Megan Foo, Editorial Assistant and Regular Contributor of The NextWomen Business Magazine, sits down with Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei, Co-Founders of She Leads Africa, to talk about how women can be part of Africa's growth story through entrepreneurship, innovation and business. She Leads Africa is a Nigeria-based social enterprise that equips female entrepreneurs in Africa with the knowledge, network, and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.
While getting funding is on top of the agenda for many startup entrepreneurs, it does not mean that bootstrapping your company should be ignored. Christopher Fogg, the Chairman of Connect London, opened his first formal incubator in 1998 and has now started a total of 4 business incubators. He is a self-proclaimed bootstrapping expert, and he shared some of his tips at an event at HSBC in London to promote “The Aspire Fund” to support Women-led businesses with match funded equity investment.
Connect is perhaps unique in offering support to entrepreneurs through Bootstrapping Consultancy and Mentoring. Bootstrapping according to their method is based on the following principles:
- The art of starting a business with little or no external funding.
- The best funding comes from customers, not investors.
- Bootstrapping is about incremental growth based on actual sales.
By taking a bootstrapping approach, it is still possible to create a successful business, according to Connect. An example is Bill Gates who took this approach in Microsoft by securing his major client, IBM, before he had fully developed the product he was going to sell to IBM.
The 11 Points Action Plan for Bootstrapping your Startup
Connects’ bootstrapping services help entrepreneurs by aligning their approach to the bootstrapping policy of finding sales and a route to market, without increasing fixed overheads. It follows an Action Plan to Prepare the Startups, as follows:
1. Decide what you’re selling and to whom. Outline the key features and benefits of your
product or service on a single sheet of paper.
2. Identify potential customers and how to contact them.
3. Contact potential customers and start asking for orders. Of course, don’t mislead customers
about a service or a product that is not yet available, but don’t let that stop you from asking
for their business.
4. If your potential customers are not willing to buy the most likely initial outcome – find out
why. Take that information and update your product or service description. Return to steps
2 and 3, until you believe you have the right idea.
Guest piece by Dr Stephanie Parson.
I used to believe that there were three levels of leadership: leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. However, there is a fourth level – leading global settings or global change.
How does one move from leading organizations to leading global change? Think about it; there are very few people who actually lead from a global perspective. In countries where there are Presidents, one could say that these individuals have reached that fourth level of leadership. And of course we can look at world industry leaders such as Richard Branson, Percy Barnevik, Warren Buffett and David Simon; however, the question becomes, what makes these individuals different from those of us who have mastered the first three levels of leadership?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a form of marketing through which a company’s website, or piece of content on a website, reaches a higher ranking on search engines to maximize visibility to consumers thereby creating a higher probability of traffic, which can later translate to sales and/or interaction depending on your business goals.
This is accomplished through creation of “do follow” links within a number of different arenas. While there’s more to making a web-based company successful than just good SEO, it is a very important part of getting clicks and page views.
Guest post by Julia Elliott Brown, Co-Founder, Upper Street, for our Fashion & Retail Theme.
Starting your own fashion business can be a daunting prospect, especially in these economically challenging times. Upper Street, the design your own shoes label is making waves in the industry despite launching at one of the worst times in British retail history. Julia Elliott Brown CEO, shares some worthy advice for any would be fashion entrepreneur:
Paige Hawin discusses the business case for Board gender diversity.
Study from UK's leading online resource Startups.co.uk reveals hottest start-up prospects with input from entrepreneurs and industry experts.
This is a guest post by Joanne Wilson, a guest writer for The NextWomen based in New York. She is involved with various startups as an advisor or investor, has also invested in a few restaurants, is an early supporter of the Highline project, and sits on various non-profit boards.
I got an email from Danielle, the younger of the two Snyder sisters behind the New York based Jewelry brand Dannijo, introducing herself as an avid fan of my blog. Funny enough, I own one of their bracelets so how could I resist meeting the sisters? So glad I did. Two smart women with interesting stories and a passion for life who definitely work as hard as they play.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, Danielle and Jodie started making jewelry together at 9 and 12 years old. Grabbing their father's medical tools, they worked their way into using metals for their designs. As the story unfolds, it is not surprising at all that the road would eventually lead to a jewelry business.
During High School, Jodie worked in a high end store in Jacksonville and convinced the owner to sell their jewelry line. Everything sold out and both Jo and Danielle saw their wares being worn on the college students walking around town. They were definitely on to something.