Time Saving Tools for Every Entrepreneur

Time Saving Tools for Every Entrepreneur

Time. When you’re a busy entrepreneur, there never seems to be enough of it. Whether it be finding ways to engage prospective customers, building relationships with the media, or promoting your products to the right audience, there’s always something new fighting for your attention.

Top 5 Tools to Boost Your Creativity

Top 5 Tools to Boost Your Creativity

Creativity is a critical skill for success in business - it’s the driving force behind innovation and problem solving. While not everyone is born with creative talent, we can all improve on our own creative abilities. Here are our top five tools to get the creative juices flowing.

1. Metaphorical thinking. It allows you to compare one problem with another problem to identify similarities between the two, and uncover new solutions and ideas.

2. Attribute listing. Great for product innovation, attribute listing is where you list as many attributes as you can for an object, consider the value of each attribute, and how you can modify it.

3. Post-It brainstorming. Best for group brainstorming sessions, post-it brainstorming involves team members silently writing ideas on Post-It notes, which are posted on a wall, before being shuffled and explored. 

4. Role play. A great way to inject fun into ideation sessions. Begin by choosing characters for team members to play, and then brainstorming in character. Select characters related to your problem to develop expert ideas, or choose a character totally different to find radically unique ideas.

5. Thinking hats. This involves using different types of thinking to stimulate ideation, before selecting the best to move forward. Each team member should select one hat to put on. Options include information, judgement, creativity, intuition, optimism, and logical thinking.

Promotion Tips for Creatives on a Budget

Promotion Tips for Creatives on a Budget

Creatives often lack the budget for large, expensive marketing and public relations campaigns. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate buzz for your creative initiative or venture. Here are three ways you can promote your project without breaking the bank.

1. Be selective. When you’re promoting your own project, it can be tempting to contact as many journalists as possible. This approach is not only expensive, but it can also waste your time. It’s much more effective to concentrate your efforts on selected, high value media targets. Who are your target audiences, and what media do they consume? Research media platforms and generate a list of all those most relevant for your project and audience. Find key information on each media platform, including its audience demographics and circulation figures - targeting those with the highest circulation will maximise your potential for promotion.

2. Deliver value. Now that you have a media list, you need to create tailored pitches, aiming to deliver value to each unique platform and its audience. Ask yourself, “Why should the readers of this magazine care about my project?” Editors and journalists seek to publish stories that inform and inspire their readers. What’s inspirational about your project? What can readers learn from it? Make sure the story you pitch will resonate with a large audience.

3. Build relationships. Strategic connections with the right editors, reporters, and social media  influencers are the foundation of lasting publicity. People who know you and recognise the value you can offer their audience are much more likely to open your emails. When it comes to building such relationships, a systematic approach ensures your networks are always growing. Make relationship-building activities a regular part of your annual promotion plan. Send a unique, personalised email, then follow-up with a call to find out how you might help meet their editorial needs. You can even add them to your e-newsletter list and connect with them on social media, particularly on Twitter and LinkedIn. Above all, endeavour to be genuine and helpful to ensure a lasting connection.

Bringing PR to EntrePReneurship

Bringing PR to EntrePReneurship

Most startups face a major challenge when it comes to public relations. While they know the importance of PR and generating awareness, they don’t always have the connections or manpower to stir up good press.

The right PR can help early-stage startups build user bases as well as attract interest from venture capitalists, so don’t let a non-existent marketing budget or the lack of a dedicated marketing team discourage you.

Here are some tips to make public relations work for your start up: 

Be specific with your niche: Putting together a well thought-out pitch takes time, which is something that startups don’t have enough of. Instead of pitching everyone and anyone, identify a dozen media outlets that are ultimately your top choices. It’s not about ‘the more the merrier’. Be very specific about which media you want to cover your start-up. For instance, if you’re in the tech space, focus on developing relationships with tech journalists and the media outlets that publish tech news.

Personalise your message: Reaching out to journalists can be a challenge as they are often inundated with emails, media releases and event invites. Cut through by being friendly and personal. Don’t spam them with media releases, but instead get to know the journalists and send them a personalised email, which speaks to their needs and topics. While this does take more time and patience, it works far better than sending impersonal mass emails – journalists and editors can spot a copy/paste job a mile away.

Create content you can publish: Create content and share it with online media and blogs where your investors and customers hang out. Share your story, experiences, insights and knowledge. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert and build trust with your audience.

Share your story: Journalists get hounded every day by startups, PR agencies, founders and more. Their job isn't to write about you. Their job is to write stories, get scoops, break news and thoughtfully evaluate companies and products that are useful to their readers or viewers. So make sure you are delivering value to them, respecting their work and understand they have their own agenda of how to break news. The fact that you have a new product or start-up isn’t a story. The pitch needs to be your point of difference and what you’re offering as a story.  

Let your voice be heard: There are a plethora of start-up events and meet-ups in today’s business environment. Start by attending and networking, and then graduate to sharing your start-up journey via speaking engagements. Speaking is a great way to be seen as an influencer and you’ll also be able to introduce your start-up to a whole new audience and position yourself as an expert in your field at the same time.