Too less traction, no marketing budget, slow growth… the biggest challenges for every entrepreneur. Now, all together we can change that. And here is how we are going to do that.

AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

As founder of an innovative business you cannot get enough traction. Even for well connected people it remains to be a challenge – our planet is simply too big. Getting help from friends, existing customers, supporter…. is a big deal. Every comment counts. This is why we developed a very simple tool called BUZZ. You simply provide a catchy image, a good text for your friends to post – obviously they can change the text any way they want – and simply share it with their network. A good Buzz can easily add several thousands even some million incremental reach.

 

AS A SUPPORTER

In today’s digital world, most of us are well connected. “Having connection” is no longer a privilege but a standard. And now getting some news from innovative companies is something most of us enjoy getting. Connecting the dots: share what you find is interesting with your connections help your connections to be up to speed in terms of innovation and helps the innovative companies to get the word out faster.

With a tool called BUZZ, all you have to do is push a few buttons to share things that YOU think are interesting with your network via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Not every day but simply when it is interesting.

For supporter all it takes is to get to a URL like this: and start sharing. Soon we will provide buzz campaigns for the most innovative startups from around the world so we all can help them get some additional traction.

SOCIETY3’S FIRST GLOBAL ONLINE MEETING

After creating one of the most successful accelerator programs and working with entrepreneurs for the past 4 years, we decided to take our vision global. Today we are represented in 25 countries. And since we cannot bring millions of entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley – we need to do something radical different. We, the founders of Society3, are used to disrupt and make a difference. Today we begin to make a difference in how entrepreneurs in all countries get supported, treated more equally and have a chance to become a big company as if they would have started in Silicon Valley.

We need to rethink our abilities to permanently collaborate on a global scale. Creating a simple copy of Silicon valley is not going to work and definitely not the very spirit of Silicon Valley. Disrupting the main disrupter is. The digital world already holds all the necessary assets. We don’t won’t to ‘improve’ Silicon Valley but stand on it’s shoulders taking the amazing culture that was created there to an all new level.


REGISTER CON CALL EAST

Best for attendees from Europe and Asia


REGISTER CON CALL WEST

Best for attendees from Europe, Africa and Americas

AGENDA

* THE NEW EXCHANGE
Creating a global exchange for innovative minds.
How can entrepreneurs, investors and enabler benefit.
What’s our experience after 20 years Silicon valley.
How can every entrepreneur around the world leverage
global connections.

* GLOBAL ACCELERATOR
Running the first global online accelerator so every
entrepreneur can join, no matter where they are.
Main topics are: Bold visions, disruptive business models,
zero budget go-to-market strategy, traction and growth
hacking, fundraising,

* INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR EVERY STARTUP
Building the first global trading & transaction system for
young entrepreneurs using blockchain technology.
Getting business rolling into almost any country faster then
ever before imaginable – at nearly no cost.

There is no substitute for a great in person meeting, like there is no substitute for an amazing live concert. Yet we hear MP3 music every day. This online conference is about online engagements, creating a mindset for online collaboration and an experiment to create a permanently connect online ecosystem – very much like Silicon Valley.

HOW TO CREATE A SILICON VALLEY CULTURE?

Every group of autonomous people can create a culture. We are on the verge of creating an all new entrepreneurs culture and significantly increase startup success rates no matter where they are located.
We do not want to change anybody or their culture. But we want to connect those, globally, who already have a good idea about an open and sharing ecosystem where we all can learn from each other and build businesses who can grow fast, create new jobs and provide value.

On April 5 we want to talk about how we can do that and how the culture in Silicon Valley was created.
All you need is an internet connection and a way to listen and ideally talk online.

Please register here:


REGISTER CON CALL EAST

Best for attendees from Europe and Asia


REGISTER CON CALL WEST

Best for attendees from Europe, Africa and Americas

There is no charge to attend

Share your experience as entrepreneur or investor at the World Innovations Forum or any of our local events. We all need to do more to learn from each other and accelerate learning.

We are looking for experienced entrepreneurs or investors who are open to share their wisdom – both from successes and failures. Making mistakes is the best way of learning and every improvement is based on imperfection of the previous product or service.

 

WORLD INNOVATIONS FORUM

If you have experience as an entrepreneur in successfully building innovative things in the area of AI, Blockchain, Communications, Crypto Currency, Energy, Food & Agricultural technologies, IOT, Mobility, Robotics, Sensors, and related topics, share it with others. Or as a successful startup investor, help other investors to become successful too.

NATIONAL ENTREPRENEURS NIGHTS

We are conducting entrepreneurs night events in many countries and are always interested in having other entrepreneurs share their successes and failures.

 

1) Society3 & World Innovations Forum Merging
Leveraging existing ecosystem and technology platform

The World Innovations Forum is merging with Society3 and brings a global innovation and entrepreneurship event to Society3’s engagement in this space. The existing Society3 Eco-System of approximately 6,000 entrepreneurs and investors will become the immediate base also for the Forum. The existing Society3 Platform will be extended to accommodate the needs of the combined organization. The Society3 Accelerator will be made available globally to all ambassadors and their ecosystems and introduced in all 25 countries and the new countries to come.

2) Eco-System building start in Asia
Visiting 7 key Asian countries in March this year

As part of our community building focus, we will be visiting our key Ambassadors in China, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Together with them we will organize a local event, meet local startups, investors and enabler, as well as potential sponsors.

3) Blockchain & Crypto Currency
Creating a blockchain system to empower startups conduct international business at lowest possible cost

Blockchain and crypto currencies are here to stay. I didn’t quite see that when I was confronted with Bitcoin in 2009 for the first time, but now, almost 10 years later it is very clear to me that it will have a major impact and its place in our world. We already had some ideas to use a blockchain inside Society3 to accelerate international trade for startups. When starting to go global it is not only the challenge to develop connections, establish a presence and start with local engagement but almost more so it is hard to overcome the issues of trust, transaction cost at small volume, letter of credits, trade financing and more. A Blockchain is not only a fun tool but may be the only way to significantly reduce cost and accelerate trade for startups like it was never possible before. And on top of all that we start to alleviating one of the biggest roadblocks for crypto currency acceptance: lack of trading physical values rather than just speculation. Imagine when 5,000 startups become merchants. This would be 50 times as many merchants than we have today in the Bitcoin eco-system.

4) World Innovations Forum
The annual event about global innovation & entrepreneurship acceleration

Ambassadors had spoken and we decided to organize the World Innovations Forum in 2018. We are adjusting the event content and give entrepreneurs access to technology circles like best practices to start or grow AI, Blockchain, mobile or other technology related businesses or on the business side techniques to come to a disruptive business model, get financing, building up valuations and so forth. Investors will be able to join investor circle meetings discussing topics like due diligence practices, investment strategies, exit models and others for investors, Accelerator content, community building, mentorship requirements and similar content for the enabler community, and so forth.

We will verify the new event concept with startups, investor groups and ambassadors and finalize our event strategy in the next few weeks. There is a good chance that we will hold the event in the EWL Selnau (former power plant) in Zürich. It would help drive down the overall cost and is more convenient for the attendees who mostly will fly into Zürich. We estimate 200 people from roughly 20 countries to join us. See also WIForum.com

5) Local Society3 Entrepreneurs Nights
The local startup competitions of the World Innovations Forum as well as the Startup Nights from Society 3 will continue as Society3 Entrepreneurs Nights. With the experience of over 100 events in Europe and the US, all WIForum Ambassadors will benefit from merging the brands and have it easier to conduct their local events.

The joint organization results in one of the most active global innovation support organizations.

In March 2017, four startup teams graduated from the first accelerator program provided by Society3 in Switzerland. Each of the four teams worked in a Silicon Valley style program focusing on becoming the best in their category and eventually conquer global markets. Some of the teams already secured funding, others wait to gain more traction before they raise their first round.

In summer 2016, 68 teams applied for the program. After a free pitch training, they presented their story and eventually six teams have been selected to join the program. After the first week, two of the six teams did not make it to the next level. The remaining four teams went through a program of relentless execution. The focus was on solidifying their vision, create a disruptive business model, compile a zero budget go-to-market strategy, generate market traction and revenue and develop a long term capitalization strategy for their company.

Disruptive business models have shown time and time again to be the essential competitive weapon. More important than technology is the way business is conducted and customers are treated, serviced and supported after the sale. Transparent pricing models and superior processes typically beat any technology leadership as seen with Facebook/MySpace, Tesla/any other e-car, Google/Yahoo, Microsoft/Digital Research, and countless others.

The four Swiss startups all developed a level of disruption that will force any of their competitors to react to their offering one way or the other.

Artiazza

An art platform disrupting the art business by giving artists for the first time a way to participate in the value development of their art. Paintings, sculptures, or photographs sold on Artiazza have a unique identifier and can any time be resold by their own. If the owner can sell the art for more than the initial price, the artist gets a cut of the uptick. If the art gets sold again for more, the artist again gets a piece of the increase in value, no matter how often a painting, photo or sculpture changes hands. Artists will obviously prefer Artiazza over any other model as it is the first and only having the artist participate in the value development of their art.

Connexa

A online group and community platform for businesses and special interest groups. Unlike any available platform today that simply sells their platform for a license fee, the Connexa team developed monetization options for their platform to solve the budget problem most community managers have. Now rather than charging a license fee, they participate in the monetization and provide the community system for free. While there are millions of free online groups and communities out there, a community manager will rather use a free system that provides added values and allows them to monetize the system than invest in an online community which can easily run into six and seven figure license deals.

Sonect

Building virtual ATMs allowing anybody to get cash from theoretically everybody else. The disruptive business model will replace any conventional ATM. Instead of carrying the high cost of “cash-recycling”, banks can now let cash easily flown through the market without a physical hub and participates on the virtual transactions. Shops will be their first target customers, where the shop can offer cash any time to anybody and reduce their own cost of bringing lots of physical cash to the bank every day. Unlike the “cash-back” in the US and other countries, the virtual ATM solution is independent of a purchase and independent of the business that runs the virtual ATM.

Yamo

Providing the freshest baby food possible. Their disruptive business model will allow them to compete with even the largest baby food enterprises by going with their “fab-less production model”. Yamo, very much like the modern fab-less semiconductor industry can scale nearly infinite without any capital expenditure. The business model pushes the envelope of speed like never before imaginable. Baby food can now get even fresher than homemade. Baby food producer will sooner or later respond to the Yamo Business Model regardless of already spent billions in production equipment.

Axel Schultze, founder and CEO of Society3, and a serial entrepreneur who lived close to 20 years in Silicon Valley, explains: “While Society3 is an award-winning accelerator with a well thought out training camp, the key of our program and growing ecosystem is the way we think and the mindset we induce in our startups. it isn’t the technique to do something in certain ways – it is the mindset in which things get done. Startups find a space of open minded people who don’t argue why things may not work but wonder how the impossible may get done. Creating and transforming great ideas into market leading businesses through relentless execution, is only the result of such a mindset.”

The Society3 Accelerator is conducted in the Lucerne Technopark (D4). The next program is scheduled to start October 23, 2017 and startup/ scaleup teams can apply at https://society3.com/accelerator. The onboarding process will start with an introductory meeting for all applicants on August 31. Applicants get invited to a free pitch training on Oct 12 and the final acceptance will be made based on a pitch competition on Oct 17.

The accelerator is focusing on SecureTech, AutoTech, AI, Fin-Tech, Transport-Tech, LogisticsTech, FoodTech, IOT, ICT, Energy, and other society relevant innovations.

 

competing successful with enterprises - Society3

Once in a while I meet entrepreneurs with amazing ideas but they don’t know how they could compete with even the largest enterprises.

I started my first company from scratch with $20,000 and needed to compete with 3 other businesses, each $200 Million to $1 Billion in revenue – 10 years later we were market leader on a global scale ($5B in revenue)

My second company was a little more different

I started my third company right after the bubble burst and competed with two other competitors who had $70 Million and $68 Million cash in the bank from pre bubble rounds – I started with $500,000 – 5 years later we were close to acquire one but let go because the due diligence made clear there is nothing we could gain – being the market leader already.

Here is how we compete:

1) In each case we developed a disruptive business model. We completely went of the beaten path and redefined sales channels or we made payments in very different ways, provided transparency were was none, service integration in the pricing and so forth. It was the market that forced the competition to follow us and compete with us – or loose it.

2) I never competed based on technology, product functions or any of those short term win or loose features. I learned: “The best product never wins”. However we did have great technology because we had great engineers – yet it was not the winning factor in the end.

3) Business is done between people. I knew I can win more customers when I have a nicer team – and I always had a stellar team. :)

In retrospect: all big winners won with a superior business model and amazing teams.

Obviously I don’t know anything about your business and therefor it is hard to make more specific suggestions – but look at your business model and your team before you even spend a millisecond on your product when it comes to competing for market share.

A good read to make sure you can handle such a problem is the question to find great founders

There is a concept called MVP – Minimum Viable Product.

Even though the name kind of says it all, the concept “MINIMUM” – “VIABLE” – “PRODUCT” indicates that there are as few features as possible, it must kind of work and it is a product – most entrepreneurs interpret MVP as the early iteration of a product they want to build. But that is definitely not the case. Let me explain it in more details:

1) MINIMUM VP
An MVP is supposed to demonstrate your core functionality that shows how your product is different from others. And as such focus exclusively on the core mechanism and process of the new solution. If you build a self driving car, it would be perfectly OK to use an old VW beetle that may have no lights and only one seat. But if it is perfectly self steering – you made a great MVP. Try to implement as little features as possible. Every “nice to have” feature destructs unless it is absolutely necessary to show the core idea.

2) M VIABLE P
Be aware that the MVP will only be used by early adopters and need to be seen by investors and other key people. They are typically smart enough to abstract the concept and imagine where you want to take it. It just needs to show the core feature in a very solid way. It need to work over and over again. The function needs to be robust enough that anybody can envision you build the whole concept in a beautiful way later on. Equally important, let the users experiment with it BEFORE it is ready. You will want to learn as much as possible from those users to build the final product after their feedback. Redoing a product is not only much harder but a rather “ready” product may mislead users to a behavior they may not be able to articulate their pain – rather leave it open in an MVP.

3) MV PRODUCT
Make sure that you have a well thought out business model that is actually the disrupting part of your solution. EVERY business model is reflected in the MVP. If the business model is lame, your MVP will not be too catchy wither. Make the PRODUCT reflect your business model.

I’ve worked with over 100 startups in the past years and ran 5 businesses myself.

My experience – in this order: 

No. 1) Weak execution

Most failing startups could just not execute in a timely manner and/or showed a huge lack of judgment. They worked too hard on product features, too little with the market. They built too many “nice to have” features. They did not launch in time and did not work hard enough to build a use/customer base. Didn’t manage expenditures well enough. Failed to identify opportunities, failing to build strategic connection…

No. 2) No long term vision

It’s hard to convince a customer that your young startup is the right business if you just focus on your present product features. It’s hard to convince investors, partners, top talents if you can’t express where you want to take the company. 

As a result you won’t get enough traction and most likely fail.

No. 3) Superficial market/customer research

Lack of product-market fit. Very often startups develop products for themselves instead of for a large market. They keep their development too close to their chest instead of involving test customers very early on – even before they create their first prototype. The result is often to too far off from what the market needs. 

No. 4) Team weakness

No sense of urgency. Not fit enough on the technology side, not fit enough on the marketing side, not fit enough on the finance side, not fit enough on the operational side. 

5) Lack of connection power

Startup teams all too often underestimate the importance of building their own network of influential connections. Connections to influential users, influential industry groups, influential analysts, influential media, influential business alliances… Or they hope to find investors and mentors that provide those connections. In reality it’s just not working that way.

Re- money 

Many comments are made that money is one the problems. In all the cases and startups I’ve seen, lack of money never brought a startup down. Lack of funding is a function of one of the above issues – not a problem in itself. There is more money available than ever before – but the above weaknesses prevent startups to raise funding.

You have only 24 hours a day minus 10 to sleep, eat and recharge makes it 14 hours.
I assume you are tackling a large market and want to conquer the world. I also assume you want to have about 30% market share of whatever billion dollar market with roughly 20 Million potential customers.

This post was inspired by a question on Quora: As CEO and non-tech co-founder, what should I be doing before we launch while my tech. co-founder is coding?

The 14 hour day of a startup CEO

1) List building 1 hour
Start spending an hour a day to extend the list of potential customers who should test, use and buy your product once it is ready. Make the list a simple spreadsheet with first name, last name, company (if B2B), linkedIn profile, twitter name, location, interest (B2C) or title (B2B). Try to get 50 names a day (so work fast).

2) Reaching out to users 1 hour
Try to reach some of those people right away and ask them what they think about the solution you develop. Talk on the phone if possible or online otherwise, Do your very personal market research – but more importantly build connections.

3) Theoretic team building 1 hours
You will need a stellar team when going to market. Look for your best possible marketer, sales people, maybe operations, production…. Make a list, reach out get feedback more on what they think you may need and begin to be in the market. Go through groups, read news, find the top guys and make another list of those people so you can go hire them when the time is right and you don;t need to start looking when you have no more time.

4) Thought leadership building 1 hour
Craft blog posts and answer questions on Quora, write comments on other blogs and become known as a very smart person in your specific field. You may easily extend that to two hours if you have some room for it.

5) Content development 1 hour
You can do that in a few days but exhaust your creativity pretty quickly. Instead you may work a solid hour a day on content creation. Product description, video clips, website improvements, blog posts for the same, industry trends, social trends, product trends….. the sky is the limit – but you have only one hour a day.

6) Operations, processes, pricing
Think through the sales process from soup to nuts. From talking to new customers for the very first time, how they land at your business, what they need to do to buy something from you, how they pay, how you invoice, your pricing model, contracts, services, liabilities, terms of service, privacy, compliance….. an hour a day is only 7 hours a week or some 90 hours a quarter so if you are on top things you should be able to get it done.

7) Company evolution, 1 hour a day
It’s a bit limited but again, you have only so much time. So think through your product road map, bring it in alignment with your vision, weave in the feedback from the conversation with customers (see above), consider the evolution of your competition and think about how your market will evolve in general. Try to write a script book for your business scifi – what will your market, our society, your industry, the technology and your company look like in 10 years from now. Write it down, do a video clip. Solidify your vision.

8) Team building 1 hours
Spend time with your team, how they are doing, what they achieved how the product evolved and bring their work in alignment with your vision – every day. Make sure a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a indeed a MINIMUM Viable Product. Don’t allow yourself surprises “I thought you though that we thought we do this….” Know the progress. Have a chat at the water cooler too :)

9) Make yourself familiar with your market 1 hour
Read the news, be in online groups, understand who gets funded in your market, what they do, what new industry regulations may pop up, who gets quoted very often, meet the mover and shaker know exactly what is going on.

10) Prepping for alliance management – 1 hour
Create a list of potential alliance partners, No matter what you produce a new satellite, a mobile app, a new breed of avocados, new diapers or a new pizza shop – you never work in isolation so find out who are all the potential business alliances. Maybe service providers you can work with, interesting suppliers, industry organizations…. you get the point.

11) Finance & Investment – 1 hour daily
You will want to continuously work on your financials, model the future with everything you learned in the other 10 hours each day, “model and tune” it. Then start looking for investors. Make a list where you add at least one investor per day. The day you are starting to go fundraising you will appreciate that advice more than anything else – because it takes time.

12) Meet the industry 1 hour a day
Go to events, share your vision early on, be in the market talk to people. You may not do that every single day but at least twice a week. And as long as they don’t come to your office, you will need to allocate 2-3 hours for those events at least. And most likely you exceed your one hour budget per day very quickly.

13) Meditate, read a book – work out 1 hour a day
You know you will need to feed your mind by shutting completely down other than sleep – and one hour once a day is most likely just perfect.

14) Socialize one hour a day
Have breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner with somebody from your business world once a day or every other day. Just be there and listen and learn, get feedback – or help and provide insights :)

Well – now there is a ton of other things that people do: taking an hour to read emails, organizing their day, scheduling the doctor and getting ready for the weekend. Oh not to forget movies – unfortunately and as you see above – no time for any of that. Sorry.

As a tough CEO you will not allow your team more than 6 month from start to MVP. You will need to hurry to get all the above done by the time the product can hit the market.

Enjoy the ride :)

The single best resource you as a founder can – and really really should – look for, is a co-founder.

1) Solopreneurs have the least success rates of all founders
2) A stellar business focused generalist will always be at best a mediocre product creator
3) The most talented developer is probably the least likely CEO

It takes teamwork to make a dream work ;)
The best founders are co-founders

Here is the rational behind a founders team versus a solopreneur:

  1. TIMING
    While the engineer creates the product the business person prepares the market.
    If you do both at the same time it takes twice as much
  2. SOCIAL SKILLS
    One reason for solopreneurs to stay alone is that they cannot attract a co-founders. If one cannot attract partners in the company, they mot likely can’t attract business partners, customers, top employees…. definitely is not attracting investors.
  3. SHARING ATTITUDE
    Another reason to stay alone is that people don’t want to share the success with others. Also this is an attitude that is scary for investors and questionable in itself. It maybe better to stay alone but also without investors.
  4. 1+1 MIND = MORE THAN 2 MINDS
    Having two powerful and complementary entrepreneurs work together is more than double the brainpower. The evolution of joint thoughts brings an unprecedented wealth of optimization and improvements.
  5. HIRED MANAGERS
    Hiring a co-founder equivalents is absolutely not an option. In case things go wrong, the employee may quite start his or her own business and create a powerful founders team. The original founder would have no chance.

All that said, solopreneurs have the hardest time to get funding. In the past 50 years no solopreneur made it all the way to the top. Our globally interconnected business world has grown too complex for a single person to successfully conquer it. And even if one person would be able to do that, a competitor with three top notch founders will always outperform a single founder.