Big Startup Question – How do You Charge for Ideas?


A lot of what I will do for clients is based around coming up with ideas – whether that be ideas for blog, video or image based content or thoughts on how they can make better use of their digital and social media platforms. As I wind my way towards launch, I’m asking myself how I can supply ideas and at the same time ensure I receive my reward (payment!) for those.

A scenario

This will be easier to explain if I spell it out in a scenario…

I am lucky enough to be contacted by a new retail brand, they have created a set of great kitchen utensils aimed at the serious home chef. Let’s call it The Super Awesome Kitchen Utensil Co. They want my help to come up with ideas for content across various formats that will target their market and inspire them to get involved with the brand and of course, the products. I’m excited at the prospect, as retail goods, especially lifestyle orientated ones are perfectly suited to the social and digital media space.

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Diary of a new entrepreneur – Week 5 (31.08.12)

Week 5 in my startup journey and things are hotting up…

On-track for launch

I’m pleasantly surprised to say that I am still on-track for my launch date of September 10th! I always expected this to move and it may well still, but my fingers are crossed that the 10th will be the day the real fun starts!

The kindness of people

I’ve been amazed at the willingness of people to help me over the past 5 weeks. From expert tax advice to simple things like sourcing paper for stationary, I’ve been inundated with helpful offers from people with no ulterior motive other than being kind. What goes around comes around and I’m sure I’ll be able to help others in the future. A lot of this help has come from my online network and mainly via Twitter. Taking the time to build relations via social media is a no-brainer for anyone starting a business.

A deluge of junk mail

On the other hand, I’ve had a serious amount of junk mail from office supply companies, accountants, window cleaners(!), training companies etc etc all of which I am assuming have found my address via Companies House. Such a waste of paper! Of course, I am recycling it. Direct mail has zero effect on me, perhaps this is due to my largely digital persuasion, but I just find it more of an irritant than anything else.

Business cards

Does the world still need business cards? Unfortunately, I think it does and will continue to do so for a number of years. When I get a card, I input the details into my Mac contacts and then recycle the actual piece of card. I was recently speaking at an event and handed my card to a lady who used an iPhone app to scan the details and then handed me my rectangular tree-based product back. Until apps that allow us to bump phones and swap details are the norm, then I think we do have to carry cards. They can make a great statement and I spent a fair amount of time working with my designer to come up with a visual I ‘m happy with. I’ve ordered my cards on moo.com, a great service, if you want a 10% discount, use this link.

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The Big Startup Question – Are You Building a Product or a Service?

One of the biggest challenges of my startup journey so far has been defining exactly what the overall proposition my business offers/will offer. In case you didn’t know, I’m launching a digital marketing and communications consultancy. The very word ‘consultancy’ alludes to a service, however is it wise to build everything around a service basis?

Product and Service?

After much scribbling, thinking and a little bit of swearing, I’ve decided that my proposition will be split over services and products. The services will be based upon consulting, i.e. a business buying my time and access to my experience and expertise. This may never result in the actual provision of a ‘product’ as such. The other side of the coin are the products. These will be ‘off the shelf’ products that solve a particular need or appeal to those that perhaps don’t need full-on consultation style support. It may be a tricky balance to maintain, but I see no harm in testing this model out.

Intrinsic Value

I’ve not even properly launched the business yet, so to think about a time where I may wish to sell it is crazy I know (I may never of course!), but it is wise to think about the value of the business to a potential suitor. If I build the business on the services, i.e. my brain, then will it ever be attractive? Afterall, my brain is not for sale, I like having it in my head. However, if I create a careful balance of the two and build some brilliant products, then those properties are saleable.

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Diary of a new entrepreneur – Week 4 (24.08.12)

Four weeks. Wow…

Time Flies!

In the grand scheme of things, four weeks is nothing, however a lot can happen in that time and it certainly has for me. Time can slip away and I’ve been trying to take stock of what I am managing to achieve within certain time periods and bursts of focus. I’m keeping a day by day tracker of the time I’m spending on the numerous tasks required in order to get this show on the road and have found that a great help in maintaining sharp focus.

Site Taking Shape

I was presented with the flat visuals for my site yesterday and they blew me away! My designer has really captured the brief and I’m going to be proud to put the site out there as the face of my business. These things can take serious amounts of time to get right and I have to say I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been writing briefs for a long time which does help.

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Startup – How do You Stop the Sunday Buzzing Head?

Week four of my startup journey is upon me and I hardly slept a wink last night! I’m not a great sleeper but in the past couple of years I’ve managed to switch my brain off at bedtime. Last night was different…

A Million Miles Per Hour

Every little thing I need to do this week was flying round and round my brain. A lot of it was driven by excitement and the urge to just get going. I hardly slept and the funny thing is, I don’t feel shattered today (that may kick in later!). I’m not sure how to stop it happening again but in a way it was useful as it helped me prioritise my work for the week.  Pros and cons to a buzzy head!

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Diary of a new entrepreneur – Week 3 (17.08.12)

Week 3 is all but over and it has been a real education…

Admin Admin Admin

Admin is a word that nobody really likes. It rarely involves anything fun. This week I have been through some pretty important admin – registering my business for tax, VAT and as an employer. All vital tasks that did take up some serious time. Worth noting that the online HMRC system (UK) is clunky as hell and will frustrate you. There is a blend of online forms and paper forms that have to be completed in order to finalise everything. God forbid you have to phone them for any clarity – I was passed around departments and each person sounded so disinterested. Working for the man will do that to you. Once all was completed I did have a sense of accomplishment. All major admin complete! Now back to the exciting stuff…

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Video – Interview with Eric Ries

I really enjoyed the Lean Startup book by Eric Ries. This is a great interview from Techcrunch with Eric gives some great insight in to the Lean concept. Enjoy! You can buy the Lean Startup on Amazon here.

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