Startup success: Tips on development and marketing

At the onset, building a startup seems simple: take a great idea, put it into practice, and wait for investors. But complications, arising from an economic climate or internal problems, are bound to show up. Before the tech bubble burst, lazy development strategies passed muster, but investors today are smarter and wiser.

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According to research by Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, three out of four startups fail. A possible reason for this is a lack of strategy: entrepreneurs are too focused on building their product and neglect building a strategy to grow and market their business.

It’s important to create an incisive business development strategy in order to raise a startup’s chances of success.

The following are some practices that entrepreneurs can incorporate into their business development plans:

Cut costs, not quality

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Entrepreneurs should forgo the corner office with a view until they could actually afford it. Rent, for a small startup, is an unnecessary cost: a home office will do until needs cry for expansion.

Entrepreneurs should also consider other ways to cut costs without compromising quality. For example, instead of having full-time employees for non-essential tasks, entrepreneurs should consider outsourcing them to freelance workers.

Startups should consider a “release early, release often” approach. Minimum Viable Products (MVP) have only the necessary features needed to earn money and get constructive feedback from early adopters. This is more cost-effective and less time-consuming than creating a product with the maximum number of features on it and hoping it appeals to customers.

Create a marketing plan

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A good marketing plan will build awareness, create and reinforce the company’s image, and develop a solid customer base. It also differentiates a startup from the competition and provides reasons for potential customers to choose its products or services.

The above two tips are just the tip of the iceberg: there are many other things that entrepreneurs need to incorporate into the business, marketing, and financial sides of their business plan. Beginners to the world of business will benefit greatly from the guidance of an experienced business development leader.

Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive with experience in several industries. For discussions on business growth strategies, follow this Twitter account.

Learn to Run with Proper Form

Perhaps you are new to running or a seasoned runner fighting injury. Learning the proper form and posture of running is imperative to having longevity and happiness in the sport. The purpose of this article is to teach runners a proven, effective, and safe way to run to avoid injury and improve performance with effortless technique (one in alignment with the body’s natural physiology).

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The Basics of Proper Running Form:

• The proper body position is upright with a slight forward (but balanced) lean from the ankles.

• The core should be engaged with good posture and a straight back.

• The chest should push forward slightly as the arms pump backward and the hips and knees extend.

• Hands should stay near the chest with a short, compact, arm swing. Pump the arms back and let them recover or relax forward.

• To help the legs drive straight and the foot to land aligned underneath a bent knee, the arms should go forward and back with as little side to side motion as possible.

• The elbows should not come forward past the torso unless running at very high speeds.

• The upper body should carry over the foot leaving the feet to lift off quickly and extend behind the center of gravity.

• The feet should strike the ground under a bent knee as the leg begins to swing back under the body. Although the foot will contact the ground slightly in front of the body, it should feel as though it is directly underneath. Generally speaking, the full foot should contact the ground at the same time (a mid-foot strike). However, depending on genetics, the type of footwear being worn, and the running surface, the feet may contact with a slight forefoot landing or very slight heel landing.

• The foot strike should be light and quick and have about a 180-step-per-minute cadence.

 

Tip: Running barefoot for short distances can aid in helping you to feel, understand, and master proper running form.

 

For more on marathon running and related tips, please visit Steven Rindner‘s homepage.

Survival in the evolving technological environment

Technology has changed the way people do business. With different platforms emerging every year, most entrepreneurs are now adapting to various media channels to promote and sell their products and services.

 

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Pointing out the extinction of dinosaurs as an example, Nitin Pangarkar, associate professor of strategy and policy at the National University of Singapore Business School, emphasizes the threat of “technological change” in the survival of companies that fail to adapt in today’s technological evolution.

According to Pangarkar, a company’s ability to integrate internal and external knowledge is crucial for survival. He adds that by achieving this, businesses will not only achieve integration, but will also be able to enhance their competitive position in the market.

In his article, Pangarkar exemplified Kodak’s failure to adapt to the digital photography revolution, and Nokia’s inability to adjust in the smartphone market.

 

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“With an appropriate strategy, companies can maintain, or sometimes even enhance, their competitive positions during technological revolutions. For every Kodak, which failed to adapt, there is a Canon, which successfully handled the challenges posed by such upheavals; and for every Nokia, there is a Fanuc,” he explains.

This said, it is indeed important for companies to stay proactive not only in following technological trends, but also in filling both internal and external knowledge gaps to survive the technological evolution.

 

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Steven Rindner is a results-oriented executive with a strong background in business development and growth strategy across a number of industries including media, technology, real estate services, and healthcare. Follow this Twitter account for the latest in the business world.

Leadership road map: Turning employees into leaders

 

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Staying on top of the game is what company leaders do. However, they have to face the inevitable somewhere along the way. Whether they get a promotion, a resignation, or a transfer, respectable leaders always have an exit plan. Among these is to train people to fill in their roles when they leave. This is beneficial not only to exiting leaders but also for the betterment of the careers of those who are left behind.

Leaders have to prepare employees for leadership roles because even high-potential employees cannot do it on their own. The stage has to be set for them to assume a new position. A proven way to push people to higher performance is through leadership training programs that suit a company’s culture and environment. The use of varied training modalities is important to engage employees. Once is not enough; hence, there’s a need for take-away materials and follow-up instructions for continuity.

 

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Meanwhile, Forbes provides five ways to hone employees’ leadership skills. They are as follows:

1. Teaching them networking skills
2. Showing and giving them the right experience
3. Giving them room to find solutions to situations themselves
4. Doing the mentor-mentee progression
5. Instilling in them the value of an ‘ownership mentality’

Leaders’ mentality must be cognizant of the fact that telling people to lead is totally different from teaching them how to actually lead.

 

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Business executive Steven Rindner is known for his results-oriented leadership style. Know more about leadership strategies and other related topics by following this Google+ page.

Steven Rindner on Preparing for Your First Marathon

Running your first marathon can be an enormously satisfying experience – but when it comes to training you need to start out slowly and do it right! Here are a few tips to prepare yourself for the big day:

1. Especially if you’re not used to long-distance running, you need to visit your doctor before you start training. Marathons have a much higher risk of injury than other types of exercise.

2. Why do you want to run a marathon? The answer to this question will motivate and inspire you as you train, so keep it in the forefront of your mind.

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3. If you’re anxious to jump in and sign up for that race, that’s great. But you should be able to run a consistent base mileage for a year – and that’s just the prequel to a marathon training program. A good goal to shoot for is being able to run 20-30 miles a week regularly before you head into training.

4. Run some short races before jumping into a full marathon. This will help you to see what you’re up against. Even if you just go to a marathon and watch, it will help you get an idea of what running a race entails.

5. Plan your training. Most training plans will range from 12 to 20 weeks, and you’ll spend the time building your endurance. You should start out slowly, running three to five times a week, and increasing your mileage weekly. However, this week-to-week increase should never be more than 10%.

6. Don’t forget to incorporate some rest into your plan, as well! This means a few days of the week where you don’t run at all. This will let your muscles recover from the days you do run, which will help to prevent injury.

To ensure a successful marathon, make sure you plan ahead!

For more tips on running a marathon, check out Steven Rindner‘s website.

Inside the business: Picking the right media channel

Media has always been an essential part of business. Whether traditional or digital, various communication channels give business executives and companies the opportunity to grow with their consumers. These channels also allow them to connect and communicate their messages during both campaigns and crises.

But how can one know the right media channel?

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According to the book, “Organizational behaviour: Emerging knowledge, Global Reality,” by Steven L. McShane and Mary Ann Von Glinow, choosing the best communication channel depends on social acceptance and media richness.

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Social acceptance refers to how well the communication medium is approved and supported by the consumers. A good example of this is the use of top social media technologies such as Facebook and Twitter to enhance engagement with an organization, teams, and individuals. Some of the world’s most recognized brands such as Coke and Starbucks have taken advantage of social networking sites to create a conversation with their consumers.

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Media richness, on the other hand, is the medium’s data-carrying capacity. This includes the volume and variety of information being transmitted to the consumer at a specific time. One has to assess how effective a vehicle the medium is for what the brand wants to convey. It should cover verbal and non-verbal communication.
Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive with experience in media, technology, real estate services, and healthcare businesses. Find strategic similarities among these industries by visiting this Twitter page.