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The 5 Best Tips to Improve Your Cognitive Performance

 

Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur or starting a small business?

Do you want to make a difference in the world and create something of value?

To increase your likelihood of success, you need to be performing at your best!

This requires paying attention to, and addressing, all of the aspects in your life that impact your cognitive performance.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well don’t worry, we did our research and found the most important areas you need to focus on.

This article will give you the 5 best tips, based on scientific findings, to achieving your best possible cognitive performance and give you that extra edge!

So how can you get your brain performing at its best?

Read on to find out!

Don’t want to scroll? Just click on a heading below and be taken straight to that tip

1. The Basics

Exercise is an important part of improving your cognitive performance. Try to make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

First things first, let’s get the basics right to unlock your ultimate level of natural energy, concentration, memory, and creativity.

We all live busy lives, and it can be easy to overlook our basic need for sleep, food, and exercise!

Ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Well, this framework for explaining our motivations suggests we need to satisfy these basic physiological needs before we can move on to better things.

From Simply Psychology’s article on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

From Simply Psychology’s article on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Simply getting your 7-9 hours of sleep will improve performance.

Try to build a regular sleep schedule. Start going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

This will train your body to know when it’s time to sleep, because we all know how frustrating it is staring at the ceiling all night.

Other easy hacks to getting a better night sleep include:

  • Only going to bed when you’re tired
  • Avoiding caffeine and nicotine before bed
  • Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before sleeping
  • Creating your own bedtime rituals (i.e., relaxation exercises, reading a book under dim light, or sitting calmly with caffeine free tea)

There are also a few apps out there that will help you get a good night’s sleep.

  • The Headspace App is a great place to learn more on meditation, which will help clear your mind before you go to bed
  • Rain Rain App has lots of different nature sounds that will help relax your brain

Try them out to see if you get a better nights sleep.

Next, you need to watch what you’re eating!

Remember when mum kept bugging you to eat healthy? Well, it turns out she was right!

Eating complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oatmeal, will keep you full of energy for longer; fruit will give you an energy boost with its natural sugar; and green and orange vegetables will get you those essential vitamins and minerals.

You should also aim to drink 2 litres of water everyday to stay alert and hydrated.

A quick tip is to keep a water bottle with you at all times to keep that thirst quenched.

Also, eating breakfast is the most important meal of the day for energy, so don’t miss it!

We all know how easy it is to skip breakfast when you’re in a rush.

However, if you want to start the day off right, make sure to set aside some time to have a healthy breakfast.

Finally, studies have shown that exercise helps improve motivation, focus, and mood!

If you want to get technical, it specifically increases your brain’s serotonin levels.

Getting physical doesn’t have to be a chore. Simple activities like walking, swimming, strength training, yoga, and tai chi can all be beneficial.

Just spending 75-150 minutes a week doing some form of exercise is a great start!

That’s only a little more than 10-20 minutes a day! Not so bad huh!

2. A Healthy State of Mind and Staying Positive

Having a positive attitude and confidence is vital

Maintaining a healthy state of mind is just as important as maintaining a healthy body!

The two are inseparable when it comes to achieving success.

Luckily, there are a variety of techniques you can use to keep your state of mind healthy, and it’s important to consider them all!

Believe it or not but something as simple as having a positive attitude and confidence is vital.

Just having the right body language can go a long way to achieving this. Even forcing a smile, doing some deep breathing, and standing upright can give you a more positive attitude.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a great example of this. The main premise is that if you think positive you feel positive, which leads to more effective behaviour.

Similarly, Positive Psychology Therapy suggests that having good self esteem and confidence leads to greater achievement and increased performance.

Both of these strategies will help increase your output and get the most out of your abilities. To learn more, check out these links for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Positive Psychology Therapy.

Achieving a balanced lifestyle is an important means of self care, and without it you’re more likely to face exhaustion. Not to mention less motivation and enjoyment!

It involves prioritising time for different areas of your life such as work/study, friends/family, hobbies, and down time/relaxation. Try to put time aside for the things you enjoy!

Stress is a given in life, something we can’t control! That being said, we do have a choice in how we respond to stress. First you need to be able to identify what the stress is; how’s it impacting you; what’s not helping vs. what is; and how you can build on the positives and reduce the negatives.

Check out the image below from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. It shows how being proactive towards stress is just component of being a highly effective person.

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Being proactive towards stress may require you to make a few changes, including who you’re associated with, your current environment, and even how you structure your life.

Doing this can take a lot of time and requires reflective thinking, patience, and perseverance. Keep this in mind when you encounter stress, and know that small improvements will ultimately lead to bigger wins.

However, what if the situation is out of your control? In these cases, you’ll need a different approach:

  • Step back from the situation
  • Accept what you can’t control
  • Identify your concerns
  • Engage in problem solving
  • Develop a plan to manage your stress
  • Focus on the positives

You might need to come up with your own stress management plan to help you overcome your problem.

Stress management plans can include:

Check out this stress management plan from Fostering Resilience for a good place to start developing your very own.

Can you think of another highly effective, scientific based technique, that in addition to reducing stress, also helps to improve productivity, sleep quality, concentration, and emotion regulation?

Mindfulness meditation!

There are plenty more resources available through Google, YouTube, and apps regarding mindfulness meditation!

Maybe your stressed about where to find the money to fund your next startup. Check out our blog on the 5 best Australian startup Grants or our how to guide on getting investors for your start up so you can stress less.

3. Building Your Support Network

Embrace the idea of support and surround yourself with the right people

There’s one thing most successful people have in common…

They all have a team of supporters!

Entrepreneurs can often think that they need to be the one to do everything. Don’t fall into this trap!

To maximise your potential for achieving those hard to reach goals, you’ll need to build your very own team.

Building your support team of family, friends, co-workers, and experts will only increase your chances of success.

When times are tough, just having someone to talk to can be everything.

Embrace the idea of support, build your team, and strive for success.  

4. Expanding Your Creativity

Include multiple tactics in your problem solving toolkit

Ever feel like your brain is hitting a brick wall when trying to form new ideas or solutions to a problem?

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can break down those walls.

Try writing down what’s working and what isn’t. This might help you see your problem in a different light.

However, sometimes the best thing you can do is stop! Take a break, focus on something else, or even go for a walk. Taking your mind off the problem can help lead you to that light bulb moment.

And if you’re feeling a little more open-minded, listening to music designed to enhance brain waves can improve your concentration.

But what if you just don’t know the answer?

Maybe what you need is some old-fashioned research.

An entrepreneurs success is often related to how well they know their industry.

Luckily we live in the technology age, with so many different ways we can learn new things. Read a book, check out a podcast, download an app, watch a video, or attend a course.

There are thousands of methods you can use to find new information.

The best hack I can offer you here is to use a number of these platforms for the same topic. The human brain is a powerful thing, but it works best when you give it a few different channels it can draw information from.

Maybe check out our other blogs to see if we can help you with anything else.

It’s also just as important to include things that get you motivated in your weekly routine.

This will help keep energy levels high and creative juices flowing. Catch up with friends, attend events, or even listen to music. Anything that gets you excited.

On a final note, through the use of Neuroplasticity, we have the ability to promote growth and development of neurons in our brains, by practicing specific tasks.

This is otherwise known as “Brain training”. Check out Cognitive Training Data to learn more.

5. Achieving discipline and structure

Brainstorm your plans, keep your goals SMART, and be proactive with your distractions

The last thing you’ll need to focus on for achieving success is improving those executive functioning skills of yours!

These skills include self regulation, short term memory, flexible thinking, attention, and organisation. All of which are important in your ability to generate and implement successful plans.

Number of employees, growth, and sales outcomes are also important in having effective plans.

To generate any plan, you’ll need to take a first step. A useful first step can involve brainstorming. Start by identifying the tasks required to implement the plan, allocating these to individuals or teams, determining if you have enough resources, and working out how long this plan will take to complete.

No longer will your ideas be left to gather dust. Taking these initial steps will make your plans clearer and easier to implement.

From here you can then setup how you would like to monitor these first steps.

It’s always a good idea to have a target to hit so your plans aren’t just treading water. A good framework to use for forming your goals is the SMART goal framework!

This framework means your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. They need to be clear-cut, able to be measured, realistically achievable, applicable to you, and have a reasonable time-frame.

Using this with all your goals will only make them easier to achieve and manage.

Time management is also a crucial skill to acquire! It increases productivity, direction, focus, and lets potential investors know you’re a stable and effective business.

Check out our blogs on improving your productivity and the best productivity app for entrepreneurs to get some extra hacks.

Another important point you’ll need to remember is that distractions are everywhere! They can come from phones, people, noise, emails, lack of motivation or focus, and even disrupting thoughts.

We all get distracted at times, and its important to identify these distractors and put strategies in place to deal with them before they derail your productivity.

Some suggestions on managing distractions could include:

  • Turning your phone/email on silent for a set amount of time;
  • Working in a different setting;
  • Listening to music to block out noise;
  • Trying a relaxation activity prior to starting your work (just spending a couple of minutes doing this can help redirect your mind and body, disconnecting them from recent thoughts and tasks).

Need some help managing your time better? Check out the Pomodoro Technique. This technique breaks up your work into short intervals, typically 25 minutes, with short breaks at the end of each interval. Using this technique will help keep your focus on work whilst avoiding that burn out feeling from working on something for too long.

Finally, you’ll want to regularly review any planning, structure, goals, and overall management of your work practice you have in place. This is essential for keeping up what’s working for you and changing anything that isn’t.

Final Thoughts

Wow, we’ve just gone through a lot of information together. Great work sticking to the end!

So what are the key points to take away from this blog on improving cognitive performance:

  • The Basics: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, food, and exercise
  • Healthy Mind and Positivity: Maintain a balanced life and proactively deal with stress
  • Getting Support: Surround yourself with the right support team
  • Expanding Creativity: Include multiple tactics in your problem solving toolkit
  • Discipline and Structure: Brainstorm your plans, keep your goals SMART, and be proactive with your distractions

How to Improve Your Cognitive Performance

Hopefully this blog helps you accomplish more.

Let us know down in the comments what you do to improve your cognitive performance.

Good luck!

P.S. Want to learn more?!

Check out our other blogs

Maybe you’re thinking of starting a startup.

Or you want to be a better leader.

Do you want to know what makes a successful entrepreneur?

And maybe one of our apps could help.

Check them out today to be ready for tomorrow!

5 Best Australian Startup Grants

 

So you have a great idea for an app startup…

But you don’t have the investment dollars upfront. What’s next?

Well I have some good news for you, the Australian Government wants to help you!

Malcolm Turnbull Approves

Image Source: businessinsider.com.au

Cover Image Source: asc.asn.au

A government grant can help you take your business to the next level or even launch it from the ground up. Even if you have the funding, grants help make it possible to launch your business to market faster and with better results.

These are the best of the best startup grants I recommend. The grant websites can be a bit confusing sometimes but don’t worry I’ve cut it down to a quick and easy shortlist.

I’ve broken it up into 4 things you’ll need to know if you want to apply:

  • What they do – What does this company do?
  • Who’s it for – Are you eligible for this grant?
  • What you can get – Is it a tax refund, a cash payment or some other kind of support?

And saving the best till last,

  • Where and when you can apply.

So don’t waste your time reading grants that aren’t relevant to your business. I’ve picked my top five startup grants to get you on the right track to government funding.

Which startup grants are you eligible for?

 

“The Research and development (R&D) tax incentive encourages companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia.”

Image Source: shinkamanagement.com

What do they do?

The R&D tax incentive does pretty much what the name suggests. This tax incentive was started to get businesses to undertake R&D.  It gives companies a refundable tax offset of 43.5%. Which can be paid as a deduction of your tax bill, or as a cash refund by the end of the financial year. However, only if your company income is over $20,000 and under $20 million.

What’s great about this incentive is that it can be used to get cash back on wages spent used for R&D.

Who’s this grant for?

  • Companies that spend over $20,000 and under $20,000,000.
  • Companies that are attempting to solve industry-wide problems.
  • Running activities with new technology.
  • Or the intention to generate new knowledge.

What can you receive?

  • 43.5% of eligible expenses cash back at the end of the year.

Where/when can I apply?

Applications are done online. But must be done 10 months in advance. I’d get on that ASAP.

Related: Is your app not clicking with its audience? Try this design method!

“Supporting small business to take the next step.”

City ofMelbourne

Image Source: starobserver.com.au

What do they do?

The City of Melbourne is offering up to $30,000 to Melbourne businesses that are having a positive impact on Melbourne city. They have helped fund over 320 businesses, with over $7 Million since 1996.

What’s interesting about this grant is the way companies are chosen. Part of the application includes how your business affects Melbourne. So, the more you positively impact Melbourne, the better your chances.

Who’s this grant for?

  • Startups and Businesses (Under 20 staff) looking to grow
  • Businesses who are looking to export overseas
  • Support Service Businesses
  • Micro Businesses (Up to 4 staff)

What can you receive?

  • If you’re a startup or looking to grow, you can receive up to $30,000 dollars.
  • Are you looking to export, you can receive up to $10,000.
  • Or you’re a business looking to help other businesses, you can receive up to $10,000.
  • If you’re a micro business wanting to grow, you can receive up to $25,000.

Where/when can I apply?

The next round of applications open July 2018, visit: melbourne.vic.gov.au for more information!

Related: Need a business plan to help your chances of getting funding for your startup? Read our blog, with recommendations on the best way to do so!

“Landing Pads help market-ready startups and scale-ups take their business global.”

San Francisco Landing Pad

Image Source: blog.geomoby.com

What do they do?

Landing Pads provide startups with co-working places to work. As well as introduce these business owners to investors, networks and partnership opportunities.

What’s interesting about this grant is that they provide Australian startups with the potential to expand and work overseas. Landing Pads have been established in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.   

Who’s this grant for?

  • This grant is for businesses they believe could go global.
  • Companies that are different to their competitors.
  • Companies that the 90 days in a Landing Pad will make a difference.

What can you receive?

  • 90 days in a co-working space overseas.
  • Support from Austrade.
  • Training, coaching and networking opportunities.

Where/when can I apply?

Applications are ongoing and done online at: australiaunlimited.com/Landing-Pads.

Related: Have you heard about The Internet of Things? Read up on our blog, here.

“The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government program for small to medium aspiring and growing export-ready businesses.“

Exporting

Image Source: raconteur.net

What do they do?

EMDG offer grants to help you cover costs of running a business. As well as the activities that help get your company export ready.

What’s interesting about this is they offer to cover the costs of promotional and marketing material. Your company can claim marketing consultants costs, overseas trade shows and free samples. Really anything that gets your brand internationally.

Who’s this grant for?

  • Australian businesses that earn less than 50 million per year.
  • Promoted their goods for export.
  • Promoted their goods for delivery internationally.
  • Spent at least $15,000 on promotional activities.

What can you receive?

  • A lot.
  • A whole lot.
  • Grants of 50% of your spending.
  • Up to $150,000 dollars per grant.
  • And you can have up to 8 grants a year.
  • Yeah, a lot.

Where/when I can apply?

You’ve got a month to apply, as applications close 30th of November 2017. Apply at: austrade.gov.au.

However, if you can’t get it done by then. Getting an EMDG consultant will allow you to apply until 28th of February 2018.

Related: Got a startup company? Here are 9 tips from us to help you!

 

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme is a program which helps small and medium businesses to innovate and grow.“

Entrepreneur

Image Source: fortune.com

What do they do?

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an Australian Government initiative. Created to make Australian businesses more competitive.

This grant offers 4 different things. This next bit has big words, sorry in advance.

  1. Accelerating Commercialisation grant. Which helps you release a new product to market.
  2. Business Management, advice and support from expert advisors and facilitator.
  3. Incubator Support. Which is offering grants and support to tech incubators in Australia.
  4. Lastly, Innovation Connections. They help identify the gaps in your business knowledge and fill them in. So you can improve your business.

What’s interesting about this grant is that if you participate in this grant, you are then eligible for another grant. A Business Growth Grant worth $20,000. It’s a two for one kind of deal!

Who’s this grant for?

  • For-profit Australian Startup company.
  • Or an individual, partnership or group who are willing to form a company.
  • Must have a product or service that you want to make money off.

What can you receive?

  • You can receive up to 50% of your business spend. Up to 1 million dollars.
  • Advisors, support and networks.
  • Eligibility to the $20,000 Business Growth Grant.
  • Up to 50% of your spend if you have a Tech Incubator. Up to $500,000 dollars worth.

Where/when can I apply?

Expressions of Interest are ongoing, apply now at: business.gov.au.

Related: Maybe you’ve been looking at starting a startup? Read our blog, here detailing the things that some startups miss!

Applying Smart for your Startup Grants

Don’t apply for everything. Creating these applications should take a lot of time and effort. So look for the ones that:

  • Will have the biggest impact on your company.
  • And your company best meets the eligibility criteria.

You should be creating a professional document. One that’s distinctive to your brand. Not just boring letter asking for money. If you need any help, this excellent article by the balance walks you through the grant proposal writing process.

However, if you want some personalised assistance in creating a grant application, contact me directly at: dane@launchpadapps.com.au

If you wish to read about more grants, visit Grants Victoria for more information!

And lastly get started right now! You have nothing to lose if you apply, but potentially a lot to lose if you don’t.

 

Have you applied for grants? Share your experience to help others below!

 

If you’re still only thinking about creating your tech startup, it might be time to take the next step. Contact us at Launchpad, we specialise in getting you investor ready!

How to get ahead in your design process.

A shortlist of the best tools used in the design thinking process.

To help your design thinking process, which you can (and should) start using them today. Use these design service tools to make you’re creating what your customer wants.

Personas

 

What is a Persona?

A Persona is a general idea of your customers. Create as many or as few customer personas as yoseu believe you need. A Persona will include a variety of different things. But for the customer buying personas include a list of various things. Start by giving them a bio, goals, frustrations and motivations. Give them a quote, brands they like and their preferred channels of advertising.

How to use them?

Create a persona so you have an idea of who you’re creating for. Use your personas to predict how an audience will react to situations. Or how the customer will react to a new product, service or for you, an app. Empathise with the customer. Observe the context of their lives. Engage with them. And experience what they experience. Otherwise, you won’t know what your design does for them.

Why should you use them?

Personas will help you create a design that’s accepted and enjoyed. Use Personas to accurately create content that your buyer will enjoy.

If you use any of these tools, I would recommend Personas above all else. This is because they will give you a clear picture of what your consumer/s look like.

Want to keep reading? I’d recommend this VIEO blog.

If you wish to use the same Persona template as us. Check out: https://app.xtensio.com/.

Xtensio is easy to use and free!

 

Customer Journeys

 

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey is an experience in purchasing anything. What does the customer go through to get the app you designed on their phone?

How to use them?

To create a successful app, look at the Customer Journey you’ve created. Or hopefully, will create.

Your Customer Journey should answer a series of questions, for example:

How does the customer discover your product?

  • Example: They have no way of discovering us apart from through the app store. We improved this by introducing social media advertising. And/or a referral program.

What do they experience in the purchase of your service?

The customer will experience excitement using our product. This is because they believe it will solve a certain problem. How can you capitalise on that, or keep that level of excitement going?

What points in the purchasing process can you lose your customer?

  • Example: They experience a pain point as the registration is tedious. How can you minimise that?

Why should you use them

Creating a Customer Journey for your Personas helps you. It shows you how to create a design to fit into their purchasing journey.

Customer Journeys help you identify problems and opportunities. Points in the user experience in which customers would be most susceptible to giving feedback. Knowing what your customer goes through, you can plan a wide range of this for your app. Like general content, what the app will look like in ‘x’ amount of years.  How you should change it to keep ahead of the curve.

Image Source: Pinterest

Try filling in your own:

Moments of Truth

 

What is a Moment of Truth?

Say you go to the shops to get a chocolate bar. You saw many different bars, what made you choose the one you chose? That is a moment of truth.

The moments of truth are the moments a customer goes through to make a purchase.

The 4 Moments of Truth:

  • The Zero Moment, credited to Google. It’s the moment a consumer has realised they want something. They begin to research and collect information on it.
  • The First Moment is the moment a consumer sees your product face-to-face. It’s the make or break purchasing moment.
  • The Second Moment is the post purchase moment. The moment they realise they were or weren’t sold what they feel promised to.
  • The Ultimate Moment is the final moment. The moment a consumer decides to advocate or criticise your product. If they were or weren’t sold what they believed promised. What will they do? Tell their friends, tell social media or post reviews. This moment is important, you have to be ready to respond. You can thank the customer, or try to change their mind.

How to use them?

 

Make sure to use all 4 moments for creating your app.

Consider:

  • What will consumers find online? Will it be positive?

Put lots of information online. Don’t leave the consumer feeling like it’s an unknown product. Give away the app to reviewers, consumers look to reviewers for advice.

  • Will it stand out in the app store?
  • Does your copy, or even your apps icon stand out? Is it enough to sell the app?
  • Will consumers be happy with their purchase and experience?
  • Did you give the consumers what you promised? Will consumers advocate or criticize your app?
  • Did the app go above or below expectations? Are you ready to deal with the outcomes?

Why should you use them?

These moments are crucial in recognition and research. Test facing the product in person. Test the purchase, experience and customer advocacy or criticism. Keep these moments in mind during your design period. Because it will help your product or service stand out in the moments. Standing out in these crucial moments could be everything to your business.

Image Source: Daily Tech

What now?

Think about it. Today more products and services exist on the market than ever before. For you to ignore design thinking, puts you at a disadvantage. Design something that gives the user a hassle free, pleasant experience. From that, your company will likely generate loyalty and advocacy. You should absolutely take advantage of it. Don’t forget how important customer loyalty and advocacy is.

Follow these steps to create your app. Create an app that will have greater success and preference by your customers. As they will feel that you made it for them!

So get started, you have no reason to leave this out of the design process. Every year, companies release apps that could be better consumer targeted.

Want to know the psychology of your customers?

Check out our upcoming blog. It dives into the reason behind customer wants and needs. We will explain what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is, and how you should use it.

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad wants to help you create a unique, successful app.

The 7 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

We all have habits. Some are good, like positive thinking and healthy eating, while some are bad, like procrastinating and overspending. Habits are basically routines or activities we do continuously without realising it. They have an impact on our daily lives including how we work. Good habits have helped create success for Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. Today we’ll be going through the 7 habits of successful entrepreneurs that you can adopt.

Related: The Top 6 Traits of Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

Habit 1. Get up and active

While work is important, it is also important to get away from your desk. There are many benefits to exercise that can help you work efficiently. It improves your brain, making  you more creative and stimulates your thinking.

Exercising doesn’t require much time or money and a gym membership isn’t required. You can just go outside for walk or jog in a park.

Lots of successful entrepreneurs do it and if you don’t have time, make time in the early morning or evening for it. For example, Richard Branson wakes up at 5 AM and either kite surfs, swims or plays tennis.

Habit 2: Set Goals

Successful entrepreneurs set short and longer term goals for themselves and also for their business. Examples include getting investors and reaching a certain amount of sales per year. Additionally, they set up effective goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

Entrepreneurs stick and keep their goals in mind while at work. This helps them prioritise and focus on tasks that are most important.

Before doing anything they ask themselves whether the task will achieve their main goals. To not get overwhelmed by their goals, entrepreneurs further break it down to small tasks. There’s lots of software, such as Trello and Asana, to help achieve this.

Habit 3: Plan and organise

Following on, successful entrepreneurs are continually involved with daily and long term planning, whether in the office or on the road.

They create to-do lists and daily schedules to ensure they get all their tasks done.  Planning creates a strategy on how entrepreneurs tackle their week. It makes them think before they start doing any executions.

There is an endless list of productivity apps and software available that can help with planning, such as Evernote. Successful entrepreneurs also do pre-planning at the end of their day to prepare for tomorrow.

Effective planning helps keep entrepreneurs on track towards achieving their long term goals. As the saying goes: failing to plan is planning to fail.

Habit 4: Take risks

Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid risks when running their business. These risks might involve factors with the market, personal or even financial risk.

In fact, one of the first risks they took were resigning from their current job and creating a startup. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Woz dropped out of college to start Apple and Elon Musk invested in two startups that nearly went bankrupt but ultimately succeeded.

While risk involves gut feeling and just doing it, calculated risk involves weighing up the pros and cons before execution. There are many benefits of risk-taking. For instance, gaining experience, finding out what doesn’t work and you’ll won’t live with regret.

Whether it’s launching a new product or the financial market, you have to risk it to get the rewards.

Habit 5: Continuously learn

Successful entrepreneurs are always learning and expanding their knowledge. They learn through activities like reading books, attending seminars and networking with others. For instance, Bill Gates is a big reader, reading about 50 books a year.

The benefits of continually learning is that you get new perspectives, knowledge and enhances creativity. There are lots of free and paid resources out there that can boost your brain.

If you like reading, books I highly recommend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Thankyou’s biography: Chapter 1 (Definitely for new startups) by Daniel Flynn.

For online videos, TED talks are the way to go. Podcasts by big name entrepreneurs, like Gary Vaynerchuk are also great if always you’re on the go.

Habit 6: Enjoy what they do

Successful entrepreneurs don’t just work for the money, they love doing what they’re doing.

There are different reasons why entrepreneurs create their own startup. Some might enjoy being their own boss or the personal challenge of starting their business.

For others, it might be to make a positive impact, such as Thank you’s founder, Daniel Flynn, or follow their passions, such as Showpo founder, Jane Lu.  

Successful entrepreneurs love it so much that they become emotionally attached to it. They put everything into their startup, even giving up their free time to make sure it succeeds and strives.

Habit 7: Bounce back

While facing roadblocks and the potential of failing in our lives, it’s what we do that matters. Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and will rise above any obstacles.

They view their failure as a learning experience and the opportunity to improve. In fact, there have been lots of successful entrepreneurs who have used failure to turn their business around.

A well known example is Walt Disney. He was told that he wasn’t creative and his early ventures failed. His cartoon creations got stolen and rejected. However, he persevered and became successful with Walt Disney Company.

 

By adopting these 7 habits you’ll be on your way to grow personally and as an entrepreneur. It’s not too late to adopt these habits. You can start straight away!

 

What habits do you think successful entrepreneurs have?
Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Unique App Idea

Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.

When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.

Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.

1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.

 

 

Have a confidential discussion about your app idea with us! 

 

2. Don’t say too much

Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.

 

3. Trademark your app’s identity

Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshotsand phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successfulSnapchat can be easily recognised  by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.

 

4. Retain documentation

It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.

 

 

5. Hire a reputable app development company

Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.

 

 

By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.

For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.

If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!

 

Australian App Developers

7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

There has been a rise in female entrepreneurs (also known as fempreneurs) not only in Australia but also around the world. Similarly to the success of app entrepreneurs, which we looked at previously, startup success starts with having the big idea coupled with the determination towards turning their vision into a reality. Today we’ll be focusing on 7 female entrepreneurs who took their passion and disrupted the industry with their business idea.

 

Related: 7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

 

1. Justine Flynn – Thankyou

Justine Flynn is the co-founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise in Australia, where proceeds of its product sales are donated to help developing countries. Created in 2008, the idea came about when the founders saw an opportunity of the high bottled water consumption in Australia to tackle the water crisis. Thankyou has expanded their product lines to beauty, food and baby care, which are stocked in 5,000 outlets in Australia. They’ve raised over $3 million for projects, giving over 100,000 people access to water and food across 17 countries.

 

 

 

2. Whitney Wolfe – Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the founder of social and dating app, Bumble, which is similar to Tinder (co-founded by Whitney) but with a twist. In the app, females make the first move and are the only ones who can start conversations with males. Additionally, matches disappear if the other user doesn’t reply within 24 hours. The app was created to challenge the dating rule of males starting the conversation. Since launch in December 2014, Bumble has more than 10 million users, more than 50 billion swipes and has been named dating app of the year at the US Dating Awards.

 

 

 

3. Jodie Fox – Shoes of Prey

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of Shoes of Prey, an online retail shop startup. It started in 2009 in Sydney and offers fully customisable shoes. Customers are able to choose details like shape, colour, and material. Jodie got the idea after being unable to find shoes that matched her preferences. She then wanted to give the same experiences to others. Shoes of Prey have received more than $20 million in funding and won multiple awards at the Telstra Business Awards.

 

 

 

4. Marcela Sapone – Hello Alfred

Marcela Sapone co-founded an on-demand app called Hello Alfred,  which is the Uber of butler services. Users are assigned a butler that completes household chores and tasks they want to be done through the platform. The app idea came when Marcela was unable to do chores because of late work hours in Harvard Business School. Since launching in Boston in 2013, Hello Alfred has raised more than $11 million in funding, won TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Competition. Marcela was also listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

 

 

 

5. Genevieve George – OneShift

Genevieve George is the founder of OneShift, an online job marketplace for casual, permanent or shift work. The platform functions differently to other job marketplaces. Users create a profile and are matched with jobs based on the information they provide. The startup idea came from previous experiences of applying for jobs and working at a cafe. Genevieve wanted to make it easier for small businesses to hire and people to apply for jobs. Since 2012, OneShift raised $4.7 million in funding. They’ve also won multiple awards, such as the 2013 E-business, innovation and enterprise award. Genevieve also made the top 50 emerging leaders of 2015 list.

 

 

6. Jane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu is the CEO and founder of the online fashion startup, Showpo. The store ships female clothing at affordable prices to 45 countries around the world. The idea came as a result of Jane wanting a career change and being unable to find stores that offered affordable on-trend clothing with fast shipping. Since starting in a garage in 2010, Showpo is now worth $10 million and awards, such as Smart Company’s Top Retailer of the Year and BRW Fast Starters. In addition, Jane has won multiple entrepreneurial awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30.

 

 

 

7. Lisa Falzone – Revel Systems

Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, a point of sale system that operates on iPad. The POS system enables a more efficient and smooth transaction process for customers and small businesses. The idea came when Lisa went out to restaurants selling an app, noticing that they used outdated, bulky and inefficient POS systems. Since launch in 2010, Revel Systems have raised $127.3 million in funding. They’ve also won the Tabby Award for Best Retail System. Lisa also won numerous entrepreneurial awards, such as EY Entrepreneurial Women, Forbes’ 40 under 40 and Business Insider’s’ 30 Most Important Women Under 30.  

 

 

Do you know any other kick ass female entrepreneurs?
Let us know on social media!

7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen” – Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

Do you have an app idea that has the potential to be the next big thing? All you need is the big idea coupled with the passion and drive towards making it successful. This means getting it developed and published in the app market. Here are 7 Australian app entrepreneurs who have turned their app idea into a success.

Related: 7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

 

1. Jess Wilson – Creator of the “Tinder for Clothes”

jess-wilson-stashd2Stashd is a fashion discovery app created by Jess Wilson. The idea came from the lack of retailers’ engagement she experienced when shopping online. The fashion discovery app lets users view clothing and accessories from global fashion stores. Then they either stash (swiping right and storing it) or trash (swiping left and deleting it). Stashed is used in over 80 countries with over 4,200 brands partnering with the app and over 500,000 fashion items accessible. It has even partnered with Tencent, a popular shopping app in China.

 

 

 

2. Chris Strode – Ensuring the numbers add up for businesses

 

chris-strode

Chris Strode is the creator and founder of Invoice2Go, which is a business app where users can create, send and manage invoices from their smartphone. Chris could not find accounting software that were easy to use, which sparked the app idea. From starting out as a side business, Invoice2Go is now worth over $100 million, has raised $50 million in funding and expanded overseas. It has been the number one business app in the app store and is used by more than 200,000 small businesses around the world.  

 

 

 

 

3. Melanie Perkins –  Turning the world into a graphic designer overnight

 

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Melanie Perkins created Canva at the age of 19 in her home. The app makes it easier for users to perform advanced graphic design tasks on their Apple devices. Her app idea came as a result of the complexities of graphic design software. Canta is worth $458 million and has gained over $40 million in funding, with celebrities like Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson on the list. Since launch, the app has won numerous awards and achieved worldwide success with over 10 million users across 179 countries.

 

 

 

4. Luke Anear – Improving safety, thousands of workplaces at a time

 

luke-anear-safety-culture

iAuditor is an app created by Luke Anear that allows businesses to create checklists and audits on Occupational Health and Safety in businesses.The app idea came about while Luke worked in the worker’s compensation industry. He witnessed accidents in the workplace and wanted to prevent any more from happening with this app. Since launch, the app has gained $33.88 million in funding and gained international success. The app is used across 80 countries and they have expanded their offices overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

5. George Freney – Saving shoppers time and petrol every day

 

george-freney-booodl

Booodl is a store discovery engine app created by George Freney that shows users which stores and locations stock products they are looking for. The app idea began when George kept forgetting to buy a USB cable and could not find one at nearby stores. Since launching, more than 15,000 retailers have partnered with Booodl. They’ve won multiple awards, such as the 2015 Aus App design awards, and recently achieved a $2.85 million investment deal with a major shopping centre in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Andrew Low – Enhancing the supply ordering process

 

andrew-low2

Andrew Low is the co-founder of Ordermentum. Thea app helps businesses in the hospitality industry order supplies efficiently through a cloud platform. With vast experience in Finance and Fast Consumer Goods, Andrew created the app after trying to find a way businesses can order and pay for supplies more efficiently. Since launch, more than 3,000 businesses have signed up to Ordermentum, with more signing up each day. They have recently received $2.5 million in funding and plans of powerhouse investors coming on board.  

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peter Marchiori – Making job applications and hiring a breeze

 

peter-marchiori2

Peter Marchiori created Found Careers. The app is, essentially, the Tinder for jobs. Basically, users create their profile and tick jobs they want to apply for. Users can also chat directly to employers, making communicate easier. The app idea was the result of the founders facing difficulties of finding employees in their previous business.  It has over 25,000 downloads and over 2,000 jobs posted. Found recently gained $1.5 million in funding and voted as the #1 useful job platform in Australia.  

 

 

 

Get your app idea developed! Contact us for a free and confidential initial phone consultation!

7 Government Grants to Boost your Startup in 2017

With two weeks left of 2016, you might have some new year resolutions for your startup. One of your list priorities most likely would be to enhance your operations. Whether it’s finding investors or creating a mobile app, receiving government grants might be a high priority.

With the various grants offered by the Australian Government and the latest Innovation Agenda launching, 2017 will be a great opportunity for you to apply for some grants. In this post, we’ll be identifying grants that will help kick start your startup in the new year.

 

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

 

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an initiative that helps entrepreneurs and startups support and develop their innovative ideas or concepts. Through this initiative, entrepreneurs get access to networks and support from advisors and facilitators in the relevant industries.
Applications for this grant have no due date are on-going. You’ll need to apply for the elements separately on the official government program website.

The Benefits:

This program helps your startup achieve business grow through assistance with the following aspects:

  • Product/Service commercialisation (Accelerating Commercialisation):  This element of the program will give your startup the boost to launch your idea into the market. You’ll get a strategy of commercialising your products with an experienced adviser. The element will also help you offer partnering opportunities and access to a network of experts. If you go ahead and undertake a commercialisation project you can gain a grant of 50 percent expenditure of up to $1 million.
  • Business Analysis (Business Management): An experienced advisor analyst will go through business strategies, direction and provide recommendations to improve your startup’s abilities. You’ll receive a tailored plan which will help your startup increase competitiveness and growth. With this element you can also apply for a Business Growth grant of up to $20,000 after meeting with a service provider to fund your improvement projects.
  • Business gap analysis (Innovation Connections): You’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps that are restricting your startup from achieving growth from expert innovation facilitators. These facilitators will also help you identify opportunities to get your ideas research new ideas and provide other business service packages. There’s also an innovation grant available if you decide to undertake a product research project of up to $50,000.

 

2. Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF)

 

Launching sometime in 2017, the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) is a new initiative by the Australian Government that allows startups and  entrepreneurs crowd from the public of up to $5 million each year. To get your funding you’ll need to submit a CSEF document that contains information about your business and purpose, through an intermediary with a Financial Services License.

The Benefits

This is great for startups who have a ground breaking idea or product but need lots of funding to get it implemented.

The CSEF is still in development but if you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can subscribe for updates on the Australian Government site.

 

3. Small Business Grants Program – City of Melbourne

 

To support creativity and innovation, the City of Melbourne offers grants to startups that have a market ready product or service.

There are four grant categories: Startup, Business Expansion, Export and Business Support, however you can only apply for one category per round.

Your application will be assessed on Innovation and Creativity (23%), Business readiness (25%), Financial viability (20%), How it benefits the City of Melbourne (20%), Ethical and other considerations (5%).

The Benefits:

You can receive up to $30,000 to boost your startup and help you with business expansion. In addition there are also $10,000 grants to help export your products overseas and expand in new markets.

To be eligible, your startup needs to be located in the Melbourne CBD area or planning to move there in the future. Your team can only have up to 20 staff members, have an ABN, proposals and other documents.

Applications will open in June 2017, so now will be a good time to plan your application early.

 

4. Landing Pads

 

Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to travel and work in coworking spaces for 90 days overseas in areas known for innovation. Currently there two areas in operation; San Francisco and Tel Aviv, with plans of Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.

To apply you’ll need to fill in the application form online, which asks for personal details and answer pre-requisite questions about your startup, e.g. your key objectives, how you differentiate from others.

The Benefits:

Applying for Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to gain market knowledge, improve your  products designs and network with other startups overseas. Additionally, you get access to training, coaching and investor networking opportunities.

You’ll be fully supported from Austrade when overseas and after returning home. Here, Austrade will further provide assistance by introducing you to other service providers, corporate and government agencies.

Applications are ongoing and offered each time Landing Pads are available. You can reapply if you are not successful the first time around.

 

5. Grow your business – Victoria

 

Grow Your Business is similar to the Entrepreneur’s Programme but only available to startups in Victoria. The program gives your startup funding for attending planning and management services on offer. There are different program categories, consisting of development plans, strategic review, mentoring, group and network programs.

Each category has different criteria, which you can find here.

Applications are ongoing and are done online.

The Benefits:

These grants will help you cover costs for a certain amount of the project, which varies depending on category.

The Business Development Plan and Mentoring covers up to 50% of total projects of up to $7,500. The Business Strategic Review covers up to 75%, up to $4,000 and Group and Network projects covering up to 75% of a cost up to $15,000.

Your operations and strategies will be analysed and reviewed. You’ll get reports on your business and areas of improvements so that you can maintain long-term growth. Finally, this program helps you enhance your management and business skills maximise your competitiveness overseas.

 

6. Research & Development Tax Incentive

 

The Research & Development Tax Incentive will help your startup relieve costs with the help of a tax offset. The grant provides startups 45 cents back from every dollar spent on R&D but only if they earn under $20 million in a year. The minimum spending of R&D is $20,000 and you’ll need to provide supporting documents. As long as you’re actively trying to find solutions to problems  with products, you can apply even if you’re not in the tech industry.

Applications are done online and the deadline is 10 months after the end of a company’s year.

The Benefits:

This will most benefit new startups or those without sales as you’ll receive 45% back from Research & Development expenditure, such as wages for personnel working on projects. Additionally, R&D will enable you to enhance your products and achieve solutions. This grant will be a big help in the idea validation and product research stage of your startup.

7. Export Market Development Grant

 

This Grant gives reimbursements for exporting marketing activities and creating new markets. There are a whole range of categories you can claim, from marketing consultants, overseas trade shows  and free samples. This grant is mainly for startups who actively promote their products or services overseas.

Applications are done online but currently closed and expected to reopen sometime next year.

The Benefits:

You can get back up to 50 percent of expenses as long as they are at least $15,000. As a result, the Export Market Development Grant enables you to spend more money on promotional activities. Your startup will be able to explore more markets overseas and also reduce the financial risk of international business activity.

 

emmas-journeyAn example of how grants can help boost your startup

Takeaways

With these 7 government grants, you can be well on your way towards reaching your goal of boosting your startup in the new year. A final word of advice, as you start preparing your applications for each grant remember to incorporate what the Government is looking for in startups. For instance, in the Landing Pads program, the Government is looking for startups that have vision, market relevance, scalability, differentiation and traction.

 

Have you applied for any government grants in 2016? Which grants will you apply for in 2017? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

7 Apps Entrepreneurs Need on their Next Business Trip

As an entrepreneur, you might be required to travel to different locations to meet with customers or clients. In the past, we had to rely on physical maps, travel guides and notepads which might take up space in our luggage. Luckily for us, we can now access all those tools on our smartphone.

There are a variety of travel apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores that can make your bags lighter and make your trip more efficient. We’ve done the groundwork and compiled a list of seven mobile apps that you should have on your mobile devices the next time you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

 

1. Uber

If you’re not hiring a car, Uber is the app for all your transportation needs. As one of the most popular on-demand ridesharing apps, you can save time waiting for taxis or public transport and also could save money. With its intuitive UI design, you’ll be able to request your Uber at the touch of a button and track the driver as they arrive at your pickup location.

Compared to a taxi, you’ll pay a fixed fare and will be able to know how much it costs before travelling. Payment is all done through your credit card via the app so you won’t have to use cash. You can choose to ride economically, luxuriously or carpool with other passengers. With Uber you can save money and ride to your next meeting with style.

uber

Uber gets you where you need to be at a lower cost

2. Tripit

Tripit is a very useful that allows you to input and access travel plans on your smartphone with ease. It’s one of my personal favourites that I always use when going on trips. You can add essential information, such as flight itinerary, hotel reservations and contact information all on your smartphone or tablet.

Tripit is very easy to use and setup. All you need to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to a specified Tripit email and it will create a master itinerary for you. Your plans and itineraries are shareable to others, which means your family, friends, managers and co-workers will know where you are. Tripit boosts your efficiency, allowing you to stay ahead of your travel plans.

tripit_02

Tripit helps you stay ahead of your itinerary

3. Evernote

With its recognisable app icon, Evernote is one of the most popular productivity apps for entrepreneurs that is available for free for Android, Apple and Windows phones. The app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists, add meeting minutes, set reminders and capture your thoughts while you travel.

You won’t need to worry about losing your notes because they’re stored on a cloud server and accessible on multiple devices. Evernote comes in three different plans; Free, Plus and Premium, which varies in pricing, features, and data uploads. One of the standout features, which is only available in the premium tier, is the ability to scan and digitise business cards into your phone.

evernote-1

Evernote keeps your notes organised and improves your productivity

4. Google Maps

If you’re trekking into an unfamiliar location you’ll need an app that can help you get to your destination. Here’s where Google Maps comes into play. With this app, you won’t need a map or directory ever again. The app lets you easily find your way from point A to B in a matter of seconds. It also delivers real-time information on traffic, public transport and even identifies points of interests.

Finally, you can use it offline by downloading maps to your phone in case you don’t have wifi or mobile data available. Like Google Translate, this app is preloaded onto android phones and available on the iTunes store. With this app, you’ll never get lost again.

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 Google Maps helps you get from A to B efficiently

5. Tunnelbear VPN

It’s a good idea to use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) if you rely on public wifi for social media, email, and web browsing.  Essentially, a VPN helps encrypt the internet data on the connection you’re using, allowing you to use the internet privately and more securely. Another of my personal favourites is Tunnelbear, which I use every time I travel overseas. It’s free, easy to use and visually appealing. The free plan limits your usage to 500 MB each month but you can gain more data by tweeting the company on Twitter or subscribing to their paid plans for unlimited data. 

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 Tunnelbear helps you browse privately overseas

6. Skype

Whenever you’re away from the office, you might want to communicate with your colleagues, customers or even family. If you don’t want to be billed for long distance overseas calls and only at your location for a few days, you’ll need to download Skype. The app allows you to make calls, video calls and chat through instant messenger with other users on your smartphone or tablet.

Skype also offers cheap rates if you use Skype to call landlines and mobile numbers. You can make a free account or opt in for the paid option called “Skype for Business”, where you can hold online meetings and create accounts for all employees.

skype_02

 Skype lets you stay in contact with your family, friends and colleagues wherever you are

7. Google Translate

Nǐ míng bái wǒ shuō de ma? If you didn’t understand what that meant, then it’s a good idea to use the translating app, Google Translate. Using the app will help you translate the Chinese phrase at the start to “Do you understand what I’m saying?”. It’s easy to get start translating foreign words. Just type or say what you want to be translated and it will do the work for you. 

One of its innovative features is that you can also translate words using your device’s camera. This can help if you’re not sure what words mean on street signs or posters.  This app will help when communicating with foreign clients to ensure there isn’t any miscommunication.

This app is already preloaded onto Android devices and is available to download on the iTunes store

google_translate_03-1

Google Translate helps you to communicate with locals overseas

 

There you have it, the 7 apps that entrepreneurs should have on their next business trip. With these apps you’ll be prepared for any journey.

Bon Voyage!

Do you use any of these apps? Are there any other apps you’d recommend?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

The “How To” Guide to get Investors for your Startup!

The right investors for your startup won’t just provide capital. The right investor can add value as an industry expert, an insightful mentor, a well-connected network contact – pretty much as a driving force to accelerate your startup! To help you grab the attention of the right investors, here are the 5 key attributes they seek from startup businesses.

 

“How do I get investors for my startup?” It’s one of the most frequently asked questions from budding entrepreneurs. It’s a question we address during our Rocketfuel Workshop to help clients determine the best business model for their app startup.

In the future you might be looking towards increasing your investor base to gain startup funding. Whether it’s through investor networks, it is important to know what investors look for in a startup. In this guide, we’ll be going through the five traits investors look for in startups to increase your chances of getting funding.

What are the 5 things investors look for in startups?

 

1. The Right Team

The first important criteria that investors focus on consist of the founders and management team of the startup. In fact, many investors see this as the most important aspect. Investors look at the technical areas in founders, such as their skills, education, and experience. For instance, their experience with overcoming obstacles and leadership.

 

Investors also look for certain personality and characteristics of founders that are congruent with theirs. While there are many traits, the main ones desirable to investors include teamwork, determination, willingness to learn and perseverance. In addition, investors look at the founders’ past investments to identify whether business operations match their expertise and own experience. For instance an investor with a focus on health and wellbeing would most likely help a startup offering healthy snack bars. Overall, they want to make sure that the people they will be working with in the long term are trustworthy, committed and have the ability to get the job done.

2. Big Idea

The second aspect that investors look at is your overall business idea. The main aim here is to show that your idea will work and benefit the investor in the long run. To do this, you could create a Proof of Concept (PoC), which basically shows that your idea is feasible and scalable. Your PoC should answer questions that look at your product or service’s potential or is adaptable to future trend.

As mentioned previously, another aspect relating to your idea that is desirable to investors is your product or service’s ability solve a problem, be unique or innovative. For instance, Uber got its first funding, back in its early days, through solving San Francisco’s problem on the lack of cabs and transportation. One other way to further enhance the validity of your idea is through social proof, which is essentially where others, whether it be through customer testimonials or media reports, provide a good form of evidence.

3. Business Market

Another aspect investors look for when funding startups is the market landscape where your startup is competing, as it is a potential indicator of growth. Investors are looking to fund businesses with potential to be the next big thing in the present and in the future and, as a result, also offer a large return on investment. They need to make sure the market has enough demand and the potential for a large customer base.

The bigger and more stable your customer base, the more likely you’ll win over investors. In fact, investors even look at funding startups in new and promising markets, as long as you prove there’s growth and potential. If you’re operating in a highly competitive market, you’ll need to show how your solution stands out among others, which is tied back to your overall business idea.

infogThe 3 elements investors see as a successful startup

4. Business Plan

The next element investors want to see is your startup’s plans and strategies down on paper. It is important to note here that investors may have different criteria on your plan. However, the aim is to prove you can compete and there will be returns.

It should be detailed and have the basics of a standard business plan, such as background on your startup and strategies. Going beyond the basics, investors are particularly interested in elements focusing on the business’s potential. For instance, competitive landscape, financials and how your product/service offerings solves a need or problem. Additionally, investors want to see that you’re building your startup, so you’ll also need to provide evidence that you’ll gain continual traction, which I’ll speak more about later, through research and data.

5. Traction

Finally, investors look at a startup’s business traction, which refers to the startup’s progress and momentum in a market. You can show investors traction, through your current customer base or sales figures on your product or service offerings. Essentially, traction shows investors that your product or service offerings are in demand and are on its way towards success. Having traction gives you the opportunity to stand out among other startups.

For startups with limited or no traction, you can show investors that you will be creating traction through clear goals and metrics to measure its success. These aspects should be stated in your business plan. Other ways of getting traction include reaching out to customers and influencers, getting customer feedback and also getting publicity by showing your products and services at events. In fact, this is a method used by Twitter to gain success when they first started out.

 

tim-draper-infographicTo gain investors, you’ll need to think like an investor

 

 Key Takeaways

While there could be many more different criteria investors are looking for, in general they will be looking at the startup’s human resource aspect (Founders and Management), business plans, your overall idea, the market you’re operating in and the traction in the market. Remember to show and not just tell investors with evidence and research, which I’ve already mentioned throughout this post.

If you would like any further advice or assistance, contact Launchpad App Development to find out how we can help you launch your startup.

 

So what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.