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 [...]Continue Reading
Archive for “Plan Your Business”
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 plastic 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?
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.-->
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 [...]Continue Reading
Hi gang, Happy early summer to you wherever you are. Here in Charlotte, we celebrate 5 seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, and Pollen. I am very happy that Pollen season is over because it was a bad one this year. This is no lie – there has been more pollen on my car and back [...]Continue Reading
Hi gang, Long time no talk. How are you? You’re looking good! How are the kids? How is your business doing? Did the doctor take care of that rash? Good. Good. Is your business growing? You hanging in there? How am I, you ask? Wow, is that a good question that does not have an [...]Continue Reading
Starting a business out of your garage? Check out these insights! You’ve heard about entrepreneurs who start their businesses in their garage and become true successes. What is their secret? Well, recently I found out about Pervaiz Lodhie. He started LEDtronics, Inc., www.ledtronics.com, in his garage with his wife, Almas, in 1983. Pervaiz Lodhie Today, [...]Continue Reading
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.
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, email@example.com.-->
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… [...]Continue Reading