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Tools of the trade

It’s obvious that different professions have different tools to accomplish their trade, and we expect professionals to know which tool to use to achieve the right results. Generally we can say that a gardener uses a different set of tools to a brain surgeon, and we might get worried if they swapped tools and continued doing their day job!

In business there are a bunch of very standardized tools that are recognized across most sectors. We all know Powerpoint, Word, and Excel, or different variants of these. Most people have also become aware and able to use social media to communicate their message, and know that it’s no use simply having a brilliant idea if no-one knows about it. So how do you use the available tools within platforms to reach people?

Define your audience

Well the starting point has to a definition of ‘people’. That is, who the heck do you want to reach? Please don’t tell me ‘the whole wide world’, because that will never...

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Standing out from the (small) crowd

You totally want to be different, even if you’re just one lightbulb in a row of other lightbulbs. Your business needs to stand out from the crowd, to be the one with the different angle. You want recognition for your product or service: You want it all, and you want it now. You’d like to be the brightest lamp in the row and have everyone recognize that your company is special. Ideally ‘everyone’ means the whole wide world, but you’re kinda realistic, and you’ll settle for – oh, say half of the 8 billion people on the planet.
These are not realistic goals. Sorry.

Unrealistic goals

Standing out from the enormous, worldwide crowd is a virtual impossibility, and if you think about it for just a few moments you’ll see that this goal is unrealistic. The key to understanding this fact of life comes in always being aware of who your audience is: Are they teenagers, middle-aged, male or female, living in Africa or Europe, tech-savvy,...

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Taking off into the blue

Up there above the clouds, there’s blue sky awaiting our new business venture, and we’re keen to reach the point where we will take off and the enterprise becomes airborne. It’s what we’ve worked on for months, and years, dreaming of the high altitude cruise to success!

The idea of viewing a startup business as an airplane readying for flight provides a good metaphor. You have to know where you’re heading, and have enough fuel to get there, with the right crew onboard, and so on. You also know that the airways are crowded with other flights heading in similar directions, at similar price points, so although you have great hopes for the journey. There’s also some realism about how successful you’ll be.

Success is not optional

But wait a second! If we think a little more about this metaphor, it’s clear that aviation doesn’t dream or hope about being successful. Success is an absolute prerequisite. Success in airline terms means...

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I’m dreaming of a White… Paper

It’s the time of year when in many countries around the world people are thinking of taking a break, and spending time with family and friends. The airwaves are full of seasonal songs, perhaps most of all being ‘White Christmas’. It will be playing in shopping malls around the world almost irrespective of whether Christmas is being celebrated in a particular country. However, what I’m dreaming of is a White… Paper.

The term White Paper is associated with the document created by many online businesses, particularly those in the cryptosphere to introduce the enterprise to the world. It originally comes from governmental policy documents, designed for forward planning, so it’s not an unsuitable name. However, because ‘White Paper’ has become so associated with the cryptosphere, I prefer to use the term ‘Prospectus’, more commonly found in conventional non-cyber businesses. Either way, whether your paper is white, or your...

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Buzz buzz buzz

Finding the sweet spot

When there’s a buzz about something, people pass on the word to other people. That is, other people who are just like them. So investors talk to investors – it’s natural. It might seem great to imagine millions of people talking about your startup, but actually that’s not practical, or useful. If you have a huge audience, you have to do a huge amount of communicating with them. It’s better to concentrate on a focused target audience, and get them buzzing, just like bees in a hive who want to share the good news about where the sweetest flowers are.

Few startups understand how to do this. That’s not so surprising: they are in the business of launching an exciting new product or service, not dealing in mass communication. Creating a buzz is the practical way of getting noticed within a target audience, but let me point out, creating a buzz is not about advertising. In fact in this case, advertising is the last thing you...

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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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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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