Thursday, 27 November 2008

Research by creating Buyer Personas

Top business advice from David Meerman Scott, bestselling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

I really like this guys approach - watch below as he talks about why you need to clearly identify your customers.

When you are developing a sales website or any kind of business/marketing publication, it’s important to clearly identify who is going to be buying from you.  What a many web entrepreneurs do not realise is the importance of doing this before creating the content. Meerman Scott gives business marketing advice on how to clearly define your customers and what he calls their ‘buyer personas’.

With buyer personas defined, it is far easier to understand the problems that they have, and therefore to create content that appeals to them, and is in their words. In this show he tells  you how to use buyer persona research to gain vital information about them, and how to then use this wealth of information to create compelling content.

I will post more of David Meerman Scotts insights over the coming months...

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Almost 1 in 3 entrepreneurs unlikely to legally protect their Intellectual Property

More research results we are shortly to publish show that:

· 29% do not intend to protect to protect their Intellectual Property at all
· The single most popular method of protection is an international patent
· Just 4% do not know which protection methods, if any, they intend to use

i2m surveyed over 800 budding entrepreneurs and small business owners over the course of 2008, investigating their standing and attitudes in a number of key areas including: finance, market research, sales and marketing and business exploitation.

Participants were asked how they intended to protect their Intellectual Property. The most popular response with 29% of respondents was “no protection at all”. In selecting this option, 29% participants are ignoring the numerous basic ways of protecting themselves such as claiming copyright and design rights for their work. These methods however were selected by 23% of participants with a further 18% selecting them in combination with other methods.

24% of participants intended to seek an international patent, making it the single most popular method of protection in the study. Only 4% did not know which protection methods, if any, they intend to use, suggesting that this is a business subject that most people are aware of and have an opinion on.

David Thomas, managing director of i2m Software commented, “businesses, especially those looking to patent, should look at protecting their intellectual property as an economic decision, weighing up the costs of not protecting themselves against competitors, versus the legal cost associated with protection and the return on investment it may bring.

Jane Lambert, intellectual property specialist counsel of NIPC, noted that these figures were consistent with many similar surveys and they are not in the least bit surprising. “The problem is that the cost of enforcement of intellectual property rights is prohibitive in England and Wales. According to the government’s own Intellectual Property Advisory Committee, the average cost of bringing an infringement claim to trial is £150,000 to £250,000 in the Patents County Court and £1 million plus in the High Court compared to around €50,000 in France, Germany or the Netherlands. That no doubt explains why the UK (the country that started the industrial revolution) lags consistently behind not only the USA, Germany, Japan and France in the number of European patent applications but even the Netherlands and Switzerland which have a third and an eighth of our population respectively. It is often said that businesspeople do not fully understand the intellectual property system. These results indicate that they understand it only too well.”

A full set of i2m’s research results will be published later this year. For more details please contact David Thomas at

1. About i2m Software
i2m Software was created by UK based market research consultancy Inventya Limited. i2m is market research software for business planning, financial forecasting and professionally presenting a investment case. From entrepreneurs with new ideas to students with business projects to women seeking a return to work, i2m provides the guidance, support and resources to start a business and grow it.

2. About NICP
NIPC is the first and so far only specialist intellectual property chambers outside London and the only one anywhere to specialize in assisting small and medium enterprises. For more information, visit our website at and blog at .

Friday, 7 November 2008

Almost 40% of UK businesses seek under £10,000 start-up funding

i2m – Ideas to Market are shortly to publish research results into entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. A special preview of these results, released for Enterprise Week, show that:

· 39% of start-ups seek under £10K of investment to become profitable
· Over two thirds of all start-ups look for under £100K initially
· Just 6% require over £500K
· Only 3% look for £1.5m or more
· Almost one fifth do not know how much investment they require at the outset

We have surveyed over 800 potential entrepreneurs and small businesses owners over the course of 2008, investigating their standing and attitudes in a number of key areas including: finance, market research, sales and marketing and business exploitation.

Funding is clearly a vital area, especially in the current economic climate. It is interesting to see these results show that the majority of businesses believe they require relatively small levels of investment at the outset. This may lead them towards personal savings, friends and family or possibly business angels. What is also interesting is that a high proportion do not yet know what funding they need – an issue they will need to address as soon as possible if they are to keep in control of their budgets and see their business succeed.

Permjot Valia, business angel and member of the British Business Angel Association commented, “This survey does put things into perspective. The engine for Entrepreneurial Britain is “friends and family” with almost 40% of all start-ups looking for less than £10,000. It also demonstrates how funding for start ups will get harder over the next few years. Faced with lower house prices, people may feel less able to offer financial help to start-ups. Whilst the businesses looking for over £500k grab all the headlines, they represent less than 10% of start-ups. More needs to be done to help start-ups requiring less than £10,000. The Small Firm Loan Guarantee could so easily help if it were made easier to access.”

A full set of i2m’s research results will be published later this year. For more details contact me at

taking action and overcoming the fear

Almost everyone I meet has a business idea. Whether in a professional environment or, more usually, in social situations, people respond to my line of work (helping people research, evaluate and develop their business ideas) with great enthusiasm about their own ideas. They typically come from three main areas: everyday life – where they have noticed something that could be improved or a group of people that are not adequately catered for; working life, where again, improvements could be made; and their own experience and expertise - where they have something valuable that they can offer that others cannot.

Once people start to talk about their ideas, there is a change in both their body language and their persona. This is passion. It is an attractive quality. People with passion look like they are enjoying life.

So why then do so few people go on to actually do anything about their business ideas? *

It ultimately comes down to fear.
Fear of losing money
Fear that someone else has already thought of it
Fear of lack of support or even ridicule from friends and family
Fear of not having the business knowledge required
Fear of putting in all that work for nothing
Fear of failure

The truth is, the majority of business ideas are not commercially viable – so caution is certainly no bad thing. However, many people never really try to find out how good their idea is. Are they afraid to find out that it is not a good idea after all and they were wrong? Or are they afraid to find out that it is a good idea and then there is the pressure of doing something about it?

Just find out and find out fast.

Find out: who you could be competing with and why you will be better; who exactly your customers will be and what exactly they want from you; how best to get your product into their hands; and how you can make this a profitable exercise.

If, once you have this information, you feel that you do or do not want to pursue your business idea, then it will not be because of irrational fears or worries. It will be because you did your research and made an informed decision on its commercial potential. If you do this, you will not look back later in life with the regret of what you could have achieved and the person you could have been.

So what are you afraid of?