Marketing has become one of the important aspects to the success of any product and the same applies to the success of companies as well.Marketing would typically help startups to build a brand name for itself.While reading “Make the Move”, I came across some of the promotional/marketing methods which could be employed by startups , depending on the product that they are trying to market.One basic point is : “Employ the marketing strategy keeping your end customer in mind”.

1. Print Media:
Most expensive means of marketing.It won’t be so affordable to use this media at a startup stage.The main intention of the print marketing is to develop your product/company as a brand.

2. Poster/Pamphlets:
This can be mainly used , if your target customer is an individual.This could be one of the most effective methods to create an awareness about your product(keeping your end customer in mind).It is one of the low cost methods followed mostly by startups.

3. Radio:
This is the best way(after Print Media) to reach the common man biggrin It should be consistent as well as innovative.

4. Television:
This is one of the most expensive means of promotion and one with the widest reach.It is good for businesses with very huge funds and is mainly used to “Brand Management”

5. Sponsorships:
Sponsoring events that are relevant to your domain is a very good way to promote your company

6. Promotional Seminars:
This is one of the best way’s to create awareness about your product.If you are able to out some intellect into the seminars,you may even organize them for free or charge for them.

7. Sales Force:
A dedicated sales force directly going to the customers is one of the common ways to promote your product.You may need to train your sales force and set up effective channels for analyzing their performance.

8. Internet Marketing:
One of the most effective and fastest ways to market your product.These include email campaigns,website SEO,reverse linking websites with relevant websites,submission to various search engines and directories on the internet , Google Adwords campaign,Yahoo Search Marketing and resellers on the internet

9. Surface mail Campaign:
This requires sending surface mailers to your existing database regarding your product/service.

10. Distributors/Franchisees:
Very important for scaling your business and playing a volume game.It is also a tricky process and also requires expertise.

11. Unconference Marketing (My addition):
Unconferences like BarCamp, Mobile Monday, Proto are one of the best places to market your product and get feedback from a crowd of geeks lol I still remember Inactiv in BarCamp Bangalore2 and WWGIO(a product from Motvik) in MoMo and trust me , it is the easiest way to get feedback about your product.

All of us know that startups.in and Webyantra(and many other blogs) are some of the sites which keep a close track on the Entrepreneurial community and the upcoming startups in India.To know more about the global scenario,I prefer listening to podcasts available on BusinessWeek.Well,recently I just came across nPost,a site which is an excellent resource for Entrepreneurs as well as job seekers.Keep on reading to know more about nPost

What is nPost all about?
nPost is a new job board specifically targeting small- to medium-sized startups. There are currently over 300 jobs featured on the site from over 50 different companies. In addition to the job board, nPost has conducted over 160 interviews with CEOs and entrepreneurs at startups.

Motive behind nPost:
The sole motive of nPost is to promote entrepreneurship since “Entrepreneurs not only create jobs but also drive the economy”

Unique feature on nPost:
Apart from startups, jobs and interviews by entrepreneurs, there is an interesting section – upcoming events which gives an opportunity for Entrepreneurs to network with the other Entrepreneurs.

Revenue model of nPost?
There are three sources of revenue for nPost: companies can post jobs on the site, advertise on the site, and sponsor events.

Want to know more about nPost?
To know more about nPost , you can send an mail to Nathan Kaiser at nathan[at]npost[dot]com

You can subscribe to nPost feeds:
Job Feed : http://feeds.feedburner.com/nPostJobPostings

Interview Feed : http://feeds.feedburner.com/npost/entrepreneurinterviews

Every year, every month or should I say every day,many employees leave their jobs to join some other organization…Some feel pay as the first priority irrespective of the job profile and for some it is vice versa.But as most of us know,employees don’t leave companies but they leave bad managers and this is the hottest reason why “Employees leave their (well paying) jobs.Below is what Azim Premji,CEO of Wipro has to tell on the same topic taking an example of one of the instances which happened in Wipro.Interesting one(which I received in an email today) , keep on reading:

Every company faces the problem of people leaving the company for better pay or profile.

Early this year, Mark, a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer.

He had heard a lot about the CEO. The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office,and the very best technology,even a canteen that served superb food.

Twice Mark was sent abroad for training. “My learning curve is the sharpest it’s ever been,” he said soon after he joined.

Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Mark walked out of the job.

Why did this talented employee leave ?

Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away.

The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called “First Break All The Rules“. It came up with this surprising finding:

If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate boss ..Immediate boss is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he ‘s the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge,experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition.

” People leave managers not companies ,” write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

Mostly manager drives people away?

HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave,but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he looks for another job.

When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: “If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don ‘t have your heart and soul in the job.”

Different managers can stress out employees in different ways – by being too controlling, too suspicious,too pushy, too critical, but they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit – often over a trivial issue.

Talented men leave. Dead wood doesn’t.

When you start a business,the first thing which comes to mind is raising capital.Every person has ideas but most of the ideas don’t get implemented either because they don’t get capital to implement the idea or they are not serious about it’s implementation.Well,I am sure that I would be facing a similar problem for my own idea especially,when we try to scale up.As far the initial funding is considered,it can come from your family members or your close friends.

Just happened to see WebMarketingPlan where Paul A. Broni of Mercury Partners Inc. points out “The 5 lessons to avoid Business plan mistakes” (the important learnings) which are given below:

a. Submitting the Plan to the Wrong People
Check if the investor or the lender has an interest in your business.This can be done by making a call or just sending an introductory email.If you have a referal from accountant,banker than it gives you a better chance.An unsolicited plan would just lie at the bottom of the pile and would not be shown any interest.

b. Incomplete Executive Summary
Every investor would be interested in your executive summary and this should be present at the last in your Business Plan.Also,it should not exceed more than 2-3 pages.It should be broken into five sections given below:

  • The Opportunity
  • The Solution
  • Management
  • Market Size and Share Expectations
  • Financing Need and Exit Strategy

c. Weak Management
One of the sections that all investors will read first is the discussion on management. If you do not have direct, significant experience in the industry in which you’re trying to start your business, add someone to the management team who makes up for your weakness.Either agree to hire full-time executives or bring skilled directors onto the board.Venture capitalists, on the other hand, are not likely to invest until the management team is complete.

d. Unreasonable Financial Projections
All lenders and investors are accustomed to seeing financial projections that go in only one direction — up!!!While every business owner and entrepreneur has the best of intentions when preparing a forecast for the next five years, it is seldom realistic to assume that sales will grow by 50-100% YOY.Hence,before exposing your projections be sure that your business projections are reasonable as well as realistic

e. Greed
Nothing will ruin a deal faster than greed. If your business is little more than an idea at this point, it is not feasible to value the company at more than a few million dollars. If your plan is to raise $2 million in exchange for 10% of the business (i.e., a $20 million valuation), you are going to have a tough time attracting the interest of venture capitalists and angel investors.Spend less time getting worried about the valuation today and focus on increasing scaling up your business for the future.

You can read the complete article here

Everyone knows that blogging is about networking and there are some basic mantras that bloggers need to get things right and get rewards by getting more traffic to your blog.Below are the 10 mantras mentioned in the Blog Marketing book by Jeremy Wright and these mantras would help bloggers succeed , whatever might be the topic of their blog.

1. Be Real:
Knowing yourself and your audience are extremely important aspects of successful blogging.Identify who are you as a blogger,what you’ll be blogging about and who your target audience will be;these are the keys to a successful blog.

2. Be Passionate:
If you are not enjoying what you are blogging about,its difficult to be passionate,so blog about what you truly enjoy.The passion that comes from writing a blog and connecting with number of people out there is contagious

3. Write Often:
Writing often is not just good for the blog,it is an absolute requirement for success.Anything less than once a day is abandoning the potential of your blog.Updating your blog is often rooted in two major facets of blogging:search engine “juice” and the fact the readers love new and fresh content.Its very important that search engines searches your blogs … So know your SEO fundas well.

4. Link Lots:
Links are called as “Currency of the blogosphere”.Most bloggers link for one of the two reasons: a. Either they are interested in the subject matter or
b. They respect the blogger to whom they are linking.
Links carry an inherent value,so providing links shows your readers and users what interests you-and higher the quality of bloggers to whom you link,the more respect readers and other bloggers will have for you and your blog.

5. Leave comments on other blogs:
Creating a community of like minded bloggers is very important for the success of your blog.Your community of interest is the community in which you are interested as well as the community that is interested in you.By commenting on blogs in your community of interest , you are letting existing bloggers and their readers know that their blog might be of interest to them.This is one of the successful tools to get more traffic to your blog.

6. Have Fun:
Blogging is meant to have fun.Its a serious business that will change the way your business is presented online so,try new things and link to fun and interesting sites.

7.Push the envelope:
One of the challenges with blogging is that it’s new.Try something unusual , and if you do the “Wrong” thing , it will get you some attention(good or bad). Entirely new types of cutting edge communication such as podcasting and video blogging,were created when someone asked “Why does blogging have to be just text”.So ask your own “Why” questions question

8. Ping:
Pinging is something your blog software does to tell several services that you’ve posted something new on your blog.This helps the Blogosphere to get connected to your blog.You can either have an auto-ping on Technorati or use the service of Ping-O-Matic , which pings all of the most important services for you,instead of you having to do it.

9. Create meaningful titles:
Titles are very important to blogging successfully-good titles means search engines find you and get you more traffic.Plus,good titles help you get readers glued to your blog lol Every blog post title should give the readers a reason to read the entire post.

10. Use Feeds:
Whether you choose to provide full text feeds or provide some of the text,make sure you are providing feeds.Feeds make it easy for people to read your content on their own schedules-be it traveling on the airplane or driving home etc. Feeds are all about lowering the barriers to getting at quality information,so do whatever you can to make sure you aren’t putting up any artificial barriers razz

These tips have helped me and my blog and I hope these basics of blogging(which we seem to forget sometimes wink) helps you and your blog as well !!!

In this age of Information sharing,Blogs have gained lot of popularity.Some say that the mainstream media faces a very stiff competition from blogs but the intention of blogging is not competition,but sole intention is Information sharing.Remember how much blogs helped during the time of disasters(like Tsunami, Mumbai bomb-blasts etc) and now we have technology blogs like TechCrunch, Digital Inspiration that provide us with all the technology oriented news.Well,these are just some of the popular blogs that I have mentioned keeping aside some of the so called silly blogs that just speak about some crap and hence in the process may not be getting more readership.

Just happened to see this article on BusinessWeek which covers “The importance of blogs in your business“.Definitely,Blogs are an effective marketing tool for small and medium sized organizations but with times changing,the question is “Do big corporates also require blogs?” Some of the corporate blogs that I noticed are:

So,why aren’t there more corporates coming up with blogs,which would help their employees the freedom to express themselves in public.Also, Blog would a very helpful tool for employment since,candidates can read blogs and see what employees are feeling about the company.On one hand,companies like Google that focus on innovation encourage blogging(where daily ,every employee has to devote some time for blogging) and on the other hand,instances like these that have recently happened where “An employee was fired just for blogging(though he had not blogged against the employer) could be one of the reasons why corporates don’t prefer having blogs.Or should I say “It is high time,big corporates become aware about the potential of Blogs in this fast growing competitive business world”

Question to my readers:Are Blogs really needed for corporates and if so why?

IIT Kanpur is organizing Megabucks,an International Business and Entrepreneurship festival from 6th April to 8th April 2007.Below are some of the details of Megabucks:

What is Megabucks?
Megabucks is the Annual Entrepreneurship Competition of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. ‘Megabucks’, the event that provides a nurturing ground for the ventures emanating from business plans of students and professionals. It aims at serving as the right platform for budding entrepreneurs to act on their ideas and talents to develop them into reality and nurture them to form exceptional enterprises. Transversal E Networks, Kalzoom Technologies and GEO-X are examples of companies that have already bloomed into the corporate world through megabucks. With the passage of time, Megabucks has gained great recognition among the academia and corporate world.

Why should you attend Megabucks?
The event religiously receives participation not only from Indian institutes like IIMs, XLRI, SP Jain , IITs, but also from international universities like Stanford, Purdue and National University of Singapore.

Prominent names that would attend the festival:
Mr. Vinod Khosla,Mr. Amit Gupta(IIM A), Honorable Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Mr. K.V.Kamath, Mr. Muhammad Yunus, Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Ambanis and Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal and many more

Competitions at Megabucks in a Nutshell:

How do you register for Megabucks:
You can follow the link to register for Megabucks

Registration for the various events have already started from 10th of March,2007
More details of the event can be found on their official website

After winning “Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki” in the startups.in contest,this is the other blogging challenge which would be worth giving a try.

Indian Business networking site TechTribe has organized a “Nationwide Blogging Challenge” where TechTribe is looking out for the best Independent bloggers to submit their thoughts.The details of the contest are given below:

How do you participate:
1. Create a blog on TechTribe entitled: Blogging Challenge – “Your Name”
2. Write between 300-500 words on one of the three topics(listed below)

Categories for the challenge:
The submitted articles should fall in one of the following categories:

  • How has networking helped your career?
  • What makes you unique / How does your personal brand differ?
  • What innovation do you believe will help India?

Prizes for the contest:
Top 4 Blogs from each category would be adjudged winners receiving prizes given below:

  • First prize : Apple Ipod or Xbox 360
  • Second.Third and Forth prize: Each of the winners would receive an autographed copy of “How Innovators connect” by TechTribe CEO,Rohit Agarwal

Last date of entering the contest is Friday,6th April 2007