5 psychological reasons 'social proof' beats everything else in marketing

Social proof is a powerful and versatile marketing tool that's easy to incorporate into your overall marketing strategy. It's all about following the herd. When we're uncertain about what to do, we look to others for cues and follow their lead. And you can leverage this tendency to conform and need for social acceptance to positively influence the purchasing behavior of potential customers. Here, marketing strategist and business consultant Eric 'ERock' Christopher explores the psychology behind...

Do you need a business plan? Scientific research says yes

Some companies achieve success without having a business plan. Yet companies that do have a well-constructed business plan may grow faster and be more successful than those that don't. While experts disagree about whether you need a business plan or not, according to research it's "the kind of plan you have and how you use it that really matters," says Noah Parsons. Here, he shares how to maximise the benefits of forward planning by creating the right kind of plan for your business and making th...

This is the easiest way to make your LinkedIn profile stand out

Your brand reflects your personal values and professional reputation and presents an image of the expertise, performance and value you offer potential clients, business partners or employers. And as a platform for growing your professional network and building business relationships, your LinkedIn profile determines how those you want to connect with will perceive your brand. When it comes to creating and communicating a strong brand that defines your niche in the market, there's one important o...

The silent enemy of an entrepreneur

Building your own business requires some sacrifices and you not only need prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, you also need to be aware of the pitfalls. One issue that's often overlooked is the loneliness that can creep up on startup founders and CEOs. Here, Sharon Lechter shares some top tips on how to "avoid this silent enemy, or overcome it if you are already experiencing it," while smoothing your transition from employee to entrepreneur and building your reputation as a well-respected...

Despite what you hear, you don’t need VC funding

Early stage startups can struggle to attract investors, yet the lack of venture capital may be a blessing rather than a curse. While VC funding can put businesses under intense pressure to scale rapidly, bootstrapping forces you focus on how to make money rather than how to spend it. It also allows you to channel your time and energy into building the business rather than expending it on fundraising and investor meetings. Here, founder and CEO Vijay Sajja shares his experience with some top tips...

A guide for adding senior leaders to your young startup

What startup founders lack in experience they often make up for in ambition, effort and grim determination. As the business grows however, it takes the skills and experience of seasoned executives to successfully transition from startup to scale up. And "there comes a time in the life of every growing startup when it's time to bring in some new leadership," says Amy Norman. While bringing a new senior leader into the business can be challenging, Norman shares here some top tips for mak...

The one step that could make or break ambitious startups

Although successful crowdfunding campaigns often exceed their fundraising goal, raising capital isn't always the main incentive for startups. Apart from giving you access to funding, crowdfunding platforms can also serve as an effective marketing tool, helping you gain exposure, increase brand awareness, create trust and build a loyal following. And even a crowdfunding campaign that fails to meet its fundraising target serves its purpose as a testing ground and prevents you wasting valuable...

How to build a successful business team

While it's common for startups to wait too long before they start hiring, you won't be able to do everything yourself when it comes to growing the business. You need to start building a team that shares your vision and values, while bringing the right balance of skills and experience to fill key roles in the business. Having the wrong team is one of the top reasons for startup failure, so you need to be selective and strategic about the people you choose to work with. To help you build a winning...

Social media for business: A marketer's guide

If you're not using the right social media channels, you may be missing out on valuable business opportunities. Some platforms may be a better fit than others for what you want to accomplish and simply increasing your activity on a current platform may not be the best way to achieve your goals. Different objectives and target audiences require different channels and tools. To help you pick the right ones for your business, social media strategist Saige Driver shares here "the basics you should k...

How to get your hardware product to market on schedule

While the path to success is fraught with difficulties for any technology startup, the failure rate for consumer hardware startups may be as high as 97 per cent. Getting products to market on time is one of the biggest challenges they face, with manufacturing setbacks among the top reasons for failure. For the best chance of success you need to find, and build a strong relationship with, the right manufacturer. And this gets complicated when you take production to China. Here, Felix Von Heland s...

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