Nine Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about striking out on your own? After all, being your own boss can be an exciting prospect. However, owning a business isn’t for everyone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have — or develop — certain personality traits. Here are nine characteristics you should ideally possess to start and run your own business:

1. Motivation

Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, optimistic and future-oriented. They believe they’ll be successful and are willing to risk their resources in pursuit of profit. They have high energy levels and are sometimes impatient. They are always thinking about their business and how to increase their market share. Are you self-motivated enough to do this, and can you stay motivated for extended periods of time? Can you bounce back in the face of challenges?

2. Creativity and Persuasiveness

Successful entrepreneurs have the creative capacity to recognize and pursue opportunities. They possess strong selling skills and are both persuasive and persistent. Are you willing to promote your business tirelessly and look for new ways to get the word out about your product or service?

3. Versatility 

Company workers can usually rely on a staff or colleagues to provide service or support. As an entrepreneur, you’ll typically start out as a “solopreneur,” meaning you will be on your own for a while. You may not have the luxury of hiring a support staff initially. Therefore, you will end up wearing several different hats, including secretary, bookkeeper and so on. You need to be mentally prepared to take on all these tasks at the beginning. Can you do that?

4. Superb Business Skills 

Entrepreneurs are naturally capable of setting up the internal systems, procedures and processes necessary to operate a business. They are focused on cash flow, sales and revenue at all times. Successful entrepreneurs rely on their business skills, know-how and contacts. Evaluate your current talents and professional network. Will your skills, contacts and experience readily transfer to the business idea you want to pursue?

5. Risk Tolerance

Launching any entrepreneurial venture is risky. Are you willing to assume that risk? You can reduce your risk by thoroughly researching your business concept, industry and market. You can also test your concept on a small scale. Can you get a letter of intent from prospective customers to purchase? If so, do you think customers would actually go through with their transaction?

6. Drive 

As an entrepreneur, you are in the driver’s seat, so you must be proactive in your approaches to everything. Are you a doer — someone willing to take the reins — or would you rather someone else do things for you?

7. Vision

One of your responsibilities as founder and head of your company is deciding where your business should go. That requires vision. Without it, your boat will be lost at sea. Are you the type of person who looks ahead and can see the big picture?

8. Flexibility and Open-Mindedness

While entrepreneurs need a steadfast vision and direction, they will face a lot of unknowns. You will need to be ready to tweak any initial plans and strategies. New and better ways of doing things may come along as well. Can you be open-minded and flexible in the face of change?

9. Decisiveness

As an entrepreneur, you won’t have room for procrastination or indecision. Not only will these traits stall progress, but they can also cause you to miss crucial opportunities that could move you toward success. Can you make decisions quickly and seize the moment?

 

 

 

Written By: Ruchira Agrawal
Source: Monster

Market Update: May 15, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Overnight in Asia most indexes were up fractionally while Japan pulled back slightly. G-7 discussions focused on protectionist threats, which weighed on sentiment. North Korea also fired a new missile over the weekend, adding to tensions on the peninsula.
  • WTI crude oil prices are up ~3.0%, to $49.25/barrel, after energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed that extension to oil production cuts for an additional nine months, through March 2018, is needed.
  • European markets were mixed on either side of flat. Investors were positive on Christian Democrats state victory supporting Merkel’s hold on power, while oil move was also welcomed.
  • U.S. markets are moving higher, boosted by news on potential oil production cuts. Meanwhile, concerns over cyberattacks and Trump/Comey drama may dampen enthusiasm as trading progresses.

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Key Insights

  • The economy remains on track for Q2 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.0% to 2.5% despite mixed inflation readings and retail sales below forecast.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose +0.2% month over month and up from the drop of -0.3% in March, however both year over year CPI (+2.2%) and year over year core CPI (+1.9%) were below expectations, triggering the rally in safe havens last Friday.
  • Retail sales (+0.4%) were also below expectations, but up from the prior month. When considering the improvement in consumer sentiment, it is important to remember that this data point (retail sales) and the performance of retail stocks, should not be viewed as an indictment of the U.S. consumer. Rather than a changing consumer, it is a change in consumer buying habits, which is combining to alter not only retail sales figures, but also pricing measures. Consumers are spending: 1) more online, 2) on experiences over goods, and 3) comparison shopping using mobile technology. Consequently, it is very difficult for the department store model to continue charging premium, retail prices.
  • Considering the unemployment rate of 4.4%, wage growth of +2.5% year over year, riding confidence and delayed tax refunds, the near-term (Q2) and longer-term (2017) GDP trajectory appears favorable. Clarity on tax reform could take these numbers even higher.

Macro Notes

  • Excellent earnings season but bar will soon be raised. First quarter earnings season has been excellent by almost any measure. Results beat expectations by more than usual, the overall growth rate is very strong, and guidance has provided above-average support for analysts’ estimates for the balance of 2017. But at the risk of raining on the earnings parade, we would note that comparisons will get tougher as we anniversary the earnings recession trough of 2016, while the risk that the corporate tax reform timetable gets pushed into 2018 has increased. Market participants generally expect fiscal policy to begin to provide an earnings boost by year end, an expectation that has become increasingly tenuous.

 

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  • Chinese industrial production growth weaker than expected. Chinese industrial production growth came in at 6.5% vs. expectations of 7% and down from period month of 7.6%. On an absolute basis, the economy is still on track to meet its growth goals, though it looks like growth may have peaked for the year at the end of the first quarter. The government continues to crack down on excess leverage in the financial system; today’s numbers are unlikely to move them off that path.
  • Japan domestic demand, and prices, rise in April. We normally think of Japan as an export oriented economy, but domestic demand increased over 4% on a year-over-year basis, with the impact felt most strongly in demand for raw materials. Producer prices rose modestly last month against declining expectations and are running at 2.1% annually.
  • Bank of Japan. Just like the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is under some public pressure to outline how it intends to unwind both its zero-interest rate policy and the massive expansion of its balance sheet to 93% of the country’s GDP. Recent statements from BOJ Governor Kuroda suggests such policy announcements may be coming. The more good news that comes out of the Japanese economy, the more pressure the BOJ is under.
  • Win streak snapped, but lack of volatility remains. The S&P 500 snapped its 3-week win streak last week, with a modest 0.3% drop. One thing continued though and that was the incredibly small daily ranges and lack of overall volatility. On the week, the S&P 500 traded in less than a one-percent range (from high to low) for the second consecutive week ( only the third time since 1995). Additionally, the intraday range on Friday was 0.22% – the smallest daily range on a full day of trading in nearly three years.
  • Checking in on small caps. The lack of volatility isn’t just in the blue chips, as the Russell 2000 has traded in a range of only 6.8% over the past 20 weeks. That is the tightest 20-week range since at least 1990. After a big jump in the fourth-quarter, small caps have lagged large caps this year, as they continue to consolidate the late 2016 gains.

MonitoringWeek_header

Tuesday

  • Italy: GDP (Q1)
  • UK: CPI & PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)

Wednesday

  • Russia: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: GDP (Q1)

Thursday

  • LEI (Apr)
  • ECB: Draghi

 

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: April 10, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks move higher to start week. U.S. equities are modestly higher this morning as investors look ahead to the start of first quarter earnings season, with several tier one banks set to report later this week. This after major indexes shook off a lackluster jobs report and pushed higher through midday, only to give back gains late in the session; the S&P 500 fell 0.1%. The telecom (+0.2%) and healthcare (+0.2%) sectors clung to modest gains, while financials (-0.3%) and energy (-0.4%) stocks were among the days’ laggards. Overseas, investors are focusing on political turmoil stemming from Syrian incidents amid light economic data; Asian markets were mixed overnight, with the Nikkei (+0.7%) advancing, and the Shanghai Composite (-0.5%) moving lower; while European indexes are near flat amid range-bound trading. Elsewhere, WTI crude oil ($52.80/barrel) continues to climb on regional turmoil in the middle east, COMEX gold ($1250/oz.) is lower, and Treasury yields are down slightly to 2.37% on the 10-year.

MacroView_header

  • Over the last month, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell 20 points to 235. The CCI remains in the middle of the range it has held since 2010. Falling shipping traffic and an increase in initial jobless claims off of near 40-year lows were the main detractors from the CCI in the last month, while fed fund rate expectations and credit spreads were the main positive contributors.
  • Inflation and highlights from this week’s economic calendar. Despite Friday’s holiday, retail sales and the consumer price index (CPI) will be reported on that day (producer prices come Thursday) and will highlight what is otherwise a quiet week of data in the U.S. Two reports that deserve some attention, however, are National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism and JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover) which will provide some insights into the policy-driven rise in business confidence and the job market, where Friday’s weak payroll employment report raised some concerns. Overseas, we get Chinese and Japanese trade data and G7 Finance Ministers will meet, while geopolitical risk will remain in focus following last week’s military strike in Syria.
  • S&P 500 poised for double-digit earnings gain. The S&P 500 is likely to produce double-digit year-over-year earnings growth for the first quarter (Thomson-tracked consensus is +10.1%) as earnings season gets underway this week. Earnings growth would reach 12-14%, the best since 2011, should companies beat estimates by the average 4.1% seen over the last five years according to FactSet. Last year’s first quarter marked the trough of the earnings recession, setting up an easy comparison, though we have several other reasons to be optimistic. Growth is expected to be powered by energy’s rebound from the oil downturn that battered the sector early last year while solid macro data in recent months is also supportive.
  • Fed balance sheet. Minutes from the recent Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting, released last Wednesday, signaled that the Fed intends to reduce its sizable $4.2 trillion balance sheet. We’ll analyze the options available to the Fed to accomplish a reduction of this size. In addition to how the balance sheet was built, we look at the structure of the assets within the portfolio for clues as to how the normalization may impact markets.
  • Continued strong breadth. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Composite Advance/Decline (A/D) line broke out to new highs last week. This is one of our favorite technical indicators, as it shows how many stocks are advancing versus declining at any given time. In other words, it measures overall market breadth. To see new highs occur suggests there is a good deal of investor participation and the overall equity rally could continue to have legs. Also, the NYSE A/D line broke out to new highs one year ago this week, well ahead of the eventual S&P 500 Index’s (SPX) new highs in July 2016.

MonitoringWeek_header

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Industrial Production (Feb)

Wednesday

  • Bank of Canada Rate Decision & Monetary Policy Report

Thursday

  • Initial Jobless Claims (Apr 1)

Friday

  • Banks Open, Markets Closed
  • CPI (Mar)
  • Retail Sales (Mar)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 

Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

 

10 Founders Share What Their Worst Boss Taught Them

We’ve all had bosses that make us crazy — whether it was a supervisor with a big temper, one that watched your every move or the one that never knew what he wanted. But even if at the time it was frustrating or demoralizing, there is an upside: You’ll never catch yourself being that kind of manager.

We caught up with 10 successful entrepreneurs who shared with us the lessons they learned from the worst bosses they’ve ever had.

 

20170110214430-daniellayakobvsky

1. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Company: BaubleBar
Lesson: One of the things I have learned is to communicate openly and honestly with the folks you work with. Try to understand where their requests and feedback are coming from and be open to feedback. When you’re first starting and you’re a small company, it’s definitely easier to do. As you grow and have more people, it is a harder thing to scale but that doesn’t take away it’s importance.

 

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2. FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE

Name: Gavin Armstrong
Company: Lucky Iron Fish
Lesson: People who are bullies act that way because they are insecure about something else. They are very demeaning and not appreciative.

You want to be very respectful of people working with you. Remember they work with you, not for you. Be complimentary of their work, because they are putting a lot of time and effort into it.

 

20170110214542-merrillstubbs

3. HAVE STRONG CONVICTIONS

Name: Merrill Stubbs
Company: Food52
Lesson: Being indirect about what you want or what you expect is a really terrible tactic for managing people. It makes them feel like the ground is shifting beneath them — that’s an impediment and distraction from people doing their best work.

 

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4. BE A MENTOR

Name: Melissa Ben-Ishay
Company: Baked By Melissa
Lesson: The importance of open communication. When I think of the worst boss I ever hard, I don’t think of just one person.

I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have someone who wanted me to succeed. I didn’t have someone who took the time to sit down, have a conversation with me and help me be better at my job. So now, I really make the effort to be clear and honest with my employees and sit down with them and communicate.

 

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5. FOLLOW THROUGH

Name: Oliver Kharraz
Company: Zocdoc
Lesson: I learned to only make promises that I can keep. I remember how upset I was when promises were made to me that were not kept, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that.

 

20170110214718-jennieripps

6. CONNECT WITH EVERY EMPLOYEE

Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Lesson: I learned how important it is to engage with my own team and also to ensure that there is buy-in across the board at an individual level.

 

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7. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR

Name: Tim Chen
Company: Nerdwallet
Lesson: Ego gets in the way of success. I worked at a hedge fund that had a real “Lord of the Flies” feeling. It was pretty crazy. The problem with ego is the best ideas don’t win, because you have trouble facing the truth.

 

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8. TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT

Name: Kyle Hill
Company: HomeHero
Lesson: The worst boss I had was actually a soccer coach I had in high school. I wouldn’t say he was a bad coach, but he yelled at me a lot. I realized that was something I could not handle. So my dad ended up pulling me from the team. I didn’t understand it at the time. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, and I had a tough skin.

But my dad was adamant about this, he said, “I don’t want people talking down to you because it hurts your self confidence. I need you to have the highest self confidence going into in everything you do in life; otherwise you’re not going to want to do it.”

I think it lends itself to being treated with respect and dignity. My dad said, “You can be stern, you can bench my son, you can take him aside and tell him what he needs to improve on. But don’t publicly reprimand him.”

Even to this day, I tell people, “If you’re upset with me, whether it’s my co-founder or an employee, talk to me like an adult.”

 

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9. DON’T STAND IN THE WAY OF INNOVATION

Name: Bastian Lehmann
Company: Postmates
Lesson: One thing I try to do is help the people that want to do more. I want to help them realize that when they are at Postmates.

The worst boss I ever had told me that I couldn’t do that. He was weak and afraid someone was more hungry than him. When I saw someone trying hard, and they gave it everything they had, that someone would not give them guidance and help them succeed.

 

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10. HAVE A CLEAR VISION

Name: Heidi Zak
Company: Thirdlove
Lesson: The one thing I’ve noticed from having different types of bosses is that the best ones have a clearly articulated vision of what the team is working toward. You have to communicate it effectively and do it often. That’s what I try to do; you can’t say it too often.

 

 

 

Written by: Nina Zipkin

Source: Entrepreneur

Is a SEP-IRA Right for Your Business?

If you’re like many small business owners, running your own business is an all-consuming endeavor.

In the face of everyday demands, choosing a retirement plan for your business can become a casualty. The idea of establishing a plan could evoke worries about complicated reporting and administration.

If this sounds familiar, then you may want to consider whether a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) may be right for you.

A SEP can be established by sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations, including S corporations.

The advantages of the SEP begin with the flexibility to vary employer contributions each year from 0% up to a maximum of 25% of compensation, with a maximum dollar contribution of $53,000 in 2016.

Employees Vested

The percentage you contribute must be the same for all eligible employees. Eligible employees are those age 21 or older who have worked for you in three of the last five years and have earned at least $600 (in 2016). Employees are immediately 100% vested in all contributions.

There are no plan filings with the IRS, making administration simple and low cost. You only need to complete Form 5305 SEP and retain it for your own records. This form should be provided to all employees as they become eligible for participation.

Unlike other plans, a SEP may be established as late as the due date (including extensions) of your business’ tax filing (generally April 15th) for making contributions for the prior year.

A Menu of Options

Each eligible employee will be asked to establish his or her own SEP-IRA account and self-direct the investments within the account, relieving you of choosing a menu of investment options for the plan.The rules for accessing these funds are the same as those governing regular IRAs.

Distributions from SEP-IRA and traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.¹

Unlike the self-employed 401(k), which is only available to business owners with no employees, you cannot take a loan from your SEP assets. Distributions from 401(k) plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.¹

The SEP earns the “simplified” in its name and stands as an attractive choice for business owners looking to maximize contributions while minimizing their administrative responsibilities.

 

 

1. IRAs have exceptions to avoid the 10% withdrawal penalty, including death and disability.

3 Tips to Sink or Swim in the Startup World

CNBC's Maneet Ahuja interviews Shai Agassi, Nikita Fahrenholz and Lisa Falzone at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv
CNBC

renholz and Lisa Falzone at the Forbes Under 3…CNBC’s Maneet Ahuja interviews Shai Agassi, Nikita Fahrenholz and Lisa Falzone at the Forbes Under 30…

How do you survive the world of startups? There’s no clear answer, but three entrepreneurs–Revel System CEO Lisa Falzone, Delivery Hero’s Nikita Fahrenholtz and Better Place founder Shai Agassi–took the stage of the FORBES Under 30 Summit, just off the beaches of Tel Aviv, to share some tips they’ve picked up during their adventures in startup land.

How to push passed the fear of failure?

Nikita Fahrenholtz: You have to get comfortable with it. I’ve failed so many times–it’s part of what makes you human. You change your mindset–I never thought about the negative consequences of an experiment but instead the positive outcome. You push through it and you ignore others’ opinions. You have to trust your intuition.

Shai Agassi: If you’re not willing to fail you won’t succeed. The difference between failure and successes is so minuscule you wont’ be able to tell the difference. Fail early, fail big and fail gracefully. And then you take the next step and you’ll invariably succeed.

Lisa Falzone: I was not good at failure. I had to study to overcome that fear to start a company. It’s about being OK with failure and know you’ll make mistakes. But it’s also about how fast you recover. We’re growing at 200% each year, so there will be pain but it’s about how agile we can be. I always look back to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt which basically says I’d rather stand in the arena and fail than be one of those cold timid souls that know neither victory or defeat.

How did you get your start in the business?

Nikita Fahrenholtz : I went into consulting because it seemed like a safe option after university. It was a great company but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to spend 16 hours a day in a windowless room talking about operation strategies. I quit after 7 months and talked with my friend (and future co-founder) about starting a company that ordered pizza online. My mom started to cry when I told her. I think she’s happy now.

Lisa Falzone: Point of sale is huge problem for retailers. There’s a joke in the business that the acronym POS really stands for piece of shit. That was a problem that I could solve. The iPad had just came out and we thought, let’s use this new technology and interface to create a good point of sale product. When you create something out of nothing, everything is hard. No one had printed a receipts from an iPad before, no one had found way to connect the iPad to the platforms. Now we’re doing all the check outs for Cinnabon and the Superbowl.

What are your plans for the future?

Nikita Fahrenholtz: Being based in Germany, we have to expanded rapidly because the home market is so small. We had to move quickly to France and Spain and Italy. With Delivery Hero we mapped out countires that were interesting for us and we found most attraive open spots. I’m not so much worried about US comapnies like GrubHub because they are so content with the U.S.–and if they get fancy they go to Canada. That means the rest of the world is ours.

Lisa Falzone: We’re working toward an IPO, I don’t think I could ever work for a large corp. We never built Revel to get sold and always wanted to remain independent – and going public is the best option.

And a final thought from Shai Agassi: “Bits, atoms, and cells are the three major upcoming shifts, but the biggest challenge will be finding the moral compass to steer them.”

Written by Steven Bertoni of Forbes

(Source: MSN)

 

This Teenage Entrepreneur Created the First $500 Dialysis Machine

 

Illustration by James Taylor

It all started as a science fair project, inspired by her time working at a local hospital’s dialysis unit. Since then, Anya Pogharian’s $500 dialysis machine,Dialysave, has captured the attention of President Bill Clinton and the Cleveland Clinic.

Pogharian, 18, was shocked at the $30,000 cost of conventional dialysis machines–a price she felt was far too high for a lifesaving treatment.

Pogharian developed a prototype that’s able to filter 4 liters of blood in 25 minutes, much faster than the expected four hours that standard dialysis machines require. She’s now working on a third prototype as well as establishing a business framework for her invention–all while preparing for her first year of college.

She talked with Fortune about her invention, its ongoing development, and the leadership advice she’s been taking to heart. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you go about creating the machine?

Basically, most of the research was done online. I read owner manuals of existing dialysis machines, which are not simple at all. They are really meant for engineers. That gave me enough background to build the first prototype, but it’s taken a lot more to improve each new version. The first prototype was to see if it was possible to design an affordable dialysis machine and to design a machine that’s much simpler to produce and use.

The second version was much more sophisticated and higher quality. That’s the one I used to test in a lab with real human blood. That was incredible. It filtered about four liters, equal to the blood volume of a child, in 25 minutes. It proved that it could work and helped me understand how to further develop my third prototype.

How has the invention been received so far?

Back in January last year there was an interview in Montreal which led to a nationwide interview that went viral. It was all around the world. I found articles in Russian, Armenian, German, even a dialect of Chinese. It was shocking from one day to the next there were about 100 different articles.

At that point, I was approached by many different people, including a Harvard University professor who has offered to help with the business side and EU scientists who are into affordable medical devices and the social benefit. The opportunities and offers for mentorship have been incredible.

I also had the opportunity to attend the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit in January where I was on a panel moderated by President Clinton, alongside the U.S. Surgeon General and [IBM’s Chief Health Officer] Kyu Rhee. That was one of the most incredible opportunities for me in terms of networking. It was so encouraging. People all over the States were willing to help with various aspects of it.

What are the next steps for the Dialysave machine?

The goal is to get it on the market eventually, which is a really long-term goal. It’s a third class medical device, which isn’t easy to get approved. I’m really focused on the science of it right now and getting that to the point of perfection, but I also need to build a good team of scientists and business partners. Right now, I’m managing it all on my own. Balancing it all is practically impossible, but it’s my passion.

What’s the best advice you’ve received so far about taking it to market?

Potential investors have said to, yes, focus on the science but really think of the business aspect at the same time because if you keep building prototypes it won’t lead to anything and won’t make an impact. You have to go through both steps at the same time.

Have you received any helpful leadership advice as a young entrepreneur?

It’s been mostly about knowing what you want to do. You have to have really solid goals, so that if something happens to stump you up or turn you around from your goals, you still push ahead. You can’t be a leader if you don’t have a solid path. If you want to lead the way and bring others with you, everyone needs to be on the same wavelength and know exactly where you’re going.

Written by Laura Lorenzetti of Fortune 

(Source: MSN)

5 Tips for Securing a Small Business Loan

You have the greatest business idea, a no-fail plan, and a stellar team ready to help you execute your vision. With no capital, though, your entrepreneurial goals may remain just a dream.

The SBA reports startup companies typically encounter the most challengeswhen applying for a small-business loan. Here are five tips to keep in mind to secure the finances to power your small-business venture.

1. Find the Right Lender

There are many types of lenders you can approach for a small-business loan. Approaching the most appropriate one increases your chances of propelling your business. Lender choices include:

  • Large national financial institutions. You may approach your current bank for a traditional bank loan. Since you already have a built-in relationship, this lender may help point you in a better direction if they’re not able to help.
  • Alternative lenders. Alternative lenders bridge the gap between big banks and community lenders with moderate requirements. Alternative lenders such as SnapCap may help niche businesses secure fast business loans as they focus on potential growth versus business owners’ credit scores.
  • Community lenders and credit unions. Locally-owned banks or lenders with interest in the economic growth of a specific area may be a good fit for locally-focused businesses.

2. Do Your Homework

Businessman pushing button with dollar sign
Maxism-Fotolia.com

Find out what the lending institution requires in the approval process. You’ll typically need to:

  • Have a solid business plan. Loans are typically not granted to lending, speculating, or gambling ventures.
  • Have exceptional credit history. This includes both personal and business credit history, which should be verified by the three major credit bureaus.
  • Have strong personal and business assets. This proves to the lender you’ll be able to pay them back.
  • Have a positive relationship with the lender.Having a constructive relationship with the lender before you even apply for the loan may increase your chances of achieving it.

3. Sort Out the Details

The clearer you can present your business plan to the lender, the more they’ll be able to understand and trust in your venture; the more details you provide, the better. During the application process, you’ll want to communicate:

  • Why you need the money and what it will be used for. The more essential these factors are to the growth of your business, the more they’ll impact the lender. Bailing out business losses does not convey return of investment.
  • A detailed budget of how each portion of the loan will be spent. Use up-to-date financial documentation and cash flow projections researched by a qualified expert to support your claims. Be prepared to explain industry risk, based on government ratings.
  • The partners and suppliers you’ll be working with when spending loan money. Lenders will want to verify the businesses you’ll be spending your money with are credible, as well.

4. Come With the Right Team

Your business practices aren’t the only deciding factors in whether or not you’ll get a small-business loan. Lenders will also want to:

  • Know your leadership. The executive members of your business should have exemplary credit and business history.
  • Know your other investors. You’ll want to disclose who else is putting faith in your company and what their relationships are to you and your business.
  • Know you have equity in the company. If you are not personally invested in the business in some way, this decreases the trust the lender will have when considering distribution of the loan. You’ll want to convey passion when communicating to the lender about your business and provide examples of how you see your company growing, whether it’s through distribution partnerships or new product plans.

5. Get Free Help

Navigating the small-business loan process, especially for a business that is new to the ins and outs, can be tricky and overwhelming. Thankfully, there are free sources of support that can help you along the way:

  • SBAThis government organization is designed to help small businesses like yours succeed. You can find at least one branch office in every state. The SBA also represents a national network of about 100 women’s business centerstargeted to female entrepreneurs.
  • SCORESCORE provides a network of free business mentors, so you can find an expert directly related to your field and learn from their successes.
  • Small Business Development CentersSmall Business Development Centers (SBDCs) offer free business resources and assistance from professionals and professors. There are more than 900 centers across the country.

By taking the time to prepare for the small-business loan application process, creating a detailed business plan that addresses any concerns you may encounter, finding the ideal lender for your type of small business, surrounding yourself with colleagues and investors as driven as you are, and using free resources for help, you’ll be able to procure a small-business loan that could be the key driving force in your business future.

Written by Miguel Salcido of AllBusiness.com

(Source: MSN)

Take Advantage of Small Business Grants for Women

Investopedia

For a female owner of a small business or startup, there are a number of key things to focus on, especially finding funding for the business to get it off its feet and help it succeed and grow. There are a number of grants available and many that specifically target women entrepreneurs.

In 2014, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States reached just over 9 million. This is a clear illustration that female entrepreneurs are impacting the small business landscape, nationwide, in a tremendous way. To remain competitive and grow, entrepreneurs must have the money and the resources. The alarming fact is women entrepreneurs are regularly and more frequently being denied small business loans. And while there are several other possibilities for funding, grants are among the best because they do not have to be paid back.

It is important to note the federal government does not provide any grants for starting or expanding a business. Grants issued by the government require strict adherence to a list of highly specified guidelines and extensive reporting measures to ensure the money is being spent appropriately. Government grants are given only to non-commercial organizations such as nonprofits or education-focused institutions. It is likely most women business owners are required to seek out and apply for more private types of grants for funding. Five private grants are outlined below.

The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program

Each year, the Eileen Fisher grant program gives out five awards. Among other requirements, the businesses must be entirely owned by women. The businesses must have fundamental principles that include social consciousness, full sustainability and constant innovation and creativity. The businesses that receive these grants must also be prepared with concepts and plans for expansion. The average amount per grant is generally around $25,000.

Huggies MomInspired Grant Program

The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program, administered by the Huggies Corporation, awards up to $15,000 to help women advance and further develop products and services innovated through the process of motherhood. Those who receive the grants are then awarded additional resources to further the development process of products and services and to aid moms in their startup businesses.

InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge

This business challenge is held every year and is sponsored by the Small Business Administration(SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Prize money is awarded to small businesses that have a significant and sustained impact on the daily lives of women. During the challenge, a variety of primarily women-owned businesses vie for one of three $30,000 prizes available. Candidates are required to develop some form of presentation that accurately and effectively represents their businesses and the impact their businesses have on the lives of women.

Mission Main Street Project

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Google collaborated to offer $3 million in total grants. In 2014, small businesses that received these grants were each given $150,000 to further develop and expand their businesses to allow them to have a maximum effect on the community in which they were located. Along with the grant money, recipients were also given a tour of Google headquarters and a Google Chromebook laptop.

37 Angels

37 Angels is actually a group or community of female angel investors that reviews thousands of applications from small businesses primarily owned by women. These investors focus on businesses that are female-friendly or female-oriented; however, the primary focus is choosing businesses that have a great deal of promise, express innovation and creativity, and are able to withstand expansion successfully. Applications can be submitted at 37angels.com to win the ability to pitch for funding from $50,000 up to $200,000.

Written by Julia Hawley of Investopedia

(Source: Investopedia)

Why 2016 Is the Year of the Entrepreneur

starting a business
Provided by GoBankingRates

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to start planning your New Year’s resolutions, where you vow to get better with your finances, save more money and find a more fulfilling career. For some, saving more comes down to learning how to say no to small purchases. And for would-be entrepreneurs, sometimes the hardest part about starting a business is taking that first step. We asked best-selling author, entrepreneur and career coach Josh Felber for his top money tips for 2016. Felber offered two core pieces of advice:

“To create real wealth, you must quit spending your future wealth on goods and services that you want today but deprive you of wealth long term.”

“2016 is the year to break free from mediocrity and society’s ‘norms.’ Now is time to quit your 9-to-5 job and become an entrepreneur. Start becoming the true you and creating the lifestyle you are destined for.”

Felber is a finalist in GOBankingRates’ “Best Money Expert”competition held this month in collaboration with Ally Bank. He also won the title of “Best Expert” in the 2014 contest. See why 2016 is the year for you to save more and break out your inner entrepreneur.

Cut Spending to Create Long-Term Wealth

Felber’s first money tip is easy for anyone to accomplish in 2016. He asks you to reconsider your immediate wants and weigh them against long-term goals. You oftentimes might explain away the cost of a cup of coffee or night out, but spending money frivolously every day or every other day weighs down your monthly budget. Poor spending habits can also leak into your business when you ultimately pursue becoming an entrepreneur.

Concentrate spending on your needs so the money you might otherwise have spent can be put toward a new business or retirement fund. Real wealth is built and cultivated over time after all.

If saving is a hurdle for you, start small: Cut one small purchase you make every day or week. Once you have adapted to living without that one small purchase, cut out another expense. By focusing on one cost-cutting tactic at a time, you can slowly build up how much you save every month without completely changing your lifestyle come January.

For small business owners and to-be entrepreneurs, start picking up skills that can save you money down the road. Practicing your writing skills, making cold calls and even learning how to maintain a website can help you curb the costs associated with hiring additional personnel to handle smaller tasks.

Why Start Your Business in 2016?

Felber suggested quitting your job because, too often, people fall into the routine of working full-time making other people rich. But if you’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, you won’t ever find a good time to start your own business so long as you’re complacent at work. If you’re scratching your head over how to get started, make a list of the things you’re passionate about and your unique skills. You might discover that your flair for photography, SEO skills or knack for artisan baked goods might be in demand and lend themselves to starting a business.

For budding entrepreneurs, banks have your back. Small business loans are seeing higher rates of approval at major banks, according to a report by Biz2Credit, an online marketplace for small business loans. In fact, the approval for these types of loans hit their highest level since 2011, when Biz2Credit first began tracking them.

Between January 2014 and March 2015, Wells Fargo lent more than $22.6 billion to small businesses as part of a five-year initiative to support businesses. And while approvals at small banks and credit unions have remained relatively flat, 80 percent of small-business owners will do preliminary research on loans online, and that amount is expect to rise in 2016.

Alternative lending and crowdfunding sources are on the rise, too. In an industry report conducted by Massolution, a crowdfunding research firm, the total global capital raised through crowdfunding is expected to hit $34.4 billion this year, up from $16.2 billion in 2014 and $6.1 billion in 2013.

Entrepreneurs Are Happier Flying Solo

Work satisfaction — or rather, dissatisfaction — shows how pursuing entrepreneurship can increase overall happiness. Only 48.3 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs, according to a 2015 The Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs who make their own rules and set their own hours appear to be happier, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 Global Report prepared by Babson College. The report surveyed more than 197,000 people. Even entrepreneurs with startups were more satisfied than typical U.S. workers; entrepreneurs with established businesses were even happier.

Consumers Prefer Small Businesses

Consumers are also more likely to take their money to small businesses, according to a 2014 report by AYTM Market Research. The report found that consumers like working with small businesses because it allows them to support the local economy and receive more personal service. Roughly six out of 10 consumers also said they would be willing to pay higher prices to support small businesses.

Ultimately, Felber’s biggest takeaway is that you need to be in control of your lifestyle. Take chances and pursue your passions. When it comes to building wealth, learn to reel in your spending and focus on long-term goals over short-term wants.

Written by Paul Sisolak of GoBankingRates

(Source: GoBankingRates)