Category Archives for "Entrepreneurship"

Small Business Onovative Makes Big Impact with Google AdWords

Kentucky natives Michael Browning and Clay Turner know a thing or two about business. When they decided to leave their careers in marketing and finance in 2014 to start Onovative, a banking-communications software company, they saw a chance to shape the future by learning from the past. “We want to solve some of the industry’s most frustrating problems with technology,” Clay says. By cleverly combining marketing automation and a customer relationship management (CRM) system with a communications platform, Onovative gives financial institutions a smarter, easier way to communicate.

Onovative harnesses Google tools so that their small business can make a big impact. AdWords, Google’s advertising program, allows them to target specific products and offerings, while also controlling when their ads are shown. “We learned that people tend to search for products like ours at certain times during the week, so we schedule our ads to only show during those peak times,” explains Michael. They use Google Apps for Work, including Gmail and Google Drive, to communicate and share information securely. “It’s very easy for a small business to use and comforting to know that all of your information is protected like it’s supposed to be,” says Clay. Onovative especially relies on Google Analytics to gain valuable insight into where their customers are coming from and what they are interacting with on the site. “Other businesses ask us what our secret is. It’s really Google Analytics,” Michael says.

Onovative now has nine employees with plans to hire more, and their client base has been doubling every quarter. They are committed to helping financial institutions of all sizes to better serve their customers and hope to double the business by the end of 2016. To do so, they know who they’ll turn to. “The number one reason for our marketing growth is Google,” says Michael. “Google is the only marketing channel that connects people with solutions when they have a question in their heads. There isn’t a marketing or advertising channel that comes close to what we get from Google Search and AdWords.”

Source: StartupNation

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4 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Do the First Week of the New Year

Now that the holidays are over and the new year is in full swing, it’s time to head back to the lab to formulate fresh, smart, and effective ideas that will grow your organization.

Whatever the size of your firm, whether you’re B2B or B2C, and regardless of the industry in which you operate, here are four must do’s that you need to launch if you’re aiming to increase profits and market share over the next 365 days:

1. 100-Day Plan

Since the 1930’s when Franklin Roosevelt pioneered it as a means of gauging his effectiveness in the Oval Office, the 100-day plan has become a tradition for newly elected American Presidents. The plan consists of achievable short term goals that adhere to a President’s long term vision for the country. Entrepreneurs should write their own 100 day plans as blueprints for advancing their organization’s productivity and profitability. Such a plan establishes 100 tasks, and requires business owners to consider the specific steps and resources that are needed to bring them to fruition. While there’s a time and place for visionary long term planning, the 100-day plan allows entrepreneurs to craft and pursue attainable objectives and start the year off with a burst of energy. When the 100-day finish line is reached mid-April, entrepreneurs will know if they should be celebrating or if they need to recalibrate their efforts.

2. Declutter

Whether you want to improve the feng shui of your office or just make it easier to find and store your stuff, a comprehensive tidy up of your company’s work space is a laborious yet necessary task. To make it happen, set aside a Saturday when your team can come in, rent a dumpster and high capacity paper shredder, and destroy unnecessary documents, presentations and files, and toss out old equipment, brochures, books, product samples, and other unproductive items. Once your space has been tightened and tidied, implement a cloud-based backup system that allows for fast and convenient recovery of your organization’s electronic files. The decluttering will not only allow your team to operate more efficiently, it will also help your office to look more streamlined and professional.

3. Fire the person you know you have to fire

Maybe you’ve tried to intervene to help turn things around, or  you’ve ignored the problem in hopes that it would eventually take care of itself. But however you’ve handled the challenge of having weak members on your team, you know that they’re there and that they’re dangerous the to the health of your company. If you didn’t have the heart to do any purging during the holiday season, delay no longer. The costs to your firm in reduced productivity, low employee morale, additional supervision, damaged client relationships, and lost revenue that are caused by substandard employees can be as high as $190,000 per year, so make a decision now to either remedy a situation that’s fixable — or to clean house.

4. Get high or higher

While 26 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana, the suggestion here isn’t that entrepreneurs should light up more. Instead, the first week of the new year is a perfect time to review and possibly raise the prices of your products or services. Too many small business owners try to compete by lowering their prices, and that’s often a mistake. Instead, devise a plan by studying your competitive landscape; looking at your firm’s pricing history; reviewing the calendar to determine the best time to bump up your rate, fees, or prices; and thinking about how you can enhance the value of your offerings in order to justify price revisions. If you detect some white space that would allow for small yet profitable increases, you should absolutely seize it.

After the joy and frenzy of the holidays, it’s understandable if it takes a minute for business owners to snap back to attention and keep their ships moving forward, but the upside to getting started is significant. Entrepreneurs who have the discipline to leverage these four steps as an annual early January organizational “reboot” will help to energize their teams, inspire exciting ideas, and generate new opportunities for innovation and growth.

Source: Entrepreneur

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Eight Ways To Build Wealth Like Millionaires Do – Make It A Game

The economic downturn has taken its toll on Americans – business owners and workers alike. Many of those who lost their jobs had to take substantial pay cuts in order to work.  Overtime is a thing of the past and many who would like a second job find they are few and far between.  Just because times have been challenging doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build wealth.  In fact building wealth can actually be enjoyable, even fun.

There are opportunities out there for everyone whether it is in an emerging industry such as “micro jobs” or using a special talent you possess and enjoy turning into wealth building opportunities. Here are some ways to build wealth either in a small way to make ends meet or in a big way that could be life changing, either way any of these could be a positive move in the right direction:

1. Take a few micro jobs

With the economic downturn and the technology/social media upturn, a new industry has emerged that helps people with small jobs or tasks such as running errands or something more interesting such hiring a micro jobber to “ask someone for forgiveness” for you (that would certainly get their attention.)  On the other hand, some jobs could actually lead into something else such as reviewing resumes for job seekers, or recording video testimonials for websites. The micro job site takes a cut of course, but you net out a profit for a few minutes of your time. When you take the micro jobs, invest the funds to build wealth.  You’d also have some great stories to tell.

2. Invent something and sell the concept

One of my favorite inventions is the pool sweep, not that I have a pool but I just think it is an amazing invention.  Millions of pool owners agree since every swimming pool owner I have ever met has one of these devices that crawls along the bottom of the pool vacuuming up leaves and debis for them. A penniless engineer named Ferdinand Chauvier brought his family from the Belgian Congo to South Africa and eventually invented the first automatic pool vacuum in 1974 when he came up with the prototype for the “Kreepy Krauly” as he called it.   Pool owners everywhere gladly pay for this amazing device. If you are constantly coming up with new ideas or ways to dramatically improve things, in your spare time, make a prototype or sell the concept to a company who buys ideas.

3. Negotiate

When you make negotiating a game to pay less for everything you purchase, you can not only save thousands of dollars on things you are purchasing anyways but you can make money by reselling. A friend of mine loves a deal and his idea of fun is calling his cable TV company to let them know he received an offer from a competitor to see what they will offer him to stay. I observed him getting a free month and a three month premium package for his phone call. The key for him is making it a game which he uses for every single purchase he makes and he saves thousands of dollars as well as getting free services along the way.  He took it to a new level with his baseball card collection and resells cards he got amazing deals on and now makes enough to make his house payment every month.  You can do the same.

4. Start couponing

It may not seem like a $1 off coupon makes much difference in your grocery budget but the bottom line is saving money on purchases increases wealth. People who use a coupon system report saving as much as 40% on a regular basis on their groceries and household items.  It takes less than an hour a week to organize and can make you $50 an hour because of the savings on the regular household items you are buying anyways. Couponers see it as a challenge to get the absolute lowest price on their groceries and many make it a fun competition by texting each other after leaving the store to compare how they did. Whether it’s a small item or a big one if you can pay less, you are ahead.

5. Turn your hobby into a business

You have a special interest or talent, why not use it to build wealth?  I already mentioned my friend who turned his baseball card collection into a major money maker and there are tons of other examples we hear about every day for someone who takes some initiative.  An employee one of our financial planners recently met with at a worksite financial planning session mentioned that he recently started an online book selling business.  He loves to read and is adept at IT so he combined his interest with his talent and started selling used books on Amazon.  He was already making a profit in the first three months and planned on using his profits to fund Roth IRAs for him and his wife.  He also can get even more enjoyment from his love of reading since he can resell his books for a profit.  The IRS is on his side too since he now has some additional write offs.

6. Reduce your tax bill and invest the difference

Educate yourself on smart tax reduction strategies such as what I just mentioned in turning your hobby into a business.  Some tax strategies include harvesting losses against your gains, getting double tax breaks on medical expenses by funding an HSA with your employer, or “bunching” your expenses or even your year-end bonuses into the following year so you don’ t phase out of student loan interest deductions or taking losses on rental property.

Investing $3100 in an HSA in 2012 saves $775 on your federal income tax if you are in a 25% tax bracket because the funds are pre-tax and are withdrawn tax free if used for medical expenses.  By NOT getting phased out of student loan interest deduction of $2500 per year, you could save $625 on federal income taxes if you are in the 25% bracket and “harvesting losses” against investment gains could have unlimited potential.  For example, a $10,000 gain on a security held a year and a day would incur a 15% capital gains tax (20% in 2013) so it would cost $1500 in taxes.  If you took a loss of an equal amount in the same year, that gain becomes tax free.  Becoming versed in tax strategies can save you thousands of dollars each year that can go to your wealth building instead of to the IRS and your state tax department.

7. Solve a problem

You can earn thousands per problem solved.  For example, some students at Chicago University came up with an idea to install a “round up” button on cash registers so customers can automatically donate to charity by rounding up their transactions.  These students won $10,000 to give to their favorite charity!  Innovators Felipe Husser and Jeff Warren won $360,000 for Peepol.tv which created a streamlined platform for watching videos of breaking news events around the world which as you can imagine would be valuable to news organizations and even governments worldwide.  There are also thousands of extremely smart problem solvers out there who are unknown and simply need a venue and a problem to solve for a fee and then invest the difference to build wealth.

8. Throw parties and sell tickets

House concerts and small local venues have increased in popularity to promote up and coming artists and musicians using social media.  If you love to entertain and bring people together, why not get paid to promote your favorite musicians at a house concert or other venue?  If you already are entertaining and absolutely love it, expand your horizons and your network and make some extra income doing it. You don’t have to host it in your home if you don’t have the space or that doesn’t appeal to you, but you could host it at a community center or some other neutral space.  A friend of mine in Scottsdale Arizona used to host networking events at local resorts who wanted to show off their venues and provided the room and the food for free.  She picked up the drinks and charged the attendees.  It worked out well as she developed a name for herself while making a profit.

There are opportunities out there in any market environment to build wealth and if you can pair up your skills and talents with what you love to do, you can actually build wealth by having fun. Isn’t that how it should be?

Source: Forbes

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RunningMan team – L-R: Lee Hao Ting, Cham Khai Siang, Andrew Chee (CEO, Co-founder) and Tan Wei Yong (Co-founder)

Malaysia’s logistics delivery startup RunningMan raises US$40K on pitchIN Equity

Malaysia-based logistics delivery startup RunningMan has recently become the second company to be fully funded on pitchIN Equity’s crowdfunding platform. Funding deal was led by Nexea Angels, BizAngel Network and WTF Accelerator.

The last mile logistics startup successfully raised its target amount of RM175,000 (US$43,538) moments after it went live on Monday, August 22, 2015.

Source: RunningMan.my Facebook Fanpage

Source: RunningMan.my Facebook Fanpage

RunningMan is a marketplace platform offering instant delivery (typically within an hour) that users can use to reach out to nearby shops and restaurants. RunningMan riders are stationed at strategic points within its coverage area.

RunningMan was picked best startup at the ASEAN Startup Campus Accelerator bootcamp held in conjunction with the 1AES summit last November.

The startup also made history by becoming the first Angel Tax Incentive (ATI) accredited company to raise funds through equity crowdfunding.

RunningMan team – L-R: Lee Hao Ting, Cham Khai Siang, Andrew Chee (CEO, Co-founder) and Tan Wei Yong (Co-founder)

RunningMan team – L-R: Lee Hao Ting, Cham Khai Siang, Andrew Chee (CEO, Co-founder) and Tan Wei Yong (Co-founder)

“We are very happy to see that investors believe in us. I want to record our appreciation to our lead investors, Nexea Angels, BizAngel Networks and WTF Accelerator for taking the lead in making this happen. We are a young team but we have proven with our results that we have the potential to become a leading player in the on-demand economy,” said Andrew Chee, CEO at RunningMan, in a press statement.

“With these funds, we will build better mobile and IT solutions and also expand to cover the full Klang Valley. RunningMan riders are ready to assist consumers and businesses with their delivery and purchasing needs,” he added.

Source: e27.co

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