working hard and turning a steady profit. But that begs the question of whether finances are the only way to measure the success of a start-up. As it turns out, they might not be. At least, not always and not on their own.

How to Evaluate Success

As anyone who’s been involved with start-ups knows, you need a fair amount of flexibility to do well in this environment. Take the division of labour for example – rather than strict roles, you’ll often see everyone do a bit of everything. The same principle extends to measuring success. It can be vague and mean different things to different people, and it can change over time.

But amongst all that vagueness, one thing has become clear. Predicting the success of a start-up is very difficult for external observers. As a matter of fact, it’s often impossible. Therefore, in order to evaluate how successful a start-up has truly been, we need to know the goals of its founder(s).

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” – Marianne Williamson

The Numbers

When people think about business, it’s common to boil matters down to the finances. And it certainly is possible to use numbers to measure and predict the performance of a start-up business. Net worth, gross margin, customer acquisition cost – these can all be indicators of success. But, a start-up can post impressive numbers for a while, perhaps even attract large investors, and still shut down in the end. So does this make it a failure?

The answer to this depends. If the founders wanted to start a lasting business, then yes, they failed to meet their goal. However, that isn’t always the case. If they were looking for a short-term solution and came out with more money than they had coming in, a closed-down start-up needn’t be unsuccessful. It can actually be the opposite of that.

So, looking at the figures isn’t enough, and there are different perspectives to consider. When they start planning their business venture, start-up founders may not have any particular numbers in mind when it comes to profit. Instead, they can judge their success according to some of the following criteria.

1. Happy Customers and Solving Problems

The story of a start-up often begins with a problem. The desire to help people overcome a specific issue can be the spark which ignites the creation of an entire business. And in the end, that may be all that matters to the founders.

This is closely connected to the happiness of the customers. If the resulting product or service has made people happy by helping them solve a problem, that is all that may be required for a start-up to be a success. Now, no business wants unsatisfied customers. But in cases like this, happy customers aren’t the way toward the ultimate goal – they are that goal.

In other words, some start-up founders don’t just use financial reports to measure how much they’ve achieved. To them, the one metric which stands above all others is the quantity of positive feedback they’ve received. The main area of focus is customers who use the start-up’s products or services to solve a problem they were having.

2. Impact

Every start-up founder likes doing well in terms of revenue. But for some of these entrepreneurs, the profit is merely a side effect of what they actually set out to do – impact the world in a positive manner. You can see an example of this line of thought with Elon Musk. He said that back in college, he had wanted to be a part of things that could end up changing the world. The continuation of this philosophy is evident in his electric cars (which aim to reduce pollution) and the SpaceX program (which strives to break down some of the barriers of space exploration).

In both cases, the furthering of mankind is the ultimate goal. Many other start-up founders feel the same, even if they have smaller goals in mind. To these people, there is no greater proof of success than if their company has had a positive impact on society or even a small segment of it. In their view, to make a difference is to succeed.

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” – Tony Robbins

3. Freedom

For some, starting up their own business is less about getting rich and more about gaining the freedom to conduct their business the way they want to. In this case, financial success is just a means to an end. The endgame is to be your own boss.

The fact is, some people don’t do well when they’re constantly receiving orders. They are simply hardwired to be free thinkers and they require an environment that allows them to do things in their own way.

Being in a position where you hold all the cards can be exhilarating. The knowledge that your decisions are final is very empowering, and many strive for such freedom. If a start-up can allow such people to go from being a regular employee to being in charge of making all the decisions, then it has already achieved all the success that it needs to.

4. Time for Friends and Family

As many people know all too well, a job can easily turn into the focal point of your daily life. Instead of being a way to support your lifestyle, your work dominates your time. And when that happens, the time you have to dedicate to your loved ones becomes scarce. Combating this is precisely what some have in mind when they decide to take the leap and start their own business.

Now, running your own company is no mean feat and it will require a lot of effort. But the beginning is the most time-consuming part of the process. Later on, it can be possible to create a system which leaves you with a lot more time on your hands. You can spend this time with your significant other, your children, or your friends. A start-up which gives you this opportunity is perhaps the greatest success of all.

A start-up is an extension of its founders and so are that company’s goals. Some entrepreneurs are in it for the profit, but not all of them. In the end, there is no single way to measure the success of a start-up. It all comes down to the specific aims of those who established it. But if the founders can end their day on a happy note, then the venture is a success even if it doesn’t fit some standard definition of the term.

Continue Reading

Startups

The Problem Is Not Your Website Or Your Product.

Published

on

spend a lot of my time talking to business owners. They focus on their product, their marketing channels and trying to make more profit.

I met one such business owner who was in the plastic surgery business. Their product (boob jobs and nose jobs) was not working. Their website sucked and people clicked off as soon as they visited it.

People would call their office, get put on hold, listen to the on hold message and hang up.

This business didn’t seem all that special. I’ve talked to many businesses and didn’t think for a microsecond that a plastic surgery clinic could ever teach me anything valuable.

I’ve been to Hollywood on holidays and the issues of body image are all too apparent to me. Anyway, this post is not about body image.

I ended up losing this business as a customer — not that I would ever have sold anything to them if it were up to me. I sat down one afternoon and thought about why we no longer did business with them.

That’s when I realized it’s not about your product or your website. All the issues with this plastic surgery clinic and a lot of other businesses I’ve dealt with stem from one thing. Let me explain in more detail.


Your Google Reviews say you’re an piece of work.

I looked up their Google Reviews and their customers said they were assholes.

They spoke down to clients, they didn’t deliver their clients what they wanted, they argued with their staff in front of customers and they treated people like they were nothing more than a dollar sign.

All I had to do was read their Google reviews to see that the problem wasn’t their product or their website.


Your clients tell you every day that you suck.

I asked the plastic surgery what their clients said.

Many of their clients told them that their services sucked and they would prefer to go to places like Thailand where they could get a better product at a much lower price.

The business owner made the mistake of thinking it was their product that was the problem and that a new website will tell clients a different message.

That wasn’t it.


You abuse your staff and they consistently leave.

I spoke with many staff that worked for this business.

Every single one of them hated the company and were not afraid to say what they thought of the business owner.

The business owner would sit outside on a nice sunny day and look across the street at all the yachts and the people boarding them.

They’d sit there and think that every lead they got was going to take them one step closer to owning their very own yacht.

“If only I could deliver more boob jobs, maybe I could have one of those,” they thought quietly to themselves hoping that no one else could hear how ridiculous this sounded.

I can remember multiple times being on the phone to the business owner and having one of their staff burst into tears halfway through the call.

The first time it happened I didn’t think much. After the third time, I got the message. During the short time I dealt with this business, people consistently left. If you made it to the six-month mark, you were some sort of hero and would probably be given a free surgery to say thank you for your work and make you feel worse about your own body at the same time.

It was free noses and boobs in return for daily abuse.

The problem still wasn’t the website all the product.


You don’t solve real problems; you solve your own problem.

A good business solves a problem.

That problem typically affects human beings and solving it is how you make money in business. Solving problems can start out with a problem that affects you, but at some point, you’ve got to start solving that same problem for other people/businesses.

This owner of this plastic surgery clinic was only trying to solve their own problem which was making more money to buy fancy items like yachts.

Only solving your own problem is not just selfish but bad business.

Good business is solving a big problem or lots of small problems for entire strangers who you don’t know thus doing something valuable for the human race.

Solving only your problem will make you poor.

The problem still wasn’t their website or product.


Creating more problems.

Everything this business owner sold created more problems.

They’d film videos to purposely make people feel like their body wasn’t perfect.

They’d write articles suggesting that everyone needs botox to feel young.

They’d take photos of men and women who were supposed to be perfect so that young people would dream of looking like them.

Not only was their business not solving a real problem; it was also creating more problems every day that it existed.

If your business creates more problems than it solves, you’re in real trouble.You need to take a long hard look at the business and become obsessed with doing everything you can to change it — and do so damn fast to limit the whirlwind of problems you’re creating behind you.


The heart of the problem.

It’s the business owner.

The business I mentioned will fail. That part is certain. The problem with the business is not the website or the product.

The problem is the business has no heart because the business owner has no heart.

You cannot focus on your own selfish desires, create really bad problems in the world, treat other human beings like garbage and expect to go buy a yacht and live happily ever after. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Whether you are a plastic surgery clinic like the one I described or a solo entrepreneur, the problem with your business is you.

Fix the problem of YOU. You can’t get away with being horrible forever.
Being horrible is bad business.

Being respectful, kind and valuable is the final answer to the problem with your business.

<<<>>>

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

Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs

18 Must Read Business Books for Emerging Entrepreneurs and Startups

Published

on

business books

Reading is both relaxation and training for the mind. Who reads, dives into another world. Learning, entertaining and breaking out of everyday life for a short moment. One could go even so far as to say reading is the second most beautiful thing in the world! Whether it is non-fiction or a novel of all the world’s man has created, the book is the most powerful tool. That is also, why we wanted to find out which business book you should undertake in the new year. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending