How do I start a canned food company?

I would like to start a canned food company but I have zero experience in that world. I will need a food contractor who can prepare and can the food as per my specifications and I will take care of other parts of the business. I might consider a drop shipping company as my e-commerce front. Has anyone done something like this ? Can you guide me or point me to the right resources ? Thanks 🙏

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Operational Coaching Practice – Only one Company

Hello everybody! First of all, I wish you the best for your startups; they will be successful, and if they aren't, the next one will be! Hope this fits the community rules, and if not, please let me know.
To get straight to the point, I'm looking to offer my services as an operational coach for free to one startup to get more practice, make more connections, and to help your awesome idea closer into reality.
I will only help one for the time being due to my time limitations since currently, I'm a full-time project manager remotely for an LA marketing agency. The reason I want to do this is that I recently changed my career path from graphic design, creating marketing assets to project manager, reviewing, and ensuring our operational flows are working. Thanks to it, I discovered I love administration as much as doing graphics, and I want to learn more about it.

What I will do:

  • Review your current project management flow and make an audit about what is working, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be stopped.
  • Coach you on how to improve the productivity of your company.
  • Trace current goals with clear key metrics and deadlines for you and your team to follow.
  • Develop strategies based on your current startup niche for when you launch.
  • Do a Weekly call to review progress, current steps made, and what should come next

What I won't do:

  • Design you any graphic of some sort.
  • Direct or lead your team.
  • Anything outside of what I mentioned above.

What I will require from you:

  • Commit to finishing your project, or at least to reach the goal we will trace.
  • Be conscient on my time, remember this is a free practice I'm offering.
  • Accept to leave a testimonial on my LinkedIn page, this will be later used on my website
  • Have in mind that I'm doing this to both help, and learn, so far my only practice is carrying my company projects to successful state or reaching the set goals.
  • And finally, if you like my service, know this is a free test, if you want to recommend me, you need to leave clear I will charge my full fee for these services.

If you are ok with all this and want to continue, please submit your application here. https://manucordobar95.typeform.com/to/Yz4vUVNP
Or use the comment section of this thread answering your name, your startup, what is about and what do you want to achieve?

I will pick the one that fits the best with me, there aren't better or worse, this isn't a competition of any sort

Without further ado, I'm looking forward to hearing from you and help you out!
Kind Regards
Manu

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

A step-by-step guide of how I would build a SaaS company right now – part 5

Part 1 Part 2 Part 2.5 Part 3 Part 4

This is it, the last post in the series. Definitely didn’t hit one a week, life came up regularly. During this process of writing these articles it has helped to better inform my current project.

Even if you've done something a hundred times, writing out your thoughts on the subject really helps narrow down your focus and can be extremely helpful.

I'm a huge proponent of using pen and paper and creating outlines and lists and this series of articles is all about that.

We've been applying all these steps in the background and things are going well being only 4 months in. I'll throw that up as another post down the road when we've got something more tangible.

What started as a project that was going to be SaaS changed to be managed service realizing that what we offered people wanted but didn't want to manage. People are looking for turnkey these days with services that they can just track results on while paying for value and understanding that perceived value. That's not to say that we won't go SaaS down the road, but we'd rather allow the knowledge gained from running it as a managed service to help inform the best on-boarding and upkeep.

We've also seen how competitors really just stop short of actually providing something of real value in terms of how their products are implemented. We love lazy companies, even if they don't know they are being lazy.

This is part 5 of 5.

  1. Start with your revenue and monetization plan (are you targeting a sector that has money and can/will pay – Part 1)
  2. Align yourself with others in your space (cheapest way to get traction/credibility – Part 2)

2.5 – Process, process, process – Start one, refine it, continually improve it – Part 2.5

  1. Work on road mapping your product to align with what complements your partnerships (cheapest distribution) – Part 3

  2. Work on building a marketing strategy that can help expose and align your brand while strengthening its recognition with your partners (will this make us both look good) Part 4

5. Build customer advocates along the way, tell their stories (lead with examples)

The following applies to all businesses, but specifically is relevant when referring to SaaS companies as anything below an enterprise level platform has changed dramatically.

The way people purchase in combination with greater access to materials online has led to a continued decrease in trust with sales people and or teams. Most people would prefer to transact without having to deal with salespeople today. I count myself among them.

What customers want to see –

What the product looks like

Established workflows that it solves for

People like us that are currently using it

The process for getting started and on-boarded

A good story is more powerful than stats most of the time.

So let’s build customer advocates and tell their stories.

Establish the different personas that use your products, find companies/people that are using your product that would make for a good story. We’re all about helping other people relate to how to use your product for a specific industry sector.

So now let’s figure out how a well produced piece of content can check all these boxes and more.

There are a few key features here:

  • Be relatable
  • Be raw, not polished
  • Focus on the customer’s company
  • Use the customer’s social media

This is all about building a community of stories that people will come back to to reference down the line. This series of posts is a good example. The advice is provided from a standpoint of having done and worked with these groups of companies in different roles over the years.

This is marketing for today’s world, actionable, relatable, content that is built to be a seamless transition into taking action.

The majority of these stories will come from the contact you have with customers.

Be relatable

As a customer I need to be able to see myself in the person or company you are highlighting. I need to feel like I am just like your current customers, looking to solve for the same things. I need to understand that your product is for someone like me, almost tailored with me in mind.

Be raw, not polished

The BS meter is high, when high production value comes into play, there is always a hint of something not being authentic. Go for raw, not polished, this brings down the walls a bit, and relates to the point above where you need to genuinely see yourself as a customer.

Focus on the customer’s company

It’s not about your product, it’s about how your customer uses your product. Focus on their company, their internal processes, and how your product enables them to unlock losts time or revenue.

Use the customer’s social media

I don’t see this one done often enough. If you’re producing a piece of content, provide the contact information for the customer’s social media. If I’m a similar potential customer, it’s not uncommon for me to reach out to the person featured to ask for their candid feedback on using your product. I’ve personally done this more than a few times when assessing what platforms to work with or try out.

So assuming you’ve been able to do this correctly, you’ve now driven traffic back to your website which means we need to make sure that it’s clear, supportive, and enough to spark the conversation towards conversion.

You have to create a great experience.

Where does a great experience come from?

It starts from the moment someone reaches your website.

Most B2B websites fall into one of two categories:

Freemium OR Demo required

And nearly all of them are light on providing clear descriptions of HOW people are using their product. This is my all time biggest pet peeve. I don’t want to hear from your clients via a scripted video, I want to see them on YouTube using your product in a raw manner.

I know I’ve signed up for trials and upon seeing the platform never come back.

I don’t want to read buzzworthy feature sets, I want to see working examples.

We’ve made this massive transition to as someone put it in another post “REAL MARKETING”.

When you’re doing sales, your goal should be to genuinely help someone, this includes making sure everything is crystal clear, expectations are laid out, and there is a good understanding of all steps involved. People don’t like sales people though so…marketing it’s actually on you –

Make your websites better. Seriously, make them a lot better.

Know where you can ask for more information, couch it as wanting to put you in touch with someone with specific industry experience. Personalize the prospective customer’s experience.

Industry knowledge goes a long way during a sales process.

One of the best things you can do for your websites is to read all the copy outloud and match your website to a customer journey, bring someone through the buying process all one one page, then allow people to dig a bit deeper.

I’m waiting for someone to do something more creative with a pricing page as well. From a buyer perspective it’s one of the first pages I click likely before I looked at all your features, if you know it’s got a high click through rate, use that as marketing space, build something interactive so you understand who you’re pricing for, it’s like an email after you buy something, that sucker has an extremely high open rate and it’s the most misused space ever when it comes to marketing.

There are too many websites out there that have too many buzzwords, are long on fun graphics but short on actual product photos and videos, and make things a bit complicated.

You know the types I’m talking about they also usually have a video with cartoons instead of actual product shots. Off to YouTube I go!

Examples of easy places to make improvements –

  1. FAQs based on company roles – could be cool to see
  2. Normal real person copy, no buzzwords – be real not corporate, tell it like it is
  3. Actual embedded videos from your YouTube Channel on your site – don’t make me leave your website, I’ll get stuck in a youtube hole about golf or cars or food or whatever I’m not coming back
  4. A gated demo is fine, but use a service so you can provide someone with some value – for the love of god if you get my email and you need to schedule 3 phone calls for your product to allow me to see it, possibly touch it etc, you’re going to lose me.

I’ve had terrible experiences where it comes to B2B websites. It feels like a lot of brands make it all about them rather than how a customer would look at a website.

With the amount of free tools that are now available, I really don’t want to have to figure things out if I’m paying. If I’m buying software for my business, I want someone to get it configured and set up and provide best practices for making sure I get the most out of it. You have a million competitors, if you’re willing to get it setup for me and provide support so that I benefit, you’re headed to the top of the list.

If you go to an agency’s website it usually (the good ones) has a page dedicated to the process. The same should be true of any SaaS website, take the time to explain to someone they process whether buying or implementation so both parties have clear expectations.

So how does this change my opinion about how to fix this problem?

Start with the story, always.

People don’t buy products, they buy experiences involving products from people like them or people they aspire to be.

Highlight the value propositions that people want in an experience. We’re going to channel Part 1 again here and the reasons someone buys:

  1. It saves them time (reduces friction or replaces a time consuming task)
  2. Makes/saves them money (creates revenue/ adds value that lets them win business)
  3. Adoption is simple for their workforce (is easy to incorporate into an existing workflow and anyone can use it/cost of switching in relearning)
  4. Adds transparency and allows for bigger insights (provides data)

So all these things are really cool, but what if a business literally stepped in and handled all the process and flows of getting this setup, so when they turned over an instance, it was pretty much turnkey?

This is where I think we’re headed and this is where you customer advocates come in. I think this because with an abundance of platforms on the market that do similar things splitting hairs over a specific functionality isn’t something people really care about, in other words, it’s all about the results that a platform can provide and for most people you have about 2 months to prove results.

I’ve noticed this a lot with companies I’ve worked with, people get stuck into using what they know and really don’t want to spend the time learning something new or switching over.

Even the best on-boarding isn’t entirely seamless because unless you’re already a product expert it’s tough to get the most out of a new product right away.

This brings us to the big conundrum and requires a mental shift.

You’re not looking for more customers, you should be looking for more of the ideal customers.

Let me explain – when you’re building out your SaaS company when you’re a step above MVP and working towards v1 you’re going to have to do a lot of hand holding because things aren’t going to be perfect, features will be lacking, bugs will exist, etc.

Even as you start to mature, you’re battling with shorter and shorter attention spans. So we’re looking to find more ideal customers. These are the ones you can build for quickly. They are a subset of your market that you can apply work done for one with workflows and easily setup others using the same workflows/templates etc.

One of the things not readily discussed is how to measure the perceived value of your solution.

For some people the value of your solution will be astronomical, for others, maybe just a slight improvement and for those that stop using it well no improvement.

So we’re really looking for clients that realize astronomical value. This won’t be everyone, but for those that you are blowing away their expectations, understand why and how so you can replicate this for others.

This is why a really good, personal on-boarding and setup is so powerful, the keys to the castle are literally there, if you take advantage. Spend time to understand the workflows that your customers are creating, setting up, and which ones are the most impactful for them.

This is your story to tell.

I’ve noticed this time and time again with clients, some companies think that products are cheap, while others think of them as being expensive, the price, the exact same.

So we’re looking for customers that think the product is “cheap” as it has a higher perceived value.

Your SaaS business is also a services business in the beginning, you’re providing a service to solve a problem, it’s your job to get it configured and immediately providing value for the price that you are charging.

Example

Two people walk into a barber shop – the first person sees an open barber chair then gets to work on their own hair. The second person is brought to the barber chair, asks a bunch of questions about what the person is looking for style wise, lays out the services they are going to offer, hot shave, how they’ll start and finishes with product recommendations for maintenance.

Who’s going to get the better review?

The same goes for selling your software.

Because people don’t like sales people but love implementation people. Your website should be doing all of the heavy lifting and you should be implementing really intelligent ways to collect data about interested parties so that you can customize your follow up with them. It’s never about getting them on the phone to talk about their business, it’s always about what you can already know about their business and showing that you can provide value towards improving it.

There is a gap in the above paragraph that a lot of people overlook. Data collection and personalization at scale. You’re looking for intent data points during someone’s time spent on your website. Hotjar and recording screens are great, but you’re looking to build a profile of someone before they reach out or take an action to sign up etc. This is a huge space for disruptive businesses to come in. (we spend entirely too much time just guessing)

The same is true during implementation, many companies don’t have the best processes in place no matter how well they think they have things managed.

B2B really needs to learn from B2C when it comes to storytelling.

When I see a Nike commercial, I’m invested in the story behind the person trying to accomplish something, the fact that Nike is featured isn’t the focus, never has been, it’s all about what people that wear Nike are accomplishing. This is marketing, they back this up with a solid product.

When you’re building a company, you’re asking someone to trust in you, when you are newer, you’re asking people to really trust in you. Build trust through creating micro relationships with potential clients. Make it about them.

When you’re getting started and beyond, your product doesn’t do things for people, your product enables people to accomplish amazing things.

When you shift the focus to this mindset great things happen.

So the main theme of all this is –

People don’t buy products, they buy experiences involving products from people like them or people they aspire to be.

Yes every purchase is based on an experience, an influence, a need, a want, a desire, to be like someone else. Someone is always first.

Focus on them, learn from them, then tell their story.

Sidenote and closing thought on this – if done correctly, you should be looking for bite size quotes, images etc that work well for social media. Most people today discuss long form content broken down into shorter bits to drive traffic and stretch out content. Keep this in the back of your mind.

These posts have been good to write, a constant reminder of how to stay focused and create something in a responsible way.

During the process of writing these they also reflect my current journey of not just advising companies but working on building our own company.

As always let me know if you have any questions.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Apple faces €1.2B lawsuit from Chinese AI company Shanghai Zhizhen over Siri patent fight

Recently, the Chinese AI company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology (a.k.a Xiao-i ) has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple.

The company said on Monday that it is suing Apple for an estimated 10 billion yuan (approx €1.2 billion) in damages and demands the Cupertino giant to cease “manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing” the products that allegedly infringe on the patent.

As per the company claims, the patented technology has been used on Apple’s voice assistant Siri. In fact, the legal battle between Xiao-i and Apple goes back to 2012. However, Apple has refused the claims saying Siri does not contain features included in the patent. If the Xiao-i comes out successfully, it could bar Apple from selling many of its products in China.

According to Xiao-i CEO Yuan Hui in the statement on Monday, “As a tech person, I have a lot of respect for Apple, whose products and services bring a lot of value and experience to the world. But customers are paying for every Apple product. In turn, Apple has to respect innovation. They use our patents, they need to pay us a reasonable fee.

The iPhone maker said that Xiao-i’s patent is related to games and instant messaging and independent appraisers certified by the Supreme People’s Court have concluded that Apple does not infringe Xiao-i Robot’s technology.

“We are disappointed Xiao-i Robot has filed another lawsuit,” Apple said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting the facts to the court and we will continue to focus on delivering the best products and services in the world to our customers.”

Main image credits: Wachiwit/Shutterstock

The post Apple faces €1.2B lawsuit from Chinese AI company Shanghai Zhizhen over Siri patent fight appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

I need a technical confounder who will spend 200+ hours building my entire product for 10% of my company and no salary. Why can’t I find anyone?

I don't want to learn to code, I want everything handed to me because that's how I think the world works. I also have no idea how difficult my idea would be to implement but will grossly underestimate the time and effort it would take to complete an MVP.

Can anyone help?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

3 Types of Design Your Early-Stage Company Should Focus on

We’ve learned a lot at Aesthetic about how early stage companies can best leverage design to become more valuable, and we’re excited to share our learnings from working with more than 100 companies over the last 18 months. We hope this will be helpful to the entire startup community, especially founders that are just getting started on their journey who are new to design.

Design: One size does not fit all

Design is a highly diverse discipline, with dozens of different fields and specialties. Similar to software product development, the scope and scale of design teams is highly variant and meant to reflect the needs of the organization.

For early stage startups, design needs tend to follow a similar pattern, then vary based on the specific business model.


StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

The three most important types of design for early-stage companies

At the highest level, founders of early stage companies should focus on:

  1. Product design
  2. Web design
  3. Brand design

Here’s a breakdown of what each of these types of design means:

Product design is the user experience of your service or product. This doesn’t just include software that you build yourself, but also includes every other touchpoint you have with your customers or prospects. Product design isn’t just about creating user interfaces, but also developing wireframes, user research and user experience testing.

Web design is a company’s front door to the world. In 2020, your website is the most basic currency of reputation for every company and needs to make clear what you do and what people should care about. For most companies, a website is the first step to start getting customers.

Brand design is the “why” behind your company’s “what.” It’s how you explain who you are to people, by codifying the way you represent yourself across every surface.

As Paul Rand says, brand design is “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

This isn’t just your logo, fonts, colors, aesthetic and tone, but also the slide decks, emails, ads and one pagers that you put out into the world.


Related: 5 Essentials of User Testing to Ensure a Successful Product

What kind of design should my early-stage company focus on?

How much effort should companies apply to each of these three types of design? It of course depends, but there are some easy rules-of-thumb you can follow:

Pre-product-market fit companies should focus almost entirely on product design, with less effort on web design and brand design. This means spending as much time as you possibly can working on your product, and then bookmarking a few hours each week to make copy edits to your website. Don’t focus too much on the visuals at this stage, but rather your messaging and information architecture.

Early-market-traction companies should maintain focus on product design while beginning to ramp up web and brand design. These companies should develop more website content and begin developing their first marketing channel(s) and content roadmap(s) to activate their audience.

Strong-product-market-fit companies should focus across the board. Spend time clarifying your brand identity and take the time to review your entire user experience. Then, up the ante on production across all channels by turning brand design into a service center that can be consumed by your cross-functional teams (i.e., marketing and sales).

I don’t have a designer on my team. What should I do?

The answer depends on the current phase your company is in: 

Pre-product-market fit companies should focus on talking to customers. You should be spending most of your time talking to users to understand their problems. You can read “Don’t Make Me Think,” “Design of Everyday Things,” and “Just Enough Research,” or watch Gary Tan’s YouTube lectures as good primers on the subject if you’re interested.

Early-market-traction companies should consider hiring contractors to help with web and brand design. At this stage, it’d be hard to justify staffing for product design unless the founding team still maintained all user research, and just needed support with UI/UX. It might also make sense to staff web design if you have proof it’s a really useful channel.

Strong-product-market-fit companies should start hiring staff designers. Think of the trade-offs for hiring full-time versus working with outside support. Think of how you’d invest into these three areas of design, and what the top goals would be from anyone you worked with to get help. Then, start staffing by hiring full-time design, freelancers, and/or working with an agency.


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How do I get started?

If you’re new to design, here are a few concrete actions and tools we recommend:

  • User research: The Aesthetic team recommends scheduling two to three user research interviews each week, ideally at the end of the week so you can also do usability testing on new features from the week.
  • Take notes and record sessions: Make sure to take notes and record any user research interview sessions. Do an affinity mapping exercise to formalize your learnings. We recommend Fullstory for recording app and website user sessions.
  • Design your website: We love Webflow for this phase.
  • Iterate on your brand design: Aesthetic uses Figma for all of our marketing template designs, and the Adobe suite for developing our (vector based) brand identities. Depending on the specific tech stack, there’s a wide variety of solutions for helping deploy design systems to enable reusability and consistency across your product teams. Figma’s collaboration and animation support is second to none.

At this point, you should have a better understanding of the three major types of design your early-stage startup should focus on.

The post 3 Types of Design Your Early-Stage Company Should Focus on appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Do I have to register as a company?

Hey guys, I’m making an SaaS app. I’m currently learning to program to start making it. I live in the UAE, which has no taxes but has company registrations that cost up to $ 20,000. With the cheapest one costing $ 6,000. I would have to get the $ 20,000 one when it’s time to hire. I was wondering if I could wait until I could afford the $ 20,000 with the revenue from the app and not waste 6 grand when it’s needed the most. Is it possible? Thank you!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

How to identify the decision maker at a company to sell a domain

 Domaining Tips: Today: The best domain parking companies in 2020 / AngelCity.com sold for $ 60,000 / The benefit of investing into numeric domains / and more… Here are the new discussions that caught my eye in the domain community today: Want to buy a pronounceable 4L .com Names – Budget: Up to $ 1,000.00 – Be sure to […] The post Ho…
Domaining.com

Warm Intro Blurb (About me or the company?)

Hi I am reaching out to friends and connections to get intros to investors and am unsure about what to write to my connections. Should I include a blurb that they can forward? and should the blurb be about me or the company? I had assumed that most of the details about the company would be in the follow-up email that i will send once i am introduced.

Will their intro email be short and sweet? ie "i know this person from x and i recommend them because of y" or is their email expected to be a pitch of the company itself.

Seems like a very confounding and antiquated process.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

How to start a company

Hi,

I want to keep this simple. I want to start a company now, even though I wont really be doing much with it. I am learning iOS Dev right now and have a few app ideas. Before I build and publish anything I want to start an official company that would be mine. What steps do I need to do to accomplish this? I searched google for a while, but all of the articles are like have a business plan in mind and how to start marketing…like I don't care about that. I just want to have a company to my name and establish it through the state of Delaware. If I am being unclear (which I'm sure I am) please let me know to clarify anything! Thanks guys.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!