StartupGuy

I am StartupGuy
I start a fire with ice

Born: 29th July 19XX


April 20, 2018 StartupGuy0

When it comes to marketing your business online, there are a number of options to consider. Of course, starting with a well-designed website is the most sensible option, and then pay-per-click, search engine optimisation and content marketing usually follow suit. Another technique that you should take advantage of is social media marketing. Below, we’ve rounded up the reasons why.

Social media marketing

Raise the profile of your business

Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to raise the profile of your business and put your products and services in the eyes of new customers. Use hashtags, take advantage of Twitter and Facebook advertising, follow relevant users in your industry to get their attention, and build a content marketing strategy that’s centred on sharing engaging, valuable content.

Promote special offers and discounts

One of the best ways to build a following on social media is to run a competition or promote an impressive discount or special offer. Such techniques generate shares and engagement, allowing you to build an audience and keep customers on your side. And, if you’re running a special offer and want it to reach as many people as you can, then pair it with the marketing services provided by Groupon and its Merchant tools. There, you’ll be able to list your special offer or discount as a Groupon product, and find new customers from across your local area, or even nationally.

Connect with customers

Building relationships with your customers is essential if you want them to be loyal and choose you over competitors, and social media is one of the best ways to do that. In the past, you may have got to know your customers when they called into your bricks and mortar store for a cup of coffee – this is the digital equivalent. Engage with your followers using polls, asking questions and sharing updates on your journey as a business, and don’t be afraid of reaching out to customers personally.

Give you insights into your customers’ wants and needs

Another valuable benefit to social media marketing is the ability to see what your customers want and need from your brand. If you work in the fashion industry and your followers are tweeting about a new celebrity fashion trend, for example, then you can take their comments and adapt your products accordingly. Having such an intimate insight into the market is incredibly valuable.

Make you more competitive

The last, but certainly by no means least, point to raise on this list is competition. If you know that your competitors are using social media effectively, and generating a return on their investment, then it is essential that you invest in social media marketing. Even if they’re not using social media effectively, they could in the future, so get a head start and build your following as soon as you can.

The benefits of social media for small businesses are endless, so try it for yourself and see how quickly you can build an audience and increase your sales figures as a result.



April 18, 2018 StartupGuy0

The primary goal of most new business owners is to see their fledgling venture enjoy rapid growth and recognition. Although there is no one formula to follow to catapult your enterprise to success in the first few months of years after it is launched, there are a number of tips you can follow to give you the best possible chance of achieving the maximum growth in the smallest possible time.

Create a solid financial base

If you want to take advantage of upcoming trends in the market, you may need to increase your working capital or take on new staff in a short space of time. If traditional sources of finance such as high street banks or venture capitalists are taking too long to make a decision or decline because they fail to share your vision of the future, you might want to look into financing your business through peer to peer lending instead.

Take on new staff

In the early stages of a business, most entrepreneurs want to be as hands-on as possible across all areas of company activities. However, it is only by being willing to give your employees a greater degree of autonomy and responsibility that you can put aside enough unnecessary tasks to allow you to move forward and expand your business.

Although taking on new employees involves an element of risk and you may be concerned about a wide range of potential hassles, it is unlikely that your company will be able to move forward and expand until you do. Depending on the stage your business is at, you might want to consider taking on an apprentice. This can provide you with an additional member of staff, subsidized by the government, and enables you to put something back into society by giving a young person a great opportunity to develop their own business skills.

Become an Influencer

Social media is a great way of expanding the reach of your business and finding new customers, but users dislike the idea of being sold to in a way that seems direct. The key is to ensure the information you put out on social networks is of genuine use to those who see it, and in this way, you will benefit from a higher profile through increasing numbers of shares and likes.

If you can become an expert in the field of your business, all the better. Use platforms such as Twitter to further boost the profile of you and your company by issuing statements that add to the debate on key issues. You can then leverage this influence to make appearances on more traditional forms of media, such as radio and television, further boosting your profile.

Reduce the risk

No matter how well you plan, there will always be external and internal threats to your company that have the potential to stall growth. If you want to be sure your business enjoys expansion, it is vital to take steps to mitigate such risks as early as possible.

Having the right business insurance policies in place to cover everything from intellectual property theft or a data breach to an office break-in or public liability claim is essential. Should the worst-case scenario happen, you will be far better placed to continue moving forward.



April 18, 2018 StartupGuy0

When we’re faced with doing something that’s outside our comfort zone, whether it be making the jump into starting a business, or literally jumping out of a plane to do a sky dive, most of us have a tendency to overthink before we act.

It’s a perfectly natural response. In these situations, our limbic system, i.e. the part of our brain which controls things like our fight or flight response is screaming at us to move away from danger, while at the same time, the more evolved, conscious part of our brain (the part which makes us human) is trying to reason that what we’re planning to do is actually a good thing. The end result is we end up going round and round inside our heads, thinking but never actually doing.

Because our limbic system is very powerful, it has a strong influence on our behaviour. This defence mechanism worked really well back when we had to fend for ourselves in the jungle… it kept us alive! But the problem is, in 21st century life we face a very different set of challenges which often conflict with what our primal instincts are programmed to tell us.

In order to succeed in business, we often need to do things that the primitive part of our brain interprets as dangerous.

A prime example here is public speaking. For most people, the thought of standing up in front of a room full of people to give a speech sends their limbic system into a full on panicked flight mode, even though we know it to be completely irrational.

So how do we overcome this inner struggle and get on with taking action?

The answer is simple…

The faster you act, and the less you deliberate something, the less likely you are to be halted by your emotions, and the more likely you are to get it done. It’s just like ripping off a plaster.

So next time you want to do something that scares you, don’t overthink it. Just empty your mind, count down from 5, and do it.

You’ll be amazed at how well it works!



January 20, 2018 StartupGuy0

Hi, my name is Shannon Rosenberg and I am a small business owner on the West Rand of Johannesburg. I want to briefly share on my title above, yeah that one: success versus significance. I started a small business exactly one year ago and my reason for doing so is because of a personal conviction.
If you’re not wondering about my title, then you should. Success versus significance. What’s the difference, and is there a difference?

Being successful is a great personal reward that comes after hard work and an enormous investment of one’s time for a defined goal. Significance on the other hand, is the sense of fulfilment one feels after having helped someone else become successful through an investment of your own time and or money.

I had many opportunities to venture into business before I took the plunge. I always anticipated at one point in my life, that I would, it just always seemed unreachable and too much of a sacrifice especially as a young man. By the way, I’m still young, don’t know why I said that. But apart from all of that, where would I get the capital to start? How much capital would I need? Did I even need capital? Did I have the right qualification to start? Should I perhaps have gone to university? All these questions are not only overwhelming but very dangerous too, as it has the potential to derail you and your purpose.

I eventually did start my business and with very little, in fact with nothing but wisdom and bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is a start-up: an internet-based business or other business type with minimal to no financial resources, or help from investors. My entrepreneurship journey started when I was 8. I sold sweets, ice lollies, we called it ‘chupas’ back in the day and frozen yoghurt, or ‘mayo’ from our home. My dad was my investor for this entrepreneurship venture and this was, I believe, my start in business. Hey, we all have to start somewhere and we all start small and I was taught to never despise small or humble beginnings. My reason for selling sweet treats at the time, was not because I wanted to make money, but because we had only one other tuck-shop in the area and they controlled the market. And we know that if we only have one player in the market, they then have the whole pie to enjoy. Suffice to say, my little tuckshop venture ended, arose again some years later and ended a final time because my desire to play outside in my neighbourhood was greater than my desire to be in business as an 8, 10 and 12-year-old. I’m sure you can appreciate that.

Being in business with the purpose of being successful is great! I will be the first to advocate that for anyone. But being in business to be successful for yourself only is where this article starts tilting. The world today is filled with so called ‘self-made’ men and women, self-made millionaires, heck even billionaires. And we are still not any closer to alleviating poverty or social ills. So how is it that we can have so many people who are successful and we still experience societal issues? Well, here’s my take, when starting out your business, you experience many challenges and these challenges not only challenge you, but the viability of your idea or business. So, you start understanding, that your road to success is not going to be easy, but you buckle down nonetheless and you get ready for the ‘hustle’. 9-5 turns into 7-7 for some, weekends become weekdays, and evenings become late afternoons. Sheesh, sleep becomes a luxury to some, not that that’s a bad thing, “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands, then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit and scarcity will attack you like an armed robber” Proverbs 6:10-11. And on this journey for success, it’s ok to start developing a sense of this is mine as I am the only one experiencing what it takes to make this happen. You’re actually not the only person experiencing it. You see, there are many entrepreneurs on the same road seeking out success. Many have come from difficult backgrounds and some just have amazing ideas and concepts, but the common factor here is, they all strive for one goal called success. A few challenges later, some hurdles on the way and a coupla hoops of fire to jump through and there it is: ‘I’ve made it!’ ‘I am now successful!’ ‘This is my time to shine!’

Great! But now what? Does it become about the fancy cars and untouchable swag? This is where you meet the fork in the road and it too challenges you. Might seem not, but it does, and if you haven’t yet got there, rest assured… you will! You see, this road challenges your foundation. Are you going to make a difference in the world with your recent found success, your hard-earned success, let’s not forget that you have worked for this right? Or are you going to change your endeavour for success and use it to propel others into successful futures as well? Will your business be the voice in the room with all the suits and shiny shoes to address societal issues by coming up with solutions? Or will you just button up your expensive suit and join in the conversation of who signed the biggest contract this year?

Significance is sometimes the road less travelled by many, but it sure is the most scenic! The opportunity to use your success for the benefit of others is possibly one of the greatest journeys you’ll ever embark on. Our beloved ex-president, Nelson Mandela said it best “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Deciding to start a business because you recognise a need in society or in your community is already a good start. A business based on satisfying the needs of others and helping the community is sure to prosper. However, your journey to success also comes with its own challenges, sometimes even more, but rest assured that this road has no fork in it as you are already on the road to significance.

Shannon Rosenberg, founder and director of Eighty6 Marketing (Pty) Ltd. A business that is determined to help other small businesses grow.

Social media:
Facebook.com/eighty6m
Twitter.com/eighty6m
Instagram.com/eighty6m



December 9, 2017 StartupGuy0

One of the biggest and earliest challenges of founding a startup is finding the right co-founders.Convincing someone to invest in your brainchild is one of the biggest challenges a founder faces, and solo founders are often perceived by investors as an unsafe bet.

Finding your company on your own is very challenging. You would need perseverance, guts, discipline, and determination. Any business is difficult, and doing it alone would make it harder.

Here are few challenges you would face as a sole founder of your business.

1. Fundraising as a party of one
For a solo founder of a company the major challenge is fundraising. Investors often have certain doubts on businesses with a solo founder. It is very difficult to prove yourself an expert in everything- from engineering to sales. Even after your years of experience, you will have to prove your ability as a founding party of one.

Doing things all alone would require a lot of determination and persistence. You should stick to it with patience and things will pay off ultimately

2. Giving up your life while initially gearing up
Another big challenge is the sheer amount of work you need to do as a solo founder. In the very beginning, you have to do everything yourself. You need to be sales, marketing, engineering and customer support. Not just proving to your investors, it’s genuinely challenging to do all the works all by yourself as a solo founder.

It’s obviously very difficult and you need to be much disciplined. You need to follow certain routines and make sure nothing is missing out.

In simple words, you might have to give your life to your company. You will have to work throughout the whole week and lose a lot of sleep. It would take so much time, but eventually, you will build a great team and move forward.

3. Setting your own routine
As an employee, your work day was probably fairly well-structured. You had set tasks to perform to meet clearly-defined goals.

As part of a team you could lean on others to ensure the workload was completed. Throw in an hour-long lunch and a sharp exit at 5pm and there’s a good chance that work won’t be on your mind by the time you get home.

Running your own business tears this schedule to shreds. It laughs in the face of a regular work routine. You’ll need to set your own workday plan if you have any hope of being productive.

4. Financial and Business Disadvantages
Solo founders may find it difficult to raise capital to expand. This is because sole proprietorships tend to be rather small and have a relatively low level of turnover. Investors are cautious of investing in sole proprietorships as a single owner and manager may entail increased risks. Furthermore, a single owner limits himself with his own training and experience. Any new ideas and ventures must come from himself, and without any input from other owners or managers that other businesses may have.

5. Building your best team
The act of recruiting is a looming challenge that deserves a closer look because learning to identity the right candidate based on a balance of experience and the culture you want to create at your company is a lot tougher than you might think. Like so many aspects of being a sole proprietor, it takes patience. You will make mistakes and then you have to learn how to fire people without the dynamic of “good cop, bad cop” to fall back on.

Successful recruiting and building the right culture simply takes practice. Plus, remember: There’s no shame in admitting you were wrong. It doesn’t make you weak, but it will gain you more trust and respect from the team.



November 6, 2017 StartupGuy0

Most first time entrepreneurs are in love with their idea.

They feel it’s completely cool and that it’s going to change the world. This is partly because all they do all day long is think about their idea and how they can implement it.

They get completely obsessed about it and their world starts revolving around it. When they compare it with existing ideas, they invariably find that theirs is far superior – just like every mother feels her child is the best looking child in the world.

When they get ready to implement it in real life, they find they need money to convert their idea into action. They approach investors, and naively expect them to be as enthusiastic about their idea as they are.

They are sure that funders will get excited about how cool and innovative their idea is, and will line up to fund the idea. They get extremely disheartened and disappointed when investors don’t seem to hold their idea in the same high regard they do.

They get frustrated when it seems that no financier is the startup space appreciates how valuable their idea is. They start thinking of themselves as the persecuted genius whose brilliance society has one again failed to recognize. They complain loudly and frequently about how unsupportive and short-sighted SAn funders are, because they fail to understand the brilliance of what they are proposing.

This creates a big chasm between funders and founders, and we need to bridge this gap. The only way to do this is by understanding each other’s worldviews.

Founders need to learn to put themselves in the investor’s shoes. The truth is that investors are flooded by new pitches daily, which is why a lot of investors start feeling that ideas are a dime a dozen.

Most entrepreneurs have very little real life experience, and grossly underestimate the difficulties which they will encounter in running a startup. They have spent so much time in polishing their idea, that they think of it like a diamond.

They believe that everyone should be dazzled by its brilliance, and should be happy to throw money at them so they can bring it to fruition.

They can’t believe why investors are being so dumb – can’t they recognise the next Steve Jobs ? Don’t they see that this idea is going to help them invest in the next unicorn ? They believe that since their idea is so great, how hard would it be to implement it in real life , once they had the money which they required?

It’s not as if investors don’t value ideas – it’s just that we have learned the hard way that an idea by itself is worth very little. We know that the devil is in the details, and while it’s great to admire creative ideas when you read about them in a book, only someone who has actually slogged through running a startup understands how much blood, sweat, and tears need to be invested in order to make that dream come true.

This is the real challenge – to persevere and remain undefeated, no matter how many road blocks you encounter. Investors are very worried that most founders are not mature enough of handling these challenges.

Forcing entrepreneurs to pitch to many funders is actually a great screening tool in the startup ecosystem. An entrepreneur who gives up just because he can’t raise funding from the first few investors he pitches to is very likely not to be able to do a good job running a startup.

If he can’t handle rejections from investors, then he should accept the fact that he is not suited for the startup space.

Many founders shoot themselves in the foot because they are so secretive and paranoid about their ideas. They refuse to share it with others, as a result of which they don’t get high quality feedback. Most of the responses they get are from friends and family, who are obviously going to be very supportive, and say, “Yes, it’s a great idea! Anyone will be happy to fund it !” It’s only when they go out into the investor community do they realize how little an idea is worth.

This is why you need to be open, and start sharing your ideas, instead of hoarding them, so you can use the feedback you get it polish and improve it, so it becomes fundable.

Mature founders learn from the feedback they get from investors. No feedback at all is actually a loud message that they’re not excited by what you’re saying.

This maybe because they’ve heard it before, or because they think what you’re saying is not practical; or that it requires too much money; or they don’t think you have the capability of being able to pull this off. Now it’s up to you to prove them wrong!



May 13, 2017 StartupGuy0

They are selfless lovers who give unconditional love to anyone willing to receive it without any limits. They submit willingly to the ones they love without being ordered to do so.

They sacrifice a lot for the better good of their family, loved ones and children – they sacrifice their dreams, life desires and time because they know that their sacrifices are better needed elsewhere and their sacrifices will be later appreciated.

They’re fighters – not physically but emotionally and mentally, anyone who messes with their families messes with them. They will smile at the world but make no mistake – they hold a dagger in their hearts for anyone who wants to fight with them.

But they’re also peacemakers – I mean they should be awarded the UN awards for peacemakers or the Nobel Peace Prize. They always have an answer for everything and know how to resolve household issues without being appointed a position.

They’re born hustlers and leaders, they stop at nothing in trying to provide for their families – even if they have no money but they never lack the resources or ideas of where to get it. They will even sell their souls to the devil if forced by circumstances to do so or find something to trade so that they can provide.

Let’s not forget that they are natural givers – no school can ever teach them the art of giving because it comes naturally. They give love, time, patience and wisdom naturally and they never complain about it, Oh! How selfless is that.

They’re great negotiators, if one ever needs someone to confer with the opposite party for a win-win solution then look no further.

Often their capabilities are undermined just because they’re born with a different gender that is classified by society as too soft, too emotional, easily forgiving and too gullible to lead but on the contrary without them – there wouldn’t be the great men and women leaders, business persons and builders we have now in the world. Even after these misconceptions, they never show weakness – they only show their strong sides but in the darkness – sadness befalls.

That’s why every men, women and child sings them praises – it’s because we need their nurturing, kind and loving touch and that’s why God made them a man’s second-in-command, not because they are second best but because they play important roles in every men and women’s lives and they manifest God’s endless love.

They are Mothers.

So to all mothers in SA, Africa and around the world.

Happy Mother’s Day

 



May 5, 2017 StartupGuy0

Startup Magazine and StarupApp – a one-stop shop for Startups, Entrepreneurs and Self-Starters has always been about YOU.

We are after all a collective group of startups and self starters doing our own thing, facing up to startup and business barriers and challenges, captaining our own ships, shaping our own futures and making a damn good go at starting, sustaining and scaling our big (and small!) business empires.

With all this experience, success, failure, blood, sweat…and tears comes a wealth of knowledge and understanding – knowledge and understanding that only comes from starting, sustaining and scaling our own business ventures.

And this is where you come in!
Do you love writing and sharing your top tips, advice, and experience, but just don’t have the time to sustain a blog or website where you can do just that? Or would you simply like to pass on the value of your wisdom and experience to other entrepreneurs?

We are now doing a direct call to action for you to get involved in StartupApp and Startup Magazine – by writing some content, sharing your advice or tips, and passing it on to the rest of the Startup, Entrepreneur and Self Starter community on Startup Magazine & App itself.

We are keen to get startup and business themed contributions on subjects such as:
• Coming up with that Big Idea, Business Planning and Developing your Revenue Model
• How best to do Business Development, How to Create Brand Awareness, How to Create a Sales Pipeline
• Creating Business Structure
• Business Practicals – The Legals, The Finance, Intellectual Property, TradeMarks, Recruitment, and so forth…
• Growth Hacking, Growth Hacking Tools
• Observations and Advice on Starting a business in the town or city where you live
• Expert Advice on Creating a brand, Designing a Logo, Building a Website
• Specialist knowledge and observations on growing Startup sectors such as FinTech, MadTech, EdTech, MedTech, GovTech – you get the jist!
• And anything else you think that our audience of Startups, Entrepreneurs and Self Starters should know and care about!

So if you’d like to write a post for StartupApp and Startup Magazine – here are all the the rules ‘n things…
• You’ll have to be part of the Startup Magazine community – if you’re not one already, simply click here to join for free
• All articles / pieces of content must be original i.e. not published anywhere else
• Articles should be ideally be between 500 – 1000 words max
• Right now, we can’t unfortunately offer any financial remuneration for your work, but we can offer you a platform to showcase your experience, knowledge and even highlight your own business happenings, Venture or Startup (without being too self promotional of course).
• We will retain editorial control and reserve the right to decide what we publish
• We won’t edit your content, but will advise (nicely of course) if we think any changes are needed
• This is not an opportunity for brands to pitch their products / services to our community. If you want to work with us and the Startup Magazine community in that regard we offer plenty of other options. You can learn about them here.

If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved with, then simply email Amanda to hello@startupmagazine.co.za detailing your member profile details, and what type of knowledge or expertise you would like to share.

We’re all ears – we can’t wait to hear and read what you good folk have to say. Of course you can also take a look over some of the current tips and insight posts we have on Startup Magazine and StartupApp too for a little inspiration too.