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What Estonia’s youngest inventor can teach us about entrepreneurship

Estonian entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks is a formidable character. Her achievements include helping the government of Estonia design and launch the world’s first Digital Nomad Visa, being the youngest inventor in Estonia’s history, being named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women and graduating from NASA’s Singularity University. She has also founded three and directed five The post What Estonia’s youngest inventor can teach us about entrepreneurship appeared first on Small Business.

Entrepreneur Q&A: Joshua Akorah, creator of My Valentine Watch

Joshua Akorah is a 22 year old solo game developer who is in the throes of launching his own creation, The Valentine Watch. He’s also one of 24 young innovators who have won an Ideas Mean Business award from The Prince’s Trust and Innovate UK. Here, he tells us more about his work and how The post Entrepreneur Q&A: Joshua Akorah, creator of My Valentine Watch appeared first on Small Business.

Entrepreneur Q&A: Adam Root, founder of Inheriting Earth

Adam Root is 27 years old and is the founder of Inheriting Earth, an environmentally conscious product design company. He is one of 24 young innovators who have won an Ideas Mean Business award from The Prince’s Trust and Innovate UK. Here, he tells SmallBusiness.co.uk more about his business and winning the award. Tell us The post Entrepreneur Q&A: Adam Root, founder of Inheriting Earth appeared first on Small Business.

How virtual reality can revolutionise the way you train your staff

Emanuel Tomozei, co-founder and head of development at InSilico, explains how his business is creating virtual reality (VR) training for companies to help cut costs and boost skills acquisition amongst workers. Tell me a bit more about your company and how you set it up InSilico is a VR and AR training company was formed in The post How virtual reality can revolutionise the way you train your staff appeared first on Small Business.

Entrepreneur Q&A: Jason Goldberg, director of SpaSeekers.com

When was SpaSeekers.com founded and what was your motivation for starting the business? SpaSeekers.com was founded in July 1989 and was originally trading as ‘Healthy Venues’, a free central reservations and unbiased advice service for UK health farms. The seed was sown when my mother wanted to go to a health farm with a friend The post Entrepreneur Q&A: Jason Goldberg, director of SpaSeekers.com appeared first on Small Business.

Q&A: Mark Johansen, owner of SkateHut

For over 10 years, Mark Johansen has overseen the evolution and expansion of SkateHut. Born online in 2007 after a family holiday in Florida (where he spotted a gap in the UK skate market), the company was run out of his home until it entered the leagues of a respectable, multi-million-pound e-commerce business. To celebrate The post Q&A: Mark Johansen, owner of SkateHut appeared first on Small Business.

Innovators podcast @ Stanford

A fun interview at Stanford about some old things and new ones. https://soundcloud.com/innovatorsradio/s1e5-steve-blank-lean-startup Founders 2:15: Founders and dysfunctional families 3:55: Operating in chaos 7:18: Mentorship is a two-way street 11:50: Founders are artists 14:03: Failure=experience 17:27: Rules for raising a family if you’re a founder Startups 19:25: Startups are not smaller versions of large companies 22:03: How I-Corps and H4X were born 26:25: Your idea is not a company 31:19: Why the old way of building startups no longer works 32:53: Origin of the Lean Startup 34:24 Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything in the Harvard Business Review 35:28: How innovation happens Company/Government Innovation 41:37: Innovation is different in companies and gov’t agencies 42:35 The Innovation Pipeline 43:30  Deliverable products and services not activities 44:25  GE & Procter and Gamble and Lean 46:44: Startups disrupting things by breaking the law Government Innovation 51:12: Fighting continuous disruption with continuous innovation 52:08: How governments innovate 53:58: The U.S. government goes Lean 56:00: Customer Development versus Design Thinking 57:54: Innovation from the battlefield to the boardroom Powered by WPeMatico

10 Investor Approaches To Avoid When You Need Funding

Many new entrepreneurs are so excited by their latest idea that they can’t resist contacting every investor they know, assuming the investor will be equally excited and want to contribute immediately. Others will work hard on a business plan, and then mail it indiscriminately to every potential investor they can find on the Internet. Both of these approaches are a waste of your time and theirs. The best professional investors receive dozens of proposals a day, so they are conditioned to look for quantitative data, rather than passion, for credibility and potential. They also look for entrepreneurs they know from past experience and warm introductions, or for evidence that you have previously built a successful startup, and sold your last one for maybe $800 million. If you are not in that rare category of known and proven entrepreneurs, you should avoid the following list of my top ten turnoffs that I have personally experienced as an angel investor. These will put your proposal in the circular file, and even future good opportunities from you may go to the bottom of my list: “Give me a call to hear about an opportunity that can’t fail.” Teasing or spamming an investor is not the way to his pocketbook. Also suggesting that they check out your website or video and tell you what they think will not likely peak their curiosity. Every pitch should start with a concise statement of the problem and your innovative solution. “Attached is a copy of my full business plan for your review.” Too much detail at first contact is just as much of a turnoff as no information. The first page of the business plan better be an executive summary which gives the investor a taste of the financials, as well as opportunity, competition, and key executives. “I don’t have a business plan, but the technology is disruptive.” Investors are buying part of the business, not the product or service. They only want a quick overview of the product, not detailed features and patent secrets. If you haven’t yet finalized the business model, cost projections, and customer…

6 Mindset Elements Required For Disruptive Startups

One of the business ironies that many entrepreneurs have learned the hard way in the past is that ideas which are truly disruptive carry the highest risk of failure, take the longest to gain traction, and thus are the least likely to get external funding. So some entrepreneurs stick with incremental solutions, avoiding more transformational or adaptive solutions implying disruptive change. In the past, only a few entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, maintained the passion, patience, and determination to accomplish disruptive change in the marketplace. Today with the growing number of disruptive technologies available, like cloud computing, wireless sensors, Big Data, and mobile devices, an incremental solutions mindset is no longer enough to win. John Sculley, in his classic book “Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses” argues that every entrepreneur now needs to think and act like one of those elite entrepreneurs who could go the extra mile and cause disruptive change. He coins the term “adaptive innovator” for the required mindset to characterize the required focus. I strongly support the key principles he outlines as required to drive the mindset to make business leaders successful in this new world, both in established companies as well as startups. I have summarized or paraphrased the points here, to add my own focus and experience with new entrepreneurs and startups: Be forever curious and an optimist. Adaptive innovator entrepreneurs are inspired by what’s possible, but focus on what’s probable. Great entrepreneurs aren’t just dreamers, they are doers. They wake up each day re-energized and optimistic, curious about the world around them, but always committed to getting real things done. Unpack your best ideas. Unpacking an idea is about taking deep dives into it; twisting and turning it to see the concept in different ways. The deeper your dive into an idea, the more creative will be your insights. Ideas without context are just a commodity. Context comes from experience. Trying and failing is an experience building-block to get context. Learn more every day in layers. Let every new bit of learning spark your curiosity to build a new layer…

6 Growth Slowdowns That Can Quickly Lead To Disaster

Every entrepreneur thinks he can relax a bit after his business model is proven, funding is in place, and revenues are scaling as projected up that hockey-stick curve. Unfortunately, the market is changing so fast these days that any upward climb can level off quickly, as the core business growth begins to stall. This S-Curve, with no correction, can quickly lead to disaster. I’m not talking here about a small pivot. I’m talking about the kind of change that moved Apple from personal computers to music distribution to consumer electronics, and Amazon from books to e-Commerce to cloud computing services. On the other end of the spectrum are companies that fell behind the curve and may never recover, including MySpace for social networking, Yahoo with online ads, and Groupon with discounts for group purchasing. To sustain long-term growth, every company needs to build a repeatable process for innovation and finding new opportunities before their core business growth disappears. The reasons for this requirement, and some practical guidelines for how to prepare, are outlined in the classic book “The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth,” by Dave Power. Power has been guiding growth companies for 25 years, and now teaches innovation at the Harvard Extension School. He has helped many companies with this problem, and as an advisor to startups, I see the same common themes leading to growth slowdowns. These are appearing earlier and earlier in emerging companies, as well as in mid-sized and mature companies: Your original market becomes saturated. Initially, all companies sell to customers who are the easiest to reach and most excited about the new product. As a company begins to penetrate its market, it begins to work hard and harder, often in new geographies, to find more prospects. Marketing costs and time go up, and the growth curve flattens. Competitors see the same opportunity. New players jump in, and existing players broaden their offerings to cover the same territory. They steal a share of your market, slow down customer buying decisions, making it harder to close new business, and put the brakes quickly…

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