Entrepreneurs, it’s time to face what might be a harsh reality – the success of your startup business depends very highly on your ability to successfully pitch your idea or product to potential clients and investors. Your pitch makes or breaks the interest in your company; in just a few sentences, you need to create a lasting impression and inspire faith in your goals. If you find yourself at a loss for words when trying to explain the merits of your startup, be sure to follow these simple tips and make your pitch one to remember.
- Make sure you’re taking a stand. Adjust your pitch to make sure it’s clear not just what your product is, but also what exactly your business stands for and how it can help change the lives of those who utilize your product. Commit to a specific niche or purpose, in order to bring clarity to who you are and what your business will do.
- Speak the truth. If you seem authentic, people will both hear and feel your passion and faith and buy-in to your mission. Don’t claim your business will solve everyone’s problems – clearly explain who your target consumers are, what those consumers are in need of, and how exactly you can help that specific group of people satisfy their needs.
- Push, don’t pull. Present your business’ accomplishments in a modest way, and allow audiences to figure out themselves how your proposition could help them. Let it be their idea to jump onboard and invest in your business.
- Keep it simple. Use proof points, metrics, and anecdotes that your audience can grasp, instead of potentially confusing industry jargon – they shouldn’t need a dictionary to understand what you’re saying. Speak in layman’s terms whenever possible so they can listen to your ideas and not focus too much on your words.
- Constantly update your pitch. Don’t just recite the same exact pitch for months or years on end, or it will be built on old information and experiences. As you and your business go through changes, change your pitch. Evolve the story about your career path to include recently acquired leadership and management roles, so people are listening to the impressive you that you are today and not the novice you may have been when you first started making pitches.
If you’re an entrepreneur starting your own company, you’re probably dreaming big right now and envisioning an amazing office filled with the latest equipment and best employees, right? Well unfortunately, those things are only going to be able to become a reality if you pay close attention to how much you’re spending during the start-up phase. These tips will help you keep track of your expenses and cut down as much as possible:
- Try starting your business at home.You don’t realistically need office space for now – an office requires a considerable investment, and until your business starts to make money, you really can’t afford that. Designate a space in your home for work, and just treat it like a corporate office. If you need to meet and impress your client, book a conference room for a day or week.
- Do as much as you can without hiring workers. Yes, it’s easier to manage all tasks you need accomplished when you have a team of professionals, but employees cost money that you may not need to spend if you just take on as many jobs as possible on your own. Only pay for work that you simply can’t handle alone.
- Rent instead of buying. Need a particular office device or piece of machinery for a few days in a month? Just rent it on those days – furniture, fixtures and accessories for your home office can all be rented to start, and this can reduce your tax burden, as leasing is deductible.
- Get free advice from experts you trust. Connect with key people from your industry and attend conferences, seminars and events, and join online forums to keep track of what’s happening in the industry.
- Don’t just go for cheap when you’re buying things. As tempting as it is, the cheapest option often doesn’t guarantee the best value for your buck – pay equal attention to the quality AND the cost.
When it comes to your retirement savings, do you have any idea how much should you be setting aside each month? Most people don’t save enough, which explains why the retirement income deficit has reached $6.6 million in America, with half of Americans collecting less than $10,000 in savings. It’s time to take some basic yet crucial steps towards organizing your budget, powering up your savings plan, and contributing more to your retirement fund!
- Take advantage of your 401(k) benefits. If your company offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan, review those retirement plan benefits and make sure you’re contributing the highest possible amount every month. Some companies will match part of your contribution – the typical match on a 401(k) is 50 cents on the dollar for up to 6 percent of your salary.
- Consider savings contributions a necessity. Reorganize your budget so your retirement savings contributions are considered monthly expenses that you have to pay. Figure out how much disposable income you realistically have and set aside some of that money, no matter what!
- Cut costs from your budget. Are there any costs you can cut from your current expenses? The answer is probably yes – you can likely stop eating out so often or stop spending so much money on clothes. Give yourself a weekly budget so you aren’t spending more than you should.
- Start paying off high-interest debt. Pay off high-interest debt – doing so can free up a significant amount of money for your retirement savings. You’ll also be able to enjoy a debt-free lifestyle once you retire.
- Work more. If you have time, get a side job to make more money and put the earnings directly into your savings account!
- Compare retirement plans before committing. You don’t want to pay more than you need to in banking and other fees; extra savings each month can add up.
- Seek help from a financial planner. They can help you review your budget, make recommendations on where you can cut back on expenditures, set realistic savings goals and put together a financial plan.
According to a recent statistic update from its newsroom, Facebook now officially has over a million active advertisers, proving that it is becoming a mainstream advertising channel for small and medium-sized businesses.
“Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of meeting and learning from many amazing business owners who use Facebook,” said Facebook’s Dan Levy. “Some have just set up their Facebook Pages while others are experts who share their tips with others. I’ve learned from companies like Ministry of Retail in Singapore, Springwools in Ireland, and Scene75 Entertainment Center in Ohio…and many more around the world.”
“I know business owners like these invest their hard earned money and time into running their companies,” he adds. “So today, on behalf of everyone at Facebook, I want to say thank you to them and to the over one million businesses like them who are active advertisers. You have chosen Facebook as a partner to grow your business. We appreciate the chance to work with you, and we celebrate your success.”
Facebook claims more than 2 billion connections between members and local businesses (with 70% of users in North America connected to a local business), and on average, local business Facebook Pages produce 645 million views and 13 million comments. Marketers will definitely see many opportunities from the site’s newly launched hashtag feature, so expect those number to only get better over time!
Verizon, AT&T, and a few other big players have dominated the US wireless industry for years, but a new startup is making some serious efforts to wipe out those mobile giants… by offering FREE data service!
The startup, FreedomPop, is backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom and other high-profile investors. Last year, the company started offering users free mobile data, and now, it plans to offer full-blown wireless phone service at no cost. That’s right, customers will get 200 voice minutes, unlimited text messages and 500 megabytes of 4G data per month for free! The only thing people will have to worry about is having to pay fees if they use more than those allotted minutes or data.
“The phone thing is going to be huge for us,” Stephen Stokols, the chief executive officer of FreedomPop, said in an interview. “That takes us to a whole other level in being able to disrupt.”
After their October 2012 debut, FreedomPop gained several hundreds of thousands of users, and nearly half of them pay for extra data or services – an average FreedomPop user pays $10 a month. It’s enough to keep the company thriving, and is still extremely appealing for users, as CTIA data proves that an average American pays about $49 per month for their phone bill. FreedomPop is looking to raise about $15 million this year to increase their marketing campaign, and so far, it’s looking like the company is on track!