For startups looking for a new competitive advantage, a multilingual presence may be the answer.
While non-nativeEnglish speakers have long realized the value of pushing their products to the English-speaking market, nativeEnglish speakers are just beginning to realize the value of a multilingual strategy. More than just being able to launch a business in a second language, the world is becoming a multilingual marketplace. And whether it be Spanish, French, or even Mandarin, an additional language is becoming a necessity for many entrepreneurs to get ahead as the process of globalization continues to accelerate.
So what are the real advantages of a multilingual strategy? When we launched Everypost, a social media management mobile application, we made the app available in six languages from the start. Why? Because it was a more cost effective way to market our new product against larger competitors and create more awareness for our brand quickly. We were able to reach an international audience, giving us more users and more feedback faster than we could ever generate from solely launching in the English market. With each additional language, we had the opportunity to reach more customers. A multilingual approach is a cost effective way of marketing, widening your reach, and promoting your brand in new markets without having to spend heavily on other strategies.
With every additional language, the potential customer base widens. There are few other ways to receive a dramatic increase in customers for such little investment. In our case, we discovered there are over 101 million Internet users in Japan, over 17 million of whom are on Facebook — so translating our mobile application into Japanese was a definite way to find targeted users that would appreciate our social media solution. Even though our nativelanguages are English and Spanish, a large segment of our customers are using the app in Japanese.
French startupLikebook, a service that pulls users’ Facebook updates, photos, comments, and compiles the information into a unique paperback or hardback book, quickly internationalized as well. That company offers the service in six languages, specifically building on an enormous opportunity in Brazil — the country with the second largest number of Facebook users in the world.
Another company that took on the “reach-as-many-as-you-can” strategy from the start is Kiip’s self-service advertising platform, offering businesses the ability to instantly run their own ad campaigns to offer users real-world rewards. Kipp made the move to launch the self-service product globally in a whopping 11 languages across Latin America, Europe, the Mideast, Asia, and Japan — giving brands more reach, and giving developers of Kipp apps greater opportunity to successfully monetize their creations.
Setting up a business in multiple languages isn’t an easy task, but it’s feasible — and there are ways to make it easier. If you are just starting out or want to test offering your products or services in another language, try translating your business website with the help of a multilingual website plugin. It also helps having a multilingual team as part of your long term global strategy. This will ease the costs of translation services and you’ll receive continuous feedback from native speakers.
ClickBus, a Brazilian online booking platform for bus travel, has set out to reach 14 countries in its first year. After immediate success in Brazil, the decision to move into Mexico and Germany – after a law binding all German bus companies to the government came to an end — is giving ClickBus a huge chance to capitalize on the situation and expand its global customer base. With headquarters in Brazil, ClickBus plans to employ local representatives in each new market — a great way to smooth out the process of setting up shop in another language.
A multilingual business strategy is not only a gateway to global success, but also a tremendous advantage to increasing awareness for your brand. With Internet and mobile phone usage growing at an accelerated pace in the non-English speaking world, your business needs to plan how to keep up and stay ahead of competition. It is only a matter of time before multiple languages will become a standard for businesses, so by investing the time and energy now — or before even launching — your business can reap the benefits of the global marketplace.
Fernando Cuscuela is an experienced entrepreneur who likes nothing better than to start new businesses and make them profitable. He founded a successful Digital Media Agency, Clickbunker, and most recently he started Everypost, where he now focuses most of his attention.
Because the SIMcard in your phone dictates the number people can contact you on, it might seem axiomatic that one should be enough for anyone. Yet there are circumstances where having more than one SIM makes sense. Here are five reasons to consider multiple SIMs. More »
You can’t create a realistic business plan without knowing how much it will cost to get your business up and running. If you don’t have an idea of your startupcosts, you won’t know how long you’ll have to bootstrap, how much funding you’ll need, how quickly to scale. In other words, without calculating your startupcosts, you don’t really know where you’re going — or how you’re going to get there. And your company could fail before you even hit the break-even point.
Some entrepreneurs believe that calculating their costs is all about listing and tallying their cash outlays. This is an essential step, of course, but calculating startupcosts is much more than a simple exercise in addition. Equally important is to set some milestones and build your financial plan around hitting these goals.
#1: Identify your milestones.
To determine the major milestones for your company, you need to assess where you are and where you want to be. You can’t begin to identify your costs until you know what you want to accomplish. What are the important milestones for your company to achieve? Some possible milestones could be to get out a beta product, get a first product, or to gain a solid understand your market. Try to create discrete milestones rather than bundle them together.
#2: Determine what you need to do to accomplish your milestones.
Once you’ve identified your milestones, you need to think about the resources necessary to hit these milestones. Consider the following costs:
Human resources. This is often the greatest startup expense. Figure out who you will need to build your company, and then calculate their projected salaries and wages (depending on whether you hire employees or outsource). Remember to include recruiting, benefits, taxes, and other related HR costs.
Operational costs. These are the day-to-day costs of keeping your business running, including such things as your internet service and office supplies, and other inventory and equipment expenses.
Professional services. You’ll need to include costs for essential professional services, such as an accountant or attorney. Also consider what permits or licenses you may need.
Facilities. Determine, what, if anything, you will need in terms of facilities or office space.
Marketing. Your company won’t be very successful if nobody’s heard of it! Consider the cost of marketing materials, your Google AdWords campaign, or other marketing costs.
#3: Consider funding sources.
Next you need to determine if you are going to bootstrap the entity or if you want to/need to/can raise funds. To do this, calculate your burn rate (the amount of capital you will go through every month), using your total expense calculation. If you realize that you will need to raise money to cover your monthly costs, decide what potential funding source you’re going to target: friends and families, angel investors, or venture capitalists.
#4: Establish your funding goal.
There are pros and cons to each funding source, but there is no right source for all companies. It depends on your company niche, what stage your company is in, and what else you are looking for — and not looking for — in a funding partner. And, of course, it depends on how much money you need.
You may think more money is better, but this is actually a mistake. Use your expense calculations as a baseline for how much funding you will need. Add in a bit of a cushion, since it’s common for startups to underestimate their cost — but don’t add in too much. Raising what you need (and no more) is called capital efficiency– and it’s a much more telling indicator of your company’s success that your capital access.
#5: Balance your milestones against your funds.
Once you have determined what you need to hit your milestones, you need to go back and balance that against your funds. Balance your way between what you can do and what you can afford in order to reach each milestone. This isn’t a one-time process; you’ll find yourself constantly dancing between these two points.
Admittedly there will be surprises as you launch and grow – that’s why you don’t want to start with a five-year financial plan; it’s just not possible to accurately project that far out. Instead, you just want to calculate your initial costs and create a budget, and update that budget, on a quarterly basis. If you can start with a reasonable estimate of your projected costs, you’ll be better prepared to write your business plan — and positioned to build a successful company.
David Ehrenberg is the founder and CEO of Early Growth Financial Services, a financial services firmproviding a complete suite of financial services to companies at every stage of the development process. He’s a financial expert and startup mentor, whose passion is helping businessesfocus on what they do best. Follow David @EarlyGrowthFS.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Are you considering hiring a student or a recent graduate as an intern? If so, providing supervised practical training can lend benefits to your organization and the intern. But before you develop an internship program for your small business, here are five must-read articles to help you navigate the process with ease:
1. How to Legally Hire and Manage an Intern
Internships, when done correctly, are win-win propositions between the business and the intern. Businesses benefit from fresh, creative talent at low or no cost, while interns gain valuable real world experience with the possibility of being considered for full-time employment. However, there are laws and mandates in place regarding interns that businesses must adhere to. Simply put, the internship must benefit the student through monetary compensation or college credit. Read more
2. 5 Things to Consider Before You Hire Your Next Intern
Interns can be valuable resources for startups — especially bootstrapped businesses that need help but can’t afford to bring on full-time employees. However, having a successful internship experience requires preparation. Here are five things every small business should consider before hiring an intern. Read more
3. Posting Internships: How to Find (and Benefit From Hiring) Student Interns
As you set new goals and move forward in your business, here is an idea to help your company grow: Hire less experienced but driven individuals. Hiring new interns not only brings new skills and fresh ideas to your company but it allows you to possibly scout new talent for your growing business.
While hiring talented, experienced employees unarguably contributes to your business, student interns also bring a unique set of strengths and benefits. Read more
4. How to Prepare For, Find and Utilize Rock Star Interns
Being self-employed is fabulous – and fabulously overwhelming! When my business started gaining momentum, I quickly realized there was far too much for me to do on my own. Sleeping suddenly became a thing of the past and I struggled to keep up with the day-to-day operations while pushing growth forward. With a minimal start-up budget, I needed to think quickly; calling on my nearly 10 years of HR experience, I decided to launch a search for help … and took a chance on the ubiquitous intern. Read more
5. Do You Have Unpaid Interns? You Might Be Breaking the Law
It is not uncommon for startups to hire interns to help grow their businesses. In fact, what startup doesn’t hire interns? “Silicon Valley mainstays and startups like Google and Dropbox are hiring tons of interns for this coming summer, the Wall Street Journal Reports. Dropbox plans to hire three times as many interns for this summer as for last summer. This would make interns one whole third of Dropbox’s entire engineering team (businessinsider.com).” Read more
Need more information on how to correctly hire unpaid interns? Refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Fact Sheet and ensure your small business passes the Test for Unpaid Interns.
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YFS Magazine - Startup, Small Business News and Entrepreneurial Culture Staff Contributors
I was recently asked to speak at an entrepreneurship-themed conference hosted by a university MBA program. There was an interesting divide amongst the speakers on the whole “Do what you love!” advice that’s often passed around in the small business community.
My take is this: “Do what you love” advice–given as a blanket statement–is completely wrong, and I have a very relevant perspective.
Once Something Becomes Work, It’s Work
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, once you are forced to do it it just becomes another job. People are terrible at predicting what will make them happy. Do you think pursuing your dream of hanging out at the gym all day playing sports will make you happy?
Wait, sorry, that’s what I did and it bombed (more on that below). In general, people have a hard time predicting what will make them happy because of what’s called impact bias — the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feelings.
Hobbies Don’t Make Good Businesses
When you poll a randomly sampled group of people on “what they love” most will come back with answers like: “Going to the park, playing sports, hanging out with friends, having sex, and sunsets.”
Now take a look at the list of Fortune 500 companies and let’s cross-reference their core businesses to the average person’s “what I love” list. Sure, you might love spending time on Facebook, but unless you’re a developer it’s probably not a feasible business decision.
So what’s the magic formula then, Matt? Now this is easy.
Instead Do What You’re Good At
This will afford you the most freedom and financial stability to do whatever you want. I have a unique perspective because I took the statement “Do what you love” at 100% face value. In my second year of college, after hearing this advice, I sat back and asked myself, “What do I love doing that makes me happiest, that I could turn into a career?” Got it! Open a boxing gym. I love sports and fitness and being social. It’s perfect! Eureka! A couple years later Final Round Boxing was open.
So did my hedonistic Richter scale go off the charts and did I find myself live happily ever after? Not quite. What happened? I started to hate boxing. When you become a slave to something, it doesn’t matter what it is. You’ll end up resenting and hating it most of the time.
Consider these Hygiene and Motivational Factors
Here’s a thought exercise:
Subject A is working in a field he/she doesn’t really care for — selling women’s health products. Subject B is doing something he/she “loves,” running her own yoga studio. Subject A makes a great salary (including sales bonuses), has little supervision, and flexible work hours. Subject B has to teach yoga all day, every day, and to make ends meet has to work 10-14 hour days 7 days a week. Which would you rather be?
This all comes back to what’s known as the “two factor theory,” a theory published by Fredrick Hersberg in the Harvard Business Review. In the article Hersberg reasons that there are certain factors that impact workplace satisfaction — known as ”hygiene factors.” This includes pay, hours, job security, company polices, and supervision. If those aren’t done right then you’ll be unhappy (I think everyone can agree on that).
YFS Magazine - Startup, Small Business News and Entrepreneurial Culture YFS Small Business Contributors
Here’s our weekly link roundup of small business buzz, musings and muchness. A curation of the best small business talk around the web.
Survey Finds UK Startups Upbeat On Growth And Revenues, Downbeat On Fundraising
“Startups in the UK are upbeat about the future and usually more profitable (comparatively) than their US counterparts (which tend to focus on growth over revenues). But they find raising Series A money difficult, with 90% of entrepreneurs saying the UK fundraising environment is “challenging” …” (TechCrunch)
Why Your Small Business Needs CRM
“A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is probably one of the most valuable systems that any small business can implement. It is as important as the people that are hired and will have a more significant effect long term than any one employee.” (Forbes)
Five Reasons Startups Should Consider Coworking Spaces
“Co-working schemes are on the rise, which is great news for startups looking for their first office space. They are a fantastic alternative to leasing your own office, which brings with it long term contracts that can be impractically inflexible for a small business.” (TechVibes)
What Startups Need to Understand About The Booming Corporate Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
“Every year, large corporations spend billions of dollars on supporting, investing in, marketing to, and donating to small businesses, startups, and the organizations that support them. These numbers are rising dramatically as interest in the entrepreneurship ecosystem rises. Startups who understand this new landscape stand to save money via discounted products and services, receive money via loans, investments, licensing, procurement, and acquisition, build brand & customer base via partnerships, and access startup support.” (Forbes)