Monthly Archives: March 2014

5 useful Social Media Apps for Entrepreneurs

Social-Media-Strategy-for-EducationIn this age of social media marketing, entrepreneurs should consider themselves blessed since they have so many more avenues for reaching out to customers and promoting their products and services. A host of social media apps are also available that enable an entrepreneur to market his offerings.

Evernote

As an entrepreneur, you eat, breathe, and dream your business. An idea can occur at any time. Evernote helps you keep track of these ideas by organizing your notes. You can also share files and photos. It helps you remember what’s important in your list of things to do.

Hootsuite

This app is literally a virtual personal assistant. With it, you can manage the latest updates from your company – ranging from product releases, marketing campaigns, advertisements, news and pictures related to business, promotions and more through an automated process and instant feeds.

Heyo

Heyo is a Facebook app, which helps businesses to sell their products and services on their Facebook page through promotional messages, video-sharing, and links to products and services. Customers can buy directly on Facebook, so you don’t lose out on a single sale. You can use Heyo to create contests, special promotions, and deals. No HTML knowledge is required since there are drag-and-drop templates to make app creation easier.

Schemes start at $25 per month. There is also a free 7-day trial.

Local Vox

This is a solution to all your internet marketing needs. With it, you can manage your website, Facebook and Twitter, publish deals and announcements, business updates and email-newsletters, all from a single platform and a simple click. You can also check your business ratings and reviews on popular sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. When it comes to promotions and brand building activities, Local Vox takes care of it all.

Woobox

Woobox is a popular app provider used by 2 million brands.  Its suite of Facebook apps include deals, polls coupons, video contests and more — 15 in all. Three of its apps are for Pinterest and Instagram. It has both free and paid plans. Pricing is based on the number of Facebook fans a company has on its page and start at $1.00 per month.

You can pick and choose the app that suits you best to carry on your promotional activities and organize your social media calendar.

Visit for Unspun Consulting Group for Social Media Marketing & Social Media Tools.

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How to give an effective startup pitch in 4 easy steps

a1-1_thepitch_slideshow_1_nobuttonBeing an entrepreneur means taking risks. It also means you have to be able to energetically pitch your business to venture capitalists and angel funds.  As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to communicate your business ideas effectively through a start-up pitch.

 

The What, Why, Where, and When of your Business Plan

Lay out the what, why, where and when of your business plan. Don’t worry about the “how” since that normally gets worked out after the pitch is made. Include details such as your planned business name, line of business, reach, and timeframe for getting it off the ground.

Fixing the Need Gap

Discuss how your product or service will alleviate the pain points of the customer. Focus on what your business can bring to the table or how your company can present a new angle in an existing market. It has to demonstrate a need in the market that your product or service is working to fulfil.

Include Market Research

Include details about your market research without going into too much detail for fear of boring your listeners. Review the market size, the number of direct competitors, and potential or anticipated sales. Include positive statements from product trials or prospective customers who have shown interest. That will add clout to your presentation.

Discuss the Profit Viability

Discuss the profit potential of your business and how you arrived at those numbers. Any prospective investor will be interested in this information and you need to portray it clearly to get them on board.

So in a short while, you need to convince the audience that you know what you are talking about when it comes to your business idea and be prepared to field questions, too. Confidence is key while making a start-up pitch. Knowing the ins and outs of your business plan is another pre-requisite. Substantiating what you say with data is important as is knowing how you arrived at that data.

As Dave McClure says, for the most effective pitch, focus 80% on the problem, 20% on the solution.

5 Tips for Email Writing that Converts

emailContrary to what people are saying, email as a medium of direct marketing is not dead. If used right, an email can get you conversions. So don’t ignore this still-popular tool of communication and direct marketing.

Personalize the email: An email should be like an actual conversation with the recipient. It should be personalized and be packed with personality. No impersonal, boring, cold emails that sound like a robot just spoke.

Good Content: Your email should contain good content or direct the recipient to a landing page or webpage packed with great and relevant content.

Build Relationships: Reach out to your audience with sincere and direct messages that strike a chord with them. People are more likely to listen to those who they like. So make sure your audience likes you. This can be done by effective email writing.

It’s also in the timing: The day and time that you send out your emails can affect open rates and click through rates. So be sure to know which is the best time to send out your email. It varies with regions and the target audience. The frequency with which you send out emails is another factor.

Length of your email: You will have to vary the length of your email on a case-to-case basis. Some emails need to be long and descriptive, while in other cases, being short and to the point would suffice. You are the best judge of when to resort to which kind of email. Ideally, you can write a short email when you direct your reader to a landing page or other web page, which has more content. When you are trying to educate the audience or influence them, a long mail works better.

Hope these tips will enable you to create emails that lead to conversions.

Doing more with less – Social Media for Startups

Social_Media_For_Startups_2Start-ups need to learn to do a lot with less. Social media is a great tool for start-ups, which if used right can provide great results with very little investment. Here are 4 ways in which start-ups can leverage social media.

Customer Service: What Twitter and Facebook lets you do is have a real-time conversation with your customers. Make sure there is someone to monitor your social media channels and reply to customers and address their pain points. Phonebooth.com, which sells PBX services to small businesses has solved over 20 customer support issues using Twitter and has also created a “vibrant product feedback loop, with good user participation.” according to its Vice President of Marketing Todd Barr.

Interact, Interact, Interact: The primary aim of social media is community building. Startups can take this online community building to the next level by meeting its Twitterati in tweet ups or other events scheduled for personal interaction. These people could become your brand evangelists if handled right! Zugara is one company that uses social media to create community and build awareness through both its Twitter and Facebook account to build relationships organically.

Market your Products:  With Youtube, Slideshare and a host of other tools, it is possible for companies to market their products. They can put up product demos, infomercials and videos that talk about their products, share testimonials and bring in more customers. Think of it as a conversation in the real world. What would you tell a stranger you just met about your product or service? And stay engaged with them. Just like you can’t walk away in the middle of a conversation in real life, you need to respond to their queries on social media.

Internal Collaboration:  Start-ups are also using social media to stay connected to their employees and partners internally. Conversation and collaboration are a part of a start-up culture and a healthy way to spur innovation. This is facilitated by social media and web-based applications to create a virtual office environment for employees.

The viral reach of social media and its potential in spreading good news and bad like wildfire shows that any social media activity if handled right can take you places! So get going. Get social & build your social brand!

5 Marketing Lessons Startups Can Learn From Big Brands

marketing_lessonsStartups need to take a big-brand approach to marketing. If you are a start-up or small business owner, you’re automatically a marketer. Good marketing is about creating a positive brand experience for your customer. The principle behind creating a great brand experience remains the same regardless of the size of your business. It all boils down to seizing opportunities, going the extra mile and being creative about ways to involve and engage your customers.

Seize an opportunity – There was a power outage in the second half of the SuperBowl and Oreo quickly cashed in on the opportunity. They tweeted out an image of an oreo in the dark, saying power outage? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark. The tweet garnered a lot of press coverage and publicity.

Spread the goodwill – Chipotle the Mexican restaurant keeps track of celebrities that mention the brand on Twitter. They rewarded some of the mentions with a ‘free burritos for life’ card. Of their own volition, the celebs invariably tweeted about their free lifetime card resulting in tremendous publicity for the brand.

Go the extra mile –  Edge shave gel had a hashtag called #soirritating and monitored it to remove the irritations in the daily life of their customers. When someone tweeted about being out of cereal, they tweeted a picture of cereal bars and said if they were DMed they would give that person the goodies in the image.

Involve your audience – The Samuel Adams brewing company made a crowd craft brew based on recommendations of its consumers. The malt, clarity, yeast of the new beer was based on audience recommendations and in that way crowdsourced! This involved the customers and got them feeling that Samuel Adams really cares about their preferences.

Use Teasers – Don’t always bombard your customers with information about your products and services. Create a little mystery. Unveil bit by bit. Tease the audience until they want to know more. For example, this commercial from Under Armour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYCvIr0fWnM does just that.

The Role of the Government in Entrepreneurship

cee-logo-FBTo develop and nurture the entrepreneurial sector, the support of the government is crucial. Policies need to be adopted that can give a fillip to this sector. The Indian government has taken several steps to ensure the growth of this sector and instituted several bodies to promote entrepreneurial development in the country.

SIDBI was set up in 1990 as the main financial institution for financing the small scale sector, providing development and support services for promoting small industries, and engaging with other institutions engaged in similar activities.

The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Board promotes entrepreneurship development through Science and Technology. This initiative has encouraged researchers and academicians in the field of Science & Technology to take interest in socially relevant entrepreneurial roles. Under the flagship of NSTEB, various institutes and training programmes have been formulated such as Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Cell, Entrepreneurship Development Program and many more.

To boost the services and manufacturing sectors, the Govt. of India chalked out a separate SMSE department so that these industries could receive sufficient attention and support. The MSMED Act was passed in 2006, which aims at providing guidelines for skill development of employees, management and entrepreneurs in addition to resolving many other issues.

According to a report by the  NASSCOM, “India’s entrepreneurial growth can be accelerated by creating more conducive conditions – a catalytic government and regulatory environment, adequate capital flows (both debt and equity), support from businesses and society, and availability of appropriate talent and mentoring. India has the potential to build about 2,500 highly scalable businesses in the next 10 years – and given the probability of entrepreneurial success that means 10,000 start-ups will need to be spawned to get to 2,500 large-scale businesses. These businesses could generate revenues of Rs 10 lakh crore ($200 billion) – a contribution to GDP and creation of employment at the same scale as projected for IT and ITES industry.”

We at Unspun are doing our bit to support and nurture the entrepreneurial community. Recently, Unspun Consulting Group has set up a Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence(CEE). Through this, we plan to establish a forum for frequent occasions to  bring together policy makers and entrepreneurs to promote better dialog between them. The upcoming event conducted by CEE, Be Heard is aimed to serve as a bridge between policy makers and entrepreneurs, so that the start-up community gets a chance to interact with policy makers, voice their concerns about entrepreneurial policies, and find out what policy makers can do to help them.

Now, even Barbie is an entrepreneur

downloadfile-2 The role of women in the world is changing. No longer are certain jobs considered a man’s domain. These days, you see women cops, women cab drivers, and women in all kinds of roles that were hitherto considered male territory. Women have ascended the corporate ladder and are moving beyond it.

Ernst & Young published a report called Nature or nurture? Decoding the DNA of the entrepreneur. In it they argue that entrepreneurial leaders are made, not born. According to the report, “There is no single entrepreneurship gene. But there are traits and experiences that make it more likely that an individual will choose the path of entrepreneurship and, crucially, succeed over the long term.”

Today, women take risks in business and become entrepreneurs. They have what it takes, be it nature, nurture or a blend of the two. Sometimes, women work in the corporate sector and leave their jobs either because they have had a baby and want a break or for personal reasons. But the fire to do something lives on within them and some of them tangle with the idea of being their own boss- Inventing a product, launching one, or launching services. There are so many women entrepreneurs these days that the toy makers of the Barbie Doll have launched “entrepreneur” Barbie.

However, there are still women making rotis and toiling in their kitchens every day in India. It is to address their challenges that Singapore-based Pranoti Nagarkar launched RotiMatic, which helps these women make rotis at the click of a button. She has founded the start-up Zimplistic, which received $ 6 million from Spring Singapore-A good example of a woman at the helm helping those who are not.

The wedding industry was recently quoted to be worth Rs. 190,000 crores. Tapping into this gigantic market and the central problem of gift giving during weddings, Priyanka Agarwal founded Wishberry, a Mumbai-based start-up that focuses on collecting funds online through friends and well-wishers for a cause. Customers can create a gift registry or fundraising page by filling out a simple online form on Wishberry.in, or by giving them a call. Wishberry then makes it their business to see that your wish is granted through crowdfunding.

What makes a start-up successful is an innovative idea, backing, funding, and leadership. With more women choosing to take over the reins in business ventures, the future of our country seems more promising. And on women’s day, let’s reflect on how far women have come over the years and visualize an even brighter road ahead. As TechCrunch founder and co-editor, Michael Arrington says, “The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.”  So let’s sing along with Katy Perry,

“I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR”   and go ahead to make our way through the entrepreneurial jungle.