Startup Ideas: How to Generate Them

It’s pretty basic, but you can’t start a startup unless you have an idea to work with. Of course, having an idea in itself doesn’t necessarily mean you can set up business either – you need a good idea; an idea that people will like and pay money for – but nevertheless, the process of becoming a business owner starts with the humble idea.

That means you need to know how to generate ideas. We all think we know how to do that – I mean you literally just think about things, right? Well, yes and no. When you’re looking for a startup idea, you can’t just idly sit around and daydream (although that can occasionally work out pretty well) – you need to think in the right way; you need to think in ways that will generate ideas. Here are a few ways you can do that, which might just work:

Watch TED Talks

Visit Ted.com and start watching videos, any videos you like. Pretty soon you’ll be inspired by some of the most interesting and innovative minds on the planet, and with their inspiration and your own unique way of thinking, you might just hit upon that big idea that will change it all for you.

Look at Existing Products

Spend some time looking at the products you own. Think about what they do, what makes them good and particularly, what could make them better. Taking an existing product and adding a feature or making a change so that ti performs better and gives more value is one of the best ways to set up a successful startup. Good examples of this would include clik clik magnets, which make it possible to renovate ceilings without the need for ladders and other tools and astroturf which makes keeping a clean, tidy, well-mowed lawn practically effortless. There are hundreds more examples of companies who have taken an existing idea and improved it to make their fortune, too, so it is a great way to get ideas!

Keep a List of Your Pet Peeves

On a similar vein, it might be a good idea to keep a notebook in which you write down your pet peeves. Writing down the things you’re grateful for might be more in-vogue, but if you want to generate new startup ideas, nothing will help you faster than identifying the things that annoy you and then coming up with ways to solve them! Unconventional?Maybe. Effective? Definitely!

Read Reviews

Again, in a similar vein, reading the bad reviews that companies and products get can help you to come up with ideas to do what they’re doing, but better. They might not be totally original ideas, but if you implement them well, you will get business!

Think of the Future

By this, I mean think about how future generations will view us. How will they consider us backwards in the ways we think, act and work? Those are the areas where innovation is most likely needed and by thinking carefully about them, and how you would rather we’re viewed, the ideas will just flow.

Now, all you need is a little extra help from the startup muse, and you’re good to go!

How To Modernise Your Enterprise

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Standing at the helm of a successful business in the modern day is not something easily achievable. What it takes to remain modern and inline with current trends today will be entirely outdated tomorrow. There is no single answer to running a modern business, as the consumer market is constantly changing, as are the industries in which they are interested. There’s an exponential rate of growth in progress, and it’s partly due to the advancements of the digital, technological age.

If you want to remain up-to-date and modern your enterprise, you need to be consistently and constantly keeping up with the trends of your respective industry whilst also trying to stay ahead of the pack, rather than following at the back like a sheep. If you’ve no idea how to modern your enterprise and achieve a greater level of success, then here are some tips which just might help your business.

Look outward.

The first step to modernizing your company lies in looking not only at what your business is already doing, but what other businesses in your respective industry are doing. The outside world will tell you a great deal about what’s modern and what isn’t. As mentioned over at smallbiztrends.com, the customer is your guiding light towards what the target market expects from a modern day business. Rather than just assuming what the best practices are and getting to the punch far later than your competitors, you could be asking your customers what they want. If you ask what you can do better, you’ll be moving towards a modern, caring and up-to-date company.

Update your tech.

This is a big piece of advice. Outdated technology or software will be setting you far behind the competition in the game, as your operations will be far less efficient and far fewer opportunities will be available to you. You could look into sites such as www.hrispayrollsoftware.com if you want software to help make life easier for your human resources team, as an example. You could also look into outsourcing IT work to help relieve the strain on your small team in your upcoming enterprise. You might even look into using cloud software to backup important company data. Simply “using” technology isn’t enough, as every business in the twenty-first century has discovered computers, at the very least. You need to be honing in on technological solutions which can save your employees time, money and sanity.

New marketing strategies.

On the topic of technology, which is the driving force of all progress in the digital era, it might be time to modernize your marketing strategy using the beauty of the internet. As explained in an article here, the online world is the platform you need to be using to get your voice out to the greatest number of potential customers in your target market. Perhaps you’re already placing adverts on websites, but this may not be the best route to finding your demographic. Instead, you should be letting them come to you using browsing engines such as Google and Bing. Optimizing your website to rank more highly in search results, using SEO, is a great way to not only put yourself in a customer’s line of view, but impress them with a responsive site design or other sharp, professional content.

Startup Selection: Reasons Why You Should Choose A Restaurant Business

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Wanting to start a new business is a dream shared by millions. For the vast majority, though, it will remain little more than a fantasy. In most cases, those aspirations fall at the first hurdle: finding a great idea.

 The restaurant game is more popular than ever, but it’s never too late to enjoy your piece of the pie. Here are five reasons why it makes great sense for you.

 Something You Love

 Let’s face it; we all enjoy a positive relationship with food. So what could be better than working in the industry 365 days of the year?   

 Moreover, it’s an opportunity to find a niche by focusing on a specific type of food. In many cases, it even opens the door to celebrating family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. When added to the stability of the industry in general, it’s a fantastic starting point to encourage a career in this field.

 It’s A Real Business

 The digital world has quickly taken over, but not everyone wants to work in the virtual arena. By establishing a local business, you not only get to work in the local area. Perhaps more importantly, you get a chance to embrace creativity.

 This sense of artistic license doesn’t end with the food either. As experts at Consolidated Foodservice highlight, the branding factors can play a telling role. Quite frankly, those factors are more rewarding here than they’ll ever be online.

 A Chance To Improve Lives

 Very few businesses can actively help customers physically improve their lives. A restaurant is one of the few models that can. After all, healthy eating is one of the most crucial aspects of all human life.

Many restaurants have capitalized on society’s need for healthy eating. If it’s not helping them achieve a better weight, you could look at specializing in gluten-free menus and similar ideas. It might seem a small gesture, but giving sufferers a chance to do something ‘normal’ by heading to a restaurant will not go unnoticed.

Build A Genuine Rapport With Customers

Building upon point two, working in the real world also allows you to enjoy direct communication with customers. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible in the digital world. If you are a people person, working in the restaurant field can allow you the best shot at championing customer success.

Fine dining is all about the experience. So connecting with customers by sharing stories and knowledge can be another great way to build a better ambiance. If it helps gain loyalty, your hopes of sustainability will gain a serious boost. You’ll be smiling as much as the customers – what more could you want?

Easy Route To Expansion

At the start of your journey, you’ll be thinking about immediate goals. However, this article at Chron shows that restaurant models are one of the easiest to franchise. In turn, this means there is a clear road to future growth and success.

If that doesn’t inspire you to want a restaurant business, I don’t know what will.

How To Launch Your Product With A Bang

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Your business is only as good as its flagship product. Where would Apple be without the iPhone? 66% of the company’s entire revenue comes from this one product. Most big corporations work in a similar way. Another thing you’ll learn from Apple is their fantastic ability to launch a product.

Launching a product determines how successful it will become in the long run. The bigger your explosion on the launch day, the further you reach. You’re looking for the biggest possible explosion of media attention and consumer interest. Followed by a long tail sales spree as more and more people hear about your product. Whether you’re a tech company or an e-commerce seller, here’s how you launch with a bang.

Make sure the product is perfect

Your product launch will only succeed if you have a killer product. You need something that gets people excited. Something the media wants to talk about. Start by honing the product to perfection. Get detailed user feedback, make a new prototype, do more market research. Don’t leave any stone unturned before you launch. You can’t go back afterwards! Another trick is to create a compelling story about your product. Something the press and media can use to write about.

Get opinion leaders on board early

There are certain people, groups, or publications in every industry that are considered ‘opinion leaders’. They are blogs, media types, and social media personalities. Send your product to the most influential YouTubers, Instagrammers, and buzz-blogs. If you can get them talking about it, the rest of the industry will follow. Send a few free samples to key individuals, along with a passionate letter.

PR company

Launching a product without a PR company on board is tantamount to failure. A PR company are experienced professionals who know how to secure media coverage. They have relationships with journalists. They know the right people to approach. A good PR company will get your product in all the right magazines, blogs, and newspaper supplements. Without them, you won’t generate the kind of buzz you need.

Launch event

Remember we talked about Apple and their product launches? Well, the one thing they do better than anyone else is a launch event. They build up the buzz and excitement for months before hosting an enormous launch event. Take their lead, and invite all the most influential people to one big event. If you’ve never held a launch before, team up with an events company like Envisage Promotions. Make it a night to remember, and use the opportunity to network with the industry professionals.

Take pre-orders

The unfortunate thing about buzz and hype is that it dies as fast as it appears! If you’ve created some excitement around your product, capitalise on it immediately. Start running pre-orders so that interested parties can buy your new product. It gives the product a feeling of exclusivity, and it will encourage a flood of quick sales!

Learn from the best. Learn from Apple, who always launch a product in a flurry of excitement, whispers, and rumours. Make the biggest possible splash, and reap the rewards for months to come.

How To Convince Angel Investors To Back Your Startup

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If you run a startup company, chances are you’ve thought about chasing investment. After all, it’s the rich investors that bankroll Silicon Valley. All the new companies and promising startups are funded by the deep pockets of angel investors. If you’ve got your startup off the ground, and you need capital to take it to the next level, investment could help.

Before we get stuck into the main part of the article, ensure your business is ready to pitch to investors. Pitch too soon, and you might ruin your chance with the top investors. Make sure everything is in place first. Here’s how to convince them to part with their cash.

Show them the money

Most investors are only interested in the money. The want to see real and tangible returns on their investment. Make no mistake, your company will be one part of their bursting portfolio, and they expect returns. So, show them exactly how your business will generate revenue for them. And by ‘exactly’, we mean exactly. They want to know how your business is monetized, and when they can expect their first returns.

Tell them how you will use their investment

Angel investors got to where they are by being very cautious with their money. They certainly don’t throw it around. Investors like to know how you will spend their money, to the dollar. If you plan to use their investment for marketing, explain your marketing strategy. How will you divide up the money, and how will that benefit the company?

Business plan

Any potential investor will want to take your business plan home. They’ll study it, and make their decision. Spend plenty of time perfecting your business plan, and honing it. Outline your mission statement and ten year goals. Dig into your market research, and identify your core target user. Investors want to see that you have understood your company from the ground up.

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Exit strategy

This is a controversial one for many entrepreneurs, but it’s a vital consideration. Most investors want to know your exit strategy. Many of them will invest in the hope that you sell the company for a huge profit in five-ten years. We know your business is your baby, but be open about a potential exit, and you’re more likely to get investors on board.

Elevator pitch and presentations

If you want to convince angels to invest, you’ll have to nail the elevator pitch. This is a quick (two minutes or less) intro to your business. This is what gets you in the door with investors. Once you’ve got a longer meeting, it’s your chance to sell yourself. We suggest working with a PowerPoint design agency to get your presentation just right. The stakes are too high to rely on your dodgy PowerPoint skills!

Think medium-term

Again, this might go against your entrepreneurial instinct, but think medium-term. If you go into a meeting, don’t explain your plan for world-domination, and ask for $10 million. You’ll go home empty handed. Explain that you need $50,000 to expand your manufacturing or upgrade your office space, and you’ll have more luck. Investors are looking to build companies step-by-step.

Startups: Here’s How To Give Your Website A Boost In Search Engines

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It’s always an exciting time when you launch a new business. You can access a wealth of opportunities and get your brand recognized everywhere! A vital part of any startup’s marketing strategy is the Internet.

Websites are super simple to create nowadays; even a novice can knock something out very quickly! The only downside is that it can take some months before Google, Bing and other search engines start paying attention to your site. Of course, when you start a business, time is precious. You can’t afford not to do anything for a year before you start seeing people on your website!

If you want to speed up proceedings, there is plenty you can do. Here are a few suggestions to help give your website a boost in search engines:

Buy an established domain name

If you’re still thinking of suggestions for your brand name, there’s one thing you can do. Base it around the name of an established domain name for sale!

Lots of startups use existing brand names that are available for sale. The same applies with domain names too. But, how can buying an established domain name help your cause? One of the things Google and other search engines do is rank a site based on domain age.

The older the website domain, the more trustworthy it becomes. Aim for domains that are at least a year old. And it goes without saying to avoid anything spammy!

Install Google Analytics on your site

Once your website is up and running, you need to track who visits it and where they come from. The best way of doing that is by using the free yet powerful Google Analytics.

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All you do is insert some small tracking code into your Web pages, and it does the rest. It doesn’t interfere with your visitor’s experience on your site, nor does it slow your site down.

The idea is to identify visitor trends with Google Analytics. Stuck by the myriad of options? A search engine optimisation professional can help you. They can also check if any SEO issues are stopping your site from getting ranked by search engines.

Optimize your content

It’s likely you will have some direct competitors. One thing you can do is learn more about the types of visitors that go to their sites. Of course, you should only target established, popular competitors. Not startups like yourself!

There are various keyword research tools that you can use online. All you need to do is enter the URL of their website into them. The research tool will provide you with a list of relevant keywords and phrases.

You can then select the best of those keywords and build your site content around them. Just make sure you create unique content on your pages. Copying and pasting content is a no-no! Check your website text with Copyscape to make sure it has no duplicates on the Web.

Connect with industry influencers

Last, but not least, get social with leading figureheads in your industry. If you create an article their website readers might find useful, email them! You can then get vital website links to your site from theirs.

Thanks for reading. I hope this guide will help you!

Follow These 7 Steps To Avoid Startup Failure

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One of the biggest concerns that a startup business owner faces is the prospect of their firm failing. Although many startups go on to grow and become prosperous, quite a few fail within the first 12 months. There can be many reasons why that happens, and each case is different.

If you’re starting a new business soon, what can you do to avoid startup failure? The good news is there are plenty of actionable steps you can take. Here are seven examples to help you on the right path:

  1. Make sure you define a clear vision or purpose

It might shock you to know that some startups have no idea what they are aiming for! Making money might seem like an obvious goal, but what do you do to achieve it?

Your answer might be to revolutionize your industry. Perhaps you want to offer something fresh and new to the market. Or you may wish to provide a different way of reaching a particular achievement. It’s important that you consider what your brand’s vision or purpose is BEFORE you start!

  1. Stick to the plan

All startups should have a business plan. It’s a document that provides a “roadmap” of where they see themselves in the future. Don’t get tempted to deviate from it. You’ll have no way of measuring whether your ideas are a success or not.

  1. Ensure your products and services are attractive

You need to walk in the shoes of your target customers, in a metaphorical sense. Would you buy your products and services? If not, why not?

The things you sell must be attractive to your audience. Otherwise, how do you expect to sell anything?

  1. Come up with a killer online marketing strategy

The Internet plays a huge part in generating revenue for most businesses these days. It’s crucial that your online presence offers real results.

Many business owners don’t know how effective their online branding strategies are these days. It could be worth investing in conversion optimisation services to boost your online revenue.

  1. Make sure there’s a market for your wares

The biggest mistake any startup can make is selling something that nobody wants to buy! Before you even formalise your new business, there’s one thing you need to do first. I am, of course, talking about market research!

  1. Don’t forget to add value to what you sell

Let’s say that your business makes and sells toasters. Sure, you might have an impressive range of products on offer. But, what value do you add to the toasters you sell?

Examples of adding value could include selling complementary products like grills. You might even wish to offer an attractive product guarantee. That way, you can entice buyers from your competitors.

  1. Don’t forget about your customers

The people that buy your products and services are your customers. Without them, you won’t make any money. Yes, it’s important to focus on strategies to grow your business.

But, you should also think about your customers. Listen to their feedback on your service. What could you improve? And what is it they’d like to see you do in the future?

Good luck!

EP 29: Angel Investor Tatyana Gray Explains What Investors Are Looking For

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Angel investor Tatyana Gray explains shifts in the investment world, and shares different things that turn off investors to founders and ways to impress them.

Lightning Round Answers:

EP11: Viktor Jondal & Peter Ragonetti Explain 3D Printing & Pitch Fleks3D

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Industrial designers Viktor Jondal & Peter Ragonetti pitch their new product Fleks3D that improves 3D printing! They also explain how 3D printing works, and how it is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry.

Listen to the podcast then go to Kickstarter and back their campaign if you like what their doing!

5 Things Every Great Online Startup Needs

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Starting a new business is truly exciting. But if you want it to become a successful venture, it’s imperative that you follow the right procedures. This is especially true when dealing with the vicious online arena.

Of course, there is a degree of trial and error involved. Nevertheless, there are some lessons that you should know before jumping it at the deep end. Here are five essential items that will lead you down the pathway to success.

A Great Team

Every business owner should appreciate the fact that their venture can only be as successful as the team behind it. Your innovation and ideas are what will direct the company, but it’s the input of your staff that will drive it forward.

The key is to help them help you. This is the hallmark of a great boss and entrepreneur. The staff is your most important asset, build a better team and you’ll never look back.

A Great Website

No online business can achieve its goals without putting the right structures in place. The company website is clearly the most important, and should be the focus of your attentions until it is perfect.

Whether it’s a store or an online news site doesn’t matter. If you’re going to make money online, you’ll need visitors to stay. It’s important to remember that habits are changing too. Make the site optimized for small devices too, and you’ll be opening your doors to a much larger audience.

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A Great Payment Structure

The website offers a great foundation for the online venture. But you cannot convert sales unless your facilities are ready to accommodate. It’s imperative that you accept as many payment options as possible, which is why Payline Data should be considered a must.

Online shopping is supposed to be a leisurely activity. Make it easier for your customers to complete a purchase, and you should reap the rewards of increased sales.

A Great Online Presence

Competition on the internet is fierce. In fact, there are over one billion websites in existence. If you are going to achieve your place in the market, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to stand out from the crowd.

The best way to achieve this is through a combination of great SEO and social media marketing. Make your website visible and engaging, and there will be no limit to what you can achieve. Failure to do this will simply leave you lost among the crowded online environment.

A Great Relationship With Customers

Visibility is crucial, but it’s only effective if you are sparking interest from the intended audience. As a startup, building a community spirit is key. Make customers feel like participants rather than spectators. You’ll be amazed at the impact great customer care can bring.

This is the one area of business where you can have a huge advantage over bigger companies. Take advantage. After all, repeat business is the key to long-term profits. Apart from anything, those existing customers are likely to tell friends about the great service. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools available.

And there you have it. Follow those five items, and your online ventures should thrive.

The Essentials Of A Graphic Design Startup

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Starting a new graphic business is never easy. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but most fail before they even begin. To make sure that a new startup doesn’t fail, there are a few generic business rules that you need to be aware of first. Once you have those under control, it is time to move onto the next step – the essentials of graphic design.

There are certain things that every graphic design company needs to succeed, and here are a few just to get you started. As long as you have the following, you should be able to go from strength to strength.

The Relevant Skills

Graphic design is a not an industry that you can walk into and pick up right off the bat. Yes, it is possible to learn the skills through practice. However, most graphic designers have a natural sense and a gift as designing is like art. If you are not a creative person, the odds are that graphic design is not the industry for you. No one is saying that you should give up your dream, but you need to be realistic about what you can offer.

Training

There are elements of graphic design that you may never have encountered in your life. Obviously, that is a problem. Thankfully, this problem is easily rectified with some simple training. By attending training courses, you can learn the secrets of graphic design and the elements that are foreign. Plus, you also get the opportunity to invest more time in your abilities. The result is that the majority of people tend to become better at their jobs. Adobe Illustrator training by Training Connection is one course that graphic designers should obtain. But, there are plenty more.

Money

Unfortunately, you are going to need a lot of cash to get your business off the ground. There is just now getting around the fact as startups need to speculate to accumulate. So, do you have the money? If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider. Even though the idea is exciting, it will soon crumble if you cannot finance the company. Of course, there are alternative sources of finance, so you don’t always need the money in the bank. But, you need to be careful because the repayments can cripple you, and the bank may take collateral. Some people have lost their jobs, the businesses and their homes.

Commercial Awareness

Any business that cannot market itself is not going to survive. The way to make money and to grow is to get people to buy or invest. Investors or customers will only do that when they like what they see, and if they don’t see it, they won’t buy. Think carefully about how you are going to market the business and make people aware of your brand.

Legal Help

A lawyer is essential. They will take you through every part of the process and make sure that you don’t go wrong in a legal sense. The last thing you want is a lawsuit because you neglected the legal side of starting a new business.

CrowdFunding Pitch Show Episode 1: Biometric Match

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We had an awesome premier episode of The Crowdfunding Pitch show on October 10th with the founders of Biometric Match coming on the show to pitch their startup.

Dal Ellinton, the founder has created an amazing platform leveraging bio-metric to enable users to determine how they match up with a potential date, person you want to hang out with or just see what you have in common with friends. The current standard is to answer long questionnaires to answer these questions, but Biometric Match is changing that process forever, rendering these long questionnaires a thing of the past, using emotion-based facial cue system powered by Affectiva.

They’re currently trying to raise $95,000 to go beyond beta and build out a more user friendly platform. Check out their crowdfunding campaign, and back this awesome new technology!

Accelerating Startup Innovation Through Crowdfunding

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Everyday I get pitched a new idea.

Choosing which to get involved in as a mentor, investor or connector is becoming easier as my personal network grows (many thanks LinkedIn) but more importantly because the ability to mitigate risk and prove viability quickly is becoming easier.

This is not to say that raising capital is becoming easier. For those of you who read “Open Letter To Angel Investors & VCs” you will understand where I’m going with this article.

In short, let’s quickly discuss new opportunities available to shorten the window of time needed to get seed stage capital, minimum viable product, and secure beta clients.

Crowdfunding Seed Stage Capital

Let’s face reality. Crowdfunding is the future, and if the SEC will ever get out of the way and allow equity crowdfunding to the masses, our current recession would be over in no time. In the meantime, while the regulators argue about how we can spend our money, let’s talk about leveraging this option to both raise initial seed capital to get proof of concept.

Putting together a great campaign is a skill in itself. It requires creative thought, excellent planning, significant time spent on PR strategy and connection with social media influencers. If you are able to put these pieces together with a great product or service, then communicate it well to the target demographic, it is reasonable you can get enough funding to build your proof of concept.

In the end, it boils down to your social media influence and public relations. If those two are accounted for, your chances of success are reasonable.

In the meantime, don’t forget to put as many things in place prior to the end of the campaign you will need to build the MVP. Whether that be vendors, manufacturers or advisers.

Building Minimum Viable Product

Now let’s assume your crowdfunding campaign was a success.

In the age of 3D printing, access to manufacturing globally and web/mobile development advancements, it never ceases to amaze me how so many startup founders REFUSE to quickly build an MVP (minimum viable product) and get to market.

If your campaign is a success, you have a potential customer base built in by default. Not only can you leverage the buzz created, you also have the ability to communicate with these potential customers and get their feedback on what they would like to see. Instead of hiding everything from them until launch, just ask questions.

It is better to make modifications prior to launch, than wait for the bombardment of feedback when you are slammed with customer service, fulfillment and the other headaches which come with company growth. Making pivots is a blunt reality in business. It is better to account for them as early as possible.

Leveraging Beta Clients

Growing your business requires getting an initial client base, whether you call them beta clients, early adopters or just plain customers.

By going the way of crowdfunding and heavy engagement with your backers, you have the opportunity to build a loyal customer base full of brand ambassadors. Not only is this vital to growing the company in the short term, in context of raising additional capital, being able to showcase a rapidly growing customer base enables proving market viability to investors.

While many investors shy away from crowdfunded projects in the early stages, this position is rapidly shifting as acceptance of crowd based idea validation expands. If you are able to prove how many backers have turned into ongoing customers, you now have an extremely valuable weapon at your disposal.

Accelerating Traditional Capital Raise

Since it realistically takes 6+ months to raise seed stage capital for 99% of startups, it makes sense to spend that same amount of time planning out your crowdfunding campaign with the next step goals as outlined above.

Not only does this enable you to be further down the road prior to raising traditional capital, you also have a much stronger position in equity negotiations and might not even need it. Investors are looking for proof of concept, minimum viable product, initial customer base and growing revenue. All of these are signals of risk mitigation on their investment.

By strategically leveraging crowdfunding, you have the opportunity to both accelerate growth of your company and the time spent raising additional capital. When risk is lowered, you will be amazed at how quickly the doors can open up.

This is just a top level of things to think about when planning your entrepreneurial journey in today’s world of opportunity. I would appreciate your feedback and ideas you can share with others getting ready to make the leap!

St. Louis-based PenPath Brings Data Directly to Writers

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“When does an artist or a dancer ever perform with the curtain closed?” Alex Cruz asks.

Never!

So, why–he wants to know–are writers’ analytics and social sharing data controlled by the publications they write for? Or, if you’re a blogger, why is it so hard to keep track of things like Google Analytics?

Cruz and his team in St. Louis are solving that problem with PenPath.

PenPath is a comprehensive dashboard that tracks all the relevant data for a given piece of content, regardless of platform or medium. It works just as well for YouTube as it does for Medium.

Rather than needing passwords and code, writers can just paste the url of their article into PenPath and quickly see all their social shares, traffic, and other important data. The site tracks each article by the hour, but you can adjust the settings to see how your shares track over time. You can also see who is sharing the content and engage with them over social media.

Analytics, of course, is a big market, and everyone’s trying to figure out how to get more metrics. There’s already great tools out there like Google Analytics, Chartbeat, Muckrack, and more. PenPath is entering a crowded field, but they think they’re offering something unique that will be valuable to content creators.

And, as a former freelancer myself, I think they’re right. It’s possible to hack together all the different features PenPath offers, but it’s not easy. You have to span multiple platforms, websites, and spreadsheets. PenPath’s solution is simple, and it provides a way to watch the competition as well as yourself.

This week is a big week for the PenPath team. Yesterday they kicked off their crowdfunding campaign over at new software crowdfunding site Ramen. Only backers through Ramen will have first access to the platform, essentially creating a beta pool for the startup.

Cruz and team will also be exhibiting at the Collision Conference in Las Vegas this week, after having attended Everywhere Else Tennessee just last week. (And we thought we were busy!)

Check out PenPath over on their website, but if you want early access to the Platform, don’t forget to support them on Ramen.