Categories
Career Change Entrepreneurship Personal development Start up

Five steps to a successful start up

You have a software application written and you are excited by the opportunity to start your own business. Launching it is not enough, to successfully secure sales you need know your market.

History has proved that marketing is the key to launching a successful business, you can have the best solution, but marketing wins. Once that stands out for me was SQL and Nested database. The latter is superior for scale, simplicity, yet SQL won the business. The alternative is a slow burn of referrals, which can work, but takes time.

So here are the steps:

Target market: Who are you selling to? What is their demographic? How do you get to the target audience(what do they read, what apps do they use)? Why are they buying?

Knowing how you reach your target audience is critical and knowing why they would buy your product?

How to?

1. Get a database of your target audience. There are many options to gaining access to a database:

  1. Utilise a company with same target audience: ie customer segmentation, industry segment and/ or regional. Set up a referral fee in exchange for using their database. If B2B business to Business then buy a list: Illion, Core logic, listing company Or: Building your own database, utilise the internet for research
  2. Dont proceed to step 1 without knowing who is your target audience. You will waste money and time, both precious.

2. Whats your message? Why are your target audience interested?

  1. Why use your product?
  2. Testimonials from exisiting customers
  3. Referrals. Will your customers refer to other customers
  4. Social media, connect with Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  5. PR; utilise a PR company in your sector, to get the message out their.
  6. Note: Educating a new market is not for the faint hearted, definitely for organisations with deep pockets. If people don’t get it and you are not making sales, relook at the offering and your target audience. Jeffrey Moors book “Crossing the Chasm” describes early adopters in his book. Basically you need to look for risk takers

3. Easy to buy from

  1. Once you have steps 1 and 2 nailed, can your target audience order your product simply and easily. If its too complicated, then you will not secure the business even if step 1 and 2 are executed well.
  2. How many prospects have abandoned the process in coming on board, as it is to complex.

4. Build a business plan and cash flow and take it out to your network to test the above. Is the target marker large enough? Sold some niche products in my time and one the target market in Australia was 400 companies, only 10% come to the market annually and have a 10 year lifespan. Even if you won 100% of 40 Companies is that enough revenue to deliver the profit you are looking for?

This is a great opportunity to tweak your plans before going ahead for real.

5. Press the button, register the company and execute your plans.

Categories
Career Change Career planning Leadership Networking

7 steps on how to network?

networkingFriday morning mentor walks I was asked how to network, before I address the how lets look into why? Networks are important for support, advice, opportunities (job or business) , helping others, connecting people with similar interests and having fun!

7 steps on how to network:

  1. is all about being open to meeting new contacts, going to events and meeting new people. Just say “yes”
  2. Your mind set need to be open, don’t go with a purpose of finding a job for instance, think about the person you are speaking to and how you can help them. Don’t think about yourself.
    • Who in your network could help them?
    • Is there a book you have read that could be helpful?
    • Do you know about a job opportunity they may be interested in?
    • Do you know about an event that they will find useful?
    • They may just want to sound out an idea
  3. Don’t think that a certain event will not be useful, as you are always going to meet people who knows someone who is not at the event, but you need to meet.
  4. Treat Internal networking the same as external networking
  5. Take business cards or if you comfortable use apps on your phone to share contact details.
  6. Remember to connect on linkedin.
  7. Thank you is a must if they have helped you out in some way

There are many events out there, here are a few in Sydney and Melbourne that I have found informative and great mix of women of all ages and industries:

 

Categories
Career Change Career planning Coaching Collaberation Influence Intrepenuership Judgement Mentoring Personal development

How do you prepare to move from Small business to Corporate?

I thought I was alone on the need to find out how large companies work. After 20 years in tech start ups, small and medium sized business, I had a desire to understand how large business operate, how they scale, how they manage the volume of business.  I secured my first corporate gig in Salesforce.com  in my 40’s!intrepeneruship

7 years on I have no regrets, I have personally grown, I am still an entrepreneur at heart and love the opportunities that present themselves daily. The transition is the hardest personal development opportunity I have ever been through, but worthwhile.

In preparation to going into corporate from a small business here are the five skills you need to perfect:

  1. Stakeholder management:  In small business can you can afford to be dismissive and intolerant of others. In corporate you have to work at every relationship and interaction. If you don’t you can earn the reputation as “throwing others under the bus”, “difficult to deal with” .  The key to success is understanding what your stakeholders want from you, how you can help them through insights and sharing information and working as one.
  2. Judgement: Let go of it. It has no purpose and gets you into a heap of trouble.  Move from thinking about the persons annoying habits to how you can help them.  Build great relationships across the business. you cannot afford to have anyone who speaks negatively about you, as that will stop your career and find it difficult to achieve the results
  3. Job descriptions: In small business you need a versatile team that work across multiple disciplines, Job descriptions are a guide.  In corporate the need for clarity around roles and responsibilities is critical to the growing empires. In rapid growth the land grab is part of the political positioning by leaders.  Be careful when stepping over boundaries that you do it with consent.
  4. Influence: ability to change others thinking. In small business, energy and passion does the trick, in corporate asking great questions is critical to influencing.  You cannot influence by telling. You will fail fast, so learning to ask questions every day in every situation is the key to success. Collaboration is critical to working together
  5. Intreperneurship: your greatest asset to a corporate. Your ability to create and build from nothing. You are not hung up on turning the titanic, Job descriptions, perceived limitations, you bring the can do attitude, glass half full  that makes things happen.  You will inspire others by your enthusiasm and people will want to join you on your expedition. Sell this attribute as this is of great interest to corporate.

Startup opportunities in corporate is the best of both worlds. You can utilise your SMB skills whilst developing many new ones that will accelerate your development.

Today many people with startup businesses at the next stage of growth come and speak to me about how to tackle the transition from small to medium, medium to larger business. Some want to take a step up and don’t have the skills, others want to step back in the business, others want to be on the board and leave exec leadership to transition in to non exec roles. What ever the transition is you are looking to achieve, each needs a transition plan and a coach/mentor to enable the change.

I chose a business coach to prepare for corporate. Without the coaching prior and in the early years I could not have made the transition. Your new leader in corporate may have never experienced a small or medium business so the responsibilities are with you to address your gaps fast, so you can operate effectively.

As a result of developing the skills, I have definitely become a far better leader and coach.  You never stop learning, which is why career opportunities are so much fun and stimulating.