So you’ve heard the buzzword “startup studio,” but what exactly does it mean to be a startup studio? Here are the answers you need about why startup studios are becoming a popular model for entrepreneurial success and how this trend is changing corporate innovation.
What is a Startup Studio?
Startup Studio Insider defines a startup studio as an organization that provides investment, resources, and guidance to startups in order to build and launch successful startups in various industries. Some people call it a venture studio, others call it a startup factory or startup studio. No matter what you call it, this startup model is quickly gaining traction in helping launch startups everywhere.
Startup studios allow founders to focus all their time and energy on developing every aspect behind their business idea, while studios are dedicated to minimizing any challenges that come along the way. By offering a wide range of resources, industry knowledge, and the funding required to build, launch, and support a startup (even after post-launch), startup studios are becoming a game-changing solution for rising startups.
From Atomic to Wilbur Labs and eFounders, numerous startups are being built around the world and gaining major traction along the way. Deciding the best path to found and build a company can be a daunting task. To help you understand the unique offerings of startup studios, here are some of the most important benefits startup studios offer:
How Startup Studios Protect Startups – Graphic by Startup Studio Insider
- Strategic Counsel
Startup entrepreneurs oftentimes lack the necessary experience to anticipate the roadblocks that come along with building a business. In addition, the expertise level of a founder doesn’t always cover all grounds including marketing knowledge, product development, testing, and research. That is not a problem for startup studios, as they provide a wide spectrum of tools and resources to build a perfect strategic plan. In addition, studios have access to a wealth of knowledge in technology tools and trends, business operations, human resources, and more, which become part of their core team to help startups succeed.
- Core and Shared Resources
Out of all the investment platforms, studios take the most hands-on approach and provide the most resources. With this, startup studios are able to provide access to the largest amount of top-notch resources to help enhance the vision and goals of the startup and cut down the launch time that could usually take a couple of years to about three months.
- Human Capital
Usually, the vast majority of startup companies are made up of small teams. This is why getting the perfect fit to support the launch and operations needs of your business is crucial. Startup studios help tackle this problem by recruiting the right team with diverse backgrounds and broad skills to handle the immense workload that comes with the challenge of launching a startup.
Building a startup from the ground off can be exhausting and cash-consuming. What frequently goes wrong is that startup management fails to achieve the next milestone before cash is exhausted. Startup studios are able to solve this problem by refining the needs and expenses required to prepare for the launch and avoid the risk of becoming insolvent by providing funds even after post-launch. This is one of the major differentiating factors of startup studios compared to their competitor founding models out there.
- In-Depth Market Research
According to Startup Studio Insider, startup studios are highly selective, and as a result, will not launch a startup without substantial research and data to prove that there is a market and potential for success. This in-depth market research ultimately leads to better decisions when preparing for the launch and can help mitigate any risks in the long run.
Considering the Legal Ramifications of Your Startup’s Policies
Starting a business brings with it legal and financial challenges. These are ramifications worth considering as you plan out your startup’s policies and practices. But, fortunately, you can better protect your business and employees with a comprehensive approach to legal safety.
From trademarks to accessibility, there’s a lot to consider as you navigate servicing the public with a new product or service. Align your business model with legal best practices to avoid costly liabilities. These are the legal ramifications to keep in mind as you plan your startup’s policies around long-term success.
When it comes to legal considerations, the more preparation you have the better. This means liability insurance, effective trademark filings, cybersecurity protections, and more. That’s because, in the course of keeping your business safe, there are risks to address at every angle.
Ignoring legal issues can end up ruining your business. Instead, you need to build protections that cover each category of risk. Even the best intentions can sometimes lead to liability, so educating yourself and preparing for the worst is essential for adequate protection.
Start by learning the legal issues many startups face. For instance, these challenges can arise even when picking a name. Since names are an integral part of branding, registering a business title has to go through the United States Patent and Trademark office. Even then, other businesses may legally dispute your claim to the name, as Chicago-based tech company Meta had to do when Facebook decided to take the moniker.
As you consider the legal ramifications of your own decisions and policies, keep these common challenges in mind:
Trademarking and patenting are vital parts of business policy. Without a strong understanding of what a trademark is and how to register one, you’ll likely find yourself in hot water when competitors decide to take your ideas. To protect your intellectual property, follow proper trademark filing procedures and be sure to maintain the status of your trademarks. Many business owners forget that these have to be renewed.
Additionally, there are a host of safety and personnel hazards you’ll need to mitigate through policy. The legal hurdles that come from safety hazards are one of the biggest reasons that startups fail. To prevent these hazards, you’ll need to develop strict safety compliance standards and consider adopting smarter safety technology. These days, sensors and monitors on the Internet of Things (IoT) make it easier for safety managers to identify and reduce workplace risk.
Then, ensure that anti-discrimination is a core principle of all your workplace policies. This means building empathy into your company values and supporting workers by maintaining an inclusive working environment. Make sure your policies do not discriminate against workers by training your workforce on anti-harassment and cultural sensitivity. A thorough approach ensures a workplace is free from discrimination by sex, age, race, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or creed.
Once you can be sure your policies support workers’ rights, you need to protect their — and your customers’ — data. This means cybersecurity. In today’s pandemic economy, we have more workers logging in from home than ever before. Naturally, the increased diversity in access points represents a vulnerability. Create a bring your own device policy that considers the cybersecurity risks at every step. This can include policies like:
- Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
- Managing endpoint app usage
- Deploying a centralized anti-malware system
While your systems have to be safe, they still have to be accessible. By building products and services for all kinds of users, you mitigate the risk of a lawsuit while expanding your audience. Every business should desire these dual benefits. Accessible policies are simply good business, and they are quickly becoming an enforced standard.
For instance, Domino’s Pizza had to pay a customer $4,000 after a lost accessibility lawsuit involving their online ordering tool, not to mention the legal costs. To avoid legal ramifications like these that can hamper your startup, embrace accessible policies like following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
Fortunately for startups, the many legal ramifications that can impact your business operations can be mostly avoided through good policy. Start by doing your research on trademarks and patents, implementing a plan for maintaining your intellectual property. From here, practice policies that foster an inclusive, safe workplace.
Protecting your startup starts with considering legal hurdles. Make note of these now as you plan a better business model.
Tips to Jumpstart a Property-Flipping Business
The real estate market is booming and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. And you can flip properties to capitalize on rising demand for properties nationwide.
Flipping properties can be lucrative. But you need to plan ahead before you purchase, upgrade, and flip your first property. That way, you can achieve immediate success out of the gate.
Now, let’s look at four tips to jumpstart a property-flipping business — and keep it going strong long into the future.
1. Establish Goals
Create SMART goals for your property-flipping business. These goals are:
- Specific: Outline what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do so.
- Measurable: Ensure that you can track your progress as you work toward achieving your goals.
- Achievable: Verify that your goals are realistic.
- Relevant: Confirm that your goals align with what you want to accomplish in your career.
- Time-Bound: Give yourself sufficient time to complete your goals.
Maintain flexibility with your property-flipping business goals as well. If you need to adjust your goals along the way, do so as needed.
2. Evaluate the Real Estate Market
Keep an eye on the real estate market. Then, you can make a plan to flip properties per the sector’s current and future performance.
For instance, research indicates U.S. home prices rose 18% year over year in September 2021. However, some real estate market experts predict “buyer fatigue” may impact home prices in the foreseeable future. This could lead to a rapid shift in the real estate market that impacts your ability to purchase properties and flip them for significant profits.
It also pays to watch real estate startup technology trends. Using real estate mobile apps with geolocation and other state-of-the-art technologies can help you determine what properties to target. From here, you can use these technologies to explore ways to get the most value out of your property investments.
3. Obtain Financing
Seek out financing, so you can get the money you need to flip properties. Hard money and conventional loans are available. Evaluate both options carefully to determine if either is right for you.
Generally, it helps to meet with multiple lenders. You can then get insights into various loan options and how they work. Finally, you can make an informed decision on how to finance your property-flipping business.
Don’t forget to set up a budget, too. Know how much money is accessible and stick to your budget as you launch your budget. In doing so, you can reduce your risk of going bankrupt.
4. Prioritize Property Upgrades
Check out properties and consider how you can upgrade them. Next, you can prioritize upgrades that help you boost a property’s value. At the same time, you can identify property upgrades that won’t break your budget.
Oftentimes, it helps to learn about the legal ramifications associated with myriad property upgrades. For instance, you may need to complete repairs to ensure a residential property’s plumbing is up to code. Or, you may need to remove asbestos from a property; failure to alleviate this issue can expose occupants to harmful airborne contaminants that can contribute to lung cancer and to legal penalties.
If possible, hire professional help to assist with property upgrades. Seek out property improvement professionals who possess comprehensive expertise. These professionals can complete any property repairs correctly, on time, and on budget.
The Bottom Line on How to Jumpstart Your Property-Flipping Business
A property-flipping business can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities. Some people successfully flip properties for years and earn substantial income doing so. Meanwhile, others start flipping properties and move on to opportunities to rent their properties.
Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can lay the groundwork for a successful property-flipping business. Use these tips to help get your property-flipping business off the ground. And as your company grows, remain persistent to ensure your business can achieve the optimal results now and in the future.
Malaysian food startup MATES. introducing the concept of Complete Food – OATLER
Ever heard of brands like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier & Gymshark? These are all Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands from the West that have achieved the unicorn status (valued at >US$ 1 billion) by selling everyday products directly to consumers, some are even listed in the US stock exchange such as Warby Parker & FIGS.
Taking a closer look at the SEA scene, you may have come across brands that are mainly digitally native and have minimal offline presence. To name a few, these folks are Oxwhite, Secretlab, Zenyum, Love Bonito, Thousand Miles etc., who have employed various e-commerce strategies to reach the digital-first consumers in SEA.
What is DTC model? Comparison between Traditional vs DTC
Here comes the billion dollar question: Why does DTC matter?
Well, the DTC model is gaining traction as brands are moving towards embracing cost-effective business strategies and safer modes of distribution to the consumers.
DTC retail is essentially a fast-track method of reaching consumers, allowing them to make purchase through exclusive channels (i.e. official website), by way of eliminating middlemen involved in the distribution process. This helps the retailers reduce hefty markups from wholesalers and save logistical costs in the secondary mile delivery.
These DTC brands often focus on niche audience via heavy investing in online marketing, thus enabling them to provide them a better quality and greater end-to-end customer buying experience, with very competitive pricing.
Here is a recent example of a Malaysia-based e-commerce brand, MATES. that is adopting the DTC model.
Who is MATES.?
MATES. is a DTC lifestyle brand offering and specialising in convenient and new health products. They aim to provide the urban community with convenient food alternatives without compromising on nutrition and taste.
As seen on their official website, their flagship product is Oatler, a.k.a. 5-Sec Breakfast, an oat-based food that is complete with an adult’s daily nutrition needs packed in a highly portable pouch. Learn more about their product here (2-min read).
MATES. Business Strategies (from Marketing > Community Building > Operating Model)
Social Media Marketing
As discussed above, DTC brands invest massive effort in online marketing. This Malaysia-based brand focuses on social media marketing through creative ways of getting its first batch of users to try out their debut product.
Weeks prior to their official product launch, they did seeding in micro-influencers and key opinion leaders (“KOL”) marketing to get them to share their testimonials and reviews over their social media. This is an effective word-ofmouth marketing as seen in many other micro DTC brands too.
Another strategy adopted by this brand is targeted community building. With the proliferation of micro e-commerce brands, today’s consumers have less brand loyalty than ever before. It takes more than just a great product to build a loyal following of customers. MATES. first started out with a 2-pronged approach: (1) social media content creation and (2) creating a club-based community, where they managed to bring a feel-good exclusivity to their social media followers. The followers who resonate with the pain points and overall brand philosophy are likely to be more engaged, thereby convert into a customer and drive word-of-mouth traffic.
Business Operating Model & Product Launch
According to the founding team of MATES., they are currently operating on a 100% e-commerce, pre-order only model, without any offline presence. This allows them to remove the middlemen and minimise working capital.
Customers can place an order upon their official launch on 24 October 2021 and will have their product delivered in early January 2022, i.e. approximately 2.5 months of lead time.
Prior to their product launch on 24th Oct 2021, there is no doubt that enormous amount of marketing work needs to be put in place. They rolled out a referral campaign where everyone can refer their friends mainly through social media channels and, in return, receive rewards upon achieving certain amount of referrals.
For this campaign, they have incorporated a “milestone” concept, where a referrer is entitled to purchase a certain number of MATES. products at RM1 depending on the referral “milestone” achieved.
There are 3 milestones in total:
1. Referred 8 friends = 2-week supply of breakfast @ RM1
2. Referred 25 friends = 6-week supply of breakfast @ RM1
3. Referred 100 friends = 1-year supply of breakfast @ RM1
While this seems creative and does create a fun game-like experience to the participants, it still boils down to how successful this DTC brand is in capturing these leads and converting them into massive sales volumes.
Vicole Lim and Yeann Tan are co-founders of Mates Food Store (widely known as MATES). Vicole oversees MATES’ marketing, spearheading the overall marketing direction, business strategy, and supply chain operations. Yeann, on the other hand, oversees business strategy too, finance, public relations (PR) and partnerships.
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