9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

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9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Having your own business might be something that you envisioned for a long time. Now that you have an idea on what business to pursue, should you jump in right away and get started? No matter how excited you are and how good you think that idea is, it’s still best to pause and validate if your business idea.

Validating your startup idea doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of failure. However, this will tell you if it has a bigger chance of succeeding. Plus, it will help determine if you are on the right track when it comes to your plans.

One of the things to ask yourself is what problem you are trying to solve or eliminate? Your product or service must be useful for your target audience. It should be the solution for their specific issues or it must make their lives easier.

Know your market. Decide on which group of consumers you will be focusing on. Do your research to find out about their needs, wants, and expectations and see if your idea meets them.

There are more ways on how to validate your idea for a startup business. We compiled them in an infographic to make the process more convenient for you. Find out if your idea is something that is worth pursuing or not with our gorgeous and informative illustration below:

9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Guest Blogger: Scott D. is with Start Blogging online: www.startbloggingonline.com

 


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What the heck does Snow Fall have to do with story telling?

18 Months after the New York Times published a story about an avalanche in Stevens Pass, in Skykomish, Washington, viewers are still raving about how this story represents the future of story telling, of eBooks, of writing in the digital world.

If you have not seen it, you need to check it out. The “news article” combines well written prose, video clips, pictures and Google Earth type imagery to immerse the reader into the story. And, it works. You feel like you are there. The credit for this great example of modern journalism goes to John Branch.

Follow this link or Google NY Times Snow Fall and you will see all the supporting articles and blogs that have been written following the release of the original article on December  20, 2012. I hope I write an article this well that gets this much exposure and acclaim some day. John won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Well done.

J.R. Atkins recommends the NY time article snow fall


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J.R. Atkins, thinking inside the box

Box Thinking: Inside or Outside?

J.R. Atkins, thinking inside the box“Thinking outside the box” is such an over-used term yet I still hear it used to describe looking at life, a systems, a product, a problem or an issue in a new or different way. But, to think outside the box, don’t you need to understand what is in the box? Check out the list below and see if you can think of additional material that should be in or outside the box.

“Inside the Box”

  1. Current Methods & Procedures
  2. Current Customers & Prospects
  3. Current Employees & Recruits
  4. Current Products & Services
  5. Current Information & News Sources
  6. Current Ways of Thinking & Communicating
  7. Current Locations & Resources
  8. Current Culture “The way we do things”

J.R. Atkins thinking outside the box“Outside the Box”

  1. Any New Approach, Order or Method
  2. Any New View or Perspective
  3. Any New Way of Thinking
  4. The Opposite of the “Inside the Box” Thinking

 

For one to be good at creating, innovating, inventing, developing… you must be able to suspend your current beliefs long enough to see the world in a new way. In Seth Godin’s recent book “The Icarus Deception” he writes of the balance between our comfort zone and safety zone and how we must get comfortable with new realities or our new safety zone. He goes on to say that success in the new era goes to those that “create ideas that spread and connect the disconnected.” J.R. Atkins recommends The Icarus Deception

As we enter 2014 my hope for you is that you are able to create remarkable results with remarkable ease. Perhaps you can think outside the box to new highs in your career by looking at what is already in the box.

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Do You Have Digital Meetings?

What I mean is, when you meet with others, are there digital devices involved? Are there laptops, phones and tablets on the table with people “typing” away on their phones and keyboards? As I visit organizations, I see that the use of digital devices in meetings really depends on the organization culture. Some organizations are digital oriented, others focus on short meetings with updates and actionable items while other have meeting that are so slow and boring that if people could not use their device, they’d fall asleep.

J.R. Atkins comments on devices in meetings

I also see this as the clashing of two cultures, a digital oriented culture and a non-digitally oriented culture. Have you heard about the lady that thought the associate pastor was surfing the web during church when he was actually reading the Bible online? There all kinds of issues that arise. We ask ourselves “are they paying attention to me?” Yet others are less sensitive, and they think “sure, go ahead and tweet while we are talking.”

My associate who specializes in Culture Building says we, as a group or a company, get to choose and build the digital culture of our organizations. We should reach an agreement as to the level of digital device use during our meetings. talking. I’m ok with that.”

What do you see in your organization? Can you use a device in your meeting? Is your organization wrestling with how to deal with devices in your meetings?J.R. Atkins address the use of devices in meetings

I look forward to hearing from you by phone, email, or blog.

Events Worth Considering


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Mobile App Development Market Perspective

Mobile App StrategyA recent web search of Mobile App Development returned the following companies. This is a fast developing landscape especially in the enterprise mobile app space. This search was done on 7/6/13 using Google Chrome. Although company names repeat in different categories, some website links vary. One trend I have noticed since entering the industry in 2009 is the emergence of major software companies in the Mobile App Development space.

 

“Mobile App Development”

  1. SalesForce.com
  2. Momentum Design Labs
  3. MicroStrategy
  4. Netsmartz
  5. Titanium aka Appcelerator
  6. World Link
  7. Fueled

 

“Mobile App Development Dallas”

  1. World Link
  2. Bottle Rocket
  3. xCube Labs
  4. Copper Mobile
  5. Code Authority
  6. G&G Technologies
  7. NourTek Solutions

 

“Enterprise Mobile App Development”Mobile App Development

  1. Kony
  2. Citrix
  3. IBM
  4. HP
  5. AT&T
  6. Copper Mobile
  7. Innoppl
  8. xCube Labs

 

“Enterprise Mobile App Development Dallas”

  1. Copper Mobile
  2. Kony
  3. Citrix
  4. World Link
  5. xCube Labs
  6. Orchestra Technology
  7. Ayoka Systems
  8. Enterprise Mobile



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What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

As I work with small and medium businesses, many are using events to help drive business. The events vary in type, size and purpose. Some events are designed to introduce new products or staff, while others are designed to increase awareness of the company’s capabilities. Once you know your desired outcome, follow the recommendations below and you can host a results producing event for your organization.Event Marketing by J.R. Atkins

For the event to be successful at producing results, use the three C’s: Content, Cocktails & Connections

Content, as in Social Media, is the primary driver of results. What will your guests hear, see or do at your event? The more your guests are involved, the greater likelihood that your event will create a lasting impression. Some examples of content: a noteworthy speaker, not necessarily the CEO, such as a customer or a professional presenter who can talk about you and your company so you don’t hype yourself. Have entertainment such as a musical combo playing quietly, or a comedian warming up the crowd before your speaker. Remember you want to inform and entertain the audience.

Cocktails or unique beverages such as flavored tea will help ease people into conversation. When your audience is freely talking they are usually enjoying themselves. Warning – Make sure you have a good sound system for your presentation as people often continue their discussion during your presentation. No one enjoys or learns from a presentation they cannot hear.

Connections are the second driver of results. The people we meet impacts our business and personal lives. Think of inviting “noteworthy” people for your guests to meet or connect people who should meet one another. Then tell them in advance you would like to introduce them at the event.J.R. Atkins recomend Events to grow your business

Once you have planned your event, the next task is to fill the room and to do this use the letters “ALV” or Awareness, Location and Value.

Awareness can best be understood by asking yourself “How many people know about my event.” How will you make others aware? A few suggestions to consider: Mail an invitation. Yes, “snail mail” still works. Email, 2 to 3 times leading up to the event. Send the first one at least 3 weeks out so people can “save the date.” Online tools such as Websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and MeetUp are good tools to get the word out. If your event is on a larger scale you may consider advertising in local journals or trade publications that your target audience reads.

Location in itself can be a deciding factor in your audience choosing to attend your event. A new venue such as a hotel, restaurant or bar can be a big draw. Many business people don’t get to the hot clubs unless there is a special event. Plus, clubs and bars often have very light or no traffic in the hours at the end of the workday.

Value, as perceived by the invited guests, is critical to saying yes to the invitation. Value is often seen as being entertained, being held in esteem to or honored, or a feeling of being special. Another way value is viewed is “how will this help me or my business.” If the invited guests see value in attending your event, then they are more likely to go. Value can be created via the program, other guests and your presence.Professional speaker J,R. Atkins

Lastly, a few comments about “How To” and cost. If you are new to event planning, get help! You can find event planners that cost you nothing and others that charge a substantial fee and deliver startling results. Look online for best practices in event planning, write out the details with a time line, involve your staff and for peace of mind, give yourself plenty of time.

I look forward to hearing and reading your comments on using events to drive business results. You can share them by email, blog, or phone at 214-707-1705.

Events Worth Considering

06-29-30 DFW Rocks Social Media with J.R. Atkins
06-30-30 DFW Rocks Social Media
07-02-13 Fostering a Tech Startup Culture
07-04-13 Concerts at the Arboretum
07-08-13 Rena Pederson, The Burma Chronicles
07-09-13 Social Media & Your Career with J.R. Atkins
07-10-13 Facebook Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-11-13 DFW AMA Meet & Greet
07-11-13 Rolling Stones Cover Band
07-16-13 Learning from Iraq
07-17-13 Digital Dallas ~ Digital DUMBO
07-17-13 Film Screening: Not My Life
07-20-13 5th Annual Little Black Dress Event
07-24-13 LinkedIn Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-30-13 Last Tues Happy Hr @ The Ritz

Every Sunday 8:30 pm Perspective Pulse with Ashley Berges & J.R. Atkins on KLIF 570 AM and the iHeartRadio App.


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The Value of Quiet Time

Throughout my life, I have sought to balance the stress of life with a few minutes of quiet time. A recent week full of events, work and personal commitments caused me to take a closer look at the value of quiet time.

Author J.R. Atkins on the important of reflectionThink & Reflect Quiet time allows me to think about my life, activities, issues and opportunities and attach or remove meaning from them. When one project ends, what did I learn and how did I benefit from the project; how will I utilize those lessons in the future? When I get angry at someone or something, my quiet time allows me to re-think my role in the anger and the effect of the anger on my life.

Guidance It is during my still quiet moments that I seek guidance for my life; where I listen for messages, contemplate issues and prepare for action. Once I perceive guidance, I feel more comfortable about my plans and activities.

Prioritizing There are so many ways we can spend our time, money and resources, how do we choose what to do and when to do it? My quiet time allows me to think about priorities and make adjustments. After all, you can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

Author J.R> Atkins speaks on VisionReviewing Goals Occasionally I’ll look at my written goals, visions and beliefs. I write these at the beginning of the year as a sort of annual plan for my life. It covers mental, spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, recreational and relational goals. Each time I review these plans I make notes, adding and deleting to the plans as life dictates. Through my quiet time I get to be honest with myself as ask “are you doing and being the kind of person you say you want to do and be?”

Feed the Vision It is in our quiet time in which we get to imagine our future as we desire it to be. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes of the power of our desire and determination and how we can have whatever we want in life, if we simply use our minds.

Reading Good Books I enjoy reading fiction and it can feed my mind but when I speak of reading good books I’m speaking of reading non-fiction; biographies, history, current periodicals and more. I suggest that together, reading and reflecting, can create powerful results in our life and for reflection our brains and Author J.R. Atkins recommends think & grow richbodies need quiet time

Do you take time for peace and quiet in your life? I’d like to hear your ideas about how quiet time affects you. Do you have a special place, a chair, inside or outside, maybe a garden? Do you meditate as a part of your still quiet moments? Please call, email or add your comments to my blog at:

Events Worth Considering

06/01   Saturday at the Warwick Melrose
06/02 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/04 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/05 Inside the CIA with Author Jason Matthews
06/06 DFW AMA Dallas Meet & Greet
06/06 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/08 Family Day at Meadows Museum
06/09 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/11 How Social Media Helped RG III Win the Heisman
06/11 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/13 Social Media: What’s Working, What’s New With J.R. Atkins
06/13 Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia to the U.S
06/13 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/14 Men’s Steak Night with John Quinn
06/16 Sailing: Dallas Race Week 2013
06/16 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/17 From Social Media to Mobile Apps with J.R. Atkins
06/18 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/19 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/20 TeXchange Summer Social @LoneStarPark
06/20 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/23 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/25 Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
06/25 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/26 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/27 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/29 Social Media in DFW~2013 with J.R. Atkins
06/30 Social Media in DFW~2013 with Others
06/30 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570


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Are You Getting Your Share of the $25B in Mobile App Sales

The Wall Street Journal today summed it up well stating that the Mobile App business is booming 5 years after Apple launched the App Store. Read the some of the details below or see the full article at the Wall Steet Journal.

Apps Rocket Toward $25 Billion in Sales

Players in Quickly Growing Business Scramble to Figure Out Best Ways to Attract Users and Turn a Profit

By JESSICA E. LESSIN and SPENCER E. ANTE

The mobile apps industry is booming, with Google and Apple now offering more than 700,000 applications each in their respective stores. But for every Instagram, there are thousands of duds. The WSJ’s Jessica Lessin tells us what makes an app successful in today’s competitive market.

Nearly five years after Apple Inc. AAPL -2.42% kicked off the mobile-apps craze, the industry is booming.

App stores run by Apple and Google Inc. GOOG +1.90% now offer more than 700,000 apps each. With so many apps to choose from, consumers are estimated to spend on average about two hours a day with apps. Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise 62% this year to $25 billion, according to Gartner Inc. IT +2.27%

The apps industry has matured in some respects. Some of the Wild West tactics of five years ago—like scams to accrue more downloads—have given way to more order as Apple and others tighten their rules. App developers are more methodical about marketing their apps and focusing on the few apps that work best.

What’s Your App?

Business leaders, athletes and entertainers share their favorite smartphone and tablet apps.

WSJ’s Spencer Ante takes a look at the explosive growth of smartphone, tablet and smart TV apps and how Google’s Android apps have given Apple a run for its money. Photo: Google, Inc.

How big of a money maker are apps? What country’s GDP is the size of the global app economy? How does app use compare to TV in terms of time spent per day? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has answers.

For every Instagram, the wildly popular photo sharing app that Facebook Inc. FB -0.22% bought for $1 billion last year, there are hundreds of thousands of apps that don’t catch on.

As the battlefield shifts to new geographies, new categories and new devices, developers are still trying to figure out which business models are the most profitable.

The apps industry “is like cars at the turn of the last century,” said Simon Khalaf, chief executive of mobile analytics firm Flurry Inc. “You see the growth of roads and know they’re going to be big. But it is still early days.”

TinyCo Inc., a San Francisco-based game maker that released its first mobile game in 2010, is experiencing both the promise and the perils of the apps industry. Today it has 13 mobile games and revenue is doubling. But every day is a battle to acquire users, said Michael Sandwick, manager of strategic partnerships.

The cost of acquiring users through advertising continues to rise by double digits year-over-year, he said, sometimes more sharply when bigger companies seek to introduce a new game. That has forced the startup to better tune its spending based on data about how people are discovering their games.

“There’s an incredible amount of saturation,” said Mr. Sandwick.

Just a few years ago, the apps industry was simpler. In early 2010, Apple’s App Store had a commanding lead with around 140,000 apps for phones. The market was heavily focused on the U.S.

Apple and Google Inc.’s Play store are today neck-in-neck in terms of smartphone apps catalogs and usage, said analysts. Apple still dominates in terms of money made by more than three to one, according to App Annie.

And there are others also offering app stores—to different degrees of success—including Microsoft Corp., MSFT +0.72%BlackBerryBB.T -3.60% -maker Research In Motion Ltd., and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +2.77%

The app boom has spread to markets such as China, Japan and South Korea. That has led to some apps like social-networking service NHN Corp.’s Line leapfrogging U.S. app-makers in revenue by selling virtual items like stickers.

image

And apps are expanding their reach on devices. They’re no longer just for phones, but tablets and televisions too. The apps are taking advantage of hardware improvements like sensors that can tell an app how fast a person is moving.

In the past two years, consumers have doubled the time spent with apps to about two hours a day, according to Flurry. Yet people churn through apps fairly frequently, making it hard for developers to retain users.

About 63% of the apps used daily now differ from those used daily a year ago. Moreover, consumers focus on a handful—roughly eight apps—at a time.

Michael Duda, a New York-based marketing consultant and investor, said he regularly uses about 12 of the 70 or so apps on his Android smartphone that make his life easier, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Sonos, AmericanExpress and J.P. Morgan ChaseJPM +0.39% .

“A bunch of the apps I downloaded sounded cool,” but he said but most don’t add “utility to my day-to-day life.”

App makers can have a difficult time breaking into a business dominated by incumbents.

Only 2% of the top 250 publishers in Apple’s App Store are “newcomers,” versus 3% in Google’s Play store for Android apps, according to research firm Distimo.

“The bar is so high to build something that is special and valuable and easy to use,” said Jake Mintz, co-founder Bump Technologies Inc., a four-year-old app that lets people share media across phones by touching them. To be more useful, the Mountain View, Calif., company has branched out to share media across laptops too, he said.

Others app makers are coping with the shifting landscape by being more selective about what they build and how they promote their apps.

Michael Bayle, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Walt Disney Co.’s DIS +0.85% ESPN, said the company recently decommissioned 23 of its 30 Apple apps it had been maintaining, and kept alive its most popular ones.

ESPN dropped an app for Los Angeles sports but kept its popular ScoreCenter app that publishes scores, news and standings from sports leagues, teams and players world-wide.

“It’s easy to make an app but the real expense is in maintaining it,” Mr. Bayle said.

Some app companies are scrambling for new revenue streams and expanding beyond the current leading money pots: ads and in-app purchases.

When music-discovery app Shazam Entertainment Ltd, introduced its first cellphone app about seven years ago, its main revenue came from deals with mobile operators and licensing its audio-recognition technology.

Today it has five revenue streams, including selling ads in apps, a paid premium version of its app and charging television advertisers to integrate Shazam campaigns.

“We have seen revenue drivers change over the years,” said chief revenue officer Doug Garland, declining to comment on its results. “We are figuring out where the best opportunities are and doubling down.”

Write to Jessica E. Lessin at jessica.lessin@wsj.com and Spencer E. Ante at spencer.ante@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared March 4, 2013, on page B1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Apps Explode Into Industry Ready to Hit$25 Billion


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Green Stadiums, High Tech

As green technology improves and cost decrease, we are seeing all types of commercial buildings “Go Green” including Professional Sports Stadiums and Arenas. Major sporting events in general consume massive amounts of energy. From lighting a stadium to waste generation, a professional game is an expensive undertaking.

In the last few years, sports venues have started to incorporate energy-efficient strategies and green design elements, such as more efficient lighting systems, composting and on-site power generation. These stadiums are already seeing great returns on their investments and saving lots of money on energy. What kind of savings could we generate if we combined all the energy-efficient and eco-friendly measures available into one ultimate green stadium?  

Check out the info-graph below for a quick update on the use of green technology in stadiums.

 

  • 7

Who are your Advisors?

As a new year begins, many people have their mind on New Year’s resolutions, goals, wrapping up last year, and focusing on the new year. During this time my mind drifted to the role advisors play in our lives.

Build a better 2013 with Advisors by J.R. Atkins

For some people, they claim they have not advisors, yet these people can be found talking to bar tenders into the night or discussing politics with friends and neighbors. However they appear or whatever we call them, we allow and even encourage others to help shape our thoughts, actions and lives.

For other people, we recognize how what we read and think as well as the people in our lives, shape our future. I like to call these people advisors. Let’s take a look at how Advisors shape our business life and contribute to business success.

My life advisors have come in the form of teachers, professors, religious leaders, authors, speakers and very close friends. As a young businessman in the Financial Services Business, I had a Board of Advisors who I would meet with quarterly, on an individual basis over lunch. I’d share my goals and activities and they’d offer their thoughts to help me. For some reason, when I left that business I quit meeting with my advisors and wish I had not. Through various religious organization I have meet with men’s groups on a weekly basis to encourage one another. From these men I have drawn support, insight and accountability to the things I say I wasn’t to do. What a great reflection on one’s self. Certain authors and speakers have come to mentor me such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Steven Covey (these three have passed) John C Maxwell, Seth Godin and others. I take what they write and say and apply to my life, I often quote them or refer to their work when I speak and write. A very few, very close friends also count as advisors as I can tell them things that I would share with no others and know I will not be judged. My dad’s mentor told him if he had 3 close friends like this in life he would be very lucky and I have found this to be true.

Another type of business advisors come in the form of Official Boards; Boards of Directors with fiduciary responsibilities and Boards of Advisors with less responsibility, both offering great business insight. If you are looking to grow your community influence, then you might consider serving on a board such as:

  • Non-Profits Boards
  • Association Boards
  • Churches, Synagogues and Temples leadership boards
  • Company Boards, for small, medium, large private companies as well as public companies.

As an example, I serve on an Advisory Board for one of my clients, Copper Mobile. My role is to identify potential candidates for both their Board and Advisory Board, offer insight into the Mobile App industry, help identify market opportunities and refer prospects. In return, I get to interact with quality people on their boards, share ideas with their staff, learn from their projects and help others grow.Mobile App Enterprise Solutions

A friend of mine asked “why I serve on boards?” the best reason I have is because of the good you can do. As a board member, you have a chance to make an impact, to help others, to do something bigger than yourself and it is very rewarding. Another reason to be on a board is for the growth you will experience. You will see and hear issues and opportunities that cause you to be a better you. Finally, as a board member you meet great people that encourage you, challenge you, befriend you and make you laugh.

I have hear people say they are bored enough with the meets they currently attend, so why join a board to be bored. If this is the case then you need to find another board. I still laugh every time I hear of the board for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit; The DART Board J

As I look into 2013 I do have one resolution, to reestablish my advisory network for three reasons.

  1. To have a consistent, regular source of input of others
  2. To be “on purpose” about my business and personal growth
  3. To be accountable to others for the things I say I want to do and be

 

What about you? Do you have advisors, do you serve on any boards? I’d like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please add them to the comments section below.

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