YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:25:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 5 Retail Innovations of 2015 http://yhponline.com/2015/09/28/top-5-retail-innovations-of-2015/ http://yhponline.com/2015/09/28/top-5-retail-innovations-of-2015/#comments Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:32:32 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37499 Earlier this year Retail Week looked at how Retail was expected to outperform the wider UK economy and lists like The Hot 100 by Real Business revealed that retail is becoming the fastest growing business sector in the UK. The retail … Continue reading

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Retail innovation

Earlier this year Retail Week looked at how Retail was expected to outperform the wider UK economy and lists like The Hot 100 by Real Business revealed that retail is becoming the fastest growing business sector in the UK. The retail industry is extremely fast changing, especially due to the fairly recent ecommerce boom which required retail companies to adjust their services to changing customer needs and preferences. The emerging ‘armchair economy’ and our obsessive relationship with technology resulted some seriously impressive retail innovations and solutions. Below we highlight some of the most interesting innovations in the retail sector of 2015:

1. Waitrose Hiku Home Scanning

The grocery chain has been testing their ‘hiku’ device which is dedicated to make online shopping easy, fun and even more convenient. The Hiku is an innovative scanning solution which uses voice recognition and barcode scanning technology to help customers add items to their online shopping basket in a quick and easy way. When not at home, customers can use the hiku app on their smartphone to scan barcodes and add products to their baskets.

2. DHL Drones

Although both Amazon and Google had been experimenting with drones, it was DHL who announced a regular drone-based delivery service for the first time. The company uses autonomous ‘quadcopters’ that fly under 50 meters to avoid entering air traffic corridors. They deliver small parcels in a special weatherproof air parcel container to the German island of Juist.

3. Pizza Hut - Tobii Technology

Pizza Hut introduced a ‘Subconscious Menu’ which reads the customers’ mind. The Tobii menu tracks customers’ eyes when looking at the menu to create the pizza they really want to eat. The company uses a tablet device to show the different ingredients to the customers and then to collect the ‘eye data’ to come up with the ideal menu. Its success rate is 98%, but the remaining 2% can get the ideal dish by choosing their ingredients manually as well.

4. Like to Know

This app makes fashion bloggers’ Instagram shoppable. If a bloggers use this solution in their Instagram posts it allows their followers to receive a product link via e-mail when they like the photo. If the user clicks on the link and buys something the publisher will collect a commission.

5. River Island x Google Cardboard

River Island was the first fashion brand to pioneer the use of Google Cardboard to bring a virtual reality experience to shoppers. Customers who downloaded the app and slot their smartphone into a Google Cardboard –a few flagship stores offered free trials- could watch 360 degree catwalk and buy the brand’s newest collection.

The list above shows that the retail industry is continuing to evolve and that technology lies at the heart of retail innovation. As more and more startups develop in the retail tech space, so does the support on hand.

IncuBus London, an early stage startup incubator, recently announced the launch of IncuBus Retail in collaboration with Camden Market. The focus is on helping early stage startups in or servicing the retail sector gain traction ready for an accelerator or funding.

More advanced startups with proven traction can benefit from retail focused accelerators such as True Start or JLab.

In November WIRED Retail Together with Valtech, the second annual one-day summit exploring the future of retailing -- with those who are building it, comes to London.

As other sectors are already well underway with the tech revolution, retail looks set to join as startups wade in with new innovations.

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The importance of user experience for startups http://yhponline.com/2015/09/24/user-experience-for-startups/ http://yhponline.com/2015/09/24/user-experience-for-startups/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2015 01:58:18 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37493 These days there is a greater importance on user experience for startups. But it's not as simple as many may think. We spoke to a couple of startups who've had success in this area, to share their insights. Joe Kekulawala … Continue reading

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user experience for startups

These days there is a greater importance on user experience for startups. But it's not as simple as many may think. We spoke to a couple of startups who've had success in this area, to share their insights.

Joe Kekulawala is the Co-founder of FirstStepa micro-investments startup, that offers an all mobile investment app experience targeted to millennials in Australia. We also hear from Carlo Pandian, SEO manager at wordbanka provider of marketing localisation services.

How do you view user experience?

Joe: We think of user experience as an umbrella term for any interaction the public has with our product; be it the app, website or any interactive promotional material that we put out.

Carlo: User experience can be defined but it’s not something you can change if you don’t know the behaviour of your site visitors. Therefore, we advise to track user experience with Optimizely/Google Analytics, test different user interfaces to find out the one that fits your business goals (purchase, subscriptions, page views for online magazines)

In what ways have you tested your user experience?

Joe: Despite being a bootstrapped startup, we test our material with as many volunteers as we can before releasing it publicly. Believe it or not, universities and train stations are great places to meet people to discuss your product! We greatly value the feedback we get. The first impression is often the only impression that you get and we want to get it right. We are always tinkering with our material, trying to improve the customer interaction. Google analytics provides a wealth of information for free that you use to get an idea of how users interact with your website.  We also have couple of client 'personas' and we build material specifically targeting the personas. Our online material for men aged 18-24 is quite different to that done for professional women aged 29-34.

Carlo: Firstly, we track user behaviour, consult a consumer panel, advise testing possibilities and implement the successful user interfaces. Apart from this, we know user experience is influenced by the trust that design can give (testimonials, review in first page), the copy on the call to action and images.

What impact has "mobilegeddon" had on the future of user experience?

Joe: Our product is an app and we've built our website for mobile viewing. Our website looks better on a smart phone compared to a desktop. More than 60% of people view our website on their smartphone or tablet. We expect this number to keep increasing.

Carlo: The non responsive design sites are at a threat if the majority of their visitors are using mobile to experience the site. For example a B2B site that is experience by officer worker may be not affected because it serve desktop users.

What simple steps can startups take improve user experience for their customers?

Joe: Based on our experience at FirstStep one suggestion would be to keep the message clear and simple. We've found that explainer videos are a great way to increase engagement with your product. Explainer video are usually whiteboard or cartoon animations that provide a succinct message in a couple of minutes, they aren't expensive to make. Make what you want your customer to do as easy as possible. The sign up process to start investing your loose change using the FirstStep app takes less than 2 minutes, and is different from any other financial app on the market. You could refer friends to join our app, via social media or email with just 3 clicks of the mouse.

Prior to launching our app; on our main landing page we had a 'join our waitlist' function. We highlighted one incentive for our target market just above where interested parties could sign up. We averaged just over 50 notifications of interest a week! This was even before we launched. In my experience pre launch waitlist via a website work for Startups, and they are a great way to gain traction with potential users.

Carlo: You don’t need a big budget for this. Firstly, implement Analytics tracking with events. Events could be a user compiling a form and leaving it or how long it watch a video. Second, create a UX test in a cafeteria involving the customer in asking them performing goals. Ask yourself if it’s a pain for them to find that button to purchase an item. Second, A/B test different pages of your website and find out which one is easier for the user and convince him to convert.

 

Author:

Gareth Bull is the Director of Bulldog Digital Media. Bulldog helps SMEs drive sales and increase brand awareness through social media and organic SEO.

 

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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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