Mcounts – Changing Marketing

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E-commerce is all about customer acquisition and making sure that customers stick with you to make repeated purchases. This has been the underlying challenge that the e-commerce industry has been grappling with. E-commerce firms are spending a great deal of money on making sure they advertise and bring in more customers, but advertising does not promise customers!

Now, most of these firms are more than willing to pay money for any platform that can bring in customers that pay. With this thought in mind, Mcounts set out to come up with a platform through which marketing takes place and conversions happen. Well, how do you do that?

Mcounts came up with a method by which they could make marketing more meaningful. The e-commerce firms are willing to pay for marketing that brings in paying customers and marketing is successful when people trust the message being passed along. Keeping both these facts in mind, Mcounts has created a platform through which it becomes possible for anyone of us to market products that we really like and to get paid for our influence.

This makes the platform unique because not only those who are buying get a cash back but also those who are suggesting the product to be bought! And since the links come from those whom we trust and consider credible, the conversion rate would definitely be much better.

This format opens up such an incredible array of possibilities that we were extremely excited about them. The company has rolled out the website to consumers and is gaining traction on their website. The other possibility is helping events and campaigns raise money and while providing tangible benefits to those who are contributing to the campaign. The contributions come in the form of a percentage of sales contributed to the event.

We are proud to announce that Startups Club is the first organisation that is trying this method to raise funding for its Demo Day event. You can check it out here. We have great hopes from this initiative and like everything that we do at Startups Club, this is a huge experiment, let us see how it works out!

Secrets of a successful Bootstrapper

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Use the resources that are at your disposal – Often we do not even realise all of the resources that are available to us. If you dig down hard, you would find that there are plenty of things that are available for free or at a cost that is almost close to nothing. If you are enterprising enough and constantly on a look out, you would definitely find it.

There area a variety of examples depending on the nature of business that you are looking to setup. Like your aunt’s garage that is not used at all. Your cousin’s soldering iron that he no longer uses. A vehicle in the family that is not used during the day or during the night. It is not the most convenient way to do things but it saves much needed capital in the early stages.

Use your home as office as long as possible – Any space of any sort will always come with some sort of obligation/cost along with it. It is important to make sure that you do not get enveloped in obligations initially. In India, especially, parents never charge their children for the house and the best solution is to use the house as the work base as long as possible. Teams are generally small, and they can fit into one room.

Try to reduce expenses on anything and everything – If you can get some favours out of certain people or get certain things sponsored, do so shamelessly. The favours can start from something as simple as a cup of coffee to hitching a ride to some place, to staying are someone’s house when travelling to a city for work. Initially these expenses can drain you slowly and steadily, it might seem unimportant but every rupee saved is a rupee more that you have to invest on yourself.

Don’t try too hard to get the perfect people – Once you start the development of a product or service, try to get as many good people as possible to work with you without blowing up too much cash. Ideally get people who are young and hungry to work and excel. If you wait to long seeking the perfect candidate, you might loose your window of opportunity. If you are making money the perfect candidates will seek you out, even if they don’t, it would be a lot easier to recruit them.

Don’t wait to perfect your product, good enough would do – A lot of the times teams spend just too much time trying to perfect the product before they send it out into the market. No matter how much you perfect a product there is always going to be something that would kick up. That is why companies launch beta versions. Once the product/ service is good enough ship it! You can go about doing the fine tuning as you progress.

Make sure that cash flow begins – If you are bootstrapping, there is no points for making the most popular product or service, which does not generate any cash. Figure out your revenue model and get the money rolling in. That does not mean that you are profitable, it just means that you have your cash flows to bank on and not all of the operational costs has to poured into the business.

Focus on forecasting the smaller part – Figure out the lowest common denominator of your revenue model. Who is going to pay you, how much and for what? One of the biggest mistakes that most startups make is looking at the size of the industry and trying to project 1% of it and so on. It rarely adds up like that. Go bottom up.

Difficulties

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I did not write much last week because there were some difficulties. So I thought that I would write some about difficulty.

There are those who tend to believe that their life is more difficult than the others. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every person’s life is littered with challenges, the face, shape and form of it may vary; but they nevertheless exist.

I was watching an interview of Arjun Kapoor yesterday. On the surface: son of a producer, family in films, got a break and has succeeded. Looks easy, does it not. What we don’t get to see is: endured divorce of his parents, watched mother struggle, mother passed away due to cancer, overcame his obesity and made his way up without father’s help.

The challenges can be under-played but they are challenges nevertheless.

Whether you are working or starting a new ventures, difficulties are always going to be there. We realise whether we have the capacity to face it or not only when faced with the challenge.

The grass is almost never greener on the other side. Challenges always exist, there are those who overcome them and there are those who don’t.