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How To Onboard The Right Investor For Your Startup

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How To Onboard The Right Investor For Your Startup


Most startups begin with the founders investing a startup capital to get their business up and running.  As a startup slowly refines its business model in order to complement their sales model and start generating revenue, the founders would then be focused on expanding and growing the startup.  It is at this point having an investor on board would be a huge help for the health of the startup. An investor would provide the much needed capital to expand a startup and scale up the business model, in order to amplify demand and increase supply to match it.  But finding an investor is not always an easy task but, there are some simple steps which can be used to maximise probability of finding the right investor.

 

Have A Product or Demo Ready

Investors need to know where they are investing their money and therefore they will always request a demonstration (demo) of the product before investing.  Therefore, it is important to have a working demo along with the sales pitch in order for the investor to make a calculated decision.

Research on investor portfolio

It is important to research prospective investors as in what kind of portfolios they have invested their money.  Learning about an investor portfolio gives an insight into the health of an investment company. If an investor has experience with handling similar startups to yours in the past, they would be able to provide guidance and mentorship.  However, the most important reason for research is to see if the investors have a similar kind of startup in their portfolio, which would mean the investor would be reluctant to invest because the startup in question would be a direct competitor to your startup.

Finding a mentor and a core team

A mentor in this case is someone who has prior experience navigating the choppy waters of the startup industry.  FInding a mentor will be invaluable in the long run as a mentor brings their experience to the forefront and would be able to guide the founders by nudging them in the right direction.  A good mentor will also be able to attract investors through their network as well. A core team should consist of skills not just from the technical side but also from the business and revenue perspective.  A good example here would be Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle and Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce. Ellison mentored Benioff during the initial days of Salesforce by providing valuable technical and business inputs and even investing in Salesforce, which paid off in multiples later on in the future.  Benioff founded Salesforce while he was still working at Oracle and Larry Ellison was supportive of the endeavour so much that he let Benioff split work so that he can work on Salesforce in the mornings and at Oracle in the afternoons.

Proven Business Model

Investors are more likely to invest in a startup which would be able to show a proven business model complemented with numbers.  The business model need not be elaborate and can instead focus on a small demographic which would provide a lot of valuable data useful for scalability like revenue forecasting, sales and marketing demographics, overheads, burnout rates, processes which can be automated and troubleshooting, but more importantly it offers investors a glimpse into the revenue model.  

Prepare for due diligence and have documentation ready

Startups need to be ready for a due diligence check by an investor and therefore ensure they have all the documentation ready and up to date.  There would be due diligence checks on various fronts. If a startup is building a software, investors will be running various scripts to check compliance and software licensing requirements.   Important documentation includes product roadmap (from demo to live,) timelines, cash burnout rate and financial projections for the future among others.

A startup should have a clear goal and define specific outcomes with their investors in order to achieve the maximum output from the partnership.  Onboarding investors is the first major hurdle any startup should clear and then focus on scaling up, in order to increase a startup valuation which in turn will attract more investors.  Following these steps will help finetune the search to identify a potential investor which would go a long way in scaling up a startup.

 

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

If there is one thing that every Indian and every cricket fan waits for all year, it is the Indian Premier League, which is the world’s biggest cricketing league.  Professional cricket players from all over the world vie to get selected by one of the eight franchises which compete in the league.  The entire league is a star studded affair and Indians manage to forget their differences and band together for all the time the league is aired.  Each franchise boasts of a loyal fan following who have supported their teams through thick and thin ever since IPL was inaugurated in 2008.  While the entire league is a melting pot of entertainment and competition, have you ever wondered how the franchises make money in IPL?  In this article we will decode the business models behind the IPL teams and how they earn money.

Franchises need to bid for players every year before the start of the IPL season in an auction.  Each franchise has a maximum spend limit of Rs. 80 crores to buy players in the auction.  Apart from buying players each franchise also needs to bear the cost of travel, support staff and logistics.  The following are the different avenues from which franchises earn money.

1) Sponsorships

Franchises earn a major chunk of their revenue from sponsorships, but they do not get the money from sponsorships directly.  The IPL governing council gets money from sponsors and in the case of this year it is from Dream 11, which is the title sponsor while VIVO was the title sponsor last year.  All the money which is earned from sponsorships is divided into a ratio of 60:40 with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) retaining 40% of the sponsorships.  The remaining 60% is distributed among the ten franchises.  BCCI owns and operates the IPL in India.  The ratio of distribution might change in the coming years depending on the decisions taken by the BCCI.

2)  Media rights

Broadcasting companies bid for the media rights and the winning bid will get to air the IPL on their channel.  Star India bagged the media rights for IPL with a bid of Rs. 16,345 crores for five years (2018-2022.)  The money from media rights are also distributed in the 60:40 ratio with BCCI keeping 40% and the franchises getting an equal distribution from the remaining 60%.

3) Franchise sponsors

Each franchise has its own dedicated sponsors which pay a huge amount of money to the franchise.  The logos and names of the companies which you can see on the sporting attire of every IPL team are actually the dedicated sponsors of their respective franchises.  The profit from dedicated sponsors depends on the deal the franchise has made with their sponsor. The income generated from dedicated sponsors might differ from team to team.

ALSO READ: 5 Cricketers Who Are Entrepreneurs

4) Sale of tickets

Each franchise can choose a home ground from the available venues in the BCCI roster like Sunrisers Hyderabad, choosing Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders choosing Kolkata.  Only the home franchise can fix the price of tickets for the matches happening in their home ground.  Bigger stadiums with large seating capacity earn the most from ticket sales.  Kolkata Knight Riders home ground Eden Gardens has the highest seating capacity in India and therefore KKR earns the most from ticket sales.  

5) Merchandising

Each franchise makes some money by selling official jerseys, caps, wrist watches, souvenirs etcetera.  The merchandise is sold through the official franchise websites.

6) Prize money

Franchises battle it out in a long season to become the winner of the IPL season.  The winning team also wins a hefty prize money which is an additional source of revenue.  In 2019, the winning franchise won Rs. 15 crores while the runner up won Rs. 10 crores.

IPL is a big stage for franchise owners to earn their revenues as well as the perfect opportunity for players to make their mark and win big auctions.  This is how franchises earn their revenues from the IPL.  As this year’s edition is off to a flying start, IPL has been a blessing in disguise for millions of Indians in the gloomy times we currently are experiencing.  

 

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How To Generate More Sales On Social Media

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How To Generate More Sales On Social Media

If you are a frequent Instagram user, there is a high likelihood of stumbling upon a business ad which interests you.  There are also high chances of you making a purchase from a business whose ad you might have seen on Instagram.  As the social media penetration into our daily routine gets deeper each day, businesses are realising the opportunity to sell their products on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to name a few.  In the current day and age social media is one of the top avenues to generate solid sales and also gives a good return on investment.  However, figuring out a good approach for a business does not come easy and requires some time and effort to figure out how a social media platform works.  In this article, we explain some simple techniques to generate more sales on social media. A good organisation which has a proven track record in this arena is Whacked Out Media based out of Hyderabad.

1) Understand where the target audience is:

It is very important to understand what social media platform your target audience uses.  If your target audience prefers to use Instagram over Facebook, then it makes sense your ads should be running on Instagram.  The easiest way to find out where your target audience is is by identifying the right hashtags which are relevant to your product or business and find out where it is being used.  Once a business understands where their target audience is, it will be much easier to drive online sales.  Online streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon prime Video are known to promote their content on platforms like Instagram and Facebook in order to gain new subscriptions. 

2) Working with influencers

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.  Influencers have a very high chance of generating sales on social media for your business.  Having an influencer tell a unique story about your brand or product, having influencers give honest reviews about your product or something as simple as an influencer promoting a unique discount code can drive sales effectively.  Noted South Indian actress Samantha Akkineni is known to partner with organic food businesses to promote their products.

3) Turn customers into brand advocates

When you make a sale on social media, it is ideal to request the customer to post reviews of your product or service should they like their purchase.  This will turn your customers into brand ambassadors and at the same time generate more organic sales.  It will be helpful if you can provide relevant hashtags to be used so as to accurately identify leads.  Take the case of mobile phone manufacturer OnePlus, which regularly posts or shares their customer photos and product reviews on their social media platforms.  OnePlus believes in storytelling through customer testimonials and customer content.  #NeverSettle is the hashtag which is most commonly used by the OnePlus brand to identify content relevant to them.

ALSO READ: How To Increase Online Sales Of A Business

4) Share customer generated content

More often than not, if a customer is satisfied with their purchase they will post it on their social media accounts.  For a business, identifying these posts and sharing the customer generated content on their own social media accounts will improve the authenticity of their products.  Prospective customers visiting your social media page can see honest customer reviews which will in turn bolster chances of a sale.  This is also an easy way to increase loyalty with your existing customers, and to add credibility to your brand whenever potential customers visit your social media profiles.

5) Creating content around products/inventory

It is highly recommended to create content around the products which are being sold on social media accounts.  For example, if you are a clothing brand, it will be helpful for customers/leads if they see content on how to mix and match various dresses, or what dresses can be worn in spring or summer.  This establishes a broader context for your brand and will also boost engagement with prospective customers.  This kind of content will also provide a reason for customers to buy your products.

There is no hard and fast way to figure out social media sales and each business should take the plunge themselves to figure out the best approach for themselves.  However, the above mentioned tips will definitely help the chances of success in getting sales.  Alternatively there are plenty of organizations which provide consulting services to businesses in order to help them with digital marketing and sales.  

 

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

If you own a smartphone, there is a very high chance that you are a WhatsApp user.  The simple and lightweight online messaging application has embedded itself into our lives and has become indispensable.  Family groups, friend groups, office groups, play groups and many other groups like these see millions of conversations happening on a daily basis.  But have you ever wondered how this leading online messaging application makes its money?  There are no ads on WhatsApp and if that is the case from where does Whatsapp generate its revenue?

The answer to the question goes back to the beginning of WhatsApp which was founded by Brain Acton and Jan Koum, both of whom were ex- Yahoo employees.  When Whatsapp was first developed and deployed for public use it became an instant hit with users but the founders quickly realised they required data centers to handle the huge volumes of data from the user conversations to keep WhatsApp running.  So, they set a price of $1 for some countries and for some other countries it was free for the first year but charged $1 for renewal from the second year onwards.  In short this was a subscription model and Whatsapp had 700 million users at the peak of this model which meant it was generating 700 million dollars in revenue.

Facebook ended up purchasing WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion but one of the founders Jan Koum decided to leave WhatsApp because of a disagreement with Facebook over its use of user data and its desire to allow advertisements on WhatsApp.  Both the founders were vocal supporters of user data privacy.  As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2 billion users, the second largest user database after Facebook.

ALSO READ: 4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown 

But How is Whatsapp generating its revenue now since there are still no ads on display in the mobile app.  In a 2016 blogpost WhatsApp said “Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.  The goal is to have people communicate directly with their banks, airlines, etc. over the app, while the businesses pick up the bill previously paid through subscriptions.”  Facebook also uses the data from the user messages in WhatsApp to increase the reach of its ads on Facebook.  However, a user has the ability to turn off the settings which allow Whatsapp to share the data with Facebook.  According to a Forbes estimate, WhatsApp is generating a revenue of $ 5 billion at an average revenue of $4 per user.

Facebook is benefiting from Whatsapp by generating a huge wealth of consumer behavior data which inturn is being used to improve the ads on Facebook.  WhatsApp has a growing revenue stream because of the new users it keeps adding to its database and still has a lot of room to grow.

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