Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Thoughts on building weatherproof companies — Software Is Eating the World

Thoughts on building weatherproof companies - Software Is Eating the World - Medium

The best founder/CEOs want to build long-lasting, strong companies. But this isn’t just a want, it’s necessary— especially today as companies stay private longer.

CEOs who expect their companies to be acquired as a “quick exit” aren’t going to have it easy. It’s especially hard for those CEOs and advisors who never had to learn how to build a full-fledged, well-governed company — with sustainable sales, marketing, HR, legal, customer support, accounting, and finance — without losing their sense of urgency. They “simply” needed to build a winning product, merge with a larger company, and then let others take care of the rest.

This is both tough and good news for today’s founders/CEOs.

The good news: You have a bigger opportunity than ever before to build a long-lasting, fundamentally important technology company.

The tough news: To do so, you must grow — personally and professionally — to a higher level than you might have experienced in your life before. Doing so means committing to building a company that can go “all the way” on its own.

Below, I share some things I learned on my own journey here. When I ran SuccessFactors, we used to say “we’re building the company like Lambeau Field” (Lambeau Field stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the home field of the NFL Green Bay Packers, who under their coach Vince Lombardi were known for their winning streak and ability to grab crucial wins even in the worst snow, because their team was built to handle tough weather conditions).

When you are building for long term — as opposed to a quick exit — it becomes obvious very quickly that you’ll have to make very different decisions, on every level from hiring and culture to how you treat sales and customers. You need to test every decision that’s obviously meant for immediate results with “will it also strengthen us in the long term?”

 Successful companies are bought, not sold

Even if your company does end up getting acquired, building your company well is the best you can do for the price you get. When we negotiated selling SuccessFactors for 11X revenues (which at the time was the highest multiple on sales in a decade), if we didn’t like where the value or discussions were going, we knew we could just stop negotiations and keep on building the company. And we weren’t bluffing, which you cannot fake. Because good companies are bought … not sold.

Just as a dog can smell fear, any experienced M&A team can smell a mile off if you want to sell your company, and consequently the price goes down. If you are not selling, and you have the power to stay independent because you are well-built and can handle “bad weather”, you can hold out longer than the acquirer, and the price of your company goes up to what you know it’s worth.

So how do you build such scale, without shortcuts? To start, there are at least five areas I believe a founder must focus on:

Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Extensive article and great advice for would-be #startup

#success story #founders.

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Richard Branson's advice for building a global business

Richard Branson's advice for building a global business | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

For some start-ups the ultimate ambition is to be a global business. But how do you know that your business is ready to go international?

But it’s important to do your research before you think about exporting your products.

In a recent blog, Richard Branson shared how he always focuses on the future for his businesses. “When my team launched Virgin Records, we had international goals – we’d get there first by selling records by bands from other countries, and then by signing international artists. We slowly built our business until we were ready to take the next step and expand beyond the UK.”

It was a slow process though, it took a decade for Virgin Records to become a fully international enterprise. “But this doesn’t at all mean that it will take you a decade to transform your own enterprise into a global business. You have access to an amazingly powerful tool that we did not: the internet.”

As Richard points out, it’s a lot easier to grow globally now that you can sell to anyone anywhere in the world with the click of a mouse. “Once you’ve launched your business and the time comes to trade on a larger scale, you can easily make contacts with people on the web who can help you grow in other countries,” he says. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Sandra Brevett
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great advice for #startups and #smallbusiness looking at expanding internationally.

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SebosaOnlineJobs's curator insight, March 7, 12:41 AM

Great advice for #startups and #smallbusiness looking at expanding internationally.

Pierre Cellard's curator insight, March 7, 5:23 AM

Great advice for #startups and #smallbusiness looking at expanding internationally.

Godigitalcoup Tungsten's curator insight, March 7, 5:48 AM

Great advice for #startups and #smallbusiness looking at expanding internationally.

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Maturing markets = higher stakes, closing doors

Maturing markets = higher stakes, closing doors | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Interesting piece by Jessica Lessin in The Information today: The End of Tech Startups:
Big tech companies are getting better at fending off competition from startups by adopting many of the tools and distribution platforms used by the upstarts. That will force startups to become more inventive or to go outside of tech.

I think this premise is exactly correct. Though it’s easier to start a company than ever before, it’s harder to compete. There are several reasons, as Jessica outlines. But one way I think about it is, in every maturing market, over time, value moves up the stack. Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The #startup approach of #disruption, great #ideas and #innovation is so widespread now, even the corporations are integrating it in their corporate structures. The future startups will have to be very clever and come up with a new level of disruption.

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9 tips for how big companies can compete with startups (hint: Innovate or die)

9 tips for how big companies can compete with startups (hint: Innovate or die) | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The startup landscape can be a double-edged sword in the business world: either the company is going to disrupt the entire landscape or it's going to inspire. But what seems to have corporations terrified is how to wrap their heads around the impact startups are having on the traditional model. Is internal research and development enough? Or is outside assistance needed? And just where should these corporations start? 

To read more, click image or title.



Need funding?

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Startups are a real threat of corporations. #Innovation is happening through startups now, and disruption is the threat.

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kelvin dsuja's curator insight, July 24, 2015 5:14 AM

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These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World

These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Millennials mired inside a traditional corporate environment and people living life inside lean startups will find his thinking particularly spot on.


My first college business professor was a fanatical Peter Drucker devotee.

He launched our course with a dissection of Drucker’s The Effective Executive and concluded with a thorough reading of The Practice of Management.

Through my professor's tireless evangelism, I developed a keen appetite for the timeless wisdom of this prescient thought leader.

Young entrepreneurs unfamiliar with Drucker would do well to study his insightful commentary on the world of "management." Millennials mired inside a traditional corporate environment and people living life inside lean startups will find his thinking particularly spot on.

Even after all these years, 10 Peter Drucker quotes still bounce around in my head constantly:

1. “Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.”

2. “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

3. “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

4. “What gets measured gets improved.”

5. “Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”

6. “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”

7. “People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”

8. “Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organization. For one either meets or one works. One cannot do both at the same time.”

9. “Long-range planning does not deal with the future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.”

10. "Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things"

My cynical side (and my short attention span!) feels especially drawn to number eight on that list.

But the quotes that really excite and ignite my entrepreneurial imagination are numbers two and five.

Which quote resonates most deeply with you? Most importantly, which of Drucker's words will change your world?


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I like number two best. I agree strongly with three, I love six, and I 'm not clear on five: innovation is usually about solving problems.

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Design Thinking: A Unified Framework For Innovation

Design Thinking: A Unified Framework For Innovation | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Over the years the question of what makes some companies, and the people within, more or less creative than others has been studied ad nauseam. The idea of innovation within business has long been thrown around, it’s a kind of catchall term used for everything a company must do continue to remain relevant. We are led to believe that without a strong amount of “innovation,” your company is surely doomed. But the realities of innovation and creativity are much more complicated than simply a willingness to be more creative.

To read the full article, click on the title.


Is your Business Plan working? Is it Succeeding? http://bit.ly/1iHk8zP


Via Justin Jones, Günter Schumacher
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Innovation makes the real difference. If you don't take part in it, sooner or later you'll miss the edge that put you in the lead in the first place. Make it a priority to be feed innovation, in yourself, your team and your company.

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The Sandwich That Ate the World

The Sandwich That Ate the World | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
The founder of the world's largest restaurant chain explains how Subway became ubiquitous, and why surpassing his biggest rival came as something as a letdown.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

If you really intend to build a successful company like this, take a look at this presentation from Dave Lavinsky, President of Growthink, the company that has helped many entrepreneurs and startups to grow into million dollar businesses.


Dave explains how to access the information to grow an 8-figure business.


Dave has created tools and products to 'cut the corners', to avoid the most common mistakes, and to go for the 'home-runs'. He created funding formulas, his 'Insider Circle', the 'Growthink University', and much more.


Take 20 minutes of your time and watch his 8-figure presentation:

https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/8ff/gt4045/ Good info.

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Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.)

Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.) | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Mike Del Ponte co-founded Soma, which raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter using virtual assistants and free apps. I first met Mike Del Ponte two years ago when he was running marketing at Bran...
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Fabulous advice from Tim Ferris. Check out this strategy if you're serious about a succesful crowdfunding campaign.


Some basics about crowdfunding: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/crowdfunding-startups.html


Use the Crowdfunding Pitch Formula from Dave Lavinsky to top it all off, watch the presentation video: https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freemoney/gt4045/

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Jose Gonzalez's curator insight, May 6, 2013 1:03 AM

Exactly my point !

Thanks,

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5 Things Every Presenter Should Know About People, Animated

5 Things Every Presenter Should Know About People, Animated | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
On the art of moving words that move people.

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up t
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This is excellent. Ever been worried about public speaking or presenting? Watch this.



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The 7 Qualities of People Who Are Highly Respected

The 7 Qualities of People Who Are Highly Respected | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Leaders are judged on their results and respected for how well they treat people.

Respect is something not automatically given. It must be earned. When you’re in a leadership position, it is imperative that the people with whom you work respect you. They might respect your work habits, your intelligence, or your ability to close a deal. Yet, there’s more to respect than that. If you can earn their respect as a person, then you’ve really won the game.

Here are some tips for earning more respect.

 

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

 

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

You will get #respect when you give it. Results come according to what you put out first.

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This is How Effective Leaders Move Beyond Blame

This is How Effective Leaders Move Beyond Blame | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Next Big Sound's Head of Engineering Dave Zwieback cautions against the perils of blame — and shares how to circumvent them to build a more resilient company.


The only way to extract a full account of what happened is to remove blame and punishment from our retrospectives.


If we want to make our systems and companies more resilient, we have to not wish away the failure, but learn and improve from it.


Choose reconciliation over retribution when something goes wrong. You’re less likely to lose people and lessons.


Read the whole article: click on image or title.


Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wow! Excellent article. How to learn from your #failures on an organizational/company level. Must read!

One of the best articles I've read in a while.

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4 Tips for Launching Minimum Viable Products Inside Big Companies

4 Tips for Launching Minimum Viable Products Inside Big Companies | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
You have to act like a real startup.


“We have to disrupt ourselves before the market does.” It’s not an uncommon mandate today. Established enterprises need to innovate to keep pace with the more nimble, smaller startups. Perhaps no approach has captured the imagination of big companies yearning to get more nimble than the lean startup method: quickly building and launching minimum viable products — MVPs — and then iterating and pivoting based on market feedback. Read more: click image or title.



Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The concept of a #startup has become the epitome of 

#innovation or #disruption. This article describes how to integrate the idea of a lean startup into a corporation.

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malek's curator insight, February 7, 7:09 PM

Although the "Lean Startup"  is just a few years old, its concepts—such as “minimum viable product” and “pivoting”—have quickly taken root in the start-up world, and business schools have already begun adapting their curricula to teach them.

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5 Ingenious Ways to Make Your Mark on the Business World

Solid branding plays an integral role in the success of any business. Here are five ways that you can further develop your brand and make your mark on the business world.

The way that you communicate in the business world is through your brand. It's what speaks to your customers and investors and allows them to get a better understanding of your company and the products and services you offer. Branding is something that has to be done subtly and by those who truly know what they are doing--there is a little bit of art involved, a little bit of psychology, and a little bit of bare bones business that goes into it, which makes branding something of an art form. The following are five ways to enhance your branding and really make a mark on your customers--and the market as a whole.

Adaptability

In order for a brand to have staying power, it needs to remain adaptable. Brands that have logos with a dated air to them will never stick around for long in a world that is changing more and more rapidly every year. Having something that is simple, clean, and leaves room for embellishment when need be is going to be a brand that sticks in the minds of customers and has the staying power that every business seeks for its image and public persona.

Memorabability

Above all other things, your brand needs to be memorable. Everybody can tell you what the company attached to "Just Do It" is. Having a simple, memorable slogan like that will be what sets your business ahead if you decide to go the slogan route with your branding (not every brand has or needs a slogan). Even the logo for your brand needs to be memorable and unique--trying to piggyback off of the success of other popular logos will just lead to your brand being forgotten in the shadow of the established brand with that logo.

Authenticity

The brand needs to be connected to what the business actually offers. The brand needs to be something that customers can touch on and identify with, and something that clearly conveys what the company will provide for the customers through imagery and atmosphere that the brand's logo, slogan, and other marketing materials provide. This needs to be something that gives an authentic representation of the brand's attitude and public goals and maintains the other important parts of branding at the same time (one of which is simplicity). Choosing a logo or a slogan for your brand should not be done offhandedly, as you will need to stick with it forever.

Likeability

In order for your brand to stick in the minds of your customers, there is going to have to be something about it that is likeable, even if it is on a subconscious level. Having linguistic elements like alliteration and rhyming will make your name easier to stick in the mind. Tying your name to a popular concept or having it be a play on words is another good way to get it to make an impression upon your customers.

Transferability

Given that some of the largest portions of the market are growing foreign marketplaces, you should keep in mind the translation of your slogans, advertisements, and name into different languages. Inherent meaning can easily be lost in translation, so to avoid marketing faux-pas (the Mexican marketing of the Chevy Nova comes to mind), so settle on something that can easily be ported to another language or country and still works as effortlessly as it did in your native language. This kind of preparation can only help your business in the long run, as adaptability to different markets will give you more of an advantage over your competitors than anything else.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent ideas for branding. Keep in mind when coining your business name and logo.

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6 Ways Startups Can Play Nice With Corporations - Entrepreneur

6 Ways Startups Can Play Nice With Corporations - Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

It is safe to say that the majority of startups around the world have historically perceived large, established technology companies as poor dance partners. While startups, and the entrepreneurs behind them, are viewed as exciting, agile and risk-prone, large established companies are often times not viewed in the same light, even when this is not true.

Large technology companies have made significant efforts to better understand the needs of entrepreneurs. This has led them to adopt new approaches to working within the startup ecosystem, both in a particular company's "home country" as well as in geographic regions that are located far away from corporate headquarters.

In fact, large corporations have made such significant progress working with startups in foreign locales that they have become, in the most successful cases, an integral player in the local high-tech ecosystem and a valuable resource to the entrepreneurs building new technologies.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Via Didier Roggeri, Edouard Estour
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

As a startup you usually have big plans. Involve some big partners. Seek out potential business partners in your area.

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Yahoo Redesigns Flickr to Make It 'Awesome Again'

Yahoo Redesigns Flickr to Make It 'Awesome Again' | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
At a press event, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer calls new design 'heart-stoppingly beautiful.'
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

She really makes a difference transforming Yahoo. I like what she's doing.

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The great Facebook exodus has begun

The great Facebook exodus has begun | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Facebook is shedding users. What's happening to the world's biggest social network?
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Have you spent less time on Facebook lately? I have. I was expecting something like this. My precious time goes to more essential tasks.

Like my site: www.Business-Funding-Insider.com Take a look, good information.

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NEW YORK: Four in Ten Marketing Executives Unprepared to Meet Objectives Due to Lack of Funding and Internal Inefficiencies, Accenture Study Finds | Business Wire | Rock Hill Herald Online

NEW YORK: Four in Ten Marketing Executives Unprepared to Meet Objectives Due to Lack of Funding and Internal Inefficiencies, Accenture Study Finds | Business Wire | Rock Hill Herald Online | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Four in 10 top marketing executives say they are not well prepared to meet their objectives, citing a lack of funding and inefficient business practices as the main impediments to improved performance, according to global research by Accenture...
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent analysis. Comments?


A company that helps entrepreneurs and startups with strategies and products to grow their businesses is Growthink. To get an idea of what they're doing, subscribe to their "Grow your Empire" newsletter, which is full of value every day. Great tips, information, advice. http://bit.ly/189fdTk

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20 words and phrases that will doom your pitch

20 words and phrases that will doom your pitch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Use these 'cursed words,' and many reporters and bloggers will delete your email. So will your employees. Plus, civilization might end.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. As business plan reviewers, we see the same thing. Using this kind of words, or saying that your are "The next Google" will get your business plan sorted... on the 'not interested' pile.


Check for more articles like this here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/

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