Companies in the business of innovation can’t afford to spend too much time on bad ideas. Nest founder Tony Fadell had worked closely with Apple’s Steve Jobs designing the iPod. Once at Nest, Fadell built an innovation room designed for one purpose: to kill bad ideas. It had no glass doors or windows, and its sparse décor reflected its purpose. Everyone in the room was given explicit permission to critique ideas openly and honestly, no matter if it came from a top executive or how much money had already been invested in it. Similar dedicated spaces exist at organizations like NASA and Netflix.
Other companies known for innovation that have managed to sustain it for the long term view the room (or lab) itself as a catalyst. The room creates rules and norms that require you to take innovation seriously every time, and this lesson of the room can be shared with others in your organization and eventually even become an integral part of your company’s culture.
Companies that sell software to other companies (B2B software companies) are having a banner year, as evidenced by the flood of tech public offerings (IPOs) thus far in 2018 following last year’s drought. Because contemporary startups raise more funds and stay private longer than their predecessors, VC-backed businesses “utlitizing the IPO exit ramp” today tend to be significantly larger. The effect on the rest of the tech industry is optimism, as entrepreneurs who are currently building startups can dream their own companies will meet such an eager reception.
Collision, North America’s version of a series of global tech conferences that includes Europe’s Web Summit, China’s RISE and India’s SURGE, is considering making Toronto its new home. As the fastest growing tech conference in North America, Collision attracts over 30,000 leaders from the technology community, including more than 3,000 CEOs and 4,500 companies from over 110 countries. New Orleans has been host to the conference since 2016, but organizers are now scouting out a larger and more globally-connected city to call home starting next year.
As with most small localized businesses, your funds for PR may be scarce to none.
So here are four strategies for generating publicity for your company with zero to minimal monetary investment: make a connection with the local newspaper’s reporter(s) to capitalize on newsworthy topics, trends or events related to your business; take the time to develop a website blog and social media presence, preferably including your full name (or that of the city/town) plus your area of expertise; build a presence and cultivate relationships within a relevant local Facebook group; and lastly, invest in “swag” – T-shirts, hats, etc. with your company’s name – and give them out to your closest family and friends with the request that they wear the apparel where they’ll most likely be seen, such as a ball field, mall or restaurant.
A bad hire is costly, not only in terms of the investment you made in recruiting, interviewing, training and onboarding them, but the damage they do if they’re not as qualified as you’d thought. Worse than a bad hire is a hire that is a bad culture fit, because they lack the soft skills you need, such as adaptability and leadership traits, as well as how they match your culture.
Such soft skills will most likely determine how successful the prospect will be in your business and how well they’ll represent your brand. Here are a list of sample interview questions to ask the candidate to better screen for the soft skills desired.
If you can’t stand long-term planning, a simple weekly action plan that requires only roughly 10 to 30 minutes to draft may be the strategy that works for you. The weekly plan condenses bigger goals into doable directives that you can accomplish on a day-to-day basis, giving you the benefits of longer-term planning without the tedium involved. This simple method involves only three steps: start tracking your long-term goals; commit to a “mastermind” session each Sunday; and refer to your weekly list when writing tomorrow’s to-dos. Sound doable?
Eight leading entrepreneurs share their insights into the steps to take before launching a new product, from finding your core audience to going overboard with outreach. Several of the strategies suggested overlap, such as building buzz for your product with online or conference-based communities and brand ambassadors, and leveraging pre-launch videos and webinars. Each strategy provides the entrepreneur’s real-world experience with its success.
Negotiating isn’t about competing well but rather communicating well. Some simple tips to becoming a better negotiator are: listen more than you talk so as to find common ground; use timing to your advantage; always find the best perspective from which to view the negotiation; always get when your give; and finally, always be willing to walk.
In response to a December 2017 survey, the principles of 14 international accelerators were in agreement about the key reasons startups fail. Inadequate testing was by far the factor most often cited, including not understanding barriers to market entry, premature scaling before achieving product-market-fit, and poor customer discovery. Team incompatibility was the second most cited reason, and lack of persistence the third. The fourth? “Everything else,” including an absence of proper tools and reports, and greed (both internal and external).
Businesses in the sharing economy (like Airbnb and Uber) are some of the most successful startups because they act as platforms between buyers and sellers, without the headache of inventory. While creating these platforms may have been enough for the success of these businesses in the past, the next generation of sharing platforms will have to focus on two simple strategies to succeed, namely:
- Focusing not only on satisfying buyers, but also on keeping suppliers happy (loyal) due to the increasingly limited pool of supply (for example, there is a limited number of empty apartments for Airnb and drivers for Uber); and
- Curating: With increasingly discerning buyers, platforms must create a more personalized experience.