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Lori Williams

What is the Definition of Success and Failure?

It has been over two decades since I started my first company at age 25. My early years in business were emotionally draining. I wrestled with every decision, second guessing whether it was the right move. I had personified my company; if the business failed then I was a failure. Unfortunately, I was more motivated [...]

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Lori Williams

A Rock Climbers View of Business Risk

As a business consultant I am painfully aware of the inherent risk in starting/growing a company. I work with entrepreneurs from cradle to grave; of course hoping the grave refers to a planned sale or merger. However, this week the grave that occurred was undesired. After 26 years in business my long-term client was forced [...]

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business strategy | business planning

Strategic Planning –A Crucial Component of Business Planning

Companies often have trouble maintaining growth, even in favorable economic conditions. The modern business landscape is ever changing:  The information highway remains supercharged; technology continues to develop at warp speed; distribution channels change unexpectedly; and new competitors spring into action every day. In today’s complex business environment, strategic thinking is essential for sustaining a long-term [...]

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Lemonade Stand, Business Lessons

Lessons Learned from a Childhood Lemonade Stand

Small towns are inherently entrepreneurial. Family owned businesses support the local community rather than the typical big city retail chains. I grew up in a small rural community with approximately 2000 people at the time of my childhood. Large stores and restaurants simply did not exist. The closest grocery store was approximately 40 minutes away. [...]

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Business Leader

Where Did My Business Model Go?

In 1942 Joseph Schumpeter in his work entitled “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” coined the phrase “Creative Destruction” defined as a “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” Once again this concept is gaining popularity and being quoted by economist as [...]

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Small business public relations

Small Business Public Relations is Not Small

Think Big for Bigger Results. If you are an entrepreneur, you may be looking for “small business public relations.” But the truth is, public relations strategies and tactics are the same for large corporations as they are for small business owners. You both have specific business goals, targeted media members to pursue and the need [...]

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International Home Housewares Show

Should You Exhibit at the International Home + Housewares Show “Inventors Corner”?

The International Home + Housewares Show with roots dating back to 1906, has earned its reputation as the best venue for companies to introduce their housewares-related products to the Industry. The Show is the largest housewares-only fair in the world, boasting over 60,000 home goods professionals in attendance with over 20,000 buyers. Of particular interest [...]

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Does scalability really matter to a small business entrepreneur?

The use of the term scalability in business discussions has always amused me. In meetings with investors, I would watch the excitement escalate to an almost euphoric level. A common occurrence when investors and entrepreneurs meet to discuss business ideals. Just as the participants were ready to pop open the champagne bottle someone would exclaim, [...]

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Couponing

Reality TV Entrepreneur Starts Quick Couponing

How a Mother of Four Turned her Quest for Saving into a New Business If you are a struggling entrepreneur who is trying to take care of your family, save money and be a rock star business owner, you’ll love this story. Meet Pamela Davis. When her grocery bills skyrocketed, she decided to do something [...]

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Business Writing

I Need Writing Help! Sound Familiar?

Take Advantage of Content Management – Even without a Budget! If you are a business owner, you know the importance of content marketing and SEO, or search engine optimization. It helps you: Provide value to customers and the search engines. Stand out from the competition. Build customer word-of-mouth. Boost credibility and sales and more! Who [...]

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SEO

SEO Pays Off For New Business Owner

Meet Robin Kuriakose of Direct BS/MD Programs After applying and being accepted into medical school, Robin Kuriakose saw a need to help others go through this difficult process. With this in mind, he started Direct BS/MD Programs, www.directbsmd.com, while going to school and working. He recently shared some of his tips with me on how SEO [...]

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Enjoy Summer More by Outsourcing

Hire Outside Experts to Boost Sales Summer is flying by and August is here. With this in mind, what are you doing to make your life easier during these warmer months? As a business owner, it’s easy to want to control every aspect of your business. But you can actually save time and accomplish more [...]

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SEO Is Not About Keywords

Follow These 6 SEO Guidelines for Search Engine Optimization Success? If you think SEO, or search engine optimization, is just a buzz word and a matter of adding keywords to your site to increase traffic, you are wrong. Search engine optimization is a big part of your overall, content-strategy program tied directly to your marketing [...]

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Entrepreneur Helps The Environment With Aqwastream™

Startup Tips from Founder, Mare Van Dyke

Recently, I went scuba diving in Redondo Beach, California and was looking forward to seeing fish, crabs, lobsters, and some interesting sea snails. But that wasn’t the case. This time, I dropped down into the ocean, and there was a sea of garbage.

I can’t say I was that surprised. ABC News reported that, “approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die per year by ingesting plastic bags” and an article at The Mother Nature Network states that, “80 percent of plMare Van Dyke of Aqwastreamastic bottles are simply thrown away.”

I was sharing this story with an associate and discovered that she is actually doing something about it. Meet Mare Van Dyke, founding partner of Aqwastream and what she had to say during our interview…

Tell us about Aqwastream and why you started the company.

In a nutshell, we are developing a system of personal, water-bottle refill and digital media-stations that dispense free, filtered water on college and corporate campuses. The program for universities will be funded by corporate sponsors and provided to them at no cost.

Aqwastream™ stations include a micro-broadcast network where videos play to promote sponsor sustainability efforts to a targeted audience. Our goal is to partner with sponsors, schools and corporations to attack the issue of plastic-bottle waste one refill at a time.

I’ve worked continuously in various education and marketing related positions for over 40 years. During that time, I had the privilege to learn many facets of business, both B2B and B2C and felt strongly about becoming involved in something that could make a difference in our world – some small action with an educational twist that had a long-term benefit. I’ve been carrying a refillable water bottle for more years than I can remember, so the opportunity to create Aqwastream was a perfect fit.

What makes Aqwastream unique and why do you think it will be successful?www.aqwastream.com

Aqwastream™ is unique because of the total system solution technology we’ve incorporated in our network of stations to educate and engage users. We are taking the idea of the prehistoric “watering hole” or more contemporary “water cooler” concept where users quench their thirst, and get caught up on the important news of the day.

Our broadcast network is designed to display content directly related to issues around sustainability – produced by corporate sponsors or creatively designed by students – and shown in an environment where education and company loyalty can increase engagement and action.

We’re also utilizing M2M (machine to machine) technology to manage all mechanical and technology systems on the station. Sponsors and hosts (corporations and schools) won’t have to worry about maintenance or service calls. We handle it all, having developed a proprietary remote monitoring system.

What has been the most difficult part about starting a new company and becoming an entrepreneur?

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot of buzz around young entrepreneurs taking their great idea to market. You see them on TV, in social media and on magazine covers. The excitement of their risk is buffered by the time they have in life to re-group if they lose all their money or that of their investors.

We don’t hear much about professionals who later in their careers, take their beliefs, experience and savings and combine them to start something new in what’s supposed to be a winding-down time. With everyone “working toward retirement,” you only hear warnings that you’ll end up as Wal-Mart greeters if you fail. In actuality, according to a December 2012 article in Inc. magazine, “Older Entrepreneurs Get a Bum Rap,” those starting businesses later in life have a pretty good shot at success.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far starting Aqwastream?

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to get outside of your current network. Fresh opinions and perspectives open your mind to possibilities and new connections. One particular new contact gave me advice that proved to be most valuable. She advised me to take advantage of my years of experience and connect only with those at the top level in each organization. She stressed the importance of “owning the start-up space” and adding value in every category by working top level players.

As a marketing expert, how are you marketing and promoting your new business?

Since becoming a founding partner of Aqwastream LLC, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and green movement professionals are communicating to their constituents. There is a tight network of those who already “get it.” Expanding our concept to broad and targeted audiences will happen through expansive efforts of social media. It’s where we all look to learn.

What tips do you have for other entrepreneurs just starting out?

My tip to new entrepreneurs is to create value right from the beginning by acquiring assets for your business. File for trademarks, create systems with technology, apply for patents, establish your brand standards, set up a solid accounting system, and add equity partners to your team. Put your ego on the sideline and skip the fancy office, address and business expenses that do not add value to the business you are building.

That’s great advice Mare. Is there anything else you would like to add?

One of the most poignant statements that I heard about building a new business or even running an existing company goes like this. “Everything a company does should be done to make it more successful. Everything else is just a waste of time and resources.” For entrepreneurs like me, this is timely advice.

Thanks for your insights Mare, and we wish you all the best with your new business. If you’d like to contact Mare, visit www.aqwastream.com.

Do you have comments or a good, startup story to tell? Please write to us below.

And if you need help with your PR and SEO content strategy to boost sales, please write to me at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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Startup Tips from Founder, Mare Van Dyke Recently, I went scuba diving in Redondo Beach, California and was looking forward to seeing fish, crabs, lobsters, and some interesting sea snails. But that wasn’t the case. This time, I dropped down into the ocean, and there was a sea of garbage. I can’t say I was [...]

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Think That Copy is Gone? Think Again!

SEO copy, business procedures and PR stories are protected! Earlier this month, I attended a seminar by an FBI Search and Recovery Diver. He showed us all of his high tech equipment and talked about how he searches for missing people, evidence, and other items underwater. And while it was cool to try on his [...]

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