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Tips for Startups

How a Minimum Investment Could Maximize Your Startup’s Results

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Maximize Your Startup’s Results

You’ve got a great idea for a startup. There’s a gap in the market, and your product/service is solid. You’re hard-working, and the passion is 100% there. You think your success is guaranteed.

 

Not so fast.

 

We’re going to give you the painful truth first: even if you manage to get out of your first year in business, the odds are still stacked against you. In fact, 71% of businesses fail within the first ten years. That’s why it’s incredibly important that you make good decisions early and lay the foundations for a successful long-term business. The following small investment tips can help maximize your results.

 

Leverage Apps and the Cloud

Business owners are often tempted to invest in tangible infrastructure they just don’t need. It’s expensive and prevents your business from being lean and flexible. Instead of getting out the checkbook for bulky hardware, leverage modern technology and go for apps and the cloud wherever possible.

 

For example, use cloud technology as a backup solution for your data. Instead of an expensive local server, use an automated service like Backblaze. For shared documents and files, think Google Drive and Dropbox. You still need to go old school and print off documents? A host of dedicated applications can allow you to wirelessly print across your organization (instead of the antiquated USB cable!) and sync them with the cloud for automated remote printing.

 

Yes, these apps may require a little up-front investment. But it pales in comparison to physical hardware you can’t get rid of if you suddenly need to drop costs.

Surround Yourself with a Solid Team

Motivational powerhouse Jim Rohn’s most famous idea is basically this: you are the average of the people you surround yourself with. This works on a personal level, but also in business. With a startup, it’s crucial that you put a solid crew together to weather those early storms.

 

Most startup companies require small teams. They often can’t afford anything else. We recommend a combinational approach. First, find a handful of people that have the determination, drive, and ability to work in a close-knit team. Don’t be tempted to simply hire people you know. If things don’t work out, make quick decisions and find someone else.

 

We’re otherwise also huge fans of the gig economy. It allows you to find experts all over the world for a one-off price. You can also work with companies that will assign a specific individual to your project, meaning they’re essentially working as part of your team. Sites like Upwork are perfect for this kind of thing. You may pay more per hour compared to a full-time employee, but it’s far more flexible and you’ll be hiring an expert for the job.

Become a Marketing Ninja

When it comes to startups, the marketing angle is arguably more important than what you’re selling. It’s perhaps a sad indictment of how business works, but that’s the game. If you want people to find out about your product or service, invest in learning about digital marketing. These are some of the essential topics you’re going to need to cover through either books or online courses:

 

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • SMM (Social Media Marketing)
  • PPC (Pay-per-click advertising)
  • Email Marketing

 

In general, we recommend staying away from traditional methods such as television commercials, radio advertisements, and billboards. They’re expensive and don’t offer bang for your buck. The only exception is snail mail; if you send your (potential) customers decent marketing material through the post, it’s possible to get those coveted conversions.

Build Your Tribe

Every startup needs a tribe, a group of loyal customers that support your brand through thick and thin. This type of customer won’t just spend money but will bring others to your business.

 

It’s important that you treat them right and invest in keeping them happy. It’s far, far easier to keep a customer than getting a brand new one. And it’s cheaper too. For example, send random customers a personalized gift through the mail. Even cheap trinkets like pens or candy are appreciated. When you run a sale, give your loyal following an extra perk (most businesses mistakenly focus on attracting new customers). If someone who has been with you for a while has a complaint, take it seriously.

 

Bottom line, don’t take your customers for granted. If they’re spending money with your business, treat them right. Make them feel special. They’ll pay you back!

Work Hard, Be Patient

We all dream of the 4-hour workweek. Shame it’s not really a reality for most people. We leave you with a little bit of business advice: if you want to succeed, be prepared to invest some serious time, blood, sweat, and tears.

 

Don’t expect overnight results either; you’re going to be working harder than you’ve ever worked and you’ll be tested in every possible way. Remember, there are no shortcuts.

Sofia is a passionate writer from Sydney. She also enjoys decorating houses and engaging in home renovation projects. That is why she loves sharing her experience and advice with other people through her writing. Besides this, she loves technology and gadgets which can help us get through a busy workday.

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Tips for Startups

How to Develop a People-First Startup Culture

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How to Develop a People-First Startup Culture

Creating a start-up from scratch is a great way to flex your entrepreneurial spirit and build a business you can be proud of. However, succeeding as a start-up requires more than hard work and a good product. You must become a business leader and learn to get the most from the people you bring into your new company.

Developing a people-first culture is the best way to find and maintain great talent in a small business. Putting your people first can land your top employees and ensures that your team has the desire and motivation to help your vision succeed.

Core Principles

Big businesses are oversaturated with mission statements and “shared values”. These corporate slogans exist for a reason: they help bind teams together and give everyone a chance to share the business’s vision.

As a small-scale start-up, you should develop your own set of shared values and a clear mission statement that guides your business’s culture. These values and mission statements should refer to the way you want to treat your employees as well as the overall purpose of your business.

Creating an employee-friendly mission statement is also an important part of the people-first approach to business. Today’s talented employees know their value and have heard about the employee-friendly treatment that workers at big firms like Google and Facebook receive. They’re looking for employers who offer a clear sense of purpose as well as greater flexibility and excellent work-life balance.

Flexibility and Coworking Spaces

The rise of remote and hybrid work means flexibility is a priority for employees. Your best employees know that they don’t have to sit in an office from 9 to 5 to be productive and will look elsewhere if you try to tether them to a cubicle for no good reason.

Instead of insisting on creating an office culture, you can invest in coworking spaces that save money and give employees the flexibility that they want. Coworking spaces are typically cheaper alternatives for small businesses and give you better cash flow. Coworking spaces also ensure that your employees have the equipment they need and can pack up when they’re done.

When looking for a coworking space, focus on the nuts and bolts first. There’s no point in renting space if it doesn’t have an adequate Wi-Fi connection or enough equipment like standing desks and keyboards. Once you have a list of top locations for your coworking space, focus on the amenities and perks they provide. Some coworking spaces even have deals with local gyms and health clubs that will look great as a people-first employer.

Work-Life Balance

Achieving an appropriate work-life balance should be a priority as a people-first employer. Even if you’re putting in the hard hours to make your business succeed, you shouldn’t expect talented employees to burn the midnight oil to help fulfill your vision.

Insisting on overtime and crunching will only result in burnout and a high rate of employee turnover. Employees with a poor work-life balance have been known to experience conditions like blurred vision, cataracts, low quality sleep, increased stress, joint damage, and cognitive impairment.

As a people-first employer, you should put the health and wellbeing of your employees first to avoid health-related conditions from burdening your staff — even if this means you have to reduce capacity or take on new employees. Trying to expand your operations by forcing your existing staff to abandon their work-life balance is not a sustainable, people-first approach, and will only lead to cultural rifts and employee turnover.

Conclusion

Operating as a people-first business can boost your startup culture and create better buy-in amongst your new team of employees. Highly motivated teams are essential for the success of small businesses, as you rely more heavily on fewer people during your first years. You can help develop a people-first culture by creating mission statements and shared values that promote the well-being of all employees. This should be translated into real policies at work like offering coworking spaces and a better work-life balance.

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Tips for Startups

Tips To Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

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Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

Startups must master the art of achieving more with less because of limited budgets and tight timelines. Whatever initiative you pick, you cannot afford to wait forever for it to deliver results. At the same time, you cannot spend a massive chunk of your budget on it. When it comes to marketing, you must choose the right mix of strategies. Mascot marketing is an ideal option as it defines your brand’s personality to make it more recognizable and sustainable. But designing a mascot may seem like an expensive task, considering it requires brainstorming, creativity, and design skills. Let us explain how to create a perfect one within your startup constraints.

Consider your goals

Before you start working on the design and image, you must consider the goals of your company. The objective goes a long way in defining your brand’s personality, which should reflect in your mascot. For example, you need a lively one if you wish to make life fun and easy for your customers through your offering. Conversely, a more professional design works for a startup catering to a business tool.

Resonate with your audience

The simplest way to ace the startup mascot design is by resonating with your audience. Define your target customers and consider their likes and dislikes to nail the look and feel of your mascot. If you plan to sell to a young audience, the personality should be an instant hit with the kids. Identifying your audience gives you a head start as you have a clear view of where you want to go.

Think outside the box

The key objective of any marketing strategy is to set your business apart, and mascots are not an exception. So remember to think outside the box when you design one. It shouldn’t look like any character already in the market. Instead, it should be unique and outstanding while being consistent across all channels. The character should look the same everywhere, whether you showcase it on social media or through Custom Mascot Costumes at a live event. It is the only way to ensure people remember your new brand and connect with it.

Pick the right hues

The colors you use in a mascot’s design decide how well it can stand out. A bland design hardly appeals to the eye, but going too loud with shades is also not the way to go. You can seek color inspiration from your existing marketing assets, such as your logo and theme hues. Keep the market trends in mind and check the competitor designs to pick the right shades to design your ideal mascot.

Name it wisely

Beyond creating a memorable design for your startup mascot, you must give it an easy-to-recall name. You cannot expect people to recognize your brand’s replica in a huge crowd unless everything about it stands out. So your mascot’s name is as crucial as its design and personality. Think of something that connects instantly with your personality and sounds good. Also, stick with a short and simple name.

Designing a mascot need not stress out a startup owner, provided you are ready to follow these rules. Be ready to spend time, effort, and money on this marketing asset because it defines who you are.

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Tips for Startups

Choosing The Best Tech Service Providers: For Start-up Companies

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Choosing The Best Tech Service Providers

As a business owner, you should carefully choose your IT service provider since it could be one of your most significant business decisions. Your technology partner should be a close advisor on the IT services you need now and in the future.

Moreover, your technology partner should be one that understands your business and industry. So how do you choose the best technology service provider from the hundreds of IT services companies on the market?

Let’s find out.

●     Available Services and Solutions

The first way to get the best IT business is to understand the IT solutions and services since it can help narrow down your options. Every company has its preferences and needs in correlation to its industry.

Therefore you should identify and layout your preferred tech providers based on your needs. When looking for an IT company, it is not only about which service provider has the most services available.

You shouldn’t pick because they offer multiple or several services. Instead, it would be best if you considered the levels of tech support that your company would need, such as an entire managed IT support system, break or fix service, or pay-as-you-go tech support.

●     In-House or Outsourced IT Support

Your business or company will grow and operate seamlessly depending on the tech support you will use. A competitive IT service provider would ask and respect your choice between both parties.

Outsourced and in-house IT support services have several differences from one another. This is why you should pick the correct one for your business.

Like the name, outsourced IT support is ideal for companies that cannot support the additional associated costs of having IT experts residing in their company. Outsourced IT service providers are usually called Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

You may ask, what is a managed service provider and do you need one? Well, a managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party company capable of remotely managing your end-user systems and information technology infrastructure.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), startups, government, and nonprofit agencies usually hire MSPs to perform defined day-to-day IT problems and management services.

On the other hand, as the name implies, in-house IT support is composed of IT experts who will work inside your companies and be assigned to your company’s IT department.

●     Experience and Alignment of Your Industry

You should ensure that your preferred or chosen IT service provider provides tech-related assistance to your company. Ensure that they do not have insufficient experience, expertise, or knowledge about your industry since it could be a massive risk to your company’s operation.

It would be bad to make the mistake of hiring inexperienced service providers in your industry. They would do more harm than good though they might have an impressive overall review or rating as a service provider.

●     Reactive Support/Proactive Maintenance

Quality support should not end with solving a problem. A good tech service provider would be proactive in monitoring systems to ensure issues are stopped before they start.

When they monitor and practice conditions maintenance, your tech service provider would be able to keep minor problems from becoming large and affecting your business productivity.

It would be best if you had a proactive tech service provider, but your business might also need a reactive tool to handle your day-to-day IT problems such as network connectivity, phone issues, printer problems, cloud issues, and computer problems.

●     Budget Planning 

As a startup or a small company, you should consider your budget before choosing a tech service provider. Though all budgets are not equal, this does not mean that you should skimp on quality for cost. Instead, a good tech service provider would help you identify and budget for services to help your business succeed.

●     Efficient Communication Channels

Lastly, ensure that you choose a tech service provider capable of establishing good communication platforms accessible to both parties. You have the right to know what happens behind the scenes as their client and also get involved in monitoring your tech systems.

You can efficiently handle this by establishing a communication channel that is convenient and favorable for both parties.

Final Words

Excellent companies are differentiated from bad ones by the integration of IT support. In the current era, you must manage your business data process and information in an organized, efficient, and smooth way.

Moreover, you can achieve this by collaborating with a tech service provider. When searching for the best tech service provider to solve your business needs, the above guide will help you with that.

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