Category Archive:Entrepreneur

ByCarolyn Keane

7 Key Business Functions Startups Should Outsource

7 Key Business Functions Startups Should Outsource

It’s one of the most challenging dilemmas faced by every startup, how to build capability internally while managing the cash burn rate. Increasingly, the answer is to build a two-way relationship with a business process outsourcing partner and to outsource those key business functions, which are not critical to the growth of the enterprise.

If you’re running an early-stage startup, chances are you have developed an organizational roadmap, identified the key knowledge and skill areas amongst your core team and developed a strategy to ramp up your organization’s recruitment strategy.

Why Outsource Key Business Functions

While your team’s strengths may be focused on product innovation or technology, your business still requires solid Marketing, Customer Service, Financial strategy, Human Resources, Sales and Administration expertise.

The question is, “How prepared are you to manage your startup’s day-to-day operations, while onboarding new talent or capabilities and outsourcing business functions?” Effectively outsourcing key business functions enables a startup to be average down its staffing costs while keeping your internal resources focused on business gaps in your organization’s operational ecosystem.

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ByCarolyn Keane

Vibroacoustic Therapy May Help Reduce Mental, Emotional & Physical Stress

Vibroacoustic Therapy is the most comforting, effective and effortless way to reduce stress daily.

Vibroacoustic Therapy

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ByCarolyn Keane

Why Entrepreneurs Must Learn to Re-Invent Themselves

Daniel DiPiazza
CONTRIBUTOR
Author

Re-invention can be triggered externally, but must take place internally.Entrepreneurs must develop the power to create the impossible in order to realize their highest potential.

No entrepreneur is happy with maintaining the status quo, even if they’ve achieved success, accolades and comfort from their accomplishments. The “zone of genius” can become a golden anchor.

Most entrepreneurs have a huge vision for themselves that they’ve broken apart and watered down over the years because they are scared of the scope of their dreams. In doing so, they are settling for the smaller incentives that are within reach rather than striving for the bigger prizes on the highest shelves. They stop stretching.

Related: Spring Into Action With These 11 Books About Reinvention

The power to create the impossible is the ability to first acknowledge these huge dreams that feel completely “unrealistic,” declare them possible and then create the circumstances in your life that move those dreams from unreality to reality.

In order to create the impossible, the entrepreneur must undergo a period of complete re-invention in business, life and self — counterintuitively shedding themselves of old beliefs and habits in order to make room for the ideas that will actually help them succeed.

Re-inventing yourself is not about changing what you are “doing” — it’s about changing who you are being.

Re-invention is not a simple as a “pivot” or a new position in the market. It’s not just about doing better work. It’s about changing your relationship to the past, present and future so that you become capable of accomplishing anything you declare possible, regardless of your past or current experiences.

An entrepreneur cannot re-invent their products, company or culture without first re-inventing themselves. It takes courage.

Related: 7 Powerful Tools for Reinventing You and Your Business

As author Tracy Goss would say, “Re-invention is putting at stake the success you’ve become for the power of making the impossible happen.”

Anybody who seeks the power to create the impossible through re-invention can follow the guideposts until the road ends, but each re-invention is unique. Great CEOs, athletes, artists and world leaders have always endured the fires of change as they re-invented themselves.

You can study great leaders and icons to understand how and why their re-inventions happened — but you’ll never be able to copy the process. Re-invention can be triggered externally, but must take place internally.

Your re-invention will happen through a series of transformations that fundamentally change your understanding of who you are and what you’re capable of, creating quite literally a different person on the other side who has no recollection of the limitations of the past.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/322501?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

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ByCarolyn Keane

The Best Places to Live in America

These spots combine economic growth, affordability, and quality of life. See all 50:

Best Places to Live in 2018

 

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ByCarolyn Keane

Why Encouraging your Team to Work on Passion Projects Benefits Your Company

In a growing company, juggling side projects and a full-time job is often frowned upon.

by Sam Radocchia, Co-Founder at Chronicled // Blockchain // Forbes 30 Under 30

In a growing company, juggling side projects and a full-time job is often frowned upon.

Everyone is supposed to be focused on one goal and one goal only — building the company. Any work that appears to sway from that overarching goal is viewed in a negative light.

But side projects don’t actually have to steal focus away from the company’s main objective. They can be useful as an outlet for creative energy, as a way to develop employees, and even as a tool to bring in new clients.

It all depends on how you treat these projects. If they’re looked down upon and discouraged, you won’t see any of the benefits.

If leadership embraces the idea of passion projects and offshoots, some spectacular things can happen.

Think of it like a daily walk. It’s comfortable to take the same route every day because you see the same stores, the same people. There may be minor deviations, but usually you know what to expect.

But if you want to see something new, you have to take different streets.

The original path may be trustworthy and dependable, but it won’t ever take you out of your comfort zone or help you see things in a new light. It’s only when you change your route that you run into new people, hear new voices, find new restaurants.

That’s what your side projects are — little side streets that can lead you to new ideas.

Here’s why they’re so important:

Deviating from the norm opens you up to new opportunities.

I’m not advocating you split your attention between multiple time-consuming ventures. Honestly, 90% of your time should be focused on your core business and its requirements.

But sometimes, in order to get where you want to go, you have to take an approach that isn’t totally linear.

I’ll give you an example.

Our team at Chronicled established a company as a passion project called the Blockchain Art Collective (BAC), which is separate from the work we do with supply chains. Recently, we were helping an organization register art and antiquities through the BAC.

And now, that party has expressed interest in using our supply chain capacities to track pharmaceutical drugs — one of our core company solutions.

So what started as a side company ended up bringing our organization business. It wasn’t the most direct route, but it did open up an opportunity we might not have had otherwise.

It can improve employee retention and company sustainability.

Passion projects are often about giving people the time, permission, and resources to do something a little different.

These opportunities can be significant, say a sabbatical after several years of hard work. Or they can be smaller, more frequent breaks for people to pursue their interests.

Allowing employees to invest just 5% of their time at work into related projects can lead to major growth and new discoveries. In fact, it can help attract the younger generation of workers since 78% of Millennials believe being involved in side projectsis beneficial to their careers.

And outside projects give employees some leeway to work outside the strict confines of their normal day-to-day workload.

That outlet can be key to retaining employees for the long run. High turnover rates are costly, not just financially, but in terms of the human capital you lose and the negative impact it can have on morale.

Giving your team an outlet — even one that’s tangentially related to the work they’re doing — is a good way to foster individual growth and keep people from burning out.

Ideas will compound into something bigger and better for your team.

Many people are actually more productive when they have a lot going on.

When they know they need to get several things done in a day, they work harder to meet those deadlines.

I started my first company while I was still getting my Masters. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I was doing all that at once. But that’s how I’ve always been. Even in college I gravitated toward interdisciplinary studies — combining what I learned in my logic or astronomy classes with what I was writing about in my English or anthropology classes.

I never felt like my company and my schoolwork were at odds. I never felt like any one of my classes pulled my attention away from the others.

Instead, I felt like they were compounding and creating new perspectives, thought processes, and ideas.

Side projects at a company don’t have to compete with the main goals. Ideally, team members will apply what they learn from those projects to their work — leading to new ideas, new opportunities, and a more flexible and innovative company

Originally published at medium.com

 

Why Encouraging Your Team To Work On Passion Projects Benefits Your Company

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ByCarolyn Keane

Why Outsourcing Your Invention’s Reviews Increases Efficiency

Image credit: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock

Determining whether your invention will be successful or not is an integral part of being an entrepreneur. Here are three reasons inventors are outsourcing the review process to increase efficiency.

When entrepreneurs and companies invent new products or technologies, they are understandably reticent to share their ideas with outsiders. After all, the business landscape is cut throat. They do not want to risk giving away their competitive edge. Still, most entrepreneurs are aware they need some feedback to ensure that their ideas are viable. They may form an internal review team to analyze their prototypes and conduct a market analysis.

While this choice may seem logical, internal invention reviews can be a waste of time and money. External reviews are a smarter choice. For instance, consider independent taste testers, who food companies outsource sensory testing of their products to in order to capture a broad and objective range of preferences. Beware of in-house reviewers, who are often incapable of delivering the objective analysis and insights you need to make sure your product does not fail.

Internal vs. external reviews

We will come back to the point about internal reviews inherently being nonobjective. There are additional reasons to outsource the invention review process. For starters, internal reviews can require significant time and money. Since the team members tasked with the review are employees, they may have to balance this assignment with their other responsibilities.

Generally speaking, internal reviews can take up to 30 hours at minimum, although they can take up to 30 days at larger companies. If you are paying employees over $75,000 per year (and, in the case of an attorney, far more) and you assign several people to the task, you are looking at thousands of hours and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct your internal reviews, when they could be working on developing the top ideas and technologies instead. Be aware of where you’re spening money, as very little of your review expenses should be on the front end.

In addition, internal reviewers are not necessarily trained to conduct these types of analyses. A quality product study includes thorough research into your market, competitors and patent prospects. Someone who is not trained to vet ideas for commercial potential will not be able to generate the level of insights and recommendations you need to screen a technology. By comparison, external teams specialize in product analyses.

Privacy can be a concern when inviting outsiders to review your ideas. However, a non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality clause can prohibit external reviewers from revealing any sensitive and proprietary information. There are both legal and business incentives to adhere to these guidelines as the reviewers want to build a reputable business and are not in the business of stealing ideas for themselves. If the right safeguards are in place, you can trust that the review process will not expose your business’s important competitive information.

Here are three ways in which an outside review is more advantageous than an internal report.

Speed

Unlike your team members, review agencies focus solely on compiling invention reports. They can turn around an analysis much faster than your internal staff, and it will include a SWOT analysis, competitive research and intellectual property (IP) research – all the information you need to decide whether to move forward.

Cost

While some consultants charge high rates, many third-party vendors offer fast and affordable services. Instead of paying salaried employees to produce a lackluster review, you can secure a top-quality analysis at a fraction of the cost, freeing up your employees to concentrate on the development of your best ideas and IP assets.

Objectivity

I promised we would come back to this and saved it for last because I cannot stress it enough. When it comes to evaluating your commercial prospects, objectivity is everything. You need input from professionals who have no stake in the product’s performance. A third-party team is solely concerned with getting you informed answers and giving them to you with no pretense. Their jobs and egos do not depend on your product’s success. Those are the people you want reviewing your invention because then you will have solid feedback and perhaps fresh insight into whether your idea can be successful.

The worst thing you can do for your company is go to market blindly or with misinformation. Sourcing high-quality evaluations from professional invention reviewers will provide you with the necessary knowledge to help your company succeed. Whatever the reports contain, it will give you the knowledge to make informed decisions and develop ideas the world really needs and wants.

Why Outsourcing Your Invention’s Reviews Increases Efficiency

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ByCarolyn Keane

Child’s trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) condition spurs mom’s invention

Biomedical engineer Melanie Watson had plenty to grapple with when prenatal tests during her second trimester revealed her daughter, the second-born of two, had a very serious genetic condition called trisomy 18. In this condition, instead of normal two chromosomes on the 18th chromosomal pair, there are three.

Half of all babies born with trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome, die within the first week, with many others stillborn. Only 5 percent to 10 percent live beyond age 1.

“She is my miracle baby,” Watson said of Claire Juliette Watson-Ray, now 5½. It’s important to get the one-half in there “because every day counts,” said the Trine University assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who earned her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from Louisiana Tech.

Watson has fought every day for her fragile daughter’s life, not accepting the no-hope pronouncement given by doctors at the Texas hospital where Claire was born and not giving up when Claire, at age 14 months, was diagnosed with liver cancer.

That tenacity and resolve to give Claire the highest quality of life possible is what also led Watson on a journey to seek an innovative solution to quickly and easily perform routine blood tests so Claire — and anyone with a health condition that requires frequent blood testing – can do so wherever and whenever they want, with results sent via a cell phone to the doctor.

The eighth version of the hand-held, blood-testing device prototype is now being 3-D printed, and Watson is in the process of patenting the invention. It is the culmination of more than five years of research and development, and Watson’s entrepreneurial endeavors through her company Blaire Biomedical have drawn high praise from regional and state funders. She was recently named one of two first awardees of support through Indiana’s Elevate Ventures’ new Community Ideation Fund.

The fund, created in 2018, enables ideation-stage high-potential companies to move closer to a specific, measurable technology or product development milestones through an investment between $5,000 and $20,000. Eligible applicants include Indiana-based companies with headquarters in communities under a partnership with Elevate Ventures, and with no more than $50,000 in trailing revenue over the past 12-month period.

Elevate Ventures, a venture development organization based in Indianapolis, Ind., provides entrepreneurs with the expertise and resources needed to transform ideas into profit-making companies. The Community Ideation Fund $17,500 convertible note will help Watson move ahead with final development of the blood-testing device by hiring a part-time design engineer.

“We need to improve the optics (in the device) in order to increase the accuracy of blood tests,” Watson said, noting this funding and a recent $1,000 micro-grant from the Elevate Northeast Indiana Farnsworth Fund, plus additional funding she is seeking through other regional and state sources is crucial. “It is essential for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to get into the seed round to draw venture capitalists and angel investors.”

Already available is a hand-held blood glucose testing device that operates similarly through a phone app, but Watson said there is no other such device on the market that can perform multiple blood tests.

“There has to be a better way”  To read the rest of the story click:

Child’s Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome) condition Spurs mom’s invention

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ByCarolyn Keane

The Almost Unbelievable Power of Your Belief Systems

by Dan Dowling Contributor Entrepreneur Magazine

I was horsing around with my dog the other day — I promise this is an article on entrepreneurship — when something extraordinary happened.

We’d been playing tug-of-war with her red doggie blanket when, after 10 minutes of tugging, I finally managed to wrench the festering rag from her clenched, bulldog jowls. I flashed the blanket about like a torero, bowed, then I flipped it behind me and hid it on the small of my back.

Sugar searched frantically for a minute while I sniggered and snarked. Finally, my inner villain satisfied, I dropped her prize in plain view at my feet. Here’s where it gets weird.

“Here’s your blanket, Shoog!” She looked at me vaguely, and again went searching for the missing blanket that was no longer technically missing.

“Sugar, come!” She bounded on the couch and traipsed behind me, actually walking over her blanket at that point, and continued ransacking the living room. That’s when it hit me:

This dog fully believes the blanket has disappeared and that she’ll never see it again. So even though she technically sees the red blanket, the visual (and even tactile) information does her no good. The blanket does not exist.

Bewildered, I picked up the dog rag and gave it a casual flick — “Looking for this?” Sugar’s ears popped up, her pupils dilated, then she dashed at me, mouth a’foaming, for the prize that she had literally stepped on 20 seconds earlier. Because it existed again.

Related: Every Entrepreneur Needs Flow. Nootropics Can Get You There.

Such is the power of the mind.

If you are convinced that something is unattainable, you will be unable to reach it no matter how hard you work. This thing could be waved about you, you could stumble over it, you could wake up next to it without ever realizing it is there because you will still be blind to it. Just like poor Sugar.

So, to all you entrepreneurs out there hustling and grinding every day, it’s time to up your mental game.

Tony Robbins says that taking more action without belief isn’t going to change anything. You need to actually believe the time you spend working is moving you toward your inevitable success, otherwise you’ll find yourself an entrepreneurial Sisyphus, perpetually pushing your boulder up the hill with no results. Because that’s your belief, your negative results will continue reinforcing the negative belief until you change the (freakin’) belief.

You have complete control over this self-fulfilling prophecy. So dedicate yourself to a visualization routine. And it’s gotta be daily.

Start by taking a 15-minute break around lunchtime.

Lie down, sit down, go outside, stay indoors — whatever’s most comfortable for you that you can repeat daily. Then, instead of jumping right into your visuals, you’ll want to prime yourself for five minutes with gratitude. This helps you hack your way into a positive mindset so that your visuals are as powerful as they can be.

Just walk yourself through the experiences that made a difference in your life: the people who never gave up on you, the miracles that got you through. Feel the joy and amazement and appreciation each of these memories brings. Once you’ve worked your way into some authentic smiles and you feel your mind lift, finish your 15-minute break with 10 minutes of visualization.

Get a crystal-clear picture in your mind of your “red blanket.” See yourself doing what you really want to do in your career, in your personal life, for your fitness, for the people you want to help. See yourself holding that prize, and feel yourself reveling in the accomplishment and satisfaction of it. See all the people you’re helping in the process — see the difference you’re making to your customers, to your friends, to your family. Feel joy in advance for these things already happening.

Related: 3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Then be consistent.

When you practice this daily — feeling gratitude and certainty for the things you want the most — you will stop worrying about the outcome of your work because you will be carrying the results with you in your mind and in your heart. Instead of finding excuses not to do work, you’ll always have reasons to do whatever it takes. Instead of your daily work feeling like an endless grind like Sisyphus with his boulder, you’ll approach your tasks with an easygoing attitude and a light heart.

But it has to be daily. Do whatever it takes to be consistent.

Start drawing a big X over each calendar day that you visualize, and make it a goal to X-out a whole calendar month. At the end of that month, I promise that you will have more accomplishments, more positivity and more momentum toward whatever is your red blanket.

Related: 5 Mindset Secrets to Achieve Your Goals Faster

To all you would-be entrepreneurs who aren’t putting in the work yet…

It’s time for you to work on your mental game, too. Robbins says that mental aids like visualization are the key to getting started: “Most people have a belief in their potential no matter what anyone else tells them, and that affects how much action they take, which of course affects their results, and that result ironically reinforces their belief.”

When you change your belief — when you generate certainty and positivity through visualization methods — you motivate yourself to do what’s required of you because now you know your work isn’t for nothing. Every day that you work toward your goal, you’re taking a step closer to the goal that you know is possible.

The alternative is to keep telling yourself that your dreams are impossible, and to keep believing that nothing you do will make a difference. Your choice.

The Almost Unbelievable Power of your Belief Systems

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ByCarolyn Keane

Pittsburgh Invention Promotion Company Accused of Scamming Thousands of Inventors

Action News Investigates has learned a lawsuit accuses a Pittsburgh-based invention promotion company of running a deceptive and fraudulent scam.

The class-action lawsuit says InventHelp and its affiliates took millions of dollars from inventors, who got virtually nothing in return. The company disputes the allegations.

Court records show InventHelp has convinced thousands of people to part with thousands of dollars to market their inventions. But the lawsuit says only a handful of inventors have made money.

After she saw an InventHelp ad featuring a caveman, Sherry Porter contacted the company about her idea.

“It was a pet collar with an LED light that went all the way around,” Porter said.

When Porter met with an InventHelp official at their office in Rochester, New York, she says the response was enthusiastic.

“She told me that it was a great idea. She said to me this invention could go as far as bigger animals, cows, horses, and she said possibly even to children,” Porter said.

Porter said she was skeptical.

But according to a class-action lawsuit filed in New York, InventHelp eventually convinced her to pay $700 and then another $9,000 to market her invention.

The lawsuit says InventHelp promised to send Porter’s invention to numerous companies. But when she followed up with those companies, she said, “they would write back and say they had already seen this product, that it had been on the market for years.”

She also got a book describing her invention.

“What Sherry received for that $10,000 was a hard-bound book very generally describing her invention that probably a third-grader could have put together,” said her attorney, Julie Plitt.

Earlier this year, the lawsuit says, an official at InventHelp’s Pittsburgh headquarters contacted Porter and said a company based in New York City called Abrams Gentile Entertainment was interested in licensing her invention.

But when investigators for Sherry’s attorney went to the office of Abrams Gentile, they found it vacant — nothing but empty boxes. The company’s name not even listed.

“As it turned out this company didn’t exist. The name of the company on the contract occupied vacant New York City space and to date that company hasn’t even answered the complaint,” Plitt said.

Porter did eventually receive a $500 check from another company affiliated with InventHelp.

“We believe that this $500 was a ruse in order to suck her into spending even more money with InventHelp,” Plitt said.

In their complaint, Porter and two other inventors accuse InventHelp and affiliated companies of running a “deceptive and fraudulent invention promotion scam that has bilked thousands of aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs into paying millions of dollars to Defendants for invention promotion services that Defendants do not and never intend to provide.”

When Action News Investigates called InventHelp’s PR office for comment, the voicemail was full. An email to the PR office bounced back as undeliverable.

Eventually, company spokesperson Lark Blasi responded, calling the lawsuit allegations “empty and frivolous” and saying, “We very much stand by our efforts on behalf of all of our clients, are pleased that a third party has shown interest in this individual’s idea, and are puzzled by the various inaccuracies in the amended complaint.”

In a letter to the court, InventHelp says it plans to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

On its website, InventHelp says from 2015 to 2017 it signed submission agreements with 6,564 clients. But it says just 166 clients have gotten license agreements for their products, and only 49 clients — less than 1 percent — received more money than they paid InventHelp.

“In fact, all these people got was a large debt and dashed dreams,” Plitt said.

“I don’t take throwing money away lightly and that’s exactly how I feel, that I just threw that money right out the window,” Porter said.

In addition to the case filed by Porter in New York, a lawsuit making similar claims about InventHelp has been filed in Philadelphia. The company said it has not yet had a chance to review the allegations in the Philadelphia case.

Pittsburgh invention promotion company accused of scamming thousands of inventors

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