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Next Generation Customers Will Test Every Business - Startup Professionals Musings

Next Generation Customers Will Test Every Business - Startup Professionals Musings | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

If you think your business has weathered the storm, think again. In addition to obvious economic challenges, the emerging generation of customers is determined to radically change the rules for customer engagement. Their expectations of relationship and personalization are taxing businesses today, and their power through social media will kill those who can’t or won’t comply.

An eye-opening list of insights was just released in a new book, “Build for Change,” by Alan Trefler, Founder and CEO of Pegasystems. He makes a convincing argument that it’s time for every company to get prepared for the next customer generation, or your company is heading toward life support.

As a backdrop, he defines the evolution already in progress from current Gen Y customers to a more demanding and less tolerant state (Gen D) that will make them even quicker and more technologically able to demonize and destroy your business, if it won’t meet their norms of interaction, personalization, and purpose.

While I’m not so sure that I agree that these represent the ultimate apocalypse of customers, I do believe the solutions he recommends should be taken seriously by every entrepreneur. I summarize here my interpretation of his key points:

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



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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

After posting the previous infographic about how one unhappy customer can be a disaster for your business, this is a more detailed and analytical approach to how to manage your business and deal with your clients in this rapidly changing business environment. Good stuff.

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Huge Game Changer For Wearable Technology - Indestructible Batteries

Huge Game Changer For Wearable Technology - Indestructible Batteries | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

ProLogium is a Taiwanese company currently in the field of battery manufacturing that having spent the last 7 years in deep R&D mode, developing, testing have finally released a radically new battery that marries high density output with a flexible ultra thin form like nothing you have seen before.

The product in question is currently known as an FLCB, or FPC (Flexible Printed Circuit) Lithium-Ceramic Battery. FLCB technology is very different from today’s Lithium Polymer batteries that we see in almost every type of device including smartphones and tablets. FLCB breaks the norm in terms of battery appearance, production technique and manufacturing technologies with ProLogium applying for several patents worldwide.

Read more: click on image or title.



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The Growthink group was very easy to work with and took the time to understand our business and needs carefully. I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the nuances of our business and were able to communicate our thoughts into an organized structure that has helped jump start our future plans. 
- Adam Unger, Principal


Via TechinBiz, Richard Platt
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wearables needs solutions like this. Another gread advancement.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, March 28, 12:13 AM

As well as being lighter and much more flexible, FLCB-based batteries are also intrinsically safer. FLCB batteries do not catch fire, start to smoke or leak under almost any circumstances including physical, thermal or electrical impact. This is really good news for wearables which by their very nature will be close to the body, opening up several new applications that include today’s wearable technology in clothes, watches, jewellery, headsets and more. The FLCB batteries can be injection inserted or moulded in manufacturing processes that can reach temperatures of up to 2600 Celsius. They also don’t suffer from ‘Salting Out’ issues that plague electrolytic solutions and they can withstand cutting, piercing and even burning.


It’s also important to note that in terms of battery life, ProLogium claim their FLCB technology also provides exceptional energy density, with anywhere up to double that of standard lithium polymer batteries today, so there is no performance hit in terms of mAh figures with FLCBs. The most exciting aspect however, is the fact that an FLCB will continue to function after physical impact or even outright mutilation.


Being based on a printed circuit board, these FLCB batteries can also carry the signal and be joined to together as integral components in the device itself. This means that essentially the battery can be integrated in to the design, becoming part of the device itself, not a single and unwanted appendage that provides power.

Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, March 28, 9:31 PM

This could be the breakthrough that clothing manufacturers have been waiting for.  When your wearable technology gets dirty, just wash it and don't worry about the survivability of its power components. You now can be "wired for success."  This is totally "shocking"--pardon the pun.  Aloha, Russ.

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Inventions and innovations that change the world; Curiosity, knowledge, educational articles; learning opportunities...
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Richard Branson Hints At Electric Car From Virgin - Gas 2

Richard Branson Hints At Electric Car From Virgin - Gas 2 | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

How much weight can you place on a few words spoken in an unguarded moment during an informal press interview? If the speaker is billionaire Richard Branson, the answer is, “Quite a lot.”

Branson was in Miami last week to watch his Virgin Racing team compete in the 5th round of the Formula E championship. He happened to be speaking with a reporter from Bloomberg News who asked him what racing in Formula E might lead to. Branson replied with this unscripted, off hand remark (via Bloomberg):

“We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know. You may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.”

It’s true that Branson’s Virgin Galactic company is working hard on commercial space flight, as is Elon Musk’s SpaceX corporation. He’s also big into renewable energy these days. It’s not unusual for billionaires to compete fiercely with each other as a way of measuring their power, influence and manhood. Perhaps the irrepressible Branson is miffed that Musk is enjoying so much success in the car business with Tesla and just wants to divert the media attention his way a little bit.

Anything is possible, but one thing is for sure. If Richard Branson wants to jump into the car business, he has the means to do so. He is no stranger to challenges such as being the first man to travel around the world in a helium balloon. If he says “Do it!”, it will be done.

For the present season, Formula E rules do not allow any variations in motors, batteries, inverters. gearboxes or cooling systems. But starting next year, development of motors, inverters and gearboxes will be allowed and the following year, improved batteries will be permitted. So Branson and Virgin Racing will need to have some very talented engineers to remain competitive with the rest of the field. Could those same engineers be put to work on building a passenger car or two?

What do you think?

By Steve Hanley


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

With Growthink on your side, you are in a win-win situation. They placed themselves in my situation and analyzed my business as if it were their own business. I could never recommend any firm but Growthink to provide business planning services at this level of quality. 
 Prem K. Kapani, CEO


Via Ecaterina-Adelina Cocora
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Mercedes just announced that it will compete with Tesla with #electriccars, now Branson. Are we getting a breakthrough?

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Why Everyone Should Learn A Second Language

Why Everyone Should Learn A Second Language | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/fgoU


If you're looking to earn more money, live longer, and be happier, then you need to learn a second language, says Kayla Matthews


With more online learning resources available than we know what to do with, there’s really no reason for you to not know a second language.

Being bilingual not only gives you some fun bragging rights, but it also makes you stand out in the increasingly competitive job market.

Learning another language can pave the way for salary increases and open up tons of amazing job opportunities that would be far beyond reach for someone who only knows one language. But it doesn’t stop there. Did you know it can help keep your brain healthy, for longer?

If you’ve ever considered learning a second language, below are just some of the many reasons why you should finally commit to becoming bilingual.

1- Being bilingual earns you more money.Read more: http://snip.ly/fgoU



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"Growthink is a full-service business, representing you through the whole process - very important value-added service. We've been very impressed with the professionalism and kindness that Growthink has shown us in the rather complicated world of commercial financing."

Debra Soto
Freeballer Surfwear

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

As an executive, CEO or business founder you really owe it to yourself and your company to be multi-lingual. This article gives another few good reasons.

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Future of Fabrics Folding into Tech

Future of Fabrics Folding into Tech | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

So you walk into a store and the salesperson takes a 3D scan of your body then uses it to design custom clothing that can be printed especially for you. Sounds like science fiction but this is the future of fashion and it’s unfolding before our eyes.

A new wave of textiles being developed and brought to market create a fashion realm where customization comes standard, environmental inefficiencies are nearly eradicated, and innovative fabrics are available for the masses. To make things appealing on the outside requires the right combination of math, science and technology on the inside.

The namesake of Bradley Rothenberg studio envisions a future where design studios and retail stores create fashion using only 3D printers. For many, Rothenberg is best known for his 3D fashions for the 2013 Victoria’s Secret show.

In addition to tailoring a garment to a person’s exact body type, 3D printers let designers push the materials possibilities beyond fabric.

“We can decide where we want the different textile properties: perhaps see-through in one area and stiff and structured in another,” said Rothenberg, whose studio develops textiles using mathematical algorithms and a range of 3D printing materials.

“For the last 150 years – more or less – textiles have been made in pretty much the same manner. There’s knitting and there’s weaving,” said Rothenberg.

“This industrial process [3D printing] is a new way to think about textiles and fashion,” he said. Read more by clicking on image or title above.




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To Growthink: "Thank you for all of your assistance. You have a lot of integrity, do good work and deal straight up when there are problems. Please feel free to have prospective clients contact me as a reference."
Joan Sugerman
Putts Golf Pro Shot


Via TechinBiz, Deb Bailey
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Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, March 16, 9:40 PM

The day is coming where plug-n chargers for your digital devices will be a thing of the past. Wearable technology makes it possible to keep your mobile devices fully charged by going our for a leisurly stroll and spending some time in the sun at your local park or beach.  Some of these fashions are quite attractive and functional.  This is the fashion wave of the future.  Aloha, Russ.

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How we grew our startup to an early revenue stage

How we grew our startup to an early revenue stage | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/J6Fi 

If you are a very early stage entrepreneur, then the next 10 minutes reading this post will probably save you weeks of time.

Like you, we started out with just a vision in our heads and little experience in running a SaaS business. Most of the time we had little clue of what we needed to do to convert traffic into leads and leads into customers. We got some great ideas from experts in the field, but the amount of knowledge on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) can be overwhelming sometimes, especially for early stage startups.

So we did what we like to call as ‘experiments’ on CRO rather than have ‘strategies’. Some of these experiments have worked brilliantly for us and well, some have failed miserably. So we are sharing our learnings with fellow entrepreneurs who are starting out. The idea is to share our experience with young entrepreneurs just like us and to convey the message that it is a good practice to go with your gut instinct and experiment with options.

Read more: http://snip.ly/J6Fi



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"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article on metrics and testing. Read it and save plenty of time later.

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How the Apple Watch could reinvent fashion as we know it

How the Apple Watch could reinvent fashion as we know it | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/Z7xu


The most important thing that the Apple Watch has already tapped into, and has in common with the fashion world, is our imagination.

On one of the coldest days of the year, a smartly dressed woman, defying the elements, stands at one of the last remaining newsstands in Manhattan flipping through the voluminous bible of fashion that is the March issue of Vogue. Amid the pages of waifish models blissfully tossing aside $1,000 scarfs and tableaus of beauty products promising transformative powers she happens upon something completely different: another, mini-magazine, devoted to the Apple Watch.

The message contained therein, all visual, no text, is obvious: The illusion of luxury, of another, better life — one filled with glamour, the right look and the people and places that go along with such trimmings of success — now includes a smartwatch.

It's an old message, aspirational luxury, but one made new by technology playing the starring role. But all stars aren’t created equal. And even the most brilliant sometimes fail to capture the public's imagination.

So now, with companies like Apple, Nike, Under Armour and many others betting billions on the chance that the marriage of technology and fashion might produce a hit, there's a key question that needs answering: Is wearable technology ready? And will the Apple Watch be the catalyst that takes it mainstream? Read more: http://snip.ly/Z7xu




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"No matter how small a company may be, we believe that Growthink’s standard of excellence does not change from one client to the other and we would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with Melissa and her colleagues again."
Shannon Lindsay
Publisher
Southern Beauty Magazine


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Design can make or break your product and company. Apple has proven this very well, successfully. Will the Apple Watch be a success? You bet.

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5 Things I Learned About Successful Startups From Steve Jobs

5 Things I Learned About Successful Startups From Steve Jobs | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/oeWK


By Guy Kawasaki on Entrepreneur.com


Former chief evangelist for Apple shares what makes entrepreneurs reach the next level.


No one could have taught you more about starting a company than Steve Jobs, and I had the privilege and honor of working for him in the Macintosh division of Apple.

Over the course of several years, and then watching him for another two decades, these are the five most important things that I learned about startups from him. Read more here: http://snip.ly/oeWK



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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.”


Phil Marcu


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

One great man about another one.

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3 Easy Ways to Create an App with No Experience

3 Easy Ways to Create an App with No Experience | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

App development isn’t as hard as it was in the past. Business owners who want to get into the mobile space can make an app and test it too using app-building tools available on the market.

While technical know-how is important to make a killer app, these platforms just help make the job a lot easier for you, increasing the speed of the development process. Most importantly, the platforms can be used to learn app development and come in handy for particular niche app development, even if you are looking to build social media apps.

Here is a look at three tools that can do wonders for you.

Read more: click on the image or title.


Get your Free #BusinessPlanTemplate here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

"I love your newsletters! The issues are not only right on time with good insightful information, the trivia questions and Dave's personal input gives the communication a personal touch that I enjoy. Keep up the great work and congrats!"
Nikki Webster
Manga Design Group, LLC


Via mindinventory
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

More businesses need to create apps to stay competitive. Outsourcing may be a good way but can be expensive. These platforms offer easy ways to do it yourself.

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54 Mistakes of a Startup CEO

54 Mistakes of a Startup CEO | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Here's a running list of my mistakes at CB Insights. They span all facets of building a company – everything from HR to culture to product to sales to operations to admin.

We’re having a pretty great year at CB Insights – revenue is up, the team is growing and we’re executing at a high level.

But things weren’t always good.

We’ve had lean times and made many, many mistakes. Most were the result of things I did (or didn’t do) and I’ve been keeping a list of my screw-ups as a reminder to myself.

With that in mind, and as the new year approaches, I thought I’d share my list more publicly as a reminder to myself and as a public way for the team to keep me honest. For other entrepreneurs, I hope this list is useful, provides a laugh, or lets you see that you’re not the only one.

As you’ll see, my screw-ups span all facets of building a company – everything from HR to culture to product to sales to operations to admin. I am what you might call “multi-talented.”

So here they are in no particular order, bucketed by category.  You’ll notice that some of these screw-ups sorta contradict each other. Yup – building a company is messy. Read more: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/startup-ceo-screwups/





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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 ukituki, Business Credit
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

And mistakes we'll make. This CEO kept track of them and made a great list. Good stuff to learn from and shorten the learning curve.

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An 11-Step Plan for Launching Your Startup

An 11-Step Plan for Launching Your Startup | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Disclaimer: the headline on this article promises you 11 steps to launch a startup. It does not promise you 11 easy steps or 11 simple steps or 11 anyone-could-do-it-before-breakfast-without-breaking-a-sweat steps.

Launching a startup is difficult—there's no way around that.

In the best of markets, 75% of venture-backed firms fail to deliver returns on their investments, according to 2012 research from Harvard Senior Lecturer Shikhar Ghosh.

Today, VC firms are debating whether that grim statistic might be exacerbated by a forthcoming tech bubble. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs decide to launch companies every year.

If you're determined to join their ranks, here's what you need to know about how to launch your business so it lasts.


by Melissa Cohen


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

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.





Via Ivo Nový
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It takes some good planning to create a start up. Don't underestimate. Creating a business plan may help to uncover flaws or import aspects that may have been overlooked.

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Who Needs an Office? How to Go 100 Percent Remote.

Who Needs an Office? How to Go 100 Percent Remote. | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/2cmT

Having a team work remotely can save lots of money and allow you to unleash creativity, huge amounts of work and an incredible amount of power.

More and more companies are going 100 percent remote. The remote trend is especially widespread in the startup community. When cash and resources are low, you do what you can, and going remote is one of the smartest moves you can make.

It was just about a year ago that FlexJobs declared, “2014 is THE year to find remote jobs.” Of course, big companies like Xerox and Apple allow remote work, but it’s the startup environment that has really embraced remote work situations. Entrepreneurs are realizing that it doesn’t matter where an employee is, as long as he or she can communicate with the team and get work done.

If you’re curious about how to make your business go remote, here are your answers.

Read more: http://snip.ly/2cmT


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

"With Growthink on your side, you are in a win-win situation. They placed themselves in my situation and analyzed my business as if it were their own business. I could never recommend any firm but Growthink to provide business planning services at this level of quality."
Prem K. Kapani, CEO

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Working remote is the future. Best solution for yourself, and a great solution for many people in your company. Check it out. Neil has some great tips and obviously speaks from experience.

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How the 'Internet of Everyday Things' could turn any product into a service | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Lawrence Lee, PARC

How the 'Internet of Everyday Things' could turn any product into a service | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Lawrence Lee, PARC | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
http://snip.ly/w89U

Disposable sensors on products like cleaning supplies could soon enable brands to sell outcomes -- such as clean clothes or a clean house.

Imagine a near future where there will be a wireless sensor on the bottom of every shampoo, detergent, and medication container. It will tell you how much product is left and trigger a replacement order once it gets to 10% full or approaches its expiration date.

Now imagine a future laundry detergent dispenser that is connected wirelessly to sensors in the washing machine and can mix multiple channels of active ingredients dynamically to suit the conditions of the wash and optimize the cleaning process.

This type of intelligent, personalized experience is not possible today, but it will be commonplace in the “Internet of Everyday Things” in which low-cost, even disposable products will have digital capabilities through low cost sensors and connectivity

New Product Experiences

With the Internet of Everyday Things, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies will for the very first time have visibility into how their customers are using their products in the home, and even more importantly, they’ll have the power to change the product experience in real-time to suit the specific user and environment. That’s really game changing for an industry that continuously worries about how to differentiate products and protect margins.

http://snip.ly/w89U



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

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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Evolution of 'Internet-of-Things', Big Data and client services explained by a researcher. Interesting, however, I think I prefer to keep an eye on when my laundry detergent will be finished myselfd.

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The Uberpreneur: How An Uber Driver Makes $252,000 A Year

The Uberpreneur: How An Uber Driver Makes $252,000 A Year | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
It hit me: I’m not in Gavin’s car. I’m in his mobile showroom. He’s not just an Uber driver. Nor is he just an entrepreneur. He’s an Uberpreneur, using the ridesharing app to promote his jewelry business.

“It’s a genius way to start a business nowadays, especially because nobody’s doing it.”

The man sitting beside me is sharing the most insightful business advice I’ve heard lately. His ideas are as unconventional as the location of our conversation. We’re not in a coffee shop or a corner office. We’re in an Uber and he’s my driver.

His name is Gavin Escolar, a charismatic Filipino man with a laugh that’s even louder than his orange-and-red striped dress shirt. We’re cruising down Valencia street when I notice diamond earrings dangling on the dashboard. Around his wrist, an emerald bracelet gleams through the sunlight. In the seat pockets, glossy catalogs display more jewelry. The cover reads: Gavin Escolar’s 2014 Collection.

Then it hits me: I’m not in Gavin’s car. I’m in his mobile showroom. He’s not just an Uber driver. Nor is he just an entrepreneur. He’s an Uberpreneur, using the ridesharing app to promote his jewelry business.
Read more here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyoushaei/2015/02/04/the-uberpreneur-how-an-uber-driver-makes-252000-a-year/



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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!"
Colin Pape
President
ShopCity.com, Inc.



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great entrepreneurship. Uber is creating more and more opportunities and change for entrepreneurs.

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The 50% Rule for Traction

The 50% Rule for Traction | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/naLT

If you’re starting a company, chances are you can build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product.

What failed startups don’t have are enough customers.

Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz, sums up this problem:

“The number one reason that we pass on entrepreneurs we’d otherwise like to back is their focusing on product to the exclusion of everything else. Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don’t have a good distribution strategy. Even worse is when they insist that they don’t need one, or call [their] no distribution strategy a ‘viral marketing strategy.’”

A common story goes like this: founders build something people want by following a sound product development strategy. They spend their time building new features early users say they want.

Then, after months of heads-down product development, they launch, only to become frustrated when customers don’t flock to them.

(This is guest post by Justin Mares, Co-author of Traction. If you build a great product in the forest, it will die too in the forest, unless you also build inroads to your product.
In this post, Justin shares this key lesson for when and how to pursue channel building while running lean.
Enjoy…  Read more:
http://snip.ly/naLT



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

"Growthink is a full-service business, representing you through the whole process - very important value-added service. We've been very impressed with the professionalism and kindness that Growthink has shown us in the rather complicated world of commercial financing."

Debra Soto
Freeballer Surfwear

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Develop a product and don't forget the marketing. Start doing it at the same time is the idea of this article. The 50% rule makes a lot of sense.

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Mentors Are The Secret Weapons Of Successful Startups | TechCrunch

Mentors Are The Secret Weapons Of Successful Startups  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/Y1Xg

“I’ve probably revised this investor pitch deck 200 times,” a founder told me recently. She’d met with more than 50 potential investors before closing a seed round last month. This might sound excessive to some, but her experience is not unusual.

Entrepreneurs often spend hundreds of hours raising funds from angel and venture capital investors. While these activities are clearly important, analysis of new data on startups suggests that founders should also dedicate significant time to something that many people overlook: recruiting great mentors. This simple strategy can increase a company’s odds of success more than almost anything else.

Discovering the secrets of the best founders

Our team studied thousands of tech businesses last year. We looked specifically at companies in New York City’s tech sector, which was the fastest-growing tech sector from 2003-2013 and is now the second largest tech hub in the world. The goal of this research was to investigate how local tech firms had become so successful.

Our analysts combined data from CrunchBase, AngelList and LinkedIn, and interviewed nearly 700 founders. (In total, New York tech founders dedicated more than a month of time to this project.) These sources enabled us to create the world’s largest database of a single entrepreneurship community.

We found that a number of characteristics that are often highlighted as predictors of success for startups – such as starting a company while in college – don’t actually make much of a difference. While these conclusions on traditional startup myths were interesting, we uncovered several other intriguing findings by examining the habits of the best firms and founders. Read more here: http://snip.ly/Y1Xg




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

With Growthink on your side, you are in a win-win situation. They placed themselves in my situation and analyzed my business as if it were their own business. I could never recommend any firm but Growthink to provide business planning services at this level of quality. 
 Prem K. Kapani, CEO

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Mentors are a major advantage in the start up world. They can lead the way or facilitate specialized aspects of your business. They can open doors, and much more.

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4 Secrets to a Successful Product Launch

4 Secrets to a Successful Product Launch | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/e2OZ

Anyone can put something together and tell people to buy it, but it takes an intentional plan to do a launch right.

Launching a new product can be scary. Actually, it’s always a scary thing to share with the world some brand-new creation. What if people don’t like it? What if nobody buys? There is, however, a simple strategy to make sure none of those fears come true.

As an online business owner and student of successful product launches, I’ve identified four major keys to launching just about anything -- a book, business, or even a blog. Read more: http://snip.ly/e2OZ




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

"Growthink is a full-service business, representing you through the whole process - very important value-added service. We've been very impressed with the professionalism and kindness that Growthink has shown us in the rather complicated world of commercial financing."

Debra Soto
Freeballer Surfwear

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Launching a product can be done in many different ways. Maximize the event with these tips. The articles is followed by another one: 6 Steps to a Successful #ProductLaunch. Good information.

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9 Ways To Get Customers (Without Spending Any Money) - #infographic

9 Ways To Get Customers (Without Spending Any Money) - #infographic | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Are you wondering how to get more customers and grow your business without spending a lot of money? Then wonder no more!

Neil Patel of QuickSprout has put together this excellent infographic, filled with 9 tactics that you should be leveraging to acquire more customers.

Blogger and YouTuber outreach:

Reach out to bloggers and give free products in exchange for reviews. Dave Horn from ForWebsiteOwners.com was able to get 1 (normal) month worth of traffic in 2 days using the strategy of building relationships with influencers to share his content.

Reach out to your existing network:

Reach out to friends, family, co-workers, and social media connections and ask if they need your product.

If you provide a service, work for free:

Neil Patel was able to get exposure and generate lots of business through outlets such as TechCrunch and Gawker Media by providing them with free services in exchange for testimonials, PR and backlinks. make sure you provide services to those who can either refer business to you or have a huge network for target clients. See more, click on the infographic.





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

"Growthink is a full-service business, representing you through the whole process - very important value-added service. We've been very impressed with the professionalism and kindness that Growthink has shown us in the rather complicated world of commercial financing."

Debra Soto
Freeballer Surfwear


Via malek
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent tactics to make new sales and find new clients, for free.

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4 Steps to Finding a Small Business Lawyer

Every business needs the services of an attorney. Having access to one can help you navigate complex areas like patents, trademarks, copyrights, and contracts. They can also help you choose the best business structure for your company and create employment contracts and nondisclosure agreements, if you need them. Some attorneys specialize in helping small businesses and can be reasonably priced, even for the smallest budget.

Finding a Small Business Lawyer

Start by Identifying What You Need

Beyond identifying the areas you need legal expertise in, you’ll also need to determine what type of lawyer you need. Some can help with general small business tasks, while others specialize in trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Read more, click on title.




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

"I am here to thank Dave and all contributors for their passion to assist and guide others along their way. I began receiving your emails some time ago and have just begun to realize that they are responsible for my now beginning to implement the business idea that has been growing in my head for the past 25 years. I now have a clearer picture as to how to begin and proceed. I have had ideas on paper but now I know what steps to take to move forward. My fear has abated (finally!...thank you)"
N Creed


Via Business Credit
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Having an attorney for your small business is money well spent, especially setting up a startup or dealing with innovation.

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My Best Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups | Xconomy

http://snip.ly/d2lr

By Shellye Archambeau

What an incredible time to be a tech startup! The opportunities out there are just tremendous. Digital payments, wearable technology, mobile healthcare, virtual reality and gamification, predictive analytics, and green tech—these are just a few of the startup areas that are expected to be big this year, according to venture capitalists and industry experts.

“Full stack startups” and “dis-intermediation” are the new buzzwords, as companies like Uber and Airbnb revolutionize the way business is done, and demonstrate how it is possible to cut out the middlemen.

Meanwhile, the “Internet of Things” is taking the world by storm, opening up new doors for entrepreneurs and organizations to develop software that can connect products and devices to the Web.

Education technology is also gaining more traction, creating new opportunities to improve education and learning experiences, and teach people new skills through the use of technology.

If you’re an aspiring tech entrepreneur, now is a great time to take the plunge. But before you do, here are a few pieces of advice, observations, and lessons learned from my own career and current role as CEO of MetricStream. Read more: http://snip.ly/d2lr




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

"No matter how small a company may be, we believe that Growthink’s standard of excellence does not change from one client to the other and we would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with Melissa and her colleagues again."
Shannon Lindsay
Publisher
Southern Beauty Magazine

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The right formula for a great startup starts with hiring the right team, and following a few guidelines to stay on course. Shellye really summarizes it all in this excellent article. In the end, stick your neck out and go for it!

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Six Reasons Why VCs Reject Good Startups - Entrepreneur

Six Reasons Why VCs Reject Good Startups - Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
The factors that affects why venture capitalists often decline to work with startups.

In one sense, successful entrepreneurs seem to say “no” more than the average person. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, gave this advice to entrepreneurs on HuffPost Live: “The temptation all over the place... is to do more. The brutal reality of trade-offs is you cannot.” He urged entrepreneurs to “narrow their focus.” Entrepreneurs tend to have a vision and must avoid all distractions in order to achieve it. Someone who says “yes” to many things is probably saying “no” to more important things. In another sense, entrepreneurs often hear many “no’s” along the path to success. Young Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went on to build a creative media empire. Steve Jobs was fired from his own organization and returned to build Apple- turning it into one of the world’s most valuable companies. Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” These three visionaries have all probably looked back on their “no’s” and said something to the effect of “Suckas!” Despite your own familiarity with the word “no”, rejection still hurts. As a venture capitalist, I have to say “no” to a lot of good startups and founders. It’s just the nature of the game- a firm can only invest in so many companies. In order to prime your expectations, and hopefully lessen the blow, here are the six main reasons why venture capitalists often decline to work with good startups. Read more: click on title or image.




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

"It has been an absolute delight working with you and this will be just a beginning in my relationship with Growthink.
I am very satisfied with my business plan and financial plan. Your work is outstanding."
Michael Mundi
Mundi Homes





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The 6 most common reasons why VC's reject your startup.

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Survive the Leap to Hyper-Growth with This Advice from Steve Blank - First Round Review

http://snip.ly/0fEt


Most startups die right before they enter hyper-growth. Steve Blank shares his perspectives on how companies can cross the chasm.

This article is by Steve Blank, entrepreneur, author and one of the founders of the Lean Startup movement.

Recently, I got a call from Patrick, an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He's now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles at startups), but he wanted to talk about his third startup —the one he and two other co-founders had most recently started.

“We’re at 70 people, and we’ll do $40 million in revenue this year and should get to cash flow breakeven this quarter,” he said. It sounded like he was living the dream. I was trying to figure out why we were meeting. But then he told me all about the tough decisions, the pivots and firing his best friend, which he had to do to get to where he was. In short, he had been through heck and back.

“I made it this far,” he said. "My board bet on me to take it to scale. I’m going to double my headcount in the next 3 quarters. The problem is where’s the playbook? There were plenty of books for what to do as a startup, and lots of advice for what to do if I was running a large public company, but there’s nothing that describes how to deal with the issues of growing a company. I feel like I’m just driving without a roadmap. What should I be reading or doing?”

I explained to Patrick that startups go through a series of steps before they become a large company, and that he was smack in the middle of two big ones. Read more: http://snip.ly/0fEt



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

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

After dealing with the hurdles of birthing a startup comes the real deal: building a great company, dealing with growth, HR, corporate structures, etc. This article gives some sources of information and ideas on how to move to the next phase.

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This guy used an insane get-rich-quick scheme to become a start-up millionaire in three weeks -- Fusion

This guy used an insane get-rich-quick scheme to become a start-up millionaire in three weeks -- Fusion | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/2H7M


By Kevin Roose

Tech start-ups mint new millionaires every day. Many of these people are young Stanford and MIT graduates who live in Silicon Valley and spend years building their companies while subsisting on ramen noodles and Red Bull. Typically, they’re not funeral industry workers from Central Pennsylvania who spend three weeks learning to game referral competitions.

But there’s a first time for everything.

First, some background. There’s a new tech start-up called Jet.com. Maybe you saw it on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek. It’s a membership-only online shopping club, similar to Costco, that says it will be able to charge between 10 and 15 percent less than other e-commerce sites by, essentially, cutting its margins to nothing. Jet hasn’t launched to the public yet. But it’s already one of the most-hyped start-ups of the year. It’s raised a staggering amount of money—more than $200 million, at a valuation said to be close to $600 million—and when it does debut (“very soon,” according to the company’s placeholder site), members will sign up to pay $49.99 a year for the privilege of shopping there, and Jet will make some of those millions back. Or it won’t.

The specifics of Jet’s business model aren’t important, for our purposes. What’s important is that, in the run-up to its launch, Jet ran a contest to try to get more people signed up for its “Insider” program, which entitled them to a free 6-month trial of the site and other perks. To stoke interest in the contest, the company offered 100,000 shares of Jet stock to the person who could sign up the most new Insiders, and 10,000 shares to the nine people with the next-highest numbers of sign-ups. (The company didn’t indicate how much 100,000 shares was, relative to its total number of shares, but one person familiar with Jet’s finances said that the winner’s stock could be worth between $10 million and $20 million if everything goes according to plan.)

$10 million to $20 million! For winning an online popularity contest! And that eye-popping opportunity is where Eric Martin comes in.

Read the whole story here: http://snip.ly/2H7M




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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The power of internet reach is incredible. Some people know how to take advantage of it. The article also shows how startups with new and fresh ideas are threats to giants in the industry.

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18 Unusual Habits That Boost Your Energy More Than Coffee

18 Unusual Habits That Boost Your Energy More Than Coffee | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/lIWd

To understand unique and healthy ways to consistently and quickly boost energy daily, I asked dynamic entrepreneurs to spill their best-kept secrets.


"Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

These words from Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, describe a mentality many founders can relate to as they go through the day-to-day grind of running a startup. Like Musk, entrepreneurs face huge ups and downs every single day, sometimes in the same moment. Having energy to confront those challenges is the essential ingredient to success.

To understand unique and healthy ways to consistently and quickly boost energy daily, I interviewed the country’s top ambitious young entrepreneurs, honorees of the Empact Showcase, who work tirelessly, day and night, to turn their visions into reality. Their responses will surprise you! Each response includes links to research and resources so you can incorporate the habit into your life if it’s right for you.

  Read more: http://snip.ly/lIWd



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

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

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I never drink coffee, I get too wired. I use several of the ideas described here, some adapted to what I know and who I am. Doing such things is very important to keep yourself going in a balanced way, it helps with the stress of 'living on the edge' while being an entrepreneur and stretching yourself too much - until you snap! Very important.

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10 Tools for Smoothing the Startup Process

10 Tools for Smoothing the Startup Process | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/3rO3

From legal to branding, there is a long check list of basics for starting up but affordable tools are available every step of the way.

Getting your startup idea out of the gates can be tough and intimidating. The first steps, however, are actually much easier and more affordable than many entrepreneurs believe, especially with the slew of useful tools available online.

Here are 10 free or very affordable, and easy-to-use tools to help you take action and get started. Read more: http://snip.ly/3rO3


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

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Basic information to get you started right. Great for small businesses.

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6 Timeless Strategies to Drive Entrepreneurship Success

6 Timeless Strategies to Drive Entrepreneurship Success | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/HbNQ

Adhere to these key principles to build a high-growth company amid changing circumstances.

In today’s ever changing business climate, an entrepreneur can easily become overwhelmed. It’s vital, though, to stay focused on your goals for the company.  

Even with a firm strategy in place, every entrepreneur should do these six things to clear a path to success:

http://snip.ly/HbNQ




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

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.”


Phil Marcu

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