Categories
Technology

So you want to build an app?

So it’s finally time to build your first app. Whether the app is just a part of your business (like an easier way to access information) or if it is the core of your business (like instagram), before you discuss your idea with a developer or engineer, you should start with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before you really discuss your app in detail – while most developers aren’t out to steal ideas, it can certainly help to avoid any misunderstandings. While several templates are available online, it may be best to consult with a legal professional – especially if your app idea is your business.

Next, think about how unique your idea is, and, does it need to be unique? If this app is a compliment to your business and meant to be used by those that are loyal to your brand (maybe someone who buys from you online), than it doesn’t really matter if their are dozens or even hundreds of similar apps. If the app is the business model, than it is definitely worth going through the Apple App Store and Google Play to see what else is out there. See what you like, dislike, and how you might be able to differentiate yourself. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to add your own special touch to it.

Making an App is a lot to explain, but I’d like to condense it into three main parts. Making an app from nothing into a usable product requires:

– Business Skills
– Technical Skills
– Marketing Skills

Business Skills: Having the right business model may not make you a millionaire, but it could mean that your app at least gets downloaded and used. In this step do a Break-Even Analysis on the idea; how many times does it need to be downloaded (and at what price), and if the numbers are unrealistic then don’t build the app. Also, if this is your first app, there is a very good chance you will run over time and budget. The reality is that you will run into unseen roadblocks, want features that you didn’t originally plan, and might have some trouble integrating an app into your existing infrastructure. Plan for delays and overcoming mini failures. Once you’ve got the business mindset down, then you are ready to move to the next step.

Technical Skills: This is where people like me come in. Unless if your business is technology, you really can’t expect to learn how to build your app and somehow still have enough time to run a business. Interview a few different professionals, get references, go with your gut. Find a developer who matches your style and personality, because for the next little while you are going to be spending some time together.

Marketing Skills: Marketing and promotion is an essential ingredient to building any app – after all, why spend the time and money to build something that no one is going to use? There are so many good apps on the store which fail to market themselves and end up failing because no one know about them. So assuming you got the first two requirements down, you need to figure out how to conquer this step before deciding to proceed. Questions you need to ask yourself are: how do I get my app into everyone’s hands? How do I get my customers to keep using my app? How do I get my customers to share with their friends about it?

There is certainly more than this to building a great app, but hopefully this tips will get you started.

Categories
Coffee Break

Entrepreneurship F.E.A.R. Series: Introduction

Entrepreneurship Fears:

fear

ˈfir/

noun

noun: fear; plural noun: fears

    1      1.
an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

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Over the next few issues , I will take you through my F.E.A.R. Entrepreneurship series; a high-level compilation of articles and ideas that relate to “fear” surrounding business; from start-ups to leadership and more.

Cliché? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.

In business, we all face the same fears in becoming successful, whether you are a start-up guru, top-level CEO or self-acclaimed business professional.  Fear can throw you right into chaos or it could save your life – a natural response to physical danger, but oftentimes, fear is self-created and controls lives, decision-making and holds people back from reaching their true potential.

For example, imagine you have a presentation for a pool of potential investors next week.  Although you will not experience physical danger during the presentation, (unless you really suck at public speaking – jk) you might actually feel like you are going to die, because of a fear for failure. These series are meant to tackle exactly that; unnecessary fear.

Hopefully, I can inspire you to redefine fear. To understand that this self-inflicted “fear”, realistically stands for False Evidence, Appearing Real and that this new perspective might completely change your life.

So, let’s be honest? What do you fear? What are you scared of?

 Please stay tuned for the first installment of the F.E.A.R. series – Public Speaking.

 

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The F.E.A.R. series are aimed at start-up entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone that wishes to conquer their fears. Every article will offer helpful pieces of insight and advice, based on the experience of industry champions and business professionals.

Categories
News

Is it time to kill start-up culture?

Over the last decade,  start-up initiatives have ruled the landscape. From high tech incubators to national initiatives and small business boot camps, the chorus reigns loud and clear: we need to encourage more startups. Small business, the saviour of economic woe, freer of the labour oppressed and solution to every problem of our modern time is the new demi-god and those of us so lucky to serve at its altar, must bear witness to the life-changing effects it has on our lives.

Start-up culture is a global movement, focused on encouraging small business development. Its homogeneity is ubiquitous, and its reach all encompassing. It has infiltrated national policy & creates soundbites for politicians interested in furthering their careers. It exists in nearly every sector, from the not for profit to banking, but its altar exists in the world of high tech.

Leaner, faster, stronger. This is the new mantra of business, and its gods are the high tech millionaires and billionaires, generally under 30, mainly male and very intelligent.  Priests serving this deity abound. Cloaked under the auspices of “consultants”, these priests and priestesses of modern technology advise, write, speak and work to develop a culture that is  focused on birthing small businesses and getting more people on a path to salvation.

There is however, a fallacy in all of this.  We have a culture so focused on start-up and we do little or nothing to help people once they have a business. Anyone who has ever run a business can tell you, the hardest thing is not starting a business; the hardest day you will ever have is when you finally open the doors. This is when the real work begins.

Start-up culture is driven and focused on youth. The language it uses, the time frames it operates in, and the adjectives: leaner, faster, stronger, are adjectives of the young, or those that want to be young. The focus is on building a multi-million dollar business as quickly as possible. We focus on maximizing market penetration, and increasing shareholder returns. Our definitions of value are not long-term temporal, they are immediate.

The trouble with all of this is we only focus on the successes. We only see the tech millionaire and not the million others that never gain notoriety, fame or fortune. We have not created a start-up culture or system that is self-sustaining and business strengthening. We have not encouraged the growth of business but rather the proliferation of start-ups. The facts are staggering. Over 90% of tech start-ups fail; 75% fail to pay back investors and many successful tech entrepreneurs have failed once (or many times) before being successful. High failure rates with small business is nothing new. Consider that over 75% of restaurants fail within 5 years, nearly 90% within 8 years.  Why do they Fail? They do not pay attention to their customers, the quality of their product decreases, and they run into financial trouble. This is the same for all small businesses.

It is time to stop the start-up culture, and move towards a culture of long-term sustainability, growth and shareholder value that is NOT quarter to quarter, but year to year, and decade over decade. This is real entrepreneurship and community building.

 

why startups fail

http://visual.ly/why-startups-fail

 

 

Categories
Our Stories

The Power of Storytelling

Stories  are as ancient to human culture and civilization as the concept of humanity itself. In oral societies, stories were how lessons were passed on from generation to generation. Stories are core to human emotion. They help us to express joy, sadness, anger and melancholy. They symbolize both our experiences as well as our hopes for the future. They can fill us with happiness or sadness, evoke empathy, and stir anger. Marketers continually tell us to use stories as a part of our marketing strategies.  Storytelling has the power to transform what you do and make it better.

Categories
Letter from the Editor

Introducing SocEnt Magazine

Paradigm shifts by definition are revolutionary changes in how we view, conceive or approach a particular issue. I believe we are witnessing a paradigm shift when it comes to business. More than ever before we are witnessing nonprofits and charities enter the business arena as they try to find ways to survive amidst declining donations and government funding. Private businesses on the other hand are creating greater and greater transparency in the they way they do business. They want to be socially responsible and sustainable.  All of this is fueled in large part, by a large demographic  group of people, young and old alike, who challenge the status quo every day to say that they want the world to be different and are no longer willing to sit on the sidelines and witness history, but instead want to be part of the change.