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10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work - - The Buffer Blog

10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work - - The Buffer Blog | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Tim Ferriss tells us "To do the impossible, you have to ignore the popular".

We’ve all heard what makes us more productive. To be more productive, get: Better sleep, better food, better work environment, etc. And I think these tips are amazing and a great focus to have. Heck, we even wrote about most of these and the science behind it here on the Buffer blog.

And yet, today, I thought of changing it up dramatically. It goes nicely with Tim Ferriss’ moto:

“To do the impossible, you need to ignore the popular.”

So with this article, I tried to really step aside from the popular and look for the counter-intuitive. Of course, it’s all backed by the latest and most reputable studies.

Let’s dig and find out some of the most controversial things you could do today to boost your creativity, happiness and productivity:

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



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Via Beth Kanter
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I always like to look at everything with my 'own' eyes, ignoring the popular. So this article by co-founder and CMO of Buffer Leo Widrich makes you think about some real 'popular' assumptions.

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Beth Kanter's curator insight, March 2, 2014 5:42 PM
4.)  Work less

Within the Buffer team, we have an informal rule, that goes something like this:

“Working more is never the answer.”

This is derived from Tony Schwartz’ book “The Power of Full Engagement”, where he proposes a solution to working, that completely changed my productivity. His key idea is simple: “Manage your energy, not your time.”

Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow also has some explanations:

“There are first order benefits to taking the time off, but I think the real business case is (that) in working together to make that time off possible, companies actually re-think how you work and how to be productive.”

So if you start working less, you will have to think really hard about what you will spend your time doing. Here is also more on managing energy, rather than time.

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Google’s Eric Schmidt has a 10-year prediction of how tech will disrupt whole industries - VentureBeat

Google’s Eric Schmidt has a 10-year prediction of how tech will disrupt whole industries - VentureBeat | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/0OPK

In conversation with Khan Academy founder and amateur baritone, Sal Khan, Google chairman Eric Schmidt predicted how technology will change whole industries over the next 10 years. The path to tech riches, he predicts, will be startups that use existing online tools to unseat incumbents.

For example, Uber (which Google invests in) utilized Google maps to pinpoint car drivers. Khan Academy, another Google-funded organization, got its start putting up YouTube lessons online for free.

“I have consistently, in my career, underestimated the scale of the disruption and the scale of the positive impact of the use of software to redo systems,” he argued. “We’re at a point now where the combinatorial innovation, the ability to mix and match things together, is going to produce a very large number of new things that are very useful that other people will fight about.”

In other words, unlike Facebook, which built out an entirely new platform, the next big company, like Uber and Khan Academy, may simply build off other free products.

Additionally, the coauthor of Schmidt’s book and former Google SVP, Jonathan Rosenberg, predicted that the sharing economy was going to take off, since “every other person in the world can now reach every other person in the world.”

There’s an enormous amount of underutilized resources in society. “Everyone knows what everyone else has, and it becomes very seamless to buy and sell,” he concluded.

Certainly two of the fastest growing companies in tech, Uber and Airbnb, have taken full advantage of these resources. And Airbnb was partly based on free mapping tools.

The whole conversation between Rosenberg, Schmidt and Khan is great. Readers can watch it below:

http://snip.ly/0OPK



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"Hey Dave!
I bought one of your business planning templates and have been receiving your emails and videos for a few months now...
I just wanted to say thanks for cranking out such amazing work!
You're doing an incredible job, and I know entrepreneurs everywhere are benefiting from it! Please, keep it up.
Wishing you all the best!"
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President
ShopCity.com, Inc.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Disruption is the name of the game. All aspects of our society will have their turn. I see the banking industry and financial services follow too.

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9 Easy-To-Steal Habits Of The Super Successful

9 Easy-To-Steal Habits Of The Super Successful | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Wouldn't it be great if success was simple?

But it isn't.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer for success in work and life, but we will do our best to steer you in the right direction.

Here's a list of helpful habits of some highly successful—and wildly productive—people to get your started.

Read more here: http://www.fastcompany.com/3014736/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/9-easy-to-steal-habits-of-the-super-successful


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Growthink helped me with two business plans. I liked working with Anna Vitale because she was a professional yet personable and that gave me a sense of trust. Keep up the good work.”


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The ups and downs of working in a tech incubator

The ups and downs of working in a tech incubator | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Michael Rainsford discusses how his start-up company developed in a shared office space, and reveals the benefits and downsides of such a setup for an early-stage company. 

When my company StuRents.com went full-time back in June 2014 we were looking for the perfect environment in which to grow our semi-established start-up, and when we stumbled across the newly-established Google Campus near London’s Old Street, we also stumbled across the idea of the ‘tech incubator’ (essentially an office space housing tech start-ups). We liked it and we applied for a few desk spaces, which we were subsequently offered at a relatively cheap price.

It seemed like the perfect setup for us and six months later we graduated to a different incubator within the city. But those six months at Campus had been good for us. Growing in an incubator we found to definitely have its upsides.

Firstly, most incubators are cheap. Most tech incubators (as with any place providing facilities for start-ups) are likely to offer cheap rental rates. But compared with other venues offering facilities for fledgling businesses, Google Campus offered all inclusive rates, mentoring and access to the heart of Tech City. These fringe benefits are often, in the cases of incubators, the main benefits, when all you are actually using the building for is working – with no time or inclination for creature comforts.

Many incubators also seek to keep themselves at capacity by offering flexible workspace with pay-as-you-go style pricing. At Campus these spaces were remarkably cheap; arguably too cheap. Given the limited number of spaces available, for every developer on Flex membership paying a little over £100 per annum there were tens of eager entrepreneurs (who would have contributed much to the culture and atmosphere) waiting in line for a spare desk.

Read more: http://snip.ly/OOG4


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"I recommend that all professionals, entrepreneurs, and students of business tune in to Dave Lavinsky.
 

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Via Zonata
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Incubators and accelerators are great places to launch your startup. You learn, meet others, have mentors available, and get a ton of experience. If you get the chance, go for it. They are popping up everywhere, not just in the big cities.

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The smart creative: How to spot them, how to use them

The smart creative: How to spot them, how to use them | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The term “smart creative” is often heard today in the hallways and conference rooms of some of the nation’s leading tech companies.

Not surprising, since it was coined by Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. But the concept is not necessarily unique to Google, or even to the tech world.

Smart creatives (SCs) can be found almost anywhere, from the corner coffeehouse to the corner office.

  • How can you tell if you are a smart creative?
  • How can you spot a smart creative?
  • How can you maximize smart creatives’ potential in your organization?

Here are four key characteristics to look for:

Read more, click on the image or title.



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Via Ken Cooper
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Are you a smart creative? If you are, you'll be looking to add on the skills and experience you need to become one.

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Local Motors just 3D-printed a car live at an auto show



Auto shows are typically a place to debut cars, not to build them — but then again, Local Motors isn't your everyday automaker.


The printing of the car takes 44 hours


The Phoenix-based company crowdsources the design of its cars (like the oddball Rally Fighter), and it's showing a refreshed version of its 3D-printed Strati model here. But here's where it gets weird: Local Motors is building the Strati right on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with printing and routing equipment that it brought in just for the occasion. The machines, encapsulated in glass for safety's sake, don't take much more room than a very small apartment (or a very big closet, depending on how you look at it). Read more or watch video: click on title.



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Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
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Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels


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Amazing technology.

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How an Entrepreneur Should Handle Haters

How an Entrepreneur Should Handle Haters | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/0hYS

If you're bold enough to take chances, there will undoubtedly be someone trying to tear you down. Here's how you should handle it.

Your track record is HORRIBLE!! It's like you are trying to harvest everyone's data. I wish you luck but you've become a massive joke among everyone. Next you will be selling male thongs. Be sure to post a picture of yourself in it! You could make it a Christmas card with the sausage in your hands too."

The lovely note above was sent to me in the form of an email recently from a ... ahem ... (disgruntled) former user of my product. The day before Christmas. Awesome.

As someone who has taken a beating or two and had my fair share of "disgruntled" emails, I've grown somewhat accustomed to the savagery. I even believe that having "haters" means that I'm doing something right. I'm willing to take the occasional hit below the belt in order to keep the debate alive. Debate breeds discussion, discussion breeds exposure. And that, my friends, is the name of the game.

More here: http://snip.ly/0hYS



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"The team at Growthink delivered exceptional quality service in every aspect of their client services. Their staff of professionals were extremely instrumental in fine tuning my creative vision into a well developed business plan."
  James E. Spence, Jr, Founder & CEO
At Bread Boutique


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Move ahead, get more focused, ignore...

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Looking to Scale Your Sales? Seven Bullets to Dodge

Looking to Scale Your Sales? Seven Bullets to Dodge | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/szDZ

Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski's sales team at Calfinder had just hit $8 million in revenue. They were feeling good about their process — like they had finally hit their stride — and the numbers were looking good. “There was just this shared feeling of, 'Hey, let's hit the 'Go' button on this thing,” he says. And they did — they scaled the team from 6 to 24 reps in thee months on a bootstrapped budget.

At first, things looked promising. They doubled and then quadrupled the number of contracts they landed each week. But then it happened, what Ostaseski now calls the 'Oh Shit moment' when they realized a few cancellations were turning into many. “It literally started to feel like a tidal wave behind us. Churn increased by 2x. We didn't catch on to the churn and we stopped paying attention to how we were selling things.” Ultimately, they had to shrink the team back down the six. But many lessons were learned.

http://snip.ly/szDZ


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"Thanks for all you do to encourage entrepreneurship! You and your team have successfully created a road map that most could follow to completion and exit strategy. Yes, it is possible to do these things on your own, but it can be short-cutted by using your strategy."
Jay Ed Moore

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The art of sales, and the difference between builders and sales architects.

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Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs

Why Smart People Make Bad Entrepreneurs | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/5bsb

Are you too smart for your own good? Sometimes the slackers reign supreme.

One of the most counterintuitive traits that can hurt entrepreneurs is smarts. Yes, the more successful you are and the more talents you have, the harder it is to run a business.

While you may think that being smart, motivated and talented would logically make someone the best possible candidate for entrepreneurship, unfortunately, this is often not the case. Read more here: http://snip.ly/5bsb



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"The team at Growthink delivered exceptional quality service in every aspect of their client services. Their staff of professionals were extremely instrumental in fine tuning my creative vision into a well developed business plan."
  James E. Spence, Jr, Founder & CEO
At Bread Boutique


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some people have certain qualities that are great for business, and indeed, it's not always related to being smart. There are many different kinds of intelligence.

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This Is How You Get People to Trust Your Product

This Is How You Get People to Trust Your Product | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/eWRb

First Round is a seed-stage venture firm focused on building a vibrant community of technology entrepreneurs and companies.

Most new tech companies simply would not work without consumer trust. People wouldn’t get into an Uber, list their home on Airbnb, or even buy shoes on Zappos if they didn’t trust those companies to deliver a high quality, secure service. UrbanSitter sets the bar even higher: It connects families with babysitters on the Internet. There are few things that require more faith.

“In many ways, we’re tackling the service that requires the most trust in someone’s life,” says UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkins. “If companies can replicate what we’ve done in other sectors, they’ll knock it out of the park.”

So how did UrbanSitter pull this off? How did they build a product that convinces parents that strangers can safely watch their children? Perkins has become an expert in this area, pointing to a combination of product features, logistics, and customer service efforts that have allowed them to become a reliable solution for hundreds of thousands of households nationwide. In this exclusive interview, she shares how UrbanSitter has approached trust-building and how other companies can do the same to grow fast.

Read more: http://snip.ly/eWRb


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"The team at Growthink delivered exceptional quality service in every aspect of their client services. Their staff of professionals were extremely instrumental in fine tuning my creative vision into a well developed business plan."
  James E. Spence, Jr, Founder & CEO
At Bread Boutique


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Awesome article on building trust. Very highly recommended.

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Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies

Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Description of 12 disruptive technologies for 2014

What is a disruptive technology? According to Clayton M. Christensen, an Harvard Business School professor a disruptive technology is a new emerging technology that unexpectedly displaces an established one.  Christensen used this term for the first time in his 1997 best-selling book entitled “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.  In it the author established two categories of new technologies: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technologies corresponds to well-known technologies that undergo successive improvements, whereas Disruptive technologies means new technologies that still lack refinement, often have performance problems, are just known to a limited public, and might not yet have a proven practical application. Disruption can be seen at a different angle, if we look at how the word means, something that drastically alters or destroys the structure of society. Disruptive technologies hold within themselves the capacity to alter our lifestyle, what we mean by work, business and the global economy. What are those technologies? And what will be the benefit they will bring to the world where we live in?

According to a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute, there are 12 technologies that can produce great disruption in our near future as they might transform the economy and our lives. McKinsey Global Institute report also offers quantitative data on how the outlined technologies can impact the economy, and what are the risks these will bring. Curiously, the concepts behind those technologies have been around for a long time. Here we outline a list of 12 of the most disruptive technologies:

Click title or image to read article.


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"I have so much gratitude in my soul right now. Growthink has helped me to come a long way since I've found the company and started making my business plan.
I'm counting my blessings every day."
Best Regards,
Trevor Houlihan



Via Richard Platt
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

That's about all of them lined up, know of any others?

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Pierre Casanova's curator insight, January 6, 2:43 AM

Another list of disruptive technologies.

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The Top 10 Pricing Mistakes Companies Are Making | TechCrunch

The Top 10 Pricing Mistakes Companies Are Making  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/y06U

Price strategy is emerging as a critical path for companies to increase their competitive advantage, and bottom line. Many companies have spent years..

Price strategy is emerging as a critical path for companies to increase their competitive advantage and bottom line. Many companies have spent years achieving gains through cost cutting, outsourcing, process re-engineering and adoption of innovative technologies. However, the incremental benefits from these important activities are diminishing, and companies need to look at other areas to improve their business results.

Today, companies are looking to serve well-defined market segments with specialized products, messages, product variants and services, and to earn superior profit margins while doing so. All too many companies, however, use simplistic pricing processes and cannot even identify their most profitable customers or customer segments. The following is a list of 10 of the most common mistakes companies make when pricing their products and services.

More here: http://snip.ly/y06U


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Pricing is an art, this article will outline some essential elements.

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10 Trends for 2015 You’d Better Pay Attention To

10 Trends for 2015 You’d Better Pay Attention To | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Keep a close eye on the future and how it will affect your business -- it will be here before you know it.

Every large business in the world keeps a close eye on future customer trends and demographics--they have to if they hope to be selling the right products and services to the right customers at the right time.

Ford Motor Company recently published its 2015 trend report, and no matter what size your company is--or in what industry it does business--the results are extremely valuable for any company.

Here, according to Ford, are the 10 trends to pay close attention to in 2015:

http://snip.ly/LfNe

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Really interesting information about a new generation growing up in this digital, mobile, cyber age.

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The Strength Of A Transparent Startup | TechCrunch

The Strength Of A Transparent Startup  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

If you ask a member of the business-tech community about the benefits of closed systems versus their open counterparts, one word that will almost certainly come up is “security.” There’s been a long-held belief in the tech industry that closed systems are more difficult to corrupt and, therefore, more secure than systems built on a philosophy of radical openness.


But in recent months we’ve seen this idea of “closed is more secure” flipped on its head. Once concerned primarily with keeping hackers and other “outsiders” from accessing sensitive data, consumers are now more aware of the importance of maintaining personal security and privacy from corporations, governments and other powerful “insiders.”

We’ve seen this trend gain momentum in America following Edward Snowden’s NSA program leaks, and even more vocally in Hong Kong recently with the Occupy Central protests against the Chinese government’s famously closed election system.

Meanwhile, we’ve also begun to see cracks appearing in one of the world’s most popular and fanatically trusted closed systems — Apple’s. While the iCloud celebrity nude leaks reminded us of the value of multi-factor authentication, a fake Occupy Central app that spread phishing malware in Hong Kong poked a few more holes in the perceived security of iOS’s closed system.

So in a world where being “closed” can not only prove ineffective but also raise red flags, it makes more sense than ever for tech startups to adopt a policy of radical openness: transparency leads to trust; collaboration leads to innovation; and decentralization leads to empowerment.

Transparency Leads to Trust

Each year, GMI Ratings releases a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies, inspired by the abuses that led to the financial collapse. GMI’s stance is that trustworthiness comes from transparency — even when the news is bad, the companies on this list are keeping shareholders informed, leading to less investor uncertainty and, in most cases, solid stock prices.

What might surprise you (or might not) is that technology is cited as one of today’s most fraudulent industries along with pharmaceuticals. This means that the opportunity is ripe to distinguish your tech startup from closed-up competitors by employing a model of radical openness with investors and clients.

That may mean providing more performance and financial data, being up front about long-term goals (or your more agile, wait-and-see approach, if that’s the case) and even coming forward to report your mistakes and near misses. It might be painful, but it can actually strengthen your relationships over time.

Collaboration Leads to Innovation

Some of the most talked-about startups in recent years would not exist if not for open data. Wikipedia is an obvious example, but also consider Waze, which was acquired by Google in 2013. Waze uses user-submitted traffic data to recommend the fastest driving route, which adjusts in real time as the user drives. Imagine the efficiencies that would be lost if Waze tried to generate this data by itself instead of tapping into the free, unlimited power of collaboration.

Investors in companies like IFTTT (which stands for If-This-Then-That) are also placing huge bets that the future lies in interconnection and open interaction among a multitude of platforms and devices. While many tech startups were thinking about how to carve a niche, own it and charge for it, IFTTT was strategically positioning itself as the go-to platform for the impending Internet of Things.

This brilliant, long-game strategy landed the company a $30 million investment in August of this year. Imagine if the company had instead built a platform that only functioned with IFTTT-approved devices, following a closed, vertical integration model. It might have enjoyed some early success, but it would have inevitably been unseated by a more open provider.

No closed system is safe from the disruption of a more open alternative.

Even a closed behemoth like Microsoft is now recognizing the value of open-sourced collaboration, recently announcing its decision to open source its server-side .NET Framework and also take it to Mac and Linux. Launching a startup with “artificial walls” in place, such as exclusive partnerships or extensive restrictions, in all likelihood means signing your own death sentence. Hold up Apple as a shining exception if you want, but history shows that tech that doesn’t play well with others gets left behind as collaborative innovation happens outside its walls.

For example, if Apple decides to throw its hat in the virtual reality ring, it will have to do on its own what the united front of Samsung (in other words, Google’s Android OS), Oculus Rift (in other words, Facebook), and the world’s entire network of virtual reality developers are collaborating to create.

Companies that rely on the idea that they’re “completely irreplaceable” need only look at the long list of alternatives that have arisen to even some of our most institutionalized services in recent years: bitcoin for traditional currency; at-home 3D printing for manufacturing; and right now in Hong Kong, Firechat, which is enabling protesters to circumvent Internet service providers. No closed system is safe from the disruption of a more open alternative.

Decentralization Leads to Empowerment

Back to Waze for a moment. Let’s imagine the blowback the company would receive for trying to charge for its user-submitted information. The commercial real estate industry has done precisely that for many years. The largest data providers have served as arbitrary gatekeepers for the world’s commercial real estate listings by asking brokers and agencies for info on their available spaces, then packaging that information and charging for access to it.

It’s unsurprising that free and open alternatives are now arising, threatening the existence of these long-established gatekeepers. (Disclosure, I run RealMassive, one such company.)

The commercial real estate industry lost sight of one important fact — the Internet has made kings of us all. In a Google world, the encyclopedia salesman is a relic, and businesses built around proprietary data have an expiration date.

If your startup is basing its business model on data that another company could feasibly gather and give away for free, you can expect that very thing to happen in the near future. Would you be able to survive? Do you really want to find out?

The Choice Is Yours, And Not Choosing Is a Choice

When it comes to making a choice between radical openness and “closedness” as a business philosophy, the best time to choose is in the early months of your company. A company that starts out with a closed paradigm and later chooses to open up will have a tough time rerouting company culture and also runs the risk of losing ground to more open competitors early on.

Even worse, a company that starts out open and later chooses to become closed will almost certainly make enemies, as Makerbot learned after it suddenly clamped down on its open-source 3D printing hardware after a community of early supporters spent years contributing to Makerbot’s design (it’s worth watching “Print the Legend,” a new documentary that chronicles the whole ordeal, available on Netflix).

Since you must choose one — and you must — openness is simply a better option for tech startups who stand little chance of deploying a successful vertical domination strategy like Apple or Sony built in decades past. When it comes to relationship-building, innovation, and eliminating competition, the best thing you can do to guarantee your company a spot in the future is to employ a philosophy of radical openness.

Schoolyard politics still apply: Secrets don’t make friends and neither do bullies.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. Openness promotes collaboration and is a sign of self confidence and trustworthiness. Apparently, it's similar in the tech world.

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Start-ups Should Sell to Small Businesses, Not Big Enterprises - Harvard Business Review

http://snip.ly/ICH2

By Thomas Bartman


Business-to-business start-ups are an important segment of the entrepreneurial landscape, but many founders hamstring themselves by focusing on the wrong initial customers. They focus on large enterprises, hoping to gain legitimacy from “anchor” customers. This focus can make their path much more difficult, and dramatically reduce their chance of success. Instead, B2B entrepreneurs should focus their efforts on small businesses.

The traditional line against targeting small businesses is that they’re costly to sell to. That’s short-sighted. Selling to small businesses is a great way to start a business, and often sets the stage for selling to larger enterprises later on. In this way, the start-up that initially served only small businesses can disrupt incumbents and come to dominate the large enterprise market, too.

Several examples of this strategy have emerged over the past few years:

  • Salesforce disrupted expensive on-site customer databases by offering a cloud-based solution that replaced substantial up-front expense with a low monthly subscription.
  • Vistaprint disrupted local printing shops by offering web-based design and ordering and centralized production, using economies of scale to dramatically reduce costs.
  • Stamps.com disrupted traditional mail-processing companies like Pitney Bowes by replacing expensive equipment purchases with an online application and monthly subscriptions.

The pattern continues today with start-ups that are in the early phases of this journey:

  • Expensify is in the process of disrupting administrative assistants and office managers with an app-based expense reporting product.
  • HourlyNerd (which was founded by members of my MBA class at Harvard Business School) is disrupting the consulting industry by connecting businesses with independent consultants.

To understand how small business solutions can disrupt large enterprises, I studied HourlyNerd and share here the lessons entrepreneurs can use to create disruptive B2B businesses by starting with small customers. To read the rest of this very interesting article, click on http://snip.ly/ICH2


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

Great info. Loving your business plan template, makes writing a plan almost fun.


Craig Heppell
Nambour, Queensland

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Well written and highly recommended article for any startup of small business.

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What Is a Business Model? - HBR

What Is a Business Model? - HBR | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/NJnr

A history, from Drucker to Christensen.

...Introducing a better business model into an existing market is the definition of a disruptive innovation. To help strategists understand how that works Clay Christensen presented a particular take on the matter in “In Reinventing Your Business Model” designed to make it easier to work out how a new entrant’s business model might disrupt yours. This approach begins by focusing on the customer value proposition — what Christensen calls the customer’s “job-to-be-done.” It then identifies those aspects of the profit formula, the processes, and the resources that make the rival offering not only better, but harder to copy or respond to —  a different distribution system, perhaps (the iTunes store); or faster inventory turns (Kmart);  or maybe a different manufacturing approach (steel minimills)...

To read the whole article and see a summary of business models click here:

http://snip.ly/NJnr



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Great info. Loving your business plan template, makes writing a plan almost fun.


Craig Heppell
Nambour, Queensland

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Excellent article and overview of many business models. Must read for any entrepreneur and business developer.

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Distracted? 11 Hacks That Will Help You Focus. (Infographic)

Distracted? 11 Hacks That Will Help You Focus. (Infographic) | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

These easy tips will help you zero in on the task at hand -- so pay attention!

Just because you’re not doing work right now doesn’t mean there’s no work to be done. I’ll bet you’re just about to get started on that work right after you read this. Well… you do have to return that phone call first, but then you’ll do work. Oh wait… but isn’t it someone’s birthday today? You’ll just check Facebook and make sure you’re not being so incredibly rude by not wishing your friend (read: that acquaintance that you very rarely talk to) a happy birthday. It’ll only take three minutes and then, you swear, you’ll take care of work.

Sound familiar? If procrastination and a lack of focus are problems for you, check out the infographic below by Anna Vital, information designer at Funders and Founders. These 11 tricks to help you get your focus on, if you can pay attention long enough to remember them. Some Cliff’s notes: Classical music and pets are helpful, a cluttered desk and an uncomfortable chair are not.

Check out the rest of the advice and get to work.

See the infographic here.



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Good tips to get focused.

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Biggest Mistake Startups Should Avoid - Business Insider

Biggest Mistake Startups Should Avoid - Business Insider | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
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Paul Graham says talking to corporate development before you're ready to sell your company can be a big mistake, and founders do it all the time.

If there's anyone you should trust when it comes to advice on how to build a startup, it's Paul Graham.

He co-founded the renowned Y Combinator startup school that produced successes such as Dropbox and Airbnb, and he has a piece of advice regarding a common mistake among startups.

According to Graham, too many startup founders spend time talking to corporate development executives from larger companies.

That's the department you'll usually hear from if someone is interested in buying your startup.

This is a bad thing, Graham wrote in a recent essay on his website, because many founders talk to corporate development at the wrong time.

You should only talk to corporate development if you're ready to sell your company right now and believe you're going to get a sufficiently high offer, Graham writes.

So, this means you should only engage in these discussions if your startup is doing really poorly or really well, since you'd either have nothing to lose or know that the offer would have to be high.

Graham writes that too many founders talk to corporate development when their company is in that middle stage. This is bad, according to Graham, because it poses a distraction to the founder. Here's what he wrote:

Distractions are the thing you can least afford in a startup. And conversations with corp dev are the worst sort of distraction, because as well as consuming your attention they undermine your morale.

To be clear, Graham isn't saying you should never sell your company — he's just saying you should have a clear idea of whether or not you'd want to sell and avoid being manipulated. More here: http://snip.ly/fhWZ




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Graham's wise words always ring through.

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Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain - HarvardBusinessReview

Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain - HarvardBusinessReview | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

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It’s good for resilience and decision making.
The business world is abuzz with mindfulness. But perhaps you haven’t heard that the hype is backed by hard science. Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing non-judgmental, present-moment awareness (a.k.a. mindfulness) changes the brain, and it does so in ways that anyone working in today’s complex business environment, and certainly every leader, should know about. More here: http://snip.ly/fxGZ



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MIndfulness, being here and now with all of your attention makes you a better listener and better observer. Also a better person. All good for better business.

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4 Startlingly Basic Mistakes That Doom Most Ecommerce Startups

4 Startlingly Basic Mistakes That Doom Most Ecommerce Startups | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

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Nurturing a new business to profitability is tough. One mistake is often too many.

Consumer have overwhelmingly embraced online shopping.

According to a recent UPS study, 70 percent want to shop their favorite retailer digitally. As a result, the category is seeing huge gains and growth annually. Just last year, ecommerce grew 13 percent. Online is increasingly the norm for shopping.

We’re seeing more ecommerce companies launch each year to take advantage of this migration, many in new categories – art, electronic cigarettes, mattresses, etc. – that were previously relegated to brick-and-mortar retail. While a handful manage to be successful ventures over the long-term, 75 percent of the time these startups unfortunately fail.

When I launched my company, V2, in 2009, I knew failure was one mistake away. With that in mind, here are the four biggest pitfalls I avoided in order to grow my business into the top online player in its category.

http://snip.ly/UtTB



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Basics, but still important when starting a digital presence.

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The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2014

The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2014 | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

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First Round is a seed-stage venture firm focused on building a vibrant community of technology entrepreneurs and companies.

Early last year, I found myself sitting across from Caryn Marooney in Facebook's cafeteria talking about how startups get noticed. What is that ineffable quality that separates the successful media darlings from the companies no one ever hears from again? It's a huge question, and Marooney — now head of Facebook's tech communications and past founder of the OutCast Agency — had good answers. She's been at it for a while, getting press that has distinguished dozens of startups (including eventual giants like Salesforce). Talking to her, it hit me how special this situation was, and how valuable the advice — based on real experience, wins, losses and lessons.
In the last year, I've had the privilege of speaking to nearly 100 people like Marooney who are among the very best at what they do — from hiring designers to building technical teams to increasing employee happiness. They hold the puzzle pieces for how to build startups from the ground up, and here, on The Review, we're assembling them for an ever-growing audience.

Read more here: http://snip.ly/Da7e


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"Thanks for all you do to encourage entrepreneurship! You and your team have successfully created a road map that most could follow to completion and exit strategy. Yes, it is possible to do these things on your own, but it can be short-cutted by using your strategy."
Jay Ed Moore

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Lots of wisdom here. Great tips. Ongoing education.

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7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market

7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Aiming for the right customers? Use this seven-step process to develop a profitable niche.

In their book, Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting a business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors explain how you can find the right niche for your entrepreneurial needs.

You’ve come up with a great idea for a business, but you’re not ready to roll yet. Before you go any further, the next step is figuring out just who your market is.

Read more by clicking on title or image.



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Get it right from the start, this article will help by asking the right questions.

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7 Venture Capitalists Predict What Will Happen In 2015

7 Venture Capitalists Predict What Will Happen In 2015 | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

From cloud wars to the certainty that there will be hacks, venture capitalists believe that 2015 will be a year of tumult and (in public markets anyway) triumph for the startup world.

Here are the visions that the general partners, managing directors and partners from firms such as NEA, IVP, Cue Ball Group,General Catalyst Partners and MDV have when they gaze into their crystal balls.

Together these firms have more than $22 billion under management, so they’re not only seeing the future, they’re often shaping it.

Click on title or image to read more.


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Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels


Via Enzo Calamo
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Excellent predictions of some VC insiders in the tech world. Definitely shows what lives there!

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Chris Shern's curator insight, January 2, 11:46 AM

Unbundling of legacy software, wearables not quite there yet, an empowered workforce segment thriving on independent and flexible work are but a few of the predictions that will make 2015 a year filled with opportunities for tech start-ups, innovation and entrepreneurs

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What You Can Learn From 8 Kids Already Making a Million Dollars

What You Can Learn From 8 Kids Already Making a Million Dollars | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/Sx1A

There is no age discrimination in Entrepreneurship.

There’s no age limit when it comes to being a millionaire these days, and a handful of kids have struck it rich well before they can legally vote. They’re small business owners, inventors and entrepreneurs. I started as an entrepreneur when I was around 11 years old with my first candy stand, which grew to four candy stands, but that was nothing compared to some of these kids!

There’s is no age limit, either, when it comes to learning from others. These impressive kids learned from their own failures early in life but determined to keep going and to do it better the next time around. If you haven’t made your first million yet, the teen next door might actually be able to teach you something.

Check out these eight kids who made a million, or more, and what you can learn from their success:

http://snip.ly/Sx1A


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At Bread Boutique


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Great stories. Focus, act, persevere.

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22 Useful Communities For Professionals, Startups and Businesses - Toolyo Blog

22 Useful Communities For Professionals, Startups and Businesses - Toolyo Blog | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Do you need to boost your startup growth? These are some of the most useful communities you can find: Advice: Quora: Quora is an awesome community to find great advice. You can also ask...
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Great site with resources and ideas for startups and small business.

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7 Ways to Prepare Your Startup to Scale Up

7 Ways to Prepare Your Startup to Scale Up | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Are you a startup founder who's eager to scale your business? Make sure you make these preparations first.

Assuming that you've successfully started a startup. Scalability is the ability of a startup to grow. Or, to put it more precisely, a scalable business can adapt to a larger workload without compromising performance or losing revenue. Can your business with $0 in annual revenue grow to a million dollar company?

If it's scalable, then yes.

But not every business is poised to make it big. Some startups get off the ground without the right systems, people, or mindset in place. Trying to grow such businesses is like trying to inflate a tractor tire with a bicycle pump.

Here's how you can prepare your startup to scale up.

1. Get the basics down.

Before you even worry about scaling your startup, make sure your fundamentals are fool proof. According to the StartupGenom's survey of 3200+ startups, 74% of failures can be explained by premature scaling. So make sure you're covered for the following:

  1. Make sure your core product line reaches "market fit". You can make gradual improvements through product iterations based on user feedback and data.
  2. Find out your largest core users.
  3. Find out the marketing channels with the biggest ROI and scaling potential by testing with smaller budgets first.
  4. Make sure you have the resources to scale. Seek additional round of funding if necessary. You can't worry about profitability while scaling, and the last thing you want is to run out of money.

Note: Even though these practices are software-centric, they also apply to physical products. So if you started an e-commerce site, make sure you take the time to get the basics right before scaling.

2. Automate Everything.

If you're spending a long time "setting up" your business, then good for you.

  • Setting up cloud storage and organization...
  • Setting up training processes for new hires...
  • Setting up marketing automation...
  • Setting up payroll for rapid processing...
  • Setting up billpay for automatic withdrawals...

Even though it takes a long time on the front end, this activity will pay for itself in the long term. You'll be able to access data faster, hire faster, market better, pay easier, and streamline operations for a truly scalable model.3. Boost marketing.

How can a business scale if no one knows about it?

Focus on marketing, and scalability will follow. But not every form of marketing is scalable. According to Forbes "direct marketing is...not scalable" and "word-of-mouth does not scale."

Content marketing, on the other hand, is one of the most scalable growth methods. Content marketing has evergreen value and viral potential, making it the growth-hack method of choice for most startups.

4. Outsource non-essentials.

For big corporations, the name of the game is "in-house." They've got in-house graphic designers, developers, conversion optimizers, SEOs, CPAs, lawyers, and even janitors.

Startups can't afford that luxury, and if you want to be strong enough to grow, you'll need to outsource all non-essential roles.

Your graphic design firm doesn't need a law department. Your SEO consulting firm doesn't require a full-time PowerPoint designer. You just need to focus on what you're good at.

This lean approach is what allows a startup to break into the big time. When you're nailing it with your core competencies, you'll start to scale up.

5. Keep an eye on social media.

Every new startup is in the public eye. Whatever happens on social media will be examined by the world.

It's important in your startup days to watch your social media carefully. Fledgling startups can't afford to take a major PR hit with a social media flap. Big companies might be able to weather the storm, but your startup isn't ready for it.

Scalability is about surviving, as much as it is about growing. If you hit a PR fiasco, you're limiting your chance of survival and scalability.

6. Excuse yourself.

Your business is not about you.

In order to be truly scalable, your business should be able to function just fine without you. The way you put that into place is by deliberately shifting responsibility off your shoulders, or into the oversight of someone else. In addition, you should take deliberate absences so you can force the business and personnel to be independent.

It may be a little bit humbling to come back from a four-week vacation and discover that the business is thriving without your being there. But this can actually be encouraging, too.

Your business is making money while you sleep, relax, or build something else.

You've proven to yourself and to your employees that the business isn't tied to your presence or even your existence. You feel liberated. They feel empowered. The business is ready to grow.

7. Hire the right people (and only the right people).

A business is scalable, only when it has the right people on board.

First, though, you have to hire only the people that are necessary to the operation. (See "outsource" below.)

Here are some of the key characteristics of a team member who will help you scale:

  • They can do what a program can't. If you have a human doing something that a machine can do, then you're wasting human effort. A startup needs to automate everything that it can in order to maximize the output of human team members.
  • They are full of good ideas. You can't put a dollar price on the value of a good idea. A single lightbulb moment on the part of one employee can more than pay for that employee.
  • They have more than one skill. In the startup environment, one person might have to do three jobs. Hire people with a multifaceted skill set, or skills that can be transferred from one task to another.
Final thoughts.

Scalability is a mindset, too. Sure, you need to have the right systems and processes, people, and plans.

But you also need to think big to become big. Having a scalable business means that you are free to unleash your dreams, make a lot of money, and have fun doing it. Once you get your mind in the game, scalability becomes way easier.

What have you done to create a scalable business?


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

As a startup you need to scale up your business. Investors would not be interested if you can't.

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Ian Harris's curator insight, December 23, 2014 12:11 AM

Worth considering!