Amsterdam’s Upcoming Online Startup Events You Want to RSVP For

Amsterdam’s Upcoming Online Startup Events You Want to RSVP For

In times of social distancing, we rely on our computers more than ever. Also when it comes to (networking) events. On the bright side: the commute to online events is very short. And despite the fact that it is harder to connect with people virtually, it is not impossible. In fact, it is refreshing to see how many online events are being hosted, to help each other out during this interesting time. We put together a list of online events you do not want to miss out on. 

Event: TNW answers with Sarafina Nance
Date: 21 AprilTime: 20:00 – 21:00
Link:  click here 
Since TNW conference has been postponed to October, they are hosting a series of online events called TNW answers. Thought leaders are given the virtual mic to enlighten us from their living rooms to ours. 

Event: Finance Academy Amsterdam (Online Workshop)
Date: 27 April
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Link:  click here 
Now that Kingsday is off the table anyway, you might just as well find something useful to do like attending this online workshop. In this two-hour session, hosted by Leadpfunder’s CEO Tienko Rasker, you will learn about finance related topics such as structuring different equity classes, shareholder agreements and using convertibles. 

Event: The art of customer segmentation 
Date: 28 April
Time: 19:00 – 20:30
Link: click here 
During this Meet-up, Krasi Bozhinkova from Owtcom, will take you on a journey around customer segmentation. Agenda point include data, trends, capabilities and priorities. Her approach is based on years of experience working with large companies and startups in a wide range of markets. It’s all about making your product truly customer-centric. 

Event: Social Media for Entrepreneurs, Startups and Small Businesses
Date: 26 May
Time: 19:00 – 22:00
Link:  click here
In online times, your online channels are of crucial importance. The Utrecht entrepreneurship Meet-up will invite several key players in the field who will show you the ins and outs of social media. The result? A corona-proof social media strategy. 

Event: Becoming a Digital Nomad — Travel the World and Work Remotely
Date: 16 June
Time: 19:00 – 22:00
Link:  click here
Has corona made you realize that you can work from anywhere (once we can actually fly anywhere again)? Then this Meet-up is for you. The speakers are (or have been) digital nomads themselves and will provide you with tons of useful tips and tricks.

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.

Sterre Bisschop

Sterre Bisschop

Author

How to Define your USP

How to Define your USP

Although Amsterdam has not been so busy lately, this does not count for the startup scene. However, in times of crisis, it is more important than ever to distinguish yourself from the fierce competition. Naturally, you know that what you are offering is the very best in the market, but have you convinced your (potential) customers of this as well? Time to go over your USP (unique selling point/proposition). Your USP should play a fundamental role in your branding strategy, as it articulates what benefits your products/services offer over your competition. But how do you define your USP? How do you communicate it? And how do you make sure it withstands? Luckily, we are here to help you get on the right track.

Market Research
Where would we be without some good old-fashioned market research? Exactly, nowhere. So, first and foremost, it is essential to conduct extensive market research, in order to identify what truly motivates your target market. What influences their buying decisions? What do they care about? So, talk to your customers! If you just started off and do not have customers yet that can provide you with those insights, try to obtain this data from your competition. 

The FAB Statement
If you have not done so yet, create a FAB statement. FAB stands for features, advantages, benefits and helps you understand why the customer would buy your offerings. Here’s how to go about it. 

Create a list of features of your products/services, identify one or two advantages that this feature brings, and most importantly, describe how those advantages translate into benefits for the customer. Let’s say you are selling organic wine. Features could be that no sulfites or synthetic additives are added during the production process, resulting in the body being better able to break down the alcohol, an advantage. The benefits? No hangovers and customers will experience better overall health compared to “inorganic” wine-drinkers. Those benefits are what you want to communicate, because the consumer is more interested in paying for “better overall health” than for just “organic wine”.  So, the benefits represent the reasons your customer chooses your products over the competition’s. 

 As such, the only thing that is left to do, is to flip the FAB statement. State the benefit, then explain how the benefit is achieved using the advantage and the feature. Thus, you are not selling organic Merlot. No. You are selling a hangover-free life, as the lack of synthetic additives in your Merlot enable the body to naturally break down the alcohol. This might sound straightforward, but you would be surprised how many entrepreneurs still get this wrong.

Marketing & Sales
Once you have identified what your USP is, make sure you actively apply it in all your marketing and sales efforts. As such, create a catchy tagline around it, use it in your social media posts or make it a theme in your monthly newsletter. As such, a certain consistency will be communicated to your (potential) clients, which will provide clarity, professionalism and the reassurance that you, indeed, are the very best in your field. 


Some Inspiration
In many cases, a company’s USP can be expressed in one or two lines. Here’s a few examples of established businesses that got it right

M&Ms: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Colgate: “Improve mouth health in two weeks”
Dropbox: “Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.”

Do you need assistance identifying your USP? Maybe we can help. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

Four Essential Business Lessons To Learn From the Coronacrisis

Four Essential Business Lessons To Learn From the Coronacrisis

Remember that time when corona was just a beer you would drink with lime? Funny how things change. The coronacrisis has turned the whole world upside down and now challenges almost every aspect of life as we know it. This also counts for business. In an attempt to stop the virus from going viral, many companies have had to put their operations on hold or radically change their business models. However, we should not forget that crises not only lead to sleepless nights, they also lead to important business lessons we should take into account in the years to come. . Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lesson 1: Working Remotely Actually Works
The coronacisis creates an interesting experiment as it comes to working from home. According to a study by Gartner, many managers used to be hesitant about this way of working. In fact, 54% percent of managers indicated that a poor technological infrastructure was the biggest barrier for working remotely. It turns out that indeed, in our ever increasingly digital world, getting the tech straight still is not easy. However, chances are you had not even heard of Zoom before this all started. With parties such as Google and Microsoft  offering their services for free and with other awesome online tools entering our daily lives, the digital environment becomes easier to navigate for anyone, tackling the technology barrier. 

Lesson 2: You Can Trust Your Employees
Another direct result of working from home, is that managers need to trust their employees. Especially for the micro-managing type this might be challenging. According to the Gartner study discussed above, 76% of managers would have concerns about employee productivity when they are unable to keep an actual eye on them. In reality, however, those concerns are often unnecessary. Although sharing a desk with three screaming kids rather than three lovely colleagues causes problems of its own, the study showed that employees working from home mostly manage their time rather effectively. In fact, they leverage the time of day when they are most productive. The bottomline? Most employees are probably as productive working from home as they would be working at the office. Managers who worry about employee productivity should set clear goals and accurately manage expectations. 

Lesson 3: Creativity Is Everywhere
Sometimes we forget how creative we are, especially in times of crises. Tons of incredible initiatives have been launched this month. From helpdehoreca.nl here in The Netherlands (where you can purchase a coupon to spend at your favourite bar or restaurant when they open again), to virtual museum tours and from virtual concerts to online workout programs.

The lesson learned here, is that crises present us with obstacles. Embracing those obstacles and combining them with what your business excels at, provides promising opportunities for innovation.

Lesson 4: Use Scenario Planning To Your Advantage
Perhaps the most important lesson learned, is characterized by the simple fact that the future is uncertain. Although this is common knowledge, nobody was prepared for this crisis. COVID-19 functioned as a friendly reminder of how volatile the future really is. Now that it is here, strategy is more important than ever. Scenario planning can be a very effective tool to guide you through this mess, to limit the surprise factor the coming months or years. How to go about it? Here’s an idea:

    • Clarify the corona phases: e.g. 1) withstanding the impact, 2) going back to normal, 3) sorting out the new industry dynamics.
    • Define the challenges: for each phase, clearly describe the long-term challenges that could arise. Although firefighting might be tempting, we need to think about the long run here.
    • Clarify the options: If the challenges have been identified clearly, it is mostly possible to come with options that appropriately tackle the challenges. For each option, specify the pros and cons so that you can weigh them against each other.

    • Build scenarios: Based on your options, the phases and potential input from your key stakeholders, create your scenarios. What resources would you need in each scenario? How will your relationships with stakeholders change? E.g. if you are a fitness company, your worst case scenario might indicate you are going to be offline for a good while. That means technology will play a far bigger role than it did in the past. You might want to invest in this, or broaden your knowledge on the topic.

In sum, being confronted with a global pandemic is new to any company. Without any doubt, its effects are going to be felt by almost any business. However, in order to capitalize on the coronacrisis, it is important to stay alert, stay creative and help each other out where possible. Are you a startup of scaleup in need of some support? We’d be happy to help out. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through.