Tag Archive | finance

Analysis – Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe

Good News for Crowd Funding and Startup Financing

In November 2012 we published an article titled “Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe“. The post described Kickstarter, the well known crowd funding platform, entering the UK market.

In October 2012 Kickstarter opened it’s doors to projects in the UK. This was a remarkable event as at the time, as crowd funding was just coming into the forefront for entrepreneurs to gain financing (in the shadows of a depressed economy). This was fantastic news Kickstarter is available to projects in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Something Strange

The strange part was that this one post has attracted the highest volume of traffic, almost 5,000 views since it was published. And we don’t know why?!

The bulk of site visitors are from the US, then way back are UK visitors.

On keywords, it does seem that the combination of “kickstarter” and “europe” are popular:

kickstarter europe (434)
kickstarter in europe (53)
kickstarter for europe (5)
european kickstarter (15)
kickstarter from europe (13)
kick starter europe (12)
kickstarter europe alternative (12)

One thought may be that very few articles write about Kickstarter in Europe. Rather they write about “Kickstarter in the UK”. Hence our post has scored a high Google page rank and we can maintain this traffic (for now).

SEO

We guess we will leave this for the SEO experts to analyse. For now, thanks for visiting our site!

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #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.

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Startup Funding: I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea

quora_question_answer_funding_startups

Hi, I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea

Recently on Quora a bright eyed kid asked for some advice.

Like most youngsters they had come up with a great product idea. A simple idea that could solve a common problem. They asked:

“Q. I’m a 15 year old with an amazing product idea. Should I ask for funding?”

“I feel like I have a stellar idea that everyone will benefit from, but I don’t have a lot of the skills needed to make the software. Should I go to a local firm and pitch my idea so I can receive support and/or hire a contractor or two to help me write the code, or am I being too ambitious?”

We are not given too much more information but on the surface this looks admirable. You have to admire the kid’s ambition. Certainly easy money may be available, especially to motivated young people. However it all feels too soon to be knocking up investors for cash.

We suggest: “Build it first, then ask for money.”

Build It First, Then Ask For Money

We think the key here is to build evidence demonstrating the idea is actually a good one. Good in the sense it is commercially viable to put money into. Or simply will this product idea create value.

Start by validating your idea. Ask family, friends, teachers, acquaintances and potential customers if they would buy or use the product.

Then look at building a prototype or minimum viable product. First prove to yourself that the product is worth pursuing. Then worry about funding.

No one is going to throw money at you until you can demonstrate – i) you have taken time and effort to think about the idea; ii) you have gone out and validated the idea; and iii) you have drawn out a plan for getting the idea to market.

They may however throw some money at you when you’ve proved you are truly interested in taking the concept forward. And don’t forget, those friends and family you speak to early on, may well offer to help out – with money or their time!

Closing Point

The one benefit of being young is that many adults are likely to give you a moment of their time. Therefore if you can put together a strong plan and proposal – the money, or at least the good (free) advice will follow.

If your 15 with an amazing idea. Drop us a line. We’d love to hear your story.

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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.

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Crowdsurfing: Alternatives to Kickstarter

kickstarter_crowdfunding_financing

tl;dr Crowdsurfing platform Kickstarter successfully launched in the UK in late 2012. Similar platforms continue to appear. We list some of alternatives to Kickstarter.

Kickstarted

In November 2012 we wrote that Kickstarter had landed in Europe by extending it’s operations to the UK. In the first month jsut over £2million was pledged and over 400 projects launched. Super activity for the well known crowdfunding platform and a strong signal for the appetite outside of the US.

With crowdfunding proving such a hot bed for creativity and successful backing, copycats are always going to follow. Today we look at some competitors in the market.

Alternatives to Kickstarter UK

Not eligible for Kickstarter or looking for other similar platforms. Check out the following links:

+ ArtistShare – ArtistShare is a platform that connects creative artists with fans in order to share the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works.
+ ArtistShare – Fundable is a crowdfunding platform that offers both rewards-based and equity-based campaigns for small businesses.
+ We Did This – The UK’s leading arts crowdfunding platform, dedicated to making great fan-funded art happen.
+ Seedrs – Seedrs makes investing in startups simple and rewarding.
+ We Fund – The first crowd-funding platform to emerge in the UK, focusing on creativity in all forms. They help people find (paying) audiences for their work.
+ Crowd Funder – Fund and follow creative projects and inspirational ideas.
+ Sponsume – Small stakes in big ideas.
+ Please Fund Us – Crowdfunding creativity.
+ Crowd Cube – Raise business finance through the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform.

Do you have any further suggestions or experience with any of the above? Drop us a line.

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #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.

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe

Crowdfunding UK

On 31 October 2012 Kickstarter launched it’s operations in the UK. There are already more than 1,500 applications kicking about.

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website for creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse mixture of arts projects including indie films, music, stage shows and comics to journalism, video games and food-related projects. Individuals “back” projects in exchange for a tangible reward or one-of-a-kind experience.

The platform has helped many US based projects get off the ground. In the past, several technology based projects were well over subscribed, raising millions of dollars from backers. This spurred Kickstarter to clamp down on the rules to avoid pitches misleading users with false claims. Nevertheless, the platform remains a powerful and exciting method of funding.

Is it worth it?

Kickstarter will charge a 5% fee to successfully funded projects and no fee to unsuccessfully funded projects in the UK. Payment processing fees are:

+ Pledges of £10 or greater are charged 3% + £0.20
+ Pledges less than £10 are charged a discounted micropledge fee of 5% + £0.05
+ If a project is not successfully funded, there are no fees.

These charges are pretty good considering the wide reach of the platform and access to funding many projects wouldn’t normally have.

Getting Started

A great place to start is the Kickstarter website. Kickstarter offers plenty of advice and guidance on their website.

The Income Diary has published the Ultimate Guide: How to Make a Successful Kickstarter Campaign. Some key tips are:

+ First determine if your project is eligible for Kickstarter
+ Begin early
+ Check out past and present projects to get an idea for style and content
+ Use an eye catching project image and project title
+ Choose your funding goal
+ Set a project deadline
+ Select your campaign rewards for backers
+ Make a personalised and effective project video and description
+ Make regular updates
+ Prepare for launch

Kickstarter UK has opened the door for creative and existing projects to get off the ground. Good luck to those new applicants. Who will be the first to raise over £1 million?

Alternatives to Kickstarter UK

Not eligible for Kickstarter or looking for other similar platforms. Check out the following links:

+ We Did This – The UK’s leading arts crowdfunding platform, dedicated to making great fan-funded art happen.
+ Seedrs – Seedrs makes investing in startups simple and rewarding.
+ We Fund – The first crowd-funding platform to emerge in the UK, focusing on creativity in all forms. They help people find (paying) audiences for their work.
+ Crowd Funder – Fund and follow creative projects and inspirational ideas.
+ Sponsume – Small stakes in big ideas.
+ Please Fund Us – Crowdfunding creativity.
+ Crowd Cube – Raise business finance through the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform.

No more excuses. There are now many ways to raise cash for your next project or startup.

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #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.

Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions

crowd funding kickstarter startup financing

Update: Ouya raised $8,596,475 from 63,416 backers!

tl;dr Video project breaks funding record on crowdfunding site. Raises over $8 million, well over their goal of $950,000. What does this mean for the future of startup funding?

Breaking Crowdfunding Records

In July we wrote about a video project breaking funding records on crowdfunding site, Kickstarter.

A month ago Ouya listed on Kickstarter and within 8 hours achieved a million dollars of funding. In 24 hours they had reached $2.5 million. Their listing closes Thursday and they currently sit on just over $7 million. An amazing achievement considering their original funding goal was only $950,000. So either they underestimated their project or backers have overestimated the value. Either way this is a truly impressive result.

As we write 54,528 backers have pledged $7,262,319 to help Ouya. While this won’t break the record set by Pebble Watch earlier in the year (they raised $10 million) it continues to show the effectiveness of financing projects via this mechanism of funding. A couple of years ago it is unlikely such projects would have seen light of day.

Congratulations to Ouya and all their backers. We hope this can realise all the objectives set out in their pledge.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

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.

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Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes

Update: Ouya raised $8,596,475 from 63,416 backers. Read more about Ouya and crowdfunding here.

Kickstarter is the well known crowd funding website for creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavours, ranging from indie films, music and comics to journalism, video games, and food-related projects.

They have gained attention from the growing popularity in crowd funding and the rapid pace at which participants raise money.

From the Kickstarter blog: Yesterday a video game project called Ouya became the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars, and the fastest ever to do so.

This is absolutely incredible and shows a lucrative opportunity for startups seeking funding. There are numerous resources online that provide a guide to crowd funding.

Ouya are not the only team to raise more than a million dollars. Here are the top eight by speed:

  1. OUYA — 8 hours and 22 minutes
  2. Double Fine Adventure — 17 hours and 30 minutes
  3. Pebble — 27 hours
  4. Wasteland 2 — 41 hours
  5. Shadowrun Returns — 7 days
  6. The Order of the Stick — 27 days, 5 hours
  7. Amanda Palmer — 27 days, 12 hours
  8. Elevation Dock — 57 days

And here are the top ten by dollars received in 24 hours:

  1. OUYA — $2,589,687.77
  2. Double Fine Adventure — $1,064,652.05
  3. Pebble — $863,132.92
  4. Wasteland 2 — $555,407.84
  5. Shadowrun Returns — $378,008.28
  6. Amanda Palmer — $223,348.50
  7. The Icarus Deception — $178,194.00
  8. Elevation Dock — $161,507.00
  9. Penny Arcade Sells Out — $151,221.17
  10. gTar — $138,891.00

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

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.

Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories

We are relatively new to Hacker News. We always felt this forum best catered for programmers. However after spending several hours of reading through old and new posts we were pleasantly surprised that the audience may be slightly bigger than first thought.

Yes, the majority of submissions and discussions are technology focused, but there are stories that stand out for us. These are where members share their honest and open experiences of getting their idea to the marketplace.

This week alone we found the following amazing submissions. These are truly inspiring!

1. $17k in eBook Sales (HN Link)

@jstorimer shares the success of his very own eBook. His blog post and Hacker News discussion outline important tips – including setting up a sales splash page to gauge interest BEFORE writing the book.

The blog post can be found here – 4 Months of ebook Sales (jstorimer.com).

While the eBook title “Working With Unix Processes” may not appeal to all, the niche content has found popularity in his $17k+ of sales!

2. $42k of Funding in 1 Week (HN Link)

@Scirra share their impressive crowd funding round on Kickstarter. They recommend doing sufficient homework on the process to achieve maximum results for the crowd funding process.

The story is available here – How we got over funded in just 1 week on Kickstarter.

And more information on their products at their website scirra.com.

3. 800k Unique Visitors in One Month (HN Link)

@thederek describes his milestone of reaching 800k unique views last month. An astonishing result from leveraging traffic from social media sites and writing super content with fantastic photos.

Read more here – Lessons Learned After Year One As a Startup Founder.

4. 400k Subscribers in 3 Months (HN Link)

@pud posed the question “I have 404,772 users. Now what?“.

Three months ago he started a social network for musicians called Fandalism. His goal was to build a database of every musician on the planet and give them a place to show their work and meet other musicians. He exceeded on his goal and now has the fortunate problem of deciding on where to take this venture. Good luck!

5. Full Time Salary in 4 Months (HN Link)

A contributor describes how he built his online cleaning business in 4 months.

The full story including discussions are available here – From an idea to replacing my full-time salary in 4 months. How I did it, and what’s next!

6. Want More?

There are many more stories available on Hacker News. Another great source is Reddit’s Ask Me Anything Section.

Check this link out for a summary of remarkable contributions – A (non-exhaustive) list of Redditpreneurs who have shared their experience with Entrepreneurship in r/entreprenuer, r/startup, r/askreddit, and r/iama

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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
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #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.

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Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Why Being a Deal Maker Matters To Your Team

We continue to find more and more fantastic podcasts available online. One inspiring podcast worth checking out is available from the Stanford E-corner website.

Kauffman Foundation Senior Fellow, Ted Zoller in a recent presentation talks about “seizing opportunities and the pathways to developing an entrepreneurial career”. It is worth a listen if you have the time.

The podcast describes many fantastic ideas about approaching and developing your entrepreneurial spirit. One element that stood out was the concept of the ‘deal maker’. There are entrepreneurs (or innovators) and investors. Deal makers act as brokers to make things happen.

So where do you fit? Are you an entrepreneur, investor or deal maker? Do you have characteristics of all three?

Importantly you should acknowledge your strengths and consider your ability as a deal maker. Are you sitting on a great idea or prototype but cannot drive it forward? Have you made some bad deals that mean you cannot move your business in the right direction? If you are stuck, you may need to buddy up with a deal maker or improve your deal making skills.

This makes more sense when you consider your team (assuming you have people around you). The common theme seasoned or serial entrepreneurs tend to mention is team work. They needed individuals with different skills and mindsets to drive their concepts forward.

In the March 2012 edition of the Harvard Business Review, an article on Teamwork titles ‘To Drive Creativity, Add Some Conformity’ looks at the optimal team balance.

They outline the optimal balance as below:

Creatives (20-30%) – Source of radical innovation.
Detail-Oriented People (Up to 10%) – May strengthen functions (such as budgetary control).
Conformists (10-20%) – Supports creatives by boosting cooperation and confidence.

While recruiting and building a team may not suit all, the important things to consider here are your skills versus the skills you may need to move your business upwards.

What categories do you think you fit into and where do you need further development or assistance?

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ 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.

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.

Business Plans – “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail” (includes business plan template)

Some people do it, other don’t. Personally planning gives me some comfort in knowing what to expect. It’s my road map of who is doing what and when. Yes, in reality, things will always change but ultimately you have things you need to do regardless, and a target you are aiming for.

The good old business plan is the primary tool of budding entrepreneurs. Not all businesses promote this concept but unless you really have your ideas and objectives written down – are you really serious about things?

Business Link UK is a terrific resource and tells you everything you need to know about starting, financing, running a business and much more. They share templates and case studies that can simplify the underlying tasks.

Their instructions on preparing a business plan are really useful and a excellent starting point:
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1073869162

Another great place to look is on your local bank’s website. Most banks have heaps of information including useful business plan templates and instructions. Just google ‘bank name + business plan’. The several versions I found are extremely useful and as a customer many of the legal and business advice is free!

The key benefits of building a business plan is that you can use this document to present to potential bank managers and venture capitalists. It is your foundation stone of your business and can continue to be reviewed and changed as you progress.

If a 20+ pages business plan is a little too daunting for you. Check out the many free ‘one page’ business plan documents floating around the Internet. As a minimum it should capture:
1) Your Market (who are your customers and competitors?)
2) Your Marketing (what are your product/service features and benefits? And how will you sell this?)
3) Your Finances (how are you funding and what are your estimated operational and sales figures?)
4) Your Growth Opportunities (how developed is your product/service offering? And how can it grow?)

You can download a very quick draft two-pager business plan template I put together in Microsoft Excel. Feel free to play around with the format. Note that this is just a starting point and plenty of due diligence is still required.

Click link to download file –> sparknlaunch.wordpress.com business plan 2011 template (xls)

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources
+ Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts

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.

Evaluate Your Business Idea – Evaluating your spark

Startups.co.uk is a great website for learning more about getting started with your very own business. We find their case study stories inspiring as you get to hear from others about the challenges they faced in getting their idea to market.

One useful link we found was to a free Business Idea Evaluation Tool. Before you get too excited, this is not going to answer all your questions and instantly give you a green light on your idea. It is simply a set of questions to measure your idea against some common sense criteria. No humans involved and very generic. However you do receive a nice report telling you how your idea fares against logical categories. It highlights your strengths and weaknesses and gives you more questions to ask. You may surprise yourself (in a good or bad way)! However better to be surprised now rather than later.

Ultimately it is asking you questions you need good answers for. And if you don’t know the answer or your answer is insufficient – you know where you need to do more homework.

The tool can be found here (note you do need to supply an email address to read the outputted report):
http://www.startups.co.uk/business-idea-evaluation-tool.html

To help we have recorded the key criteria below. Hopefully this will help you in your brainstorming and idea building sessions:

1) Market (Market Size, Customers Need, Competition, Barriers to Entry)
This is an analysis of the potential customers for your product or service. To exploit your idea financially, you need a sufficient number of customers to buy your product or service at a price that will give you a suitable profit.

2) Marketing (Additional Opportunities, Benefits, Sales, Repeat Purchase)
This section looks at how you intend to promote and sell your product or service so that it meets your customers’ needs. Your objective should be to maximise your sales.

3) Finance (Funding, Profitability, Production, Profit/Unit)
Here the potential for your idea to make you money is analysed.

4) Exploitation (Development Stage, Capabilities, Intellectual Property, Legislation)
This section looks at factors important for the successful commercial development of your idea.

Check out Startups for more info:
http://www.startups.co.uk/

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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.

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