☃️ The Massive Holiday Edition
You're doing too much, avoid sinking your start-up, the perfect founding team, Christmas trivia, stand out in 2021, and too many more links to mention.
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Hi there 👋
Welcome to our Massive Holiday Edition of the StartupGrid.
Did you spot what we did there? Yes, we've changed the name of this letter from StartupResources to StartupGrid.
If you read last week's newsletter, you'll know that we've just welcomed 1000s of subscribers from another of our newsletters - FoundersGrid. It made sense to combine the names so we could better represent the interests and topics that you all enjoy.
This week, you're getting a double helping of goodness in the form of useful articles, links to fun tools, (some with a holiday theme) and a couple of podcasts for your listening pleasure.
There’s enough here to last you through the New Year. If you’re short on time now, just save this letter for later.
We especially want to thank you for your support over the past few months. There have been changes - some you liked and some you didn't - but our aim is to continue to provide you with the best curated start-up and founder advice available online.
We read all your feedback so please keep it coming.
(At the moment, we don't have the option to respond to your comments when you vote below).
To guarantee a response, just hit us up in the comments section of the web version or send your questions and feedback via email. Simply reply to any of our newsletters and a real person will respond to you - probably me 😊
Because Travis (aka the leader of our incredible team) is the greatest guy you'll probably never meet, he advised us to renew our creative minds and rest our calloused fingertips until January.
In the meantime, we wish you all Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, and a great start to 2021.
See you soon,
P.S. We'll be back with a shortened format next month
🕛 Tick Tock
Do you know where your time goes?
We all get 24 hours in a day, but it's figuring out where those hours went that stumps many people.
If you're serious about boosting your productivity and managing the time you spend on your tasks and projects, then Simple has the answer.
They've just released version 2.0 of their time tracking tool and it's packed with many more features to help you manage your day.
Avoid spending time on meaningless stuff that doesn't move you ahead with your goals and business projects. If you're billing clients, then the comprehensive reports show exactly how many hours you spent on their tasks.
When you have a to-do list that scares you, Simple provides the insights you need to stay on top of your day.
💬 Easier LinkedIn Comments
If you're using LinkedIn to promote your business, you'll know how frustrating it is to add a comment from your business identity.
One of the reasons for this is that you're only permitted 3 hashtags to help you comment as a business.
This new chrome extension adds a shortcut button that allows you to easily switch between your personal and business profile to comment.
Commenting as your business page on LinkedIn helps drive traffic and followers to your business profile.
It's a real time saver.
🎁 Christmas Trivia
There's still time to liven up your Slack channel, Google chat or MS Team hub this season.
Hosting holiday events is often difficult in remote work environments so Springworks came up with a Christmas Trivia Pack to help get everyone together for some fun.
This bundle of Christmas quizzes is hosted right inside your favorite channel and is free to add.
Bring a little holiday spirit to your remote team with some friendly competition in real-time.
🔌 Power Up Slack
Slack is an excellent tool, but it has its limitations.
We often want to send the same message to more than one person. You might need to create instructions and updates that go out daily or schedule messages across various time zones.
Nightowl lets you do all of that - and more.
This tool doesn't replace email, but it does bring many of the best features of email to your Slack channels.
Nightowl offers live, in-Slack support across your workspaces so you don't need to leave Slack to get help.
The app is free for 2 users and $15 per month for 10 users.
⛵ Don't Sink Your Start-up
Learning about entrepreneurship is often done on the job, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from others who've gone before you.
Megan Holstein was a tech entrepreneur at 14 years old, and now describes herself as a "self-help writer."
As first time founders we make numerous mistakes, many of which are avoidable.
Megan outlines 5 obvious mistakes made by newcomers in business.
Spending more time on marketing than on product building and financial health
Asking people for coffee and to “Pick their brain” as a way to avoid putting in work
Focusing on “Relationship-building” with an agenda
Contributing to online social media and content platforms purely to funnel traffic to your startup’s website
Thinking “To make money, you must spend money” means “Every business purchase is justified”
Megan says that the only thing an early-stage start-up should be focusing on is building a great product.
That's why spending a ton of time on marketing is at the top of her list of obvious mistakes.
Number 4 is truly cringeworthy. We've probably all been guilty of this at some point, but it does take practice to identify whether your content is spammy content or you're making a meaningful contribution.
As Megan says:
Content marketing is a powerful strategy, but only when your reader can tell there isn’t an agenda.
We know you'll gain some great insights from this article as you begin your entrepreneurial journey.
🦄 SEOs with Skin in the Game
Smash Digital - a growth agency, filled to the brim with unicorn images and SEO memes.
A team of SEOs with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients.
An agency with so much link juice you’ll need a mop and bucket to clean it all up. Check. Them. Out.
🧍 Stand Out From Your Competitors
Starting a business doesn't mean you'll automatically put money in your wallet straight away.
With the number of businesses offering the same products and services, making a profit immediately is almost impossible; unless you know how to make your products or services stand out from your competitors.
How do you stand out from the rest?
Focus on one thing - give your customers one thing that is important to them and they're more likely to remember you
Be controversial - be prepared to take steps that will arouse your customers’ curiosity and encourage them to learn about your business
Market your individuality - strengthen your position in the market by identifying and showing off your unique qualities
Clearly define your USP and UVP - precisely state your Unique Selling Point and Unique Value Proposition and how they meet the needs of your customers
Customer service is key - it is not enough to have only great products. You must ensure that your customers receive the best service from your business. After all, "good customer service is the lifeblood of any business."
The complete article covers each of the steps above, and shows you how to focus on your start-up strengths.
🐜 You’re Doing Too Much!
As the founder of a new business, it's tempting to want it to be the next big thing.
However, simply having a “great” business idea is not enough to guarantee success.
Right from the outset, you must establish how you will position your business in the market. If you don't do that, then you'll have no clear direction and you'll end up burning all your resources.
The trick here is simple: “focus.”
Don't try to do everything because none of it will be done well.
Focus on what you do best and be known for it.
If you have already launched your business, it's not too late to refine your approach using the 6 simple steps in this article.
Focus is the single most important tool to have in your start-up kit to set you on the road to success.
📑 The ONE Most Important Focus for Every Business
While researching the theme of focus, we came across Jay Papasan. Jay is co-author of The One Thing and his background is in publishing.
Last week, he spoke to the guys at EvergreenProfits about managing knowledge and reading with a purpose in order to lock in that knowledge.
He also covers some of our favorite topics like:
Time blocking to get more done and extra time for the things you love
The one most important thing for every business
When you should be challenging your beliefs
Tips on learning that will cut out time-wasters - and books you should probably not finish
We picked up several valuable soundbites, and hope you do too.
🏁 We Get Paid in Finishes, Not Starts
Will your business be a hit?
Wil Schroter and Elliot Schneier are founding partners at Startups.com. In this podcast episode, they talk about spending a decade to build a business from scratch, how past success can’t dictate the next success, and why nothing matters until the end goal is reached.
🥨 Startup Snacks 🥨
❄️ 2020: The Year in Search
What did you search for this year?
Strangely enough, if you searched for "how do lobsters communicate?" then you weren't alone. This topic reached an all-time high in 2020!
Google has provided some of the answers on what the world searched for this year in an interactive and fun format.
Take a journey through 2020…
❄️ Customers - Attention Please!
We all know that getting a steady stream of customers is vital to your business success.
But, you are not the only one trying to attract them...there are a LOT of people in the field fighting for their attention.
Give yourself a head start with these 5 ways to engage customers and generate repeat business.
❄️ Are You Compliant?
The year is almost over, yippee! You can relax now.
But, wait. Have you checked off all the boxes in your end-of-year business compliance list?
If you're wondering what we're talking about, then those of you in the USA will benefit from a quick read of this article.
❄️ Create the Perfect Founding Team
No matter how skilled your founding team members are, if their skills and talents don't complement one another, then you're more likely to fail.
This comprehensive article states that:
…venture capitalists attribute 65% of company failures to problems within the startup’s management team
To ensure success, every founding team member has an important role to play: as Visionary, Hustler, and Hacker.
For a complete rundown on why you need a team and what the perfect founding team looks like, dive into this excellent article from foundr.com.
❄️ Send a Card Today
We just received a beautiful animated card from an old friend and we had to check out where they found it.
It turns out that Jacquie Lawson's cards have been around for nearly 20 years. Jacquie is an illustrator who created her first card in the autumn of 2000 and emailed it to a few friends.
Over the following weeks, she was amazed to receive emails from hundreds of people all over the world asking for more of the same.
The rest is history.
There are cards for every occasion on the site so go ahead and brighten someone's day.
The website may not be dazzling, but the cards are.
👋 The Awkward End Bit
How did we do this week?
With your feedback, we can improve this newsletter. Please click on a link to vote:
Happy Holidays Everyone!