Dr. Sarah Qureshi On the Brink of An Aerospace Marvel

Dr. Sarah Qureshi is a force to be reckoned with as she sets out with a team to introduce a sophisticated new feature into the aerospace universe. Born and raised in Islamabad, Qureshi recalls having been raised by a family that valued and encouraged education. She grew up inspired by a mother who possessed a PhD in Quantum Chemistry and a father who tirelessly made a name for himself as a prominent Physicist and Scientist.

She completed her bachelor’s in Mechanical engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology and pursued a Master’s in Aerospace Dynamics and a PhD in Aerospace Propulsion, both, from Cranfield University, UK. In conversation with NIC, Qureshi recalls:

SQ: I was very focused and clear about my ambitions from a very young age. After graduating as an engineer and while working in the automotive industry in Pakistan I started to learn flying. I obtained my Private pilot license in Pakistan. During my time at Cranfield University which had its own airport, being the hub of aerospace in Europe I learnt acrobatic flying (loop, spin, hammerhead, barrel roll etc.) of which the most exciting and challenging maneuvers was spinning the aircraft and then recovering it from the spin.

RK: What continued to inspire or motivate you to actively pursue and then retain interest in this field?

SQ: Aviation is a passion; you either have it or you don’t. It is not something you do to make a profession. It has to be pursued deliberately and fervently.

RK: As a woman, it is unheard of for someone to go into aviation. Could you describe people’s response?

SQ: I realized that a lot is happening to support women. There are ample women willing to put in the effort; it is the society’s attitude that needs to be amended. Secondly, if we want women to be more involved and contributive, we need to accept children as part of the package. The arrangement cannot be exclusive. Women have a greater risk appetite and can therefore undertake cutting edge endeavors.

RK: Aside from external support, did your exposure as a child play a part in choosing aviation?

SQ: Yes, the environment at home and having my father in this profession helped a lot. I worked in the automotive industry and as a student I used to work on engines and machines with my father. I also did a few internships at automobile and engineering plants where I got a lot of hands on practice on the factory floor. Besides even as a child my father had his private set up and both my parents were very involved in teaching us ever since our school days.

RK: Where would you say the inspirational force behind Aero Engine Craft lies?

SQ: A major part of this work was also carried out in Pakistan with the support of my father who acted as an external supervisor for the research. That is how my father came up with this breakthrough invention that was granted two international patents. I further developed the entire engineering model for it during my PhD research. I was offered a university studentship for my masters and PhD. This particular problem was given to me as a research question for my PhD thesis by my supervisor Prof. Pericles Pilidis in 2012.

RK: There are always many roadblocks in the process. Did they ever feel like a hindrance towards your goal?

SQ: Roadblocks are a part of pursuing your passion. I went for my PhD after my marriage and had to return to Pakistan after one year when my daughter was born. I continued my PhD for a while in Pakistan working at home while caring for a very young child. When I returned to the UK my family was here, I was a single mother there and the challenges of that are completely different.

Even as a young girl going into factories, I met with discomfort. However, I do believe the support outweighed the distress and most people treated me professionally. I was the only girl in my undergrad engineering class and I often felt like an outcast; one girl amongst 60 boys. But since I don’t find it in me to give up and because I was so supported, I was overwhelmed by the assistance and never felt hindered.

RK: How challenging was it to balance being a mother and being in this field?

SQ: It was very challenging. Your whole world shifts. You are no longer a single entity. But I believe that when you start something there is a lot of inertia which is why if you begin during the good, you can drag it through the difficult. That is how it was for me. I remember a meeting with my supervisor while I was expecting and I was asked when the baby was due, I said “tomorrow” (laughing).

RK: Since the idea was developed abroad, did you ever feel like you should’ve stayed in the UK?

SQ: I was offered to stay there. The response there was excellent and the resources and workspace is incredible. Pakistan lacks the infrastructure and in the UK, the stage is pretty much set for you. You just need to do your bit of work; here in Pakistan everything needs to be done from scratch. You need to first set your own stage before you even get a chance to perform. But that makes your learning curve very steep and it’s a very enriching experience. So, coming back was a personal choice. Pakistan is our identity, this is where we belong and the kind of acceptance and support there is extended here, can’t be found elsewhere.

RK: At NIC Lahore, how has it been for you to work in the facility and with the NIC team?

SQ: It was wonderful. I don’t think anything is possible not just without team effort, but without team credit as well. I was lucky enough to not just be supported by my family but be provided a space by NIC that allowed me to work as per my convenience. I can bring my daughter here and work at my own pace and comfort and I value that a lot amongst other things. NIC enabled me to commercially launch my company Aero Engine Craft (pvt) Ltd as a three-generation startup co-founded by my father and named by my daughter. I would like to acknowledge everyone who has been a part of this journey.

RK: As a pursuer of dreams, when do you think you’ll feel the target of your passion is met? What’s the future?

SQ: The future is going to take time because I am aware of the journey I am on. I want to be able to create awareness through it and I know that deep down I am an environmentalist and I want my engine to benefit society and humanity. When all the engines in the world use this technology, and we are able to counter global warming and save the planet, I will feel like the target is met.

RK: Is there any message or food for thought you’d like to leave young entrepreneurs with?

SQ: Value time. It has its worth just like money.  My time now has a price because of what I am trying to accomplish. Don’t be frugal with time, make it mean something. Do not follow the trend, rather follow your aptitude and passion; that is where you will be able to excel.

The current team;

  1. Sarah Qureshi – Founder and Chief Executive Officer (Aerospace Engineering)
  2. Masood Latif Qureshi – Founder, Inventor and Chief Technology Officer (Design, Engine Development, Manufacturing and spin-off Inventions)
  3. Pericles Pilidis _ PhD supervisor and Academic Collaborator (Jet Engine Technology)
  4. Romana Qureshi – Combustion Chemist
  5. Hassan Waqar – Aeronautical Engineer; Aircraft Performance
  6. Saif Ul Malook – Mechanical Engineer ;Computational Fluid Dynamics
  7. Abdul Ghaffoor –Technician
  8. Tassaduq Hussain- Machinist
  9. Adnan Arif –Network Engineer
  10. Noor Khurram – Data Manager
  11. Shermeen Ahmed Khan- Consultant; Finance
  12. Asim Naseer-Consultant; Business Development
  13. Zahra Qureshi- International Business Collaborator
  14. Adil Zeshan- Technical Writer and Content Developer
  15. Maryam Khan – Developer; Contrail Trading Methodology
  16. Wali Ali – Developer; Artificial Rainfall Model
  17. Hamza Mehmood – Graduate Intern; Manufacturing
  18. Adil Habib – Undergraduate Intern ;Aviation Systems
  19. Omar Nazir – Undergraduate Intern ;Environment and Climate
  20. Nida Rasheed – Graphic Animator

NIC Lahore Batch 2 – A Recap

On January 10th, the National Incubation Center Lahore hosted the second investor’s summit for the graduating batch. The Summit is committed to making genuine and reliable contributions to the entrepreneurial community. NIC offers the perfect platform for networking as it brings together entrepreneurs and investors within Pakistan. The investors included 43 ventures, Fatima Ventures, Khurram Zafar, Almas Hyder, Usman Sabir, Umer Shah and several others. Each start-up was allowed 3-4 minutes to make their pitch – a fruit of their 4-month long incubation journey with the facility. The pitches included a demonstration of learnt skills, business models and financial ask.

Several raised the interest of the investors present hoping to secure a deal and promise themselves a more profitable future. NIC is a believer of providing opportunities to entrepreneurs and the investor’s summit is perhaps the most sought after event of our program.

30 start-ups were incubated in categories of Health, Education, Energy, Water and Agriculture.

Out of the 30, 15 start-ups graduated and were given the chance to present their pitches to investors.

The 15 start-ups included:

  1. Entertainment Pakistan

  2. Paycard

  3. Big Bytes

  4. MittiGhar

  5. Comic Con Pk.

  6. The Support Group

  7. Roady’s Café

  8. Mawazna.com

  9. Careerz360.pk

  10. Ilm Rohi

  11. Vceela

  12. AgriMart

  13. TrashMasti

  14. Home Innovation and

  15. RADA Technologies

Design Thinking

The graduation marked the end of a 6-month long journey inclusive of training sessions and one-on-one mentor-ship. Every start-up was given the opportunity to start their journey with a ten-day entrepreneurial development program. Soon after, they attended a 5-day workshop with the internationally acclaimed Shahid Khan and his design thinking workshop.

Industry Tour

The start-ups were also given a chance to visit the industry and learn from entrepreneurs in the business world, first hand. During the 3-day industry tour they interacted with and sat in sessions conducted by names like Daftarkhuwan, Fatima Ventures, Shakarganj and others.

Mentor-ship

Apart from the above events, the start-ups were regularly exposed to international and local mentors who provided them insight into the many facets of the entrepreneurial world so they may be equipped to step out. They attended sessions with lawyers, marketers, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, social media experts, website designers, investors and financial leads so that the start-ups may understand the many branches of their business and cater to them all, effectively.

What we Stand For

NIC Lahore believes in ensuring that the very best deal is provided to the start-ups. To ensure a decent impression is made, the 6-month long journey was tiresome indeed but productive for those who served the purpose well, invested their energies and were dedicated to ensure they meet the prerequisites set by the facility. Whether it was a 5-year plan or the drafting of an investment brief, the highly acclaimed trainers of NIC Lahore equipped all the start-ups to the best of their abilities before they were given the floor to make their pitches to potential investors.

NIC Lahore believes in providing opportunities to the start-ups to the best of its abilities. The investor’s summit marks the end of a start-up journey and commences the start of a business venture. We wish to continue serving the entrepreneurial community by incubating and producing more deserving entrepreneurs with revolutionary business ideas.

Clever UI/UX Design trends for 2019

Websites have always been getting revamped by the makers to ensure they stay up to date and continue meeting the standards of the users. Because of this reason, websites today come nowhere near the websites that existed even a few years ago. Back in the day, when a website was created – the primary incentive was to get as much information on there as possible. The user and their needs were never taken into consideration. However, now; when a website is created the attention span and interest of the user are the driving forces behind content and design.

Website makers and business owners now spend months researching the psyche of the customer before they put out a final product to ensure maximized results. If you have to design a website, then here are some clever design trends for 2019 you should keep in mind to.

Credible Design

A well designed website never grows old. It plays a pivotal role when controlling and modifying the emotions of the user. It can persuade users to respond to the website in a certain way. This means the ease with which users can find their way within the website and how engaging it is in terms of content and display of information.

A good example to look at would be Amazon. Their use of patterns and the display of products on their webpage is what keeps urging and persuading users to click the “purchase” button. They simplify it even more by offering their customers the ability to purchase an item with just a single click. This kind of ease on a website has long lasting impacts on the users and becomes the primary reason why they keep returning to the website.

Recent psychology has proven to be a very useful tool in order to enhance the use of website design. Implementing this as a core of your design can help you validate the use of certain features once they’ve been proven to be popular amongst customers.

It can also help develop new theories and serve as a form of research to make up for deficits.

The Illusion of Control

It is the primary job of a good designer to translate his day to day interactions with people into the design they create and that is accomplished through control. This is how they can ensure a positive response from the people; by observing their response to the environment. A good designer is one that enables a sense of control through the design of their website. As human beings, the innate desire is to feel control in all circumstances. Through this illusion of control, a sense of mobility through motivation can be triggered within the users.

When designers take over the control and drive the user motivation they can gain the kind of responses they are looking for. This targeted motivation forces users to engage with the provided content in front of them.

Conclusion

There are a lot of stats that can help designers and website makers identify where they stand in the eyes of their customers.

However, it is only the use of clever design hacks driven out of human psychology that can truly maximize the results.

The Importance of Deadlines for Entrepreneurs

There are several elements that work for regular employees but cannot be applied to entrepreneurs. However, what stays relevant and significant for both are deadlines. Deadlines are imperative when it comes to setting and achieving goals. For entrepreneurs, it is imperative that their deadlines be strategically specific and not capricious. It is only then that they can allow one to excel towards their goal and experience small wins on the daily as opposed to always stressing about bigger goals set for a longer future.

However, not exhibiting or following deadlines with a clear head can backfire. Some entrepreneurs get stressed and react whereas others get so caught up in the deadlines that they neglect major business priorities. For business newbies it is important to learn how to do things effectively. Deadlines can be daunting, but they can also excite, inspire and give your team the motivation and purpose. Here are some reasons why deadlines are important for entrepreneurs:

  1. You become liable for your goals

It is imperative for entrepreneurs to take the sole responsibility of several aspects of their business in order to ensure things ensue in the right direction. Deadlines have the power to grab one’s attention and that is how they define the varying levels of importance set for different tasks. Hence, regardless of who sets the deadline, if the objective is singular, it instills a strong sense of liability for attaining goals.

  1. They encourage positive impetus

Strategically set deadlines ensure entrepreneurs work towards meeting them. Approaching a deadline often spurs emotions and that is what induces in them the desire to act upon their feelings thus meeting or evading a deadline. Meeting deadlines instills a strong sense of positive impetus because it translates as a success. It enables entrepreneurs to believe in them and get excited for bigger deadlines. Despite the magnanimity of a deadline; meeting one is always positive.

  1. They tend to instill Creativity.

For entrepreneurs who feed on success, deadlines become a challenge that forces them to engage with their work creatively. They see deadlines as an opportunity for them to prove their own worth. It has been recorded that renowned individuals like Steve Jobs were known to set unattainable deadlines, primarily to set a singular objective for his team and force them to think creatively to meet it. Deadlines should be used to fuel creativity and should not be leveraged by entrepreneurs looking to remain motivated.

  1. They help Prioritize

When one sets a deadline, it helps them value not just their time but the time of everyone involved. It helps entrepreneurs struggling to make it big to organize and manage themselves and therefore, prioritize tasks not just for themselves but for their entire team. This is what enables them to keep the momentum going and not meet a standstill when it comes to meeting bigger deadlines that matter. Deadlines help say no when one feels like they’ve been stretched too thin.

  1. They keep you on your toes

Deadlines are a great way to identify what needs to be said yes to and what needs to be ignored. Setting a deadline helps entrepreneurs say no to various tasks and thus never compromise on the quality of the work being done. However, it is important to not slack and say “no” to pressing tasks out of sheer laziness. Setting deadlines to meet the expectations of the clients ensures that you stay on your toes. Additionally, it also ensures that entrepreneurs make only those promises that they can deliver. As an extension, this teaches them the integrity to run their business.

  1. They allow space for small failures and successes

For entrepreneurs with a team in place, it is significant to delegate. Seeping into everyone’s decision making process can become quite problematic and can only add to unnecessary delays. Therefore, as an entrepreneur or the founder of a business, one must allow the space for small failures and successes merely to identify what type of deadlines work for everyone. This helps establish and set productive, effective and strategic deadlines for everyone in the team, in the long run.

  1. Meeting Deadlines Builds Buoyancy

When one starts meeting small deadlines on a regular basis, it tends to establish a strong sense of faith and belief in one’s team in the long run. It equips entrepreneurs to approach bigger and more important deadlines with a strong sense of buoyancy. This is very effective in inducing customer happiness and enables more team members to take on more responsibility.

  1. Helps Assess Success

There is no denying that meeting deadlines helps entrepreneurs assess the calculable progress of their business. It helps them assess their own performance and the performance of their team members.

There are many opportunities that exist in the entrepreneurial world. These vary from international grants to opportunities that can change the face of a small business as we know it. Setting deadlines and approaching them seriously allows entrepreneurs to meet more significant deadlines in an organized and strategic manner and that is what helps them upscale their business.

The Urban Youth Project Award Ceremony

On November 12th, 2018; the National Incubation Center (NIC LUMS) alongside British Asian Trust (BAT) and Citi Foundation hosted the award and cheque distribution ceremony to mark the pilot of the Urban Youth Project.

Out of the 60 trained micro-entrepreneurs under this project, 13 were invited to the NIC facility to be given cheques ranging between 100,000 to 200,000. These micro-entrepreneurs included:

  1. Muhammad Faisal and his electricity store.
  2. Rabia Ashiq and her school.
  3. Shagufta Parveen and her academy.
  4. Salma Gilani and her academy.
  5. Muhammad Waqas and his mobile store.
  6. Shazia Zafeer and her school.
  7. Fatima Tabassum and her medical lab.
  8. Shahista Waheed and her school.
  9. Sidra Shehzadi and her beauty salon.
  10. Aneela Jaffer and her store.
  11. Hafiz Mudassar and his fast food chain.
  12. Huzan Arshad and his academy.
  13. Sheheryar Manzoor and his cosmetics and jewelry store.

The event was conducted at the National Incubation Center’s auditorium with more than a 100 guests from various institutes present to honor and commemorate the efforts of the young micro-entrepreneurs.

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari; Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was present as the Chief Guest.

Director NIC, Faisal Sherjan addressed the audience and the media informing them of the inspiring and overwhelming experience of working with the micro-entrepreneurs. LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad spoke of the importance of empowering the youth; followed by a brief documentary that provided insight into the journey of these young minds.

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari, in his concluding remarks highlighted that through projects like UYP, LUMS NIC has contributed a great deal to ameliorating the circumstances of the youth and serving the bottom of the pyramid communities and that is bound to have lasting impact on the future of the country. He further, commented, “It is heartening to see the high results this group of entrepreneurs has delivered given the right mentorship and opportunity. I hope the British Asian Trust, Citi Foundation and NIC Lahore continue investing in Pakistan’s youth so they can fulfil their potential.”

The evening ended with dummy cheques being presented to the recipients as each recalled their excursion and shared anecdotes on how NIC contributed to their development.

It was an inspiring sight to behold as their hard work paid off in the form of an investment that allows the growth of not just their business but their self-worth and financial standing as well.

The National Incubation Center stands firm on the belief that those with a potential must be mentored to entrepreneurial heights. It recognizes dedication, conviction and the motivation the youth possesses and often struggles when looking for opportunities and platforms that would identify that eagerness and willingness to grow.

The Urban Youth Project is merely a stepping stone in the right direction to enable the youth for a brighter and more stable tomorrow.

 

UX for Online Business – A Short Series

Series 1: 7 UX tips to Convert Visitors to Users

When it comes to making a sale, whether you run a conventional market or an online one; it all boils down to user experience. Without one’s users, their business is as good as dead. Here is an analogy to help you understand online user experience; when people walk into a shoe store, they walk in with certain qualitative expectations.

This is why, if upon arrival they find it difficult to locate what they’re looking for and no one there to assist them, they are most likely going to walk out disappointed and with a promise to never return. This is the kind of impression that has a lasting impact on them. This is exactly how it is for those who run online businesses. An online user’s experience boils down to how they felt when they clicked your link.

Here are 7 highly effective and useful UX tips for all the people who earn or want to earn a livelihood through their online business:

  1. The Landing Page

To boil it down further, this is specific to the upper half of the front page. When a new user comes across a website, it takes them just a few seconds to decide whether or not they will stay on or not. This is the very reason why the above-the-fold space of your home page is imperative.

The incentive behind bringing a new user to this page is to encourage them to want to look around and scroll. The best way to achieve this is to ensure your design is highly interactive. Do not cram a lot of information in the above-the-fold space. This is the make or break space that allows the visitors to decide based on experience if they will become a user or not.

  1. Keep Things Simple and Familiar

It has been recorded by Google AI blog that visitors often take less than 50 milliseconds to decide if they will continue scrolling through a website or not. That is far less than the time one takes to even blink. To ensure these seconds work for your benefit, it is always recommended to keep the design fairly simple and familiar for the visitors to understand and maneuver through.

If a visitor is having a hard time just locating things on their page or getting distracting by all that is happening, they are most likely to not return. Keep is easy for the visitors to move through and click around to explore as much as they can and have an experience that makes them return each time.

  1. Don’t Make Things Too Long

A lot of the times businesses make the ridiculous mistake of turning text as a fluff needed to fill in the gaps. The easiest way to identify whether or not people read big blocks of text is to observe yourself. How often do we read pages upon pages of policies? Almost never.

The 21st century generation is one of bullet points and visuals. You are required to use this to your benefit. Write bullet points that catch the attention of the visitor. This does not mean you stick purely to text or to visuals – the intention is to be able to find the right balance. If you feel there is a lot of text that is important for them to know, break it down and use it in small portions that are easy to read. Embolden the words that you think will catch their attention and force them to read what needs to be read.

  1. To all the copywriters

When it comes to introducing what product it is you are selling, do not dilly dally with your language. Keep your language simple and clear. Confusing your visitors won’t do you any good.

  1. Make Forms Friendlier

When it comes to filling out forms, you have to take into consideration the ease of the user. Do not start your website with the form. It is important that the user develop some sort of amicability with the be website. In that regard, place the link for the form at a point where you believe conversion is possible the most.

  1. Study Conversion Based on Devices

An example to follow to increase conversion rates is the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly. The main reasons why this happens is because they immediately provide their users with useful details that help the retailers make quick decisions. This is the kind of impact your business you have on the people visiting your website for the first time. It is important for online businesses to know the upgraded rates of conversion based on the device being used. This allows them to be better prepared. People using smartphones is often beneficial for businesses.

To simplify this thought further, one must question what makes consumers to buy something using a smartphone? Because of the ease and convenience, smartphones are preferred over desktops, however for purchases, only desktops are used. Therefore, to increase conversion rates, online businesses must understand the audience’s requirements using smartphones.

  1. Sustaining Conversion

Only if your visitors and users have had a good experience will they click on the call-to-action posts. It is important that the little things be taken into consideration. Thank your users for sticking around, encourage interaction, inform your users by recommending products and also provide incentives like freebies to show appreciation.

And to Wrap it Up!

It never hurts to learn, unlearn and then put to use what has been learnt.

Startup weekend 2018 – Sign up Now!

One of the most prodigious startup competitions of Pakistan is back! This time around it’s even bigger and better than before. Fifty-four hours of intense competition, coupled with an unparalleled entrepreneurial learning experience, await you at Startup weekend 2018.

The event would be held at NIC Lahore, from 16th to 18th November 2018.

Techstars Global Startup weekend, powered by the tech-giant Google, is an internationally recognized competition that offers a platform to the budding entrepreneurs to present their creative ideas, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and execute their plans.

National incubation center (NIC) opens the doors to the vast entrepreneurial world. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with the renowned and adept entrepreneurs of the industry, and subsequently augmenting their team-building and networking skills.

Wining team is honored with a chance to convert its ideas to reality through a fast track incubation at NIC itself!

DAY 1

Being a 3-day event, startup weekend’s first day would kickoff with the participants checking in, followed by an opening ceremony where guests and speakers would reminisce their past experiences regarding the event.

After that, participants would pitch an idea in 60 seconds, and through voting, 20 to 30 ideas would be qualified for the remaining rounds. Day 1 would come to an end with a scrumptious dinner.

Day 2

On the second day, the remaining participants, now in teams, would be exposed to rigorous counselling and mentoring sessions with acclaimed entrepreneurs and coaches.

This would entail an unprecedented experience of building effective and coherent business models under their guidance.

Day 3

On the third and final day, the participants would present their business models in front of a panel of reputable judges, followed by a critical Q&A session. The third day would finish with the dinner and a closing ceremony where the names of the winners would be disclosed. NIC would award the winners with an incubation opportunity at its highly-specialized and capacious, internationally recognized, entrepreneurial facility.

Besides the incubation opportunity, Startup weekend offers a plethora of benefits to the participants. Through networking, they would be interacting with the brightest minds of the entrepreneurial milieu. Being an internationally-recognized prestigious event, Startup weekend allows its participants to compete with the contenders from other startup weekends around the globe.

Some of the judges and coaches from past events include notable names like Zafar Khan (CEO Sofizar), Shayan Zaeem (Co-founder Caramel Tech Studio), Sajjad Kirmani (CEO Infogistics), Tosheeba Sarwar (Founder Management Outfit), and Amena Hasan (CEO Business for Social Progress), Faisal Sherjan (Director National Incubation Center, Lahore), Huamyun Mazhar (Founder, Chairman, CEO CresVentures) etc.

The venue for the event is NIC Lahore. The National Incubation Center Lahore (NIC Lahore) is a first of its kind Incubation & Acceleration platform, launched under the public – private partnership of Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom, IGNITE, Fatima Ventures & Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

It provides state of the art facility established to nurture startups during their early phases whereby they provide affordable space, shared office spaces and included services, hands-on management training, marketing support and, often, access to financing.

The registrations for the event is open and the entire registration process can be accessed online.

To register: https://www.facebook.com/276793985720254/posts/2258612317538401/

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/startupweekendlahore/

#TGSW #SWLHR

Dangers for Startups – Recruiting Friends as Investors

Usually when startups go into business they decide to trust their family and friends as long-term investors. Stats have reported that a huge percentage of these startups receive more than 50 billion dollars’ worth of investment from their family and friends.

On the one hand, getting your family and friends to invest in your idea is advantageous in many personal and legal elements. On the other hand, there are several factors that overrule the advantages and make recruiting family and friends as investors a step into the dangerous territory.

When family and friends invest in your startup, equity will immediately be divided to ensure equal shares. Over or under evaluation is often a possibility that can lead to legal penalties. Following are some of the things that need to be considered gravely when stepping into the dangers of recruiting relatives:

  1. The Pressure is Far Too High

If your relative wishes to invest their life’s savings in your idea, that is probably not a good idea. When you know what is at stake from the investor’s end added the personal relationship, the pressure becomes far too high. The pressure to be able to return the investment in the form of profit can drive you to take decisions that may not be fruitful in the long run thus jeopardizing the whole process altogether. A small scaled investor may not put that kind of pressure on you and often allows the startups the space needed to grow at a reasonable pace.

  1. Their Involvement May be Bothersome

When family members become investors, the boundaries get blurred. Therefore, their investment in your idea has the tendency to exceed the monetary limitations. They often require constant updates and even expect their involvement to be imperative in the decision-making process.

Even though, it is reasonable to keep them informed; their involvement in the day-to-day may become problematic. Investors with extensive experience are often allowed interference in business decisions of startups because of what they might bring to the table. Allowing relatives that level of participation can be more damaging than helpful.

  1. Strengthen the Business Idea

It is imperative that your business plan be a strong one, especially when dealing with relatives. Often relatives don’t push us to the extreme we would like to be pushed at. They overlook loopholes an outsider investor may not. This is a deceptive fault that can be detrimental for the business when it comes to profit and longevity.

  1. Don’t promise what can’t be delivered

Just because you are excited about the venture you are endeavoring on, it does not mean you promise what you cannot accomplish. More so, when relatives invest money in your idea, they must be informed of all possible risks and downfalls. Not only is this important to ensure their expectations are not exceeded but also to ensure your relationships do not get damaged.

  1. Avoid putting relationships at stake

There is no surprise in the fact that sometimes businesses fail, and ideas do not work out as anticipated. When something like this happens, you may be unable to return the money to the investors. It is important to always anticipate a possible downfall when getting into a new business venture. Also, voice your anticipations honestly to your investors.

There are many advantages to hiring investors from the outside as opposed from within your social and familial circle. Hire a lawyer as well as they may be able to guide you better when looking for tangible and profitable investments.

When to Boost Posts on Social Media – A Guide Startups

If you have a startup or a full-functioning business with a social media profile, then you are probably aware of the “Boost Post” button. The purpose why this button is made available is to help businesses increase their overall reach. However, when it comes to boosting a post, selecting which to boost is a predicament. More so, the amount that should be spent is also a question.

So, if you wish to boost your post on Facebook and Twitter here are answers to some of your questions.

Boosting Facebook Posts

Managing a Facebook page means you’ve often come across the system telling you that a certain post is performing better than the rest. This automatically also states that Facebook is suggesting for you to boost it. Where several people tend to ignore these notifications; they are there for a reason.

The in-built assessment feature of Facebook posts allows it to keep you informed. It keeps track of the quality of the posts and their performance on an average basis. It also often recommends how much you should be spending on boosting the post.

Facebook posting it not limited and allows the leeway to ensure a strong post is being viewed by a wider audience. Here are three ways you can boost a Facebook post:

  1. To Followers: Unfortunately, often the organic reach of certain posts is not as far reached as one would hope. For this very reason, the marketing strategies for all social media platforms keep altering. So, if you wish to boost a post to increase its reach to people who already follow you then the best options are features, updates, or events. These are elements that create hype amongst those who already know what you’re doing.
  2. To friends of followers: If you wish to increase your number of followers then this type of boosting needs to be considered. Pick your best post and boost it so that it appears on a non-follower’s page and is intriguing enough to get them to follow you.
  3. To selective group of people: If your post is getting a lot of shares, boost with a wider audience based on select criteria.

Important Boosting Hacks

It is always a bad idea to boost a post right after you’ve posted it. It is always a smart idea to wait for at least 3 days before pressing that button. Oftentimes, people decide to not boost a post if it did not organically manage to get any notifications. Just because Facebook did not inform of that a certain post is doing well, it does not mean you shouldn’t boost it. Keeping track of the insights can help learn which post is reaching how many people.

It is always a smart idea to boost videos mainly because it is the most engaging kind of content one produces. Text only posts are often limited to a certain type of audience. However, posts that are videoed or have graphics automatically intrigue more people just because they are visual.

However, this does not mean that you don’t put out any text whatsoever. The credibility of a page often relies on the content that is being produced whether you choose to boost it. It is always a smart idea to boost those posts that are original. Where sharing posts by other pages isn’t a bad idea, it does not have the desired impact. It is always smarter and more effective to boost a post that is exclusive to your page.

The goal of boosting a post is to get your brand in front of more eyes; therefore, what you’ve created wholly should meet more eyes.

Budgeting your Boosts

Boosting costs of a post are not as high as one would expect. You can set a daily budget for yourself and ensure you’re meeting that benchmark. Boosting a post is often better than ads because of the time allowed to use the former. Ads limit you to a certain sum monthly limiting your overall budget. So, for startups who do not wish to invest a great deal, boosting a post is a great way to go about marketing your product or service.

Boost with A Resolve

It is important to have a proper marketing strategy regardless of the platform where you choose to market. Knowing when to spend the money and where to spend it, is a big plus especially for startups who already have a limited budget to begin with. It is irrelevant and will be lost in vain if you boost posts without a final resolve in mind. Set an objective or a goal for yourself; it can be as simple as gaining 100 more followers after boosting a post.

There are many ways one can gain traffic in an organic way. However, where investment is needed it should be made but with a clear head and with an objective in mind. If you can witness the strength in one of your social media posts, make the smart call and boost it.

The Importance of a Sales Strategy for a Startup

Any business or company that designs a product or service, must at one point sell it. Often when businesses are in their startup phase they focus on not just developing the product but on marketing as well. Lost in the above two steps, they often overlook and fail to provide the required attention to sales. This is something that can be detrimental to the growth of their business.

Therefore, it is important for companies to invest the same amount of effort on developing a strong sales strategy. There is no denying that a well-orchestrated marketing strategy places a business and its services on the roadmap to visibility, a sales plan allows them to make profits out of their product. The gist of a good sales plan must include:

  1. Acquiring new customers.
  2. Retaining previous customers and
  3. Making more sales.

This article answers some of your pressing concerns that must have arisen during the Sun Tzu and Sales Panel discussion arranged by NIC.

Why Must you have a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is more focused on acquiring new customers and therefore must be developed keeping that in mind. This allows you to understand that the targeted individuals do not know about the product and must be informed. To address their concerns from all angles, a thorough strategy must be devised. Here I what this allows you to do.

1. It improves your team’s return on investment

A plan or a strategy ensures you have the big picture in mind. It allows you to focus on obtaining new clients and identify if your current strategy works for you or not. It also allows you streamline areas that are most profitable. You can devise tactics and maximize results while keeping in mind your budgetary limitations.

2. It ensures you Hire People Beneficial to your Business

Startups often overlook the importance of hiring a good sales person. This allows you to have set goals and adhere to methods that are beneficial as well. Doing so allows you to set reasonable expectations and track your own growth over the months.

Developing A Strong Sales Strategy

To develop a strong sales strategy, you must follow the 6 steps provided below:

Priority 1: Make a spreadsheet of your customer journey and see how they behave before and after the sales.

Priority 2: Analyze the journey and come up with smart ways to reduce the cost to ensure increased customer contentment.

Priority 3: Ensure you integrate your sales plan with your marketing plan.

Priority 4: Come up with a key sales strategy and track its growth.

Priority 5: Identify a process of your sales activity and them build resources to maximize profit from it.

Priority 6: Stay patient and don’t expect immediate results. Consistency of investment will be fruitful.

If the right approach to expanding one’s business is adhered from day 1, any idea can go a long way. So, don’t ignore your sales plan and ensure all things are in order before going into business.