How To Monetize Your Startup Idea

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April 11, 2018

In the business world a startup is a company just getting off the ground, however, it goes beyond that. A startup is not the same as small business. Startups have something to sell to the large market that can grow fast. It is usually associated with a business that is technology oriented with a high growth potential.

Unlike a small business that is funded by loans or grants, a startup is typical funded by venture capitalists who tend to have an active role in the company they are backing, especially if they are leading a financing round or hold a large stake in the company.

This is the reason why a startup should monetize their idea fast. Monetize may sound dirty but monetization is converting an asset or object into money or legal tender. In the internet, monetization is meant the ability to generate revenue from blogs or websites.

Whether it is a small business or a startup, monetizing is the heart of every business.

Monetization Models for Startup

Subscription/ Software-as-a-Service Model

The subscription-based revenue model is an attractive option for a startup as long as the services are appropriate to the subscription approach. It allows your company to sign users for long-term payment agreement and increases the duration value of the customer.

The repeating revenues that come with offering subscription-based plans is a secure income stream that is reliable. This is good for the startup’s sustainability.

There are two approaches to the SaaS model. First is the Pay as you go, where you charge the users according to the individual user rates. This method has do not have high revenue value and not very reliable.

Another approach is the Tiered pricing where the services are divided into different tiers based on features and usage amount. This means the customer pays more as her needs evolve or expand. We spoke with Paul from Task Pigeon on why startups are so attracted to the SaaS model and he responded: “the great thing about software as a service, or SaaS, is that it creates a recurring revenue stream. If the startup can minimize customer churn and continue to attract new users, then each month the revenue generated by that startup should grow. This has a flow on effect as well, as it then makes the company more attractive to investors.”

Advertising

Online advertising is the most common and it is a huge revenue channel. It is also growing steadily. Implementing this approach can be done through third party ads within the app, or build your own ad network.

The downside of this model is that while advertising generates a huge amount of revenue globally it is largely spend on dominant players web properties such as Google and Facebook. Therefore to generate significant revenue on your own property you need to be able to generate a huge amount of traffic that can then be converted into views and conversions for the ads you serve. Without a large audience, monetizing via ads can be a long slog.

Selling Data

If your startup is collecting data, getting customer’s preferences and habits then get ready to be courted by other companies. This data can be very valuable to other companies.

Foursquare is a classic example. Their check-in data is very valuable to business in the hospitality industry. If you want to open a coffee shop in a University town, you will know the possible number of customers and their time preferences by buying them from Foursquare.

You can then feed this data into your own marketing campaigns to make them more targeted and effective. Data collection doesn’t only happen on the consumer side either. Many businesses build and collate data on corporates and large businesses. This information is readily sort after by competitors and other companies looking to sell into that space.

E-Commerce

Many startups look to establish an ecommerce store as it is a lower cost way of reaching and serving your customers. We are now also seeing a mix of the e-commerce model with subscription commerce, where people buy shavers, boxer shorts and other regular items via a monthly or quarterly subscription. Much like software as a Service, ecommerce via a subscription model provides the potential for a steady stream of revenue to develop for the company.

3 Ideas That Changed the World

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February 1, 2018
ideas-world_ideation-cafe

The world has come a long way since the dawn of time. Humans take pride in innovating and over millennia that has been our legacy, simply put humans like things to be easy. Our great discoveries and innovations were to solve and underlying need to live easier. This curiosity hasn’t come cheap but thanks to some of these ideas the world has changed in both a productive and a destructive way.

The Greatest Idea

greatest-idea_ideation-cafeI often tell some of my friends in academic circles that we always give people who discovered gravity and electricity props for wonderful discoveries but there is one person or a group of people we do not give much credit, the people that had the idea to start farming.

Maybe it is their unsung nature and how their names are forgotten to time that we do not pay homage to these great pioneers but they deserve to be applauded. The first people to till the ground and plant crops and start an amazing chapter in the history of mankind.

With people now able to produce food on their own, settlements started to evolve and form and other skills would be born. The discovery of more edible crops meant people shifted from nomad culture to establishing permanent settlements.

The human diet started to change also as people would move from a system of hunting and gathering to adopting grains, fruits and vegetables into their diet a system that even up to now still exists. This was the greatest revolution, the Neolithic revolution.

We Wanted to Heal

heal-idea_ideation-cafeBack in the day, life wasn’t guaranteed and if you caught small pox it would most likely mean death. Vaccines turned the tide on human mortality as small pox, polio and measles could no longer claim lives any more.

From early doctors scrapping powdered smallpox scabs to administer to people in an effort to prevent the disease to more improved and evolved vaccines developed over time, you have to say medicine has come a long way.

Vaccination gave hope to medical practitioners that they could defeat any disease and now millions and millions of dollars are pumped into research hoping to find vaccines for some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Vaccinations have allowed children to live longer and grow into productive adults and have led to a rise in the life expectancy all around the world. In retrospect vaccination was a welcome initiative way back then and medicine has taken leaps forward with more vaccines.

The Greatest Machine

machine-idea_ideation-cafeArguably the greatest machine ever invented by men, it was sheer genius and in a way a moment of madness to come up with a self-propelled vehicle which could take you across the country or from one point to the other easily.

Perhaps the greatest impact of the invention of the car was the birth of the automotive industry, an industry which has supported entire economies all around the world. This meant more employment and more opportunities in terms of innovations

Cars led to the oil wars that have plagued the world and as the fuel source oil became prioritized and more important as the automobile industry grew. Fast forward oil has become one of the biggest cash makers all across the world with oil companies being some of the world’s influential stake holders.

Cars meant people could visit each other over long distances, reducing the distance barrier as families and friends could still be in touch if you just gassed up and took a trip. In terms of transport this meant raw materials had a more ways to deliver faster, trade would improve and accessibility of other goods that were not found in other areas.

Although it came as a marvel cars have also taken their share of human deaths through accidents. Year after year many people lose their lives in car accidents, it was a noble idea and improved the world greatly but it would still have its dark side.

Why Ideas Aren’t Worth Anything

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January 10, 2018
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Eureka! You have an idea, that’s great. At this nascent stage, think about whether it is a fleeting idea or an idea worth deliberating. While ideas could ideate from anywhere and at any time of the day/night. Often in the initial ideation stage, one feels that it is very powerful.

If you look at strategically, idea creation is a very exciting and gratifying process. While it sounds and feels good to the heart and the brain, is it worth pursuing? Brainstorming allows idea-creation, entrepreneurs love this part. Idea creation is a wonderful exercise for the mind.

sharing-ideas_ideation-cafeWe are constantly engulfed in plenty of ideas that are running at a lightning speed in our minds. Idea creation is a primary result of thinking. If you give it a little more thought, ideas already exist in your brains in some form or the other. Good ideas are a result of improving on an existing idea. Surely you have a moment of enlightenment, they require a lot of action before realizing or creating a value of ideas.

More than often the contrary happens, when idea strike but they fizzle out as the “glow” wears off. There is a reason why that happens, typically individuals move on from one idea to another in search of a better, idea.

A lot of people engage in discussions some end up in heated discussions, resulting in arguments and conflicts. People have fought over and for ideas for a very long time, its nothing new. Some argue that it is a good thing, but an idea needs to be looked at from feasible angles. Digging deep into the core of the idea may yield some
important answers and solutions.

One of the first steps into converting an idea into a good idea is by giving it a thorough thought. Give it some time, perhaps even sleep over it. Let the idea manifest into something viable, create a value of ideas. To do that, ideas need to be shared, that is the first step in making it real!

We are often marred by thoughts that stop us from sharing our ideas. We often find ourselves trying to protect them.

Sharing ideas lead to two things:

A) It creates a buzz among people that you have shared it with.

B) Those people who are looking to get involved in your idea start looking at it from their point of view. Applying others perspectives “opens” the ideas to opportunities.

Sharing an idea helps gain valuable insight into the idea. People share their thoughts and perspectives about the idea giving it more body and substance. If an idea is not feasible or viable, others opinions and views will help you alter your ideas. This is the stage where your idea will either see a brand new day, a brand new approach, or an end. Prototyping phase of ideas into reality is a collective effort of several people, it cannot be done single handed. Sharing ideas helps and leads to an idea to fruition.

Turning Ideas to Create Value

ideas-other_ideation-cafeSo you have an idea, you’ve shared It, you’ve even found the value of ideas. It all looks good! Yet the idea isn’t worth anything. Time to bring in the execution, so that the idea holds true value. It is only when an idea turns into a product or service is what creates value.

Assuming that at this stage you have outweighed all the risks involved in the idea. Think about how your idea is going to be evaluated by others. Will your idea add any value to others? If yes, it is the only way of being hopeful that your idea will pay you back. Focus on what is real! Here is what you can do when you are ready to take your idea to the execution stage.

Whether you are an individual or an organization, make a “Think-Plan-Do” is the right rhythm to take an idea into deep execution. Jump into execution only when you have a bulletproof plan. Surely, you can’t be sure about whether the plan is going to as it was meant to, there will be some changes. Change is inevitable!

Nothing will ever happen until you work for it. Take your plan into serious account, start executing your plan, see what outcomes you yield. It is crucial to evaluate the outcomes as it helps plan ahead.

Stay on top of your execution, lay out the plan and spread the word about the plan with all those involved in the execution. Be clear and concise! Take one bit of the plan
at a time so that it becomes more manageable.

If you feel your goal is getting off-tracked, pause a little think a lot. Start brainstorming all over again, if required. Think over your idea to develop the idea, plan to make the idea execution clear and do to achieve the goals of your plans.

The World’s Top 5 Most Innovative Companies

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December 15, 2017

Innovation is one of the most valuable traits for a company to have. In a nutshell, this refers to the ability to continually produce and create new and intelligent solutions, methods, and products to fill gaps in industries and needs in the market.

Many corporations strive to implement innovation in their ideas, but some stand out above the other. Here are the world’s top 5 most innovative companies.

1. Salesforce

Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management platform that has worked hard on advancing with the times and using scalable technology in their services. They did this by placing focus on the way that employees use to view information, trying to find ways to encourage employees to want to look for the information themselves.

This led to the creation of Concierge, a search function using metadata to continually improve future searches. Employees could simply view a relevant article and use a ticket if wanted. It was a huge upgrade from the static source of information that Salesforce once was.

Salesforce has also worked on hackathons and app design on the innovative App Cloud interface, which allows faster app processing. The company has also used Salesforce University as a method to train new IT workers, which moved on to Trailhead, a self-service based education system.

2. Tesla

As a company that released its first electric car in 2008, it’s not hard to imagine why Tesla makes this list. But it’s not the idea of electric cars alone that makes Tesla so innovative; it’s also its unrelenting approach to business.

Tesla’s business strategies have made it stand out among most other companies. Unlike most other motor companies, Tesla does not engage in traditional marketing strategies and does not use television or billboard ad campaigns. Instead, it cuts out the middleman by selling cars straight to customers, not through a dealer.

Tesla also does not spend on incentives, choosing instead to essentially require full freight charges. The company also takes deposits for future cars months or even a few years in advance, leading it a form of loan that the company can easily pay back with their products.

3. Amazon

Amazon stands out among other similar platforms due to its choice to ignore the chances of integrated applications and platforms, instead choosing to continue its advancement and improvement in order to serve customers best.

Since its conception, Amazon has gone from an online bookstore to a marketplace where anyone can open an account, set up shop, and begin selling. The company has invested countless amounts of money into innovative technology startups that have led to the current success of its platform.

With products and services like Twitch, Amazon Web Services – which powers other huge internet-based services – and even modern home bot Alexa, Amazon continues to work to grow and evolve with the times.

4. Shanghai RAAS Blood Products

This Chinese company is focused on producing blood and plasma related medical products and services, often involving plenty of research. The development of these products has led to its manufacturing of a wide variety of medicinal services that range from vaccines to tests.

As a biological medicine company, Shanghai RAAS Blood Products has been creating new and innovative products for years, and it is these wares that have made the company largely successful and have landed it a spot on this list of most innovative companies.

The company practices very high levels of quality control, which is crucial for any corporation that manufactures biological medicine. In all of its sales, there has never been a contaminated or dangerous product released, and it is this commitment to customer safety and health that makes this company shine.

5. Netflix

If there’s one company that knows the value of a carefully crafted update, it’s Netflix. This extremely popular media streaming platform was nearly a decade in the making when it was first released after years of research and experimentation.

Since then, Netflix has grown as a service and become larger, adding new shows to its repertoire constantly. In its mission to help the slow transition from traditional television to Internet viewing, Netflix has invested years of research and testing into making its user experience more enjoyable.

As an example, its very recent UI upgrade, which saw standard show and movie covers being replaced by moving title cards that showcase previous, was the next step in bringing Netflix closer to becoming the modern equivalent of television and giving its users more of what they want.

How to create an innovative workplace

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November 21, 2017

When all companies in a particular business sector are offering similar products or services, there is a lot of competition and the profit margins will be low.

On the other hand companies that innovate, selling a unique product or service, will often make a lot of profit, and are market leaders. So businesses of all sizes will try to create an innovative workplace, to encourage their employees to innovate and create new products or services which will greatly boost their sales and profit.

However, most employees take up a job in a company expecting to do routine work for a monthly salary, and a special effort has to be made to encourage them to deviate from the routine to do something innovative. There is always a risk of failure while doing something new and innovative, and if this will adversely affect the employee, he is not likely to take the risk.

Some of the tips which could help a business create an innovative workplace are discussed for the convenience of business owners and management of businesses which are interested in innovating

Focus On Culture

An important aspect of innovation is hiring the right people who will take the risk of innovating as they define the culture of the company. It is important to hire employees who are creative, will readily embrace changes in the workplace, technology and services, and like to take up new challenges.

These people are more likely to help the company grow by proposing and implementing innovative changes in the workplace, products and services sold by the company.

Make innovation Part of The Job

The job profiles of employees in the company, should be defined in such a way, that innovation is an integral part of the work that employees are doing. Just because a particular task is done by employees in a specific way for the last five years, it does not mean that an employee should not try to change the way the work is being done to improve productivity.

The performance of the employee during appraisal should be linked to his or her innovation at the workplace.

Build A Diverse Workforce

The company should take the effort to recruit and retain a diverse workforce . The more diverse the workforce with different backgrounds and experience, the greater the number of ideas and innovation they are likely to have.

In a diverse workforce, people are more likely to hear the perspective and opinion of those who come from a different background, become more tolerant and learn new methods,and ideas which will help them innovate.

Create Internal Hackathons

As part of the company focus on innovation, there should be special events, hackathons and days where employees will devote all their time and resources to solving certain problems in an innovative way. Cross functional teams may be formed, to find innovative solutions to problems and business challenges which the company is facing.

The winning team will be awarded prizes,or the solutions offered will be considered during the performance appraisal process.

Focus on Non-monetary rewards

Many people prefer to work in an innovative workplace even if they do not receive adequate monetary compensation, if there are other rewards and incentives, like a stimulating and pleasant environment, interacting with like minded people.

The company should try to understand what innovative young people are looking for, when they are searching for a job and try to cater to their requirements. Some of the incentives offered by some companies to their staff include flexible working hours, the ability to work remotely from home for some time, and a friendly work culture.

Unless a company shows its employees that it will support employees who are taking a risk, and will not penalize failure, most employees are not likely to deviate from their routine activities and innovate.

The company should also show that it rewards innovation, offering monetary and other rewards to the employees who are making the effort to innovate, so that other employees will also be inspired to follow their footsteps. Innovation is particularly important in the tech sector where products and services are changing rapidly

So developing an innovative workplace can help a company develop innovative new products and services which their employees would have never otherwise thought of, greatly improving the profitability and growth of the business.

How To Get People To Listen To Your Idea

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October 3, 2017

Getting people to listen to your ideas may actually boost your career or business and allow you have an easier time at work Getting your ideas across to your peers is an important part of communicating your worth in any environment. As part of various communication skills, a number of factors have to be considered to get your audience to actually listen to your ideas.

Why you need to get your ideas heard

Your ideas are what make you stand out as an important part of any group. Getting your ideas heard helps people understand what you can bring to the table and earn you respect. The following listed actions go a long way in getting people to listen to your ideas. Getting people to listen to your ideas has more to do with how you present it than what you actually.

How to get people to listen to your ideas

Work Out What You Want To Say In Advance

A big part of getting people to listen to your idea is actually understanding it yourself. Before pitching an idea, it is important that you understand what the idea is, how it applies, what are its limitations and whatever other questions your peers may raise. Having worked this out will help you convince your listeners about its validity and potentially adopt it.

Support Your Words with Images or Diagrams

Visual graphic images are scientifically proven to host volumes of text data and by far easier to understand. When presenting complex ideas, use of visual graphics mediums, e.g. charts and images, may go a long way in helping your listeners understand. Proper charts will simplify and break down the information to help listeners understand what you mean.

Get To the Point

People are more likely to accept ideas when they are active. Hogging down small details of your idea will bore them and potentially reduce their concentration. This is detrimental to pitching your idea. The best idea pitch is brief and straight to the point allowing the listener to make their own deductions for it.

Follow Up In Writing

If the idea is presented in a manner that may not be well referenced, it’s important to follow up in writing. For instance, in a scenario where you pitch an idea over the phone or verbally, written documentation summarizing the idea such as an email or paper print may help drive the point home. It allows your reader reference your pitch and deeply considers it at will.

Don’t Ask / Expect an Answer Straight Away

Once the idea is pitched, give your listener/s time to think about it. You should therefore not expect an answer straight away. In this time, you should try to be calm and allow them time to get back to you.

Pitching an idea to your group is an important part of the overall social dynamic. In various professions, getting people to actually listen to your ideas is very important in rising through the ranks. Following the above-mentioned pointers will get your ideas heard and adopted in most cases. If you are looking to make an idea pitch, consider using the above pointers for a better chance of success.

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