We all know we should have a Vision and a Strategy for our companies, but what about a North Star Question? Is it just management consultancy hype, or can this actually be useful for any business, no matter what the size?

Let’s start by examining what a ‘North Star Question’ actually is. Just like the North Star, it’s supposed to be a guide — a question that can be asked at any point, and the answer will always tell you what should happen next. It’s different from a Vision, because a business Vision is a snapshot of a single day…

At the moment, you could be forgiven for thinking that investment is the only way to progress if you are a startup: Unicorns and record-breaking rounds fill the news. In reality, investment is a double-edged sword, and handled incorrectly, could end your startup. Here we’ll explore 6 key ways in which investment could potentially be damaging, and how you can guard against these issues.

The 7 ways investment could kill your startup

1) Delivery pressure: Getting investment is about making promises, building trust and then delivering on those promises. …

A guide on how to provide a good customer experience

There’s a common misconception that the startups doing well, the ones really soaring to Unicorn heights, are there because they’ve built amazing tech that differentiates them — the buzzwords of FinTech, HealthTech, PropTech continue to dominate. While it’s true that 18 of the top 20 valued Unicorns have a heavy tech emphasis, what actually lifts them from a ‘tech’ startup to a Unicorn is not their tech itself, but the Customer Experiences they create. …

A few points to consider

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is the latest buzz-word. Everyone wants it… but the real question is, do you need it?

To be able to that question, you need to know two things: what AI is capable of — the ‘art of the possible’ — and how your business works:

What is AI capable of?

Artificial Intelligence is a form of computing that allows previously human tasks to be carried out by a machine. AI can theoretically do anything a human can do, from decision making, to translating, to checking if IT servers are still running and taking the correct action…

Returning to ‘Normal’ After Lockdown

While we’re definitely not out of lockdown yet here in the UK, it’s important to turn your attention to how you return your company to ‘normal’ after this unprecedented period of change. Just as every good company should have a Crisis Management Plan to govern how they behave during crisis, they should also have a ‘return to normal’ plan.

The simple truth in this instance is that you won’t be able to return to your old ‘normal’. The impact of COVID-19 will be felt for years, if not forever, in the way businesses run. The…

A guide of what not to do

You’ve built your app or product, you’ve created a pitch deck, and now you’re ready to go out for investment. Or are you?

While there might be billions in investment money around at the moment, there is also a lot of competition, and though the amount of money invested is growing, the amount of companies it is invested in isn’t. For every fifty companies, only one might get a chance at funding. The need to stand out from the crowd is clear, but having an original business idea isn’t enough. …

A basic requirement, from an Investor’s perspective, is that a startup can articulate the problem they solve. That problem can be quite small, or it could be a global issue. Whichever it is, increasingly investors are looking for investments whose problem-solving delivers social impact and/or makes positive contributions to sustainability — and this is where the UN Sustainable Development Goals come in.

The UN describes them as “17 Goals to transform our world”, and they range from eradicating poverty to protecting sea life and reducing inequality. By committing your company to a UN Sustainable Development Goal, it helps to communicate…

Julie Barber

Founder/CEO www.spark-consulting.co.uk Fanatical about working with Corporates who want to be innovative and innovative Startups who want to grow and scale fast

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