Roy's Blog

April 4, 2016

6 steps that will prevent your start-up going down in flames

Got an idea you think can make you lots of money? Good. Chalk one up to you for coming up an innovative thought.

But the real challenge you have is to figure out how to monetize it. If you can’t get people to buy it, your idea is wasted.

Here are 6 steps to take to increase the chances of your start-up succeeding.

1. Define, in precise terms, how your new business idea is different than your competition. Ultimate success will be determined by staking a unique claim in the market. If your idea is the same as, or similar to something already out there, it will be invisible and will be ignored. It won’t attract attention and no one will buy.

2. Identify the potential customers for your idea. Winning is all about targeting your idea to very specific groups of people and giving them a reason to buy from you. It’s NOT about flogging your idea to the masses and hoping it will stick to some of them. If you can’t define your potential customers, STOP.

3. Recruit people who have a strong marketing and customer service background. Ultimately, the success of your idea will depend on “go-to-market” effectiveness. Better have people on board who have experience in serving customers and providing value-based solutions to people. Technology and finance expertise are needed as well, but in a supportive role. People responsible for customers must be your anchor.

4. Test your idea with potential customers. It’s not about how excited you and your friends are about your idea,  it’s about what your potential customers think. Get them in a room and present your idea. Ask them to evaluate it. Does your idea excite them?Let them play with it. Do they think it satisfies a real need or desire they have? Do they think it’s different than other products out there? Would they buy it? At what price? Would they likely tell their fiends about it?

5. Define the unique value created by your new product or service. Flogging product features is not a sustainable approach. Discover how you are satisfying a want or desire that your potential customers have. This will form the basis of your marketing efforts and your pitch to potential investors.

6. Avoid thinking that technology will sell itself. People don’t buy technology, they buy the benefits technology creates for them. Happiness. Joy. Pleasure. A solution to a problem.

The odds are stacked against a start-up surviving; these 6 steps will help to thwart the grim reaper.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
6 tips for bucking the small business failure rate
8 steps to grow your small business
The perfect business plan for #smallbusiness


  • Posted 4.4.16 at 03:41 am by Roy Osing
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March 29, 2016

A mobile keyboard that rises above the cloud

It’s not common to think of a keyboard as a tool that adds a great deal of value to the process of creating content. After all, it’s primary use is to produce a sentence with appropriate punctuation, right?

Any added functionality to this point has primarily focused on predictive technology to complete words or sentences. In so doing it tries to make the single function of sentence production easy. Of course in reality we all know the pitfalls of predictive technology “damn autocorrect!” in the errant posts we send without proofing, but developers of mobile keyboard apps like Swiftkey and Swype have made significant progress.

I am a writer; a blogger.

I market my BE DiFFERENT or be dead content constantly through a variety of social media channels. What is critical to me is simplicity and ease of use when it comes to creating and sharing to social media; for me Twitter and LinkedIn primarily.

This translates into productivity; I need to get more accomplished when on the go with less time and energy.

I recently discovered a unique mobile tool that enables me to create posts fast and easy.

That tool is the AIR Social Keyboard, the ONLY social media keyboard for iPhone that possesses the functionality it provides.

It has no comparators; it is distinct.

It stands out from Apple’s native keyboard and third party keyboards alike.

It’s benefits are unmatched.

The challenges I face as a content creator and marketer are not restricted to me;  literally everyone else in the content marketing game covets ease of use, speed, and of course quality.

These 4 actions AIR handles while the rest of the keyboard herd merely looks on.

1. You can store all of your tweets complete with #hashtags and @handles in AIR’s Content Manager and retrieve any one of them with merely a tap. You can create groups of contacts or hashtags, retrieve, and then use them with a tap.

2. Using AIR’s Image Editor, you can create and edit professional-looking photos, complete with message overlays and YOUR unique branding AND copyright, all from within the once lowly keyboard. I’m not a big Instagram user but for photographers and artists alike, what a great way to protect, beautify and brand your content, right?

3. For me, the best feature is AIR Memo. It enables content creators to beat Twitter’s 140 character limit! Simply type your message (or add it from your saved Tweets in AIR’s Content Manager), tap AIR Memo and your message is automatically converted to an image and saved to your camera roll. Really?

4. Lastly, on other keyboards I have to go through up to 3 layers to get to the symbol I want. If I want the #hashtag, for example I have to dive to level 3 on the Apple board to retrieve it. On AIR the most commonly used symbols are all on the first layer with the alphabet; at most they are only one layer away. Brilliant! Saves tons of time.


A successful product does two things exceedingly well: first it addresses a customer need in a compelling way, and, second, it is the only one that does it the way it does.

AIR is such an example.

Try it.


  • Posted 3.29.16 at 12:15 pm by Roy Osing
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March 28, 2016

A weekly calendar for leaders - Friday

This is the bookend of the stand-out leader’s week.

Friday is “change the conversation” day.

Language expresses what people view as “what’s important around here.” Vocabulary paints the picture of the journey that employees see the organization taking.

This day is focused on changing the conversation in the organization.

Moving away from discussing what needs to be done to improve; to incrementally change the organization. Muting the conversation about the practices of “best in class” organizations and what is required to copy them.

Today is all about introducing the conversation around how to BE DiFFERENT; how to move away from others in the market.

“What do we have to do to leave the herd; to distance ourselves from the common crowd?” “How can we stand-out not blend in; be contrarian and take the opposite direction to everyone else?” These are the questions this day is about.

This day involves meeting with team leaders throughout the organization; across all responsibility areas.

BIG NOTE: this applies if you have 1,000 employees, 10 or 3. The point is to engage with people who represent the various functions of the organization.

This day the leader declares that the BE DiFFERENT conversation will define the new communications in the organization.

This day the leader has a simple agenda when meeting with team leaders. Look introspectively. Dissect the conversations that are common. What topics do they most engage in? What words are used? What questions are asked?

Then disrupt the conversation with questions around divergence not compliance.

“What are we doing to create space between our organization and others?” “What breakaway projects with new innovative thinking are we pursuing?” “What NEW boxes are we building to play in?” “What contrarian opportunities have we identified that will take us in the opposite direction to the rest of the market?”

Far too many organizations and people think success is fitting in; conforming; being the same as others; going in the direction of the industry. Going with the flow.

This is lazy thinking.

Success has been and always will be a function of being different in some way.

The next time a proposal is brought to you, ask “How does this make us DiFFERENT?” Avoid asking what others are doing and how the proposal conforms with best practices.

Call your head of Marketing and ask what they are doing to move away from flogging products and services meeting the needs of “me” markets?

What is Sales doing to build a unique brand in the market based on building deep and intimate relationships with their clients?

What is Collections doing to distance yourself from virtually all other organizations that impose unfriendly and inhumane credit and collections rules and policies on their customers? The collections experience in most organizations is generally one level above pain and suffering. Copying best practices here is nothing more than replicating a painful experience.

What is Internal Audit doing to simplify processes that touch the customer? Yes, control is important but it must be balanced with serving the customer in a hassle-free caring way.

And follow through to ensure that this theme gets driven into the strategic planning process and becomes a critical beacon to follow. If your strategy doesn’t enable you to be different, you will fail.

Check out my book “Weekly calendar for leaders”

Other articles you might like
Why benchmarking sucks
Best of breed is still a member of the herd
Copying is for losers
Do you want to be better, best or #DiFFERENT?

  • Posted 3.28.16 at 06:07 am by Roy Osing
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March 21, 2016

Try, try, and try again

Here’s the thing. We live in a world of uncertainty and unpredictability. No sooner have we put our strategic game plan to bed, an unforeseen event blindsides us and we are forced back to the drawing board to shift our strategy.

This is not a temporary phenomenon; this is organizational life that will only intensify in terms of the number of random forces that will impact us and the weight that each will impose.

Traditional strategic planning can’t successfully play out in this scenario.

The application of the standard analytical tool set won’t help thwart the unexpected missiles that will strike us; hours of debate over SWOTS won’t decrease the probability that we will likely have to take a random punch at some point. And the quest for a “perfect” plan is time consuming, costly and is doomed to fail.

So what’s the answer? How do we prepare our organization to succeed in the face of current market dynamics?

If the original strategy can’t be depended on to deliver intended results, we need to loosen up on the process employed to create the strategy; get the strategy “just about right” and focus our efforts on plan execution, learning from execution and on trying new things implied by the chaos that surrounds us.

Survival and success depends on the willingness to try new things constantly; if you’re feet aren’t moving you’re dead.

Progress = f(number of tries). The more tries; the more successes; the more progress.

Make “tries” a key success factor on your balanced performance scorecard. Set 30-day “tries”‘targets; track and monitor your results to ensure the trend is growing. Keep your “tries funnel”.

Ask “Why don’t we…?” at every opportunity.

But don’t make the same try twice; each try must be different in some way.

A try repeated indicates nothing was learned from the initial one, and you can’t afford to not learn from your tries.

Every new try has to include the learnings from previous tries. This will at least improve your odds of hitting a winner sooner rather than later.

Making tries is a core competency of successful organizations.

Try harder.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Ship lots of imperfect stuff, imperfectly
Permission granted. Do nothing!
Execute don’t pontificate!
Success = doing lots of imperfect stuff fast!




  • Posted 3.21.16 at 05:53 am by Roy Osing
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