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The Network of Success – 7 Tips to forge a strong business network for your startup

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A strong and dynamic network is the secret of many successful companies. Whether it is an enterprise, a mid-sized company or a startup, an extensive network assists with recruiting, client acquisition and – in the best case – funding.

One is not born as a networker; instead it is more some sort of an inner attitude, which enables a person to forge numerous new contacts. If you lack the attitude, you don’t have to be worried, like most other business-skills, you just need the right strategy and insides. Take the following tips by heart and harvest the advantages of an efficient business network:

1. Don’t let extraverts intimidate you
Extraverts go to an event and comeback with a stack of business cards and 3 coffee chats scheduled for next week. Don’t let them intimidate you. It is okay you only made one contact.

2. Showing your face matters
When you go to events and could not speak with anyone, you may feel like going to events are time consuming, torturous, and useless. But remember, showing your face matters. Just give yourself these simple goals and feel good about it.

3. Choose your game
There are gazillions of startup related events happening everyday all over Europe. You can’t attend them all – impossible. Only choose the ones you are really interested in. If you are a business person, don’t auto-mute technical events. For example, if you are interested in the Analytics space, you might want to attend Data Science meetup. Yes, the majority of attendees will be developers. Yes, you will be likely to see a slide with lines of code that you can’t understand; but there is much more you can gain. Even simply knowing those technology exist gives you a better understanding of the market. If someone asks you “why are you here?” just tell them “I am interested in this subject and simply want to educate myself”. As easy as pie! More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Design thinking or human-centered design? Both! How to combine the benefits of the two approaches

Are you on team design thinking or team human-centered design? Actually you don’t need to choose! Even though both approaches are treated as two different methods of working, they have a lot in common and can be reconciled. And both have their benefits for your innovation process! So why not combine them and get the best of two worlds for your work? Have a look at the two approaches – where they differ and where they go hand in hand.

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But first things first! Let’s do a short recap of what design thinking and human-centered design is all about. The basic idea of design thinking is that interdisciplinary teams can create outstanding innovations. It is a solution-focused method used to solve complex problems by profiting from different expert perspectives. The focus is less on the detailed elaboration of ideas, but rather on the extensive experimentation and drawing up of big ideas. For the human-centered design approach the ultimate goal is to drive a customer focus deep within a corporation. This includes a culture open for sharing knowledge and collaboration between all departments within and outside the company. As a result, you get a product that resonates with the user and exceeds his needs.

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Filiz Sarah Gärtner

How can startups and corporates successfully collaborate? Best practices with business incubators, accelerators and partnerships

Many reasons why startups and corporates seek collaboration are clear: startups benefit from funding, expertise as well as from a business and sales network, while large corporates profit from startups’ innovative power, operational speed and creativity.  A large percentage of corporates stated that they require startups to enable innovation for their business. In an equal collaboration, the vital effect of startups for the innovation process of big companies meets the need of startups for a powerful patron. But when new and established businesses come together, they most likely face challenges like a culture clash or the struggle of control and independence. However, equal and successful collaboration is possible! Find out how with the best practices in incubations, accelerations and partnerships.

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Kathleen Fritsche

Going up: mastering the elevator pitch

Kathleen Fritzsche - Marketing & PR from CODE_n12 finalist Conceptboard and Startup Weekend Stuttgart

Kathleen Fritzsche – Co-founder of Startup Stuttgart

Kathleen Fritzsche is co-founder and head of marketing at Accelerate Stuttgart and StartUp Stuttgart, the entrepreneurial community for the Neckar Valley and Baden-Wuerttemberg regions in Germany. She has been captivated by the startup community since attending the first Startup Weekend in Stuttgart in 2010.

The brief, structured presentation of your business concept – the so-called “elevator pitch” – is a central element in garnering acceptance and enthusiasm for your business idea.

An elevator pitch can last anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes depending on the situation. A key factor? Make sure you have thoroughly thought through the ins and outs of your idea before presenting it to larger audiences or potential capital investors. Initial feedback from your personal network and people who know your industry is incredibly valuable. These kinds of connections bring in new perspectives and helpful hints. The best thing to move you forward is critical thinking and shedding light on potential weaknesses early on. More…

Thibaut Loilier

Software – building the foundation for Big Data Success

Thibaut Loilier is in charge of Market Research for GFT. As author for CODE_n he shares his knowledge of the start-up industry & technology trends.

Thibaut Loilier is in charge of Market Research for GFT. As author for CODE_n he shares his knowledge of the start-up business his time in Silicon Valley.

Thibaut Loilier is in charge of Market Research for GFT, member of the innovation team and author of GFT public whitepapers (Open Innovation, Mobile BankingMobile Payment and IT Trends). Before joining GFT, he worked as Business Strategy Analyst for BNP Paribas in San Francisco with responsibility for strategic analysis and relationship with Silicon Valley’s technology and innovation ecosystems (start-ups, academics, clusters…). He brings his experience within and knowledge of the start-up industry & ecosystem to the CODE_n initiative.

In the first post of this series “Building the Foundations for Big Data Success”, we introduced several companies that are addressing different software challenges posed by the world of big data, companies like  Cloudera, Domo, Data Gravity, and Sqrrll. These companies are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg – the number of start-ups entering the big data marketplace is growing every day.

If you’ve been researching big data players, you may have come across the Big Data Startups Blog. On December 9th, the site published an eye-opening infographic showing the massive scale of investments being made by the new dedicated big-data VC funds in big data start-ups and the huge sums of money changing hands in big data IPOs and acquisitions. More…

Mark van Rijmenam

How To Develop A Big Data Strategy To Outperform Your Competitors

Mark van Rijmenam is founder of the BigData-Startups.com and guest blogger for CODE_n

Mark van Rijmenam is founder of the BigData-Startups.com and guest blogger for CODE_n

A Big Data study from 2013 by Tata Consulting Services showed that 47% of the 1217 firms surveyed had not yet undertaken a Big Data initiative. A similar research project by the SAS Institute in 2013 revealed that 21% of the 339 companies questioned did not know enough about Big Data and 15% of the organisations did not understand the benefits of Big Data. Several other surveys show more or less the same picture. Many organisations have no idea what Big Data is, even though all those brontobytes heading our way will change the way organisations operate and are managed. Big Data offers a lot of opportunities for organisations. An IBM 2010 Global CFO Study indicated that companies leveraging Big Data would financially outperform their competitors by 20% or more, and McKinsey reported a potential increase of 60% in operating margins with Big Data.

Although many organisations do not yet understand Big Data, it is pouring into all organisations from almost every angle imaginable. Every day, small and medium-sized enterprises can easily collect terabytes of data, while startups can effortlessly reach gigabytes and large multinationals can even generate petabytes without any problem. However, simply having massive amounts of data is not enough to become an information-centric organisation that stays ahead of its competition.

Big Data Strategy - McKinsey reported a potential increase of 60% in operating margins with Big Data

Big Data Strategy – McKinsey reported a potential increase of 60% in operating margins with Big Data

Note that I deliberately do not call these organisations data-driven organisations, but rather information-centric. The difference might seem subtle, but in fact the two terms are very different. Data, after all, is useless without the right tools at hand and the right culture in place. Only when data is transformed into information can it become valuable for an organisation. Information-centric companies have a culture that relies on data that is stored, analysed, and visualized, and in which the results form an integral part of the company’s strategic decision-making. More…

Ignasi Barri

Infrastructure – Building the Foundations for Big Data Success

Dr. Ignasi Barri is an expert in innovation management in the technology surrounding and shares his experience on the CODE_n blog

Dr. Ignasi Barri is an expert in innovation management in the technology surrounding and shares his experience on the CODE_n blog

Dr. Ignasi Barri is member of Applied Technologies in GFT Company. His fascination for technology and business helps him in his main goal: empowering innovation in the whole company. Innovation and business experience are combining perfectly to help him in being an author for the CODE_n organization. 

As we noted in our first Big Data post, careful planning is key for the successful creation of a big data-ready infrastructure. Big data requires more than a change in mindset – it requires a change in the technologies used to deal with the different types of data in play and the way they need to be handled to maximize the benefits.

Organizations must analyze what data they have and how they want to use that data in order to match back-end infrastructure needs to application requirements; simply looking at the data and the infrastructure as if they exist in separate silos will not provide an appropriate solution.

Five key elements must be addressed to develop an appropriate strategy that takes all aspects of big data use and optimization into account: More…

Pierre DeBois

Big data development startups can learn from the big enterprises

Pierre DeBois - founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy

Pierre DeBois – founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy

One trend that startups should pay attentions to is how long established firms in other industry verticals are leveraging expertise. Startups can learn from industry leaders who have seen unique implementation challenges and solutions.

I wrote about one example in an All Analytics post on Sears. For a number of years, Wall Street analysts questioned the value of Sears. Its stores were considered out of step with the digitalization of the consumer retail experience. Even the value of store locations was questioned because many of them were in malls with declining retail traffic. But Sears had been developing its operations efficiency through using Hadoop, an open source noSQL database.

The result of Sears’ dabbling in the database lead to the launch of Metascale, a consultation subsidiary that helps other retailers improve their Hadoop implementation and administration. Time will tell if Metascale changes Sears’ image with Wall Street analysts, but the subsidiary introduced a revolutionary business model for retailers – The concept of consulting based on their industry experience. This is not a sole example. Think Amazon and how it scaled its warehouse operations and databases and you can see what can be possible when your startup scales properly with an eye on data (and particularly, big data). More…