Startup Studio Insider: Top 4 Benefits of Partnering With A Startup Studio Outlet: Killer Startups – DA 57

Article By Craig Kronenberger

The world of startups has gained momentum over the past few years, opening the path to emerging technologies and innovative ideas to launch with the help of proper guidance. However, despite recent successes and heightened global recognition, many startups still struggle to find sustainable success and the ability to execute their ideas in a scalable way.

While it is known that there is a high probability of failure with any high-risk endeavor, such as building a new business from the ground up, the risk is mitigated by providing the right support system and resources to founders. Nevertheless, there are a number of bright teams out there that focus on providing specialized tools and solutions to help launch healthy and successful startups, whether it is defining goals and objectives or building the right product to address a market need.

Rocketship Graphic on How To Launch Your Startup, By Startup Studio Insider

Startup Studio Insider notes that the startup studio business model has become one of the most effective routes for startups to overcome the challenges associated with creating a business and sustaining its growth over time. Unlike an incubator or an accelerator, startup studios are involved at the earliest stage in the life of a startup, making the idea development process smoother and stronger in order to launch the business in its best shape possible. Also, startup studios offer an ongoing level of extended support, such as strategic mentorship, access to top tech tools, and deep insightful market research that most businesses alone cannot achieve alone.

Major players like Atomic, Wilbur Labs, and Rocket Internet are making waves in developing successful, thriving businesses across various industries that solve real problems for consumers.

Because studios are deeply familiar with the consumer pain point or problem and concept of the startup from the very beginning, they are more likely to support the business over a long period of time.

Here is a rundown of the top four benefits of collaborating with a startup studio to minimize the risk of failure and increase the chances of success:

  1. Access to Funding 

According to research, more than three-quarters of startups failed due to running out of cash or a lack of funding. In fact, lack of funding is one of the top reasons why emerging businesses fail. Studios are able to tackle this by providing seed and growth funding to their companies, which helps the companies they work with to focus more on building the business itself rather than spending time raising capital.

  1. High Selectivity Partnerships 

One key difference between traditional investors such as VCs or angel investors and startup studios is that startup studios are highly selective in who they work with. This allows studios to fully commit and invest their time in the businesses they back, mitigating risk and ensuring their success. Because startup studios maintain a relationship and provide shared resources for the startup beyond launch to facilitate long-term success, studios must invest their time, money, and resources into fewer startups.

  1. Thorough Industry Research

Typically, startup studios will not launch a startup without substantial research and data to prove that there is a market for the offering and that the business model is viable As startup studios generally build companies that tackle certain market needs and customer gaps, well-conducted research will be necessary to establish the right goal and strategies for each business.

  1. Shared Space and Resources

Overall, studios offer a highly collaborative and creative environment from the initial stages of incubation, to even after the launch and growth of the business. As studios employ a hands-on approach, they provide both pre-and post-operational support in product development, marketing, HR, sales, and finance, operations, and other critical elements of the business.  Another benefit that studios provide is access and connections to a skilled team of experts that will help enhance the overall vision. 

When it comes to starting and launching a business, founders have several models from which to choose. However, if you are a rising entrepreneur seeking continued support and resources to expedite your startup growth and ensure its success long-term, a startup studio could be the best fit for your needs and entrepreneurial goals. To learn more about what some of the best startup studios have successfully helped launch in the past, check out “Top Startup Studios in Action” by Startup Studio Insider.

Over twenty years of experience as a consumer digital strategist with a concentration in global strategy, Craig Kronenberger is currently the CEO and founder of Stripe Theory, a data-fueled digital agency established in 2015 with operations based in Atlanta and The Philippines.

The post Startup Studio Insider: Top 4 Benefits of Partnering With A Startup Studio Outlet: Killer Startups – DA 57 appeared first on KillerStartups.

KillerStartups

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Killer Business Plan

A business plan is as important to a new business as a map is to a ship, or blueprints are to an architect. A written business plan will guide your actions and keep you focused on your short- and long-term goals.

Your business plan puts your aspirations into words (and charts), demonstrating to partners, investors and lenders why your venture can and will be a success. It details the path from your business today to your business three to five years down the road.


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Whether it’s a traditional plan or a lean startup document, your business plan should cover everything someone would want to know about your business. What is your value proposition? Why is now a good time for a business like yours? And how much will you and your potential investors or lenders stand to gain if everything goes to plan?

Now that we’ve established how important a business plan is, how do you write one? The idea of writing a blueprint that carries your business five years down the road can sound intimidating to some, but a business plan is only as complicated as you make it.

Let’s discuss what information your plan needs, what format it should have, and what additional steps you need to take to write an expert-level business plan.


Related: Why It’s Important to Keep Your Business Plan Flexible

What’s in a business plan?

There isn’t an exact formula for what a business plan should look like. You can and should give the concept your personal spin.

That said, there are areas that most business plans cover, in varying amounts of detail. According to the Small Business Administration, they are as follows:

1. Executive summary

This general overview tells readers what your company is and why they should expect it to succeed. This piece of the puzzle is arguably the most important part of the plan—if someone reads this and doesn’t want to keep going, you’ve lost them.

Typically, an executive summary is about a page and contains these six things:

  • Mission statement: What is your company and what are your goals?
  • General company information: Include the state your company was incorporated in, the names of its founders and employees, and any physical locations.
  • Highlights: Even if your business is brand new, you should have some highlights to discuss. What kind of early traction do you see? What opportunities are on the horizon?
  • Products and services: What do you actually sell or do?
  • Financial goals: Do you have aspirations of obtaining a business loan, a grant or other additional funding? Include those goals here.
  • Future plans: You’ll get into this more later, but give a synopsis of where you see the business headed.

Though your executive is the first page of the business plan, you may find it easier to write after you finish everything else.

2. Company description

Now that you’ve set the scene, go in-depth into the details of your company. Answer questions like:

  • What does your company do, and how does it do that differently than its competitors?
  • What market or kind of customer will you cater to?
  • What is your strength as a business?

Be specific in this elevator pitch of your business.

3. Market analysis

Your business doesn’t exist in a bubble—it needs to thrive within its industry, alongside (and in spite of) its competitors. Your market analysis will be an examination of the market you’re entering, demonstrating your mastery of the details, emerging trends and themes.

A good market analysis includes:

  • Industry description: The history, size and largest players of your industry.
  • Target market overview and characteristics: Who are you specifically targeting, and what do you know about them as customers?
  • Target market size and growth potential: Is this target market big enough for sustained business? Is there potential for further growth?
  • Your market share potential: How much of this market do you think you can corner?
  • Market pricing and promotional strategies: Research should tell you how much you can reasonably expect to charge for your goods or services.
  • Potential barriers to entry: Discuss potential issues such as changing technology or lack of available talent in certain areas. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns—it will make them easier to address.
  • Research on competitors: What strengths and weaknesses does your competition possess, and how can you join them at the top of your field?

4. Business organization

In this section, describe how your company will be structured from a logistical and legal standpoint.

Logistics-wise, you should have an organizational chart that describes who is in charge of what in your company. Even if it’s just you or you and a few employees, lay out each person’s responsibilities as well as backgrounds and experience. You can also describe any pressing hiring needs.

In addition, include information about your company’s legal structure here. Are you a sole proprietorship, LLC, or S Corp? This helps investors or lenders understand what legal protections you may or may not have in place.

5. Product development plan

Describe your products or services here. What need do they fulfill and why will customers want to buy or obtain them, particularly over the products or services of competitors?

Of course, your product isn’t just an item on a shelf. This section is also for detailing sourcing and fulfillment, intellectual property rights, the current status of your products (are they still in development or ready to ship?), and your future plans for growth and improvement.

6. Marketing and sales plan

The best business idea in the world won’t succeed if no one knows about it or can’t get their hands on it. That’s where marketing and sales come into play.

When discussing marketing, you need to focus on two key points: positioning and promotion. Positioning includes your branding, which is more than just your logo and name; it also includes your company culture and reputation. Promotion is your plan for making people aware of your business, from where you’ll advertise to potential content marketing practices.

For sales, describe how a sale will actually happen. Who will make sales, what tools will they use, and what is the overarching strategy for obtaining, converting and maintaining leads?

7. Financial plan and projections

Here, you’ll discuss both your current and future financial situation. For brand new businesses, you won’t have data or income statements to demonstrate, but you will be expected to make projections and forecasts of your future success.

Make projections for your business for a minimum of 12 months into the future, but preferably for three to five years down the line, as well. Don’t worry: You can (and should!) make adjustments to this document as variables change; the goal is to create a baseline that you can then exceed—or, conversely, fail to exceed, and understand why.

8. Funding request

Financing is a common need for new businesses, as the startup costs for new ventures can be much higher than inexperienced entrepreneurs understand. Even small, home-based businesses can often require thousands in startup capital. If you need funding, say so in your plan.

Now that you’ve shown your financial expectations, explain how an infusion of funds (whether via investment or a loan) will help put you on the path to success. How much funding will you need over the next five years, and why? Where in the business will you invest these funds? This way, investors and lenders will know what you expect from them.

9. Appendix

A good business plan will include an appendix that provides supporting documents, materials, contracts, permits, licenses, resumes, credit histories and any other important information. This is also a good place for charts, graphs and other points of reference.

How should you format your business plan?

There are two ways that businesses choose to format their business plan. You may choose to have two versions, or just one.

Traditional business plans have a standard structure and typically span a dozen or more pages due to their detailed analyses, as described above. Though they require more work upfront, you can rest assured once the plan is completed that you’ve got a thorough outline.

Lean startup business plans are usually one or two-pages that summarize the most important elements of your business plan. They may have many of the same sections that a traditional plan has, but they’re truncated to give readers a brief overview rather than a deep dive into your business. Other topics that a lean startup plan might cover include key business partnerships, key resources and customer relationships.

Lenders and investors typically ask for a traditional business plan, but a lean startup plan may be a good place to begin if you expect major aspects of your business to change, or just want to create a quick document that explains the fundamentals.


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How do you write the best possible plan?

Let’s say you’ve written what you consider to be a strong business plan for your new business. You’ve covered all the topics above, formatted everything nicely, and want to present it to potential investors. What else can you do to make sure it makes an impact?

Here are a few additional tips on writing an excellent business plan:

Research exhaustively

You should know everything you possibly can about your business and the industry you want to impact. As much time as you spend actually writing, you should spend even more on research, planning and interviewing.

Make it adaptable

A good business plan will be accessible to anyone, from investors to family members. But that doesn’t mean it needs to stay the same for every audience: If you’re presenting your business plan to a lender, give more emphasis to your financial projections; for investors, play up the value of your team.

A business plan isn’t carved in stone: It can be altered at any time. Just don’t present alternate financial projections—you should have solid math and theory behind your numbers.

Make it personal

Business plan writing doesn’t have to be staid and boring. Use your business plan as a vehicle for expressing your passion for your new business. If you are able to explain why you care, others will care as well.

Whether your business plan is traditional or lean, whether it’s for your own reference or to woo investors, and whether it’s one page or 50 pages, just know that you need one. Your new venture likely won’t survive without a plan in place for its present and future, so get writing before you get down to business.

The post A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Killer Business Plan appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Where to hire killer SDR?

We’re looking to hire our first non-founding employee this month, specifically a killer sales team member. Where are the best places to find an early employee to join our startup online?

I’m thinking LinkedIn is the best place to start, but would prefer a hiring marketplace if there are any you know of for early stage startups like mine which is launching (publicly) in November.

I’d like someone who has worked at a company that did things right (Series A or above) for a few years and can implement some of those same tactics as my company grows in 2021.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Tyrese Haspil, Accused Killer of Gokada CEO Fahim Saleh, Arraigned on Murder Charge – The Wall Street Journal

Tyrese Haspil, Accused Killer of Gokada CEO Fahim Saleh, Arraigned on Murder Charge  The Wall Street Journal
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

6 Today Strategies For Creating The Next Killer Brand

apple_logoBrand loyalty is still critical for your business growth, but is becoming tougher and tougher to achieve and hold. According to studies, the alternative of acquiring new customers still costs you five to seven times more than retaining existing ones. But customers today are fickle, instantly aware of every new alternative, due to the Internet and social media, and not afraid to change.

Yet, as a business advisor, every entrepreneur I meet assumes that they are destined to become the next killer brand in their space, like Tesla is to all-electric vehicles, and Apple is to smart phones. They don’t realize how much it costs in time and money to get there, and only one out of a hundred large consumer product companies around the world have ever made it.

Despite the challenges, I encourage every business to really focus on achieving an exceptional brand image, because the payback is huge. In my experience, your first step should be to look beyond traditional marketing practices, per the following strategies:

  1. Make every customer experience a memorable one. Today’s customers demand to be more than satisfied with your price to be loyal. They need to remember their “total experience” as one that stands out – starting with how easy it was to find you, simplicity of the transaction, and superior service. They want to be your real advocate to others.

    At a Ritz-Carlton, for example, employees are authorized to spend up to $ 2,000 per guest to solve a guest issue or improve a guest’s stay. Believe me, if I experienced that kind of memorable attention at a hotel, both loyalty and advocacy would be easy to understand.

  2. Every employee must exude passion and loyalty. All the marketing and pricing in the world won’t make your brand memorable if your employees don’t live and communicate that feeling. You need to build and reward a highly motivated and engaged front line. They are your greatest resource for generating brand loyalty in your customers.

    Toms shoes donates a pair for every one sold, and maintains employee passion and loyalty by giving their most effective employees international trips to assist non-profit partners in distributing shoes in interesting places like Nepal and Honduras.

  3. Appeal to all your customer senses all of the time. Focus on innovation in the design of your delivery and service, as well as your product. Visual appearance and taste still matter, whether it be food, clothing, or facilities. Make your customers pleased and excited when they think about your brand, and they will return often, bringing friends.

    Smart marketers call this the “five senses” strategy for improving customer experience and loyalty. Find ways to let your customer touch, hear, see, smell and even taste your product, even if only virtually, by analogy, or by providing snacks or rewards.

  4. Convert customer interactions into relationships. Even digital and virtual interactions can feel like real relationships, if customers hear names, commitments, and follow-up, rather than rules and requirements. Be responsive on social media, as well as every physical interaction, so that every customer feels a special sensitivity and connection.

    Businesses as potentially mundane as Apple Stores demonstrate the importance of a modern airy design, coupled with well-dressed and friendly salespeople who approach you with warm personalized welcome, and really listen to you without a sales pitch.

  5. Go beyond asking customers how they want you to improve. Certainly you need to listen to customer feedback, and fix existing problems, but the real challenge is to excite customer imaginations with products and services that they could not envision. Truly loyal customers are ones who trust you to lead them, rather than them having lead you.

    Very few customers are likely to envision a new concept, such as combining a computer with your watch. You have to excite their imagination, and entice them through clear customer value. They will reward you with brand loyalty and line up for the next step.

  6. Highlight only larger customer-focused initiatives. Not every change you make is worthy of hype in your marketing. Customers become bored or immune to constant harping on your latest incremental change, special sales, and internal changes. Your challenge is to create special events and exciting changes that lead to customer loyalty.

Let me assure you, these strategies are just the beginning. I see new and innovative brand initiatives appearing every day, but unfortunately from too few companies. Let me assure you that an exceptional brand image is far more valuable than adding a new product or more support. Now is the time to measure your brand loyalty, and figure out what it takes to move it up a notch.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on Inc.com on 07/09/2020 ***

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