5 provérbios financeiros dos avós que podem ser implementados nas startups

5 provérbios financeiros dos avós que podem ser implementados nas startups

Apesar de as startups serem normalmente associadas a jovens empreendedores, há muita sabedoria popular – mais especificamente provérbios financeiros com influência na gestão empresarial – que de certeza já todos ouvimos os nossos avós dizer, que podem perfeitamente ser implementadas nas startups mais inovadoras dos nossos dias.

4 Situações em que Deve Refinanciar um Crédito para Startups

4 Situações em que Deve Refinanciar um Crédito para Startups

Não são poucos os casos em que jovens empreendedores precisam de refinanciar um crédito que fizeram para “dar um empurrãozinho” à sua startup a crescer. No entanto, é importante saber que o refinanciamento constitui uma renovação de uma dívida existente sem que esteja integralmente paga.

Refinanciar um crédito com destino ao empreendedorismo significa, deste modo, pagar uma dívida existente e “transformá-la” numa nova, existindo muitas razões pelas quais os empreendedores o fazem: obter taxas de juro mais baixas, encurtar prazos de pagamento, passar de uma taxa fixa para variável (ou vice-versa) ou consolidar dívida.

Trip for Wellness: A look at spa and wellness in Portugal

Trip for Wellness: A look at spa and wellness in Portugal

With the world of wellness ever evolving, founder, Trip for Wellness, Sara Ismail shares her insight on trends in spa and wellness with Natalie Hami, while also touching upon Portugal’s wellness scene and the company’s significance.

Social Impact or Profit? Both! And how can YOU support this idea

Social Impact or Profit? Both! And how can YOU support this idea

In 2012, me and my friends, Rui and Miguel, dreamed up a business that also donated money to charities. It was investors that told us they would be interested if we developed the charity angle even more strongly, giving the lie to the idea that commercial mechanisms cannot be used to fundraise. We are now certain that social good should not be a niche activity but be built into every aspect of people’s lives, including profit-making businesses. Our model proves it and we are offering you the chance to become part of it through ourequity crowdfunding campaign (of which more later).

Artigo de Anthony Douglas fundador da Hole19 para o Observador

Artigo de Anthony Douglas fundador da Hole19 para o Observador

Por que deve investir no desenvolvimento de um produto de excelência desde o início?

Ao investir no desenvolvimento de um produto de excelência, não só deliciamos e retemos utilizadores, como atraímos talentos de topo para a empresa. E este é sempre o ponto mais forte: a equipa.

O título pode parecer demasiado óbvio para a maioria das pessoas: Mas todos nós ambicionamos excelência quando lançamos uma empresa ou produto, ou não?

Road2WebSummit

Road2WebSummit

Prazo alargado no concurso para startups que vão representar Best of Portuguese Tech no Web Summit

Why great User Onboarding can increase Conversions 300%

Why great User Onboarding can increase Conversions 300%

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We increased conversions by exactly 367% in just 12 weeks. I'm not talking about signups. I'm talking cold hard cash. I'm talking conversion of Trial Users to become Paying Customers on a monthly subscription inside 30 days. And that's money in the bank, this month, next month, every month. Wanna know how we managed that? Read on..

TL;DR (in a hurry?)

Change your thinking. Help people become successful in their job, help make it easy for them, and if you can do that - then they'll become your customer as a natural consequence. Even better, you'll have customers that you've invested time in and you'll build lasting relationships.

Our (Failed) User Onboarding Master Plan

In retrospect it seems simple - as all things do in retrospect. Like riding a bike or driving a car. And the most interesting thing is that what we changed wasn't a new channel, and it wasn't a new feature, it was ...a NEW way of thinking.

For context, let's take a quick peek at our product - an inexpensive SaaS product that exists to enable marketers to leverage marketing analytics tools without depending on developers, with a starting price under $50/mo. So, low cost highly automated software - maybe you'll see why we thought a "low touch, self-service online automated user onboarding and sales process" was appropriate. (How wrong we were..)

So, here was our master plan (based on some flawed assumptions)..

  • STEP 1: New customers would discover us via our marketing channel and Sign up for a 30 Day unlimited Free Trial.
  • STEP 2: Clearly with our product being so awesome, we wouldn't need us to work hard at user-onboarding - it would be a simple case of after 30 days trial new users would willingly pay for the privilege of having our awesome software. (Or so we thought...)

This was a process that had "appeared" to serve us well as we exited private beta and took $$$ hundreds in revenue in our first month.

We weren't actively helping our customers succeed.

Gradually, after exiting beta, we noticed this process stopped working and trial-to-paid conversion rates were dropping. It happened gradually as our Beta cohorts passed through and new cohorts came through. (If that doesn't make sense, ask me in the comments below and I'll expand.)

Even though our product was getting better and better every single day, we went through this incredibly frustrating phase of user trials that didn't convert so well. Our trial-to-paid conversion rate just wasn't cutting it - and worse we just couldn't understand why.

we just needed to change our thinking about our user onboarding process.

Different channels didn't seem to help. Frankly, we felt stuck, frustrated, confused. It made no sense! Every week our product got better, but our conversions weren't improving, it felt like they were going backwards. What on earth was going on???

When you're Ready, the (Onboarding) Messenger Arrives :)

In our case the messenger arrived on a Saturday morning, in the form of a facebook message from my girlfriend that contained a link to an awesome video, full of amazing insights on sales by Steli Efti on Growthacker.TV.

Awesome interview of Steli Efti on Growthhacker.tv

Steli Efti has helped many companies (like Foursquare and General Assembly) scale their business via sales efforts. And in that video, Steli really emphasised how effective and essential sales is to growth. I must have watched it 20 times or more.

So, we had a big team talk the following week and we got really inspired and excited about "selling" and how we'd start driving new customers via inside sales. Heck yeah! Hoo-ahh!!

BUT... as we talked more about how we would start a new sales channel, about the new processes and tests we'd need to incorporate, the new tools to track and manage leads (p.s if you ARE looking to a tool, Steli's company Close.io as well as PipeDrive are worth a look), we began to worry that this would require precious limited resources from other work we were doing - and we REALLY didn't want to take resources away form other work. (In a startup - you rarely have unlimited resources. So you have to steal resources from one area to apply in another area. Something else always suffers.)

Customer Onboarding starts with a New Thinking

BOOM it hit us: "Sales wasn't a new channel. Sales was a new behavior!" We didn't need to change channels, we just needed to change our thinking about our user onboarding process.

The key element of Steli's message wasn't just about "sales" - it was about reaching out and working 1-on-1 with leads/early users to really help them be successful with your product. THAT was the lesson. THAT was what we had forgotten to do.

THAT was the lesson. THAT was what we had forgotten to do.

Sales isn't a new channel. Sales is a new behavior!

We realised that we already had all these users taking a free trial every week and we were collecting a bunch of leads per week just from our online demo version. These were red hot leads!! - self-selecting potential customers who - by their very action (of trying our demo or starting a free trial) were expressing a clear desire to improve their marketing analytics stack without depending on developers - a problem that we happen to solve incredibly well. We didn't need to go create new customers to sell to, we didn't need a new channel - we had a steady stream - but we needed a new way of thinking - a new way of thinking that leads to a new way of acting!

Sales isn't a new channel. Sales is a new behavior

So we said "let's work with each and every one of these users and help them become successful in achieving their goals by using our product". And so we began...

In retrospect, its obvious now that this was EXACTLY what we had been doing with our earlier customers during Private Beta. Hand-holding, getting personal, deep 1-on-1s, tweaking code, feeding useful info, spending hours on Skype - whatever it took. At that time our conversation was oriented around ensuring a great product customer fit. That was the reason we had exited Private Beta so strongly and taken $$$'s in our first month.

"let's help each and every user become successful in achieving their goals by using our product"

So, inspired by the advice of Steli Efti, we figured if we could help new users be successful, if we could show them how to use the product best, if we could teach them how to build a great marketing analytics stack, if we could talk them through how to set up a funnel in Woopra or Mixpanel or Kissmetrics, or how to send behaviour driven automated messages to individual users from Customer.io or Intercom.io, if we could show them how to use Google Analytics event based goals to know which channels drove more Signups or Revenue, if they got real value, not just access to a tool, then we would build strong customers.

Sales isn't a channel, sales is a behaviour.

Sales isn't a channel, sales is a behaviour. It's a way of personally helping your customer get real value. And that starts with your user onboarding process.

I followed up with Janet Choi (Marketing Manager at Customer.io) an she added that "like all good human relationships — you don't just stop making an effort after saying hello. You have to keep in touch and just as engaged in [new users] to build trust."

Janet Choi Quote: User Onboarding at Customer.io. You have to keep in touch and just as engaged in new users to build trust.

Here's a great article from Customer.io on how a change to their onboarding process doubled their conversion rate.

In summary, if there's one key lesson I wanted to share, its this:

Build your customer onboarding process with the single goal of helping users become successful in their job, help make it easy for them, and if you can do that - then they'll become your customer as a natural consequence. Even better, you'll have customers that you've invested time in and started building a trusting relationship that should last a long time - as both yours and their business grows.

So, how to improve your onboarding process?

So what specific steps can you take today with your onboarding process to start help your customers become more successful? That's a great question, and one I'll answer in one of my next posts, so make sure you signup for the mailing list so you don't miss out!

And if you're setting up your own marketing analytics stack (be it setting up your automated emails in Customer.io or Intercom.io or tracking a conversion funnel in Mixpanel or Wooprawe can help you without depending on developers.

Was this post helpful? Leave me a message in the comments below. I'd love to hear how you onboard your customers.

p.s. Hat tip to https://mytips.co for the image!

by Paul Boyce

Thank You, Dublin Web Summit

Thank You, Dublin Web Summit

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A lot of blog posts have been written about the Web Summit and whether entrepreneurs attending the conference actually get value out of it, whether the conference’s marketing activities are deceptive or not or whether the conference itself has gotten to a size that doesn’t allow attendees to leverage the opportunities they so desperately seek.  

This post isn’t about any of that.

A European conference

Last week, fighting against London’s foggy weather, I went to the Web Summit for the third time. I had been to the event when it was half the size and I also went last year when the event had already reached its mega-size.

The conference has clearly evolved into something much bigger than the initial ecosystem-driven event it once was. It has become a European event. Why is that a good thing? Well, because unlike SF/Silicon Valley, Europe’s startup ecosystem isn’t concentrated in one major hub but spread out all over various European capitals. London and Berlin are the two clear central hubs where the concentration of capital, talent and support systems have enabled these hubs to take on centre stage. But what about Paris? Stockholm? Helsinki? Amsterdam? Dublin? Madrid? Sofia? Lisbon?

All these cities are becoming vibrant startup cities and have been strengthening and nurturing their communities for the past couple of years. For investors and other players in the ecosystem, it’s important to stay close to these geographies but ends up being impossible to do it regularly (more than once a year) and consistently.

Personally, that’s the main purpose of the Summit. It allowed me to catch up with the people running accelerators in Amsterdam, the guys behind several coworking spaces and incubators in the Nordics or the entrepreneurs from all over Europe I’d exchanged some emails and had some Skype calls with over the past couple of months but that I hadn’t yet met in person.

It’s the gathering of the technology tribe in Europe.

Ode to Dublin

But let’s face it. If you don’t prepare for the event, your Web Summit experience can become an absolute mess. Think SXSW mess but all under one roof. Too many people, too many speakers, too many stages and startups exhibiting. What to do? Where to go? Who to chat with (WS app can you help?)? Where are you? Where am I?

It has all the ingredients for an absolute failure. What makes it a success? The people of Dublin.

The people of Dublin (and Ireland in general) are absolutely amazing. From the friendly cab drivers and the lovely people from my bed and breakfast, to the bartenders at every pub or the volunteers who wear their t-shirts off-hours to make sure every attendee’s experience in the city is optimal. And all the local players; startups, corporates, government bodies and investors, making sure their peers from abroad are having a good time and aren’t lost in the Summit jungle that gets installed in the city.

In the end, it’s all to make sure you belong there. And that’s why the Web Summit is so special.

If I ever organised a conference of this size, I’m sure there’s a hospitality lesson to be learned with the Dublin WS. From its inception to its end. And what better way to end than with the words of a 77-year-old cab driver interviewed by a Portuguese online newspaper:

“I think a conference like the WS needs to travel the world. Like technology, you need to spread it not limit it to a specific area or a city. Anything that serves to enhance people’s knowledge shouldn’t be kept in one place only. It should belong to the world.”

And now Lisbon

It’s hard to say what an event like the Web Summit will bring to the Lisbon ecosystem and to Portugal in general. Sure, with more than 50k people visiting Lisbon on that week, everyone is going to make a buck from the increased amount of people visiting the city, but from an ecosystem point of view, I think the most important thing the event will bring is density. Innovation is something that is bred through the intersection of great minds. Creating density of talented thinkers and makers dramatically increases the potential for successful ventures to emerge and I very much believe that more people will want to start their companies from Lisbon once they experience the city for a couple of days.

Anyhow, one thing I know for certain. All of us in Lisbon; startup founders, investors, the people running the support tissue that uplifted the ecosystem (from accelerators to coworking spaces), and the people of Lisbon in general —we all have big shoes to fill, and we look forward to rising to the challenge.

This post is originally from: http://bit.ly/1SG6Sgb

 

 

REBRANDING IS LIFE.

REBRANDING IS LIFE.

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Every single time I had “big” life changes like, say, changed school, broke up with my boyfriend or watched Fight Club, I changed my hair radically. Recently, after moving from Munich to Lisbon, getting myself a new flat and new friends, I decided to dye my hair pink. I guess old habits die hard.

The reason why I do this even now, is because I understand the emotional need behind it - and decide to consciously indulge in it. When things change around you, you adapt. When you adapt, you become different and, in my case, I want the new me to be transparent. I want to look like the person I feel inside, and if that means I’m going to look completely different, so be it. Of course, not everyone has such urges to express themselves visually and in such an extreme way, but I am pretty sure a lot of people can relate to this need of outer-change.Well, this is basically what happened at ImaginaryCloud. We had the need of presenting ourselves in a way that truly reflected how we felt within the company. Things had changed: the teams grew as new people came in, new talents were added to the company and, with it, more complex projects appeared, which demanded design thinking. With all this internal changing, the external image of the company started feeling a bit off.Change is scary though, and sometimes it takes new people to push things in a different direction. Say, people that dye their hair pink. Hence, a rebranding project.

The Process

I’ve always loved extreme makeover programs. Re-decorate your living room, upgrade your garden, change your hairstyle, throw away half of your closet, you name it. Not because of the ending results - which, most of the times, were terrible - but because of the creative process. There comes the “specialist”, looks at the subject, checks its technical characteristics, gets to know the personalities of the ones involved, and off he/she goes with a completely new design plan for who or whatever the subject is. The interesting part of the show wasn’t when they already knew what they were going to do to said subject. It was watching as they were going to find out what to do, and making it happen, step by step.

This process was as bit as exciting as I expected it to be, and I feel like the design department, led by Nicholas Mandelbaum, and the CEO felt the same. I’m going to describe it step by step in this post, since I feel like this was a valuable experience that might make a difference on the readers’ indecision to jump on such a project, or not. My objective is that you do.

I. Meetings Galore

When one starts a rebranding project, there are a lot of expectations coming from everyone involved. Our CEO believed there was the need of re-organization of all the graphical objects of the company, to make them congruent with the overall branding. But there was no solid branding to start with. Designers believed a serious change was necessary, and obviously all of us see this as a blank canvas ready for our masterpiece, which can be problematic - and this belief will need readjustment, since this should not be about individual egos. But these expectations are going to be the very fuel driving the project forward on an initial phase, and that’s why meetings are absolutely essential. Individual egos should morph into a collective mindset.

The meetings are where everyone is going to become aligned in a single goal, by asking each others a bunch of questions about the most basic foundations of a company, so that logistic and creative ideas can work together. “Who are we?”, “Who do we want to be?”, “What are my personal goals?”, “What are the company goals?”, are some of the questions that will eventually arise, because they are the core of your company. Based on this, basic company principles will arise, perhaps in the form of a list.

And then word trees - oh don’t we all love those… They will help you create a clear mental image (or images, perhaps) of what are the visual elements that would best describe your company.

One would think that, in our case, these word trees would follow the obvious path of using the word “cloud” as a reference for future imagery. But, after some discussion, we figured that even though “ImaginaryCloud” is a good name to describe the feelings and ambitions of the company, the imagery related to clouds wouldn’t necessarily reflect the full message we wanted to communicate. So, our tree would lead us to space, instead.

II. Moodboard is the word

The point of creating a moodboard is to set an inspirational platform that will allow your concepts and abstract ideas come to life. One can talk about using space as an idea, but there are so many different ways of representing it, that creating a mood board is the best way to effectively communicate what you mean by using the stars and the universe as an inspiration, on a visual level.

This next step involves wandering through the internet. Use Tumblr, use Behance, use Dribbble, whatever floats your boat. Compile everything there. You are going to find images that illustrate the feelings you want people to have when they see your brand. Images that transport anyone to a specific mindset or paradigm, images that contain ideas that you’d love to try out in the context of your brand. I write “wandering” because even though you might be looking for specific concepts, it’s good to allow yourself to get a little lost and explore as much imagery as possible. The more original and unique your references are, the more you’ll be able to be different and stand out in the market. That’s why this is a moment that gets all designers excited. So, go crazy for now, since there are going to be more meetings and consequential filtering of whatever was found.

Btw, in case you haven’t noticed, a rebranding process starts with meetings and follows through different fases that are always accompanied with - guess what - more meetings. It’s a tight balance between space for experimentation and allowing everyone to be part of the process. This is mainly a matter of communication, but also a matter of trust - and a matter of understanding that there are multiple paths to take, so there isn’t a “one right path”. But the abundance of meetings is a good thing, as these are nothing less than great opportunities to get to know your co-workers’ ambitions better, as well as your own, creating a clear image of what the company is all about, and where it should be heading.

In these meetings that follow the mood boards’ stage, there’s going to be a constant selection and discussion on wether or not everyone is on the same page with the creative direction of the brand. The best way to conduct these meetings is by having everyone looking at the mood board, which should have its elements grouped by theme and color.

These are some examples of good mood boards. They are good because they truly transport the viewer into a mindset that will be the base for the construction of all graphical objects from then on.

It’s advisable that if you find yourself with several completely different streams of images or moods, then you should try and divide them in several different mood boards, so that there is a more concrete choice to be made. It avoids a very detailed “remove this, but leave that, but with those colours”, whilst maintaining a possibility for discussions to happen and choices to be done.

The discussions are going to be connecting the images and the principles that were discussed, where there should be space for re-inventing the brand, if it feels necessary. In the end, after some iterations on the mood board, we came up with the one we felt defined us the best, not only from the outside, but from the inside too.

Our moodboard was a result of a set of ideas: exploration, learning, going further, dreaming, greatness, embracing the unknown, technical precision. We compiled beautiful landscapes that are almost unreal, for a visual representation of the concept of going to unexplored places. This eventually led us to the ultimate unexplored place that is the universe. Its dark colours in contrast with bits of intense light made us feel cool and intriguing , but in control. The isometric grid was a great way to show our more technical side, because it looked like a great technical representation of things that can still be whimsical.

These images need a practical application and an actual branding purpose, leading us to the next step of the project.

III. Exploration and Mock ups as a tool

This is a branding mock up (I did it, actually):

It is regularly used to present branding projects, to show the final result, when you don’t want to actually print the design objects and photograph them. Instead, you are usually editing a photoshop file that has the clean objects ready to receive your design in it.

Even though its usage is usually linked to portfolios, we felt like this was a good tool to let us try some ideas regarding the re-branding. It allowed us to try out different things without needing to compromise to one visual only. We used the visuals from the moodboard as a direct guideline for our visual exploration of the brand.

After some experiments, a final mockup should be done, in order to define what is the look to go with.

IV. Branding Guidelines

Based on the mockups as the final result of all the experimentation, a document should be created. That document is the Branding Guidelines’ Manual and it will turn every creative step that follows way more solid and congruent.

All brands should have one, to maintain their image at their best, in every situation. With a good set of branding guidelines, you don’t need to be a designer to properly represent your company’s image in any document you create. This is because the guidelines will describe and represent, in technical detail, every plausible situation in which the brand will be found.

The guidelines will consist in fonts used, colours, potential illustration, naming, logos, and whatever else is deemed necessary.

Even though this step is there to help anyone that follows to properly use the brand’s image, these rules are there for you to use them, not the other way around. I mean that if you see that certain visual aspects don’t make sense in a determined context, feel free to create new exceptions in the manual - or even, if necessary, question the whole thing. The branding guidelines’ manual is only a setting stone if it is as solid as the ideas standing behind it.

For us, this part of the process helped us streamlining some of the ideas we had in the mockups. All colours were studied to the point of a clearly defined function to each of them. We went for a deep dark blue as a background and text color, a warm yellow for all the interactive elements, and the sky blue as our main brand color, to be used in the logo and in all highlights.

Deep dark blue because (duh) it’s the universe, and makes everything else on top of it pop. We changed up our main light blue to one slightly more vibrant, in order to clearly stand out and show some excitement for our own brand. And finally, we added yellow to the equation because all of us felt that we were missing some emotional tones, something that expressed our passion for our work.

The main typeface was picked and re-worked to be impactful. At the same time, being Lato and having some very subtle roundness in the corners, it’s never intimidating. The rework consisted “only” in increasing the spacing between the characters - the text immediately sounds like a settled statement, as it is meant to be used only in headlines, titles or anything that needs to stand out.

The font selected for long text was Merriweather, for its great readability and versatility for both web and printing. Plus, it gave us a very professional and classic tone, to contrast with the simple vectorial style that was going to be used in the illustrations.

V. DESIGN AWAY!!!!1!!1!11!!!111

Now comes the time to make things happen. It’d be almost fair to say that this is where the magic happens (cheesy me). Make a list of all the graphical objects of your company, giving priority to the ones you use externally. By graphical objects I mean: website, business cards, printed documents, presentations, goodies and whatever else. Redesign them, using the guidelines and all the inspirational material you had collected, as the new objects should reflect the whole process the company went through, and not just the branding rules.

So as the time came to actually start applying the new guidelines and style to everything visual involving the company, new designers entered the process in a more active form, not just giving feedback anymore. Rafael Conde started working on the website, and the brand started coming to life. Beatriz Costa worked on some presentation material and the brand acquired an actual body.

Shout Outs

Personally, I feel the most satisfying moment in the whole process was the website design. As Rafael started to work on the website, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I had been working on the branding for quite a while, so I started to lack the excitement of the person with a new toy. But there he was, creating something concrete out of all the dreaming, planning and scheming that was done all through the previous month. The actual base of the brand felt settled.

I believe only the base was settled because the work is never over. Meanwhile, a marketing department headed by Maurício Salazar was created, to further confirm my belief: new situations requiring new graphical and communicational solutions will arise, and they should always represent an opportunity to do more, and do better, to further solidify a brand. Because if your company is not static, then neither should your brand be.

http://www.imaginarycloud.com/blog/rebranding-is-life/