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Something at once

“Startups, by their nature, are entrepreneurial - testing new things, launching new products, and disrupting themselves. That's why you join a startup in the first place - to create, to stretch beyond your current capabilities, and to make an outsized impact.” 

- What a great summary of why we do what we do in the world of startups! It comes from Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent The Runway, a fashion and technology company, and it applies so well to any new business, in any sector. I want to isolate one word of Jennifer’s quote however: testing. We test ourselves for sure, but we must also test everything we do.

So many choices, so little time

Right at the beginning of a business there are so many choices to make, and it’s sometimes enough to drive you crazy! Do we go in this direction, or that direction? Left or right, up or down? How will we attract investors, and how will we ensure that they are the right investors? The process of logical...

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Repeat, then repeat again

Education is mainly a logical process, based on frequent repetition. We don’t learn Math or a language by randomly dipping into a textbook and pulling out an equation or word. Instead it’s patient and step-by-step, usually guided by a teacher. Education is also a process of nurturing, because the teacher (or parent) has to guide their pupil with care and ideally, love. The teacher forgives the mistakes and constantly strives to make it as easy as possible for their student. Part of making it easy is to make learning fun, a vital ingredient at any level of education.

We all recognize the importance of education, and most of us have been lucky at some moment to have received that ‘lightbulb moment’ where suddenly an aspect which previously defeated us becomes clear. It’s the ‘Eureka!’ of Archimedes, although often more modest in scope! As well as my business and coaching activities, I also lecture in university, and one of the most satisfying...

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Education³

“Selling stuff is easy. All you gotta do is give away stuff that makes people happy …and then sell ‘em stuff that makes them even happier.” That’s not my quote, but one from internet marketing copywriter, Frank Kern. Is it really as simple as that? Certainly a model for many services and products across the web is, ‘Free now, subscribe later’. We get hooked by the brilliance of the offering (think Spotify for instance), but then are attracted to the ad-free Premium version, or other enhancements not available in the basic offering. Selling is therefore clearly still a huge driver for all businesses, but is it the only driver, or for that matter even the most important driver?

Think about things differently

Sales mean income, and we are all interested in the bottom line. However from the dotcom bubble onwards, a different paradigm has emerged, where even a business which is negatively trading can attract the dream of many startup...

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Digging for diamonds

In the late 1930s a new word entered American English: Dumpster. It was a shortened form of the name of a large trash container called the Dumpmaster, made by the Dempster Brothers manufacturing company in Tennessee. Dumpsters soon became the almost universal way of collecting large amounts of waste, and somewhere along the way the redistribution of that waste became known as ‘Dumpster Diving’. Yes, people would walk past a dumpster and see a perfectly good chair in there, climb in and reclaim it. Or books, or lamps, or anything. Now in cities around the world, dumpster diving is the way many street people get their daily meals.

Also along the way, journalists, private detectives and anyone interested in exposing secrets, learned that dumpster diving was also a prime source of useful collateral. Offices would throw out files of private client information, and the trash of Hollywood stars would be raked through for interesting correspondence to sell to the tabloid...

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Looking for The Base

audience marketing startups Sep 19, 2019

Successful people know who their audience is, or as the advisors to Donald Trump call it, ‘The Base’. Successful companies are the same: they don’t just scatter gun the market hoping that they will hit someone who is interested in their product. Instead they research and drill down, to really get to know who they’re dealing with. Knowing your audience is one of the most essential rules for any startup, except it’s kinda difficult: How do you know your audience if you’re only just beginning? Perhaps your product or service isn’t even fully up and running, so what can you do to attract people to something that doesn’t even exist yet?
Well, you can, and you must attract an audience. Included in that audience are your investors.

A typical startup will delay the moment they have to get to grips with finding their audience. Why? Because finding an audience feels difficult, and “No-one knows how to do it.” Well actually there are...

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Love is in the air

fans marketing startups Sep 12, 2019

Ask most company Founders what they need most in the early days of their startup, and they’ll look at you like you’re some kind of fool: “Money of course!” And where is that money going to come from? “Investors of course!”
So startups focus on the endgame of getting some cash into the business, and the last thing they consider is love.
Say what! What’s that Zaborszky character talking about now? Yes, I know that love is probably not on the To Do List of most companies, but it’s hugely important. Let me explain.

The Friends and Family approach to raising seed money is a very natural route when many Founders are first getting started. Our friends and our family are essentially investing in us, not necessarily in the concept of the new company. They are putting a little bit of their money behind us because they believe in us and want to see us do well. On a wider stage, the same feelings of warmth towards an enterprise mean that...

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Say cheese - convincingly

marketing startups story Sep 02, 2019

Being instantly ready to tell the story of a startup to investors, reporters, or a video camera, is an essential skill that all core team members must master.

Telling a great story about your startup is an absolutely vital part of the Marketing process. You need to catch the attention of your potential audience, hook them and reel them in - to borrow the analogy of fishing. Your story must be powerful and engaging, with an arc of beginning, middle and end. Your story must also be true of course – we are not in the business of catching our audience by making claims that we cannot back up. This doesn’t mean that our story should be dull however – quite the contrary.

So, let’s say that the startup team have put in the hours to refine the story to the point where it is now really Shiny and ready to be taken out into the world. There are meetups to attend, potential investors to speak to, some media appearances, and so on. Up to this point either everyone has...

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So you want to raise some money?

Money makes the world go round and without doubt it’s a prerequisite of all business startups. What are the initial models which will help get a business up and running?

Silly question right? Of course you want to raise some money. Money is the oxygen which will help your new enterprise live. Lack of money will stop your enterprise in its tracks, even before it has started rolling. So thinking about money from the get-go should be at the very forefront of all new startup planning. Here’s the surprise: it generally isn’t.

When you believe that your new gizmo will change the world, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the world maybe doesn’t want to change, or even worse, that no-one thinks your brilliant invention will be of very much use. It then comes as a shock to discover that while the planning for the product launch is going rather well, thank you, there are bills and wages to be paid, and a ton of costs coming down the line. Money is needed, but...

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What’s the point of Marketing?

marketing sales funnel Aug 16, 2019

We all recognize the moment of triumph when a sale is made. So is marketing of secondary importance, and just ‘making a noise’?

For most startups the most significant time is when the sale gets made. This can mean when investors are attracted at the right level, and with the right amount of money, and it can also mean when the product or service reaches the end-user. Money is countable and quantifiable.

Until the time that the money rolls in, the enterprise should be busily attending to their funnel. It used to be called the Sales funnel, but now most experts understand that Marketing and Sales work together so completely that unless they’re hand-in-glove, success is unlikely. In fact we now more often refer to the process as the Digital funnel, because it’s in the digital domain where most of our activity and efforts are concentrated.

So it’s a continuum, with the narrow end of the funnel being the sale, and the wide end being the start of ‘all...

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The Digital Marketing Funnel

funnel marketing startups Aug 08, 2019

What exactly is a Sales Funnel, and why is it important? We’ve all heard about the philosophy of funnelling, but the definition seems a little imprecise. In this short article I set out to clarify some points.

The idea of funnelling is always to push something to an inescapable conclusion, like filling a can with fuel. The funnel directs the liquid, or the process towards the desired result. Once upon a time, businesses were very focussed on Sales, and the Marketing part of the equation really only occupied the wider entry point of the funnel – the awareness and interest of the product or service. After that Sales took over, propelling a prospect to the inevitable moment when they said ‘Yes’. At least it was hopefully the inevitable moment.

Now, things are different, because Marketing runs all the way through the funnel, and in fact in the Digital Marketing Funnel, the functions of marketing and sales blend together. This is exactly how it should be to...

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