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Monthly Archives: March 2013

It’s Easy Being Green

5 Technologies that make being eco-friendly simple

Green Tech

Big data, apps, geotargeting, and software all present great opportunities for running a greener business and leaving a smaller carbon foot print.  Here are five examples of technologies that are increasing environmental awareness in convenient ways:

1.  Fuze Meeting: This technology allows for mobile video conferencing across Blackberries, Androids, and iPhones.  They enable people to have a meeting anytime, anywhere, and on any device. By allowing people to quickly meet without traveling to see on another face to face this app helps save both time and energy.

https://www.fuzebox.com/

 2. Surveyor:  Approximately two-thirds of energy consumed by computers is wasted by machines that are not in use.  A company called Verdiem developed a software called ‘Surveyor’ that manages the energy consumption of computers.  Surveyor monitors mouse and keyboard use to determine whether or not a computer is in use, allowing teams to scale down the power usage of computers at certain times of day and when a PC has become idle.  In addition, Surveyor actually collects data that helps companies learn about their energy usage over various departments and locations.

http://www.verdiem.com/products/surveyor

3. Find Green:  This iPhone app enables people to find eco-friendly friendly businesses nearby.  This can be useful as a consumer exercising greater environmental consciousness as well as B2B.  As an entrepreneur in clean tech this is also a great way of finding businesses that may be early adopters or collaborators. This app is available for free in iTunes and on Androids.

4.  Good Guide: Is a free app that helps you determine which products are more environmentally friendly and ethical by simply scanning their barcodes with your smart phone.  Their website also acts as a directory.  This makes it incredibly easy to choose better products to stock your business with.

http://www.goodguide.com/

5.  iRecycle:  This site tells you how to recycle just about anything and helps you find nearby places where you can do it. The app can be found in both the iPhone and Android stores.

http://earth911.com/irecycle/

Thanks for Reading,

Cah{o,o}ts

If At First You Don’t Succeed

People Who Failed Along The Way

Success Path

When we think of the word ‘launch’ we picture rockets, even when what we’re actually launching is a business. When a real rocket launches every detail, calculation, and potential issue has to be checked and prepared for or else a catastrophe could take place.  The rocket then proceeds on a linear trajectory and escapes gravity.  In reality, success looks nothing like this and very few entrepreneurs reach the business stratosphere on the first try. While planning, strategies, and education can prepare us for the journey, path to success is not linear and certainly isn’t is calculable to the same degree as a rocket launch.  The road to success is often full of obstacles and sometimes there is no road at all. Many of the most successful people in history failed along the way.

Successful People

  • Marilyn Monroe was told by agents that she should consider being a secretary.
  • Vincent Van Gogh only ever sold one painting.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the University of Southern Carolina for Theater.
  • J.K Rowling had previously been on welfare while raising a child and attending school. 5 years later she was one of the richest women in the world.
  • Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times before being accepted.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
  • Edison made one thousand attempts at the light bulb before he got it right.
  • Colonel Sander’s famous KFC recipe was rejected 1009 times before he got a yes.

The attribute all of these people have in common is persistence. However, it is not enough to simply be persistent, learning from each setback or failure is also paramount.  Success is rarely straightforward and it’s important to stay true to your passion in order to see it through, as Winston Churchill said:

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”

We wish you success, and as many valuable learning experiences as you need along the way.

Cah{o,o}ts

8 Ways to Test an Idea Without Spending Money

ideas money

Have an amazing idea for a new business? Great.  Before you start spending your money, going to family and friends, go into debt, or seek investment it is important to test the market potential for that idea.  Not only will this information help you decide whether or not to spring forward, it will give you valuable information on how to go about it. The majority of small businesses fail within five years if starting up. Here are some great steps you can take to test the waters without drowning:

1.  Research:  Has your idea been done?  Is someone already starting to work on a similar start up?  What made them succeed/fail?  You can learn a lot from another concept’s failure. Look for holes in other’s execution to determine how you may succeed where others have not.  Just because an idea has been tried or is being done on some level doesn’t mean it’s being done well or to its full potential.

2. Seek the Similar:  Ask people who are in the same industry what they think of your idea.  For example, if you’re thinking of developing software for restaurant reservation systems ask a restaurant manager or owner for their opinion.  How high is the demand for the software?  Which types of restaurants would be likely to pay for it and how much?  You could find someone who has built something similar, like a booking system for  medical clinics, and ask them about their experiences.

3.  Be Open:  Afraid that someone may steal your idea if you talk about it?  Ideas are a dime a dozen and most people are excited about their own. Like Edison said, success is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration Don’t let fear stop you from obtaining valuable feedback.

4.  Talk to the Targets:  Who are your potential customers? Do they need/want your product? Would they be willing to pay for it?

5.  Bring it to the Bank:  Asking your bank manager for advice is a great way to test the viability of your business.  Experienced bank managers have seen lots of ideas and are trained to look for the attributes of success and failure for start-ups.  Having a conversation with the bank is a great source of insight and can give you an idea of what hurdles you’ll have to overcome to generate profit and secure funding.

6.  Keywords:  The Google Keyword Tool gives you insights into searches for particular keywords, such as the number of global and local searches per month.  By searching keywords and phrases relevant to your idea you can get a sense for the demand for your product.

7.  Build a Free Landing Page:  By building a landing page you can gauge the interest level in your product or service and even determine people’s willingness to purchase it.  Muse Chimp provides a great guide for doing this in conjunction with Google Adwords.

8.  Test Yourself:  Last but not least there is a crucial and frequently overlooked aspect to starting any business: what you want. You must ask yourself how much time and money you are willing to invest to get your idea off the ground.  Starting a business can be a lot of work and doesn’t suit everyone.  As Vidal Sassoon once said “The only place where success comes before work is the dictionary.”  What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead? Do you want to travel constantly? Do you want a family/ how will starting a business affect your family?  What are your exits?

After taking these eight steps you should have a solid idea of whether or not you should act on your idea and at the very least will have learned a lot about it.

We wish you success with all your endeavors!

Cah{o,o}ts

How Blogging Powers Online Presence

Why Making a Commitment to Blogging is a Worthwhile

blog key

Online media is the only sector of media that is currently growing and blogs have been around since the beginning.  The web log (blog) became popular in the late nineties primarily with individuals writing from a personal perspective.  By 2004 blogs had become mainstream and were beginning to be seen as a more than an online diary with the composition of bloggers today looking something like this:

Blog Composition

Source: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011

Blogs have demonstrated continued growth: there are over 42 million active WordPress blogs worldwide. Many forms of engagement have come and gone (Remember EZboard and Geocities?) but blogs have stuck around (though the platforms, styles, and features continue to evolve).

Blogs require a commitment.  The content requires more effort than microblogging tools like Twitter and Facebook and in a sense a blog is your long term relationship with the online world.  If you create and maintain a good blog you will be rewarded for it:

  • Search engines, particularly Google, love blogs because they’re frequently updated and rich with keywords.
  • A blog post has more permanence than a tweet or status update.  Your posts can show up in search results years later.
  • A blog transcends boundaries.  Where a status update may only be seen by friends and followers and tweets are limited to twitter and twitter feeds, a blog post can easily be found and read by people all of the world.  On our blog we love getting visitors from far away places like Slovenia and Cyprus!

The benefits of blogging aren’t necessarily immediate, it requires persistence.  If executed properly your blog can be your income, a way to interact with your customers, and a way to engage people with your brand.  Customers look for a personal connection with a business owner, and a blog is a great way to create it.  60 percent of businesses and company’s have blogs, so chances are your competition is doing it.

Blogging continues to persevere, and if you persevere with your blogging you can build a strong presence online.  Not only is the content good for SEO, it also gives you something to share with your audience through social media.

Thanks for reading!

Cah{o,o}ts

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