Category: Startups & MVP’s

There is always someone who can do it cheaper….Be wary

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Getting quotes from market is always a good idea. However sometimes, you get quotes which are far too low than what you have got from others. I recently got this picture to showcase that there is always someone who can get it done cheaper. It does convey a message, though it might not be always true :).

Have a good day!

Why did I quit on hubspot?

Hubspot3

Hubspot promotes itself as an Inbound marketing tool. Before we dive deeper, we need to understand what Inbound marketing is.

Inbound marketing is advertising a company through content. Content is the primary citizen of content marketing strategy. As compared to outbound marketing which uses cold calls, cold emails, flyers, news paper advertisement and other shout out methodologies, inbound marketing focusses on intriguing people through content. You want the reader to be intrigued enough to contact you rather than you reaching out to them.

In my mind, a good citizen of the content world, would pledge to produce highest quality content to her ability which focusses on being useful to the reader than merely trying to sell. The primary purpose of content is to claim authority on the subject of your business, boost your brand value and most importantly initiate conversations. Of course you have a chance of a sale, but that is not what your primary mindset should be.

Here are a few things why we decommissioned Hubspot:

FOCUS ON QUANTITY NOT QUALITY

Hubspot integrates with google analytics and gives you analytical information. Analytics can be done on quantitative data, not quality data. So Hubspot is mixing up quantity and quality right there.

What you see on the dashboard is Number of visits, leads and conversions. I would rather want to see parameters that showcase how well I am writing the content. This can be based on number of conversations it is generating, rating quality of the article and shares.

That being said, Hubspot promotes having more content, writing more blogs, having several landing pages. This is primarily for SEO purposes. 100% of the times, as you go up on quantity, you deteriorate on the quality. The purpose of content strategy of producing highest quality content is defeated right there.

CTA Everywhere

Since the parameters that Hubspot chooses is conversions, it has to give you the tools to plug in to monitor them. Welcome to Call-To-Action buttons. Call to Action on a blog might not always be necessary. However, they highly recommend having one on all of your blogs. That implies your primary focus was to convert the reader rather than giving information. Though this might sound the right thing to do, you want to understand that content strategy is a long term game. You cannot be short sighted in this game. You need to play it with the right spirits. Your intent should be to intrigue enough interest so that someone will find a way to contact you.

LOOK AND FEEL IS NOT EASY

The blog engine, CTA buttons & the page manager is not very sophisticated nor customizable. You have to contact their team to help you build the look and feel. It works for the first time, however, if you want to do it more often, it becomes frustrating.

PROMOTES KEYWORD FOCUS

Content science believes that a high quality content is searchable better by search engines. Hubspot blogging engine fosters search engine friendliness the old fashioned way. It fosters having a keyword in the title and stuffed in the article, makes you do the meta tags with keywords and other things that we use to do in early 2000. More so, it provides a sophisticated keyword tool to see how you are ranking in google with those keywords. Though google ranking is one of the aims, it’s not the purpose. These tools drag you away focussing on producing high quality content towards trying to rank higher in google.

TRYING TO BE EVERYTHING BUT CONTENT

Hubspot offers keyword tools, social media scheduling and monitoring tools and blog engine, CTA and content tools. I agree that all of these, but keywords are part of content strategy, but the tools do not focus on producing high quality content.

YOU CANNOT CANCEL WHEN YOU WANT TO

You would imagine a SAAS product would have a cancel button right on your face. However, Hubspot ties you down on 6 months contract. So even when you tell them you don’t want to use their services, they play the trump card of you signing a contract. I was honestly not aware of this long term relationship as it would have been hidden in the fine prints. That sounds pretty unfair. A good SAAS citizen would let you go as soon as you want to.

All that being said, I strongly feel that search engines are coping up to work more and more on content. But the fact of the time is that old fashioned way still works a lot on keywords and things that Hubspot provides.

However, I wanted to do only one thing and that was highest quality content. Hubspot did not fit the bill.

Below are a few things I would like to see in an Inbound Marketing tool:

WAYS TO IDENTIFY BETTER BLOG TOPICS

Blogs topics occur either by reading some other blog or by aha moment. However, it does not mean you can write a blog at that time itself. You might want to preserve the thought into a thought bucket with reference URL’s for writing the blog at later stage.

HELPING ME WRITE A POWER TITLE

There are a clear set of power verbs. If the tool could identify and help me find better words and way’s to write power titles, that would increase my chance of creating the right impact. This could be extended to content itself.

WAYS TO WRITE BETTER BLOG CONTENT

When you start writing a blog, it would be great if the tool can help you write better content. It could start dragging information from the reference URL’s or over the internet.

WAYS TO PLUG IN IMAGES

A simple istock integration to search and buy images right from the blog page would help add good quality images onto the blog to improve it’s look and feel.

WAYS TO MEASURE CONVERSATIONS

Writing a content and not understanding how the content measures in terms of quality and goal is a shot in the black hole. Once the blog is out, it needs to measure how it is doing on social media and how is it helping generate more conversations around the topic.

There are many more thing’s you could add, but it should revolve around pledging high quality content and nothing more. Without helping write high quality content, Inbound marketing will fall on it’s face. Hubspot provide’s some tools to measure things, but I feel it is primarily geared towards quantity than quality and that needs to certainly change.

WHY FIRST BUSINESS FAILS? (PART – 2)

6. Misjudging the runway

Once you put your startup on runway, you have to make sure that it takes off. It’s not just about the time and money you have. You also have to judge at what pace you should pump your money and how quickly you should reach elevation before time runs out. That’s not all. The runway shrinks too, circumstantially. You need to keep a buffer runway too, to avoid startup-crash.

But for a first timer, it was difficult to evaluate the runway accurately or to speculate the rough patches that were about to come on it. Eventually the startup couldn’t take off.

7. Earthed to revolving earth

Falling in love with your dream is not wrong.

But some first-time entrepreneurs got stuck with their dreams. Once they set a goal…that’s it! They gave no importance to periodic research and analysis. They overlooked the changing marketplace and customer needs. They ignored changing business structure with the effect of environmental factors. They forgot to re-engineer their dreams and ultimately their dream venture got stuck in a stagnant space.

8. Technology Cripple

Technology space is the fastest changing space. It is difficult to keep updated when it’s not your prime business. When there is limited technology budget, you tend to look for hiring a low-priced technology partner. You might fall in the dip of choosing the wrong technology partner; just like those startups who came to us for rescue missions.

Wrong technology partners gave them misleading advices. They were recommended use of a technology which doesn’t suffice web application’s requirements but was costly. Some tech companies advocated addition of needless features in the project. They also worked at slow pace just to increase their billing amount. This led to many technical problems, scalability issues and ultimately unfinished or failed projects.

9. Selling but not Marketing

Sales generate revenue. When you are less known in the market, you need to sell and sell aggressively. But if you are planning a long tenure in the industry, that’s not enough. You also need to build your presence with other marketing initiatives – offline & online.

Even though sales activities are subset of Marketing, and selling is its ultimate outcome, many first-time entrepreneurs just focused on sales. They believed that any marketing initiative that does not produce immediate result is a waste of time and should be replaced by another. However, the influence of marketing is slow yet powerful. Thus, due to insufficient brand presence, these companies went into the unknown zone. It caused their clients to choose their competitors over them.

10. Missing a Mentor

Every first time entrepreneur lacks one thing – Experience. You need someone experienced to guide you. You need a mentor. A mentor plays a vital role in your startup’s success and if you don’t have one, you would just be shooting arrows in dark.

Startups without any mentorship made avoidable blunders which cost them dearly. This is one of the main reasons for having a failed business.

We hope every new-bee entrepreneur will learn from this and avoid falling into the same pit and we would be working with more and more successful startups.

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WHY FIRST BUSINESS FAILS?

We have been working with startups since 2009. As it would be, we have witnessed many success stories and business failures, some of those we worked with, some we didn’t work with, and the others who came to us with rescue missions. We found that most of these business failures were led by first time entrepreneurs. Our observation also helped in identifying 10 common reasons why these “first” businesses failed.

Here are 10 common reasons we witnessed of why and how those first businesses failed?

1. Saying “NO” to Delegating Work

Nurturing a company involves a number of separate tasks. Operational excellence in product/service delivery is a must. You can’t go without a good web application either these days. Then there are legal and accounts related matters that need timely devotion. And finally comes, the sales and marketing endeavors that actually brings business to your company. You can’t ignore one for another. But then, you can’t be good at all of them either.

However, many first-time-entrepreneurs tried to do-it-themselves due to either lack of finance or surplus of fear of burning hands. They simply discarded delegating, outsourcing and offshoring options. However, they lacked experience and expertise. They tried hard, made mistakes and became frustrated. Later, they got too burdened and lost interest in what they thought was their dream recantation.

2. Building a “Yes Boss” Team

Building an excellent team is equivalent to nurturing a successful startup. Startups try to hire talented people who work hard. Give them a task and they will do it without asking a question. This creates a “Yes Boss” team in your company. A “Yes Boss” team blocks your imagination and doesn’t stop you from stepping towards failures.

This became dangerous for a first-time-entrepreneur who required someone to show mistakes, contradict, argue, suggest alternatives and brainstorm towards achievement.

3. Feeding Hierarchical Demon

First-time-entrepreneurs desire to enjoy the supremacy of being at top of a company’s decision-making. But being at the top comes with a price of being alone at the top. No one will love your dreams as you do. No one will stand with you to share your tough times in business. No one would buck you up when you are down.

One such hierarchy created distance, communication gap and above all a sense of being just an employee who jumped off the ship as soon as there was a storm. The founder had no one to stand with at the end.

4. Hiring, Not Retaining

Iteration is inevitable.

But a startup took it as a boon to cut cost. They hired new guys at less pay. They didn’t think about employee growth. Nor did they try to retain good employees if that meant paying higher. Thus, a gap got created. The newcomers were completely not in-line with the company’s culture & goals and took time to get trained before they start producing quality result. Later, iteration happened so rapidly that there was no one who knew past projects. No Knowledge Transfer happened and further work got stuck.

5. Skipping MVP

Being new to entrepreneurship is likely to fill you with competitive spirit; such that you offer better proposition than your competition.

A startup that we worked with spent a lot of time and money in building a full-fledged web application. They built a Maximum Viable Product instead of testing a Minimum Viable Product in the market first. By the time they launched, customer requirements changed. They were left with no fund for further development or marketing. It led to the failure of the whole project where time, money and resource had been exhausted for no positive outcome.

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How to hire the right CTO for your Startup?

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Whether you are a tech startup or a general business startup, hiring a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) has become one of the mandates to push the business ahead. But getting the right CTO for your startup is a daunting task. Not only hiring him involves a lot of money but also includes the right timing and patience to get the right person on board.

Occasionally a CTO is also known as the “Vice President of Engineering and Technology”. His primary role is to develop strategies and implement new technologies to the growing business.  His role is different from that of a CIO (Chief Information Officer). While a CIO will look after to solve problems via researched technologies, a CTO, on the other hand will develop new technologies tailor-made to solve new business issues for the organization. So hiring him is a big decision. Let’s ease it for you by listing a few main postulates that you need to check before signing him onboard.

Opt for companies just not individuals

Just hiring a person on board to be your CTO can involve a lot of complications. From money matters to experience and decision making, your new startup business can face a toll if the person is not fit for the role. In that case lay your hands with a technology services company which has experience working with start-ups like you. You can hire them as your technology services vendor or go a step ahead to be partners with them  and share the equity. This in turn will help you to cherish your dream turning into reality bit by bit before you, without incurring any losses.

Be straightforward

You need to know what your business aims are and how big you wish to build it. The best approach for a startup is to choose the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) route. Hire a CTO on a partnership basis and see how he develops startegies and technologies to turn your startup dream into reality. Sharing on equity is the best way to shape your startup the right way. Never giveaway to boasting ones! Try, test and build with your partner CTO.

Experience matters

When you embark on your mission ‘hiring CTO’ make sure you hire someone who has ample years of tested experience working with startups. A CTO with a major MNC will have an entirely different attitude in comparison to a startup CTO. A startup CTO will never consider this as a plain job but a challenge to build your business high as an entrepreneur, mostly the way you envisage your business.

Leadership is mandatory

A CTO is just not a developer. He is versed with the qualities of a developer and blessed with the skills of a leader. He should also have strong business development skills as well as great communication power. While many IT professionals can think miles about developing the business, most go haywire when it comes to communication. This combination helps him to build strategies and implement technology that best suits the business. So look out for this deadly combination before you get him onboard.

Recruit wisely

Money and time are two of your biggest challenges, being a startup. So whatever decision you take needs clear vision and thoughts. Most start-ups don’t have the time and money to spend on head-hunters. Look out for someone who is experienced and ready to join you out of passion to perform.

Be competitive

Always remember a CTO is a versatile genius loaded with the power to code programs as well as strategise items as per business needs. So he is like a big fish. And you need to treat him with élan. From offering him a good compensation to providing him with adequate perks are a few of the often valued things that you need to keep in mind while hiring a CTO.

Are you looking for a CTO for your startup? Write to us for help.

Photo Credit: http://www.siliconchisel.com/

To Share or Not to Share – PS4 VS XBox One

Sharing is caring. It has been taught to us since childhood and we totally believe it. However, in the gaming world, sharing has not been so legally favored. Companies have tried increasing sales of games by applying protection methods that restrict circulation of used games and their use on a friend’s gaming console. It has encouraged boys to move to their parents’ basement and produce cracks of every game that is available in market. In recent years, some game-makers tried to control illegal transfer of used games with the power of internet checks too but hackers as well started the efforts on their ends.

It has been a tussle of to-share-or-not-to-share all the way. This tug of war seems to come to an end by Sony’s announcement of PS4 at E3 press event. Sony has decided to allow used games in PS4 and has also dropped the always-online bomb. That is not just a blow to all those hackers but also to Sony’s archrival Microsoft who is coming up with Xbox One. In the recent publishing by Microsoft on how Xbox One would work, they hinted some limitations to sharing games with friends as well as the initial inability to rent titles. The console will also require on online check every 24 hours failing which, the gamer won’t be able to use the device online any further. Certainly, PS4 has made its way to the hearts over Xbox One.

The gaming community worldwide has been talking about this latest revelation of Sony.

Shuhei Yoshida, President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment twitted a step-by-step video about how to share PS4 games.

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony - tweet

Needless to say, the video went viral in just few hours.The price war has already been won on by PS4.

PS4 Price - Sony

Soon after, this pic comparing Xbox One and PS4 started taking rounds in tweets.

PS4 Vs XBOX ONE

This was enough to start a tweet war PS4 VS Xbox One. Here are some of the emotions that sample the emotions on twitter.

PS4 3

Xbox Lover2

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Xbox lover

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Some gamers were not happy with the revelation that PS4 did not support an offline multiplayer gaming. In this arena, they were required to have online subscription, just like Xbox One.

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Yet the features offered by PS4 were much lucrative deal.

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It was all praise and support for PS4. Definitely they were keeping the loyal customers.describe the image

But Microsoft definitely lost some Xbox fans.

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Certainly PS4 is winning over Xbox One in this console war on pre-booking. However, we still are to observe the next strategy of Microsoft to counter competition. As for now, this is the reality:

I Need PS4

5 easy-to-do no-cost-involved tactics to boost your SEO

SEO_-_Idyllic_Software

The term SEO or Search Engine Optimization is itself a heavy term for small businesses to understand and invest time and money. However it is as essential as water to win the regular battle in business. Having worked with a number of small businesses we have come up with a short and sneaky list of ideas that can help you to scale your small business up the SEO ladder with minimum money and time.

Start Bootstrapping

Bootstraping in genral is by far one of the easiest methods to make your SEO work for you. This is purely because it involves no money in it. You invest your time to draw attention to your website, however paying not a single cent. If budget is a constraint for you, then bootstrapping is by far the best SEO way to take your business ahead.

Blogging matters

Start writing your own blogs with rich and valuable content. Always remember the old adage, “Content is the king”, so let the king rule lavishly. If you want to establish brand recognition and authority then you got to interact with people via your valuable content. Once you establish yourself with your blogs, make sure you take up guest blogging. There are numerous websites which allow guest bloggers to write good content and in return they will provide you with valuable inbound links to promote your business. Make sure you don’t miss them.

Research for keywords

When you were in school remember your teachers used to mark essential keywords in definitions and asked you to memorize it. Your business too needs that dedication. Research and which keywords are doing rounds related to your business. Identify two or three high traffic yet mid o low competitive keywords related to your business. Make sure you add them in your blog posts as tags or meta tags and use them as hash tags while you tweet. This will add value to your website and eventually increase your SEO page rankings, thereby improving your business.

Send out press releases

Although you may think that being a small business how can a press release help you out! But the catch is, a press release is like a Pandora’s Box, loaded with lot of power. It will help in building your brand awareness, fetch in referral traffic, build citations for local markets and finally is a social proof of your growing business. Once a month distribute a press release and see the benefits that follow.

Go social

The last and the most essential part of building your SEO high is enhancing social presence. Follow relevant people or businesses in social media like – Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook. Share their thoughts and ideas in your social media profiles. Pick relevant content from your website and spread the word. Also ensure that you participate in contexts related to your business and never repent to be vocal about it.

Ultimately, SEO is a building and sharing responsibility. If you can pick it up you will reap the benefits of it for a long time. And always remember SEO is not a day’s task. To get fulfilling results you need to be patient and dedicated about it.

If you have some more cool yet easy to do ideas to boost your SEO, let us know. We will spread it- so that together we can make a difference.

Myth buster – Who works for a STARTUP!

Mythbusters_-Idyllic_Software
Once out of college, everyone wants to get hired in a big company. Well…almost everyone! A handful rich and fortunate guys decide to have their own venture or join their family business. And the rest, who don’t get a job in any MNC decide to step in a small company, be it a startup. This is a myth that most of the path and join a less known company, you have failed.”

This myth has ruined many talents in the past and to do a justice to the future, today I am going to bust it.

Myth 1 – All smart people get hired in MNC.

Idyllic Spftware Mythbuster - Busted

A big company doesn’t look at how smart you are. It sees if, with an average intelligence, you would be a fit with the work culture of the company. Most of the companies do not hire the top and the bottom of the curve. Bottom ones are neglected for obvious reasons. The top ones are said ‘no’ for they can be the first one to switch jobs for better pay. Who wants to waste money and time trying to stop iterations?

 

Myth 2 – Those who won’t get a job anywhere else, they just join a startup.

Idyllic Software Mythbuster - Busted

Those who won’t get a job anywhere else won’t qualify for a startup either. This lot gets hired in mass recruitment drive only, which of course is done by big companies. Startups are quite choosy about who they want to work with. They would prefer being under-manpower and working double-shifts than to hire an underperforming employee. A startup needs real talent for that push to make things happen and they settle for nothing less.

 

Myth 3 – You can’t get real learning experience if you work in a startup. MNCs have copyright on learning.

Idyllic Software Mythbuster - Busted

MNC gives you defined role. A book of previous learning is given and you never have to start from scratch. But then, you lose on innovation too and the probability of ‘what-if’. The startup, on the other hand, gives you a wider scope of learning different things, things that you might not learn in a routine job. It gives you freedom to experiment, take the risk, apply the bookish to see if it really works and learn from your own mistakes. A 360 degree enriched learning experience!

 

Myth 4 – If you join a startup, your dad will pay your bills.

Idyllic Software Mythbuster - Busted

Yes, startups seldom have pockets as deep as MNCs. But then do MNCs share their huge profits with their employees? Not really. MNCs offer huge CTCs, startups quote less. But wait a minute! What is this CTC? The cost to Company is not what you get paid in your salary account. It is what company

thinks is spending on keeping you. This includes all it claims to give you as benefit including the desktop/laptop, internet connection, cafeteria, big office corridors and centralized air-conditioner. What really comes in your hand is about the same or sometimes lesser than what a person with same experience and educational background gets working for a startup. By the way, irrespective of which company you work for, your dad doesn’t pay your bill unless…you want him to pay.

Myth 5 – The bigger the company you work for, the more are your chances to grow in the company.

Idyllic Software Mythbuster - Busted

A big company has a hierarchy to tackle dissatisfaction of non-promotion amongst a big pool of employees, out of which only few can actually reach the top management level. A promotion in MNC means you get a new job title, a hike, a new place to sit, sometimes a new team and often a new city in a foreign country. What remains same is your daily routine work. Where is the growth? Growth is in a flat organization that you joined when it was a startup. Joining early and staying there helps you grow with the startup and have a chance of being the big-shot of the company when it becomes a billion dollar baby.

 

Much more such myths exist in the minds of ignorants.

If you know any such myth, share with us.

We will bust it!!!

Summon the Warrior in you on this World Entrepreneurship Day

World-Entrepreneurship-Day
Entrepreneurs do deserve a day dedicated to them. Entrepreneurs not only build for themselves, but they are the true pioneers of bringing in change. At times, you wonder, how these people with no power or support, come into the lime light and make our lives easier. What’s in it for them? Money, Fame or Power? Though these three attributes might seem to be the key driving force, the real answer is that it is none of them. Below is the true essence of entrepreneurship:

Entrepreneurship is to serve

Entrepreneurship is not about being your own boss but becoming a humble servant. It is not just being the King but to serve your customers and also owe service to your team. A true entrepreneur is most humble being you will ever see.

Entrepreneurship is about self-realization

Entrepreneurship is about entering the unknown and facing the uncertainties. This is the trait of a warrior. One realizes more about herself on her entrepreneurial journey, than she would have walking on the safe revenue path.

Entrepreneurship is about the story

The essence of entrepreneurship is in its story. It is not at all about the golden chalice. The essence is in your experience and bringing that experience back to your people. What you create in your entrepreneurial journey should live after you are gone. Just like the epic of a warrior. The essence of your story should benefit the new generation in helping them embark on their journey.

With this being said, most of us fear from embarking on the journey fearing the unknown, the unpredictable. Today on this world’s entrepreneurship day, I summon the warrior in you to take on the world and leave it better than what you had come to.

Wish you a very happy entrepreneurship day !!!

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