LostJobStartBusiness

This blog helps people who have lost their job to start a business. It contains hints, tips, templates, and ebooks on how to start a business in the current economic situation.



19 March 2012 1 Comment

Business Plan – Know Your KPIs

Business Plan for a Start-upWhat defines success?

How do you know when you succeed?

How do you show this in your business plan?

For many entrepreneurs they envision an IPO or selling to Google. Others want to make the world a better place. However, there is a massive jump to take from idea to IPO (or making the world a better place).

Often entrepreneurs get sidetracked due to the enormity of the task at hand. They try to move from one side of the chess board to the other in one move. Instead, maybe adding a little bit of “business tactics” in their business plan would help.

Firstly, breakdown what you have to achieve step by step. Build a marketing plan and set targets. Write an operations plan and schedule key events. Have a trajectory towards success in place.

Then work towards each minor step. Measure how you have done to what you believe is required to move to the next step. Make adjustments to your business plan incrementally so you develop a real time document that reflects your performance at any given moment.

When angel investors or venture capitalists take a look at your business plan they will see the traction you have achieved by following your KPIs.

These can be financial or operational or both.

Think about answering these questions.

How many beta users have you?

What key reference clients have you?

How much does it cost to make a sale?

What is your client lifetime value?

These are all important elements in your business plan. You need to show these clearly throughout your document.

 

photo by: Dragan-Sute
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7 March 2012 0 Comments

The Colts and Peyton Manning – What Start Ups can Learn

Peyton Manning delivered the good for the Colts. He lead their offense and achieved great success, most notably¬† beating the Bears (my team) in the Superbowl. Lasts year’s stats show that Peyton Manning was the Colts. Without him, they would always struggle.

However, I believe that start-ups can learn from the decision made by the Colts. Financial reasons aside. The Colts decided that they would become, in effect a start-up. They decided to try a new “business model” to start afresh and although the old “system” has worked in the past they believe that both time and injuries have rendered a key element to their old “business model” unsustainable into the future.

Now would the Colts do better without Manning next season? Probably not. The season after? Probably not.

However, will they be better off in the long term. Definitely.

Losing a star player is damaging, but losing the most important player to any franchise in the NFL is a brave decision.

The key to this decision was making choices now that will work in tomorrow’s reality. That sort of thinking is needed to bring your start-up success. In this day and age, what works now will probably not work in the future. Start-ups who can prepare for this, will have a bright future.

 

photo by: Abqtrucker
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6 March 2012 1 Comment

A Boost for Your Keyword Tool PPC Research – iSpionage

Online marketing has become the default method for start-ups to reach a global market. All you need is a website and some cash to buy Google AdWords and you can make sales almost instantly, anywhere in the world.

You don’t have to wait for search engines to rank your pages. You can have your product displayed to interested customers/clients straight away. Therefore, PPC is an important tool for start-ups who want to get traction asap.

However, a key element in this is the competition for your PPC keywords. Using Google Keyword tool is great to estimate potential Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and can help increase the credibility of your business plan.

If you plan on using PPC as a cornerstone of you initial marketing strategy (to get some traction) or you want to present to potential investors an overview of your competition on that particular marketing channel, then there are tools available that can help.

One such tool is iSpionage. It can give you an insight into how much your competition is spending on PPC. You can get a quick overview for free or if you subscribe, you can get more in-depth data plus a host of different features that will help you build your PPC campaign.

One of the cool features is that you can see the performance of competitors’ ads and also “reverse engineer” their ad copy. This beats searching for competitors’ ads directly through the search engines.

It’s worth checking out your competition for free and if you are impressed with their service then you can subscribe. Their subscription service starts at $59 a month. When you see the tool in operation you can decide for yourself if it will be of assistance in your business planning and campaign design stages.

I do get affiliate revenue from the links on this post to iSpionage. However, I think it’s a great tool and would not recommend that you check it out if I didn’t. If you like this blog and would like to support it follow the affiliate link here: iSpionage

I have included an non affiliate link here: iSpionage.com

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4 October 2011 1 Comment

Can You Make Your Product Relevant to Different Customer Niches?

Many tech focused entrepreneurs believe that their product is made for one thing. That it can only satisfy the needs of one niche. In may ways, this is a good thing. It makes the entrepreneur think about how to service that particular customer group with regard to their specific situation. It also gives an unambiguous message to their customer base.

However, in many cases, other niches can be tapped with the same core technology. The important thing is to have different messages for each different niche. A good example of this is the iPhone App “Watch Me Change”.

This app reminds you to take a photo of yourself everyday. Then over time it creates a time lapse video for you to watch or share with others.

Who would want such an app you ask? Well plenty of people. The app is marketed to three specific niches. 1) Weight-loss 2) Pregnancy and 3) Aging/Growth.

On their website, specific landing pages are set up that relate specifically to each target niche. This dramatically increases the total target market for the app. The key to this is the positioning the technology to be relevant for a specific niche.

If you are relevant and useful to their specific needs/wants people will pay attention to your message.

For example, a pregnant woman would never dream about buying an app that created a time-lapse video on weight loss. However, she would jump at the chance to get an app that produces the same video over her pregnancy.

Likewise, a guy growing a mustache for Movember would not use an app that was targeted at pregnant women. However, a facial change app would be perfect for him.

By making their app relevant to different niches watchmechangeapp.com have increased the market size for their app without making dramatic changes to their technology.

Every start-up should consider how their product or tech can be leveraged by looking at how it can be made relevant to different niches.

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22 September 2011 0 Comments

Earning Through Investment

If you’ve lost your job, but you’re keen to start making money, then you don’t always need to start your own business company or organisation. Indeed, not everyone is suited to the role of an entrepreneur, which can be essential in ensuring that any business is a success. However, there are other options available, such as investment.

There are now a number of opportunities to invest your money online – so investors needn’t even leave the comfort of their homes. It possible to manage your investment account from home, which may have become your primary workspace if you are no longer working full time. Depending on the type of investments which you are looking to make, you may find that you are soon able to generate a relatively substantial income, without the hassle of managing a team, or traveling to and from your place of work each day.

Many people shy away from the idea of investing simply because they have little or no prior experience in this area. However, there are certain types of investment for which many people find prior experience is not necessary, such as buying and selling gold. This type of trading relies on the basic principle of making sure that the gold price which you pay to buy is lower than that at which you choose to sell. Anyone with even the smallest amount of business experience will doubtless be able to master this concept. Therefore this can be a good place for those who are unfamiliar with the investment process to start.

Gold also has the advantage of being a much more stable commodity. Those who are not in a position to take financial risks may prefer this type of investment, as opposed to investing in stocks and shares, whose value can fluctuate much less predictably.

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12 July 2011 2 Comments

Why You Want People to Hate Your Product

What does marketing mean today?

Simple, it’s about creating art. Art is subjective. Not everyone will like your art but some people may. These people will identify with your product and hold your product as a badge for their own self image.

If you don’t get an emotional reaction with your product you are not creating art.

If you create something that stands out, you can’t please everyone. If somebody you talk to, does not hate your product you should be worried. Maybe eight of ten people will be repulsed by your product but two of ten will fall in love with it. That’s a big enough market to grow a business in.

More importantly, these people are likely to tell their friends about you.

Don’t sell cardboard. Don’t be bland. Have fun and mean something.

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21 June 2010 4 Comments

Advertising Explained for New Entrepreneurs

So many entrepreneurs that I talk to don’t fully understand advertising. They think that advertising is marketing and vice versa. They see advertising everyday. When they open a newspaper, when they watch T.V., when they visit a website, when they listen to the radio, as they are driving they are exposed to advertising.

We all know that most entrepreneurs are not from a business educational or business background. Therefore, they believe that they must advertise using the same media that they see everyday. In other words buy T.V., newspaper and radio ads. They don’t analyze the effectiveness of buying these ads. Instead, they just do it because they see others doing it. This is totally the wrong approach to advertising and marketing in general.

The most important issue when developing your marketing strategy which may include advertising is “Return on Investment.” This is where current display advertising on T.V., radio and in newspapers falls down. They are too expensive and therefore don’t give the return on investment required. In many cases, the return on investment is negative and that’s a great way to burn through all your cash. You are not in the cash burn business, you are in the cash making business.

Marketing has now moved away from advertising to “talkvertising.” This is because the math just doesn’t make sense for traditional advertising anymore. The approach to talkvertising is much different than the approach to traditional advertising for entrepreneurs. It’s about having your product so different, innovative, quirky, good that people talk about you.

Technology has supercharged word of mouth. Word of mouth can now turn your start-up global overnight. However, the biggest hurdle to achieving this is by following a “by the book” strategy. Grey is not a color worth talking about. If advertising rates come down to a level where they make sense for a start-up, then great. However, even if you can turn a good ROI from a traditional campaign it’s a good idea to talkvertise as well.

The key is to get the buzz going. After all, if your start-up is going to take off you need to be comment worthy. As you build your business always think about talkability. I’s like recruiting sales people who will work for free.

Remember, advertising won’t make your business, talkvertising will.

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2 June 2010 4 Comments

It’s Not About Being Perfect

Perfection is the enemy of the entrepreneur. It’s an idea that stifles innovation. It stops the all important launch. It’s the excuse’s best friend. Unfortunately, our default setting is to only launch when something is “perfect.”

We are trained to believe that we must be perfect In school because we are graded as a fraction of perfection. We look at magazine with “perfect” images of “perfect” people. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of “if it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough to release.”

If entrepreneurship was a music it would be free form jazz fusion improvisation. You don’t read from a score, you jam it out and use your intuition. The true secret of entrepreneurship is that it’s not about perfection it’s about making progress.

Progress is much more valuable to you than perfection. Progress should be your key goal. In other words, get your product out there and start making all aspects of your business better. Perfection presumes that you know it all. Entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury. Great entrepreneurs realize that they don’t know it all. That’s what makes them great.

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27 May 2010 1 Comment

Are we too hard on Facebook?

The recent uproar over Facebook’s privacy policy has led to the social network reverting to a more simplified privacy system. Facebook has faced the stern criticism for implementing a more complicated privacy policy in order to expand it’s business model. I believe much of this is unfair and undeserved.

Firstly, Facebook must innovate to stay alive. Currently they are the number 2 website in the world behind Google. However, the past evidence shows that if a social network remains static they will see a dramatic fall off in users. Just look at the once popular Bebo. If you look at the various innovations Facebook has introduced it’s obvious that their privacy policy would have to change accordingly.

No business get’s it right all the time. Facebook introduced a new privacy policy, listened to user feedback then made the appropriate changes. Start-ups can learn a lot from this approach. Of course there will be people who shout and yell. Of course there will be critics. These are the same people who would criticize Facebook for not making any changes and not introducing any new features. The key point start-up entrepreneurs need to take on board is that they put it out there and listened then did something about it.

When you work with techies they tend to over complicate things and make stuff seem much more difficult than it is. I believe that this is one of the core reasons why people did not warm to Facebook’s new privacy policy. Also, Facebook is a social network. The name is a big hint. Social implies, sharing so by joining Facebook people are doing it to share stuff. What sort of privacy policy would you implement if you were in Zuckerberg’s position?

Ultimately this controversy can be boiled down to snobby “right first timers” versus the more realistic and chilled out “incremental improvement” gang. See it’s all about making mistakes and learning from them.

Please comment especially if you have a different view.

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25 May 2010 3 Comments

New Ebook – The Rebound

I have just uploaded a new ebook on Scribd. I have combined previous blog posts and content form other ebooks to put together a comprehensive one stop resource for people who are starting a business after losing their job.  Hope you enjoy.

The Rebound: The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business After You Have Lost Your Job

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