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Posts Tagged ‘startups’

The Essential Startup Reader

Posted by vishalsinghal on March 31, 2010

The Essential Startup Reader: 10 Lessons in Entrepreneurship

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Tips for Startups in Business Presentations…Introducing a Speaker

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 11, 2008

What should you say?

Eventually, either for business or personal activities, you will serve as a host of some event where it will fall on you to introduce the speakers. Every speaker deserves a thoughtful and helpful introduction – it helps the speaker, and the audience, establish a common bond.

Short But Sweet
An introduction is a small speech, usually less than a minute. Though short, it still contains all the elements of a full speech:

  • An opening. It grabs the audience’s attention and makes them aware of the importance of the upcoming subject.
  • A body. It explains why the subject was chosen, why the speaker is qualified to address it, why it is appropriate for this audience and why this time is appropriate to discuss it.
  • A conclusion. In this case, it paves the way for the speaker to begin the presentation.

A Public Speaking Ritual
Consider the introduction as a brief ritual or ceremony, accomplishing some important goals. Such a ceremony:

  • Is transitional. It marks a speaker’s transition from being a part of the group to stepping in front of it, leading its thinking.
  • Guides thinking. It sets the tone for the topic at hand, so the group will know what to look for.
  • Adds power. It contributes to the speaker’s authority by establishing that he or she speaks from preparation, knowledge or experience.
  • Sets the mood. For example, if a serious subject was presented by the previous speaker, the introduction can prepare the audience for a more light-hearted speech to follow.

 So, as the introducer, what should you say? Speeches of introduction should be graceful, witty and fun…fun to hear and fun to give! Leave out claims that the speaker is especially brilliant, successful or a “good speaker.” Instead, list his or her experience and expertise as it relates to the subject of the speech. Don’t steal the show – make it brief and all about the speaker. Know the topic of the speech and try to briefly set the mood for the audience. You’ll know you’re doing your job well when you end your introduction just as audience interest is peaking.

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Tips for Startups in Business Presentations…Presenting Across Borders

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 9, 2008

Keep communication clear with other cultures.

If your business has expanded beyond national borders and you must speak to business contacts in other lands, watch out for miscommunication and misunderstanding. You are responsible for offering an effective presentation no matter where you are on the map. Don’t expect customers in Japan to react to your presentations the same way your customers do in Great Britain.

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What Startups Can Learn From Michael Dell…

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 4, 2008

It’s not a new idea to make hay by seizing the messy business opportunities no one else wants. Innovating the distribution of a technology, rather than inventing the technology itself, isn’t novel either. This is the model that made founder Michael Dell a billionaire. Now, San Francisco-based Sungevity is taking a page from Michael Dell’s playbook in an effort to do to solar panels what Dell did to personal computers.

 

Solar installs are typically custom jobs — labor intensive and therefore costly. While there are rebates and tax incentives to cut the costs, the paperwork is dizzyingly complex, so consumers (and even developers) often don’t bite. Since most solar startups are focused on making the sexiest technology, Kennedy figured it was a no-brainer that Sungevity could effect more change, and make more money, by addressing the logistically painful process of selling, installing, and handling the paperwork associated with everyone else’s gear.

 

Michael Dell innovated the economy for PC-manufacturing by taking commodity computing components, then custom-assembling them to each buyer’s order in what we now commonly call a “just-in-time” supply chain. Similarly, Sungevity uses off-the-shelf web tools, commodity solar modules and drop-shipping to streamline a sales process for the retail solar industry that once took weeks or months. (Read more at Earth2Tech). Below, Kennedy offers a few tips for How to Spy Startup Opportunities in the Sales Cycle:

 

1) Identify a technology/product that has experienced enough innovation to be approaching commodity status, but which is still not widely distributed. “A solar module is a solar module, like a motherboard was a motherboard when Dell started out,” Kennedy says. Dell simply delivered them farther, wider, and faster.

 

2) Are operators in your industry warehousing their products? Begin with a geographically small scope and use a drop-shipping partner to compress delivery. Sungevity serves California, but plans to expand into up to seven states next year.

 

3) Are you looking at an industry where the sales cycle is slow, say, longer than 30 days? Can you compress the sales cycle simply by digitizing the paperwork? With CRM systems no sales cycle needs to be this long.

 

4) Does the channel you’re considering involve government bureaucracy or rebate programs? You can make a business out of offloading these processes all alone. One of Sungevity’s strongest selling points is that it handles the paperwork for tax rebates.

 

5) Can you apply standard technology to create a new, value-added process? Sungevity’s “big invention,” says Kennedy, is an innovative software application it wrote to use pre-fab satellite images to remotely determine the right solar panel configuration for a roof.

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Tips for Startups in Business Presentations…Technical Briefings

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 3, 2008

Steps for success!

The technical briefing is a no-nonsense speech that conveys technical information to a critical audience. The briefing is the most common kind of speech presented in today’s workplace.

There are various formats for briefings, but most are speeches to inform. Briefings provide and explain important facts in a way that allows the audience to quickly grasp and understand how to apply those facts. Examples include: An engineer briefs a group of managers on a current project. A research scientist reports on recent findings. A marketing executive presents a briefing on a product test. A line manager briefs a division chief on production progress. A supervisor explains a new company policy to subordinates. A lobbyist briefs lawmakers on the expected impact of proposed legislation.

Follow these steps to succeed with your technical briefing:

  • Know your audience in advance so that you use appropriate levels of technical material and jargon. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time by being too difficult to understand or too boring.
  • State the purpose of your presentation in a single sentence. This sentence will serve as the focal point for your entire presentation, and should recur throughout your talk. For most technical briefings, assembling enough support material is far less of a problem than whittling down a vast amount of material to a manageable amount. Try to select only three or four primary points that support your main message, and state each one in a single sentence. To finish your briefing, summarize the main points you’ve presented, and include any conclusions you have made clear in relation to them.
  • Arrange your material into an outline containing an introduction, body and conclusion. State your main message early in the speech, reinforce it throughout the briefing, then restate it in your conclusion.

Whether you’re selling cookware in a department store or explaining research results to a group of geneticists, these basic steps remain the same. Your audiences – whoever they are – will appreciate the clarity and focus of your excellent technical briefing.

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Tips for Startups in Business Presentations…

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 1, 2008

Speaking up at the office

Every day, employees of various companies around the world find themselves in career-defining speaking situations. Presentations like these often involve high stakes and are presented to busy people with the power to influence careers.

Different business presentations can make or break your career. The technical briefing, a straightforward presentation to inform, can cause trouble if you lose your audience. For the proposal, you must advocate an idea, product or course of action…and convince others to agree. You may have to present complicated material to a nontechnical audience. To help with job jitters, professional panic or talk trauma, here is some information:

  • Proposals and Pitches
  • Technical Briefings
  • Presenting Across Borders
  • Introducing a Speaker
  • Visual Aids & PowerPoint

From today onwards, I will be covering these topics over the next five days…hope you all enjoy and learn while reading these topics…

[Source: Toastmasters]

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VC Investment in India jumps 120% in Q2 2008: Bubble in making?

Posted by vishalsinghal on August 22, 2008

Advertising startups rule the VC world and ~37% of VC investment has gone in these startups.

Few interesting stats:

  • India attracted $238 million in venture investment with 17 deals closed in the second quarter, a 120% increase over the $108 million invested in 12 deals during the same period in 2007.
  • 7 second-round deals completed in the second quarter – total of $161 million.
  • 10 seed and first round deals were also completed during the quarter, accounting for nearly $77 million in investment
  • No later-stage deals were completed.

Sectoral split

  • Business & Financial Services industry, which includes the advertising/marketing sector, received the bulk of investment with $131 million invested in nine deals, records on both accounts.
  • Second in terms of investment was India’s Information Technology (IT) industry, which recorded three deals and $33 million worth of investment during the second quarter, a 55% decline from the $73 million invested in nine deals during the same period last year.[source]

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Toastmaster’s for Startups…

Posted by vishalsinghal on August 22, 2008

I believe all startups in this world have the basic need of marketing guys in their teams for them to get business. Either you hire these guys/ girls Or you market yourself. But, startups are generally on bootstrapped budegts themselves so the first option gooes out of the window right away. So, the left out option of marketing your startups is a difficult ones as not all in this world is born with public speaking skills.

As anybody else around the world, same is the story with me. Thus, in order to become an effective speaker, I joined Toastmaster’s club. Its a beautiful platform where anyone and everyone can come and learn to be an effective speaker. I am member of South Delhi Toastmasters Club. Visit our club once and I assure your that you won’t regret it. Toastmasters currently has more than 200,000 members in 80 countries. Our club is just one of the more than 10,000 clubs located around the world.

Today we celebrated 100th. meeting of this club with families of the club members and guests. It was a wonderful evening. I have seen mostly who ever comes there atleast once or twice definitely jons the club soon.

We have meetings every Thursday evening for about 120 minutes each. Each meeting is divided into sections in which some people give prepared speeches, there is an impromptu section, jokes session, evaluation section etc. Here everybody comes for self development and thus the whole environment is very supportive.

In the end, I would say…any and all startups should have aleast one member of their members in some toastmasters club. In Delhi-NCR alone there are close to 5-7 clubs. You can join any and start benefiting from day one.

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Meeting with Startups…

Posted by vishalsinghal on August 21, 2008

I am lead convener for Startup Lunch Delhi Edition – 3 on behalf of CellStrat, a mobile technologies consulting company based in Atlanta (USA). Helping me are 8-9 other guys running their own startups (namely Routeguru, Ondamo, Zoomtra, Punyaa, ViewsPaper) or professional blogging services (namely http://praval.moved.in etc.) in India mostly in Delhi – NCR region.

We were meeting towards the end of the day after our busy day lives for discussing preparations of this event which is due on 6th. September ’08. We were just 10 people in all but energy of the whole group was like that of 50 + people as if the day has just begun for all of us.

There were so many ideas coming from all over that it took me almost 90 mins. to summarize everything in a document later in the night. I sent that document around 02:30 Hrs. in early morning thinking that mostly people will see the next day. But to my amazement, I got replies from some of them right around 03:15 Hrs. It’s realy amazing to see and experience how much adrenaline gets pumped in when people run their own startups…

Now a days, I suggest everybody to start their own business instead of working for anybody else…it gives you more satisfaction then anything else…especially when you meet so many like minded highly passionate people…

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Startup Tip…

Posted by vishalsinghal on August 20, 2008

If you’ve got traction, share it earlier in the presentation:  There were several startups that had pretty impressive early traction (like users and revenues).  They didn’t talk about this until later in the presentation.  I’d suggest possibly getting this message out earlier in the presentation, because it will grab people’s attention and cause them to listen more intently to the rest of your story.  Imagine an opening sentence that is something like this:  “Hi, we’re XYZ.  We launched just a few weeks ago and we’re getting some encouraging early evidence that we’ve built something people want…Here’s what we’ve learned from our 14,000 users…”.  I’m not suggesitng you use that exact sentence, just a thought.  When dealing with investor types, remember that folks have short attention spans and you’re best served by grabbing them as early as possible with something they care about.

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