Archive | March 2012

Weekly Digest #2 – More Golden Resources for Startup Entreprenuers

A few weeks ago we published our first Weekly Digest post titled – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources. While the posts haven’t been published weekly, we hope you can enjoy the latest installment (albeit a month late)….

The below are some super online resources we have discovered on our quest for knowledge.

1. Useful Resources

The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo – When you enter the realm of startups you discover the massive amount of terminology being thrown around. Check out this mini startup glossary.

Guide To Writing A Business Plan – We have been investigating the differences of Business Model v Business Plan. Whatever tool you use to plan – when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This link provides a easy reference guide to help with your planning.

Build-your-own-website service Wix.com adds HTML5 support – Need a professional and impressive looking online presence today? WIX is a easy to use web builder to create flash websites. They announced this week that they now support HTML 5.

100 Ivy League Business & Entrepreneurship Courses You Can Take for Free – If you are thinking about going back to university, you may think again after checking out these free online courses. Numerous courses from Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting to Competition in Telecommunications.

BrightHub – The Entrepreneurship Channel – A great archive of ‘how to’ articles on starting and running your own business.

2. Inspirational Speakers

10 TED Talks for Entrepreneurs & The Educated Entrepreneur’s Blog – TED are known for their high quality and inspiring speaking sessions. Usually they focus on health, science and medicine. In this link they have picked out their best talks for Entrepreneurs. Some great videos available.

Imagine’ That: Fostering Creativity In The Workplace – This podcast talks about the science behind creativity and innovative thought. Jonah Lehrer, author of ‘Imagine How Creativity Works’ shares what triggers innovative thinking.

3. Smart Bloggers

The following requires it’s very own blog post as it is truly interesting topic. If you want to know more about the ‘Lean Startup’ movement then check out the two blogs below.

Market By Numbers – Brant Cooper

Startup Up Lessons Learned – Eric Ries

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Mackerel – Sneek Peek of Prototype

Project Mackerel is our planned online portal to help job seekers impress in interviews. After many late nights our early prototype is almost ready for initial feedback.

More info to follow very soon. If you are interested in participating in any testing please drop us a line.

We briefly mentioned the project in these earlier posts:
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers (Follow Up)

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You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #2

Update: Visit our official Startup Glossary page for all Startup Dictionary updates.

A few days ago we posted on our intentions to put together a startup dictionary or glossary to explain some of the common terms being thrown around the place.

Well here it is! Below is the first draft. Obviously many more words to add. If you have any suggestions or corrections then please drop us a line.

+ A +

Agile

“Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle. The Agile Manifesto introduced the term in 2001.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Not to be confused with the adjective:

“Able to move quickly and easily: “as agile as a monkey”; “an agile mind”.” (Source: Google Define)

There is plenty of debate and argument about the mis-use of the term ‘agile’. It should only be used in it’s proper context to avoid argument.

Angel Investor

“An angel is a wealthy individual willing to invest in a company at its earlier stages in exchange for an ownership stake, often in the form of preferred stock or convertible debt. Angels are considered one of the oldest sources of capital for start-up entrepreneurs.” (Source: WSJ)

+ B +

Burn Rate

“The rate at which a new company uses up its venture capital to finance overhead before generating positive cash flow from operations. In other words, it’s a measure of negative cash flow.” (Source: Investopedia)

When your burn rate increases or revenue falls it is typically time to make decisions on expenses (eg reduce staff).

Bootstrapping

“Bootstrapping or booting refers to a group of metaphors that share a common meaning: a self-sustaining process that proceeds without external help.” (Source: Wikipedia)

The meaning will vary depending on context. Bootstrapping in computing and software development, varies slightly to bootstrapping in business. The commonality is the characteristics of ‘self-sustainability’ and creating something that can be ‘grown’.

Bootstrap Startup

“Bootstrapping involves launching a business on a low budget. Practically this means that you’ll outsource (most likely off-shore) your design and development, you‚’ll rent your servers, you won‚’t have an office and you’ll have no salary. Prior to launch, the only expensive professional services which you’ll buy will be your legal advice and accountancy services. Everything else, you’ll have to pick up yourself and learn as you go along.” (Source: RWW)

An Example of 3 Stages of a Bootstrap (Source: Ash Maurya):

1. Ideation (Demo)
2. Valley of Death (Sell)
3. Growth (Build)

Note that a bootstrap and lean startup have differences and bootstrapping does not mean spending any money.

“Bootstrapping and Lean Startups are quite complementary. Both cover techniques for building low-burn startups by eliminating waste through the maximization of existing resources first before expending effort on the acquisition of new or external resources. While bootstrapping provides a strategic roadmap for achieving sustainability through customer funding (i.e. charging customers), lean startups provide a more tactical approach to achieving those goals through validated learning.” (Source: Ash Maurya)

Business Plan

“A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business.” (Source: Business Link)

A business plan is a static operational document to how your business will run.

Business Model

“The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management template for developing new or documenting existing business models. It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances[1]. It assists firms in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.” (Source: Wikipedia)

A business model is a dynamic document that describes how your company creates, delivers and captures value.

The 9 Business Model Canvas Building Blocks (Source: Business Model Generation):

1. Customer Segments
2. Value Propositions
3. Channels
4. Customer Relationships
5. Revenue Streams
6. Key Resources
7. Key Activities
8. Key Partnerships
9. Cost Structure

+ C +

Customer Development Model

“The ‘traditional’ way to approaching business is the Product Development Model. It starts with a product idea followed by months of building to deliver it to the public.” (Source: Find The Tech Guy)

However the Customer Development Model begins by talking to prospective customers and developing something they are interested in purchasing/using. These concepts are promoted strongly by Steve Blank and Eric Ries who encourage startups to get early and frequent customer feedback before developing their products too far (in the wrong direction).

The four steps to the model (Source: Find The Tech Guy):
1. Customer Discovery
2. Customer Validation
3. Customer Creation
4. Company Building

+ D +

Disruption

“An innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.” (Source: Wikipedia)

The term ‘disruptive technologies’ was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and articulated in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma.

The term ‘disruption’ is now often used by startups to describe any product or idea that may change existing markets or products (planned or unplanned). However to be used correctly it should link to Christensen’s original theory. The confusion is best explained here.

An example is the disruption Wikipedia caused to the Encyclopedia market.

+ E +

Elevator Pitch

“An elevator pitch is a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator.” (Source: Business Know How)

Being able to pitch your idea is crucial for entrepreneurs and valuable in any formal or informal networking situation. It allows you to quickly describe your concept to anyone in a short period of time, including potential partners or investors.

Entrepreneur

“An entrepreneur is an individual who accepts financial risks and undertakes new financial ventures. The word derives from the French “entre” (to enter) and “prendre” (to take), and in a general sense applies to any person starting a new project or trying a new opportunity.” (Source: wiseGEEK)

Equity

“In finance, equity is ownership in any asset after all debts associated with that asset are paid off.” (Source: Investopedia)

Equity = Assets minus Liabilities

In terms of startup, it is commonly used to describe a business giving up a percentage of ownership in exchange for cash. An equity investor is then entitled to share in any future profits and/or sale of business assets (after debts are paid off).

+ I +

Incubator

“Business incubators are projects designed to help new businesses develop and successfully launch. In some instances, the projects are overseen by colleges or universities and are based in facilities located on campus.” (Source: wiseGEEK)

In technology circles YC or Y Combinator is probably the most well known incubator.

“In 2005, Y Combinator developed a new model of startup funding. Twice a year we invest a small amount of money (average $18k) in a large number of startups (most recently 65).” (Source: Y Combinator)

Intraprenuer

“Coined in the 1980s by management consultant Gifford Pinchot, intrapreneurs are used by companies that are in great need of new, innovative ideas. Today, instead of waiting until the company is in a bind, most companies try to create an environment where employees are free to explore ideas. If the idea looks profitable, the person behind it is given an opportunity to become an intrapreneur.” (Source: Investopedia)

‘Intrapreneurs’ hold many similar characteristics to ‘Entrepreneurs’ any may well leave their jobs to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. Companies seek out intrapreneurs to effect change within their organisations.

+ L +

Lean

Also referred to as: lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, lean production.

“The core idea is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.” (Source: Lean Enterprise Institute)

The definitions and usage of ‘lean’ vary depending on context and application. The origin of the word in business can be linked back to the 90’s.

“Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS)”. (Source: Wikipedia)

The key focus is around the reduction of waste whiling focusing on delivering value to the customer.

Lean Startup

“Lean startup is a term coined and trade marked by Eric Ries. His method advocates the creation of rapid prototypes designed to test market assumptions, and uses customer feedback to evolve them much faster than via more traditional product development practices, such as the Waterfall model. It is not uncommon to see Lean Startups release new code to production multiple times a day, often using a practice known as Continuous Deployment.” (Source: Wikipedia)

You should note the slight differences between lean and bootstrapping.

“Bootstrapping provides a strategic roadmap for achieving sustainability through customer funding (i.e. charging customers), lean startups provide a more tactical approach to achieving those goals through validated learning.” (Source: Ash Maurya)

An Example of 3 Stages of a Lean Startup (Source: Ash Maurya):

1. Customer Discover (Problem/Solution Fit)
2. Customer Validation (Product/Market Fit)
3. Customer Creation (Scale)

Note that a bootstrap and lean startup have differences and bootstrapping does not mean spending any money.

+ N +

Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

“A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, is a legal contract between you and another party not to disclose information that you have shared for a specific purpose.” (Source: Business Link)

Such agreements are used to discourage employees and/or business contracts from not releasing sensitive information to others. It is important that you consult with a legal adviser about the content scope of such a document.

+ P +

Pivot

“It means to change direction. More specifically, to make a structured course correction with a business idea, and then to test a new hypothesis or new business model to see if it works better.” (Source: Beat the GMAT)

Companies usually pivot when their current idea is not working or has lost momentum. However you may pivot when you have launched an early version of your product/idea (protype) and it needs improvement.

Eric Ries suggests “designing products with the smallest set of features to please a customer base, and moving products into the marketplace quickly to test reaction, then iterating. (Source: Forbes)

+ V +

Venture Capital (VC)

“Venture capital provides long-term, committed share capital to help unquoted companies grow and succeed. Obtaining venture capital is very different from raising a loan. Lenders have a legal right to interest on a loan and repayment of the capital, irrespective of your success or failure. Venture capital is invested in exchange for a stake in your company and, as shareholders, the investors’ returns are dependent upon the growth and profitability of your business.” (Source: Startups)

There are differing views on taking funding from Venture Capital investors. Some argue that the involvement of VC in early startups reduces the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit and changes the direction of the company due to the overhanging financial commitment.

“Venture capital firms are only interested in companies with high growth prospects that are managed by experienced and ambitious teams who are capable of turning their business plan into a reality.” (Source: Startups)

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The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo

UPDATE: Follow up post is now available here.

—-

When you enter the realm of startups you discover the massive amount of terminology being thrown around. This is even more so in technology where acronyms and techno-slang are commonplace. Therefore we have decided to compile a short list of common words to help out.

If you don’t know an Angel from a Incubator, or a lean startup from a bootstrap, then these postings will probably help.

If you have some suggestions or corrections then drop us a line. As always we love to hear from you guys.

We will elaborate on the below in later posts.

Current work in progress:

Agile
Angel
Burn Rate
Bootstrap
Business Plan
Business Model
Customer Development Model
Disruption
Elevator Pitch
Entrepreneur
Equity
Incubator
Intraprenuer
Lean Startup
Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
Pivot
Venture Capital (VC)

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Blog Milestone – 30th Post – What it means? (Mostly nothing)

+ Thirty Posts

We recently posted our 30th entry to this web blog. Our article on ‘The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)’ grabbed little attention however continued to be an outlet for sharing our random ramblings. We have learned a lot since our first post.

+ Super Resources

We have found and shared super resources from leading university lecturers to humble serial entreprenuers, from established online brands to early startup bloggers. It is surprising how many brilliant bits of information exist. It means that it is difficult to make excuses for not building something ‘special’.

+ Traffic Remains Low

Thirty posts in we are finding it a lot harder than expected to attract traffic and start having some meaningful discussions.

Our ‘Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Updates’ (last update) summarised our surprise at the ineffectiveness of Twitter and other Social Media tools in directing traffic to the blog. It is apparent that converting tweets and blog posts to something takes dedication and probably ‘offline’ promotion (eg TV, radio).

+ What’s next?

We will continue sharing our findings on biz startups, social media and new technology. With time we hope to build a more interactive blog and forge some new relationships with our readers. We also hope to release the first protype of our bootstrap startup idea for testing (Project Mackerel.

+ Still Here?

If you’re still reading this, then please drop us a line via the various social media devices. We love feedback and appreciate your comments.

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You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)

In these tough economic times big business continues to be blamed for causing the financial crisis or of not doing enough to secure jobs. Any board member or senior executive is in the firing line of public abuse for any kind of financial reward.

The Government has joined the media in ridiculing and criticising firms for their lavish treatment of staff. Banks have been the main targets of scrutiny, grouped into one bucket regardless of division, role or responsibility. Your friendly branch teller on a measly salary is as guilty as the CEO who is paid a lot better.

We are not suggesting that these organisations are totally innocent. Yes, many acted with greed and carelessness that wiped millions from balance sheets. However one must consider the important role business, including banks play in helping the economy recover and making some positive contributions to society. Also remember that not everyone within these organisations is evil.

The strange thing is the microscopic analysis of senior executive pay. This has always been a sensitive pain point for everyone who isn’t earning 6 or 7 figures. Newspapers love publishing catchy headlines to stir up reader emotion. But… should business people not be rewarded for their effort and contributions to business? Why don’t people blink an eyelid about sport stars and celebrity pay packets?

The rather simplistic table below compares two of the highest paid in their respective fields. Footballer versus banker – who is most deserving?

   
Category Football Banking
Player Cristiano Ronaldo Jamie Dimon
Age 1985 (27) 1956 (56)
Occupation Forward Chairman, President and CEO
Team Real Madrid JP Morgan Chase & Co
Time in Job 2009-Present 2004-Present
Salary $38million $23million
Employees <10 c. 260,000
Performance in Current Role 89 Appearances, 98 Goals Q4-2011: Net Revenue $22,198m, EPS$0.90
Q4-2005: Net Revenue $14,955m, EPS$0.73
Career Highlights Various including Portuguese Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Player of the Year Avoided Credit Crunch, Maintained Share Price

Sources:
Highest Paid Football Players
Highest Paid Bank CEOs (America)
Cristiano Ronaldo
Jamie Dilon
JP Morgan Chase
JP Morgan Chase Earnings

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You might also enjoy:
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Technorati – Does the verification process work? (Yes it does!)

Earlier in the week we wrote about our experience with registering the blog with Technorati (See this post).

We are proud to announce that our verification application was successful! This means we are one of the many thousands of blogs listed in their database. Our current stats are shown below. While not fantastic, we will continue to track our performance over time.

Our profile is available here:
Technorati Profile

Technorati Stats:

Technorati Authority: 100
Rank: 37679

Business Authority: 80
Rank: 3449

Small Business Authority: 80
Rank: 1486

Technology Authority: 1
Rank: 12500

Finance Authority: 1
Rank: 1851

Info Tech Authority: 1
Rank: 6992

Gadgets Authority: 1
Rank: 4371

—-

Technorati Code: xxxx

This post is not entirely inline with the ‘genre’ of the blog however we have been slowly registering the blog on various social media sites. We are working through the Technorati verification process that requires you to publish a blog post that contains your unique Technorati code (as above).

You need to prove that you are the owner of the blog. The process makes sense however an earlier attempt didn’t seem to work. Fingers crossed this time it works!

What is Technorati we hear you ask?

According to Wikipedia:

Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. By June 2008, Technorati was indexing 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. The name Technorati is a blend of the words technology and literati, which invokes the notion of technological intelligence or intellectualism.”

We will post back at a later date to share our Technorati experiences. In the interim you can refer to our earlier post that outlined our recent findings on Twitter and StumbleUpon (in summary we are not impressed by the results):

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2

Peace out!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Technorati – Does the verification process work?

Technorati Code: SP3Q79DVZB7M

This post is not entirely inline with the ‘genre’ of the blog however we have been slowly registering the blog on various social media sites. We are working through the Technorati verification process that requires you to publish a blog post that contains your unique Technorati code (as above).

You need to prove that you are the owner of the blog. The process makes sense however an earlier attempt didn’t seem to work. Fingers crossed this time it works!

What is Technorati we hear you ask?

According to Wikipedia:

Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs. By June 2008, Technorati was indexing 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. The name Technorati is a blend of the words technology and literati, which invokes the notion of technological intelligence or intellectualism.”

We will post back at a later date to share our Technorati experiences. In the interim you can refer to our earlier post that outlined our recent findings on Twitter and StumbleUpon (in summary we are not impressed by the results):

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2

Peace out!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2

Project Trout continues measuring the effectiveness of various online promotion methods as mentioned in earlier posts (Social Media Experiment #1).

The results from the last few weeks are disappointing. Especially the ineffectiveness of Twitter in driving traffic.

Updated findings:

+ Online interactions don’t always equate to anything of value.

The experts advise you to interact with other blogs and online mediums. This may constitute following another blog or leaving a friendly comment. The few interactions that gather a response back typically result in limited or no value (eg link back to your blog).

+ Efforts for attention still result in zero effect.

Promoting yourself on social media sites means competing against millions of others, even in your chosen niche. Breaking out and getting noticed is tough. Getting noticed by the right audience is even tougher.

+ Activity on Twitter doesn’t necessary drive traffic to your blog.

In an effort to interact and thank our faithful Twitter followers we sent direct messages to new joiners (including a link to our blog). We even tweeted our thanks publicly (mentioning new joiners). In the first week drove 1% of followers to our blog. This conversion rate feels awfully low, especially for those who have made the effort to ‘click’ follow.

+ Traffic doesn’t necessary equal value.

The ‘Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February‘ post gained significant interest from StumbleUpon. The problem with StumbleUpon is that users ‘stumble’ through website and therefore do not stay long on your site and do not visit other parts. This makes their visit meaningless in terms of value. (Example).

We have summarised the activities below. We hope our planned activities and patience will pay off.

Week 7:
Current focus is Twitter and WordPress blog. Google Plus has been neglected for now as difficult to gain a large following as a ‘page’ rather than a ‘user’.
Twitter: 42 Tweets, 300 Following, 92 Followers
Blog: 20 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 8:
Twitter: 56 Tweets, 300 Following, 100 Followers
StumbleUpon: Registered account and added recent posts to profile. Automatic pingback generated false spike in traffic.
Blog: 22 posts now available. Traffic still remains low.

Week 9:
Twitter: 70 Tweets, 450 Following, 125 Followers
StumbleUpon: Big spike in traffic over two days from SU however traffic falls back down to normal levels.
Technorati: Registered account. Awaiting application to be approved.
Blog: 25 posts now available. About page updated. Traffic still remains low.

Week 10:
Twitter: 82 Tweets, 440 Following, 162 Followers

Planned Activities:
Continue with Twitter activity and better blog content.

Current Links:
Wordpress: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/sparkNlaunch
Google+: plus.google.com/sparkNlaunch/
RSS: sparkNlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/
StumbleUpon: stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch

.

You might also enjoy:
+ Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
+ Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Another Way To Plan – The Business Model v Business Plan

We noted in an earlier post about discovering a great source of business and entrepeneurial podcasts from Standford (Post: Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources). They kindly share a long list of inspirational and insightful lectures you can download and enjoy.

One session worth sharing was presented by Alexander Osterwalder. Osterwalder talks about the ‘Business Model Canvas’. A strategic management template for developing new or existing business models.

In layman’s terms, Osterwalder presents a simple and powerful device to explore and explain your business. It may be used to help build your business plan or even replace it. To distinguish between the two:

– A business model (dynamic) describes how your company creates, delivers and captures value (Source).

– A business plan (static) is an operational document to how your business will run.

Ultimately, the benefit of a business model is speed and story telling. It allows you to test your idea before moving too far down the formal planning route. It presents an alternative and flexible start to the planning process.

We have summarised the key elements of Osterwalder’s business model canvas below however the links at the bottom of this post will help you the most. Have you used a business model approach? Please share your experiences with us.

Summary:

The 9 Business Model Canvas Building Blocks:

1. Customer Segments
2. Value Propositions
3. Channels
4. Customer Relationships
5. Revenue Streams
6. Key Resources
7. Key Activities
8. Key Partnerships
9. Cost Structure

Links:

Learn more about business models:
http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/

Learn from business model practitioners:
http://businessmodelhub.com/

Download the business model canvas:
http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/business_model_canvas_poster.pdf

Gain more information on the business model concept from this book preview:
http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/book

Listen to the Osterwalder podcast to hear more from the brains behind the concept:
http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2862

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Who Are We? About Us Page Updated in FAQ Format

Following the sensible guidance of our friends at WordPress we have now updated our “About” section of the blog. This attempts to share our vision and connect with our readers (that’s you). We have styled this about page into a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to try and keep things simple.

Obviously if you want to find out more click on the various social media links to get in contact. We love to hear from others (that’s you, again).

We have also added a header image to make the blog a little more visual. Drop us a response if you like or do not like. For now, here is our low down on the blog:

Q. What’s this blog about?

A. The Spark ‘n’ Launch blog grew out of the desire to record the learning journey of a budding entrepreneur. The web offers so much insightful and powerful knowledge it seemed crucial to capture these articles, videos and podcasts somewhere. Therefore this blog is our notebook or scratch pad we hope others with a similar passion and interest will benefit from.

Q. Why the rocket fetish?

A. The rocket analogy (in our name and logo) makes reference the exploration of an idea from an initial spark or brainwave, to actually delivering or launching that idea into something real.

Q. Anything else?

A. We hope you enjoy the rambling of a startup dreamer… sharing ideas and thoughts on business, startups, entrepreneurs and new technology.

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources

This week we found numerous great resources that we couldn’t wait to share with our readers! There is an endless supply of good information out there. Finding the really great articles is the tough job. We hope some of the links below can help narrow the search for you. Drop us a line if you wish to add to this list.

1. Podcasts

These links follow on from our earlier post on the benefits of learning from others (Post: Podcasts – Hearing and Learning From Others).

170: TZ Interview – Paul Paetz / Innovative Disruption – An intriguing interview with Paul Paetz, CEO and Principal Disruption Consultant at Innovative Disruption. The podcast talks about disrupting the market and making a difference. There is a good discussion of why the Apple iPod succeeded when so many other mp3 players already existed.

Standford’s Entreprenership Corner – Numerous podcasts available on many topics. Speakers come from organisations such as LinkedIn, 37signals, Zynga.

2. Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon is a great tool/application for viewing websites relevant to your interests. With the click of a button you can literally ‘stumble’ through articles associated to your chosen interests.

Visit the Entrepreneurship section of the StumbleUpon website for more.

The following are some of the great article we found:

Startup Advice: How Entrepeneurs Gain Credibility – Focuses on the challenge of new startups in gaining funding.

10 Must Read Blogs for Entrepreneurs (2012 Edition) – Links to some super entrepreneurial blogs. Unfortunately we don’t feature on the list *cry*

How to Build a Membership Site in 48 Hours – A case study in what can be achieved in 48 hours.

Best 101 Entrepreneurship Quotes Ever – We have been tweeting the occasional inspirational quote lately. Here is a collection of some really good ones.

How Do I Create a Business Plan? – Another ‘how to create a business plan’ article. Life Hacker provide some shortcuts. Relevant to our earlier post on (Business Plans).

Lead, Follow or Get the Fuck Out of the Way – Mark Suster sharing his views on leadership with a nice feature image of David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

How We Made Our Millions – 40 things we learnt – Some important tips taken from a BBC documentary featuring Dragon Peter Jones.

Enjoy!

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

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