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Our Denver Startup Week panelists share their top tips for startups

Posted 6 months ago in Small business by
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It’s no wonder that Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America. The event features a week of networking sessions, mentor hours, workshops, leadership spotlights and panel presentations – all designed to grow a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Colorado capital.

It’s why we’re proud to be involved in Denver Startup Week – this year we’ll be hosting a handful of panels designed to give your startup the tools and information needed to get started on the right foot. Here’s a sneak preview of what we’ve got in store.

How to become a challenger brand: A small business marketing how-to

There are so many industries or markets that are either terribly saturated or completely dominated by one or two competitors. For small business owners or startups, it’s difficult to make your voice heard and stand up and be seen, especially when considering the people and budget constraints most businesses face.

This panel, featuring Xero’s Marketing Director, Americas, James O’Connell-Cooper, will discuss what it means to be a “challenger brand” and will dive into some of the successes (and failures) that can result from going toe-to-toe with your competitors. He shares what attendees can expect from the panel.

“By definition, a challenger brand often lacks the resources of its competitors,” James explains.

“However, this can be your advantage – be scrappy and apply a creative and analytical mindset to your marketing strategy. Applying these skills in the right way will help you get the maximum return on investment.”

Positioning your business for scale: How to tell your financial story so you can get the funding you need

As a startup, it is sometimes hard to decide whether to search out investors, use credit cards or go through bank lending options to handle your business growth plans. It may also be difficult to know what options are available at specific stages of your business’ lifecycle.

In this session, featuring Xero Ambassador and Chief Number Cruncher at AccountingProse, Cristina Garza, you will learn what financial resources are needed to best position your company for investment, and what investors look for before deciding to lend. She shares her recommendation on where small business owners should start.

“There are many different avenues entrepreneurs can pursue when it comes to securing funding but the first and most important step is determining which KPIs matter most to lenders,” Cristina says. “Work with your accountant to establish how best the numbers can tell the story and by using a cloud accounting platform like Xero you can have them ready to present to potential investors or lenders in real-time.”

All things ‘talent’ for small business owners

Finding and retaining great talent is one of the most expensive, time-consuming and challenging tasks facing small business owners. Yet, when you get it right, it can mean the difference between success or failure. Regardless of the size or state of your business, having the right people can make all of the difference.

Debbie Gunning, Talent Experience Manager at Xero, will feature on a panel that will discuss helpful tips and best practices when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent in the startup space. She shares some of the key insights you can expect at this session.

“Attracting talent to a small business requires creativity and a multi-faceted approach, with current employees and networking being key to finding top talent,” Debbie says.

“Incentivizing current employees though referral programs is an effective method of increasing applicants to an opening. Social media, recruitment events, and advertisements are also great tools. Once you have applicants, well thought out interviewing and onboarding programs will ensure your new hires are set up for success.”

Building your startup on a developer platform – what you should know before you start.

Google, Slack, Xero, Shopify and so many other tech companies have opened up their products for developers to build on. Startups and developers are looking to these platforms as an opportunity to build quickly, with less overhead, and importantly reach new customers.

Sid Maestre, Lead Developer Evangelist at Xero, will feature on a panel that asks: with so many developer platforms out there, how do you evaluate them? Sid shares the benefits of developing for a platform with an open ecosystem.

“Platforms open up opportunities for developers to move quickly and iterate by removing the need to build everything yourself,” Sid says.

“Like open source, platforms solve common problems for developers, freeing up resources to focus on high value and unique solutions. By investing in a platform with an existing customer base, you gain access to those customers. Validate with potential customers before, during and after you build an integration to maximize success.”

These are just some of the valuable insights you can expect to go home with from Denver Startup Week. Join us for a week of connections, learning and more. We hope to see you there!

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