7 Reasons Why You Should Consider Buying An Existing Business

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Are you thinking about giving up your day job? If so, you’ve likely thought about what you want to do afterwards. For most people, the idea is to quit their jobs and work for themselves! We are a proud nation of successful entrepreneurs. It’s small business owners that provide the backbone to our economy.

Quitting your job isn’t a decision to get taken lightly, of course. Setting up a new business from scratch requires a lot of time, money and dedication. For some savvy entrepreneurs, they can bypass the startup stage altogether. How? By purchasing an established business, of course!

But, is it a good idea? I think so! Here are seven reasons why buying a business can be better than starting a new one up from scratch:

  1. It’s easier to secure finance

Chances are you will need to borrow some money for your future endeavors. Not everyone will start a business on a shoestring. Especially if it doesn’t involve teaming up with investors or other backers.

Borrowing money for a new business is akin to getting blood from a stone. Commercial lenders are more likely to entertain established businesses with a proven track record.

  1. You won’t have to give up your social life

The thing about starting a business from scratch is that you’ll spend almost all your spare time on it. But, when you buy a ready-made business, there is less work to do. You literally just take over the reigns and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor!

  1. It’s easy to buy a business without getting burned

Some of you might be thinking that you could get ripped off buying an established business. The truth is; that seldom happens anymore. Why? Viking Business Brokers and providers like them ensure that buyers don’t end up with a raw deal.

  1. You’ll get income from day one

The thing about most startups is they don’t make any profit until their third year of trading. If you’re baulking at the prospect of not having an income for three years, buying a business is for you. As soon as you take over, you can receive an income and not need to worry about money so much.

  1. Established brand

Part of the challenge of setting up a new business is creating a new brand and marketing it. When you buy an established company, the brand is already known to the world. All you need to do is concentrate on increasing brand awareness.

  1. Less financial risk

If you’ve checked the financials of the company you want, you’ll notice there is a lower risk of failure. That’s because the enterprise is profitable and runs like a well-oiled machine. Starting a new business from scratch means taking big risks.

  1. You have access to a network of contacts

Customers, suppliers and marketing contacts. They are all available at your fingertips when you take over the running of a business. That means you don’t have to spend so much time networking and advertising.

3 Eureka! Moments Every Entrepreneur Has

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In a world with stiff competition and evaporating attention spans, raising brand awareness is harder than ever. It’s no longer possible to simply be in the right place at the right time. Now, it’s imperative that you have the right marketing behind you if you’re going to make any kind of splash in the cutthroat world of business.

It can be pretty difficult, though, especially for startups, to find the clout or resources to forge a successful strategy. A small team and an even smaller budget are huge roadblocks to avoid in finding startup success. How can you raise any kind of interest in your brand when you don’t have the capacity of your competitors? That’s where a smart marketing plan comes in, but it isn’t always that simple.

No degree of planning or education can prepare you from the very real problems that will arise during your startup journey. You won’t have any textbooks to reference. You won’t have a tutor that holds all the answers. You’re on your own. It’s time to sink or swim. What’s it going to be?

The truth is that the world of small business is all about trial and error. You’re going to get things wrong. There are going to be setbacks. The sooner you can wrap your head around this the better. It’s not a slight on you, nor your business. It’s a simple consequence of the world we now live in.

If you’ve yet to begin marketing your startup, you don’t know the perils that lie ahead. You’re probably filled with a buoyant enthusiasm and a boundless resolve. I’m a little envious of those traits. But prepare to have that resolve tested. Before your small business finds the traction or momentum it needs to scale new heights, there will be several ‘Eureka!’ moments. The sooner you have them, the easier it will be to get back on track. Here’s what you should expect.

Market Your Product, Not Your Brand

This is a critical error of judgment that many new businesses make. The idea is that you need eyes on your business and not the services that your business offers. That’s not the case. What good is having an audience when you’ve got no stage show? That’s going to create some hostility and resentment; things that your brand may not bounce back from. Before you even think about selling yourself, make sure you’re backed up by an equally reliable product. Only then can you start to think about reaching out to marketing agencies like LosAngelesSEO.org. The last thing you want is major traffic before you are ready. 

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Perspective Isn’t 20/20

When you’re first starting out, chances are all your energy will be spent focusing on the things that will greatly benefit your business. Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize that you’ve taken the wrong approach. Starting a small business is all about minimums. Minimum expectations. Minimum standards. Minimum reach. You figure that, as long as you exceed the minimum expectations, you’re standing in good stead, right?

Nope. Putting all that focus on the minimum is taking customer value away from your business. You may be desperately clinging to the idea that you need to achieve certain targets for sustainability. But that’s losing sight of your real goal; what is my value to the customer. It isn’t the other way around. It’s not even a two-way street. What your business gets from the customer is irrelevant. It’s about what the customer gets from your business. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you’ll make smarter decisions for long-term success.

You Can Peak Too Soon

It’s the dream of every entrepreneur to experience rapid growth at the earliest opportunity. It makes sense, right? The sooner you’re expanding, the more money you’re going to be making. Everyone’s a winner. Well, not quite. There is such a thing as premature growth. Let’s say your company finds wild success in its infancy. Great. But what then? All of a sudden, there’s increased expectation and pressure. None of which you’re particularly well equipped to deal with.

In the world of business, you’ve got to pay your dues. Scraping by for survival is the only thing that’s going to prepare you for the perils of expansion. Trust me on this. If you can guide your small business through the uncertain terrain early on you’ll have the experience to navigate the world of big business. Don’t get ideas above your station. Enjoy the learning curve. It won’t last long, but you need to make the most of it.

The Most Common Reasons For Startups Falling at the First Hurdle

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The romantic in all of us would love to quit our day jobs and make a go of it on our own. The idea of being your own boss and finding success is what many of us dream of. Hell, it’s the very reason this blog was founded. And this is becoming a reality for more and more young entrepreneurs, but reality has a way of never quite panning out how you’d expect, doesn’t it?

As you can probably tell, I am a willing advocate for startups and small businesses. The pursuit of your dreams is perhaps the most beautiful thing in the world, and I like to do what I can to encourage and educate that. The unfortunate truth, however, is that many startups fall at the first hurdle, and they are usually their own undoing.

Here are some of the more common reasons that small businesses fail to get off the ground, and what you can do to avoid compounding the same mistakes.

Being Narrow Minded

Nobody has ever gotten anywhere in business without some degree of ego. It takes an immense overconfidence in your abilities just to take the plunge, let alone make it work. That same arrogance, however, can lead to poor business decisions. When you’re in the boss’ shoes, you might think that you know best, but that’s not always the case.

Stick to what you know. If you’ve gotten far in your venture, that’s probably an understanding of business models. Everything else? Don’t be afraid to seek advice elsewhere. The best owners accept their own limitations and supplement them with expert knowledge from other fields.

Lack of Foresight

Many business owners suffer from this same problem, and it’s especially common amongst startups. Why? Because you’re so fixated on the here and now, you can lose sight of the bigger picture. If you find that all your decisions are being made for the short-term, you’re doing it wrong. You should always have an eye on your future. Otherwise, you won’t have a future.

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail, as the old saying goes. Budget constraints often suffer most as a result of shortsightedness. Consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor to guide you through the short-term. They’re well adept at also considering the long-term. Or, if you have an interest in online cloud accountants, Accountancy Anywhere are a service that can offer you expert advice.

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

 

Bad Intentions

Trust me, I’ve come across many business owners in my time, and a few of them have had their hearts in the wrong place. Those types have been fixated on money, with no regard for the customer or product. They don’t care how, they just want to make money, and to hell with everyone else. I’ve also found that those same people are the ones that ultimately crash and burn. I guess you really do reap what you sow.

Above all, have a belief in your product. If it isn’t the very best it can be, why are you even bothering to sell it? If it’s not something you love and take pride in, shelve it. You’ll only get yourself a bad reputation.

Why Intrapreneurship Is Vital To Innovation

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Until recently, employees with a great idea to solve an industry problem often were faced with having to leave their job to bootstrap a startup. While being experts in their field, most have never built a business from scratch, and get overwhelmed with all the hats required to grow a startup.

Enter Intrapreneurship

Thankfully, as acceptance of technology has grown, not to mention how quickly pivots need to be made, many corporations are starting to latch onto the concept of “intrapreneurship”. Helping their employees take an idea from start to finish and turn into a profitable business extension. This enables vital expertise and vision to be coupled with funding, potential clients, mentorship, and a plethora of other opportunities which make bootstrapped startup founders green with envy.

Now why is intrapreneurship so vital to company growth and longevity?

Well, it’s pretty simple actually. As a business leader, you become consumed with time imperative decisions, negotiations, client demands and managing day to day activities. You have hired employees to handle day to day operations and removed the need to focus on individual tasks. Therefore the ability to identify easier and better ways to operate is often removed, and basic logic supports the argument that they will be the ones to find superior ways to improve productivity.

Without leveraging the imagination, professional experience, entrepreneurial fire and ambition to grow beyond just being a cog in the business wheel, as the demand for new business solutions to be developed, tested and implemented grows, those leaders who do not utilized their assets in this manner are destined to be left behind.

Call To Intrapreneurial Action

Acceptance of this reality by business leaders has led to a plethora of improvements, new companies and significant advancements in both technology and normal human existence. However, it ultimately falls upon those with ideas to strap on the entrepreneurial spirit, take the time to define their idea with logic not emotion, and approach leaders inside the company with confidence about how their idea can provide competitive advantage and ROI.

So consider this a call to action for both business executives and those with great ideas coupled with true ambition. Open your minds to the opportunities staring you in the face on both sides. Reward ambition. Subjugate ego. Make a difference. Outthink the competition together. The sky’s the limit!

Becoming A Leader Through Failure

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The ability to lead is forged in the fire of failure. 

Try saying that fast three times.

We’ve all heard sayings like that and most of us, just as I did in my early days as an entrepreneur, rebut them with things like “I will learn from their mistakes” and “I will see things like X coming”.

While it’s true you can learn from the past mistakes of others, and if you’re paying attention can anticipate many issues, there will always be things that happen outside your bubble of control. How you respond to them is what enables you to achieve success, and ultimately what forges a real leader.

But What Is Failure?

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. – C. S. Lewis

It’s often viewed as closing the doors to your business, or for startups not getting backed by investors. Are those “big” failures? Of course they are and there is plenty you can learn from them, but in reality we fail at things on a daily basis. Not closing a deal, messing up a relationship, not doing our best and coming in second. The list of “micro-failures” could go on and on, but micro or macro, they are still failures we can learn from.

It’s important that we learn from these and don’t just wait for a big one that requires massive emotional upheaval to force change. To that end I’d like to address a two examples of personal failure, one micro and one macro and what I’ve learned from them.

Failure To Communicate

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. – Abraham Lincoln

This is one of my greatest failures. Which is ironic given that I am a public speaker, have been very successful in business development, grown multiple companies, employed over 100 people, and the ability to connect is one of my greatest strengths.

However, responding to requests promptly is by far my biggest flaw. Whether it be email, phone calls, texts. Sometimes I’m an instant communicator, sometimes it takes me a week to get back with you. Very often it’s not that I can’t respond, it’s that I let my mind zip off in a million directions and forget to remind myself to respond.

When I had a business full of employees, I would spend so much time bringing in business and responding to clients that I wasn’t addressing issues inside the company. Thankfully I had a partner that handled a lot of the internal drama, but very often I was finding out about things after the fact.

What I Learned

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.
Morihei Ueshiba

After getting angry about not being informed of things going on inside my company, it dawned on me to just take time and have conversations with my team.

I began to make it a point to have a conversation with a different employee everyday, and find out about what was going on in their lives outside of work. This worked to different levels of success, but it enabled me to gain their trust, share ideas, and with quite a few of them build relationships that continue to this day. There are several that have become true friends, and would do anything I asked of them.

A leader is not a leader without those who will follow and do what they are asked without hesitate. But you are also not a leader unless you have the ability to gain trust and not just a have a pack of “yes men”.

While failure to communicate is something I still battle on a regular basis in context of emails and phone calls, my ability to connect with people, inspire trust, encourage innovation and help others expand their vision of life has grown exponentially.

Failure To Suppress Ego

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
John Wooden –

This one required a massive upheaval in my life.

While I’ve never been an obnoxious jerk talking down to people, my true failure came from the mindset of not recognizing that achieving your dream requires the help of others. This is an extraordinarily common train of thought for most entrepreneurs.

We’re out there to win, make big things happen, and it’s get on the train or get out of my way. It’s very easy to have this mindset in the early stages of leadership. Fewer responsibilities, not too many employees, and the energy of youth.

In my case, it took near death to realize my own limitations. I went from riding high to the depths of despair in a very short period of time.

Before having a massive brain hemorrhage I had a near perfect memory. Not that I always used it correctly, but I could recall conversations verbatim. Suddenly this was gone.

Strategies, client contact information, next steps in different projects, gone. Not wiped completely from my memory but I couldn’t recall them. Thankfully over time my memory has returned close to it’s former capacity, but at that time it was a significant hurdle to overcome.

What I Learned

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. – Napoleon Hill

As the world I had built for myself began to crumble, the realization that refusing to suppress my ego and bring others in to support my role in the company was a massive failure. The reality that your world can change at a moments notice became very apparent, and ironically my failure to communicate had additional ramifications.

As a leader, it is very likely you have been gifted a variety of areas, and when it comes time to turn over responsibilities to others it can be very difficult. You feel like it will get done better if you do it, that they just need to catch up, how can this possibly be hard to figure out etc.

While this may be true in the short term, in the long term it will come back to bite you.

It Doesn’t Take A Comeback

I don’t know what leadership is. You can’t touch it. You can’t feel it. It’s not tangible. But I do know this, you recognize it when you see it. – Bob Ehrlich

The point of this article is to inspire others to learn from their mistakes, but not rely on massive failures that require a comeback from nothing. In truth, you can learn more from the mistakes made on a daily basis than the big ones.

Sure the big ones can make a bigger impact, but they are also more difficult to overcome. If you build a track record of recognizing your weaknesses as a leader and doing something about it, over time your confidence will expand.

When the big decisions come, issues outside your control arise or suddenly your own abilities are reduced, if you have successfully become a leader, those who follow you will be there. They will help you overcome roadblocks and rise to a whole new level of leadership.

So does becoming a leader require failure? Absolutely. But what is your definition of it?

Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. – Coco Chanel

15 Feature Films To Inspire Entrepreneurs

Startup Movies, Entrepreneur Movies, YEC

Name one awesome feature film that showcases entrepreneurship. Even if it’s not completely accurate to the hardships of the startup journey, what about that movie is a true takeaway?

1. Forrest Gump

lawrence watkins“Although it is historical fiction, Forrest Gump is one of my favorite inspirational movies that has entrepreneurial ties. My takeaway is that everyone has challenges that they have to overcome in life, but how you respond to them is what separates the people who succeed from those who don’t. Also, it is important to persevere and take advantage of unique opportunities presented to you.”

 

Lawrence Watkins | Founder & CEO, Great Black Speakers

 

2. Twister

kelly azevedo“I always watch Twister with a sense of awe. Yes, it’s fiction, but the idea that you believe so much in a solution to risk life and limb to get it out there is inspiring. Throughout the film, they continually test and adapt the solution until it finally works. I may not be putting my solution in front of a tornado, but it’s that level of dedication I’m striving towards.”

 

Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She’s Got Systems

3. Coco Before Chanel

nathalie lussier“This movie talks about Coco Chanel and her journey to starting her company. The true takeaway is that you never know what’s going to work in your business, and that sometimes starting with hats will lead to perfume or vice versa. Being uncompromising about your tastes will also lead to having a strong brand.”

 

Nathalie Lussier | Creator, The Website Checkup Tool

 

4. Zoolander

derekflanzraich“Zoolander contains the best entrepreneurship wisdom I know: “What is this? A center for ants?…The building has to be at least … three times bigger than this!” It’s a great lesson in remembering your dreams should be at least three times bigger than what you originally thought – and that they’ll be at least three times as much work!”

 

Derek Flanzraich | CEO and Founder, Greatist

 

5. Dave

aaron schwartz“Dave is a classic Kevin Kline movie where he stands in as the President. As the chief, he needs to lead a massive organization: he has to find his own leadership style, rally a team and make compromises on his vision. The most relevant takeaway: he’s successful specifically because he has an outside opinion. Startup success relies on being open-minded and re-examining the way things are done.”

 

Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

 

6. Boiler Room

seth kravitz“No, I’m not encouraging or condoning anyone who commits fraud, violates SEC regulations, or acts like a sociopath. However, that does not mean there aren’t some great things for entrepreneurs in the movie. One positive takeaway from Boiler Room is Seth’s relentless hustle and scrappiness. He just crushes through problems (both good and bad) and get’s stuff done!”

 

Seth Kravitz | CEO, Technori

 

7. Don Quixote

luke burgis“From the greatest book ever written, there are lots of movie adaptations, but the 1972 version with Sophia Loren is best. What better representation of an entrepreneur than an idealist who sets out to revive some important value in the world while the world thinks he’s crazy? Through a series of entrepreneurial “adventures.” he comes to greater realizations about life, love, meaning and value.”

 

Luke Burgis | Director, ActivPrayer

 

8. Startup.com

andrew schrage“A film I particularly enjoyed is called Startup.com, which chronicles the short history of the failed website govWorks.com. This site was created to provide citizens an easy way to pay traffic tickets to municipal governments, among other things. The film teaches you that you can’t launch a business based solely on an idea; you must do thorough research it to see if it’s viable and can last.”

 

Andrew Schrage | Co-Owner, Money Crashers Personal Finance

 

9. The Shawshank Redemption

thursday bram“Andy Dufrense is an entrepreneur, even if it’s not obvious: he grows a small tax preparation business inside prison walls into a library and education system into a full-fledged successful prison break. The scene that sticks with me is when Dufrense finds out that his letter writing campaign has paid off — he responds that he’s going to write even more letters, just like a good founder would.”

 

Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

 

10. Catch Me If You Can

caitlinr-100x100-1“Okay, so what the main character does throughout the movie isn’t exactly legal, but the entrepreneurial spirit in this movie is still very present. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the kind of man that can think up a new idea on the spot and execute it with complete confidence – a quality many entrepreneurs use every day.”

 

Caitlin McCabe | Founder & CEO, Real Bullets Branding

 

11. Cast Away

NatalieMacNeilavatar-100x100“Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, in the movie Cast Away may have been a FedEx employee, but he’s got the heart and hustle of an entrepreneur. He didn’t have money to throw at problems while stranded on the island and had to rely on coming up with creative solutions to survive. I also appreciate that he was customer-centric to his core – saving a package to deliver after he made it home.”

 

Natalie MacNeil | Emmy Award Winning Media Entrepreneur, She Takes on the World

 

12. The Social Network

JoshWeissavatar-100x100-3“This list isn’t complete without The Social Network. The true takeaway of the movie is not to build things to make money, but to build things that people want. The money will come eventually.”

 

Josh Weiss | Founder and President, Bluegala

 

13. Flash of Genius

EmersonSpartzavatar-100x100“In this David vs. Goliath story based on true events, entrepreneur/inventor Robert Kearns spends years in courtrooms fighting the giants of the auto industry when they steal his technology for intermittent windshield wipers. It shows closely the unfair power imbalance that exists between the big companies and small entrepreneurs who sell to them. There is much to be learned from Kearns’ story.”

 

Emerson Spartz | CEO and Founder, Spartz

 

14. Baby Boom

jennifer1“Your great idea will strike in the midst of a challenge. Classic Diane Keaton, career-driven new mom in the ’80s, quits her demanding job to focus on a baby. While in the midst of her breakdown, she discovers an unserved market with a huge demand in natural baby food. The lesson to take away is that opportunities are everywhere – if you’re paying attention!”

 

Jennifer Donogh | President, Ovaleye, LLC

 

15. Glengarry Glen Ross

NancyTNguyenavatar“”You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate,” is one of the best movie quotes for entrepreneurs. It does take “brass balls” to handle critics, setbacks, and customers. Everything is sales, and this movie reminds us that “coffee is for closers” and “ABC” really means “Always be closing.” With confidence and closing, you will have a successful startup.”

 

Nancy T. Nguyen | Founder/Sweet Sylist, Sweet T Salon

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

 

UpGlobal Partners With State Department, Google Doubles Down

Up Global, Google for entrepreneurs, startup weekend, startups

October is a big month for UpGlobal, the new entity created when Startup America and Startup Weekend merged back in May. Next week UpGlobal will hold its first regional Champions Summit under the new umbrella. Since its formation, Startup America held quarterly summits for their regional champions. Now, after taking the summer quarter off, the two days of best practices, town halls, and networking continue. This time around they will incorporate Startup Digest curators and Startup Weekend leaders when the conference opens next Tuesday in Iowa.

Leading up to the big summit, UpGlobal had two major pieces of news that will help further their efforts to empower entrepreneurs and their communities around the world.

The first is a partnership with the US State Department, formally announced by President Barack Obama in a videotaped address he made to the attendees of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  ” In partnership with Up Global, we’ll help support 500,000 new entrepreneurs and their startups around the world,” President Obama told the audience.

UpGlobal oversees these four key initiatives to help grow entrepreneurs across the globe.

  • Startup Weekend:  A 54-hour event that educates aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market.
  • NEXT:  A five-week course for early-stage startup founders to better understand their product or service, become ideal candidates for accelerators or incubators, and fully integrate proven entrepreneurial methodologies.
  • Startup Digest:  The world’s largest curated source of information, news, and resources for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.  All content is tailored to reflect the local community, and subscribers receive a personalized digest each week.
  • Corporate Connections:  A platform that builds connections between startups and corporations based on shared goals and industries.  The platform allows startups to develop corporate partnerships, mentoring relationships, client and vendor relationships, and licensing opportunities in new and meaningful ways.

UP Global will work with the U.S. State Department, with the help of the Department of Commerce and USAID, to bring programs like these to new corners of the planet, tailor them to the needs of specific communities, and help secure the resources and network to bring these efforts to life.  This collaboration will help achieve the objective of doubling the reach of entrepreneurship programs and resources by 2016 by:

  • Connecting:  UP Global and the State Department will work together to help establish new UP Global chapters in 500 new countries and augment existing resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging Networks:  The State Department will draw on its extensive networks in target countries to bring in local business leaders and prominent American entrepreneurs to reinforce UP Global’s programs and events.
  • Drawing attention to the cause:  UP Global and the State Department will coordinate to get information out about the entrepreneurship resources available through UP Global, including, when appropriate, through social media channels and outreach to local press.

The next big news for Seattle based Up Global was that Google, who has been partnering with Startup Weekend since last year through their Google For Entrepreneurs initiative, has doubled down and taken over as lead sponsor for Startup Weekend.

Upstart Business Journal said:

“…the Google partnership is especially powerful for the financial and technical support it can provide. UP is one of over 70 organizations that Google for Entrepreneurs has provided assistance to since formalizing a year ago. The entity within the search giant has been ramping up in recent weeks, announcing a new Google Hub network in seven non-coastal cities and plans to grow it to more.”

Google has replaced the Kauffman Foundation as the lead sponsor of the organization.

Find out more here and here.

 

Entrepreneurs Have Smart Ideas And Smart Phones

Smart phones, guest post, startupsThe best entrepreneurs usually aren’t organized. Sure, they may keep their paperwork in order and clean up after themselves, but inside, their wheels are cranking out a thousand ideas per minute.

Luckily, modern entrepreneurs have a number of tools to help them keep things running. The most indispensable accessory? Smartphones. These powerful devices keep entrepreneurs productive on the road, at home, and wherever else the job might take them.

Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry when it introduced iPhone in 2007, but Samsung, HTC and Blackberry have also emerged with impressive devices in 2013. Your smartphone is your closest companion. Choose wisely and you’ll keep your business on track

Apple iPhone

The iPhone is a design marvel, but the App Store is what peaks startup owners’ interests. Android and Windows also have app stores, but they don’t quite stack up. Apple owns a 73% market share in app industry, according to Forbes.com. Google is next at 27%. For entrepreneurs, that means Apple is still king of the apps, with such titles as Evernote, a cloud-based note-taking app, and Osito, a personal-assistant app. Apple’s iPhone isn’t the cheapest device ($200 with a two-year contract), and it usually doesn’t come with the cheapest service, but if you spent much of the day on your smartphone, iPhone offers the best overall experience.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung made the year’s biggest mobile splash to date when it released the Galaxy S4, a massive device in size and ability. But entrepreneurs may prefer the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an even larger device with a few extra business-friendly features. The Galaxy Note 2 comes with a stylus for note-taking, a common habit for entrepreneurs. Techradar.com lauded the Galaxy Note 2’s strong battery life, an especially important trait for on-the-go business owners. T-Mobile offers the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for $130 down payment and $20 per month.

HTC One

Plain and simple, the HTC One is the best piece of hardware on the market today. With it’s aluminum body, frontal speakers and Ultrapixel camera, the HTC one took its place with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy on the top echelon of smartphones. Startup owners may wonder if the HTC One has the apps to back up great hardware, but HTC uses the Android operating system, which boasts the fastest-growing app store, Google Play. HTC appears to have business owners in mind, too. A may press released noted that the HTC One offers firm 256-bit encryption for strong security and Sense-enabled productivity opportunities.

“Customers want the freedom to choose the device they use on the job, and companies want to know that devices brought into the workplace are enterprise ready,” HTC executive director David Jaeger said in a press release. HTC appears to be on the rise, making the HTC One an appealing option for entrepreneurs.

Blackberry Z10

Experienced entrepreneurs probably have a soft spot for Blackberry. These devices reigned supreme in the business world before Apple changed the game. Unfortunately, Blackberry held on too long to the QWERTY keyboard, and now it’s playing catch up. The Z10 is Blackberry’s latest touch-screen flagship. The Z10 is particularly interesting for businesses who use Blackberry Enterprise Services and Blackberry Balance. All three can sync together, simplifying life for entrepreneurs.


Andrew White is a mobile app developer and freelance writer originally from the Pacific Northwest.

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The Failure Of Startups In An Infographic By Staff.com

We all know that startups are up against a stacked deck. Depending on your source, startups fail at rate of anywhere form 70% – 90%. Startup founders are often big risk takers and know that to get their idea to the masses, it’s going to take hard work.

The folks at staff.com have released the infographic below that, while bright and colorful, paints a dark picture for people who consider themselves entrepreneurial and venture out on their own.

The timing of the infographic is a bit convenient as well. Just Saturday we published an infographic from our friends at oDesk highlighting that 72% of people with “real jobs” want to quit and be entirely independent. Further, 61% say they’re likely to quit within 2 years.

oDesk is a platform connecting free-lancers with any background to those needing workers. oDesk is enabling startups across the globe to stay in their hometowns by offering remote workers from developers and designers to administrative professionals.  Naturally, the lifeline of oDesk’s business is people working for themselves. oDesk is a huge resource for startups and entrepreneurs. They are also a good friend to startups “everywhere else”

Staff.com on the other hand, is a much more traditional firm. They help match employers with employees, so the lifeblood of their business is to keep people in traditional positions. No fault there; people have to work.

We all know “stats” can be skewed. Which infographic do you resonate with more?

 

Staff.com, odesk, everywhereelse, startups,entrepreneurs

 

Check out this advice for startups everywhere else from oDesk CEO Gary Swart

EE-FORENTREPRENEURS

10 Great Productivity Apps For Entrepreneurs

Apps for entrepreneurs, startup tips, Guest Post, YECGetting more done throughout your day isn’t simply a matter of sitting down and working harder.  Instead, being more productive requires that you work harder on the right things, in addition to tackling them as efficiently as possible. Fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are plenty of apps out there that will help to both organize an overwhelming workload and provide the motivation needed to get things done.

The following are 10 of my favorites:

  1. EvernoteThe beauty of Evernote (which is available for free in Web, iOS and Android versions) is that it can be whatever you need it to be.  Need a simple place to store notes or track thoughts as they occur? Evernote has you covered.  Want to set up a complete David Allen-style “Getting Things Done (GTD)” environment inside the program?  Evernote can do that too.
  2. DropboxAs with Evernote, it probably isn’t a surprise to see Dropbox on a list of recommended productivity apps.  The program’s value has been pretty well-established, all though chances are good that, even if you do have this program installed on your computer or mobile device, you still aren’t getting as much out of it as you could. To expand your usage, check out Macworld’s article on “62 Things You Can Do With Dropbox” (many of which work no matter what platform you’re using).
  3. LastpassIn an age of digital insecurity, forming secure passwords is an absolute must – but who has time to remember all those different combinations of letters and numbers? If you struggle to keep your online accounts secure, Lastpass can help by generating, storing and automatically recalling strong passwords for all of your Internet logins.  It’s free to use on both PCs and Macs, though you’ll pay $12/year to have the premium version available for download to your mobile device.
  4. Remember the MilkRemember the Milk (RTM) is a widely-used to-do list management program that’s worth a look if you’re having trouble tracking your tasks.  It’s highly flexible and easily customized – and can even be used to implement a GTD-style system.  The Web version and basic iOS and Android apps are free to use, though daily syncing will run you $25/year.
  5. WunderlistIf RTM lacks in any one area, it’s visual appeal.  So if you’re a more graphically-inclined entrepreneur, take a look at Wunderlist – a perpetual favorite on lists of the best “to do” trackers.  The program is easy to navigate and can be used to quickly and efficiently track important tasks from within its free desktop, Web, iOS and Android versions.
  6. ThingsAlthough Things is only available on Macs and within Apple devices, it still warrants a mention on this list, given how intuitive the program is to use.  While some users find that the RTM interface has a learning curve to fully utilize, Things makes it easy to start tracking “to do” items as quickly as possible.  And, as an added bonus, it’s totally free to use!
  7. InstapaperComing across interesting articles is one of the best parts of the Internet – and one of the worst things for your overall productivity levels. Instead of reading through new posts whenever you encounter them, save them to your Instapaper account.  Your selected Web pages will be automatically saved for later browsing, when they’ll be displayed in a reading-friendly format for free on your computer, iPhone, iPad or Kindle.
  8. YastNearly all professionals can benefit from some type of time-tracking program – whether this type of tool is used to report billable hours back to customers or to simply measure how working hours are being spent. Yast provides an incredibly easy-to-use solution (just press the “Play” button to start tracking time to a specific account) that’s free to use for personal time tracking.  Business accounts for entire teams are available as well, starting at $14/user per month.
  9. FocusboosterPlenty of entrepreneurs use the Pomodoro Technique (which alternates 25-minute long working blocks with short breaks) in order to maintain sustainable, long-term productivity. And while there are plenty of different Pomodoro timers out there, one of my favorites is the Focusbooster App.  It’s free to use and provides a simple way for business professionals to stay focused over long periods of time.
  10. Leech BlockIf you find that the Pomodoro Technique alone isn’t enough to maintain productivity (which – let’s face it – isn’t that much of a challenge in today’s digital world of easily-accessible distractions), you may need to call in the big guns. In this case, you need Leech Block – a Firefox add-on that allows you to lock down specified websites.  It’s easily customized to suit your unique working habits, and even provides a helpful reminder to get back to work when you stray to one of your blocked sites.

These are just a few of my favorite productivity apps.  If you have others that you couldn’t get through the work day without, share your recommendations below!

Sujan Patel is the founder and CEO of Single Grain, one of the top Digital Marketing agencies in San Francisco, CA. With more than 10 years of Internet marketing experience, Sujan leads the digital marketing strategy for companies like Sales Force, Yahoo, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Founder Spotlight: Ryan Buckley, Co-Founder & COO At Scripted.com

Scripted, Guest Post, Founder spotlight,startups,YEC,Guest PostRyan Buckley is Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Scripted.com. Ryan holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Still and always a Cal Bear, Ryan graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in economics and environmental sciences. He likes to dabble in PHP, Python, Ruby, Quickbooks, and whatever else needs to be done at Scripted HQ. Follow him @rbucks.

Who is your hero? 

Abraham Lincoln.

What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

Focus. Early on, in the first iteration of our company, we were building screenwriting software to help screenwriters work their way up in Hollywood. It was a lofty goal. Our first version of the product did everything from writer profiles to contest submissions and screenplay filters for producers.

It was too much. An advisor came down on us and reminded us that on our small budget (we had raised $37,000, which really felt like a lot of money) we couldn’t boil the ocean. Not even close. So we focused on one feature we were most excited about: web-based screenplay editing. Google Docs for screenplays.

That decision allowed us to hit a point where we could pivot off of that business and start Scripted.com. The reminder to focus on one problem has stuck with us, and our investors and new advisors tell us that our focus on the writing vertical is what makes us attractive.

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?

My biggest mistake was entering a market where my customers were short-term and broke. In retrospect, the business plan competition results were right: you can’t build a business around amateur screenwriters. Our first business model was having them pay subscriptions to use our product. Then we discovered reality and tried to move to a model where studios pay us to access our 100,000 scripts.

Although studios have much deeper pockets, the sales cycle proved far too long and costly. The next pivot, to sell marketing content (not screenplays) to businesses (not studios) was the business decision that worked out.

Lesson learned: Make sure your customers can afford your product and it’s not too hard to sell to them.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

I wake up at 7 a.m. and try very hard not to check email. By 7:30 I’m usually on the couch with my wife and watching Morning Joe (a terrific political morning show) with our coffee. Then I’ll either work from the couch for a bit or go straight to the office.

What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?

Spend as little as possible so you don’t have to stress about cash on a daily basis. Check your accounts monthly at least and always check your credit card bill for subscriptions you no longer need. Put off paying yourself for as long as possible too. It’ll make you appreciate and respect your business.

Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

Subscribe to Fortune and Inc. And get a smartphone app to make it easy to read the blogs every day.

What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

When we become a talent magnet, I’ll know we’ve made it.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab , a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Startups: Is your PR strategy outdated?

EEATTENDDEAL1

Social Entrepreneur Sticks It To Ambercrombie’s Douche Bag CEO Mike Jeffries

Greg Karber,Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, Social entrepreneurshipThe stories about Mike Jeffries,the king of retail douche baggery, have been all over the interwebs over the last two weeks. That’s when he went on the record saying that he doesn’t sell his clothing to plus sized women and that Abercrombie is elitest and only wants a certain kind of customer.

Jeffries actually said, in regard to this policy, ” In every school there are the cool and popular kids and then there are the not so cool kids. We go after the cool kids. A lot of people don’t belong and they can’t belong”.

This has prompted a wide range of reactions across the country. Boycotts, meme’s, and the latest endeavor, one social entrepreneur’s way to get back and give back.

AF2Los Angeles based Greg Karber, who bills himself as a writer, philosopher, performer, video maker, cultural critic and entrepreneur set out on a journey in hopes that others will join him.

He went into a Los Angeles GoodWill store and bought up their entire inventory of Abercrombie and Fitch clothing, in a variety of sizes and styles. He then set out to L.A.’s skid row, an area with one of the largest homeless populations in America and started giving away the clothes.

In the video below Karber says he can’t do it alone. He wants anyone that can to go through their closets, their friends closets and their neighbors closets and donate all their A&F clothing to their local homeless shelter. And when you do this, tag it #fitchthehomeless.

Richard Branson: Four Tips For Avoiding Startup Mistakes

Richard Branson,entrepreneur advice,startup,startups,startup tips

photo: fashionindie.com

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic among 100 other companies (mostly successful) has been doling out great entrepreneurial advice over the last 30+ years.

The great staff at KissMetrics have compiled a plethora of great Branson advice. If you’re an entrepreneur chances are you’ve either heard some of Branson’s advice first hand, or second hand from a friend or colleague. Chances are you are already acting on something that’s come from his infinite wisdom and you don’t even realize it.

Below we’ve got four tips for avoiding startup mistakes that everyone could learn from. Before we dive into that though there are a couple other really important lessons you could learn from Sir Richard Branson.

Your First Year is all about surviving.

Although I’m a serial entrepreneur and have had two successful exits neither was easy in the beginning, and nibletz has been even harder. Branson says:

“In a company’s first year, your goal should be simply to survive, and this will likely take everything you’ve got. No matter how tired or afraid you are, you have to figure out how to keep going.”

Always take notes.

We know always be closing and all those other ABC’s but Branson is a die hard when it comes to taking notes. Whenever he is meeting with anyone he is always taking notes. I personally just started taking notes with paper and pen rather than on my iPad. It makes whoever I’m talking with more comfortable and writing things down with a pen actually helps you remember them.

Branson says:

“Anyone who aspires to lead a company must develop a habit of taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere I go.”

In this article from entrepreneur magazine, Branson shares Four Tips For Avoiding Statup MistakeStay on target – You need to be clear and concise in explaining your idea. Branson says that the shorter the pitch is, the clearer it will be. Don’t plan too many years in advance, and stay on target.

  1. Be realistic about costs – Don’t underestimate the cost that it will take to launch your company. Branson says that JetBlue needed $160 million to launch. Conventional wisdom said that cost was too high and they wouldn’t be able to raise that much capital. But they did and had one of the most successful launches in airline history and turned a profit after only six months.
  2. Hire people you need, not people you like – It’s been said that people would rather work with people they like than people who are competent. Branson says entrepreneurs may want to stay away from working with friends because, if they don’t work out, it will be difficult letting them go.
  3. Know when to say goodbye – Entrepreneurs need to know when to step away from the CEO role. This doesn’t mean turning your back on the business, but realizing you’ll have a new role in the company which will allow you to focus more. It also doesn’t mean that you cannot return to running the company, as Larry Page did at Google.

We highly suggest you check out this Kissmetrics piece on Richard Branson, don’t forget a note pad.

Great startups will learn a lot here. Check it out.

Kauffman Foundation Teams Up With AARP Proving You’re Never Too Old To Launch A Company

The Kauffman Foundation has teamed up with AARP to launch a new initiative that will hone the entrepreneurial skills of people over 50 years old. We’ve seen our share of these golden entrepreneurs, who have either retired or left the corporate world to start a new business venture.

Two such entrepreneurs are 54 year old Elizabeth Van Sant and 68 year old Susan Jones, launched at Washington DC startup called Quad2Quad that serves as a platform providing much needed information to parents, families and students visiting colleges.

Kauffman Foundation, AARP, Quad 2 Quad, Accelerator,startup

The two baby boomer founders of quad2quad at everywhereelse.co 2013 (photo: Allie Fox for NMI 2013)

When we interviewed Jones last September, she proudly said that she was old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s mom. Although some may consider them too old to roll with today’s startup hipster, they’ve  been touring the conference scene across the country with appearances in San Francisco at Appnation and at everywhereelse.co in Memphis.

Now, the Kauffman Foundation has announced a new program targeted to baby boomer entrepreneurs 50 and over.

Three pilot courses of FastTrac NewVenture™ for the Boomer Entrepreneur will be offered in 2013 by Kauffman FastTrac affiliates. Up to 20 qualified applicants will be accepted per course, and AARP scholarship funds will cover $500 of each participant’s course fees.

The three Kauffman FastTrac affiliates selected to participate in the baby boomer pilot are ProperoHCA, New York City; Tech Coast Venture Network, Irvine, Calif.; and the Miami Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., Miami.

ProperoHCA has scheduled its weekly course for April 3-June 5. Tech Coast Venture Network plans to offer its Boomer course this summer. The Miami course, which will be taught in Spanish in an outreach to the region’s large Hispanic population, is also slated for a summer start.

“We look forward to partnering with Kauffman FastTrac to better serve our members interested in expanding their entrepreneurship business skills,” said Jody Holtzman, AARP’s senior vice president of thought leadership. “Through this coursework, they will acquire new insights and tools, explore available resources, and expand their networking opportunities to start and grow successful businesses.”

Content specific to baby boomers was recently added to the Kauffman FastTrac curriculum in recognition of changing U.S. demographics and research that finds a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity among Americans aged 55 to 64 than much younger age groups in recent years.

The initial 10-week baby boomer class was held in fall 2012 in Kansas City.

“We believe there is pent-up demand for entrepreneurship education among more mature audiences,” said Kauffman FastTrac president Alana Muller. “Whether they’re pursuing a lifelong passion, shoring up their retirement accounts, or utilizing skills and experience in a new way, boomer entrepreneurs make big contributions to our economy by creating new businesses and, in turn, new jobs.”

You can find out more about this program here