From Harvard Business Review:
|Self-discipline is hard. Try these three things to make your work more efficient every day.
From Harvard Business Review:
|Self-discipline is hard. Try these three things to make your work more efficient every day.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Royal Bank of Canada, found 46 percent of companies have already implemented a green plan, with another 6 percent about to launch an initiative.
Of those companies that have already launched projects, 63 percent said they are likely to focus on reducing their energy use, while 31 percent are focusing on getting their products or services certified to a green standard.
A surprising finding from the survey is that green initiatives undertaken by SMEs are low-cost: 59 percent say they’ve spent less than $500 on green projects for the past two years, although as their companies grow the amount spent on those projects increases.
“Some small business owners think they have to spend a lot of money to implement these strategies, but that’s not the case: you can start by taking small steps and then build from there,” Mike Michell, the national director for small business at RBC, said in a statement.
Never do things for your customers and prospects in a small way. Make it big and important or don’t do it at all. I can assure you that when Trump takes a banker out to lunch to discuss a construction loan, he takes him out for a feast. He’s not out to save money on the meal; he’s determined to make money from it.
Everyone likes to do business with a winner. No matter what stage of your career, you need to look like you’ve made it. That means wearing a suit that will impress. As a universal rule, make it your business to be the best-dressed in the room. If you lack the fashion sense, a premier store will be more than happy to assign a knowledgeable salesperson to assist you.
Bring your ego with you in full bloom. It’s not enough to look successful; you need to act it as well. This demonstrates that you are also one of the smartest people in the room.
Again, take a page from Trump. Sure, he can be garish and way over the top, but no way is he going to check his ego at the door. Neither should you. So find a way to bring up your most significant achievements, tell an intriguing story and talk up your travels, discoveries and epiphanies
From June 20th to 22nd entrepreneurs, academics, government officials and youth entrepreneurship organizations from G20 nations met in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to discuss how to harness the potential of young entrepreneurs worldwide. Hosted by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit is recognized by the Canadian government as an official G20 event.
After two days of discussions with and presentations from young entrepreneurial leaders from around the globe, a communiqué identifying five key policy issues was developed and signed by the presidents of the delegations attending from G20 countries.
“Young entrepreneurs are driving economic recovery and will play a pivotal role in ensuring robust and sustainable growth in developed and developing economies alike,” says Vivian Prokop, chief executive officer of CYBF and chair of the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit. “Over the past two days, we have both highlighted five key issues for attention by the G20 Leaders this week and laid the foundation for a new global alliance of entrepreneurial organizations to provide a powerful voice for young business owners around the world.”
The communiqué calls upon the governments of the G20 countries to both recognize that young entrepreneurs have the power to change their lives, their communities, their cultures and their countries and to support for the following five points:
Regulation and taxation - Founding a business is a daunting challenge for entrepreneurs in every country, but doubly so for young people. Complex regulations and administrative procedures, together with excessive taxation, can discourage young people from taking even the first step towards becoming an entrepreneur. Governments should reduce red tape and enact tax measures that will encourage young people to invest in new businesses and will help these businesses to grow. Access to funding - Young entrepreneurs have great difficulty in gaining access to traditional sources of financing. Because they tend to have little experience and few assets, banks and other financial institutions tend to see them as too risky. And because they are starting from scratch, they are too small to be of interest to most angel investors and venture capitalists. Governments therefore should support alternative mechanisms and institutions that enable young entrepreneurs to access the capital they need. Coordinated support - Young entrepreneurs do get help from a range of non-governmental organizations, private-sector initiatives, educational institutions and government agencies, but in many countries the resulting web of support is inefficient and inconsistent. Governments should encourage greater collaboration and cooperation among organizations across the public, private and non-profit sectors, both within our countries and across international boundaries. Education and training - Our education systems have an essential role in enabling young entrepreneurs to acquire the knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed. Governments should encourage entrepreneurial education in our schools, colleges and universities and through nontraditional, community-based means. Entrepreneurship culture - While entrepreneurship has transformed countless lives in all our countries, young people are often not aware of entrepreneurship as a possible career option. This is particularly the case with young women and those from marginalized groups. Some cultures also view business failure as shameful and not as a learning milestone that shapes and improves later entrepreneurial ventures. Examples of entrepreneurs who have overcome these and other challenges are powerful teachers and we encourage our governments to find ways to share these positive examples with young entrepreneurs. >>
After the official signing, the communiqué was handed over to the Honourable John P. Manley and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, to be formally submitted to the G20 Business Summit (B20), which will take place in Toronto on June 25th-26th.
“” The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a persons determination”
Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Manager
You must “brand your brand” or someone else will. Brand equity is all about consistent delivery and correlating communication, including both verbal and visual dialogue. Inconsistency is the face of ruin on a brand. If you let the public define your brand, you lose control. It’s imperative for you to drive the message and perception of your brand before it reaches the public. To keep control of your brand, keep these tips in mind:
• Build it, brand it. When you develop a brand, what you say should be carefully considered, strategic, and consistent. Start by clearly defining what essentials you need in order to build your brand. A name, tagline, identity, website, and sales collateral are all essential core pieces of the brand in a successful launch.
• Don’t let the public define your brand. Social media is now an integral part of every brand and is also a popular method for launching brands. You need to plan how you want your brand to be received in social media channels. Do not leave this out of your branding equation; if not defined well, your brand could be misperceived by the public.
• Make sure your employees are aware of your brand messaging. They are your biggest brand advocates and all their communications should be consistent with the brand.
Remember, brand is both mental and physical, so the attributes and the name, color, tagline, and so forth must all align to keep your brand consistent and your audience happy. “Brand your brand,” for brand’s sake.
|From The Harvard Business Review:
Here are three ways to make that business call.
Toronto restaurateurs in the downtown core are bracing for a huge drop in sales as the city locks down for the G20 Summit this month. While a small number of venues were selected to host official events, the vast majority of restaurants will be off limits to visitors and locals during what is traditionally the busiest time of the year. This will have a negative effect on the restaurant industry.
“The government is literally putting up barriers between restaurants and their customers,” says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). “Last summer the stink of a garbage strike kept patio customers away, this year it’s a security fence.” The federal government has suggested reimbursing businesess for lost income, but no specifics have been given.
Aol.com posted a quick highlight of some of the most successful young entrepenuers today. Here are some highlights.
Young millionaire: Mark Zuckerberg, 26
His claim to fame: Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook, which this year will bring in anywhere from $710 million to $1 billion in revenue, according to various reports. Zuckerberg’s own wealth is believed to be $4 billion — at least on paper.
His blueprint for success: Zuckerberg started Facebook from his dorm room on February 4, 2004. The Harvard student didn’t intend for his page to go beyond Harvard, but he soon recognized the appeal of being able to connect with college friends. He brought aboard his roommate Dustin Moskovitz and later classmates Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes, as they began expanding Facebook to other universities like Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia and Yale. Facebook took off, first with college kids then high school students, and in June 2006, many corporations were allowed to join. In September 2006, Facebook opened the floodgates to the general public. Today, the site claims more than 400 million active users worldwide.
Young millionaire: Stacey Bendet, 32
Her claim to fame: She founded alice + olivia, a wildly successful women’s clothing line, which brings in a reported $50 million a year.
Her blueprint for success: Bendet started her business with University of Pennsylvania classmate Rebecca Matchett (alice + olivia is named after the founders’ mothers), and the collection is now sold in more than 800 stores around the world. Why the company became successful may simply be traced to Bendet’s creativity. New York once reported that while in college, Bendet Rollerbladed to a job interview dressed in orange pants and a fur bomber jacket. Today, her collections are known for being sophisticated but always adorned in a sense of fun and a little quirkiness. And what happened to Matchett? The two parted ways pretty early in their partnership, but Matchett isn’t doing so badly either — she is the co-founder of another clothing company called Rebecca & Drew.
Young millionaires: Dennis Crowley, 33, and Naveen Selvadurai, 28
Their claim to fame: They founded Foursquare, which has been valued at $80 million.
Their blueprint for success: Foursquare allows users to alert their Facebook friends and Twitter followers where they are at any given time, encouraging everyone to check out cool places they’ve discovered. Selvadurai is a software developer and Crowley knows something about social media (he sold Dodgeball, a location-based social network, to Google in 2005). Foursquare, a combination of software and social networking, is based on a very human desire: to get out and see things and share experiences with people. Selvadurai created it simply because, as he told BusinessWeek, “I live in the East Village, which has so much rich history and so much to do, and I realized that I’d seen maybe 5 percent of it. I was looking for a way to get me and my friends to go out and do more things.”
Young millionaire: Aaron Patzer, 30
His claim to fame: He created Mint.com, a money-management site. Last year, Intuit bought it for $170 million.
His blueprint for success: Patzer has always been something of an overachiever. As an undergrad at Duke University, he earned degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. He later started a Ph.D. program, decided that it wasn’t practical, and got his MSEE (Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering) at Princeton instead. So maybe it isn’t a shock that he was only 25 when he created Mint.com. Still, you don’t need to have an advanced degree to understand why Patzer was successful. Everyone has money — or wants it — and Patzer created an easy-to-use site that helps people keep more of it.
Young millionaire: Andrew Mason, 29
His claim to fame: He created Groupon, a coupon site like no other. Revenue is estimated to hit $350 million in 2010, and the company has been valued at $1.2 billion.
His blueprint for success: Mason harnessed the power of collective buying action. Groupon, available in cities nationwide, offers discounts from local businesses — generally significant discounts, like 59 percent off admission to a laser-tag arcade or 67 percent off a week at a daycare center. If enough consumers respond that they’ll take a particular deal, it goes forward. If not enough respond, the business can pull the deal. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, since customers save a ton of money, businesses gets an influx of customers, and Groupon takes up to 50 percent of the cut
By Tim Beyers
1. Create the Market
Jason Spievak and co-founders Robert Duva and Colin Kelley founded call-tracking software company RingRevenue in September of 2007, but it would be at least six months before any of them wrote a line of code. And it would be 18 months before the company received outside funding of any kind.
Much of that time was spent planning and talking with prospects; the founders didn’t want to build a solution before defining the problem, which they believed was big. Advertising affiliate networks were losing revenue each time a customer clicked on a digital ad but completed the transaction by phone. RingRevenue would fill the gap with technology, but only if affiliates could agree on the concept they had in mind.
“Before we were going to commit all of our time, career, dollars and resources to it, it was important to [know] enough about the customers and their needs that we could feel good that we were getting it right the first time,” Spievak says.
Each meeting brought changes to the design. But by asking prospective customers for feedback and then building to spec, RingRevenue created its own market. “We wanted to make sure that we understood the formula for growth, that we had satisfied customers and a scalable model,” Spievak says. Investors were impressed. RingRevenue closed a $3.5 million initial round of venture capital funding in June of 2009.
2. Get a Big Idea
If there’s a model for the sort of crazy entrepreneurs Bussgang admires, it might be the team at PhoneHalo. The company’s wireless technology plugs into a smartphone, making it a hub for preventing computers, iPads and other networked equipment from getting lost or left behind. But the vision for what it could be is much bigger.
“Imagine that everything that’s valuable to you in your life is always connected to the network. And imagine down the road if every item in your refrigerator was somehow talking to the network so when you were low on milk, if it goes through PhoneHalo’s infrastructure, it can update a to-do list right as you’re in the grocery store, all on the fly,” says CEO Jacques Habra. Crazy? Sure, but according to Bussgang, the ability to press forth in the face of naysayers is what makes a great entrepreneur.
PhoneHalo was still shopping for venture capital funding as of this writing. And yet Habra and co-founders Christian Smith and Chris Herbert are confident they’ll eventually find the right VC partner.
“Since this is our baby, it’s easy to feel rejected and bruised by a no,” Habra says. “In reality, that time with an investor is hugely valuable: If you ask the right questions and apply the feedback to your business unemotionally, you make the company that much more investable and likely to succeed.”
3. Work Your Network
Finally, the venture capitalist who doesn’t know you isn’t likely to partner with you. “They see so many referred-in deals that it just doesn’t make sense for them to spend much time on the ones that come in over the transom,” says Spievak.
He and his team were approached by potential venture capital investors in late 2008, during the height of a global financial meltdown, in part because backers of his earlier venture, publicly traded CallWave, earned back 30 times their investment following a 2004 public offering.
RingRevenue also had a backlog of angel investors willing to help with the company’s initial round of funding, if necessary. “That really helped us move our early dialogues with potential VC investors away from How green is your money?’ to Tell us about your experience in building software companies,’” Spievak says.
What do you do if you don’t have a track record or existing venture capital relationships? PhoneHalo’s team turned to family and friends for seed funding. Self-funding is also an option. But your best bet may be to expand your network.
“I would use LinkedIn, I would use the other tools, and I would reach out to your networks,” advises Spievak. “I would talk to other entrepreneurs who have raised capital. I would do whatever you can to get an introduction to the investor you want to speak with rather than just firing off business pitches.”
Once you get the meeting, don’t just perform. Know your audience, says Bussgang. “[Find out] who that person is that you’re pitching and what they typically invest in.”
“It is like an audition,” he says. “The whole goal of an audition is to get a call back.”