The top source for startup resources, business resources and startup business ideas for young entrepreneurs Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:11:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Here Is How to Invest (Your Money) for Growth Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:11:17 +0000 “Investing for growth” refers to putting your money into investment vehicles that will appreciate in value over time and earn you money. Many investment vehicles, like CDs, savings bonds, or even bank savings accounts, will grow in value over time, but really, when people talk about growth investments, they’re talking about investments that will earn you a significant amount of money — much more than the paltry interest payments you’ll get from a CD or other low-risk investment vehicle.

While speculators might take on particularly high-risk investments in an effort to see huge returns, investing for growth doesn’t necessarily mean assuming a large amount of risk. Every investor should allocate some portion of his or her portfolio to growth investments, no matter what stage of life he or she is in.

You can invest in small companies with the hope that they will grow exponentially over five to ten years, making your stock much more valuable, but that’s not the only strategy. Other growth investments include real estate, technology, or health care.

Types of Growth Investments

There are many types of growth investment vehicles, some riskier than others. Penny stocks, undeveloped land, and futures contracts are all some examples of investment vehicles that can lead to astounding growth, but are probably more likely to lead to the loss of all your capital. Developed real estate, small-cap stocks, and health care or technology stocks are some more sensible vehicles for growth investment.

A small-cap stock is stock in a company that has a market-capitalization value of between $300 million and $2 billion. Companies in this category are stable enough that you don’t have to worry too much about losing all your money, but they’re small enough that they still have a lot of potential for growth.

While you’re still going to assume more risk than you would if you invested in a larger, more established company, you’re more likely to be able to earn substantial returns if the company does well and its stocks shoot up in value.

Technology and health care stocks are also considered good growth investments, regardless of whether or not they’re small-cap. That’s because these companies are more likely to offer the kinds of innovations that can make their stock suddenly shoot up in price, even if they’re already established.

Growth Investment Terms You Need to Know

When you’re looking at a potential growth investment, you need to look at three things:

1. Return on equity or ROE

2. Earnings per share or EPS

3. Projected earnings

ROE refers to how much money a company can make with the equity it has from shareholders. A company that turns a larger profit with a smaller amount of equity has a higher ROE and may be a better investment. EPS refers to the amount of money each shareholder earns per share.

If a company is a good investment, its EPS will increase steadily over time, although it’s a good idea to look into the company to make sure that money’s coming from a legitimate source.

Projected earnings are a guess about how well the company will do in the future and can give you some idea of the company’s future growth. Of course, no one can predict the future, but in general, a company’s stock will do well if they consistently release promising earnings projections.

Where to Find Solid Growth Investments

Once you have an idea of the basics of growth investments, you can start looking into making some. Since you want to find an investment vehicle that has some potential for growth but little risk, it’s a good idea to look at a company’s past earnings and financial history before investing. Don’t worry too much about trying to predict a company’s future earnings based on these numbers, however.

Instead, find companies to invest in by identifying trends that you think will become important in the future. For example, if you had, ten years ago, guessed that online shopping would someday be a big deal and invested in Amazon stock, you’d be pretty comfortable today.

To find the right trend, think about the things you’re interested in or know a lot about. If you’re athletic, think about emerging exercise trends; if you care about the environment, think about investing in alternative energy. When you invest in a field that interests you, you’re more equipped to make good decisions, because investing isn’t just about putting money into companies that will grow over time.

It’s also about putting your money into an idea whose time is just around the corner. Identify some promising trends and go with them, but make sure to keep a close eye on your investments; not every company will succeed, no matter how innovative or sound their products.

Investing for growth is tricky, but it’s an important part of growing your wealth over time. The key is to invest in a company that has plenty of potential for growth, so that your stock increases in value significantly over five to 10 years.

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5 Ways Mobiles Will Transform Business in 2015 Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:20:27 +0000 The mobile world continues to evolve at breakneck speed in millions of different directions, and it is difficult to predict how far it can evolve – or even if there is a conclusion. Here are five ways in which mobile technology will be a boon for business in 2015.

1. Proximity marketing will be commonplace

We don’t leave home without our mobile (comprising 1.75 billion smartphones) – and advertisers know it. SMEs and large companies have not yet completely woken up to the world of SMS marketing through companies such as Global Messaging, and the inherent business opportunities.

Targeted short range marketing which can alter an entire retail experience has been envisaged and implemented for no little time, but it’s still unclear whether it is successful, or just intrusive.

Wi-fi, imaging, beacon and Bluetooth smart are gaining traction and our high streets and urban environments could transform around us, from the small poster on the notice board to the giant billboard in the city centre, based on the short range technology inside a mobile. This eMarketer piece explains more of the theoretical issues.

Because it is still so young presumably more testing will continue in 2015, in a continued attempt to decode who is receptive, and who is scared, by the idea.

2. We won’t feel ready without our Smartwatch

While the Apple Watch might seem like the only show in town, there are many other contenders that might be readying themselves for a shot at the crown of best wearable device – or are already delivering, in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Google Smartwatch will throw its hat in the ring at the end of the year.

Replicating many of the functions of a smartphone through apps such as iMessages, mail, Siri and camera, fashion and technology have long converged – but more people are talking about the marriage of the two, following the Apple Watch launch, than at any time.

Smartwatches obviously won’t replace the mobile and the Apple Watch’s one-day-or-so battery power might be its Achilles heel, but it will be interesting to see the development – and how problems such as those discussed in the Daily Mail are avoided.

3. Convergence and enhanced technology will make things easier

The early feedback is that the 5.5 inch screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is not putting Apple customers off; in fact, just the opposite. As many as 26% of the initial wave of customers at the launch in Australia were new to the brand – but if they’re not convinced, the Samsung Galaxy Note will be launched in September 2015.

The techie has a new phone or phablet, a new watch, Google Glass (later in the year), the advent and development of the new HTML 5 to allow a greater depth and speed of mobile application, and new Wi-fi standards. It should mean that the office-based job continues to be an endangered species.

4. We won’t need our cards…maybe

The technology requirements for payment via mobile phone have existed for some time, but security/fraud concerns have meant that potential customers have been wary.

The widespread use of contactless payments using Near field Communication technology in the high street has largely negated these fears, while the push towards payment has come, perhaps surprisingly, from Africa – where young, mobile-savvy young people are taking advantage of the ease of carrying a phone (or smartwatch) rather than cards to pay for their items.

Apple Pay is the next step in the process, but its success will hinge on convincing customers across Europe and America that it is safe and inherently better that what exists now. Will people feel that a card is just much simpler and safer because you don’t need to unlock it, or tap in a PIN? We’ll get a clearer idea in 2015.

5. We’ll be reminded: exercise is good for work

Could mobile technology defeat obesity and heart disease? Apple has already worn its heart on its sleeve, if you will, with the healthkit App as part of the iOS 8 upgrade. The app is designed to talk to other new apps analysing nutrition, and exercise to create an overall view of the person’s wellbeing.

In a perfect world, better health should lead to enhanced productivity in the workplace. Apple aims to help people build a comprehensive picture of their lives, from finance to culture, and from work to family life. Will people embrace this?

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16 Growth Hacks That Helped Gleam Grow Their Business By 200% (Without Any Press) Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:28:17 +0000 Gleam helps businesses run amazing competitions across social networks. Stuart McKeown (co-founder at Gleam) originally shared these growth hacks on their company blog. I thought you will find this useful.

“Running a startup can be a very surreal experience, at the beginning you spend the majority of your time obsessing about your product, making sure you manage the roadmap to launch effectively & any other task that comes your way. The closer you come to launch the more you need to shift your focus towards user acquisition, retention, feedback & marketing activities – the earlier you can start this (even before you start building) the more chance of success you have come launch.

We are by no means a successful company yet, we officially launched in October 2013 & have been focused on acquiring customers, using their feedback to improve our product & iterate constantly. In the past month we’ve managed to positively impact all of our metrics to achieve a top-line growth of almost 200%.

Our widgets are pushing 750k impressions a month, 350k actions, we’re averaging 3 paid signups per day, enquiries have increased by 300% & our revenue is growing.

We are by no means experts yet, but I thought it’d be great to share with you some of the things (or growth hacks) we’ve tried that have worked well for us in our journey, hopefully you can test them in your own business too.

1. Offering a Freemium Model With More Features

We spent a lot of time debating whether or not to offer a freemium version of our product, I mean our competitors do it….right? When we launched we wanted users that couldn’t afford to use a platform to still be able to use Gleam, but we also wanted to make the paid version valuable enough that people would upgrade.

We did this by allowing Free plans access to nearly every action type we offer, including many that are paid with competitors (including things like viral sharing). The free plan gets restricted by the amount of data they get access to & also is completely Gleam branded (more on that later).

Having this plan drastically impacts our signup rates, it allows people to try our product before buying it & also allows users to work out if access to additional features provides the value they need to pay us.

2. Build Ways That Allow Your Product to Market Itself

We are very fortunate that most of our initial interactions with potential customers happen when they see our widget somewhere. This essentially means that the more users that are exposed to our product, the more likely we are to drive new signups. Therefore our free plan acts like a huge marketing channel for us.

Our Widget

Our widget itself contains a trackable branded link in the footer. Right now this drives over 20% of our total signups. We are planning to experiment with calls to action on this text soon to see what sort of impact it can have.

Another thing we’re planning to try is having a call to action to create a giveaway like this one when the current one has completed.

Landing Pages

All landing pages in our Freemium plan are Gleam branded, not in a way that is obtrusive, but subtle. We have plans to improve the way we leverage these for growth.


Everything that goes through Facebook is attached to our own Gleam Competitions Facebook app. This happens when you auth, virally share or install your campaign to Facebook.

Clicking on the app takes you to a landing page on Gleam. This currently drives over 10% of our signups.

Viral Links

Our viral links are currently branded. So this is another indirect way that people get exposed to our brand.

3. Focus On Your Upgrade Path

Once users start using our app & running campaigns we give them a taste for what potential features they could get access to by upgrading.

We also allow Freemium users to upgrade to a few features for free by Liking us on Facebook or Following us on Twitter. This has been a great way to get our users onto Social Media – as we typically communicate issues via those mediums (i.e. an API we depend on is down).

4. Adding a Personal Touch to Everything

It can be really easy to hide behind your app, a lot of large companies do it. They make it hard to get in contact, make it hard to speak with a real person.

This is a natural advantage that we have by being smaller & more nimble. We can talk to our customers – and I make sure I try to talk to every single one.

Exactly one day after a user signs up they get this email (hat tip to Chris from Vero):

personal touch

Right now on average this email gets close to a 50% response rate. Some users go into incredible detail – which means we get a really natural conversation going. I find that users really open up, I can start to form a relationship that shows I care about trying to help their business.

At least 60% of our paid signups have engaged with me in a personal conversation via this email.

5. Case Studies Work

There really is no better way to show off what your product can do than with a case study. Not one of these fluffy corporate case studies, but one that goes into real numbers, real detail that shows how you overcome the problems that your customers face.

We published one 2 weeks ago about our client BeardBrand. This lead to Eric casually mentioning us in another case study he did for Shopify.

hat post alone grew our paid signups this week by over 100%. Thanks Eric & Mark.

Just whilst we’re here, just look at that beard – isn’t it marvelous?

6. Cornerstone Projects Build Trust

One of the hardest areas to penetrate is corporate clients that already have existing relationships with competitors. Quite often they will want case studies & examples of work you’ve done in the past – they want to know that you can be a trusted partner.

hat’s why we’ve found it is incredibly important to at least have one Cornerstore project under your belt, for us this was Gleam powering Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Gallery competition in Australia in conjunction with MCM Entertainment & Telstra. This project has helped us create great relationships with people, get an understanding of how more complex projects work & also opened more doors to work on more awesome stuff in the future.

7. Use Alerts to Drive Engagement

Keeping your users engaged helps drive growth & reduces churn. We try to use smart campaign alerts to let users know when they have to take some sort of action.

8. Make Your Users Feel Special

We strive to help our users as much as possible, normally within Australian timezone we’ll respond to requests in minutes. We will always try to go above & beyond their expectations where possible. We’ve found that doing this really improve the chance that a customer will talk positively about us with their friends.

One of the tools that really helps us scale this approach is HipChat, you can read more about how we use it.

9. Product Integrations Open Up New Markets

This is a real nobrainer, consider what products you can partner with or use their API to integrate into your own offering. For example we enabled MailChimp as an addon last month & already we’re seeing users signup to use that functionality.

You can also leverage integrations as a marketing opportunity, reach out to companies to see if there any joint communication you can do around it.

We have a number of key integrations on our list that will give us more exposure to certain markets, for example getting listed on the Shopify App Marketplace.

10. Include Your Business Name in Discussions

This is something I’ve only started doing recently but with extremely positive results.

When I used to comment on discussions I’d just leave my real name:

include your name

Now when I comment I also leave my company in the format Stuart @, doing this really improves the chances that someone reading the comment with come check out our product. The number of emails I’ve been getting has increased by about 150% since using this technique.

11. Pay it Forward – Help Those Who Need It

If you see someone that needs help & your product is a perfect fit then use this as an opportunity to reach out. Sure it might not generate any revenue, but think about the positives of the relationship.

We reached out to Eric from BeardBrand & gave him a free account for a year. He offered to help increase the awareness of our product in return – provided he got good results. A win win for both parties.

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For (Or Give) Help

We all have great networks out there of friends that are always willing to help or that need help, the average user has 300 friends on Facebook. Don’t be afraid to reach out & help people in need.

13. Twitter Rocks for Outreach

Twitter has been a lead generation machine for us, simply fire up any search with #win or #competiton, see how they are doing things & commence outreach.

14. Learn to Win Over Influencers

Influencers pay a key part in our strategy, we simply give them a free Yearly Pro account for Gleam. Most are happy to respond & give feedback based on this.

15. Customised Demos Work

One thing that we’ve found when outreaching is that boilerplate stuff rarely works. I get almost a 70% response rate when creating a custom campaign that replicates what the client is doing in a better way.

Here’s one I pitched to Neil Patel earlier today (he responded, but they don’t giveaway free plans).

We have signed at least 10 customers in the last month using this technique.

16. Make it Easy to do Anything

This particular hack can take many forms but the idea behind it is that you should offer no roadblocks in doing anything useful within your app, this includes:

  • Unsubscribing
  • Signing Up
  • Upgrading/Downgrading Plans
  • Contacting Support
  • Finding documentation

Making our customers lives easier reduces our need to support for various situations, which means we can spend more time on growth :)

User Emails

Okay we only had 15 things that we’ve already tested, however we’re currently in the process of implementing the 16th.

If you’ve ever read the story on how HotMail used calls to action in their early emails to drive growth then you’ll see where we’re going with this.

This particular hack will increase our exposure to over 10k new users every day, how many signups its leads to we’ll see.”

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30 Most Important Tools for Content Discovery, Curation and Marketing Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:29:28 +0000 In the age of content noise, curation is the best way to separate good content from epic ones. Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. Content curation is one of the best ways to share relevant and related epic content with your audience.

Kickstarting  your content marketing efforts can be an uphill battle if you don’t have the right tools in place to get the job done.

These are 25 great content curation and marketing tools that are meant to help you find, sift, organize and share relevant information with your readers and audience.

1. helps you create a daily or weekly online newspaper with content relevant to your audience.

2. helps professionals and businesses publish content online in a meaningful, easy and rewarding way.

3. Rebel Mouse allows you to organize your social creation, curation of content and digital publishing in one platform.

4. Pocket takes your bookmarks and displays them in a Pinterest type format. Use Pocket to easily save articles, videos and more for later.

5. let’s you easily create lists of the things you want and share them with the people you love.

6. Woisio allows you to scan live broadcasts, audio, video, and blogs for active content.

7. Flipboard lets you read and collect the news you care about, curating your favorite stories into your own magazines.

8.  Storify lets the user create stories or timelines using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

9.  PearlTrees is a social, digital library for depositing and organizing your content.

10. Trap!t lets you select the content that matters and publish it anywhere—from social networks to your website, blog, mobile apps and more.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 18.05.09

11. Postano helps you not only monitor and curate content, but also to monitor the content of your competitors.

12. EverPost: is another great content curating tool, letting you find new stories based on your pre-selected favorite topics.

13. lets you browse massive collection of infographics, then enlist top-notch talent to create your own high-quality infographic.

14. Prezi allows you to create elegant visual presentations that can be edited and shared in the cloud.

15. ThingLink lets you create custom interactive images by adding clickable icons to links, video, text, music, other images, you name it!

16. helps you find great content from the world of inbound marketing from other marketers, curated by the community.

17. Alltop  indexes content from a variety of top publications, categorized by topics like Work, Health, Culture, Tech, People, and Sports.

18. Reddit  helps you discover what’s trending worldwide on Reddit for content inspiration on a variety of topics from across the web.

19. is an online image resizing tool to bring the images you’ve created or curated to the right dimensions for publishing.

20.  UberFlip lets you optimize your PDF’s to add social widgets, audio and video elements to make the content both interactive and measurable.


21. Textbroker is a content creation service offering a quick turnaround on articles, press releases, written snippets.

22.  NewsCred is an enterprise content development platform that offers businesses 2,500 sources, millions of full text articles, images and video.

23. Trello is a tool for organizing everything from media to ideas on neatly organized cards.

24. . Buffer  helps you schedule your content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for posting at the best times

25. Yoast is a great optimization plugin for WordPress that helps bolster your website and its content to its full potential with all the major search engines.

26. . Quora is a platform for question and answer discussions. Identify trends from consistently asked questions to inform your content creation efforts.

27. Tweriod helps determine the best time to tweet your content for your business.

28. Creative Commons lets you Search and discover creative commons licensed media (images, video, etc.) to use for your marketing purposes.

29. TrackMaven allows you to track all your content pieces across organic, paid, and social mediums, and easily compare your results to competitors.

30. Buzzsumo lets you analyze content performance across social mediums. Just search a keyword or topic and see which articles on the web are getting it right.

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Business Technological Tools to Improve Your Company Efficiency Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:38:39 +0000 Small and medium sized businesses account for a huge 99.9% of private sector companies in the UK. They’re also responsible for providing 60% of private sector jobs which puts a lot of pressure on SMEs to drive growth in the country, create new markets and generate more jobs.

Amongst the challenges of coming up with compelling new ideas and building strong client bases, small business owners also need to keep up with demand and problems often boil down to a simple lack of time. As the lifeblood of the UK economy SMEs need to work extremely hard to ensure they’re running as efficiently as possible. Lucky for us, there is a wealth of technologies to help improve efficiency in the business:

Google Docs

Incorporated into your Gmail account, Google Docs allows you to upload or create documents in the form of spreadsheets, word documents and presentations which you can then share online with colleagues. You can also make edits and update the documents in real time so any changes are made immediately. You also have the ability to allow certain people to make changes too, and the edit logs make it easier to track who’s added what.


Similar to Google Docs, Dropbox is a type of cloud hard drive software that lets you store files online and share them across your devices e.g. your laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet, giving you access to documents wherever you are. It also allows you to share files and folders with your employees via an invitation or simply sharing the folder’s URL with them.


CRM or Customer Relationship Management system is an invaluable tool in helping you manage your entire company’s interactions with both existing and potential customers. It can hold the contact information of all your clients, their history with your business, calls made and emails sent so every conversation you have with them can be a personal and well informed one.

A CRM system is a particularly indispensable device as it not only allows widespread access to clients’ accounts it also enables you to manage your own workflow as well as those of your team members, ensuring that tasks and projects are distributed between the relevant employees. It means you can keep a track of when work is completed as well as being in control of budgets and where money is being spent.

GPS Trackers

If you have a fleet of vehicles within your business, whether these are used to transport your products or are used by mobile employers who spend a great deal of time on the road, GPS tracking can be an excellent weapon that allows you to keep track of where your people and your products are. Every minute your cars spend on the road costs you money so it’s in your best interests that you’re able to closely monitor what your drivers are up to and ensure productivity it is kept to a high.

It’s also beneficial from a security point of view; you’re able to pinpoint the exact location of your drivers if they are ever in trouble as well as tracking vehicles in the event that they are stolen. GPS tracking specialists, Back2You offer complete ‘fleet tracker packages’ that provide real time tracking straight to your computer or smart phone, giving you the ability to track your vehicles and property 24/7 if necessary.

Incorporating these types of applications into your business, makes the day to day running of your enterprise smoother and less stressful, giving you more time to focus on the growing success of your business – after all, SMEs up and down the UK are the ‘future champions of the British economy’!

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Considering a Tablet Purchase? It’s All About The Features Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:02:36 +0000 Many people seem to be looking for conveniences a lot of times. Let’s be honest, you may possibly do the same. Living without these, could perhaps cause things to go a bit haywire. Think about this experience. You are navigating through a complicated situation without user friendly instructions. Does this sound familiar? It’s been said for the most part, user friendly attributes for devices can definitely make these stand out from the rest. Face the reality of things.

Life does not need to be more difficult then what it is meant to be. Attempting to utilize any gadget, for example, like a Samsung NOOK should not be rocket science. All of these should come with easy, well laid out instructions. Complicated instructions could possibly cause unforeseen frustrations. This would not be suggested. Ease of use; sounds like a more productive way of doing things. Satisfaction is what you should get.

If you aren’t getting that, then you may need to check your resources. You may have chosen the wrong one. Or, maybe you didn’t get a highest quality you deserve. Don’t just have enough to get by. Get enough to keep you going for a very long time. It’s really that simple.

The features makes all the difference

Assuring you have the right ones will definitely cause less havoc in the long run. For instance, considering the size of the display should be a concern. A bigger screen could possibly give much more accurate results. Small ones may not give you what you truly need. Leave those for the cellphones. This may be considered as highly necessary for tablets. Having the capability to see clear without inconsistencies would seem very important.

Use of a magnifying glass should not be a requirement. Samsung details about a really reliable multi-functional gadget. Now, with that being said, size should mean something. It should also be light and portable.

No heaviness or bulkiness needed. To include, a capacitive touch display. Only to add, that multi-tasking seems to be only a fingertip away. Reading books and other materials on a 7 inch Samsung NOOK’s LCD screen sounds like a win-win situation. This makes retrieving information easy as 1-2-3. Having a high tech camera is a plus to have. Not just any camera though. We are talking about front and rear facing cameras. With this, you could instant message, video chat, and take amazing pictures. Want a nice selfieshot? You can capture that too.

What about friends and family pictures you could cherish forever? You can get those too. Let’s talk about another factor. A built-in GPS on an e-reader is surely something to take notice too. With this feature, you may be able to toss that portable one to the side. And, you won’t have to drain the battery on your cellphone. This GPS could more than likely, assist you with travels by car, bike, and even walking.

Having all of this may have you singing a song. Oh, but wait a minute. Why sing one? You can play all your favorite tunes. There are so many different apps to choose from in there. Things have changed in a much more reliable sort of way. These are really meant for convenience. You can do so much with this NOOK. With all this, these may make your satisfaction a reality. Mashable says this device’s book reading experience is excellent.

It all makes sense

Having the most reliable features is what it’s all about. IB Times says looking for a tablet which suits you is easy. Each and every task is not always looked at in the same manner. Something can look easy to one person but look considerably harder to the next. Ensuring all of your questions are considered; could make well for identifying what really makes sense to you. Be decisive when choosing the right gadget. Be patient with the process. Limitations could only cause inconvenience. There aren’t many people that would say they want these to be a part of their life.

Like the Samsung NOOK, it definitely has all the distinctive attributes for anyone’s satisfaction. Being able to access Emails and Chrome Web browsing is like having cake and eating it too. A gadget with all the many popular resources like seamless access to YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, to include an Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) operating system, built-in Bluetooth support, free Cloud storage and parental controls, things have only gotten better.

It’s looking like the laptop has a rivalry. All the attributes of making life easy and fun all in one place is here. When you are looking around for that new contraption, consider your priorities. When this is done, everything else may just fall into place. That is, if you are in it for convenience and satisfaction.

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We Tried These 7 Startup Tactics to Grow Our Company But They Failed (Antavo) Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:11:58 +0000 In this post, (first published on Antavo blog by Andy Nemes, head of sales of Antavo), Andy list 7 things they tried to grow their company with so that you too will be brave to experiment, maybe try what they tried and learn from their successes and failures.

You want to be the one who will do it. You want to prove to your employees, colleagues, friends and family that you are able to crack it.

And when you really want something, you try a lot of things, right?

We experimented with enthusiasm, and since it sometimes worked, we are doing well, thank you.

But some of our trials failed miserably.

I wanted to write about these failures so you would know that it’s okay to try and fail. As solutions are limited, you can cross one out if it doesn’t work, and focus on all the others.

But before that let me tell you where we are coming from.

Not from Silicon Valley.

Not even from the US. The majority of our team is from a tiny dot on the world map, called Hungary. While we do have US advisors and UK investors, none of us on the leadership team is a native English speaker. Despite all of this, we knew from the beginning that we need to think globally if we want to be successful.

Our early-stage company never lacked time and effort (rather a strategy with proof of results) to earn customers. And we built up Antavo from scratch.

Here are some of our failed experiments.

Fail #1. Localization

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you did things before it was the right time? This is called premature scaling.

We let our customers build contest apps on our platform in 27 languages. Plus, we translated the platform into 4 languages other than English.

It was a mistake. Translating something occasionally for only one customer isn’t worth it, because from our perspective it slowed us down.

And the revenue from the countries of the two other languages was never outstanding.

Fail #2. Distributed development team

After Seedcamp invested in our company the founding team moved to London. But our CEO was deeply involved in the product development.

Unfortunately the long-distance relationship didn’t work that well. Our development slowed down.

Our CEO might have had been less involved, but back then we didn’t have the resources to hire anyone else. Otherwise he could have traveled more to keep track of the development in Hungary.

I know companies like Buffer or GrooveHQ who work remotely and do it smoothly, but we were never really prepared for it.

Fail #3. Country managers

To conquer the world, we partnered up with country managers in Asia, Europe and South-America on a revenue share basis. They were responsible for sales, translations and first-line support.

We shouldn’t have done that. Back then there was no product-market fit yet. Traction was also relatively modest, making it hard to motivate partners on a pure revenue-share basis. Building supporting functionalities slowed product development down, we simply didn’t have enough resources to work efficiently with the country managers.

And we were not good at finding the right partners, even though we did our best after we teamed up with them.

Fail #4. Referral program

We built a tool to motivate our customers to invite their friends to use Antavo. Like Dropbox did.

Well, it didn’t work out. Why? Because we had a relatively low active user base at the time of release and our communication around it wasn’t strong enough. In addition when you are dealing with small businesses, you may have no customers with wide reach, i.e. real influencers.

At least we learned that people use our tool because they actually need it, and not because a friend invited them.

Fail #5. App directories

We wanted to get into large directories and deal with sites like AppSumo, Rewardlii or GrooveHQ.

We couldn’t. We didn’t receive a single reply from any one of them. (Was our pitch weak? Was our product weak? We will never know.) And we got close to zero customers from those where we were listed.

The only exception was HuddleBuy, which is a great company to work with.

To make your life easier, here is a list of potential software perk directories we have collected.

Fail #6. Customer thank-you cards

We thought we would send out thank-you cards to our customers on Valentine’s Day. We read somewhere that it’s so personal and engaging. (Maybe we read it on the website of a card-sending company? Dammit!)

Well. You know what happened. We sent out a vast number of cards and received a single thank you Tweet. (Thank for the Tweet buddy!)

That’s all.

The copy was wrong? The intention was wrong? Our customers are heartless people? Or they are too shy to share their happiness?

For sure some of them had wrong billing details when they paid us…

We sent mails to our customers’ billing addresses, some of which were incorrectly given at checkout.

Fail #7. Tech-conferences

We attended some great conferences when we were starting out. As we are a technology company, we thought we’d go to tech conferences. We would go to the presenters, introduce ourselves and follow up.

Nothing happened. What were we expecting? A single meeting at a conference? It just didn’t cut it.

Since then we go to conferences to present only, except Social Media Marketing World and other very focused events.  (This year it was a blast. Zsuzsa, our CMO knows a lot of people there who are in the same place as us and were glad to meet them.)

Are these failures?

These are experiments that certainly failed.

Yes, experiments cost you money, time and effort, but you might never find your path if you don’t cross over some possibilities.

If you want to get ideas for experiments, read this post on growth hacking from Andrew Dumont of MOZ. Since then he built a startup and sold it. He must know a thing or two.

Where we failed you might succeed.

The referral program worked for Dropbox. And Buffer built an extremely successful remote development team.

Just get out there.


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Use These (Must Have) Ingredients In Every Blog Post You Write Sun, 21 Sep 2014 21:18:25 +0000 Every great blog post has two things that can make it a success. A magnetic headline and an epic content. If the headline fails to convince the reader in less than 10 seconds, that content you call awesome won’t be read. That window of opportunity is all you have in the midst of the hundreds of thousands of posts that are published everyday.

Some of the most successful bloggers can take hours to craft the best title for their content. Make no mistake, the reader has no time to waste. You either create the best headline ever for every post you write or your content will forever be hidden. All the time you wasted to put together that epic content won’t count if you don’t have a convincing headline. The click is in the headline.

Once you have passed the headline test, you should be able to deliver on your promise. You reputation is on the line if you write a great headline but fail to produce epic content. The ingredient presented in this infographic (courtesy copyblogger) are all you need to create a killer post. Print it, pin it, but whatever you do … use it to craft your next post.

In a nutshell: Craft a magnetic headline. Open with a bang. Use persuasive words. Write damn good sentences. Insert killer bullet points. Create exquisite subheads. Tell a seductive story. Keep attention with internal cliffhangers. Choose an arresting image. Close with style. And Be authentic.

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50 Smartest Things Ever Said About Starting Your Own Business Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:57:46 +0000 Starting a business is a big decision. It can be risky – but it can also be very rewarding. These are a few of the most inspirational and smartest things ever said about starting your own business.

1. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” —Drew Houston

2. “Don’t wait for the right moment to start the business – it never arrives. Start whenever. Now.” -Lauris Liberts

3. “Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey.” Charles S. Lauer

4. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Q. Adams

5. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.– Mark Zuckerberg

6. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

7. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

8. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.”  – Howard Schultz

9. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”  –Albert Einstein

10. “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.” – Unknown

11. “Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page

12. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” -Ray Kroc

13. “We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.” ― Eric Ries

14. “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”—Peter Drucker

15. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

16. “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake—you can’t learn anything from being perfect.”—Adam Osborne

17. “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”- Seth Godin

18. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” —Bill Gates

19. “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh

20. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs

21. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” –Marc Benioff

22. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” –Richard Branson

23. “Given the chance people will buy from people who care.“ —Paco Underhill

24. “The greatest competitor you’ll ever come up against is self doubt.“ —John McGrath

25. “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” –Stephen R. Covey

26. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.” The time will pass anyway. - Earl Nightingale

27. “One person with passion is better than 40 who are merely interested.”- Tom Connellan

28. “Money follows passion – not the other way around.”- David Garland

29. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”- Coach John Wooden

30. “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” –Jim Rohn

31. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

32. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

33. “We never thought of it as customer service. We just treat people how we would want to be treated.”-Sally Strebel

34. “Starting a business is like riding a wave between life and death. If you can hang on long enough, you’re bound to succeed” -Sam Altman

35. “Ignore luck. Just work really hard.” -Adora Cheung

36. “Keep our competitors focused on us, while we stay focused on the customer” - Jeff Bezos

37. “Don’t build something that already exists. Customers won’t buy it just because it’s yours.” -Slava Akhmechet

38. “Product comes first. If people love your product, the tiniest announcements will get attention. If people don’t love your product, no amount of marketing effort will help.” -Slava Akhmechet

39. “Customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company” -Tony Hsieh

40. “An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.” -Roy Ash

41. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe

42. “No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long-term if you don’t have a sufficiently good product.” – Sam Altman

43. “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” -Elon Musk

44. “Whenever you get stuck, go meet with your customers.” -Joe Zadeh

45. “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” - Jake Nickell

46. “If you’re not working on your best idea right now, you’re doing it wrong.” – David Heinemeier Hansson

47. “Find your one thing and do that one thing better than anyone else.” - Jason Goldberg

48. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

49. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” –Steve Jobs

50. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”  –Dave Thomas

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The 12 Personality Traits of A Remarkable Boss (Infographic) Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:29:19 +0000 The performance of a business depends in some part on the relationship among employees and their bosses. Show me happy employees and it can be proven they have a great relationship with their leaders. A team is only as efficient, productive and happy as its leader. Every business needs that great leader to successfully drive the business towards growth.

“Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey.” Charles S. Lauer

Great and remarkable bosses are open with their employees and tell them the truth even if it hurts. They communicate, inspire, mentor, praise and encourage employee development. Poor leadership can lead to poor performance. The infographic below is an overview of the fundamental personality traits shared by remarkable bosses. Many leaders are competent but few qualify as remarkable.

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