You feel like a rock star when creating a start-up? You should remember the following next time you code while listening to music

A very good friend of my wrote on herFacebook wall recently

When I was young,  Guys who wanted to impress me told me they are playing in a rock group…..   Today they tell me they created a startup…

 

Rockstar - Startup

And it is true, I even see every day more and more connections between the music industry and the start-up world.

  • Every can launch a rock group as well every one can start a startup.
  • Only a few groups became very successfully, as well as startups
  • Only the groups that worked hard and played a lot had a change,as well as start-ups
  • Rock groups have to handle record labels who decide and guide their selected groups, with startups we have Angel Investors, Equity funds,….   The same complex hierarchy.

The good news is that we can learn as a startup from  the music world, we are having a perfect example of what can go wrong and what can go well.    As startup people may see us as Rockstars, but as real rockstars you need torun  your business if you want to stay a Rockstar.

Many rock groups went down to drugs and other non related site activities, also record labels with there complex structure of copyrights, ownerships etc.  controls the music group.   Do you really think Justin Bieber or Myley Cyrus really can make the music they want or they can really say no to a show?  Do you believe that a group like One Direction made it without a whole team behind them, and hard work?  Of course not. And this is the same for startups.  Startups with investors (angels or others) or in the same position.

I met in my life many startups, dreaming and wasting too much time on the side activities, like presenting on stage when the software/app is not online yet, talking about big numbers but didn’t had done any market research, and after 1 year and when I asked there business plan, no answer.

As like every small rock group, they started in a garage and grown by playing more , promote and play and promote.  Startups often starts in the kitchen or bedroom and they work hard,try, grown, test, try, grown, test…..

Next time you listen to music when working on your start-up, remember the following:

  1. Creating Software / Product / Service = Writing songs
  2. Going Live = Selling your Songs via iTunes or Play Store, or having Paid Clients
  3. Marketing and Communication andpromotion = Concerts
  4. Your Team = Booking Managers, Tour Manager,..
  5. Success = When you are on stage and people are shouting your name

While launching my startup, Gift Voucher Kiosk (http://GiftVoucherKiosk.com), I kept this in mind and I had fun, but I concentrated on the service like a rock star concentrate on his music.

Let me know how your start-up fits the rock star world.

Author: Frederik Van Lierde – Google+

Restaurants and Gift Vouchers – an interesting way to promote your business

Restaurants and Gift Vouchers, a strange combination? Did you already offer a gift voucher for a birthday to a friend?. What did you offer, a meal, but how do you know how much they will drink :) Will they take coffee and the end of there delicious dinner or not…

The main difference between offering Gift Vouchers for shops or spa and restaurants is you have no idea how much your friend will spent….

Café Des Sources Offering Gift Vouchers in there restaurants as a new innovative way to get more clients

As Restaurant owner, this is a great opportunity.
As a restaurant owner you can use traditional publicity channels like magazines, local newspapers, or you can be visible in restaurant guides etc.
On the other hand you can work with Groupon (or other local groupon clones) and give serious reductions to generate more clients….

We know that when people love your restaurant, they will talk about it and this is the best way to get promotion. This is where Facebook and Foursquare etc. plays a role …. but talking is 1 thing, action is more difficult.

Let’s say I love your restaurant, so I sent USD 40 to my best friends to try out your restaurant. My friend will visit, enjoy (as he believes me) and he spends as much or less he wants, he just got a credit of CHF 40.

Does this system exist? Of course it does, have a look:http://Giftvouchers.yabbedoo.com

  • Free Subscription
  • Small transaction fee, only when a voucher is sold
  • Real time follow up (So you can offer a free drink or just say thank youto your guest)
  • Do you own a restaurant and want to find our mor information, just contact us

The Difference between Horizontal & Vertical Networking

A small post about networking and the difference between horizontal and vertical networking, after a lovely discussion I had during a business lunch organised by the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Geneva.

Networking  - Marketing

Everywhere we read that networking is the way to go to make new contacts, to do business. But in most cases people network horizontally, meaning they go to network events with the same level of people, and those people go also to the same networking events for the same reason as you. They want to find new customers. So most of them are not really listening.
On horizontal networking, you talk like chickens, you tell your (sales) story, they do the same and leave wothout nothing.

Try vertical networking, first you choose different networking events. Ask who is coming, ask the titles etc. Then you go and listen. Follow the stream of information and meet people. And make sure you connect with decision makers who are interested in information.

Do you see the difference, in vertical networking you talk to people who are interested, who wants to capture information, knowledge. In horizontal networking you talk to people who want to sell to you.

Like today, the President of the Chamber of Commerce told me, “call me and met up afterwards, as I got to much information”. I just made sure I had 1-2 lines he remembered what I am doing and now I have time to talk privately in a quite environment.

Your IT Director should be an Entrepreneur … and Screw Business as Usual

I always loved Richards Branson phrase “Screw business a usual” and me as IT person this is what we do no “Screwing the business” at least that is what the business thinks ;)

IT Should be the Most Creative Department

Now serious: IT should Screw the business as usual, this is part of the existence of the IT Department. We need to find new ways to create a solution, we need to be creative in a way that support the business to reach the goal of the company. Being Success full

That is why I see the IT Director as an Entrepreneur. Not someone who sits behind his desk, in his Ivory Tower…… But someone who can sit next to a developer, or analyst, the business. Someone who can guide, can support his department.

An entrepreneur often has to switch between different roles, one moment he has to be a visionary, the other moment an accountant the other moment a sales person etc.

I strongly believe that IT Directors should be the same, one moment he/she must be an analyst so he talk with the business and understand the business, then he needs to be a director (Deciding on the road map) and he needs to be coder so he can create a link with the developers.

A practical hint for IT directors: Keep 2 types of clothes in your office, one casual and one suite ;)

What if you are a director of 100+ team? Well you can still screw business as usual.

Guide the people reporting to you directly to become like you. And push them to do the same, …. and it is not forbidden you talk directly to all levels of your department, Don’t be shy ;) Your are in charge and it is your responsibility.

Break the barriers of the hierarchy, your best managers will accept it, your worst will change (or you replace them).

Encourage your team to come up with new ideas to create a better IT department and reward them, not moneywise, but with fame. Coders are maybe quite people but they are very proud when they succeed.

A true life story:

I was hired as an external consultant for a big trading company. One day, I had to write on paper the whole structure of the database for documentation. IT director gave me 3 weeks.
Did that internal boss thinks I will write 3 weeks a paper for documentation no one will read, ? (Yes he did)
This was not me, I was young I was consultant , so writing 3 weeks this paper was not for me. So instead I analysed. and the IT Department had to write those kind of papers all the time. Why no one decided to automate this, to see how other businesses solve this expensiv work etc.

After 3 days I created an automated software and the job was done.

Sadly I had to write the code behind the back of the IT Director as he wasn’t open for innovation. He did it this way (on paper) in his time so that was the way to do it now.

Positive result: when I showed him the 3 days of work, they started to use on on other projects as well.

How to make sure your new customers are coming back…

As some of you who reads my posts of follow me in the social media world knows I am also an owner of a spa in Geneva (http://floatspa.ch in case you visit this beautiful city)

A spa is a local business, you have to work every day to get clients wantes to relax.

Many ways exists to attract clients like Groupon or Facebook etc…

Curious as I am as entreprener I wondered why we need to give huge reductions to get new clients. It was not right.

It was not right that clients that pay my bills have to pay the full price and clients that only comes to have the % get it cheap.

I wanted to find another way and came to conclusion that for our spa the following is working the best

When new client uses your services
1. Offer service to your clients
2.  ask them if they are happy
3. Give them 10% reduction for the next visit.

I have a success rate of 92%.  So I have 2 changes to keep the customer happy instead of 1 time….

Let me know if you tried this and what is your sucess rate?

Real Time Transparancy to Stimulate Sales?

Many great ideas exists on the Internet to promote your travel Agencies, some free, some with a commission, others with a fixed membership.   The difficulty is to find out where to spent time and money.

With our Platform we had the same issue, our members, before paying, they wanted to see numbers, understand the risk, the investment etc.  and of course we gave them those information like every Sales person does.  beautiful numbers

But then again, we all know we love to present beautiful numbers and I wanted to offer something different. a way my Sales team don’t have to call every day to persuade you to become member.

Therefore we created an online real time statistic page, with information on our platform + the growth. This way our future members can have a look how we are growing without listening to our sales talk :)

View it live on http://yabbedoo.com/statistics.aspx you even get information about how many more deals, subscibers are added since your last visit. (Do the test and come back a few hours later)

How do you like this page?  Would you like to see this more from other suppliers?  Would this help to become member or buy a service online when the service offers more real time transparency?

Do you know other companies who opens their statistics in Real Time ?

Follow a group of young entrepreneurs starting up a new Open Tourism Platform/Search Engine

YabbedooI am involved in the Yabbedoo.com project.  The project is a startup of a new Tourism/Travel platform.   It is a big challenge, as many websites and search engines are available. 

After talking to many people within the business and with internet users we have found that our idea can work and is rather different than the existing websites.

Therefore Bert and I decided to take the risk and invested money, time and expertise in the Yabbedoo.com project.

What is Yabbedoo?
For travelers: Yabbedoo will a new way to plan your holiday.
For tourism professionals: Yabbedoo will be a new way to connect to your (future) customers.

Follow the startup
The Yabbedoo Team has created a blog, http://yabbedoo.wordpress.com, that will write about the challenges, problems and much more during the startup. 
At regular occasions we will explain more what the project is about, what we are doing and much more….

How can you help?
Please feel free to have a look at the Yabbedoo Blog and subscribe to follow up the bog by Email or RSS.  The team will not blog everyday, so you will not be spammed :)  But it will be a great motivation for them.

Be free to give comments and ideas which features you like or like to see when preparing for you (needed) holidays or to promote your tourist related company

 Related websites:
Yabbedoo.com: http://www.yabbedoo.com
Blog: http://yabbedoo.wordpress.com 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yabbedoocom/132811006919#/pages/Yabbedoocom/132811006919
Twitter: http://twitter.com/yabbedoo

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