A Bootstrapped Startup’s Guide to Podcasting

Even if you don’t regularly listen to podcasts yourself, you’re probably familiar with the praise they’ve recently received as a marketing tool. With an estimated 73 million monthly listeners in the U.S. alone, podcasting offers today’s advertisers a new (and effective) way to reach a large number of consumers.

Consider, for example, that podcast listeners are getting through about 90 percent of a given episode – most without skipping through ads.

Unsurprisingly, advertisers have taken this as an opportunity to bet big.

Podcast advertising spending broke $200 million for the first time in 2017, and is expected to exceed $500 million by 2020.

But they aren’t just spending on ads; more and more brands are beginning to use podcasts as part of their content marketing strategies, too. Spotify, Tinder and GE, among a host of other examples, have all jumped on board with branded podcasts because, as so aptly put in a Fast Company article, “branded podcasts are the ads people actually want to listen to.”

Reaping the benefits of podcasts isn’t just limited to major companies, though. With the right approach, startups can also take advantage of this new, powerful channel to reach a wider audience and gain brand credibility.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

You don’t have to host your own show

Branded podcasts often come with a hefty price tag, which can make them a tough sell for most entrepreneurs. A full season of a branded show can cost upward of a half million dollars, and even reach seven figures for one that is very well-produced.

Fortunately, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have to host or produce your own show to take advantage of podcasts. Simply participating in the podcast ecosystem by joining other people’s shows as a guest can help you effectively reach your audience, too. The only thing you have to invest is your time.

If you’re an expert in a certain field, people want to hear what you have to say, and odds are there’s already a podcast out there that those people are listening to. With that in mind, a good way to start getting involved with podcasts is by reaching out to hosts of podcasts in your field, and offering to share some of your unique insights on their shows. Even if the shows have a small listener base, they can lead to bigger opportunities in the future.

Also, once you build up a solid repertoire of podcasts and have done the work of promoting them, people will see you as a good partner to work with and will keep inviting you back. Sometimes the results can be surprising. In my case, for example, I’ve even had people apply for jobs because they heard me on a podcast.

Your omni-channel approach shouldn’t stop at creation

While you don’t have to create your own podcasts, they can be a worthwhile investment if you do. Sephora’s#Lipstories, Basecamp’s The Distance and Drift’s Seeking Wisdom have all demonstrated how much value building your own branded podcasts can bring, even for startups and other small companies.

As such, if you do decide to create your own podcast, it’s important to make them available on as many channels as possible. For starters, your podcasts should definitely be accessible for users on smartphones, tablets or other portable devices, as these are where 76 percent of listeners tune in. Needless to say, however, you should also accommodate users who prefer listening on a traditional laptop or computer.

Similarly, the omni-channel approach should extend to the platforms on which you host and promote the podcast. For example, iTunes may be the most common platform, but it’s definitely not the easiest for the more than two billion users of Android devices. With this in mind, you should also consider hosting your shows on other platforms such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and AudioBoom, among many others.

Once your podcasts are live, you should promote them on as many platforms as possible. Embed them on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms, with the goal of creating as many touch points as you can with your audience. Couple this by asking your listeners to subscribe to your channel at the end of the show and to share with their friends. While it may be a simple tactic, it can often be the spark that gets the fire going.

You must focus on consistency and quality

Regardless of whether you decide to create your own podcasts or participate as a guest on others’, it’s crucial that you make sure your content, your hosts and your guests all align with your brand. This is not to say the podcast must be about your product, but it should be related to the story your brand is trying to tell.

Moreover, you should be sure to constantly produce fresh content. This means releasing shows regularly; whether it be once per day/week/month/etc., the aim should always be consistency. This encourages your consumers to build habits, say, by tuning in for your show every Monday morning on the way to work. Creating an editorial calendar can be a particularly useful practice to keep you accountable and prepared. It also helps to have a few podcasts recorded ahead of time to use as a buffer in case you get sick or if a guest drops out.

Finally, even if you do a video podcast, the most important thing is to focus on audio quality first. If you don’t have good audio quality, you run the risk of quickly turning off your listeners. Therefore, if you choose to invest in anything, buy a good USB mic, and be sure to test your audio first. People can forgive poor video, but poor audio is a deal-breaker. If you think about it, you’ve probably sat through a movie with a fuzzy projector, but would leave immediately if the film was hard to hear.

Despite their recent popularity, the fact remains that podcasts are a young (and often underutilized) technology, particularly for marketers. Many big brands have already begun to produce high-quality audio content for enthusiastic listeners, but there is still a lot of room for startups to up their involvement. Fortunately, getting involved doesn’t have to cost a penny – it just takes a bit of networking and an extra half hour here or there. In the end, it’ll always be worth it.

Source: Startup Nation

Secrets of Scale – Event #3 (Powered by Entrepreneur Magazine & MESH Club)

Why Vinny Lingham says you don’t need funding to launch your startup

Fellow Shark Tank investors Vinny Lingham and Marnus Broodryk unpack why you don’t need an investor to launch – and scale – a successful startup. By Matt Brown

Too many startups are impatient, and it’s one of the key reasons why they can’t scale or secure funding, says Vinny Lingham, one of South Africa’s Shark Tank investors, and the founder of Gyft, which he exited for $50 million, and Civic, an identity protection and management startup based in the US.

“If you want to achieve something great, you need a plan,” he said at the third Secrets of Scale event that we hosted at the MESH Club in Rosebank. The aim of my show, The Matt Brown Show, is to give entrepreneurs access to the top entrepreneurial minds in South Africa, unpacking their experiences and top advice, and effectively helping business owners and startups to learn from their growth journeys.

Vinny Lingham and the other panellists at the event, Jason Goldberg, founder and CEO of 10X-e and co-founder of Edge Growth; Vuyo Tofile, CEO of Entbanc Group; and Marnus Broodryk, a fellow investor on Shark Tank with Vinny and the CEO of Transaction Capital SME Services, were all able to share valuable insights around what it takes to build a startup that will scale, and why the necessity of landing a funder is a myth.

Vinny’s advice was particularly on point: “Lay the right foundations and focus on your process. Don’t be impatient. Too many entrepreneurs are trying to run before they can walk or even crawl. Be thoughtful about how you put the business together and above all, go slow. Hiring more engineers and building bigger teams doesn’t necessarily speed things up. You can’t throw money at the problem and think you’ll get there quicker. Business doesn’t work like that.”

Start with the goal in mind

In my experience, based on hundreds of interviews with top entrepreneurs, as well as building my own business and brand, there’s the business you are now, and then the business you’re becoming. You need to always be innovating and keep that end gaol in mind: What kind of business will you become?

Vinny used his own experiences with Gyft to illustrate his point. “From day one we focused on high levels of user engagement. We needed conversion rates. We focused on that first, followed by what percent of return customers we achieved, and then who bought more and more. In other words, we concentrated on the metrics, and on our customers.

“If you’re moving too quickly, you end up with a product that’s not ready, people who aren’t happy and everyone in a hurry. Most importantly, you don’t have a scalable, repeatable product and market offering that’s ready.”

However, if you focus on your customers, not only will you have a revenue stream to build on, you won’t need external funding. “Not every business can be bootstrapped,” he admitted. “If your business is reliant on a product development cycle, you need external investment. But if you have something to sell from the word go, and a runway of 12 months, you can launch without an investor.

“From there, the biggest signs that your start-up is ready to scale are a high customer retention rate and good strong lifetime value of a customer – both of which you can only determine if you’ve been operating in the market. You need to know what each customer can bring in, your profit margin, as well as that there’s only a marginal fixed cost to each additional customer.”

Putting customers – and profits – first

Jason, Marnus and Vuyo all had valuable insights to add, sharing their top lessons in scaling a startup, and echoed Vinny’s sentiments that funding is not the most important element in launching a business.

“99% of business owners don’t start with funding,” said Marnus. “They change something, tweak things here and there and find a way to get revenue from customers.

“That’s how we did. We didn’t want to be the biggest accounting firm in South Africa, we wanted to be the most profitable. We focused on our pricing and product fit and made sure that if we took the business from ten people to 1 000, we could do it with the same model.

“There’s no point in getting 10 000 people onto your platform – all based on VC funding – and then the cash runs out and you realise you can’t monetise the business. It’s pointless and it happens a lot. Scale must be profitable. You can’t keep adding people and scaling the business if the costs are so high that you can’t monetise what you’re doing. Start small, get your customers on board, and use your own revenue to grow.”

Vuyo agreed. “Too many entrepreneurs don’t focus on the product. We all want to scale, but no one starts out trying to cater for 1 billion people. You need to cater for your first 100. Focus on them and make sure they’re extremely happy. If you aren’t focusing on your first customers and they aren’t happy, you won’t grow into other markets. We scaled as a consequence of that early focus.”

“When the market comes to you, you’re ready,” added Jason. “That’s when you have a repeatable model that’s scalable. What you want is mediocre people who can do an extraordinary job through how you’ve set up the business. Once you’ve proven that over and over with very happy customers, then you’re ready to scale.”

His advice was simple. “Silicon Valley has a great analogy – are you selling a vitamin pill, or a headache pill? Your customers can stop taking a vitamin pill and they might not notice for months. If you’re selling a headache pill though, they notice every minute without you. Your customers must feel pain in the absence of your solution – and no one else must be able to take away that headache as quickly or conveniently as you. Shift away from product-based pricing to value based pricing. What is taking the headache away worth?”

Focus on your business

“Don’t waste your time on investor meetings,” was Vinny’s final word to the entrepreneurs in the room. “The percentage of deals closing is extremely low, and it’s a total distraction. You spend so much time chasing investment that you aren’t concentrating on your startup.

“Focus on your business. When you get your KPAs right, you know what your north star is, and you have your metrics, then investors will come to you. Raise as little as possible at the right price at the right time. The wrong price at the wrong time can actually damage your business.”

VIDEOS & PODCAST

PART 1 – BUILDING THE AEROPLANE

This segment will be the majority of our focus and will cover practical “how to steps” for scaling your business. We’ll be revealing how to design a scale ready business and walk you through common pitfalls that all entrepreneurs will encounter as they “build the aeroplane” and how to avoid them. We’ll also reverse engineer how to design a scale ready business from a 150 strong team all the way down to a 5 person team.

PART 2 – BUILT FOR WINTER

This segment is all about how to ensure that you remain profitable as you scale. We’ll unpack how to bring different revenue streams, partnerships and products/services to together to help you weather any storm.

PART 3 – SCALE BLUEPRINT

In this segment we’ll explore the systems that can help you scale, how to automate repetitive processes and outsource non-essential tasks and how to design a business that makes more money while you sleep than when you’re awake.

Meet Lebo Gunguluza – Zero to Millionaire

Lebo Gunguluza is an entrepreneur, turnaround strategist and motivational speaker. He is a Dragon on Dragon’s Den South Africa. Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, he went to study at University of Natal in Durban although, at that time, he had only R60 to his name. Gunguluza aimed to be a millionaire before turning 25. He got there late (he was 27, one of SA’s youngest self-made black millionaires) through a series of entertainment events. He lost his fortune in 1999. He describes it as “the darkest time of my life”, yet he learned invaluable business lessons.

Lebo Gunguluza formed the Gunguluza Enterprises & Media Group as part of a strategy to achieve his goal of becoming a billionaire.

Listen to audio below in which 702/CapeTalk presenter Bruce Whitfield interviews Lebo Gunguluza about his amazing life story:

Source: 702

Business Instinct with Kutlwano Founder of Moja Cafe

Meet Kutlwano founder of  Moja Cafe, Orlando East. Listen to his journey to success and what inspired his entrepreneurial foodie move.

Business Instinct is a weekly look into the minds behind successful business ideas. Check in every Wednesday for a new episode of Business Instinct, where David chats to different business people about their journey to success. Get inspired, get informed, and get entertained as we talk to the best in business. Business Instinct is brought to you by ABSA Business Banking. Do better business. Prosper.

Source: SoundCloud

 

BUSINESS INSTINCT (TSHEPO MOKHOLO)

Meet Tshepo Mokholo, the managing director at Brima Logistics. Listen Tshepo’s story about his journey to success.

The new advertising campaign from Absa Business Banking is designed to inspire current and prospective clients to act on their ‘Business Instinct’.

Absa Business Banking understands that business-people are smart and get things done. They have an intrinsic knack for knowing how to run a business, how to spot an opportunity and how to act under pressure.

Businessmen and women go with their gut. They have a thing called… ‘Business Instinct’.

Source: SoundCloud

 

Tomi Davies – President of the African Business Angel Network

Tomi Davies is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, mentor, investor and advocate of technology, education, mobile and Africa. He is CEO of TVCLabs a Technology Business Accelerator based in Lagos and also sits on the boards of Sproxil, Strika Entertainment, TechnoVision Communications and PeoplePrime. Tomi is co-founder of the Lagos Angel Network and President of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN).

Source: SoundCloud

 

The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield

A wrap-up of the day’s business news as well as insight into trends and expert advice on all things money-related.

Award winning financial journalist Bruce Whitfield hosts The Money Show each weeknight on 702 and CapeTalk, offering a wrap-up of the day’s business news as well as insight into trends and expert advice on all things money-related..

Bruce interviews blue chip company CEOs as well as entrepreneurs whose businesses are both inspiring and helping shape a better South Africa.

A variety of expert contributors and regular features pepper the show, all designed to help audiences make sense of money, from personal finance to markets and big economic matters.

Follow Bruce on twitter @brucebusiness

Bruce Whitfield is the host of 702 Talk Radio and 567 Cape Talk’s The Money Show.

The producers of The Money Show are Cecile Basson – [email protected] and Thekiso Lefifi – [email protected]

Listen to The Money Show

 

Source: 702

On Your Marks For 2018: Is The Lean Startup Approach Legit?

In the first full African Tech Roundup podcast of 2018, Andile Masuku mulls over Gefira SolutionsFounder and CEO Bert Bruggeman‘s assertion that we can’t just “app our way” to solving all of Africa’s problems. Click here to listen to Andile’s full conversation with Bert.

Then, he ponders which hybrid investment approaches might prove successful in fueling African startups in 2018, and echoes the questions posed by Seyi Fabode’s blog post entitled: “Is It Time To Dump The ‘Lean Startup’ Approach?”

Also, in this episode, Andile gives a quick update on the #NotOurManifesto dumpster fire that Co-Creation Hub Nigeria Co-founder Femi Longe lit late last year and shares some encouraging news regarding the AfricaManifesto.com initiative that was subsequently launched. In case you’re not familiar with this whole fiasco, here’s the low-down.

Source: African Tech Roundup

 

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