“Power UP!” Awards $25k to Would Be Brooklyn Entrepreneurs

The “Power Up!” contest does more than simply give money to individuals with a business plan. It consists of a series of free classes and seminars, most of which are located at Downtown Brooklyn’s Business Library branch, with a few extra presented at St. Francis College.

There is a catch of course: you must be a Brooklyn resident and have a library card.

Since 2003, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library Success Council has teamed up with the Citi Foundation to award three entrepreneurs who submit the best business plans, after attending three of four classes.

The classes will “help you write, research and present your business plan” which is then judged by a strict set of criteria. Fifteen thousand dollars cash is awarded to first place and five thousand dollars cash is awarded to the two runner-ups.

The 2010 competition is closed, with a mere 60 would be Brooklyn entrepreneurs competing for the twenty five thousand dollar prizes. For attending three classes, that seems like pretty good odds.

The 2011 program will be starting up sooner than you may imagine: the classes for the 2010 program were all scheduled in May and June. There has never been a better time to start thinking more seriously about that business idea you’ve had floating around the back of your mind.

Check the PowerUP! Website for more information.

 

GlobalGrind.com Attempts to Meet the Needs of the Hip-Hop Culture

Think digg or netvibes aimed specifically at one demographic-hip-hop culture. Imagine RSS feeds and widgets geared to meet the needs of consumers, not necessarily the tech savvy. Take CEO and President Navarrow Wright, former web designer, programmer, and chief technology officer for BET, and combine his know-how with the experience, knowledge and ideas of hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons. The end result is Global Grind, a website specifically aimed at the hip-hop demographic and culture in hopes of getting them to gather, collect, share and find data relevant to them in one place-globalgrind.com.

What is Global Grind?

In their own words, Global Grind says that, “it’s the global view of all the content that is relevant in the hip-hop community.” The website, modeled after and pulling components from such social networking sites as Facebook, Netvibes, and digg, is the vision of Navarrow Wright and Russell Simmons. However, unlike websites that are hoping to appeal to the masses, the intended audience for Global Grind is clear. Because they aren’t trying to reach everyone, they have more freedom with their design and features. Wright informed Lindsay Campbell in a recent Wallstrip interview that there isn’t one place online that meets the needs of the hip-hop community, and that he and Simmons feel that Global Grind can be that place. Wright defines himself as part of this demographic, and is working hard to have the site meet his needs, too. His vision is clear.

What makes Global Grind unique?

In a recent interview with Lindsay Campbell on Wallstrip, Navarrow sat down and went into detail about the vision for Global Grind. In addition to their unique and specific audience, Global Grind is attempting to consumerize widgets and RSS feeds, which he feels that up until now haven’t really been understood and utilized by American consumers. They hope to make their site more user-friendly and hands-on, and to meet the needs of their clientele through this attention to detail.

Global Grind is planning a big year in 2008 with a site re-design and added press attention. They are hopeful to draw in the hip-hop community, and were even mentioned in a recent episode of Run’s House on MTV. Their goal, today’s media geared towards the hip-hop audience and culture, seems clear cut and well designed.

You can view Navarrow Wright’s complete interview with Lindsay Campbell on Wallstrip here.

 

Upcoming Events at Downtown Brooklyn Library: Financial First Aid!

 

The vast majority of cities and towns in the US have libraries, but few have a library system with as many resources, events, and community support as the Brooklyn library system. Downtown Brooklyn’s branch, however, is something unique and special even within this unparalleled system.

The Downtown Brooklyn branch is not a “regular” library either. Called the “Business Library,” it’s history in fact predates that of the Brooklyn Library system itself, dating back to 1852. It has, for most of the time since then, served primarily as a resource for businesses, entrepreneurs, and private citizens with business, employment, and money management concerns.

Considering how many people today have employment and money management concerns, one might expect Downtown Brooklyn’s Business Library to be overrun with the unemployed and financially strapped. The library does after all, offer a number of workshops, seminars, and one-on-one counselors to help with these issues.

For instance, almost every day of the week for several hours a day the library offers one-on-one sessions with a business counselor and several other days a week offers one-on-one career and job development sessions with another professional.

Sessions like this are incredibly valuable and in fact can cost hundreds of dollars if sought from the private sector.

An event later this week titled “Financial Fitness Series: Repairing Your Credit” is given by Citibank representatives on “why a healthy credit rating is important and how to improve your score.” That’s coming straight from the horses mouth, so to speak.

 

So if you are like 90% of Americans today and have financial problems or concerns, check out the Business Library’s “Programs and Services” tab at its home site here, and see if they aren’t offering something you desperately need.

 

Jumpstarting Your Food Business

A common problem among starting entrepreneurs is the lack of big capital to mobilize resources for a business. However, with the knowledge of bootstrapping, or using minimal capital, a business can still get going. In bootstrapping, costs are reduced to a minimum by scrimping on equipment and other materials yet delivering quality products. Here are some ways to bootstrap and get your business going:

  1. Look at the essentials. Limited resources might discourage one to buy expensive equipment on all aspects of production. Hence, focus your resources on the most important items. In a cake business, you can use inexpensive cake pans but insist on using the best ingredients and mixer.
  1. Remember your value proposition. Some entrepreneurs unwittingly sacrifice product quality in the interest of saving resources. Do not forget the reason why you want to be in business: to provide best quality products. Forget that, and you would fail.
  1. Innovate as you go. Copycatting is a good way for starting entrepreneurs. Follow as the leaders do, but don’t forget to innovate. In time, your business would find its unique niche.
  1. Get the money. For a starting business, it is important to get income as soon as possible. Market your products to your family, friends, acquaintances, etc. Never pass up the opportunity for a sale. Try selling to them in the hope that word gets around, and more people would buy your products.
  1. Don’t forget the cashflow. No matter how profitable your business is, if you’re perennially out of cash, your business would go kaput. Manage the cashflow well. Try asking for credit terms from your suppliers. Offer discounts to your cash-paying customers. This would keep the cash in.
  1. Work with what you have. In bootstrapping, you cannot afford to have superstars in your staff. Try working around that by asking people to do work and reserving special talent in needed areas. Ask your neighbors to bake while hire that cake decorator for special orders. This also means you have to do a lot of things yourself.
  1. Manage your growth. Accept that your limitations in resources would lead in slow growth. When sales are good, try expanding with caution. This doesn’t mean you lose sight of your long-term goals, you only realize that you shouldn’t bite more than you can chew.
  1. Don’t forget to stop bootstrapping as soon as you’re able. A big mistake for entrepreneurs is perpetually getting into bootstrapping mode. As soon as you’re able, try expanding your capabilities and fully implement your plans. Try having a good relationship with banks early in order to borrow from them once you get out of bootstrapping mode. This would make your food business grow into its full potential and bring you the bucks.

The Young and The Successful Entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs at increasing rates have taken over the web to become millionaires. College is a particle of fun compared to achieving a flood of millions at a young age. This dynamic generation of young entrepreneurs who don’t fit the traditional educated mold are charting their way to success. More and more adults 18-34 will choose to quit their dead end job where there is no future to even maintain the gas prices and take a leap of faith in owning their own business. According to the staggering statistics of Gallup studies, seven out of ten high school students want to start their own companies. With promising ideas and a market base that can reach internationally ,young entrepreneurs are achieving success.

Instead of wasting their cars engine it is being replaced with turning on the search engines on the web to achieve the desired education to get to their destination. There is a wide range of education offered through the web, television and books. If you type in the word “entrepreneur” in any search engine it is devoured with content on achieving entrepreneurial education. There are television shows, such as Donald Trump’s, “Apprentice” and Donny Deutsch, “The Big Idea,” which is reshaping entertainment for young entrepreneurs. There is an insurmountable mountain of books and e-books on, “How to start your own business.” Education is at the finger tips of entrepreneurs, it was just matter of time before teens start listening to the advice, “Mind your own business,” from their parents to start utilizing it. The point is regardless of whether these young entrepreneurs are just beginning or working on their umpteenth business venture, this is what is next for generations to come. “The young, the rich and the fabulous.”

 

In to 2009 there will be an overwhelming amount of young entrepreneurs seeking financial freedom. It will include those who are 18-34 just getting started, well on their way and the entrepreneurs who already have success. The young entrepreneurs think different from the past entrepreneurs; this present community of entrepreneurs will grow together and support one another in business ventures. The capacity of knowledge these entrepreneurs receive on a daily basis outdates the wisdom of grandparents. Being a young entrepreneur has no means of any holds of negative cultural provocations as to where a person attends school, grew up or ethnic origin. The only education that a person needs to start their own business is belief, an idea and takes the action to do so. It is no longer the industrial age mindset of the baby boomer era of going to school and getting a good paying job any more. Young entrepreneurs are finding the key to success is getting educated on what they love to do.

Corporation Fund Development

Two approaches to fund development that are considered “traditional” are annual campaigns and client donations. A common form of annual campaign is conducted by the United Way foundation. The textbook defines annual campaigns as being any “once-a-year major fund-raising effort that usually involves direct mail and/or telephone solicitations to agency or program members, friends, volunteers, and clients” (Martin, 2000). The most opportune time for organizations to raise money using this method is toward the end of the year when potential contributors may be looking for a place to donate funds for income tax reporting purposes (Martin, 2000).

Client donations, an activity geared to human service agencies, are made voluntarily by those who utilize the services that the program or agency provides. Under the Older Americans Act, donation policies have been put into place as a way to reduce the client’s sense of receiving charity or welfare. Giving back even the smallest amount to the program from which they receive some type of aid allows the recipient to help in maintaining the service or program (Martin, 2000).

 

Affinity marketing or cause-related marketing and bequest programs are both considered “entrepreneurial” approaches to fund development. With affinity marketing, human service agencies and businesses join forces in their promotional activities. There are several forms that this approach takes, but the two that are seen most often are credit card promotions and sales promotions (Martin, 2000). Each form is rather self-explanatory. Sales promotions deal with donations from a business entity based on specific sales over time. Similarly, credit card promotions are typically set up so that a percentage a cardholder spends each time they make a purchase during a particular timeframe is given to a human service agency or program (Martin, 2000).

 

Bequest programs, commonly referred to as planned giving is a form of fund development that takes place when an individual passes away. A set amount of money, certain bonds and stocks, or specific property is stated in their will to be transferred to the human service agency or program of their choice when they were of sound mind. This approach allows service recipients or relatives of someone who had received some type of aid from a private nonprofit agency to show gratitude for the help they received and ensures that the program will continue so that others may be afforded similar opportunities in the future (Martin, 2000).

 

References

 

Martin, L. L. (2000). Financial management for human service administrators. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn  amp; Bacon. 

Creative Ways to Increase Personal Wealth

In today’s challenging economy, many professionals are turning to new sources of income to provide extra stability to their households. Even if you’ve always traditional help corporate jobs, taking up an entrepreneurial challenge can help enliven new aspects of your live. Successful entrepreneurs know that good ideas result from hard work, creative thinking and careful planning. By combining these elements you can ensure the complete success of your next project from beginning to end.

This guide provides you with some creative ways you can generate a second income, which can help you transition to a full time position as head of your own firm. By taking these principles and thinking about what you are truly passionate for, you can begin building wealth sooner than you think:

Utilize Creative Skills to Generate Income

There are countless businesses today that can benefit from creative thinking and work in your particular field. Whether you’re an artist, business professional, engineer or product manager, you can work on the side as a consultant for local firms. Starting by working with people you know well, you can translate your energy, ideas and hard work into real life success to help you create a bridge to a new career.      Create Your Own Brand Based Upon Your Interests

If you have creative talent and an idea, you can start attending local fairs and expos to sell works for your own brand. Whether your talent is in drawing, drafting, musical composition or creative work, creating a brand around your work can help bring your interests to life.      License Technical or Creative Work to Larger Firms

Take your ideas and consider applying for a copyright or patent so you can license them to professional firms. Inventors of all types do well by working with largest firms to license their ideas and use them to help improve products.

Recommended resources: www.triumphpoint.com

Business Access: Sprint Blackberry Curve vs. T-Mobile Blackberry Curve

As a reluctant business blackberry user, I have grown accustomed to it. In business, I just needed a phone at first. I initially used the blackberry pearl for business. Texting with the blackberry pearl was a pain. As I progressed to the Blackberry curve, I had a few choices. I considered the blackberry curve from sprint vs the blackberry curve from t-mobile. Here are three things I considered before making the final blackberry business choice.

Blackberry Sprint Curve Vs T-mobile curve: Trackball

This is somewhat of a trick statement for blackberry users. I would liken it to say how many people did Moses take on the ark? The answers, Moses was not on the ark; it was Noah. Blackberry Sprint’s curve has a trackball with issues while T-Mobile curve has no trackball. Sprint’s blackberry has a trackball that sticks and many times has to be fixed. The sprint blackberry trackball jumps around and more often than not and responded lethargically. T-Mobile’s track pad is vastly superior to Sprint’s latency issued trackball. In business time is money so the T-Mobile blackberry with a track pad is a clear winner here.

 

Blackberry Sprint Curve Vs T-mobile curve: Navigation

This Blackberry thought too is somewhat of a trick statement for navigation users. T-Mobile does not have a navigation on the phone. There are application you can get from the blackberry Apps world, but there is not natural navigation. Sprint has a natural navigation that comes standard with your blackberry. I used it many times when I got lost. I relied upon the Sprint blackberry navigation regularly and look forward to using it on T-Mobile. I was sad to find out there was not a similar application on T-Mobile. I instead used mapquest mobile on the phone. I ultimately needed to use the Internet to get access to mapquest mobile, but in a jam in the middle of nowhere on a rain cold night with little gas, T-Mobile got me exactly where i needed to go with Mapquest.

 

Blackberry Sprint Curve Vs T-mobile curve: Crash

While I had the blackberry pearl, I had a few crashes but the phone had solid battery life. When I worked with the Sprint Blackberry Curve, it too had a solid battery life though it crashed weekly. The crashes were primarily a result of too many e-mails coming to the blackberry. The T-mobile blackberry curve crashed daily. Sometimes the blackberry crashed two of 4 times daily. On occasion, the T-mobile blackberry crashed because it did not hold a charge. The first blackberry T-mobile I had crashed, frequently. I currently have the second one and expect my third Blackberry to arrive within the week. The blackberry currently holds a charge for roughly 2 hour max without frequent use. With frequent use, the blackberry holds a charge for roughly 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Blackberry Sprint Curve Vs T-mobile curve: Cost

While the service for both plans in my opinion are comparable. I will admit the cost of the T-mobile phone and plan was about $200 cheaper to start on an annual contract basis. The monthly cost was roughly the same with the data plan included. Honestly the cost of the T-mobile monthly plan might be roughly 10 more a month. So in short after 20 months of a 2 year contract you are paying more for the T-mobile Blackberry than the Sprint Blackberry. I personally like the T-mobile blackberry better than the sprint phone though the voice command navigation was a huge plus on the sprint plan. At this time with the sprint plan, I just use Mapquest.com via the web when I get lost. While I miss the voice prompts giving me direction, I still get to the location when I need to get there.

 

With consideration of the Trackball, navigation, crashing, and cost I would say sprint blackberry slightly edges out the T-mobile phone. However, I went through 5 sprint phones and never got to one that quite worked properly. I am only on my 3rd T-mobile phone so technically the jury is still out on this debate. T-mobile had great customer service with their phone and I appreciate how they have responded to all my concerns without me having to be belligerent. On a pure like or dislike, I like the T-mobile phone just wish it was on the sprint plan with navigation.

Practical Guide Reveals How to Make Money in the Used Car Sales Business

Want to learn what it takes to make money in the used car sales business? This guide maybe just what you need.

Here are a few key points you need to know before you open a used car sales lot:

 

  1. Every state has a different set of rules and regulations, some states are tougher than others – some are more lenient. Either way, your state laws will affect your overall sales. So, it’s important to learn and keep a copy of the laws regarding car sales in your state.

 

  1. Each state is different in that there are limits to the amount of cars that can be sold legally before you have to apply to get a car dealers license from the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. You need this before you open a used car sales business with a lot.

 

You’ll fill out an application and take a few tests, and the approval can take up to a week before you can move forward with buying/renting your car lot.

Once you’ve done 1 and 2 above, you need to look for commercial property to rent. Look for high drive by traffic areas in a moderate speed zone so your prospects can slow down enough and see what you have and can react fast enough to pull-in. Be sure the lot is flat and paved.

There’s unnecessary risk purchasing a lot you don’t know will produce, so I always recommend you lease it first with option to buy to know if it’s a profitable location before you make the decision to purchase the property outright.

At this point, you have your dealers license and found a good lot, next you need a surety bond worth at least $30,000 in coverage. This protects your customers from hidden problems and every state requires it.Once you’ve spent a few weeks taking care of legalities, you can start buying inventory for your new used car sales business. Wholesale car auctions in your state are great places to get your initial inventory. You’ll find all types of cars to showcase on your used car lot.

You can also find quality vehicles at police auctions, private auctions, garage sales, estate sales, Craig list, and eBay motors.

Also, decide if you want to deal with taking trade-ins. You’ll have plenty of inventory, but some of these cars could have hidden problems you don’t want to deal with. Because your taking on extra risk, you want to be sure you spend very little money acquiring trade-in’s and get routine inspections before you give cash.

When evaluating the trade-in value, keep a Kelly Blue Book on hand to help you determine the value of a vehicle and what it can be sold for at a reasonable price.

Now you know how you can start making money in the used car sales business with this useful and practical guide on making money in the used car sales business.

You have no excuse now but to get to work, and put this information into action for yourself so you can start living the life you want – on your terms.

Why Initial Cash Flow for Your Business is Critical to Your Success

As an entrepreneur who faces the effects of an economic downturn, initial cash flow is extremely important.

Why? Because money cost money.

 

Let’s put it in perspective:

 

Depending on the role you play , you pay for the cost of money not circulating in your business when it has no where to go. Because money, in it’s very nature, should always be moving – never sitting still. Like a child on a sugar rush, it must keep going to move your business forward – faster. That’s why the root word for money is “currency”. The ocean works because of it’s currents.

 

So, what does the money flowing into your business immediately have to do with generating cash flow?

 

It guarantees employees, suppliers, vendors and the government are paid on time. And being on time with your payments develops goodwill and reduces the odds of paying additional fee’s in terms of interest or penalties.

 

Goodwill is a rare commodity – more so in business. It’ll help expand and grow yours over several lifetimes and could be developed into a full-fledged corporation based on the trust you develop keeping your financial promises.

 

Respect is gained fast in the marketplace and will have vendors and suppliers fighting to work with you because of your reliability. It’s a sign of professionalism and a strong working foundation.

 

Let’s take a quick look at an example that vendors love and favor:

 

Cash-and-Carry stores offer big discounts to its customers over retail.

 

How so? Because goods are purchased cheaper since they make payments instantly or in a short period of time. The result being deep discounts offered to it’s customers. This is what often creates the edge over big box retail competition.

 

You don’t have to beat yourself up over not generating initial cash flow at the start (although for obvious reasons it’s a huge plus) because most businesses won’t produce for some time. Odds are, the money invested is locked up into the business until it’ starts selling as soon as possible.

 

Keep this in mind: It’s never a good idea to stretch your credit or defer payments in the initial few weeks of your business with your vendors and suppliers. You need to build enough trust and faith on your reliability before they allow you to extend credit for a period of time.

 

It’s pretty clear why cash flow is important to growing your business and the sooner you can sell your products or services to generate the cash, the faster you can use it grow your business quicker. After all, cash flow will make or break your business, and the sooner you work to get your employees and partners to generate money for you, the longer you’ll stay in business to enjoy the fruits of your labor.