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How Downtime Forced by Coronavirus Could Be An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

coronavirus

How Downtime Forced by Coronavirus Could Be An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

For would-be entrepreneurs who have longed to turn a side hustle into their main hustle, the shutdown created by the coronavirus may have provided that long-awaited opportunity.

Often, a lack of time is one of the major reasons people give for not starting their own businesses. But these days – with everyone urged to stay home and outside activities limited – those newfound extra hours could be invested in taking steps toward creating that business, says Shravan Parsi, CEO and founder of American Ventures, a commercial real estate company, and ForbesBooks author of The Science of the Deal: The DNA of Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Investing (www.scienceofthedeal.com).

“It definitely takes effort, energy, and a willingness to step out there, but the rewards can be great,” Parsi says.

Parsi was a full-time pharmaceutical research scientist working 9 to 5 and dabbling in real estate on the side when he realized his regular job was hampering his real estate deals because he wasn’t available to talk with people or show a house during the day. Eventually, he bid farewell to his old career and launched his new one in commercial real estate.

Parsi has a few tips for those who long to shake loose from their current careers and venture into something that drives their passions:

Be bold and flexible. A willingness to take chances and adapt to changing circumstances is critical. Even in seventh grade in his native India, ambition boiled in Parsi. He realized that to become the kind of global leader he aspired to be, he would need to know English. So, he transferred to an English school. “My parents supported my decision even though they knew it would be challenging,” he says.

Be interested in everything and observe closely. You never know when opportunities to expand your knowledge – and be inspired by new ideas – will present themselves. Parsi says he learned this lesson at age 14. His father was a doctor who himself invested in real estate as a passive investment and was having a two-story house built – one story for the family and one as a rental. “He pointed out that I had time to kill over summer vacation and recommended I watch the process,” Parsi says. “So my brother and I watched the construction and supervised the contractors. It left a strong impression on me.”

Pivot when necessary. Life doesn’t always go as planned – as the coronavirus has shown – so you need to be prepared to change direction, Parsi says. As an example, Parsi originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. But admission to medical school in India is highly competitive and he missed the cutoff criteria by one-tenth of a point. That’s when he pivoted and became a pharmaceutical scientist instead.

Learn how to sell anything. At different periods in his life, Parsi worked in a cell phone store, sold Amway products, and sold nutritional supplements. Those experiences weren’t always the best, he acknowledges, but he did gain something from them. “I realized that if I can sell the products and a story and recruit others, then I can sell anything,” Parsi says. “Selling is a pivotal skill most entrepreneurs must have.”

Anyone who is inspired to get their entrepreneurial drive moving during the current downtime should not completely throw caution to the wind, Parsi says.

“I did not quit my pharmaceutical job right away,” he says. “I had an objective to stay in that job until the real estate income was twice the value of my salary. When I hit that objective – when real estate was no longer a side hustle – I decided it made sense to invest more time in real estate than the scientific position.”

Now American Ventures is a successful multifamily and commercial real estate investment firm with a proven track record.

“Never settle for less,” Parsi says.

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Shravan Parsi, CEO and founder of American Ventures, a commercial real estate company, is author of The Science of the Deal: The DNA of Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Investing (www.scienceofthedeal.com). Parsi is an entrepreneur and innovator with a background in the diverse fields of real estate investing and pharmaceutical research. He has been involved in Texas real estate since 2003. Born in India, Parsi developed a life-long interest in business and investing from watching his father, a medical doctor, invest in real estate. Parsi has acquired several apartment complexes in aggregate of over 4000 units  and several commercial properties by co-investing with private equity groups, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and accredited investors.

Entrepreneurs

Metros With the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

Many Americans dream of quitting their job and becoming their own boss. Whether the goal is to live the laptop lifestyle or turn a creative pursuit into a full-time business, entrepreneurship offers flexibility and excitement, but it is not without risks. While the potential upside of starting a successful business is appealing, it often takes years for a new firm to become profitable, and many entrepreneurs do not earn as much as they did in their previous jobs. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual income for full-time entrepreneurs is $50,000, which is the same as the median income for all full-time workers.

At a more granular level, full-time entrepreneurs (defined here as self-employed workers in their own incorporated or unincorporated businesses) tend to report higher incomes than full-time employees at for-profit businesses. However, the typical full-time entrepreneur makes less than both full-time employees of non-profit organizations and full-time government workers. Interestingly, Census data shows that federal employees enjoy the highest median income at $65,000 per year, followed by non-profit employees at just under $53,000.

While nationally the median income for entrepreneurs is the same as the median income for all workers, there are big differences at the state and city level. At the high end, entrepreneurs in Rhode Island and North Dakota have median incomes that are 28.3 and 20.0 percent higher, respectively, than the median income of all workers. On the low end, entrepreneurs in Vermont and Delaware have median incomes that are 18.8 and 16.7 percent lower, respectively, than that of all workers.

To determine the metropolitan areas with the most successful entrepreneurs, researchers at ZenBusiness analyzed data from the U.S Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metros according to the income premium for entrepreneurs, which is defined as the percentage difference between the median income for full-time entrepreneurs and the median income for all full-time workers.

Here are the top 15 large metropolitan areas with the most successful entrepreneurs:

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For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for all metros, you can find the original report on ZenBusiness’s website: https://www.zenbusiness.com/blog/cities-with-the-most-successful-entrepreneurs/

company

Are Growing Pains Afflicting Your Business? How To Successfully Scale Your Company.

Ambitious entrepreneurs often are determined to grow their businesses by expanding into new areas, adding new products, and increasing the size of their workforce.

But growth comes with potential hazards, which is why one of the leading causes of business failure is overexpansion – growing too much too fast.

“There are so many complexities involved with growing a company” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, and founder and CEO of PFSbrands, the parent company of Champs ChickenCooper’s Express and BluTaco.

“If you’ve been a parent and raised kids, you can relate it to the various ages of kids. Much like your kids need different things at different ages, your business has different needs at different stages of growth.”

To stay on track with those needs, Burcham says business leaders need to:

Constantly evaluate employees. When a company is growing and improving, employees need to do the same, Burcham says. He’s an advocate of lifelong learning and expects employees to commit to continual personal improvement through reading, seminars or other educational efforts. In addition, while Burcham likes to promote from within, he will look elsewhere when necessary. “Scaling requires your team to evolve, but it also requires new blood,” he says. “As a company is growing, sometimes you have to go out and recruit the talent to help you get to that next level.”

Protect the brand. As the business grows, it’s crucial to adhere to standards and have quality controls in place. Otherwise, the business won’t build brand loyalty. “If you go into McDonald’s and you get a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, you want that Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to taste the same in every location,” Burcham says. “That’s ultimately what every national brand is working toward.” In his own business, he has seen competitors of PFSbrands locate in supermarkets and convenience stores with loose standards.  “In some cases, we lose business to these competitors who are lenient and have lower standards,” Burcham says.

Embrace the future. Scaling is all about embracing the future, and that includes understanding millennials who will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, Burcham says. “Younger generations want to know why they’re doing something, and that makes a lot of sense when you think about how they grew up with their electronic devices,” he says. “They have been able to get answers anytime they want them.” Burcham’s company uses an open-book management approach that fits well with the transparency younger workers desire, he says. “Personal growth, education, and continuous learning are also things they are looking for. If companies today want to scale, then they need to embrace millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.”

Take their time back.“To be an effective leader as your business grows, you need to consistently work on time management,” Burcham says. He has five steps for doing this. 1. Decide what’s important and focus on two or three top priorities each day. 2. Stop doing some tasks. Instead, delegate or automate them. 3. Start on the most important thing first. 4. Learn to say no. 5. Block out time for self-improvement and life needs.

“Scaling is a process, not a destination,” Burcham says. “If you really want your business to grow, you need to be constantly moving, constantly evaluating and constantly improving.”

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Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

california

Starting a Small Business in California Is Easiest with Incfile

We’re living in a time when anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations has ample resources to make their dreams a reality. So your new limited liability company has plenty of company, especially if you’re operating out of California.

The Golden State is a known haven for some of the biggest companies in the world, and if you’re looking to kick off your latest business venture in California, Incfile can certainly help you get started with a bang.

In fact, starting a business in California is much easier when you have Incfile’s extensive resources and expert assistance to guide you. But what does it take to launch a small business in California? Let’s investigate.

Getting Started

If you’re launching a startup or a small-to-medium-sized business in California, an LLC is most likely your best bet as far as structure is concerned. This allows you to enjoy the primary benefits of larger corporations without overcomplicating your finances.

As an LLC, you’ll enjoy liability protection that keeps your personal assets distinctly separate from your business interests, as well as the pass-through taxation that can save you money. In just a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to leverage the advantages of operating a small business in California.

Naming Your California Business

What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out. After all, your name needs to set your company apart, establish your mission and connect with your potential customer base in an instant. With so many businesses already based in California, you may have to dig deep to uncover the perfect name for your company. But it can be done. You’ll need to understand the rules involved and search through the California Secretary of State’s business register.

If that sounds overwhelming already, we completely understand. Naming a business is an art really. If you need guidance along the way, Incfile can help you navigate the vast landscape of California LLC fictitious names and trademarks and file the necessary form with your county administration once you do settle on your company’s name. We can even reserve the business name for you if you’re not ready to move on it or get to work on the Articles of Organization if you are.

Finding a California Registered Agent

Your business needs a registered agent on record whom you can trust to receive correspondence and forward these on to you for further action. When you start your business in California, you’ll need to appoint one. Being a registered agent is a big responsibility upon which hangs the fate of your business.

So, if you are having difficulty finding an eligible person or entity to name as your registered agent, Incfile provides a complete service for your California-based business, including acting as your registered agent. We’re always available to accept your documents and automatically notify you when we receive anything new, sending it directly to whichever address you select. Moreover, if you incorporate with Incfile, we’ll include this Registered Agent service free for your first year.

Filing Requirements for California

With any business venture, you will always be confronted with a variety of fees and filing requirements. These will, of course, vary based on the specifics of your business (which licenses and permits do you need, for example?), but when you form your California LLC with Incfile, we’ll automatically charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the California Secretary of State on your behalf.

In addition, Incfile can obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business — which you will need for tax, banking and payroll purposes — and can likewise secure a foreign qualification (also known as a Certificate of Authority) if you plan to operate outside of California state lines.

From the very first steps to completing your California Statement of Information, we can handle all your key filing needs.

Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your business or your location within California, you may need to secure a range of licenses or permits before you begin operation. If you fail to do so, you could be facing serious consequences, especially if you run afoul of compliance regulations.

Through Incfile’s Business License Research Package, you’ll receive a complete report on all licenses, permits and tax registrations you need in California, as well as the application forms to file with the appropriate authorities.

Thoroughness is the name of the game if you hope to avoid placing your young LLC at risk and incurring significant fees, and Incfile is prepared to help you sidestep any such obstacles.

Taxes for Your California Business

In the business world, taxes are an unfortunate reality and one that can become more complicated as time goes by. California LLCs may be subject to everything up to and including self-employment, payroll, federal, state and state sales taxes.

Luckily, Incfile has you covered here too. Our Business Tax Filing service can provide the assistance you need to make sense of your tax filing and ensure that you complete all necessary documentation accurately and on time. Don’t let your new California-based business suffer during tax season, especially when you have a resource like Incfile on hand to provide guidance and save money and time with your filing.

Next Steps After Starting a Business in California

After your LLC is formed, the work has only begun. So there’s no time to waste. While the process we’ve discussed might seem arduous, you’re still in easily one of the best states to make it as a small business. And, with Incfile on your side, those odds are even more encouraging.

Now, are you ready to start your small business in California? We’re ready to help you get there, all the while preparing you to face your competition head-on and with confidence that your company is built to last, no matter the market conditions. To learn more about how we can help, check out our website and get started today!

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This article was originally published on the Incfile Blog.

Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm.

visionary

Are You A Visionary? 6 Traits Every Strong Vision Shares.

There’s a reason many of the most successful businesses in America – Apple, Amazon and others – had a visionary leader behind them, propelling them to achieve their goals at the highest level.

“A vision pushes people not just to do more, but to do more than they think they are capable of,” says Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com), a global thought leader and consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and is author of the new book Leaderology.

Yet, even though everyone does a lot of talking about the importance of vision, he says, it’s not easy to fully grasp just what it is.

“I’ve discussed vision with CEOs of big companies, serial entrepreneurs, creators of unique software, and many others,” Konovalov says. “Every single person with whom I have spoken viewed vision differently. But in the course of all these discussions I discovered that there were some properties of a strong vision that remained constant.”

Vision reflects the highest purpose of leadership. A leader’s vision should include actual benefits for those affected by the vision, such as employees, customers, the leaders themselves, employees’ families and society at large. “A main stimulus of vision is people and the care of their needs,” he says. “If a vision is not formed around people and their needs, then it is not vision but personal ambition.”

Vision doesn’t lead to dead ends. A vision is always scalable and should show multiple potentials for expansion, Konovalov says. “But to be able to scale the vision you should maintain an appropriate cognitive distance from it,” he says. “This allows you to see the broader picture while keeping the important details in sight. Stand too close and you see the details, but lose the whole picture. Stand too far away and you lose the important details from which the vision is created.”

Vision reveals a path to success. As you pursue your vision, watch for the signs and clues that will help lead you to success. “They will be easy to follow if the vision is strong,” Konovalov says. “Those signs are always around in different forms – words of encouragement, expressions of real need from strangers, and answers to critical questions coming from unexpected perspectives.” Paying attention to such signs helps people spot opportunities while crafting the most effective path to success, he says.

Vision means taking on responsibility. If you’re the person with a vision, you are taking on a responsibility that will have an impact on people’s lives.  “And the greater the vision is, the greater the responsibility,” Konovalov says. “But this huge responsibility also comes with incredible opportunities, the kind of opportunities available only to pioneers. It may be intimidating to take on all that responsibility, but it will reward you in return.”

Vision should be easy to understand. “Vision involves elegant thinking about complicated things,” Konovalov says. But that doesn’t mean the vision itself should be so complex that everyone is left puzzling over what you’re saying. Just the opposite. “Great vision is genuinely easy to understand,” he says. “The simpler the vision is in its core meaning, the easier it can be shared with employees, customers, and partners.”

Vision generates excitement. A person with a vision isn’t nonchalant about it. Strong vision is always accompanied by excitement. “Actually, vision is a strong emotion itself,” Konovalov says. “If someone tells you about his great vision and he sounds ho-hum about it, then most likely he is lying to himself and others. Such a person might have a goal, but they don’t have a vision.”

Vision is a great leadership ability and success instrument, Konovalov says.

“Vision defines and explains why and where effort should be focused,” he says. “And while vision is normally created by a single person, it quickly becomes the property of many, and that’s important.

“No one can accomplish something great on his or her own. Vision is what attracts the people needed to take what you want to accomplish and turn it into a reality.”

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Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com) is a thought leader, author, business educator and consultant with over 25 years of experience operating businesses and consulting Fortune 500 companies internationally. His latest book is Leaderology. His other books are Corporate Superpower, Organisational Anatomy and Hidden Russia. Konovalov received his doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of business schools, a Forbes contributor and high in demand speaker at major conferences around the world.

 

social media

How Social Media Can Change The Whole Game For A New Business

To become a successful entrepreneur, the new business owner must find ways to reach customers. Social media can make that job easier.

The rise of social media as a marketing tool has had a major impact on businesses, particularly startups. Studies have shown that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities.

But while social media marketing can put a new business on the map, missteps can be made that are costly to the bottom line (and one’s reputation), says Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com), an entrepreneur who founded Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas.

“There’s good and bad social media marketing,” says Sciano. “As an entrepreneur, few of us are good at it. We can play around with it and learn about it, or throw a little money at it here and there.

“Now that social media marketing is such a big business, you really have to find the right marketing company that fits you. Either way, through a company that focuses on it or doing your social media marketing in-house, it’s imperative to learn what to do, and what not to do, if you want social media to be an effective tool to attract and retain customers.”

Sciano suggests five ways to make social media work for your new business:

Know who and where your customers are. “Adopting social media tools must be a well-planned and researched step,” Sciano says. “It starts with determining who your target audience is – who would have a need for your product? – and their demographics. Then it’s vital to find out which platforms your potential customers are on before devising an appropriate strategy for each.”

Know what your message is. “This has to be specific,” Sciano says. “You need various angles in order to pull them into core message. There’s too much clutter and competition out there in social media for you to be general and bland about your product’s value. If you want to build more customers, you need to give them what they want and message it in a way they can relate to.”

Set goals on customer engagement. “The whole idea is creating curiosity in your product,” Sciano says. “How many responses should you expect in the early weeks, the third month, and so on? Is your message working or does it require tweaking? Setting a goal for number of responses is a metric you need to have.”

Find the right marketing company.  Social media marketing can be of utmost importance to entrepreneurs who do it themselves because they don’t have the large marketing budgets that more established companies have. But Sciano says those entrepreneurs who do hire social media marketing companies shouldn’t get aligned with a firm that has too many accounts to spend significant time with them. “Finding the right marketing team is easier said than done,” Sciano says. “They need to understand you and your message completely. They need to see your passion for the business and you must see their passion for getting your message out there effectively. The right marketing company becomes an integral member of your team, not just a vendor.”

Learn from failure. “This is often the best teacher,” Sciano says. “I fail every day but my company has come a long, long way. From losses come victories, creative solutions, more curiosity and optimism. All of that drives you and your company forward on various social media platforms.”

“Social media is a great way to create a buzz about your business,” Sciano says. “But it takes time, patience, flexibility and perseverance. And for many entrepreneurs, it’s become a daily part of their business model that they can’t do without.”

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Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com) is the founder of Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas. A former teacher and marketing director, Sciano created her company and products with today’s heightened security issues at sports stadiums and arenas chiefly in mind. Her clear bags are sold in all 50 states.

China market

Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:

Healthcare

Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.

Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

What kind of structure to choose when expanding to China

IF you are considering expanding your business to China, establishing the right business structure is crucial. There are several types of business structures:

-Representative Office – allows foreign companies to open their offices in China and hire staff under their own legal entity. However, the offices are not allowed to perform any business, rather it is done by the parent company which is abroad. 

-Sales Office- this business structure enables foreign businesses to rent an office with a Chinese address for conducting business, without the necessity to establish a separate legal entity. All the activities and costs incurred in this office, are paid by the parent company.

-Foreign Invested Partnership- For this business entity, there is no need for minimum capital requirements. Depending on agreements, two or more investors can be joined and form this type of structure. 

-Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise- Through a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, two or more foreign partners can come together and establish the company which has the same liability as domestic companies. Moreover, it provides the owner with autonomous control and ownership. 

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government.

idea

When The Creative Light Bulb Flips On, Here’s How To Make Your Idea Take Off

Smart business ideas can pop into someone’s head just about any time and anywhere: While walking or jogging, when driving, before going to bed, while doing housework, or during a brainstorming session.
The idea is usually triggered when the person notices a problem or need. The exciting moment the idea springs to life may seem like an epiphany, akin to a light bulb flipping on brightly in the brain. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a good, viable business idea, and discerning whether it will work doesn’t happen nearly as easily as the idea originally came.
“Getting a business idea from zero to reality requires numerous steps, lots of important details, and diligence,” says Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com), the founder of Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas.
Sciano got her business idea to design clear handbags when waiting in a long security line at a professional sports event. Her products are now sold in 100 stores across the U.S.
“When you have that ‘a-ha!’ moment of discovery, your passion for your idea can take over, but that passion doesn’t give you the pragmatic side of business that you’ll need to properly investigate its potential and make it work. Having said that, by taking the right steps, being persistent and figuring it out, your idea might really take off.”
Sciano offers five ways to turn your idea into a business reality:
Do your homework. “The idea person who’s basically new to marketing and selling really needs to self-educate as much as possible,” Sciano says. “Read books on sales and marketing. Learn the importance of trade shows and networking as well as online marketing. Research the market; you need to carry out a full analysis of your idea by investigating the target audience and its demographics.”
Plan to spend money. The dream-big side of a new idea is countered by — and sometimes ended by — the reality-check side of having enough money to invest in the project. “You have to ask yourself early-on, ‘Can I afford this?’ ” Sciano says. “That’s the No. 1 thing that can stop you. There are many money factors to consider — for a lawyer, an accountant, to hire staff, to get trademarks, do the marketing, etc. There’s a lot that goes toward building your brand and your market.”
Find mentors. “It’s crucial to form relationships with entrepreneurs who had an idea, believed in it, and made it happen,” Sciano says. “You need the knowledge and inspiration gained from them and their successful experience.”
Keep the faith. “The grinding day-after-day part of pursuing your idea and turning it into a business reality can be drudgery, overwhelming, and discouraging at times,” Sciano says. “Fear is a huge factor that stops people from following through. It’s like a chain on your ankle. But let your adventurous spirit and your continuing curiosity shine through. Keep the faith in yourself and your product.”
Learn how to juggle. Sciano says that if it’s done properly, dedicating oneself to a product investigation and launch is extremely time-consuming. The person with the idea needs to weigh whether following through on it is worth the personal sacrifices they must make. “You have to go all-out, and the first couple of years you have to give up some of those things you enjoy — spending time with friends, hobbies, etc.,” Sciano says. “Figure out what kind of work-life balance you need.”
“After you come up with a great idea, trying to make it work can seem like hitting a wall over and over again,” Sciano says. “You learn how to go over the wall, and going for it is worth it.”
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Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com) is the founder of Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas. A former teacher and marketing director, Sciano’s created her company and products with today’s heightened security issues at sports stadiums and arenas chiefly in mind.
ENTREPRENEURS

ENTREPRENEURS ALLEGE AMAZON’S “UNSCRUPULOUS BUSINESS PRACTICES” FORCED CLOSED BUSINESSES

A group of companies in Los Angeles and surrounding areas that were part of Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner Program are suing the e-commerce giant, it was announced Aug. 5. 

Plaintiffs the Hubper Group Companies and their affiliates allege Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Breach of Implied Contract, Estoppel, Fraudulent Concealment, Unfair Business Practices and Intentional Interference with Business Relationship in the complaint filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles by the Newport Beach, California-based law firm WHGC, P.L.C. 

They seek an unspecified amount in compensatory damages, disgorgement, plus exemplary and punitive damages from Amazon Logistics, which is accused of “wrongfully and without cause” terminating the plaintiffs’ Delivery Service Partner relationship this past April. That was after the Hubper Group Companies claims to have invested about $4.5 million into continuing its exclusive operations for Amazon, which included employing about 600 people to deliver good from nine stations covering 300 routes. 

Further, once Hubper Group Companies was put out of business, Amazon contacted the plaintiffs’ former drivers, offering employment as independent contractors utilizing the same delivery routes, according to the lawsuit.

“This is a clear-cut story of a corporate giant knowingly and deceitfully putting a group of local entrepreneurs out of business,” says a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team. “Amazon Logistics convinced these hard-working entrepreneurs to invest in a business that they knew would soon render worthless, a practice that is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous and substantially injurious to consumers overall.”