3 tips for evaluating the commercial potential of your new startup idea

The 'build it and they will come' approach can prove disastrous for startups. No matter how tempting it is to think other people will love your idea as much as you do, your new product or service isn't going be a commercial success if there isn't a substantial market for it. "Fledgling businesses are often so caught up in the excitement of developing their product or service that it's hard for them to take a step back and really evaluate the commercial potential," writes Amy Shim. Here, she shar...

Designing a styleguide: Elements that go into building compelling products

A brand manual or style guide ensures that every element of your brand identity consistently and accurately portrays the company's values and personality. As well as stipulating the technical specifications for the visual elements of your brand identity, such as the logo, typography and color scheme, it's important to establish guidelines for how photos and other images are used to "convey your product's voice and identity." To help you get started, Jonathan White shares some examples from ...

3 things you need to know about marketing to Generation Z

Having focused on millennial consumers for a long time, marketers are switching their attention to the next generation of influential consumers; the tech-savvy 16-24 year old generation Z. To engage Gen Z consumers, you'll have to make some changes to your current marketing strategies and learn new ways to drive brand awareness and cultivate brand loyalty. Here, Christabelle Tani shares the key takeaways from research into what Gen Z consumers expect from brands and how to leverage these in...

13 of the best SEO tools for auditing and monitoring website performance

You need to make mobile SEO a priority if you want prospective customers to find you. Your website, pages, blog, and content have to be easily accessible to search engines and since the majority of searches are done on Google that means your SEO strategy needs to align with Google's Mobile-first indexing policy, otherwise you're going to slip down the rankings. The best way to make sure you're getting it right is to look at your own site the way Google sees it. Here, Tom Demers shares some of th...

The best small business apps of 2018 you should start using today

Businesses are increasingly finding ways to carry out more of their everyday tasks on smartphones and tablets. And the "multitude of apps and tools now available, to help with everything from admin to accounting, is a real boon" for small business owners, says Henry Williams. With the recent launch in the UK of a free app that helps you avoid hefty penalties by sending alerts about deadlines for filing paperwork and due dates for payment of taxes, Williams shares here some of the best apps for b...

The psychology of color in marketing and branding

Color not only has a crucial role to play in creating your brand identity, it can directly influence people's purchasing decisions. According to research, up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone. Although personal preferences, cultural differences and other factors influence how people react to different colors, there are general associations that can help you determine which colors effectively communicate your brand personality and how consumers perceive your...

How to achieve product-market fit

You know you have product/market fit when customers don't just want a solution to their problem—they want your solution. And they consider your product or service a "must have." Startups need to achieve a high degree of product/market fit or die trying. And most of them will die trying as they run out of cash before they're able to gain enough traction. Here, Hayley Leibson shares a six-step process to product development that "will lead to more efficient use of resources and a high degree of co...

5 copy-and-paste calls to action you can (and should) use in your emails

  Clarity is the key to effective communication and keeping it simple and to the point is crucial when you're communicating by email. Being direct and specific doesn't mean you have to sacrifice courtesy or come across as pushy however. Stating your request clearly and concisely makes it easier for people to respond and using polite language helps you get your point across without sounding rude. Emails are often "so politely vague, they end up being completely unclear," writes Kat Boog...

11 essential business metrics every entrepreneur should know

Entrepreneurs may excel at launching new ventures, yet they often struggle when it comes to taking their business to the next level. To grow your business you first need to collect and analyse the relevant data—the business metrics. And once you've identified the metrics that matter the most to your business, you need to monitor them consistently and take action to improve the results. To help you get started, Marina Pilipenko shares here the most common business metrics that are cruci...

How to boost your startup fundraising strategy with crowdfunding

Startup fundraising is notoriously difficult and despite the months of time and effort they put into preparing for each gruelling round of investor pitches, very few startups secure venture capital investment. In recent years however, equity crowdfunding has emerged as a viable alternative. Unlike rewards-based crowdfunding, which offers people an incentive in exchange for their pledge, equity crowdfunding allows startups to raise funds by asking for relatively small amounts of money from a larg...

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