Monthly Archives: May 2014

Building a Business Model with Andrew Light from Sapient Nitro

Andrew Light gives a list of tips for any new venture to keep in mind when developing a new business plan. When creating a business plan, it is important to know exactly what you are trying to achieve. Typically, businesses lack focus or become too ambitious so rather than attempting to do everything yourself and be all things to all people, the best course of action is to focus on the niche you want to target and determine if it’s big enough to sustain your venture.

Identify Your Value Proposition

Before you can understand your own business, you need to understand the market. Who are the other ‘players’, and what are they doing? Once you’ve plotted where other players are, you have a better chance of understanding what your focus should be in order to compete effectively. This might be as simple as knowing what you don’t want to do.

Once you have an idea of what the market looks like, you can decide how to position yourself. How will your business fit into the competitive landscape? What do you want your business’s market segment to be – value? Quality? What are your ‘core values,’ and how will they match your business model? In general, the further from the ‘centre’ of the market you are and the more defined your plan is, the better your value proposition is likely to be.

In any case, the fundamental aspects of a good value proposition are that it is measurable (how do you know how big your market is?), sizable (is it big enough?), applicable (can you reach the market in a cost-effective way?), and desirable (for instance: is the market ‘durable’? In other words, will it last long enough to make your business worth it?).

Design Adaptive Products and Services

Simply designing a product may not be enough. The landscape of the market may change, and your product may need to change with it. Thus, you will need to know how to build what are termed ‘active offerings’ – adaptive consumer products that can change with the market’s needs.

Plan Your Budget

The most important part of your budget is your ‘peak funding requirement’ – that is, your moment of maximum exposure. Investors will need to know just how big your – and their – risk is.

Understand How to Attract Investors

Investors will want to know who you are, what your idea is, what your business model is, and who your customers are. People are actually the most important thing: investors are looking for more than just an idea or a product – they want to work with people who are honest, experienced, have leadership qualities, and have passion for what they are doing. Most investors will know that ideas can be refined, but personal conflicts or lack of expertise are more difficult to remedy. On the other hand, many good ideas never become successful businesses. Don’t assume that your product alone will be enough to sell your business. It also pays to understand your market and what you are trying to achieve. Show that there is a market by giving the examples of other applicable business plans – and how yours is different. Likewise, before you meet with investors, you should have a clear pricing strategy (competitive? Predatory? Bundled?) and understand how big the market is and how big (realistically) your share might be. Get your facts and figures right, and don’t exaggerate.

Andrew also gives a few short tips in conclusion:

– Have a tightly defined value proposition.

– Emphasise you.

– A great product on its own is no recipe for success.

– Ontario is a great place to be right now. There is a compelling story around digital, mobile, and Ontario.

Videos:

Forming a Business Plan

Different Business Models

Attracting Investors

Pricing

 

Ontario Media Development Corporation        MEIC-square-logourl

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Developing for Mobile Devices: Websites, Apps and Hybrids with Sebastian Villa

Mobile development is no longer something entrepreneurs can ignore. Last year, cellphone sales surpassed desktop computer sales for the first time. There are now 3.4 billion mobile devices in use. Every minute, people share over 100,000 tweets, 700,000 Facebook posts and 40 hours of YouTube video; and most of this is now consumed on mobile devices, not computers. As Christina Warren put it in Mashable back in 2012: “Having a mobile strategy shifted from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ for all businesses.”

There are two main ways of delivering content to mobile devices: websites and apps. Websites are accessed through a web browser. The advantage of a website is that it is built in a universal language (HTML) that can be accessed on any platform, including both mobile devices and PCs.

Websites therefore are relatively easy to develop and open by default to a large base of users. Sebastian points out that the disadvantage is that the user must know where to go—to download the content each time they want to use it.

Native mobile applications are made for a specific proprietary platform and downloaded from an app such as Google Play or the Apple App Store. They have the advantages of being tailored to the chosen device, which tends to make them better for unusual or process ­intensive apps. They are also easy to find from the app store and are readily available at any time, once they are downloaded. Unfortunately, a native app can be a lot more difficult to develop, since things like the user interface may need to be developed from scratch, and is only useful in the platform for which it is developed. Porting an app to additional platforms involves even more time and money.

There is a third option, which offers the best of both worlds, to some extent: hybrid apps. Hybrid mobile apps use a third-­party platform to create a ‘wrapper’: a container for code like HTML or Javascript. Effectively, this acts like a translator: development uses only a single set of code, just like a website, but the app can be downloaded from an app store (both the App Store and Google Play allow hybrids) and will run on multiple devices as if it were native by translating the app into the native code and interface. This makes app development more like developing a website, which is less labour ­intensive, easier to update, and available for all kinds of platforms.

There are several ways to create hybrid apps. Phone gap is an open source programme that translates web code on the fly. Adobe is also developing a more advanced proprietary version. Titanium, on the other hand, is used to build apps out of HTML or Javascript. For games, which tend to place more demand on a device’s hardware, there are Unity and Corona. Unity is better suited for 3D or other hardware ­intensive games, and it allows developers to publish different versions for mobile devices; i.e., for the web (if the user has a Unity plugin) and for PCs. Corona is well suited to simple 2D games like Angry Birds. Corona allows developers to publish for multiple platforms with code that is easy to test and maintain.

The main disadvantage of hybrid apps is performance. The need to translate code means that hybrids tend to make less efficient use of a device’s hardware. If an app will be especially hardware ­intensive, it is better to make it native.

When developing for mobile devices, one size does not fit all. The decision to use a website, native app, or hybrid should not be based on what developers are most comfortable with, but on what is best for the project. For example: prototyping in HTML is a false economy if you know it will need to be made native later. Instead, developers and entrepreneurs should make decisions based on the project’s long ­term goals and needs.

Video: Why to use mobile apps

Video: What is programming language

Video: Hybrid Apps

Video: Platforms

 

Ontario Media Development Corporation   MEIC-square-logo    _logo-COLOR

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