Need A Little Inspiration?
At the end of August 2014 Matt Heaney, an iOS developer, Aaron Negus and Dean Johnson, two visual and audio creative specialists and Rupert Lawrence, a 3D graphic artist, came together at Innov8 On Sheppey to explore the possibility of spawning an indie app studio out of the business incubator.
The meeting came about because Andrew Deeley, Innov8 On Sheppey’s founder, had met each of the group on separate occasions and saw the potential to combine their skill sets to create an indie studio.
Within four hours their first app ‘Hold This’ was complete. It was a tough challenge but the group worked well together as a team and it was great fun. They spent another day polishing the app and tried releasing it into the Apple App Store but unfortunately it was rejected. Matt Heaney said, “It was always going to be a long-shot but we thought it was worth a go.”
Not put off by the setback they started work on their second game, an addictive puzzler called Puk It. They managed to get it approved but had lots of little issues to resolve along the way and so they learnt a great deal on how to manage a development project of this nature. This was a free app that relied upon ad revenue to generate an income stream but getting it noticed amongst the millions of apps was a problem.
With Christmas looming the team went all out take full advantage of the Christmas market and came up with a fake Santa phone call app called Santa Calls You. Aaron Negus, one of the team, had found similar apps but was unimpressed with the quality and so they set about creating what they hoped would be the best in breed.
Aaron Negus recalls, “When they pushed the button to submit the app there was a tense wait, the average review time was running at just over 5 days and so every-time Matt’s phone ‘swooshed!’ we all looked at him to see if it was the email from Apple. Unfortunately they rejected the app because the promo video we had produced didn’t conform to their guidelines. Quite what the problem was we still don’t know but Matt removed the promo video and resubmitted. Another agonising 5 days passed by and we finally got the news we were waiting for.”
Dean Johnson said, “We worked hard on the first day of release to promote it but couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw that it had reached number 48 in Apples top 50 Entertainment Apps.”
Rupert Lawrence, who worked on some of the promo material for their release competition added, “We’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time. It hasn’t all been plain sailing but it has been a wicked experience.”
It is early days but it just goes to show you what can be achieved in such a short space of time, with zero investment.
The 3dotJ team comprises of Aaron Negus, Rupert Lawrence, Matt Heaney and Dean Johnson, shown from left to right in the image below.
Santa Calls You Trailers
Creating a company was never an easy task. In recent times the startup fever has been growing and spreading its passion around the world. One measurement of the growth of the startup scene is the proliferation of startup accelerators and incubators worldwide. According to TechCrunch sources in 2013 there were at least 170 worldwide.
The graphic bellow displays the massive growth the accelerated startup funding vs accelerator growth and shows the trend towards a global trend of startups.
startup accelerator growth source techcrunch
The startup world is massively innovative, disruptive, creative and at the same time competitive. It is a world of “do it fast, learn and change”. It incubates dreams of wanna be something, and dreams of getting successful fast and of course wealthy.
Noah Kagan is a personality that is a fantastic paradigm of the successful startup world. At 32, Noah Kagan is (or should be!) an inspiration to all would-be entrepreneurs and startups around the globe. A Business and Economics graduate from UC Berkeley, Kagan entered the world of work at Intel in 2004 as a marketing analyst and then joined Facebook in 2005.
He is credited with creating the marketing strategy for Mint, a company which has more than seven million users. This, all before he had been in the work place for even four years. But Kagan is not a renowned entrepreneur for this. He is best known for his ability to build $1 million dollar web businesses, sometimes in just a weekend. Gambit, his online gaming payment platform is a business worth many millions that was created in just a weekend.
AppSumo, his other major success was also conceived of in just a weekend, with the core product built by the end. Understanding the secrets of Kagan’s success with web businesses and modelling what you do on his approach could help you to succeed too.
Of his rapid success, and clearly an advocate of the lean start-up methodology, Kagan says:
“Don’t get me wrong – I’m not opposed to you trying to build a world changing product that requires months of fine tuning. All I’m going to suggest is that you start with a much simpler essence of your product over the course of a weekend, rather than wasting time building something for weeks… only to discover no one wants it”.
Without customers there is no business. So what should entrepreneurs do, if they want to achieve the level of success that Kagan has? Well, Kagan outlines four steps for building a one million web business in a weekend, and they are:
1. Find your idea
The key to this stage is identifying an idea that is profitable. An idea that won’t be profitable simply isn’t worth the time and energy. Kagan recommends brainstorming for this. According to Kagan this is all about understanding what potential customers might be interested in spending money on. Suggested approaches include looking at what top sellers on Amazon are doing for inspiration as well as reviewing eBay. Other options include thinking about what you whinge about with other products and services and coming up with ideas from that angle.
2. Find $1,000,000 worth of customers
An idea is all well and good but knowing that it will actually sell to enough people is critical. Step two involves finding enough customers to be able to progress, and understanding if the market is in growth or decline. Obviously markets in growth are those to go for. Kagan recommends using Google Trends, Google Insights and Facebook Ads, which all help to see the size of the market.
Where does Google Make its Money Google Adwords Infographic by Wordstream
3. Assess your customers’ value
Understanding the value of each customer is the next step in the process. This means reviewing what customers will be likely to spend, on average. At this stage you should be looking at how much customers already spend on similar products and whether they are likely to be able to afford to pay more… to you. The goal of this stage is to be able to set a price for your product or service.
Lean Startup Canvas Methodology source Harvard Business Review
4. Validate your idea
An idea may seem to be completely brilliant but without knowing whether people will actually buy what you plan to offer, there’s no point getting excited about it. That’s where step four comes in. Intuition is not enough. Steps to get there in validating your idea include setting up a basic sales page and seeing how many email addresses you are able to get from it. Kagan also suggests emailing some people that you know (maybe 10) and asking them if they want your product and to send payment. If a few people respond positively then you probably have a winner.
5. Launch your business
Step five if there was one, would be to launch your business, clearly. After all, you have an idea that is validated, customer interest, a large pool of customers and the ability to make $1 million. Don’t have plans for the weekend? You do now. Maybe like Kagan you can create a $1 million web business over the weekend if you really put your mind to it.
Startup Ecosystem Report 2012 Source by Startup Genome
Article courtesy of www.intelligenthq.com
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Thirteen of its members shared their favorite traits of successful entrepreneurs.
Question: What is one surefire, inborn trait that you believe inevitably leads to entrepreneurship?
“Entrepreneurship starts by asking questions. Why is there not a product that helps me do X? How could we build a product that better solves the target audience’s needs? Could technology make this easier, more efficient, more sustainable, or more affordable? If you continually ask questions, you’ll find a problem to solve.” — Emily Eldridge Holdman
“Entrepreneurs are quick to see the whole picture, not just pieces of the puzzle. This complete view helps them move the pieces into place that will form the results they are after. The majority of people are at the mercy of details and calculations, which, while important, limit them. Entrepreneurs have the ability to view situations with a wide lens.” — Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
“People who follow all the rules are generally not entrepreneurs. A self-starter must be able to see beyond the often short-sighted objectives and identify long-term goals that may or may not be aligned with what other people tell them to do.” — Michael Costigan, Youth Leadership Specialist
“Entrepreneurs must be able to adapt on the fly to new situations and work with others to help them adapt. Entrepreneurship, at its core, is figuring out a new solution to an old problem or creating opportunities that address problems we didn’t know existed. Adaptability — viewing the world as fluid and malleable — is required to succeed.” — Eric Holtzclaw, Laddering Works
“All entrepreneurs are born with a high propensity to take on risk. Starting a business is always going to be a risky endeavor, and the risk-averse are not willing to chance it.” — Josh Weiss, Bluegala
Enthusiasm for building
“Ever since I was little, I was building with blocks, with sand, with Legos — anything I could get my hands on. In some ways, being an entrepreneur is no different: We’re building the future that we want to see — much like the castles we built in the sandbox way back when.” — Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
“As an entrepreneur, you are trying to do something that you’ve never done before and, potentially, something no one has ever done before. To make it through the times when you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or uncertain, or when you have others doubting or criticizing you, you must have unshakable confidence in yourself and the value of your work.” — Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E
“Entrepreneurs have to be autonomous in the way of self-motivation, thinking outside the box of conventional wisdom and rule systems and, sometimes, even doing things others tell them are impossible or bad ideas. That said, an entrepreneur should, of course, always be receptive to advice — it’s a balance. It’s important to be a good listener, too.” — Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me
“This may sound strange, but it’s absolutely true. Founders need to view the world in a different and unique way. Look at the most successful entrepreneurs and you’ll generally find a difficult person. As my MBA professor told me, “Starting a business isn’t a rational choice.” I agree. You need to have an irrational, exceptionally stubborn belief in yourself, your vision, and your product.” — Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
“Entrepreneurs love to win. They want to win so much that they look at the other team and say, “If they can do it, why can’t we?” There is a quiet confidence that accompanies all successful entrepreneurs, and it comes down to their belief that they can beat the other team. From there, you also need to be extremely intelligent, self-aware, and willing to take calculated risks.” — Gagan Biyani, Growth Hackers Conference
“Are you tired of waiting for someone else to fix a problem you see, sick of something you want going through committee approval, or frustrated that you can’t get your superiors to listen? Do you just want to fix it yourself? Well, you are likely to become an entrepreneur.” — Eric Koester, DCI
“I think that a true entrepreneur is someone who always has his eyes on the horizon, looking for the next big thing. The ‘chase’ does not have to be negative, though. When you apply it to a business or startup, it becomes a trait that fights complacency. You are constantly looking for ways to make your great business idea better.” — Zachary Yungst, Cater2.me
“Successful entrepreneurs have the drive, determination, and endurance to make it, no matter how hard the struggle or how many times they fail. Failure is a key stop on the way to success, and it is what separates the winners from the losers in business. The tenacious entrepreneur will continue to work hard and break all barriers with her unshakable willpower and persistent personality.” — Rebecca Zorowitz
Medichem, which is situated over in Rushenden, is a great example of a business that started from humble beginnings and has just gone from strength-to-strength, thanks to the vision and determination of its Founder Tom Allsworth.
Tom decided not to follow his parent’s wishes to study at University. Instead he jumped straight into a job at 16. Fast forward 2 years later and Tom’s ambition got the better of him and so he left to start his first venture.
It took Tom a few attempts to find the right business model to deliver the level of success he craved but once he had it, there was no holding back. Tom founded the Medichem group in 1992 and over the past 20 years the businesses have grown significantly, expanding, evolving and adapting along the way. The constant theme has always been innovation, trying to bring new unique products to whichever market Tom targeted. In the early days this was the medical field, specialising in the world of hospital/theatre/sterilisation. More recently Medichem’s successes have been in the hair and beauty retail environment.
Having developed products that consumers wanted to buy it wasn’t long before Tom began to find that other people wanted to take Medichem’s products and package them under their own brand name. This is a notoriously difficult market to break into, requiring great products at the right price. However, Medichem’s commitment to quality products at affordable prices and the team’s exceptional relationship management skills, brought some pretty high calibre brands knocking on their door, including the Duchy Originals brand that is owned by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Medichem now turns over in excess of £10million each year and with products being sold in Superdrug, Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose and exports around the world to 20 countries, it is no wonder that they continue to grow.
Having innovative products is not enough to create a multi-million pound business success story. It takes hard work, long hours and a dedicated team around you. Tom is proud of his Medichem team and if you look at the stats on the infographic below you will see levels of employee loyalty that would make many businesses envious.
In an interview with Young Academic magazine, Tom was asked what advice he had for young entrepreneurs, “My advice to Young Academic readers considering going into business is to work hard and never give up, believe in yourself and always show confidence in your product, but most of all to pay attention to the basic business principles which are to sell a product/service to the best of your ability at a competitive price whilst always ensuring that overheads and costs are kept trim. I have always believed that it is important to understand the financial position of your company, only then can you make sound decisions. We produce monthly management accounts and have done so every month since I started in 1992, that way you are never fooling yourself. You know month to month exactly what your income is and what your expenses have been and you can then focus your energies accurately and adjust your spending accordingly.”
Tom and his team are no strangers to receiving awards and in 2013 picked up the coveted first place award in the SWALE Business Awards.
Could you follow in Tom’s footsteps?
If you have the desire, the determination and the courage to have a go, then you are part of the way there.
All you need to get going is a business model that can generate a suitable level of revenue and a commitment from yourself to work hard to achieve your ambition.
You may have one or more business ideas that you wish to explore or if not, you may want to meet like-minded people to explore possible gaps in the market and come up with concepts to test.
Either way drop us a line using the form below and lets begin to explore the art of the possible.