Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The hardest thing is making the product, not fund raising

The hardest thing to start a business is making the product
When putting together a business plan, things usually look great on paper. You can have a terrific idea, great numbers, and market segment growth in the hundreds. However, there are two key parts that are significantly harder to execute, than to think about them: Funding and Sourcing/Manufacturing.
Funding is usually the most popular. How are you going to get the money to get the business started? You need to pay employees every month, and you need to pay the bills. Even if it is a small home business, you need seed money. Most people is familiar with how to overcome that. In a nutshell, there is venture funding, angel investors, equity loans, and even family and friends.
The second most difficult thing is the actual manufacturing of the good. Unless your business is about a service that you can provide on your own, you most likely have an idea that materializes somehow. If your business is about baby goods, you need to fabricate them somehow. Even if you are in the Web 2.0 entrepreneurial trend, you will have to find the people that would design, build, host and maintain the site.
If your product requires physical fabrication, then China is a good place to start. It is an inexpensive place to build things. You can also turn into other places like Latin America or Africa, where labor is cheap. You need to facto in, shipping costs and import fees.
Where to look for those places is a little bit harder. Of course you have Google and the rest of the web. You also have friends that know friends that know people that import from other places. Finally, you have business publications that report about successful start-ups. They usually list the company names and contact information; they are always eager to help fellow entrepreneurs.
In summary, if you want to start a business, but you don’t even know what it is about. Think about the two hardest things in the initial stages. That is, how to pay the bills and how to make the product. Therefore, if you are looking to start a small home-business, and you are not clear about your idea, look for inexpensive ideas and those that are easy to make.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Becoming green mean saving money or the environment?

I was wondering the other day if people want to become green to save the environment, or do they want to lower their monthly bills. After all, they are the same thing. The whole idea of becoming environmentally friendly (a.k.a. Green) is for everyone to consume less carbon generated energy, which in turns means save on energy bills. For example, save on electricity by cranking up the AC to 78 degrees, or save on gas by buying a fuel efficient car. Those things may indeed help the environment (there’s an intense debate this days whether global warming is for real or not). Though, in addition to that, they help your pocket.
BY replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFC’s, you may lower the electric bill by about 20%. By raising the AC to 78 or 79 degrees, you can save about 10% extra. If you get a fuel efficient car; instead of paying $50 a week on gas, you may pay $30, and save %80 each month. I know this for a fact, because these are three things that I have personally done. The numbers above may not be exact, but they are reality.
How about recycling? That really doesn’t help you save money. Not true. If you compose and recycle, the volume of trash that you generate will be lower, hence you bill for trash will go slightly down.
Now, how about if you buy carbon off-sets? Isn’t that helping the environment? Well, I think it is not at all. There have been a lot of scandals related to carbon offset organizations. Stories tell about complete scams of nonexistent organizations and ignorant orgs that plant non-native trees in third world countries.
The bottom line is that if you don’t believe in Global Warming; you should at least look into the savings associated to embracing some green initiatives in your everyday life.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Top Green Blogs

As I was updating my blog today, I saw a post from the blogger's blog (the official blog for blogger, called The Buzz) summarizing top Environmental Blogs. Some blogs are indeed very tree-hugging hardcore environmentalists, but others blog about technology and advancements in the so called "green technologies". It is worth readying and subscribing to a couple of those.

Just as my other posts about news and referring other blogs: Follow the yellow-brick link bellow

Blogger Buzz: Environmental Blog Roundup

Netvibes widgets now available on Google, Vista, Mac...

Netvibes CEO Tariq Krim Twittered earlier today from the Widget Summit, "Just finished my talk at Widget Summit announcing that Netvibes widgets works now on Vista, Live.com and Yahoo Widgets." This is great news for widget fans, like me, who are often frustrated to find that a module they like doesn't work on another platfomrs

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Top US States to establish your start-up company

Maybe this sounds like an advanced topic, though it is important to think where it is best to incorporate your business once you are ready to go for it. Today, as I continue my test of FeedDemon from Newsgator, I came accross one very interesting post on one of the daily blogs that I read on entrepreneurship. It was relaying a list of top (and bottom) 10 states, from tax purposes, to incorporate a business from a report from the Tax Foundation. Apparently, and I didn't know that there even was such a foundation, they releases a yearly "2008 State Business Tax Climate Index". The Index ranks states based on the taxes that matter most to businesses and business investment: corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment tax, property tax, etc.

Here is the list:o

Top 10 - Best States for business
1. Wyoming
2. South Dakota
3. Nevada
4. Alaska
5. Florida
6. Montana
7. New Hampshire
8. Texas
9. Delaware
10. Oregon

Bottom 10 - Worst States for business
41. Maine
42. Minnesota
43. Nebraska
44. Vermont
45. Iowa
46. Ohio
47. California
48. New York
49. New Jersey
50. Rhode Island

Florida is there. So it seems that I am in a good place...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Aeron chairs in 'Second Life' rights showdown

Fake Aeron chairs in Second Life may lead to Virtual Law Suits. Apparently Second Life citizens are copying the AEON chair, and the real manufacturer has opened a stored in Second Life. They have even contacted independent manufacturers and informed them of trademark violations. I wonder if we'll see a virtual law-suit.

read more | digg story

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Where can I get my business idea?

In their latest book, Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams define what they call Ideagoras. These are virtual places where companies and individual contributors meet to exchange problems and solutions. That is, companies in search for solutions to a specific problem; and also companies with solutions without a problem.
For example, companies like P&G invest millions of dollars in Research and Development, to usually not find a definite application to the thousands of resulting patents. This is where ideagoras come to play. One application is for companies to post problems that they can’t seem to solve, in-house. Looking for individual contributors to proposed an optimal solution. Another application, that I find much more useful for entrepreneurs and what triggered this post, is for companies to offer patents and R&D results that have no apparent use for the originating company. In other words, companies post IP material and offer it to others for commercialization or a business application that they have not thought about.
The database has detailed description of the solution, potential uses and everything needed to replicate it. You might think that it is the same as searching the National Database for Patents, however there are major benefits. First of all, ideagoras are frequented only by companies truly seeking for individuals to license their patents. Therefore you know that you will be able o license it. Also, the ideagora site will serve as intermediary for the transaction. Something similar to what eBay does for auctions. Finally, the database is indexed, categorized, and very simple to use and navigate.
To me, this came as a great revelation. I always struggle with creativity for potential business ideas. I believe that 1/3 of the success of a start-up comes from the idea itself, 1/3 from the execution of the business idea, and 1/3 is luck. What ideagoras bring to the equation is that the first 1/3 can be taken from a database of ideas.
The first website that I have seen with great potential is yet2.com. You register with the accustomed free account, select your preferences for what you want to see in the main page, and you are ready to go. It is important to say that you can perform both activities at yet2.com: you can post problems in search of a solution, or you can request licensing for solutions that do not have a problem.
Certainly, I will be in the lookout for other ideagoras out there. Once you find a good idea, then all that is left is the 2/3 of execution and luck.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Entrepreneurial Vocation

As I signed in to Digg.com, I did a quick search for "entrepreneurship", and found a blog entry on a topic that caught my attention. It refered to the definition of Entreprenurship from a Catholic point of view. I thought it was interesting when they compare the church to an enterprise. It is very inspiring, and for those of you, my readers, that have thought of incorporating your faith with your entrepreneurial instinct, should definitely read the article for inspiration.

The Entrepreneurial Vocation - Acton Institute

I have deviated from my orignal premise about blogging about entrepreneurship in the confluence of Business and Technology. I will start a series of posts about the art of entrepreneurship and high-tech start-ups. You may think, that I haven't done it... and I have not funded a company... therefore we will all learn together.

Monday, October 1, 2007

First Look @ Microsoft Surface Application

I was checking out some articles in Digg this morning, and came across a great in-depth review on the new Microsoft's Surface application. Clieck bellow to read the entire article.

read more | digg story