For the past year, I’ve been creating videos online and growing an audience through that. And then, last week, my channel hit 1000 subscribers. This was a goal that seemed kind of unattainable a few months ago. While this is a small milestone and there’s plenty of growth left to take place, I think there are a few key things that I’ve learned along the way… and these are things that can be applied to starting any venture from the ground up.
- Set a goal that you can control
- Aim for Consistency
- Be open to making sacrifices
- Identify what you enjoy about the process
- Pay attention to the market (or audience)
- Have Patience
There are certainly many other values and practices that matter, but these were the most pivotal to my growth online. I expect these keys to be applicable for any other entrepreneurial venture as well, and leaning into these practices will allow you to start from a stronger place. I discuss this in depth here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVZzBUaOUDU. Let me know if there are any other pillars that you rely on when pursuing your own ventures.
Israel-based agtech company CropX Technologies Ltd.’ has signed a collaboration agreement with Reinke Manufacturing, a global leader in pivot irrigation. The two companies aim to join forces and offer farmers a combined package of both their solutions. As part of the agreement, Reinke will be making an undisclosed investment in CropX.
Read more here.
The post [CropX in CTech] CropX Acquires CropMetrics to Expand U.S. Market Presence appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.
Our startup connects driving learners with their ideal driving instructors. We help learners to find, compare and book instructors online while assisting the instructors in managing their schedule and payments. ( Launching this month)
Since a person only needs his/her licence once and since the majority of driving instructors are busy and not super active on social media for their business part, what steps can we take to increase online presence of our startup. We have tried posting posts on road rules, news related to licences on our social media handles, but nothing seems to work. Your creative ideas are most welcome. Thank you in advance
Entrepreneurs have long been known as a courageous bunch, and this group is leading the pack when it comes to adapting to the “next normal,” whatever (and whenever) that may be. With the coronavirus pandemic, the standard road map to success was erased virtually overnight. It’s now more apparent than ever that businesses must be agile and flexible to survive. That’s a scary concept for some, but it’s downright invigorating for some of the brilliant startup leaders I know.
Over the past six months, consumers have changed the way that they interact with businesses, whether it’s through curbside pickup or via their cellphones. Companies need to meet their audiences where they are, and that’s increasingly online.
Building up a vibrant, seamless digital presence can help a startup or small business weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful businesses are continuing to pivot their traditional models to find new opportunities in this altered landscape — like restaurants providing grocery services and karate dojos offering digital martial arts classes.
The “next normal” may take a while to fully materialize, but all businesses should expect a heavy emphasis on building and maintaining a strong digital strategy. When customers are relying on their personal devices to make purchases, your online presence will recast their impression of your brand and determine how they engage with you going forward.
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Now is the time
Digital transformation is a top priority right now for all businesses, but it is especially crucial for the small businesses that make our neighborhoods hum.
Two-thirds of respondents in a recent Salesforce survey felt that small businesses are now more important than ever.
Given the strong desire to support local communities, there’s high hope that small-to-medium sized businesses can adapt quickly.
Here’s a real-life example:
In the past, I regularly bought flowers from one of two shops in my San Francisco neighborhood, depending on which side of the street I was walking down. The one still open has marketed to me, sent me emails, offered discounts for delivery and communicated a contactless pickup option. Its digital efforts worked to engage me, made me feel comfortable, and earned my dedicated business.
The moral of the story?
To survive in the “new” or “next” normal, you must enable digital conversations with customers, proactively monitor social media feedback, and nurture sales by providing information through all of your digital channels.
When you set out to upgrade or begin building your online presence as a small business, keep the following tactics in mind:
Meet your customers’ needs in the new or next normal
Customer expectations have changed in the next normal, and they expect to find businesses online. Meeting customers where they want to be met validates your business. If your company is missing from an internet search on the products or services you sell, how can you effectively compete against those businesses that are there? You’d be fighting with both hands tied behind your back.
This idea trickles down to how you interact with your customers, as well. These days, most customers prefer chatbots and self-service to speaking with customer service agents over the phone. You need to offer service the way your customers want it, not how you want to provide service to them. That’s a key distinction that will make a huge difference in your relationship with your customer base.
Utilize platforms to express your stances and build trust
Part of building a strong digital presence is leading with empathy and generating trust. Don’t be afraid to communicate your company’s views on significant issues, such as a commitment to cleanliness and safety to combat the coronavirus, or expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Current and prospective customers want to see their values represented in the companies they choose to do business with, and you can go into as much detail as you please on your social media platforms, website and blog. You can leverage digital channels to methodically build the trust you seek in order to stay at the top of your customer’s mind.
Invest in technology that connects with your customers
A majority of respondents (65 percent) in the Salesforce survey think small businesses need to utilize better technology. Thankfully, that’s an attainable goal; there are a lot of dynamic tools that have improved the ways business can be done.
Think about consultations through video chat. A personal trainer, a wedding planner, even legal services — we used to engage in all of these meetings in person. But video chat services eliminate the need to put on a mask and venture out in public. Using technology in these ways has the added benefit of creating data that can help round out a more holistic profile of your customer. Data can also help you track engagements, prompt follow-up actions and chart when your internet traffic is heaviest. It’s safer to conduct business online, and the residual benefits are invaluable.
Fold an element of resiliency and flexibility into your plans for the future
COVID-19 has been a true test for every business and made every company on the planet really evaluate its resilience. After you survive the pandemic, will you be ready for the next challenge? What’s your capacity to think differently and be resilient? The answers to these questions should guide a lot of the decisions you make. That’s where adopting new technologies and boldly undergoing digital transformations can be so helpful.
Starting and running a business is not for the faint of heart; it takes courage and determination. The best way to forge ahead and stay afloat is to be prepared, and bolstering your online presence is the surest way of staying relevant in an ever-changing business landscape and a brave new world.
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Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn. Google+. Soundcloud. Twitter. Insert go-to social platform here.
The laundry list of social networking platforms at our fingertips seems virtually endless. As the popularity of these platforms ebbs and flows and folks are drawn to different networks for different reasons, it’s become increasingly difficult trying to keep pace with who’s where.
At the same time, for those trying to promote themselves or their business, sharing multiple links to various accounts is tedious, inconvenient, and haphazard.
Deets makes it easy, fast, and convenient to create your own personal “About” page — allowing you to digitally promote who you are, what you do, and where you are online. Think of Deets like your own personal online business card that you can use to showcase details about yourself — or your product or company — while pulling together all of your social media locations in one centralized, easily-shareable place.
Oh, and did we mention it’s also entirely free?
Recently launched this year, Deets offers a more flexible, powerful alternative to About.me, and is jam-packed with a diverse feature set that delivers an unmatched user experience in About page creation.
- Simple & Fast — Deets.co features an intuitive, user-friendly, free-flow visual editor that allows you to type, paste, and edit how you want, minus any constraining “blocks” you need to set up in advance, making it possible to have your About page up and running in minutes!
- Limited Branding — Your Deets page is all about spotlighting you and your identity. Not a walking advertisement for the brand’s software. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brand link housed at the bottom of free Deets pages can be removed with a cheap, paid plan.
- Private — Deets.co is adamant about keeping your data private, and never sells your data to third parties. You remain in complete control of what you share and when you share it.
- Increased Engagement — Having a Deets account can help you be more personable when emailing. It can increase engagement and is a great way to be in control of what gets shared about you online.
- Google Analytics — Why guess how many visits your page is getting or where they’re coming from? Deets makes it easy to add your own Google Analytics to your page.
- Unlimited Pages — Deets offers a one stop shop for all of your About page needs, making it possible to create an unlimited number of pages for your business(es) or product(s).
- Customizable Spotlight Button — Add your own focused call to action that tells visitors exactly what they’re looking at, what you want them to do, and link it to wherever you want.
- Videos, Images, & Testimonials — Are all included in a free Deets.co plan. The company offers a wide range of other widgets for everything from Spotify playlists to store product links.
- Support When You Need It — Compared to competitor About.me, which promises a 30-day support response time, the Deets.co team boasts support query resolutions within 30 minutes.
Looking for a better, faster way to consolidate your online presence into one centralized place and start getting the word out about who you are, what you do, and why it’s awesome? Do yourself a favor and check out Deets.co and get started for free!
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Epidemiologists are predicting a fall resurgence of COVID-19, which could lead to another shutdown, reports Yahoo Finance. Businesses should prepare now for a possible second wave of the virus by investing in an e-commerce strategy, which could become their business’ lifeline.
It doesn’t take long to create a functioning e-commerce site. In fact, it takes a mere 24 hours or less. Which, in the grand scheme of your business, is not long at all based on the ROI it will bring you over time.
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To easily launch your online presence, consider using a shared platform like Shopify. This one is great since the training is free, the software is only about $ 30 a month, and they offer a myriad of easy lessons that walk you through the entire setup process. The lessons start with a simple welcome series to teach you how to add products to your store, how to link up payment methods and how to launch your store, as well as tips for kick-starting your marketing plan. No more guesswork here.
Surprisingly, this can be done with little investment. Launching a website doesn’t have to come with a crazy upfront cost. The biggest cost you have to face is the investment of time, and as an entrepreneur, let’s get real: What doesn’t take time in creating a stellar brand?
Some of the best, cost-effective solutions to launch an e-commerce site are as follows
- Shopify: Offers plans that start at just $ 29/month.
- Wix: The base plan will cost you $ 23/month to accept payments.
- Squarespace: The base plan is $ 26/month and will get you an e-commerce site with a 3 percent transaction fee. But a mere $ 4 more a month will waive that fee entirely so you get pure profits.
The commonality in all of these plans and platforms is:
- Ease-of-use and
- Access to tools to help you get started
For the cost of what you spend on coffee in a week, there’s no reason not to create an e-commerce site. Plus, most platforms offer live support options, as well, in case you get stuck in a rut.
During the first shutdown, in which most brick-and-mortar businesses were shuttering up their stores in March and bracing for a possible indefinite close, online brands were quickly pivoting and breathing new life into their sales routines. For those that were online, success followed suit.
As TechCrunch reported, while total retail sales are expected to fall by 10.5 percent in 2020, e-commerce businesses are expected to grow by 18.1 percent.
This alone shows the longevity of building a presence online; even in the worst of times, your business can stay open. What’s more important to note is that from a year-over-year perspective, as noted in Forbes, online retailers’ overall revenue grew by 68 percent, and as you can concur, for physical retail stores, that number plateaued at 0 percent for months straight. Yikes.
All this is to say that if you start setting up your e-commerce strategy now, the low investment will pay high ROI in the long term.
As many of us know, humans are creatures of comfort, oftentimes going down the more routine path out of expectation and safety. However, during the shutdown, the world was turned on its axis and consumer behavior reflected this. Many consumers were turning to their favorite, well-known brands, only to find that they were sold out of essentials they needed, then finding solace in smaller brands that sold those same products. This is major for any small-sized or startup business that can capitalize on basic human needs; think online grocers, skincare companies, and the like. Additionally, Amazon’s shipping times and stock of items lagged across the board, seemingly removing them as a shopping option for some consumers during quarantine.
In fact, it was noted in a national survey by the Sloan Review that 54 percent of respondents said they made purchases from new brands and that new brands accounted for 30 percent or more of their online shopping carts.
Let that sink in. More than 50 percent of people turned away from big businesses and bought from small ones that were more reliable. Talk about the development of brand loyalty during hard times!
Smaller companies can compete with the big guys online. The thing about the online world is that the playing field is more even than physical retail. There are limited overhead costs, which means more money can be funneled into paid ad campaigns. Plus, if you build your store well, create a solid brand, and know how to create a marketing plan that the big guys use, you’re setting yourself up for success.
This is especially true in the beauty and skincare sector. In fact, it was recorded during the shutdown that the health, beauty and personal care industry was up by 34.2 percent, just 26 percent less than online food and beverage sellers. That’s massive.
The keys to competing with the big guys are branding and marketing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your site look and feel professional. Make sure you take the time to get it done right and start by designing with a mobile-first mindset.
As an entrepreneur, you pretty much have access to all of the same digital marketing tools a big business has. Start with organic search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, Amazon paid search, and Google AdWords. One advantage a smaller business has is that they can often move and pivot quicker, so make sure you stay privy to any changes that are going on with the sales channel you are promoting.
Selling on Amazon only: Pros and cons
Selling on Amazon is risky. It really is feast or famine! Here are the top problems with an Amazon-only approach:
- Amazon owns your business and your customers, you really don’t.
- Amazon should be just one, yes one, of your sales channels. This is a big mistake many startups make: focusing on Amazon only and not additional sales channels. Other channels are needed, including your own e-commerce store (Shopify, etc.), Google ads, physical mail, email marketing and more.
- When Amazon shuts down their shipping or your store, you are sunk, and the scary part here is they can do it anytime they wish.
- Beware of dishonest competitors. They can leave bad reviews, and file false trademark claims, which can shut down your account.
- Expert tip: Make sure your liability insurance policy company covers your losses in case Amazon shuts down your account.
How did Amazon’s freeze on non-essential items impact small businesses?
Amazon has always been seen as reliable, which is why about 64 percent of its merchants rely solely on it for its business. It removes the logistical headaches of stocking and shipping goods; however, a nightmare occurred when Amazon decided to freeze non-essential goods and prioritize essential items during the pandemic.
The result left hundreds of sellers without easy access to their goods, causing them to essentially fend for themselves when it came to finding ways to ship products. It was a loss of revenue, while simultaneously providing a wake-up call for many.
Prepare for another wave
Startup companies should prepare for another shutdown. It’s just the smart thing to do as of right now. There are several things that small businesses can do online to help ease the storm, should COVID-19 hit again in the fall.
Here are the top five ways to begin to prep:
- Make sure you are private labeling your own brand, not just pushing others. The brands you are retailing are most likely your competitor already (if they sell direct to consumer).
- Get online with Shopify or Wix, dial in the branding, and try to set up at least six different sales channels.
- Get your shipping department in order.
- Set up your marketing, especially paid search.
- Get access to funds, a line of credit, SBA Loan, etc.
If you’re wondering if it’s time for your business to go online, it is now more important than ever, especially with the onset of a possible second wave and shutdowns in the fall. Better to ready yourself before it’s too late.
The post Boost Your E-Commerce Presence Now to Prepare for a Possible Second Wave of COVID-19 appeared first on StartupNation.
Barcelona-based startup Colvin, who is leading the revolution in the flower and plant sector by creating one of the first networks without intermediaries, has closed a Series B financing round worth €14 million. The operation was led by the Italian investment fund Milano Investment Partners (MIP), and is also participated in by P101 sgr and Samaipata.
This new investment will enable Colvin to expand its teams dedicated to technology and business with the purpose of consolidating the change of a sector worth €100 billion a year. Furthermore, Colvin will reinforce brand penetration in existing markets, mainly in Germany, and expand in the plant category.
“Currently, 65% of the global flower and plant trade goes through the Dutch auction, a highly fragmented traditional model, which eventually has an impact on the price and quality of the product. At Colvin we seek to improve the sector starting from the ground up and this new financing round will allow us to consolidate the flower sale and purchase model without intermediaries. We will do so by investing in technology that enables to digitalise processes and optimise operations from the producer to any purchaser”, states Andrés Cester, CEO and Co-founder of Colvin.
The company’s growth in recent months has highlighted that the business model presented by Colvin is solid. Since its founding in 2017, the company has been working on a disruptive project that aims to achieve the disintermediation of the sector from beginning to end – from farmers to online sales. The main goal is to achieve greater supply efficiency, more competitive prices and, especially, better product quality. So far this year, Colvin’s global sales have increased fourfold compared to the same period last year, even reaching delivery volumes worth €1 million in a single day.
This positive trend is still sustained and is predicted to be a year of growth. This shows a solid change in the consumption trend of users looking for digital solutions to buy and send flowers to keep in touch with their loved ones. The global sector is expected to reach a value of €120 billion by 2027.
“Colvin arises from the change. We chose the name Claudette Colvin, the first African American woman who stood up to defend the human rights of African Americans in the USA. This representation of Claudette, a change in society, gives us the strength and meaning to keep working to improve people’s lives in our community, upgrading producers’ lives and creating happy moments in our users’ homes thanks to our products while staying in touch with their loved ones in a special way”, said Sergi Bastardas, COO and Co-founder of Colvin.
Every entrepreneur knows that business lives and breathes on exposure. You can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows it exists, you’re going to have a heck of a time selling it successfully. While this is true for brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s especially true for online businesses. It’s crucial that online businesses build up a web presence and do everything they can to get exposure. When you do, the internet is your oyster.
So much of our lives are taking place online now, through video conferencing, online shopping, and live streaming events, just to name a few. With so many people hanging out on the web these days, it’s more important than ever that you make it easy for them to find you.
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Here are six things you can do to boost your exposure online and start building a web presence—fast.
- Grab your vanity URL
Your vanity URL is a web address that uses your personal brand name, such as susanjohnson.com. A vanity URL is a great way to start building name recognition for yourself. Don’t worry if your vanity URL is already taken—tweaking your name slightly will still have the same effect. You might include your middle initial or middle name, add “the” in front of your name (such as “thesusanjohnson.com”) or include your title or industry.
- If you don’t already have a website, set up a one-page site
It’s hard to build a brand and a web presence without having a place to send people to on the internet. Think of it as your online home base! Even a simple one-page site can be a great start to establishing your brand online. You can use a user-friendly and free tool like the Coming Soon Express plugin for WordPress to create a professional-looking landing page, then use it to highlight all the skills, talents and passions that set you apart.
- Update your LinkedIn bio and social media profiles
Take a look at any web-facing channels you have and make sure the information you’ve included about yourself is current, accurate and reflects the key messages for the customers, clients and connections you’re hoping to reach. Next, connect with key influencers in your industry and begin engaging with their content. It’s a great way to build relationships and start conversations with industry leaders.
- Gain more visibility by being vocal
A great way to amplify your presence and grow a personal brand is to start sharing your expertise. You can do this by commenting on other people’s blog posts on channels such as LinkedIn or Medium, or offering your insights or solutions in industry-related Facebook groups. Write articles and publish them on your LinkedIn page. The point isn’t to sell anything (at least not right now), it’s to be a part of the conversation that’s going on in your space, and to position yourself as a thought leader and authority in your field.
- Guest post on other blogs
You’ve got a wealth of knowledge and expertise bouncing around your brain, so share it in thoughtful pieces of content. The best way to do this, while getting your name and business circulating with new audiences at the same time, is to guest post on other blogs. Spend some time making a list of the biggest influencers, thought leaders, and well-known websites in your industry, then check to see if they accept submissions for guest posts. Write a post that features your best nuggets of wisdom that will have the most value for that particular audience, and you could increase your exposure and web presence exponentially just by a few posts alone!
- Present at a virtual summit or host your own online event
There’s no better way to build a brand presence than to speak or lead in front of others. There are a plethora of online events these days on every topic, specialty and industry you can imagine. Join in, either by pitching yourself as a speaker or host an event of your own. Not only does it offer your audience tons of great information and value, but it shines a light on your unique insights and points of view, too.
Your exposure can be even better if you identify the influencers in your industry and find a way to host an event with them or appear on the same stage. Sharing networks with other leaders is a great way to expand your own, as well as offer your audience even more value.
The best way to build a successful online business is to get as much exposure as you can. By using any or all of these six simple tips, you’ll be making big strides toward building a web presence that people will notice and remember — as well as taking advantage of an audience that’s only growing more captive as time goes by. Here’s to your success!
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