photo credit: Naj ( Desired Hopes © )
The world was closely watching and everyone in the media was fanatical about the launch of Apple’s new touchscreen tablet technology – the iPad. The outstanding feature that impressed everyone was the price (just $499). A lot has been written about the iPad but what we are concerned about is its business applications (especially for startups).
Startup entrepreneurs need to be on the go – creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations and also taking their product pitches with them to every meeting, presentation or event they go. iPad will make all of this easier and convenient. For example: When they meet people at events, they can take out their iPad and flip through the presentation then and there. And also for VC presentations or bland elevator pitches – an iPad is certainly a smart purchase for an entrepreneur.
The price plus the benefits – A definite win-win situation for all entrepreneurs
For more details visit: http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/01/what-the-ipad-means-for-startu.php
Keynote, Pages and Numbers will all be available on the iPad when it goes on sale in a few months - and all at just $9.99 per app.
photo credit: Joshua Rappeneker
None of us are unaware about the economic downturn and how it has affected businesses – small or big. You have the idea, drive, creativity, plan and resources to launch a startup but there are certain aspects you should be careful about when launching a startup in the midst of the recession.
Focus, discipline and building value – three tips for Startup launches and the rest follows. Seth Godin, (the Marketing Guru and founder of Squidoo) in an interview with Mashable gives more light on this matter. Here is what he had to say:
Understand that in a down economy, not only is there less money for people to spend on you, but you have to spend less money to make stuff that’s worthwhile.
photo credit: jaeWALK
The staff of any business/startup can be divided into three categories; A, B and C. The people belonging to “category A” – the extraordinaire and really talented people are the ones every business wants to keep. A huge problem arises when the “A players” decide to quit and the company goes haywire in trying to keep them from resigning. Suddenly star treatment is provided and all sorts of promises about the future are made to them. But does this work? Will the A star worker not resign?
After reaching a saturation point where you feel under-appreciated or mistreated, an employee will leave regardless of any newly created incentive. The star treatment and incentives aren’t enough to hold back the employee. Instead identify such employees from the beginning and keep them motivated and happy.
The article below is a great read and talks about first hand experience of an entrepreneur:
Don’t roll out the red carpet on the way out the door, but roll the red carpet inside the organization.
photo credit: Ahmed Rabea
The decision to extend the scope of your business by launching a startup must be a result of thoughtful consideration of various factors – financial, logistical or even emotional readiness. Launching a startup from an existing business can be as overwhelming as launching a startup from scratch, after all, your existing business reputation is at stake.
A common practice is to launch a startup relating to your existing business. For example: If you’re an existing subscription based social networking website for teens and you decide to ‘startup’ a social networking website for working moms.
The chief advantages of launching a startup from an existing running business are;
1. Familiarity with the whole ‘starting up process’ – chances that you already know some of the challenges and issues that may come up in the process.
2. An existing community for your product/service – knowledge of the industry and experience will help create a buzz for your new offering.
3. Funding will become easy (bootstrapping or external investment)
4. Expansion of revenue stream
For more information on the above idea visit:
photo credit: Spencer E Holtaway
My definition of a ‘startup’ was quite clear until recently when I saw Facebook being awarded the ‘Best Overall Startup of the Year’ by TechCrunch. Yes all of us love Facebook and Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) but will you categorize Facebook as a Startup? The Crunchies awards have raised a debate and questions like what is a startup and when does a company stop being a startup have started gaining heat.
These are the exact questions that came into my mind as well – when does a startup 'stop being a startup' and becomes a business/company. What criteria’s define a startup?
Is it defined by:
1. Time? – the number of years into existence
2. Valuation? – post billion dollars you’re not a startup?
3. Staff size? – the number of employees
5. Traffic? (probably number of views per month)
If we talk about Facebook; it has been into existence for five years, 500+ million dollar funded ‘company’ and a staff of around 1000 employees.(Source: Crunchbase) I wouldn’t classify Facebook as a startup considering these points.
A startup starts with the intent to build X. Once they build X, they become a business that sustains and grows X (Facebook falls exactly in this category of sustaining and growing its product).
X may be a product, a service or may be a new approach to an existing problem. Once they move from the first stage of building to having to sustain it, it becomes a business (and doesn’t remain a startup).
Fore more information on this topic you can check:
Facebook is a revolution in the social networking and Web 2.0 world but it cannot be categorized as a startup (not anymore). TechCrunch could probably rename the award as ‘The Best Overall (Web/Software) Product’.
photo credit: Tracy O
In many articles that provide tips to building successful startups, a lot has been written about three key factors: The caliber of a startup team, quality of a startup’s product and size of a startup’s market. Many entrepreneurs believe that the only thing that matters when it comes to startup success is getting a right team/product/market fit. But an important point most startups forget is the cost of customer acquisition. In fact a lot of startups solve the product/market fit problem, but fail because they don’t find a way to acquire customers at a low enough cost.
It is also important to ask yourself the question: can my business realistically expect to acquire customers for considerably less than the amount that I can monetize them?
The service/product your startup is providing may be extremely interesting and compelling. However, if your business doesn’t pay attention on how much will it cost to acquire customers, your startup success dream, perhaps, will just remain a dream.
The article mentioned below gives a detailed explanation on how to calculate the cost of acquiring customers and comparing it with the lifetime value of a customer (LVC) to find out if your startup can really succeed:
The article is a great resource for startups.
Today is the last day of 2009. That means we’re moving into the first new decade of the 2000s. 2009 was not a very good year for startups considering the recession and economic downturn. It was also a rough year on the Venture Capital front. But, there are promising signs that VCs are preparing to ramp up their investment by injecting much needed cash flow into startups in 2010. So that’s good news on the VC investment front but startups also need to make and keep certain resolutions to be successful in the coming year. Here are a few important ones:
1. Simplicity and Stability – reduce unnecessary components and be consistently excellent.
2. Set realistic deadlines and meet them
3. Value your team and their commitment – have a collective vision
4. Be receptive and open to the market – ready to absorb and change accordingly
5. Release Early - Release Often – a balance between perfection and speed
6. Internet Marketing will be indispensable in 2010. A Website design or Website redesign will help your startup keep pace in the competitive market
Happy New Year from the Bhopu Team!
I believe that since you’ve actually come up with a thought of launching a Startup, you do have a magnificent idea and have done all the research around it! And why shouldn’t you? After all, your dream will materialize through your Startup venture. It definitely deserves all the attention and effort.
But don’t forget that no matter how ‘unique’ your idea is, there is always enough competition in the market to pull your startup down. How will you deal with this competition ultimately determines your future in the industry. Customer Service, Convenience, Experience, Economic rates – all of them are offered by mostly all the businesses today!
That’s why the best way to drive people to buy from you is offering something that they can only get from you and no one else. The Marketers call it USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Ask yourself “What is different or better about the products or service my startup has to offer?”
The article below outlines a few steps a startup can take to identify a ‘Killer USP’ and stay ahead of competition:
In other words, you need to spend some time looking at your competition. Because it’s impossible to know what makes you unique when you don’t know what anyone else is offering.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to find a USP for their business because they’re so involved in it that they forget the real world realm. Define your features and benefits, define your target audience, know your competition and write your USP.
What is Technology Transfer? Generally speaking, it’s the process of transmitting research, technology or scientific findings from research labs to commercial users i.e. ‘Technology Commercialization’. Many companies, universities and government organizations have an “Office of Tech Transfer” dedicated to identifying research which has potential commercial interest and strategies on how to exploit it.
The process of commercially exploiting research varies widely. Tech transfer models and techniques can involve licensing, joint ventures or partnerships. The classic model was to develop a license to transfer new technology or research to an existing company. But a very few existing companies will take the risk of commercializing ‘premature’ technology findings. This is where startups come in and facilitate tech transfer.
Startups have an opportunity to bring technology from the research labs to the commercial end users and companies. They can either work on the technology and build it in-house completely or further research on a technology provided by the researchers. A new model of tech transfer is being evolved and startups have a major role to play!
Brian Darmody talks more about this topic in an interview with venturehype. Have a look: http://venturehype.com/startups-creation-and-tech-transfer/
Most university technology, however, isn’t mature enough to interest large companies (biotechnology is one notable exception to this rule). Therefore, universities have been developing new models of technology partnering and commercialization in the last 20 years.
When you’re starting up, you usually have a great idea or rather to say that you have a great idea and that is why you are starting up. This great idea of today will be the “killer product” for tomorrow and will turn out be an absolute blockbuster, or at least that is what you believe. Here is where the “Stealth” mentality comes in. You obviously want to protect your idea from the competitors and you think that being secretive is the key to success for your start up.
All is well except for the price that you will have to pay in the longer run for being locked up in your basement, talking to yourself for that ground breaking product you are working on. Products and services are made successful by adoption and adoption only happens after testing and feedback and iterations. Startups suffering the “stealth syndrome” lose out on great industry connections, PR opportunities, feedback from potential customers, and affluent investors.
What eventually makes a difference between success and failure of your startup isn’t your idea but your capability to create and dominate the market.
Truer words were never spoken before; ‘stealth’ startups need to open to reality. Vivek Wadhwa of UC Berkeley explains why: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/19/stealth-startupsget-over-yourselves-nobody-cares-about-your-secrets/
Learning what a customer needs is an iterative process. You try something, get feedback. Both you and your customer learn more and you try again. You keep doing this until you have something which is so compelling that the customer will pay money to have it—that’s when you know you have a killer product. But you can’t get feedback if you’re in stealth. You only have yourself to talk to.
Hope this information was informative and useful