YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:56:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Incubator vs Accelerator: what’s the difference? http://yhponline.com/2015/07/28/incubator-vs-accelerator-whats-the-difference/ http://yhponline.com/2015/07/28/incubator-vs-accelerator-whats-the-difference/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:56:39 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37484 It’s a question we come across on a weekly basis here at IncuBus London, since we’re an early stage incubator getting startups ready for an accelerator. There are lots of different interpretations and both terms are often interchanged in the … Continue reading

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Incubator vs Accelerator

It’s a question we come across on a weekly basis here at IncuBus London, since we’re an early stage incubator getting startups ready for an accelerator. There are lots of different interpretations and both terms are often interchanged in the same sentence. There are many different models for each so I won’t go into those in detail, but below I have given an overview of each and what different stages of startups should be looking at and why.


The Startup Incubator

Much like a new born baby may be placed in an incubator to provide a controlled and protective environment for their care and growth, an incubator helps early stage startups in a similar manner.

An incubator helps early stage startups develop their idea, figuring out their market, build the team and getting early customers and feedback. Essentially an incubator helps early stage startups build a solid foundation for which they can build and grow upon.

There are a huge amount of incubators and just as many business models including investment in exchange for equity or charging a fee and zero equity. Also, with the focus on such early stage startups, incubators tend to have much more varied timelines. Some run for 3 months, some can even be 2 years or more.

Again incubators vary from taking applications, opening up to anyone who fits a specific criteria, a fee based service model or even a mixture of those.

If you’re still at an idea stage or have an MVP but are pre launch pre revenue, then an incubator is for you.


The Startup Accelerator

Accelerators tend to be less varied in terms of the model. The majority prefer investment for equity with the goal of ‘accelerating’ growth through mentor driven support.

Startups at this stage have had some traction and built a team, ready to use the investment and mentorship from an accelerator to build on the early traction they already have.

These programmes are usually short and intense. As well as building on initial traction, an accelerator helps startups get ready for a larger investment upon leaving the accelerator. Once they have figured out the most effective growth plan the investment can help them continue growing faster.

A lot of investors are introduced to the startups during the course of a programme and attend an accelerator demo day, where startups pitch for investment.

Accelerators take on applications and pick based on which teams they believe have the ability to implement and execute an idea.

They are reliant on ‘big wins’ in the future from the equity they have taken, so only take on the best. This also leads to a higher level of competition.

Y Combinator and Techstars are two of the most popular accelerators but there are thousands across the world, across many industry verticals.Do the research and check which one, if any, is right for your startup.


Conclusion

Incubator = idea development, Accelerator = startup growth

Many startups often look at raising money too early on and look to apply to an accelerator with a basic idea and no team. Very few accelerators take on single founders, especially if they don’t have a team around them. Investors too will usually need proof of traction.

Look to develop your business in an incubator where you can get the help and support to put your business on the right track and then you can look to join the right accelerator for you.

Would love to hear your thoughts…

Originally published on the IncuBus London Medium page.

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Recruiting for Small Businesses on LinkedIn http://yhponline.com/2015/07/23/recruiting-for-small-businesses-on-linkedin/ http://yhponline.com/2015/07/23/recruiting-for-small-businesses-on-linkedin/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:33:52 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37476 When it comes to the growth and future success of a small business, a key aspect is getting the team right. Making the right hires at the right time can be the difference between success, stagnation or failure. One large … Continue reading

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When it comes to the growth and future success of a small business, a key aspect is getting the team right. Making the right hires at the right time can be the difference between success, stagnation or failure.

One large talent pool that can be used for recruitment is LinkedIn. but how do you get the most out of it and build the dream team for your small business.

Our partner Lucas Blake, put together this little infographic for us:

recruitment for small businesses

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Ollie Forsyth, The Budding Entrepreneur following in the footsteps of Richard Branson http://yhponline.com/2015/07/14/ollie-forsyth-the-budding-entrepreneur/ http://yhponline.com/2015/07/14/ollie-forsyth-the-budding-entrepreneur/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:25:05 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37469 Young entrepreneur Ollie Forsyth is already a bit of a serial entrepreneur and he's still in his teens. His inspiration is Richard Branson and Ollie Forsyth is following in Branson's footsteps by leaving school to start a magazine age 16. Ollie Forsyth … Continue reading

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Young entrepreneur Ollie Forsyth is already a bit of a serial entrepreneur and he's still in his teens.

His inspiration is Richard Branson and Ollie Forsyth is following in Branson's footsteps by leaving school to start a magazine age 16. Ollie Forsyth shares his story with us below.

Ollie Forsyth

Ollie Forsyth, great to have you on YHP today! Can you give me a bit of background to yourself?

I started my first business aged 13, Ollie’s Shop, an online gift shop for teenagers. Having been featured in all kinds of magazines and newspapers I thought it was about time I started my own entrepreneurs magazine for up and coming startups as well as making that first mini breakthrough for inspiring entrepreneurs by us writing about them. The Budding Entrepreneur magazine launched the magazine last November, I already have 3,000 readers roughly per month, which is not amazing, but it’s not bad. Having started the magazine and got it going, I also created a business directory for the magazine, My Enterprise Directory where small firms that are useful for entrepreneurs can advertise their business as little as £30.00 per year.

Tell me more about your startup, The Budding Entrepreneur:

The Budding Entrepreneur magazine is a business hub where entrepreneurs can seek advice on how to start their business but most importantly we give them inspiring stories to read to make them passionate about their product or service. In today's world, it’s absolutely vital there are business hubs out there such as, The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine and IncuBus Ventures.

Without hubs like these, it’s very hard to encourage entrepreneurship but one of the things that is not being done is, schools and teachers don't teach entrepreneurship to students, they may teach the general niff naff on how to start a business but they don't teach how to raise £250,000 for your business, where to go if you get sued, these are the most important features in business but schools don’t teach this!

What was the inspiration behind it?

Having been featured quite heavily in the media, I noticed not many of those magazines offered that key business support. Don't get me wrong, a lot of my articles were in business magazines which is great, but not many just gave that inspiration to people looking to start a business. I interview people who give me inspiration and who I think will give inspiration. Like I mentioned above, it’s so important in today's society to give inspiration to students, current and future employees, to succeed. If you don't inspire them to do greater things, they will not succeed, but, if you inspire them they can be successful.

How have you funded your business so far?

I used my own capital but having built up all kinds of contacts, a lot of people were willing to support me. I call this a swap service, I got free marketing in the press, I got free business cards, it all helps but at the end of the day. If someone thinks you are going somewhere, they want to be part of your journey. A lot of entrepreneurs are looking at the crowd funding option which will really take off in the next couple of years.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?

Media is tough, getting the magazine out there to the world was the hardest but I was lucky to have some good celebrity support and it just takes a few famous retweets, a few shares, a few plugs here and there and suddenly you are getting a couple of hundred hits a day, then you move into the thousands…

I think getting the magazine out there is nearly complete but you have to set very realistic goals. How am I going to reach 50,000 people per month, then 250,000 then a million users a month? But you also have to say to yourself, how many readers a month is good for me? Well enough is never enough, you have to put 150% into your work ethic, you have to be strict with yourself and if you work hard, hard work will pay off.

Being an entrepreneur is full of ups and downs; what gets you through those downs?

Every business out there has downs but you just have to see a beacon at the end of the tunnel and you know you will overcome it one day. Of course all businesses have different negatives in their business but I look to see how people have done it before then I see how I can link that to my business and how I can do it differently. Being heavily dyslexic myself, the downs in my business don't affect me, I stay calm and I just take a few hours to think how I can solve the puzzle. Thinking outside the box as they say.

What have been your biggest achievements since you launched your business?

Being approached by the biggest newspapers in the world, being approached by schools to go and talk to inspire students to start a business, being asked to appear on an American chat show, all these little features help but I think you have to say to yourself, when do I stop and when is it enough and when have I succeeded.

Entrepreneurs are always hungry for success. The biggest achievements have got to be either being approached by big investors who have read about me. You would go to a business show and people are looking at you and you would get the occasion where someone would come up to you and say, are you the guy from… It’s a good feeling. If that is happening, you are obviously doing something right.

How do you differentiate from the competition?

Well without being arrogant, I don’t know many entrepreneurs who have started a magazine aged 16 apart from Richard Branson. People are more likely to read your magazine that was started by a teenager compared to a magazine started by a forty year old.

What advice would you give any entrepreneurs just starting out?

Go out there and be passionate. School was not for me, I left school aged 16 with no qualifications.

Choose your career path very carefully, if you want to start a business, don’t go to university and study history, the best thing you can do is get experience in a company. If you get employed aged 18/19, by the time you are 21, you could be earning, £10k a year, £50k a year and your mates who went to university are coming out with a £30k debt and you are earning more than them.

If you are not sure what you want to do, go and work in a company you have interest in and see what you think. If it’s not for you, move on.

 

Thanks!

Some great insight from Ollie Forsyth. Do check out his magazine for some more incredible entrepreneurial stories.

 

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How to use video to maximise your content marketing strategy http://yhponline.com/2015/06/27/how-to-use-video-to-maximise-your-content-marketing-strategy/ http://yhponline.com/2015/06/27/how-to-use-video-to-maximise-your-content-marketing-strategy/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 11:35:55 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37461 You may have an idea for the next big UK business, but in order for a new venture to grow you need to know how to reach your audience. Effective marketing is the key to brand awareness and reaching your … Continue reading

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Video Content Marketing DSC

You may have an idea for the next big UK business, but in order for a new venture to grow you need to know how to reach your audience. Effective marketing is the key to brand awareness and reaching your target audience is the best way of creating new customers.

The popularity of the internet, whether that’s social media platforms, websites or blogs, has shifted the boundaries of traditional marketing. According to MarketingProfs, 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium, making video the perfect medium for promoting your products and services.

If you’re looking to incorporate video into your content marketing strategies, we have spoken with some of the best content marketing agencies in the UK in order to get their advice on using video to promote your products and services, as well as customer engagement.

 

First we have insights from Jonathan Bright, Creative Content Lead at Southerly. Southerly is a creative content agency that specialises in web design, content marketing, social media, internal communications and SEO.

What’s really interesting about using video as a promotional tool is that the lines these days are very blurred between entertainment and marketing. This is a great thing, especially for small companies looking to stand out in their fields, because you can get super-creative with your marketing at relatively little expense, and your content will very likely be content well received.

The online public are receptive to great content, plain and simple. They know when the film they’re watching is commercially motivated, but they don’t care as long as it’s good. And when it is good, that’s a gold star for your company – people trust you, they want to come back to your content because it’s the best. We don’t get better customer engagement than when we produce videos for our clients, for exactly those reasons.

Better still, you can measure and analyse your video’s performance, something that was nigh-on impossible with, say, a TV ad. For instance, not only can you can see what types of videos generate the most views, you can see which of those views were actually valuable – how long did they view the video for before clicking away? What action did they take as a result? Did they visit your site or download any of your resources? Online video provides all sorts of invaluable information about your audience and their typical behaviour.

 

Next we have advice from Eric Campbell, Managing Director of White Light Media. White Light Media is an award-winning Design and Publishing Agency providing copywriting, design and publishing services.

Small businesses and start-ups have agility on their side – they can be more creative with what they produce and how they get it out there. It depends entirely on your audience, but doing something different will help you stand-out. We’re all used to seeing the head of the company talking to the camera telling us how amazing their business is. It’s been done a million times and it’s dull.

The Dollar Shave Club video is three years old now and has had almost 20million views but the way they got their message to their audience is perfect. A simple idea with some smart, humorous dialogue that is very well executed. The result – you put a smile on the viewers face, they remember you and your brand and next time they need to buy razor blades…

Another, newer organisation using video to get across their brand message is free accommodation app Weestay. They produced a basic short teaser to show what they are all about and the simplicity of the storytelling is refreshing and captivating at the same time. The viewer can pick up the premise of the app fairly easily and the cost of production will have been fairly minimal. A bit of creative thinking is all that is required.

 

We hope that the learnings shared by these content marketing agencies has inspired you to introduce video into your next content marketing strategy.

Author: Garth Haley is director of Hyperfine Media.

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Sam the Local co founder Maggie Lau interview http://yhponline.com/2015/06/14/sam-the-local/ http://yhponline.com/2015/06/14/sam-the-local/#comments Sun, 14 Jun 2015 09:40:30 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37429 When I visited Hong Kong last year, I was lucky to meet two great entrepreneurs, Maggie Lau and Anita Chan. They are the founders of Sam the Local, a platform connecting people to locals. I had a great time learning more … Continue reading

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When I visited Hong Kong last year, I was lucky to meet two great entrepreneurs, Maggie Lau and Anita Chan. They are the founders of Sam the Local, a platform connecting people to locals. I had a great time learning more about them, the city and how they started the business. Here's my interview with Maggie Lau:

Sam the local founders Anita Chan and Maggie Lau

Hi Maggie, can you give me a bit of background to yourself?

I am originally from California but moved to Hong Kong at the end of 2011. Previous to working on Sam the Local, I did graphic design and event marketing. I'm a huge foodie and love to stay active through various kinds of sports such as boxing, running, swimming, and basketball.

What is Sam the Local?

Sam the Local is a P2P platform that connects people to locals for customized, interest-based Outings. Our vision is to enable people to experience the world with a human touch.

Where did the idea for Sam the Local come from?

My Co-Founder, Anita, and I both moved to Hong Kong at the end of 2011. Being centrally located in Asia, we had the opportunity to travel around the region. We have also generally been lucky enough to know someone everywhere we went. Before we headed off, we would consult our local friend for recommendations on things to do / places to eat and see if they were available to show us around. We loved that this allowed us to get below the surface level of the city and see what it was like to live a day in the life of a local. We were also able to ask them various questions we had along the way.

On the other hand, people would do the same thing to us when they came to Hong Kong. So then we thought, “what if people didn’t have a local friend everywhere they went?” They would miss out on a HUGE part of why people travel in the first place – learning about other cultures. So we want to provide a platform for people to have a local friend anywhere they go in the world.

How did you meet your co founder?

I met Anita through a mutual friend in Hong Kong. The funny thing is that we were previously at the same event in California, but we didn’t talk to each other. We have a picture of us together from that event too. Ironic, huh?

That's amazing!

What have been the biggest challenges you faced running Sam the Local?

Our biggest challenge has been converting people into paying customers. We don't have an issue getting eyeballs on our content, but the struggle is then conversion.

What has been your best achievements?

Aside from our consumer clients, we've signed our first corporate client and we have partnerships with Cathay Pacific and Air France. We're now nearing 20 Locals listed on our website who cover 11 languages, 8 interest categories and 6 countries from all over the world.

What was key to getting your first few users?

Just talking to enough people. Word of mouth has been very powerful for us. Once we explain our idea, people have been very willing to tell their network and refer them to us.

So, what is the business model?

We charge a service fee to both the customer and Local for each transaction.

and what's the plan going forward from here?

We are focusing on user acquisition by seeking brand ambassadors, gaining media coverage, and leveraging partnerships as our distribution channels. We are also going to start aggressively growing our set of Locals in Hong Kong to ensure that there is someone for everyone.

Finally, what advice would you give to first time entrepreneurs?

Just get out there and start shouting your idea to anyone who is willing to lend an ear and listen to their feedback. That’s the only way you’ll find out if people need your product.

Thanks for sharing your story Maggie. It was a pleasure meeting you in Hong Kong!

Learn more about the Hong Kong Startup scene.

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