For startups concentrating on new product development, the first idea is the minimal viable product. When a market need is identified, the minimal viable product that can meet that need is developed. And then the product is further refined and developed by using crowdsourced feedback.
Gathering actionable metrics means the product is tested in small ways by a wide variety of people, and their feedback is solicited. When the Drumi was being perfected, after their successful Kickstarter campaign, they gave prototypes to people doing their wash. Detailed interviewing after use showed that the majority really liked the machine, but suggested a carrying handle. When people across the world, in Africa and Canada, both suggested a carrying handle would make the machine easier to use, the developers went back to the factory and redeveloped the prototype to include a handle. This change delayed shipment of their first production run by nearly six months, but they detailed the process and the changes on their website, so those who are eagerly awaiting their new Drumi will probably check out the new handle as soon as they open the box.
The goal of a startup is to develop a sustainable business by developing a product, making money, or meeting a service need. In the current business environment, agility is the key to this sustainability. Using metrics to measure feedback early during product development is the first step in startup development.
However if we think about organizational structure for a start-up, a new structure is needed that can adapt to rapid change. This could be done with a triangle working group model, designed to bring the strength of a geodesic dome to business structures. Continue reading
Equity Crowdinvesting is a crowdfunding rose of a different color, and while it shares many elements of donation or reward crowdfunding, its nature as a capital investment means it comes under securities laws in the country of origin. In essence, crowdinvesting is equity-based crowdfunding. With crowdinvesting the investor moves beyond simply supporting start-ups, and becomes an active player in the future of that project. Equity crowdfunding means an investment through a crowdfunding platform, usually for a startup or early business, in exchange for a piece of the business. It is hoped by both the investor and the business owner that the value of the business, and the value of the equity investment, will grow over time.
The popularity of crowdfunding of all types has put the pressure on governments to try and regulate the practice, especially equity crowdfunding. Capital investment has in the past been made with large sums of money by big corporations. Securities and investment law has been set into place regulating what should be done on both sides of the investment equation. There have been laws about who can solicit investments, how much, how much an investor has to have in order to invest, and similar. All of these laws are designed to protect both parties.
But equity crowdinvesting is different in that it allows, and is usually comprised of, the small investor with little to give and little to lose. The regulatory burden is significant, and involves financial statements, prospectus, and other documentary evidence suggesting the business is sound. This degree of regulatory requirement is in general not reasonable for the startup business – but there are certain reliefs in some european countries. So the new crowdfunding platforms that are offering equity crowdfunding are a new option for small investors who were previously not allowed into the market, and startups who had to find other ways to raise capital. These types of business investment also come with significant risk for capital loss. Continue reading
Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on how to cover absolutely everything you need in a single onboarding lesson plan. Last time we talked about the first half of this process including giving a little background on the company, handling the HR paperwork, and clearing up questions about time off and benefits. Today, let’s pick up at compliance, an undeniably important topic that should not be left until later.
6: Policy and Compliance
Companies are complex and their policies reflect that. While you can’t expect your trainees to memorize every policy, give them the list and highlight everything that has daily significance. Conduct expectations, travel procedures, expense reporting, and workstation upkeep are all good focus topics for the policy section. Compliance, on the other hand, are things that are absolutely necessary for the smooth legal functioning of your company. Rules about how to deal with clients, health considerations, and maintenance procedures for things like heavy machinery or perishable goods can help your trainees avoid critical mistakes down the line.
7: Safety and Security
From thievery to ransomware, no company can do without a thorough security system but the actual measures in place will depend on your industry, facilities, and company culture. New trainees need the full rundown on building keys, ID keycards, workstation logins and security measures, how to maintain client information security, and parking policies. By thoroughly covering how to enter and exit the building, you can reduce the number of instances a new hire accidentally locks themselves out and has to be retrieved from the roof, parking lot, or locking supply closet. Continue reading
You’ve gone through the process of finding a batch of great new hires, chosen carefully from dozens of applicants and considered prospects. No doubt, your business runs like a finely tuned machine and each of your employees is a skilled operator. Your new recruits have all proven that their personalities and skills will fit well into your company structure but they don’t start on day one knowing all of your intricate internal procedures. That’s what orientation training is for. Of course, you want the most helpful and efficient coursework possible. Structuring your training program with these ten essential topics will make sure that you have all your bases covered and the new team members are ready to start their work tasks by the end of the orientation sessions.
Show your new employees how happy you are to have them, then introduce them to the company, buildings, and their new jobs. A quick tour around the office or facilities can help them get that movie-opening impression of how things work and where everything is. This is a great time to show them their new assigned workspaces and answer initial questions.
2: Company History and Culture
Tours can be exciting and difficult to listen through, so don’t start the real content until you’ve settled back into the orientation space, then dive straight in with the company history. Many companies have an interesting or unique founding history that will engage new hires and help them grasp the company philosophies from the root. From here, you can segue smoothly into company culture, making it clear the kinds of shared attitudes and break room behaviors that are supported. If you have company sports teams, group outings, or favorite catering days, now is the time to share them.
3: New Hire Paperwork
One of the primary reasons to gather and do orientation together is to fill out the new hire paperwork completely and accurately. Normally this doesn’t take very long, but tends to occupy everyone’s attention for a few minutes as they write in personal details and double-check legibility. Make sure to collect the forms promptly to avoid any possible risk of loss or coffee stains. Continue reading
Crowdfunding is an excellent resource for hopeful entrepreneurs, with the potential for providing start-up capital for new businesses. It is a highly visible way to market your company and your ideas. However, there is a downside as well: a failed campaign can also mean bad press for your company. In order to avoid these downsides, have a look at our Crowdfunding Advice in this Blog. A vital step before jumping into the crowdfunding waters is to do your research first. The most common mistakes that cause new ventures to fail include:
- Lack of research and planning
- Financial mismanagement
- Poor hiring and leadership practices
Research and Planning
You need a solid business plan and a good working understanding of what your target market wants. You need to understand the value of your own product and how to communicate that value to your potential investors and client base. To garner the initial start-up funding you need with a crowd-funding campaign, you can’t just assume you have supporters out there—you need to identify and target your supporters. A professional investor pitch story is critical – why do you need funding, why should investors fund you, what separates you from your competition, what makes you unique and special? Will your product contribute to economic growth? Continue reading