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Archive for “Plan Your Business”

Business Simply Put provides affordable, high-level business information and advice.

Five Reasons Companies Fail on Execution

Most organizations fail on strategy execution, not formation. Setting unrealistic expectations, including initiatives, measurements and milestones is one of the major causes of failure. The remaining most common reasons for failure are: lack of discipline and planning, rigidity- not allotting for situational shifts, lack of understanding and lack of buy-in or company-wide implementation. Lack of [...]

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Business Simply Put provides affordable, high-level business information and advice. Products and services can be customized to meet specific needs.

What Every Company Leader Should Consider

A company leader must make sure the right people are doing the right things. This requires both leadership skills and knowledge about the numerous business functions that exist within a company. Given their level of influence, they can build or destroy the company. Leaders have to respect the impact that their words and directions have [...]

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Business Simply Put Lori Williams

Success: A Goal or Unhealthy Obsession?

Entrepreneurs are high-energy people driven by the need to succeed. I have experienced this in myself, my colleagues and the students who attend my entrepreneurship class at USC. Respectfully, the term successful by its very nature is a subjective and personal term. However, in the business world it is usually defined by the amount of [...]

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Why you should fire some customers by Lori Williams of Business Simply Put

Why You Should Fire Some Customers

This week I spoke to a new client who contacted me through the eAdvice service on my website. In her written correspondence she expressed concern about the overall profitability of her company. Of course, those were not the specific words she used in her email. Rather she wrote the words I hear many business owners [...]

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Web Marketing

Small Company Marketing Plan

Small companies usually operate on a shoestring marketing budget. They do not have the luxury of hiring professional expertise or purchasing big ads in popular magazines. For this reason, their marketing efforts must be very focused and disciplined to gain the greatest benefit. The importance of branding cannot be underestimated. A distinctive brand strategy builds [...]

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Business Leader

False Perceptions – A Destructive Force

Strategic plans built on faulty beliefs are sure to fail. Change can occur quickly and the average lifespan of a business model may only be a few years before modifications or a complete restructuring is required. With that said, change does not occur unnoticed overnight — subtle clues (that are easily recognizable in hindsight) can [...]

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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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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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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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How Strong is Your Tech Security, Really?

Cybercrime is increasing dramatically. In fact, ”The 2012 Security Threat Report” by data security company SOPHOS, indicates that we “need to be ready for attacks on new platforms and devices—all the places we use data for work and our personal lives,” and that “cybercriminals are becoming more professionalized through the availability of commercial crimeware kits… the result is mass generation of new malicious code and exploits, and a significant increase in the volume of malware.”

Securing company data is now a top priority. But if you are relying solely on your tech team to protect your data, you are not as secure as you think you are. Instead, everyone in your organization needs to get involved in keeping information safe and private.

Where do you begin?

Start With E-Mail.

One of the most vulnerable areas in your organization is e-mail. People often communicate private information within e-mails, but this data is usually not secured. To overcome this issue, implement systems on or off-site that help you contain communications-channels to your organization. These include:

  • Employing technologies that scan and monitor e-mail communications for potential, intellectual-property breaches;
  • Maintaining outside file repositories with logging capabilities for file exchanges; and
  • Using encryption, firewalls, spam filtering, and other systems for protection against viruses, spam and phishing attempts.

This way, you have control over internal communications online and a way to keep offending visitors out. However, none of this will work if you don’t talk to your entire organization about the importance of securing data.

Educate Employees.

While your tech team may be monitoring the security of your organization regularly, other employees are not. Many of them do not know the security risks involved with e-mail attachments, visiting certain Websites, communicating private information online, and more.

Because of this, your tech leaders need to communicate with all employees every month. It’s their job to educate staff members on technology “do’s and don’ts” within the organization and what can happen if they break the rules.

This educational process may involve weekly meetings, monthly newsletters, training sessions, e-mail notices, or even fun events to build relationships between departments. And since technology is constantly changing, you need to look at these organization-wide communications as ongoing.

All employees need to know how to avoid security issues, what to do if they see a potential, security threat and what is going on with security in the organization as a whole.

Security is a Team Effort.

While your tech team may be on the cutting-edge of security, this is just the beginning. Everyone in your organization needs to know the security policies, be aware of threats and act accordingly. By communicating regularly and working together, you can avoid unwanted infiltrations into your system, information leaks and major, security issues.

What are you going to do today to let your employees know about tech security at your company? Please comment below, or write to me at The Rich Dad Company, customerservice@richdad.com.

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Cybercrime is increasing dramatically. In fact, ”The 2012 Security Threat Report” by data security company SOPHOS, indicates that we “need to be ready for attacks on new platforms and devices—all the places we use data for work and our personal lives,” and that “cybercriminals are becoming more professionalized through the availability of commercial crimeware kits… [...]

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IT, Meet the Finance Team

When you’re creating strategies to grow your business, your finance leaders are a big part of the planning process… right? Well, don’t forget your IT members too. While your finance people are busy crunching the numbers, they may not be aware of how technology can help them do their jobs faster and more accurately. Don’t [...]

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Give Yourself a Break!

As summer fades away, I’m sure you’d love to hold onto some of your personal time and avoid working long hours. But if you’re an entrepreneur, how do you please all of your customers without giving up some free time with family and friends?

Here are a few suggestions to reclaim your personal time:

1. Hire a Virtual Assistant.

Do you have data entry, accounting, writing, or other administrative activities that need to be done? Get these tasks out of your way by hiring a virtual assistant.

These professional workers are available throughout the United States with different skill sets at various price-points.

And because you are hiring a service rather than an actual employee, you don’t need to worry about all of the legal and tax headaches involved in the hiring process.

Check out the International Virtual Assistants Organization at http://www.ivaa.org/ and other, related sites to find someone to fit your specific needs.

2. Find an Intern.

Many high school and college students are looking for work to add to their portfolios. Offer to provide opportunities to help them succeed.

You’ll get some inexpensive help, and your interns will get valuable, on-the-job experience to use in their future careers. Just be aware that you’ll need to take some extra time to train these newbies carefully.

3. Get help from your kids.

If you haven’t already done so, have your kids help you with your business. Not only will they learn important skills and the importance of working for an end-result, but you may be able to use this as a tax deduction too.

Check with your accountant to see how you can make this work for you.

Enjoy yourself!

Instead of saying goodbye to summer fun and thinking you just can’t get away from work, be positive and creative. Look for people to help you finish tasks outside of your core area of expertise.

It may take a little effort to find the right helpers, but once these workers are in place, you’ll have more time for yourself and be able to get the relaxation you need to truly be successful!

Need more help with your SEO copywriting and PR to increase sales? Please write to me below or at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

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As summer fades away, I’m sure you’d love to hold onto some of your personal time and avoid working long hours. But if you’re an entrepreneur, how do you please all of your customers without giving up some free time with family and friends? Here are a few suggestions to reclaim your personal time: 1. [...]

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Where’s the Accountability?

Happy 2012 StartUpNation! As I wrap up Week #1 of this fabulous brand new year, I thought I would check in with all of you…. Have you set your Main Goal(s) for 2012? More important, How do you plan to hold yourself accountable to your Goal(s)? That is the kicker with goals.  You can make [...]

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