While most startups sadly fail, these cautionary tales can help the next generation of founders succeed.
I was delighted to be invited to provide my insights on this topic for October 2017 edition of Elite Business Magazine.
EXTRACT from article featured in ELITE BUSINESS MAGAZINE (11TH October 2017)
Powa Technologies’ fall from grace caught many by surprise. The British unicorn had at one point been valued at $2.7bn and had even been hailed by David Cameron as a big contributor to the UK’s recovery after the financial crisis. So when the tech company went into administration in 2016 it stunned entrepreneurs everywhere. “The collapse of Powa Technologies was a wakeup call to UK enterprises [reminding them] that even so-called unicorns can die,” says Marina Nicholas, strategy director of ventures at ThoughtWorks Ventures, the global technology consultancy. It also served as a reminder that launching new enterprises is not for the faint of heart.
In fact, research from RSA, the commercial insurer, shows that more than half of British businesses don’t survive into their fifth year. And there are plenty of reasons for founders to pay attention when startups collapse like a house of cards. “Naturally entrepreneurs love to read the success stories of companies like Uber and Airbnb to learn exactly how to succeed,” says Nicholas. “However, the number of startups that fail exceeds those [succeeding and the ones that falter provide a wealth] of insights and knowledge of what not to do.”
Ultimately, knowing how other businesses fail won’t inoculate new entrepreneurs from making mistakes of their own but paying close attention can help founders avoid following in Powa Technologies’ footsteps. “Essentially startups must become experts in why others have failed and subsequently adjust their own plans to achieve success,” concludes Nicholas. “We all know that success leaves clues but don’t discount the teaching power of failure.”
You can read the full article here
The top 3 reasons Start Ups fail to reach five years relate to sales, management skills and cashflow. Let's dive into a fast track strategy that any company can adopt to overcome these issues.
The Power of a Partnership
A partnership can take many forms ranging from a collaboration, an alliance or a joint venture where you combine resources for rapid strategic growth.
A partnership fast tracks you from being a sole company sailing alone in the ocean to being part of a strong fleet sailng to a shared destination faster, better and stronger.
Virgin Group leverages the Power of Partnerships
Over the years, the Virgin Group have successfully formed partnerships with many companies to gain traction in new markets and is a shining example of how to achieve rapid strategic growth. In a partnership, Virgin brings the power of it's brand name to the table while the company, typically an leader in it's field, brings the infrastructure, people, resources and knowledge.
The King of Partnerships is Sir Richard Branson.
He is the only entrepreneur to create 8 separate billion $ companies
in 8 different industries.
Virgin Joint Ventures
•Total 400 companies, founded 46 years ago, employs 50,000+ people
•Joint ventures have included:
3 steps to powering up your business
Whether you are a two man band in your first year or 50+ people in your third operating year, the power of a partnership leads to rapid strategic growth.
Step 1 : DETERMINE your need
Brainstorm 3 reasons why a partnership would fast track your company. What gaps do you currently have? What are your key areas of weakness or pain points? Do you need people, expertise, technology? All these questions help gain clarity on the WHY.
Step 2 : DISCOVER like minded companies
Now you have clarity on the WHY, research like minded companies in your sector. Collate a list of at least 10 companies that would be an ideal fit. Seek companies with similar brand values and ethics as yours as this makes the initial introductions easier and more effective.
Step 3: DIVE IN
Contact each company and share your partnership vision with them. Outline the WHY first followed by the HOW. Positively share your insights, research and the financial deal on why you believe you are STRONGER TOGETHER.
During a Q&A session, at Apps World London, I was asked for some ideas on how a Start Up could tap into the Power of a Partnership to raise brand awareness. Watch to learn more.
This is the question I was asked at a recent Technology conference where gender diversity was high on the agenda.
There is definitely a disconnect between girls using technology everyday and seeing it as a career option. If you ask girls in a school classroom how many use Facebook or Apps daily, most will put their hand up. If you ask how many would like a career in technology, most hands are down.
One of the ways I feel we can approach this is to change the perception of technology from being just a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based career and overlay the idea that technology is also a highly creative sector.
Marketed as a boy's subject
I believe how girls see a career in technology starts at primary school with lessons heavily focused on the Science and IT aspects. It is presented as 'geeky', hard and boring. What if girls knew how creative it was? Would more girls be inspired to have a career in Tech? I believe so.
Inspire the next generation that is it creativity first, technology second. A job in technology enables you to build products that inspire, educate and transform people's lives globally.
The NEW Tech Recruitment strapline
If I was presented with a job advert saying
'Unleash your creative potential. Get a job in Tech'
I would be excited to learn more.
We need a paradigm shift in the way girls see a job in Technology.
Technology enables you to build a creative solution that makes a difference to people's lives.
If technology was seen as a creative sector, a lot more girls would embrace it' - Marina Nicholas
Champion of Change
If you are as passionate as I am about shifting this perception or you have ideas on how to attract more girls in Tech, please leave your comments below.
Let's get the conversation started about this, raise awareness and join together as Champions of Change. #GirlsinTech #WomeninTech
Pain not passion, really? YES!
While most Start Ups launch as a result of a Founders passion, there are a few Start Ups that have gone from Zero to Hero fast, as a result of a pain story. I recently featured YouTube's pain strategy and now it is time to put Airbnb in the spotlight. But first let's recap, what is a Pain strategy?
Fast Track to Success with the Power of Pain
The Pain strategy is based on idea that a product is not created from passion but from a position of pain. It taps into the human suffering a person has experienced and they are then inspired to create a solution to fix the pain. The product is an 'Aspirin', a must have versus a 'VItamin', a nice to have.
Thousands of Start Ups are created from passion. If you love flowers, you may set up a florist. If you love gaming, you may build an App. Passion and pain are both excellent reasons to launch new products. But is one approach more successful than another?
Airbnb's Pain Story
Founded in August 2008, Airbnb now has 1.m listings in 34,000 cities in 141 countries in 8 years. It all started when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbin decided to rent out three air mattresses in their San Francisco loft apartment to help pay the rent. They noticed that all the hotels in town were fully booked for the design trade show; accommodation was scarce. The flat mates successfully rented out three air mattresses with breakfast for $80 each. This success provided the Founders with the momentum to explore if they were onto something.
Shortly afterwards, the Founders successfully raised $30,000 initial investment, with $7.2m following in 2010 and a further $112m in 2011. In 2011, Airbnb took its 1 millionth booking and 2012 saw the business double in 5 months to achieve its 10 millionth booking.
Airbnb Fast Track Strategy: Power of Pain