Archive for October, 2012

4 Websites to Get Inspired for Your Startup Idea

Posted on October 27th, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

Are you looking for the right startup idea? Here are 4 websites that can help you to find the inspiration you are looking for:

IdeasWatch
Do you want to start something innovative? Check what people miss on the market at IdeasWatch. Creative minds share here (and keep sharing) hundreds of ideas they would love to use if they existed. Thanks to global scope of IdeasWatch you can discuss their business models, technical solution or marketing with other entrepreneurs, investors or geeks from all over the world. The international community also helps to spot similar projects in another country. If you fall in love with one of the ideas you can easily form a team with other people passionate about the same idea and start a business together.

Springwise
Would you rather start something that already exists and proved itself? Keep an eye on Springwise. More than 8,000 spotters bring new ideas from many countries on daily basis. The editors choose them very carefully to keep the high quality. Feel free to get inspired and try to run a similar idea in your region or in a different way. The website is visually very appealing thanks to pictures and nice headings for each idea. An advantage and drawback at the same time is the number of subscribers – more than 150,000 people receive the same idea, so act quickly!

Cool Business Ideas
Want another source of realized ideas like Springwise? From time to time look at Cool Business Ideas. The concept is practically the same, however, they have a much smaller community of spotters and less subscribers. This makes the ideas more scarce (less people want to do it). There are usually tangible products you might want to import to your country if they are not already there. The ideas differs from Springwise so there is no reason not to check both.

Killer Startups
Looking for emerging internet startups? Subscribe to Killer Startups. This site allows anyone to submit a startup for free. It is therefore popular among early-stage entrepreneurs to promote their projects. From the websites featured in this article, they publish by far the most startups per day (15+). The quality is varying though. Some of the startups turn out later to be quite big,while others keep their school-project-look and never grow up. Nevertheless, both are inspirational. It might not be that hard to catch up when you see a good idea that is poorly realized.

I hope these sites fuel your inspiration and entrepreneurial drive!!
@AndrewHazen

Angel Investors on Twitter and Facebook

Posted on October 25th, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

I just came across what I think is a very useful resource for startups and entrepreneurs….it is a Directory of angel investors on twitter and facebook

One of the best ways to develop a relationship with an angel investor is to follow them on Twitter, their blogs and Facebook. Before contacting an angel, you should read everything they’ve written, tweeted, blogged or said (publicly)–that’s just startup 101.

Here is a list of some of the world’s most notable angel investors (sorted by location), their Twitter handle, Facebook page and links to a sampling of their investments.

Enjoy!!
@AndrewHazen

Ideas alone aren’t worth squat

Posted on October 25th, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

Just read a great article by @RedHeadWriting entitled: Why Collaboration Is Key…..

Ideas. They bubble up all day long, when we’re sitting at stoplights or standing in line for our mocha-lotta-frappa-no-whip concoctions. And, I’ve noticed, the idea supply chain goes into overdrive after a few shots of tequila.

But ideas alone aren’t worth squat.

To turn ideas from air into something of value, you first have to admit that you’re not special.

I’m not special. It’s probably the most difficult lesson I’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur. I’m fallible just like everyone else. The day I stopped thinking all my ideas were brilliant and my business practices above reproach was the day my company started to take off.

I’m not special. It’s probably the most difficult lesson I’ve had to learn as an entrepreneur. I’m fallible just like everyone else. The day I stopped thinking all my ideas were brilliant and my business practices above reproach was the day my company started to take off.

I realized that, in their infancy, my ideas are just things bouncing around in my noggin like the last three gumballs in a glass globe outside the grocery store. On the surface, I had nothing. Ideas that sit in your head are worthless for a few reasons:

They’re idle. You haven’t built anything people can take for a spin.
They’re bulletproof. You haven’t put them in front of anyone who can shoot them down.
They’re invisible. If people don’t know about your idea, they can’t feel anything about it.

It’s easy to pick up a copy of your favorite magazine (this one included) and marvel at the finished products. What we rarely think about is how those ideas got out of the inventors’ heads and in front of other people–the only place where they have a chance for success.

So, a starting point for making that idea special: Find brains to bounce it off. We’re not talking about Facebook blasts to family and friends. Instead, seek out:

Your target consumers to find out if they would buy what you plan on selling. Listen–really listen to them–and act on their feedback.
Some down-the-line potential backers to see how they react. (But be careful with this bunch. If you waste their time, they won’t want to hear from you again. Be prepared, with a concise pitch and any questions you may have.)
Solo entrepreneurs who are on at least their second venture. You want to learn from their failures–and they’ll be the most honest with you. They’ll tell you, “Here are the challenges I see with that.”

So instead of sitting around with your idea, thinking about how pretty it is and how much you love it, start thinking about the people who can help you add some weight to your thinking. The doing: That’s the path toward special.
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Some food for thought!!
@AndrewHazen

Can Crowdfunding Help Reduce Some Risk?

Posted on October 15th, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

When creating a new product or service, one of the most difficult things to gauge is the level of market interest, if any. You, your family and friends may think you have a fantastic product, but how can you be sure that potential customers will think so too? More importantly, how can you test the viability of your product or service without spending a lot of money??

In the past, the way to test the market was to create the product and see how people responded to it. This meant committing upfront costs to manufacturing a small batch of the product – denying you economies of scale – and either going back to make more (if it did well), or losing the investment (if it did not).

Crowdfunding, however, helps reduce SOME uncertainty around market interest in a product or service. Depending on the crowdfunding platform, you may be able to raise capital simply based on a drawing/rendering or design-prototype. It is extremely important to note that capital raised via crowdfunding does NOT have to be paid back and you do NOT give up equity or go into debt.

In September 2012, Kickstarter, a leading crowdfunding platform, changed its policy and banned project renderings and simulations from starting crowdfunding campaigns. If this trend continues amongst other crowdfunding platforms than entrepreneurs may have to revisit committing to some small upfront manufacturing expenses.

What are your thoughts about crowdfunding?

@AndrewHazen

GiftCardLab.com Acquires the Domain Name GiftCard.com for $4M+ in Cash and Stock

Posted on October 3rd, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

Gift CardLab, a leading online provider of gift cards, today announced the purchase of the GiftCard.com domain. Gift CardLab will now use the GiftCard.com domain as its primary URL, where customers can search for and purchase store Gift Cards, e-Gift Cards, Customizable Gift Cards and Corporate Incentive Cards.

According to Domain Industry News Magazine, the most paid for a domain this year through September 23rd, 2012 was PersonalLoans.com for $1M.

“The GiftCard.com domain and brand is the crown jewel of the $100 Billion gift card market,” said David Jones, CEO, Gift CardLab. “As we continue our rapid expansion in the gift card industry, the GiftCard.com domain and brand will provide a unique marketing advantage.”

GiftCard.com is growing at a rapid pace, doubling its staff within the last 12 months and approaching $100 Million in gift card sales. After moving to the GiftCard.com domain, the company expects to reach 100% year-over-year growth, providing the Dallas workforce with new and exciting career opportunities.

@AndrewHazen

:60 Second Pitches

Posted on October 1st, 2012 by AndrewHazenCom  |  No Comments »

Here is the suggested format that I recommend you use on your :60 Second Pitch:

– Who are you and what is your background? (5-10 seconds)
– What is the problem that your product is solving? Or, begin with a story. (10-20 seconds)
– Explain the product and how it solves the problem. (10-20 seconds)
– Who do you need on your team (a developer, marketing, designer, sales)? (5-10 Seconds)

@AndrewHazen