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As a startup, you have dedication and enthusiasm in abundance, but funding is in short supply. You decide that content marketing is the most cost-effective way to market your business, and you’re committed to starting a blog. Or are you?
My first article for Inspired Startups published in May 2015 was entitled ‘What Enterprise Ireland are looking for in a CSF Application’. This follow up post will focus on an increasingly important part of your Stage 1 application for Competitive Start Fund - the video pitch which is worth 25% of the available marks."
"We strive towards freedom and self-determination and I feel that entrepreneurship is the path to achieving that end goal. At this early stage, that path is hard to see amongst the bushes of doubt and the brambles of uncertainty. However, even in that dark place being able to walk that path is a wonderful feeling and I’m enjoying the experience."
Nick Hynes
Gymr
"The biggest learning for me is that a startup is really just one big experiment. It’s often hard to let go of an idea that you think is great, but if no one is going to pay you for that idea then you need to move on. Also, focusing on the business rather than on the tech is key. Look for budget and appetite from customers as early as possible..."
Bart Lehane
KillBiller.com
"One of the things I have learnt is not to overthink too much and just go for it. The more exposure you can create the better, more contact points and engagements mean more potential for cross pollination or meeting a person that is genuinely going to make a difference to your company."
Lukas Decker
Coindrum
"Word of mouth is probably our strongest growth channel. We recently did a Net Promoter Score survey. The NPS is a simple question: "How likely are you to recommend Bullet to someone?" We scored 75 for the first couple of weeks which now hovers around 68. That's a higher recommendation than Apple's iPhone, and we're an accounting product!"
Peter Connor
Bullet
I think the most important thing, once you have decided to commit to achieving something, is to believe that you can do it. For me that’s always been the most important thing; I’ve never considered the alternative. That doesn’t mean that I always expect things to turn out perfectly, but I’ve never, ever doubted I could, in the end, achieve my goal.
Ciara O'Toole
Amelia
A few years ago, Enterprise Ireland introduced the Competitive Start Fund to assist early stage startups. A hugely vital initiative for startups, CSF facilitates Enterprise Ireland to invest €50,000 for 10% equity. This post will provide first-hand experience of what the state agency is looking for in a well completed application.
"Expansion is very important. The biggest things you need to consider when you looking at your options are: what made you popular in the first place; what made you successful; what’s bringing money in and what is keeping your business ticking over. And if you are going to drastically affect those things, it’s probably not the right thing to do."
Rory McInerney
Fitter Faster Stronger
"An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down". Despite a successful corporate career, Cristina Luminea shares her experience of leaving it all behind to start something out of nothing with Thoughtbox!
Cristina Luminea
ThoughtBox
"My main recommendation, especially for people working in large tech companies, is to spend a significant amount of time assessing the opportunity, gathering feedback, challenging the idea, building relationships, understanding the startup world and even raising money before leaving their jobs."
Gaston Irigoyen
Guidecentral
"If I could go back I would launch even faster and even leaner with something much more basic than what we did... What we learned is that to get the viral growth its important to incentivise people to share content."
Achman Srivastava
Tubett
by Rado Durina  -19th Aug '14
"InspiredStartups.com have recently participated in Startup Weekend, a weekend-long entrepreneurial workshop where aspiring entrepreneurs, designers and developers get together, pitch ideas, form teams and build startups in the space of 54 hours. After this incredible Startup Weekend workshop which took place in Google in Dublin, we decided..."
"What inspired me to get into bitcoins? I got in touch with bitcoins very early, but I didn’t pay much attention back then. Then I decided to go back to college 2 years ago. For one of the courses I had to submit Android app and I decided to do something useful and not just as it usually happens with college. Then I met with Kevin who had an idea."
Alex and Kevin
Signatur
"There are no recipes for finding the right balance in terms of scale. It seems that everything is a combination of heuristics, secrets and I suppose figuring it out at the last minute. It's the phone call at four in the morning or the little tweet notification or that something has gone down and that terrifies every CTO out there."
Kevin O'Shaughnessy
CityHook
Ireland is probably one of the most generous countries in the world right now in terms of government supports, there's a lot of it out there and yet we see a lot of founders who are agitated or stressed out cos they can't get it or they don't know how to get it..So, know the system!"
Ian Lucey
Lucey Technology
"My advice to someone starting out? I think start building while working for somebody else. Sit up until 2 o'clock in the morning. Start with as little money as you can. Friends and family are a good place to start - if it is a good idea they might invest. Get something to the market quickly and try to get some customers who are willing to pay."
Niall Harbison
PicStash
"Your pitch is about explaining what you are doing, the problem and your product you have to solve it; market validation; how are you going to make money. It is going to involve doing the market research and doing the business development to get it air tight. So you have actually done an amazing amount of work by the time you have a solid pitch."
Conor McNally
ShotClip
"We didn't know we wanted to build a phone, we came up with a digital photo frame idea, a smartphone app and something related to a smartphone. We tested all three of them before they existed just with a landing page. And the landing page basically said: this is what we want to build, if you like it, give us your email address..."
Lari Numminen
Zilta
"Listen to investors, take feedback very seriously. They often have seen maybe people do exactly what your are trying to achieve and fail. So with that information they can save you a lot of time and money. That’s not to say they are always right, but you better have a good reason to say why they are wrong in your case or that you're different."
Andrew Mullaney
NewsWhip
"I always class myself as a Tech Founder. I think the hardest part for a tech-founder is to go out and reach out to customers. The first sale is always the toughest. You are trying to be credible, trustworthy and make sure there is something in for both parties. If you are giving something for free you are off for a bad start..."
Jason Roe
Predict
"Be nice - there have been many times that I could have charged some extortionate “rush fees” like agencies would for last minute work, but I haven’t because I know that if I scalp someone today they aren’t going to like me all that much going forward, and I’d wager that they won’t go around recommending me."
Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh
Clearpreso
"Questions you should ask as part of your STARTUP LAUNCH CHECKLIST: 1. Have you got product market fit? 2. Can you prove your business model? 3. Do you have a customer base willing and capable of paying? 4. Is your business scalable? 5. Is your market big enough? 5. And lastly, have you got the right people behind you – at home and at work?"
Caelen King
WhatClinic
"There is an awful lot going on in the Irish startup scene. The best place is to look on Meetup.com. There are events like eCommerce Ireland, Techpreneurs, Refresh Dublin. I would also recommend the hackathons. Startup Weeked is on June - great way to meet new people and start building teams. People should also subscribe to Dublin Startup Digest."
John Muldoon
Entrepreneur Anonymous
"There is no secret behind the success of any company. When you offer a service many want, you'll be successful. The trick is to find your niche, and that's where 90% of startups fall down. If you are having trouble getting traction, it's probably nothing to do with your tech, marketing or business plan. You need to look at your product..."
Aaron Craig
Temptster
"I’m absolutely delighted with our team. The level of talent I’ve somehow managed to gather around this concept is really humbling, and that buoys me every day. The enthusiasm that they feel only amplifies my own, and it makes the long hours and working weekends seem irrelevant. Every success that we achieve is simply a testament to them."
Sean Ahern
ThankFrank
"The more ideas we generate, the more likely we are to generate really unique, important ones, so developing skills to create ideas and test them is important. For me it was hard to come up with new ideas after working for so long on my previous startup, so I came up with a method to train my brain to generate ideas - you can read it in my blog..."
Ellen Dudley
Peoplehunt
"My main failures were related to being involved in business for money not passion. Of course you can be passionate about the wrong type of business also but if you are passionate about a business that has potential then it's very easy to put in long hours. The property business I was involved in was just to make money but that wasn't enough."
Ian Cleary
RazorSocial
"Short answer for growth hacking: Use exit surveys on your website or web app. Why did people leave and what was frustrating for them. Long answer: growing a business is a long term endeavour. You need to bake the growth of the product into everything: Engineering, Finance not just Marketing and Sales."
Des Martin
3Funnel
"Another thing I have learned is that you should never worry when others say no to your startup idea. But if you sincerely believe in what you're doing, and the impact it could have; if you can live in the future before your friends get there, then you're probably destined for something pretty cool."
Kareem Mostafa
TRIBEfoodie
"Find a sale quickly. Too many entrepreneurs never get to market because they are constantly trying to “perfect the product”. If you can sell what you have, then you know that there is a demand. If you cannot sell it, find someone who can. If they can’t sell it, then get out quick. If you are going to fail, then fail fast."
Anthony Quigley
Digital Marketing Institute
"Passion and hard-work! Any business needs these two key ingredients. Team is important, good idea helps, long hours is inevitable but if you are not passionate about what you are doing or unwilling to put in the handwork needed to make it work, it is unlikely it will go far."
Kritika Ashok
ArtNouv