This is the answer that, with an annoyed note in my voice, I give in 90% of cases, when a friend of mine ask me something. I bet you know that feel too!
I have realized that, more and more often, when we are talking about specific information, a simple Google research is not enough. Let me explain that better: sometimes it can be chaotic and misleading. There are too many old results, irrelevant or fake content, and so on.
This applies also to the startup world.
I often help guys who are just moving their very first steps into the startup world with their first startup, idea or project and at this point, less and less often, I advise them to use Google. There are other search engines, social networks and websites we use every day, but we rarely exploit them to search for startup resources!
Let’s see what they are.
SlideShare is a very precious resource to which everyone gives the cold shoulder. We could define it as a “Youtube for presentations” but, actually, it’s a lot more than that. In this post I don’t care about talking about how important is to upload your presentation, interact with others, etc. Let’s not consider the social aspect for a moment, and talk about how this website is an incredible source of useful startup resources.
For example, if you are looking for pitch deck samples, I strongly suggest you do your first research on SlideShare. You will find thousands of pitch samples and other startup samples and, above all, many successful companies have published their historic pitch on this platform. Those with which they have started their journey and received their first investments.
Did you know that, to name but one, the first pitch of AirBnB is on SlideShare?
Pitches are just one of the many useful contents SlideShare is filled with. You will find a lot of Business Model Canvas samples, presentations about the newest technology innovations, collections of services and useful resources, and so on.
It may seem trivial to include YouTube in this kind of post, but it is not. I know you use it to watch cats on hoovers, the latest Marvel movie trailers and music videos, but actually there’s a lot more.
It often happens that guys who are about to send their first pitch deck to investor ask me how they should structure their speech, confront with the audience, etc. Well, what better way to learn than observing others? Study and Learn from the experts.
SlideShare is the best place to be inspired by for “static” content, and YouTube is the best place for “dynamic” one. You will find thousands of pitch of other startups here too. Small and big. Foreign and local. We go from the small regional competition to the TechCruch Disrupt.
AirBnB, Dropbox, Uber, ProductHunt… YouTube has it all!
Are you dealing with your first Business Model Canvas and you still haven’t figured out what to write in each frame? Do a quick research on YouTube by typing “business model canvas examples” or “business model canvas tutorial” and a whole other world will open up for you.
Once again, this is a well-known platform, but we often use it for other reasons. Here I am not suggesting you to use Medium to publish your content (even if you should totally do that), on the contrary, you should use it as a source of interesting information for your business!
What can you find on Medium?
Well, Medium has become THE PLACE where you can read other people’s stories, tales and experiences. Now we took that for granted, but finding stories and experiences of the world’s greatest businessmen all in one place was inconceivable until a few years ago. And you can have them for free. Regularly updated.
Read a lot. This is an advice I will never get tired of giving.
Follow other businessmen who work in the same market as yours, your competitors, successful startuppers, the benchmarks of your sector. This is a great way to understand the market direction, why certain decisions and mistakes are made and I hope you will learn how to avoid those mistakes.
For those who didn’t know, CrunchBase is the biggest startup databases in the world, made by the same creators of TechCrunch.
Are you trying to figure out who your competitors are? Do you want to take a look at what kind of investments are available in the market, just for reference? Do you wish to discover the names of whoever is investing in businesses like yours?
If you are asking yourself this kind of questions, CrunchBase is the perfect place to start your research. Here you will find the investments history of thousands of startups, with information on founders, each round, investors, investment size and so on.
And if that’s still not enough for you, you can even complement your research on CrunchBase by a StartupGenome, Angelist and many others. They have different purposes and functionalities, but they are all reliable startup databases.
What if there’s such a thing as a Tinder for food? And a Uber for pets?
The answer to both questions is “yes”, and you could have found that in a few seconds with a simple research on ProductHunt.
I always hear “brilliant” “unique” “revolutionary” ideas and, in most cases, it takes me 10 seconds and an accurate research to prove they already exist. Well, when you are having one of those startupper epiphanies, give yourself a few minutes to do a research on Product Hunt. Maybe you will find that someone else has already put your idea into practice.
And if you can’t find anything on ProductHunt, try on BetaList, StartupList or similar websites, too. I am sure you will definitely find something.
Bonus tip: this kind of research should take you just a few seconds and should be done before you start a project, and not after six months of sweat and blood.
If I didn’t manage to shock you with YouTube, I will try that with Linkedin. This social network is more mysterious than Google Plus and not everyone has understood how much useful and important it is.
What’s up with Linkedin? You may ask.
People, of course.
With Linkedin, profiles of every kind of people from every place in this world are just a few clicks away. You can do that all by yourself, and if you can’t all you need is just the right connection and BAM! In a few hours you are connected with your competitor’s CEO on the other side of the world.
Once again, I prefer to show you a concrete example in order to make you understand how you can exploit this tool for your startup. In this case, the only limit is your imagination, or rather, your needs.
You need a technical co-founder with specific skills. You are looking for an expert growth hacker who understands your sector. You must find a partner in a specific country.
Perfect! In these cases, Linkedin is the place for you. You should definitely do your first research on this social. If you use the advanced research tool well, you will be astonished by the high quality of the suggested contacts.
Let’s go out with a bang!
The links above are almost certainly websites you already know and use. On the contrary, StartupStash is an incredible resource that not everyone knows.
I am talking about the largest curated directory of startup resources I’ve ever seen. Not for nothing, it is the top-rated product on ProductHunt.
Startupstash is one of those websites you will never explore in full, since the amount of content is really huge. But this is a website you should insert among your favourites and open every time you need to find something.
The resources are categorized and to each link there’s also a short description of the service. We go from startup name generators to the most innovative analytics systems; from mailing list managers to lists of investors.
Basically, you can find anything you need. You just need to remember to go over it with a fine tooth comb every time you will ask yourself “I wonder if there’s a tool for this task”.
As you have seen, I have avoided posting e-learning services and online courses such as Udemy, Coursera, Lynda, etc. because that’s not the main purpose of this post (maybe I’ll write about that topic later).
With the services I have mentioned above, I am not telling you where you can attend a course about an argument you struggle to understand. Instead, my wish is that you will finally notice that every day we use very powerful tools, but since we are used to using them only in one way, sometimes we forget they are hiding incredible secrets from us.
Very often, the answer is right in front of you, you are just looking for it in the wrong way.
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