Thursday, March 06, 2014

7 Essential Steps to Jump Start Your Start Up Business

Before you go into a startup please be realistic.  Over 80% (actually I've read as high as 95%) of small businesses fail within 5 years.  In order to not be in that statistic learn as much about your industry and running a business in it as you can.

1. Avoid launching a business without any glimpse that it will make money - not just in your mind but in the real world.  Try to avoid taking a noncritical view of your business. Especially, if you don't have a lot of capital to waste do your due diligence before starting a business endeavor as much as possible.

2. Test in consumer shows or trade shows in your industry - if there is a viable market for what you are offering and listen to feed back to see if people are willing to spend money for what you are offering.

3. Join an existing business, even if you are a volunteer - in your industry to see how they are run before taking your leap of faith.  Learn what makes money in your industry and how to sell products and services with the most profit margins.

3. Gain inside knowledge on your industry - so you know the seasonal shifts which will affect your cash flow. If you can learn not only the operations of a business but the sales and marketing aspects as well you will be on much more solid ground running that business.

4. Discover how the major players in your industry operate - and see if you can model some of their behavior and how you can fill a niche better than your major competitors.  Save as much money as you can before you start and get mentors in your industry.

5. Clean up your credit and try to get a good source of financing to fall back on or aggressively leap forward with whether this source is an angel investor, crowd funding source, or some reliable microfinancing sources.  Create a compelling digital footprint online including an automated email follow up system, social media presence, a search engine friendly website, Google+ and Bing Local listings, and a blog.

6. Build a good team to support - you with savvy business mentors, family who can work with enthusiasm in the business, and people you trust.  You can't build a successful business by yourself - you need a team.

7. Consider doing a business plan - and run it by your support group and potential investors. I strongly suggest this.  By taking the steps above your business plan will be that much more informed and compelling to potential investors.

These preparatory moves will save you a lot of time and headache in the future. You will be in the elite 5% of business startups that actually make it. If you need mentoring or consulting on starting up your business or Internet marketing contact me at Search Engine Plan.com


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

3 Sensational New Innovations that Tech Savvy Business Owners Should Know

1. Facebook Buys Message Service WhatsApp for an Historic 19 Billion Dollars


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Foreshadowing increasing irreversible trends in international business, driven by digital innovation, I see a bright horizon for small businesses without borders. Major recent developments by Google and Facebook, two major players in the tech industry, will have real beneficial impacts for small or emerging businesses.

These developments will no doubt empower them to have more of a ubiquitous presence without the massive capitalization usually associated with global commerce. The following are 3 promising tech developments you as a savvy tech business owner should know about.

Recently Message Replacement app WhatsApp, was bought by Facebook for 19 Billion dollars! WhatsApp is reported as having 450 million users (twice the size of Twitter).

The venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, invested 60 million dollars to back this startup and now it's ROI will be worth about 3 billion dollars say industry analyst reporting to the Wall Street Journal. This ranks as the largest-ever purchase of a company backed by venture capital.
 
However, I can't help but  wonder if many business people in the US have ever heard of WhatsApp, or use it's service? I've never even heard of them before and  they already have 450 million users.

This goes to show you the international scope of social media and mobile apps.  A company can command 19 Billion dollars to be bought out and ironically very few people have heard of it in the US.


Philip Green, a hedge fund investor and consultant with a tech background said recently "I have been using WhatsApp for over three years, but I will admit it was introduced to me by my London and European contacts. I don't think any of my American friends use it or have even heard of it."

However, some tech savvy people I talked to who hailed from Caribbean countries like Miquel Soares, who has family in the Caribbean uses WhatsApp as an inexpensive way to stay in contact with friends in the Caribbean. Soares confides "I use WhatsApp to stay in touch with family and friends in the Caribbean. The cost is less than $1 a year for unlimited texting so it is really a no brainer."
Hedge Fund Expert Philip Green

Facebook will make WhatsApp a stronger brand in the US.  This is a good development especially for business owners and the public at large because many have markets and family in the Caribbean, South America, India, Europe and Africa.  They will now increasingly have a low cost option to send text messages and stay in touch with business contacts, customers, and family throughout the world.

The WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum, will join Facebook's Board of Directors, and he is now reportedly worth about 6.8 Billion dollarsI wondered if this buy is going to increase the value of Facebook and by how much?
  
However, some contrarian investors feel that really protectionism is behind this recent move "it's similar to a record company signing an artist intentionally to keep them off the shelf" said one online user.  But 19 billion is a too much to pay just to shelf a company in my opinion.

This move for Facebook has to be about a great ROI down the road. For instance when the WhatsApp business gets to 1 Billion users paying $5 dollars a year or maybe even $2 a month for the service Facebook will handsomely recoup their investment.  

Moreover, I also asked Green if he thought "WhatsApp is worth the investment for Facebook?" This is what he had to say "of course WhatsApp, is over-valued and not worth $19 Billion, especially  since WhatsApp has barely made $20 million a year in revenue since its inception. But it's not about current worth, but exponential growth. Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook boys know what they are doing. Trust me."

Obviously having the option of buying an inexpensive texting app to contact people outside the US will be a great thing for tech savvy business people especially since WhatsApp is rumored as expanding into the voice market as well in coming months. This will empower business people to communicate with people internationally at a low cost. 

In light of the recent buy of WhatsApp by Facebook here is a good idea how it can help you: http://ow.ly/tSInX 
 

For more info checkout the Wall Street Journal's site link: Go To the WSJ site

Also Recently in Tech News

 2. Google Acquires False Click Detection Company Spider.io


IT Expert Miguel Soares
Google is always investing in programming/development enhancements like most tech companies, and is also into acquiring companies with advanced technology to advance it's ranking algorithm.  False clicks and impressions is a big problem for Google and other online media companies.

This is why Google recently bought a company known as Spider.io to help detect false ad impression activity created by bots.  I asked Miquel Soares, an IT project manager for top level corporations what he feels about this new tech buy from Google.

He stated "they are very nimble, and really leverage these companies to solve an issue.   Resistance is futile. By detecting and eliminating the bots, they can promise their clients authentic clicks.  Google is also probably looking to get a competitive advantage over Yahoo and Bing." I agree with Soares this is a nimble move for Google.


This is an especially important development for entrepreneurs on all levels.  Entrepreneurs in our promising online digital marketing space can now look to invest in Google advertising with more certainty.

Google and major search engines offer some of the most targeted potential customers exposure of any mass media today.  This is because it matches web users looking for certain information on products and services with companies, organizations, and individuals who can be a solution to their problems, wants, needs, and desires.


No other media can really do this so effectively. Even with the advent of "Big Data" giving companies access to the personal buying habits and interests of so many people, and social media's ability to find large numbers of web users with similar interests, the search engines reach people in real time proactively exactly when they are searching for something

This is the case especially with Google because reportedly they command a 68% to 80% of the search engine market landscape.

It makes it imperative for business owners to use modern search engine promotion like pay-per-click advertising on computers or mobile devices.  Large numbers of potential customers, many in and for local communities and neighborhoods, are using mobile devices and computers to find businesses, services, and information in their area.

Honestly, search engine advertising is increasing getting more expensive, especially in popular or viable industries, due to the nature of the online bidding process.  So it is important that you get every bang for your buck.  Therefore, Google cutting down on click fraud is a good thing for business people looking to do or already actively engaged in doing search advertising.

With Google getting smarter and more aggressive with marginalizing search engine optimization (SEO) with its ranking algorithms, advertising will become the more default promotion of choice with web marketers or business people looking to have a visible search engine presence.  Therefore, they need to know their money is being well spent.

Business owners could be leaving considerable amounts of money on the table not using search engines to position their businesses. For more info on this tech biz development with Google See the Full article


3. A Major Upgrade for Google Maps

Major Enhancements now Available with Google Maps. Who doesn't use Google Maps right?  Google Maps is usually the segue into getting driving, transit, and biking directions to distant places for most people online using either mobile devices, PCs, or MACs.

Google Map Street side view of Jamaica Ave, Queens NYC

Billions of people all over the world take advantage of the brilliant artificial intelligence technology behind Google Maps to get to unfamiliar destinations. It also give excellent time predictions to get to a particular location even if you are traveling by public transportation in a big city like New York.


On a practical level I use Google Maps to get to business meetings in areas I'm not familiar with. It works like a charm especially with pictures and satellite shots of far away places in suburbs, towns, cities and other locations I'm not familiar with at all. For instance Southeastern Queens, being as close to the suburbs as you can get in NYC, is where many people own cars, bikes, and take public transportation.  Therefore, I used Google Maps' latest stunning satellite pic technology to get a "lay of the land" before traveling to distance places in Queens, NY.   

Over the years Google has been spending a fortune with promising new features powered by synergistic technologies like Google Earth.  Now Google obviously has integrated its powerful satellite viewing technologies more fully into Google Maps. Savvy business owners should take a couple of minutes to see the amazing cool features that the new Google maps has to offer.

The experience of using the new Google Maps is stunning.  Pick a city like New York, LA, or Paris and click Streetview and it's almost like visiting the destinations in person.


Try it when you reach your distant destination it will feel like an actual déjà vu experience. You have to check it out.  The Wall Street Journal gives 5 great features of the new Google Maps at: http://ow.ly/tTmN4

Also the bottom line for business people or investors who have stakes or investments in Google or Facebook this will be good news for their stock portfolios. These are very important tech developments to know about for tech savvy business people.

Written by Kamau Austin, blogger and web marketing professional, of Search Engine Plan. For effective promotions in social media and search engine marketing contact Kamau Here 

Kamau Austin