10 ways to start 2017 on a positive note

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As someone reminded me recently at a conference, agility is a very positive thing. Apple didn’t create the first digital music player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet computer, yet it came to dominate each category. Amazon wasn’t the first to sell books on the Internet, either. These companies succeeded not because they were faster, but because they developed products that were demonstrably better than their competitors.

2016 was a milestone year, let’s have a look at some of the year’s achievements:
March – Microsoft released a bot framework at BUILD
April – Facebook opened its Messenger platform at F8, and Telegram announced a prize for bot developers
May – Google announced its own Allo Messenger and voice-enabled home speaker at I/O, and Amazon made the successful Alexa accessible via a browser, without Echo hardware.
June – Today at WWDC, Apple opened up iMessage to third-party integrations and announced the Siri SDK
September – Salesforce adds AI: The new Einstein features will be able to deliver more predictive and personalised customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, commerce and other areas.
November – The announcement comes a day before Microsoft is widely expected to release its Skype Teams messaging app. Slack has also been busy in recent weeks making moves to integrate with Microsoft Bot Framework and IBM Watson artificial intelligence services.

But truly great companies don’t scramble to adapt to the future, because they create the future. Take a look at any great business and it becomes clear that what made it great wasn’t the ability to pivot, but a dedication to creating, delivering, and capturing new value in the marketplace. The technology companies that endure are the ones who spend years — or even decades — to create the next generation of products.

Which brings us to something else Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Clearly it is not a particular business category that defines a company, but its ability to solve problems for its customers. And you can’t solve really tough problems by simply moving faster. Great companies prepare the ground long before. Great businesses can be launched any time, even when there’s a downturn in funding.

While the start of 2016 might have spelled trouble for some well-established start-ups, it also saw the birth of companies tackling things like a cure for cancer, superfast internet, and competition for Uber.

Business Insider, http://uk.businessinsider.com, spoke to founders and venture capitalists and took a look at funding data to identify some of the start-ups that had the biggest starts in 2016.

Some names on the list are officially launching out of stealth, while others are still in their early months of forming a company.
Valuations for venture-backed companies doubled over last year to an average of $100 million, the highest in more than a decade, according to Pitchbook, a private financial-market data provider. Total venture dollars invested are on track to hit $74 billion in 2016, second only to 2015 over the past decade. And venture capitalists are basking in their best year since at least 2006, expected to end the year with $32.4 billion after raising $9 billion in the third quarter.

Here are 17 of the top start-ups to launch in 2017
1) Starry – is making more powerful Wi-Fi for your house. Website: https://starry.com
2) Juicero – wants to make the freshest juice you’ve ever tasted. Website: https://www.juicero.com
3) Cheddar – is betting it can be the new CNBC for millennials. Website: http://www.cheddar.com
4) Grail – wants to develop a test for cancer at the earliest possible stage. Website: http://www.grailbio.com
5) Juno – wants to be a driver-friendly alternative to Uber. Website: https://www.gojuno.com
6) Otto’s – self-driving trucks could revolutionise the industry. Website: http://ot.to
7) Simple Habit – wants to help stressed-out millennials. Website: http://www.simplehabitapp.com
8) Comparably – can show you how much you’re being paid compared with your peers. Website: https://www.comparably.com
9) Zipline’s – drones parachute blood and medicine to remote Rwandan cities. Website: http://flyzipline.com/product
10) Nanit – is a super powered baby monitor. Website: https://www.nanit.com
11) Truebill – wants to stop you from getting ripped off on subscriptions. Website: https://www.truebill.com
12) Winnie – wants to be the Yelp for parents. Website: https://winnielabs.com
13) Ritual – is making a better vitamin. Website: http://ritual.com
14) Recharge – lets you rent hotel rooms by the minute for whenever you need a rest. Website: https://recharge.co
15) Lola – is a new kind of a travel agent. Website: https://www.lolatravel.com
16) Pearl – will help turn your ‘dumb car’ into a cutting-edge model. Website: https://pearlauto.com
17) KnuEdge – wants to one-up Google and Intel. Website: https://www.knuedge.com

It is a fact that no business is guaranteed to succeed. But with the right level of energy, passion, determination to a belief in yourself and your product/service you can progress independently with your dream idea and business.
The beginning of the year has arrived and while it’s important to take some time to assess the positives and negatives of 2016, it is also worthwhile ensuring everything is ready for the year ahead so that 2017 does not start with unnecessary stress.

Many entrepreneurs are passionate about their chosen trade but aren’t always strong when it comes to the financial side of business. It is the little things that people often forget about. Simple things, like cash flow and budget that can make all the difference.

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The following 10 tips would make sure business owners cover all their bases and have a successful 2017.

1) Budget for the year ahead
2) Understand your business and its customers
3) Analyse your monthly management accounts
4) Keep your accounts and taxes up to date
5) Secure your IP/IPR
6) Know your limitations
7) Invest in good legal and accountancy experts
8) Build revenue streams with trusted relationships – no matter how small
9) Invest in cash recovery experts
10) Take a holiday and exercise every now and then

If you follow the tips you will see the benefits returned ten-fold.

As Henry Ford once said:

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

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