3 Tips to Keep Your Start-Up Afloat


Here at Voice of Reason, we are no strangers to start ups and start up culture. We see many of them rise and fall, and we know it takes much more than just hard work to really see success. Proper strategy and business will drive results within your company. Here are a few tips to ensure your business is headed in the right direction:

  • Know Your Target Market: Understand your customer and know what matters to them. Knowing what they want from your product is key to delivering what they need.
  • Have a Sound Business Model: Proper strategy for value creation and capture will ensure sustainability in your business. Dumping money into unnecessary products and services will hurt your bottom line.
  • Make Sound, Rational Decisions: It is important to be passionate and dedicated to your business, but ensure your decision making is based on hard data, and not your emotions. Too often charismatic leaders will bring their company to ruins because of ideas that should have been altered or even terminated completely.

Running your own business is one of the most challenging endeavors anyone could possibly take on, but with proper guidance, rationale, and hard work, your business will prosper. Know your customer, understand the value your business creates, and success will follow.

Click here to read the full article in Stanford Business

3 Misconceptions About the Internet That Are Costing You Money


There is no way your business can avoid using the internet, and understanding its users is key to gearing your product towards your audience. Many business owners tend to keep with tradition and will disregard all the business they’re missing online as they don’t see their customers as online shoppers. But the truth is that there is much to be gained from being online, and there are plenty of shoppers who can’t wait to have your product conveniently delivered to them.  Here are a few misconceptions that many companies have while they’re on the internet:

  • I Can Only Reach Young People: Though it’s often tech savvy millennials who are credited for owning the internet, people of all ages are using the internet now more than ever. While young people were quicker to adopt the internet, this simply isn’t the case anymore. Over 58% of seniors are online today!
  • It’s a Boys Club: Internet usage has reached gender parity, with 85% of men and 84% of women using the internet.
  • My Product is Too High End to be Sold Online: People who are online are much more likely to have attended college. Also, though the gap may have narrowed, there are still far more people on the internet who earn over $75,000 than people who earn below $30,000. This means any product will have plenty of potential customers online!

If you ignore the vast amount of customers waiting for you online, they will simply go to your competitors instead. Don’t let preconceived notions of what you think about the Internet hinder your business. Take advantage of what’s offered online by having a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website, engaging your customers on social media, and generating sales via an e commerce suite on your website.

See the full article with graphs here.

Google’s Race to Stay on Top


A key component of any business is a company’s website, and Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is key to getting that website seen by customers. Google is the world’s premier search engine, and Amit Singhal is the man responsible for the 200+ factors that determine your website’s ranking in the search engine. Amit also keeps track of incoming trends, and how to adapt Google’s software to reflect changes in the way people look up their information. What someone may have asked a search engine 5 years ago is vastly different from what will be asked today, and it’s Amit’s job to ensure Google is optimally responding to a user’s search query.

How can you ensure that your own business remains up to date? Having your website optimized for mobile is key to being relevant and ranking high in the search engine’s results. With a surge in mobile users on both phone and tablet, a website that doesn’t read well on a phone will not fare well with Google’s algorithms. Quick load times and relevant information are always important, as people want responsive sites with the information they need so they can put their phone down and get on with whatever they were doing.

As a search engine, it is Google’s purpose to deliver exactly what the user needs as soon as possible, and Amit’s job to make sure Google keeps doing that as well as it possibly can. With so many startups being acquired by both Google and now Apple, Google cannot take its position as the #1 search engine for granted. Startups with algorithms for apps and music are appearing, and Google’s ability to adapt to that change will determine its relevance in the decades to come.


Read the full article in The New York Times here.

Unicorn – Magical, Mythical, and a Billion Dollars? Is There a Better Word?


“Unicorn” is a term in Silicon Valley to describe a company whose net worth has exceeded one billion dollars. Meant to encompass the mystery and excitement of such an explosive venture, Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures developed the term to describe firms like Uber and Airbnb which at one time looked like long shots but are now valued in excess of a billion dollars. But with 117 so-called “Unicorns” in the past decade, those firms may actually not be as rare as perceived.

In a social sphere already filled with so much nonsensical jargon, is Silicon Valley simply making buzz words for fun? Probably. But for those who work with startups, interacting with a unicorn is rare enough to merit the title, as fewer than 1% of venture-backed firms end up with the label. So what do you think – is a company valued at billion dollars worth calling a unicorn or is Silicon Valley just clinging onto yet another buzzword?

Read the full article in the New York Times here.