Vancouver Travel Tips and Tricks

Every city’s different, but with these handy travel tips about Vancouver, you’ll feel just like a local in no time. From dog owners to weather worriers, and on to those that just want to get the lay of the land before they arrive, this section tips will help get you ready for your very own adventure.

FAST FACTS

Population

Based on the 2011 Canadian Census, the population of the City of Vancouver is estimated to be 603,502. The Vancouver metropolitan region is home to an estimated total population of 2.3 million people, representing 52.3% of B.C.’s population of 4.4 million.

Languages

Federal government departments provide service in English and French, but most of the population speaks English as either a first or second language.

The City of Vancouver is quite cosmopolitan and is a mix of many multicultural groups. Because the city is multicultural, it’s also multilingual on an unofficial level. Its people speak many different languages and many follow the traditions of their native lands, sometimes moderating them with Canadian culture.

After English and Chinese, the most common mother tongue languages spoken are Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish. More than half of Vancouver’s school-age children have been raised speaking a language other than English.

Currency

We recommend all visitors use Canadian currency (the Canadian Dollar – CAD) when travelling within Canada. Visitors can exchange currency at Canadian chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, or at offices of foreign exchange brokers, but it is advised to have local currency on hand prior to arriving. Some hotels, merchants, restaurants and suppliers accept US or other foreign currency at a pre-determined rate, which may differ from the daily rate posted by financial institutions.

The Canadian Dollar is made up of 100 Canadian cents. Coins are in denominations of 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), $1 (loonie), and $2 (toonie).  Notes are in denominations $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1,000.

Note that Canada phased out use of the 1 cent (penny) coin in 2013. If you are paying cash, the total amount of your purchases will be rounded either up or down to the closest 5 cents. Credit card and debit card payments are not rounded. For more information, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website.

Taxation

Most purchases in British Columbia are subject to a 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) as well as a federal 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST), with a few exceptions including liquor (10% PST) and accommodation (8% PST plus up to 3% hotel tax). Some goods such as food and restaurant meals, books and magazines, and children’s clothing are GST and/or PST exempt. For more information, visit the Province of British Columbia’s website.

Time Zone

Vancouver is in the Pacific Time Zone and observes Daylight Savings Time from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. You can see Vancouver’s time in relation to most cities around the globe by visiting www.thetimenow.com, which is also home to a Canadian calendar with important dates.

Workdays

Vancouver, like all major cities, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In general, the standard work week is Monday to Friday, from roughly 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, but hours vary for each organization or business. Retailers are usually open seven days a week, and most stores are open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm each day, except on Thursday and Friday, when many stores are open until 9:00 pm. Some retail stores (e.g. some drug stores and grocery outlets), nearly every hotel and motel, and some restaurants, remain open around the clock.

Cincinnati Bed and Breakfasts Treat Guests Like Royalty

Cincinnati Bed and Breakfasts Treat Guests Like Royalty

Bed and Breakfasts put out the red carpet treatment to their guests in Cincinnati, Ohio. Located in Southwest Ohio, Cincinnati is a busy city with a thriving tourism industry that draws in millions of travelers every year. The largest Labor Day fireworks show in the United States as well as the second largest Oktoberfest in the world bring in half a million people alone. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle in this busy city, but for a little royal treatment in the Queen city why not try a locally owned bed and breakfast. Individual treatment with a focus on customer services and quality above quantity are traits along the local bread and breakfasts.

The Grace and Glory Bed and Breakfast, located at 3539 Shaw Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio offers its guests a refugee from the hustle and bustle of downtown Cincinnati. The Grace and Glory bed and breakfast is a beautiful restored Colonial style home, where the focus is on hospitality, charm and comfort. It is 10 minutes north of Downtown Cincinnati and a short walk to local Hyde Park Square, a local gathering place surrounded by clothing shops, coffee shops, breweries, eateries, restaurants, and art galleries. A stay with at the B B; includes a complimentary breakfast and access to their charming parlor, solarium, and living room. Rooms are decorated with antiques and a great nights sleep can be found in one of their many four-poster beds. Guests are centrally located in Cincinnati, giving them easy access to local attractions such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the National Underground Railroad Museum, and the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The Wallace House Bed and Breakfast is just five minutes south of Downtown Cincinnati in Covington, Kentucky. A Queen Anne style mansion built in 1905 by Robert B. Wallace, a local landowner. Guests have free reign over their large billiard room and expansive front porch. Amenities include a large screen television as well as high-speed Internet access so you can keep in touch with others while you are traveling. Their web site, www.bbonline/ky/wallacehouse offers specials and the chance to make your reservations online. Ideally located within five minutes of Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium, and the Cincinnati business district on Walnut Street makes this a convenient place to stay for work or play. Take advantage of the local riverboats that travel up an down the Ohio River, stopping within minutes of the Wallace House Bed and breakfast.

The Clifton House Bed and Breakfast, at 500 Terrace Avenue, is located in Cincinnati’s college community near the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Hebrew Union College. It is a convent location for parents to stay while visiting their children in college. TH Clifton House Bed and Breakfast is a Classic revival mansion that was built in 1900. Recent renovations have brought it up to date with modern conveniences. Guest will find a beautiful library, dining room, billiards, workout room, and living at their disposal. Breakfast as well as an afternoon stack is included with your stay. Nearby Newport Aquarium and kings Island offers parents and their departing college student fun activities while they visit. Ludlow business districts is steps away from the bed and breakfast and provides an array of shops, restraints, coffee shops, boutiques, bookstores, and Cincinnati’s oldest movie theater. Wine and cheese is offered on the large front porch in the afternoons. A quick search of their website www.cliftonhouse.com provides guests with a list of their specials as well as chance to register to win a free two night stay.

Nearby Gaslight Bed  amp; Breakfast also offers a great central Clifton location. The University of Cincinnati is only steps away as well as University and Good Samaritan Hospitals. Built in1909 Gaslight Bed and Breakfast has been restored to the modern day standards of many hotels. As you walk up the steps to the front t entrance you are greeted with a cascading waterfall, a sign of what is to come on the interior of this lovely bed and breakfast. Overstuffed furniture and floor to ceiling windows invite guests to relax while they read the paper and enjoy their breakfast. A second floor kitchen is convenient for guests to make snacks for themselves or for the avid foody to cook their own meal. This is also convenient for guests who will have an extended stay. Cable television, high speed internet access, private phone line, top of the line mattresses, and sheets make this an ideal place to stay for those of you who can not forgo the luxuries of a hotel. Each morning a full home-style breakfast is served to their guests. This luxurious four-story mansion provides peace, tranquility, and convenience in the thriving Clifton area.

Six Acres Bed and Breakfast is 6500 square foot mansion locate din in the College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati. One of the oldest bed and breakfast in Cincinnati, it was built around 1850. Zebulon Strong, an abolitionist and local participant in the Underground Railroad built the home. Special guided tours lead guests on trails that run away slaves traveled to their freedom. History overflows at this beautifully restored home. Guests know they are only one of many travelers who have been through this spot. Rooms are named after staff member’s grandmothers. Amenities include massage therapy; turn down service, a full breakfast, and satellite television. Many activities are hosted by the bed and breakfast including quilting and cooking classes as well as other educational seminars. Each summer the Six Acres Bed and breakfast hosts a summer concert series. Guests and local relax in the beautifully landscape ground while they live to local artists perform. Guest are encouraged to bring their own seating and picnic dinners. Located only fifteen minutes north of downtown, wedding, retreats and work related seminars are commonly held at the Six Acres Bed and breakfast. A visit to their website www.sixacresbb.com provides information on specially priced packages as well as group rates. This beautiful tranquil setting provides a great place to relax in a natural setting.

Whether you are looking for an in town location or a tranquil natural landscape the Queen City’s bed and breakfast’s treat their guests like royalty.

American Entrepreneurs

 

Entrepreneurs have fascinated the American public for decades. Ford, John Deere, and many others not only have left their name sake on the companies that they started but also changed our nation. These early pioneers changed America and their names have become icons. The modern day “pioneer” we may never here the name of but we all can be affected to their contributions everyday. Many of the entrepreneurs are really intrapreneurs. They work for a company that is open to their input and suggestions.

What is an intrapreneur? Gifford Pinchot coined the phrase back in the 1980’s to explain current and past trends. He once stated “look back at any great business or invention at just about any big company and you can find that intrapreneurs created it.” (Takahashi 2001) An intrapreneur is someone at an existing company that has thee freedom to innovate and then push those ideas through the organization. They are given company resources to develop new ideas and concepts. Most companies do not practice intrapreneurship because it can be somewhat risky and not in line with existing management styles and expectations. But more and more companies are learning that this is a good way to do business and have taken advantage of the talent and ideas that are already in the company.

 

3M Intrapreneurship Bench Mark

 

3M was and still is one of these companies that are willing to take the risk of incorporating in house intrapreneurship. The founders of 3M hired others like themselves, innovators. They learned early to identify and utilize the talent that they have. An account of this from 1923 demonstrates this clearly.

 

Dick Drew identified a need in the auto industry for tape that would be used for painting two tone automobiles. He made an initial attempt to come up with a product on his own. It was too rigid to work properly and he knew it needed more work. (Fry 1987) When then CEO William McKnight caught wind of this he ordered Drew to stop. Dick Drew only followed those orders for one day and then began to work on that project again. Today we have masking tape and 3M has a policy that employees can use 15% their time in developing new ideas and products.

 

This early innovation and commitment to intrpreneurship is why I have made 3M to measure 3 other companies by in this paper. They have earned that distinction.

 

Through the programs that 3M has put into place they have had sustainable results. I will take the factors that made 3M successful and then compare and contrast them to the other companies.

 

Mr. Fry whose article that I’ve used as the basis for this paper is not only another employee at 3m but the innovator behind “post it notes”. He put the successful factors in his article and I will point out how these factors fit into helping him achieve post it notes through the stages of development.

 

Executive Champions. These are the upper managers who are not threatened by intrapreneurial activity but embrace it and encourage it through their support and seeing that those good ideas like post its get through.

 

Availability of resources. 3m has an 80/20 rule when it comes to resources for its developing intrapreneurial ventures. 80% of the materials used in these projects come from things already owned by the company and the other 20%come from outside sources. Fry called this scrounging and had to go out onto the shop floor to find some of the things that he needed to make this work.

 

Freedom to fail. During the process of developing an idea into a marketable product Fry was not discouraged or dissuaded from further pursuit of the idea. He was able to get some inside help and when the office staff of company executives fell in love with their new note pads eh began to get some help from upper management. I was impressed that when his project didn’t really look all that promising that he was allowed to continue. Management at 3M haws the foresight to look long term and knows that some ventures will be a success and some will fail.

 

Dual ladder policy: Just because you are a technical worker at 3M that doesn’t mean that pay and job titles have the expected ceiling like most other companies. At 3M you do not have to manage people to earn the highest rewards and job title associated with it.

 

Communications Network: they focus on exchanging ideas and helping each other on

 

key projects even in facilities that are around the world. (Fry 1987)

 

Intel Thinking Outside The Box

 

From the evidence in this article Intel does a good job encouraging employees to think outside the box and have the desire to want to let their ideas be known.

 

One example of Intel’s commitment to intrapreneurship is that of Paul Scagnetti. He came up with the idea of a hand held device that records and plans fitness and nutritional information. He acquired Intel’s financing and was given 15 employees to help launch his fitness planner.

 

Intel demonstrated that employees are given the resources and support to try new things and have the companies help and guidance. The executives championed new ideas, provided resources and made it acceptable to try and fail. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Microsoft

 

Microsoft’s game designer Seamus Blackley showed a true entrepreneurial trait when a major project he was working on failed in the marketplace. He failed, picked himself up, and tried again with a new idea. Blacklley thought that Microsoft should take the knowledge and experience in computers and use that to create a game player that could compete with Sony’s Playstation. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Through determination and despite some initial serious opposition he was able to get those important to the success of such a project behind it and was off and running.

 

In 2001 X-Box was released to enthusiastic gamers. I am sure that Blackley could not have envisioned the buzz that would accompany the release of the X-Box 360 in 2005.

 

Through this Microsoft demonstrated executive championing, access to resources, and a communication system that was key to the success of this project. (Takahashi 2000)

 

Alcoa

 

Has a different take on the intrapreneurial developments that other companies are using. To Alcoa, which is a specialty metal producer, processes are everything. If they can hone those processes and eliminate waste they have an advantage over their competition and earn more without increasing customer base. To achieve this we have a fairly formal way of getting together to discuss certain problems or challenges. These meetings are called Kaizens and involve employees at all levels. Problems are solved using a testing process and any conclusions that the group comes up with are monitored and changed as needed.

 

They may not be encouraging new businesses but they are empowering those who are closest to what is done on a daily basis to change how they do business. I believe that Alcoa definitely has executive champions for this new way of turning everyone into intellectual capital and that is throughout this organization of 120,000 employees. They provide a system for communication, resources and an environment for trial and failure.

 

Overcoming Competition

 

Overcoming competitors’ ability to duplicate the advantages you have created through intrapreneurial efforts was spelled out in the article “Innovation Through Intrapreneurship” by the one who literally coined the phrase intrapreneur, Gifford Pinchot. The author felt that companies should hold back on placing all of your improvements or newly acquired know-how into the marketplace at once. He suggested that keeping some important aspects to be applied to later versions of an individual product. This brings to mind the computers that had clock speeds in them that were just turned up in later versions to create faster operation. (Pinchot 1987)

 

I have learned from personal experience that some companies and especially manufactures are quite all right with being second rate when it comes to product development. They let their competitors pay the heavy bill for research and development and cut the path into new territory or technology. They are always right behind them benefiting from their hard work.

 

Conclusion

 

The companies that I used as examples have each have a unique approach to intrapreneurship. One of the major similarities in each organization is the expressed desire for their employees to be involved in such activities and not be threatened by that. This is something not common among most companies that leave product development and new business ideas up to those in charge who I believe are sometimes too busy managing to have the same sort of fresh perspective that others in the companies may have. The key to the success of any intrpreneurial venture in a company is the environment where those ideas will be considered and expressing those ideas is a good thing to do.

 

Bibliography

 

Pinchot, Gifford. (1987) “Innovation Through Intrapreneuring.” Research Management. March-April 1987. vol.xxx. no.2

 

Takahashi, Dean. (2000) “Reinventing the Intrapreneur: Corporations Are Devising New Ways to Cultivate Entrepreneurial Efforts”. Retrieved from Ebsco Host July 2006.

 

Fry, Art. (1987) “The Post-It Note: An Intrapreneurial Success.” This article was adapted from a speech given by Mr. Fry at the 1987 SAM Conference in Lancaster, Pa, May 2, 1987.

Best Blogs for Entrepreneurs

Blogging as a whole has become a very popular venue. Just as with the world wide web, business blogs have exploded with so much information that it would not be feasible to attempt to read it all. The key is to facilitate a means by which to attain the information you need, while sifting out the information you do not need. Below is a list that has been formulated for entrepreneurs.

Some of the blogs have been discontinued, or their activity levels have substantially dropped. It is for this reason that they have been moved and new blogs have been listed to take their place. Please keep this in mind as you try to access any of these blogs online.

 

There are primarily three main concerns of the entrepreneur. The first is trends and how to deal with their impact on business. Tips to make the business stronger, establish a business, or market the business. Productivity would be number three. Ways to make the employees and staff more productive, means by which to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, and overall productivity in sales and fabrication.

 

In terms of trends, there are a few good blogs out there. Anita Campbell on small business.blogspot.com/ takes an informative look at the present trends in the business world. She elucidates the entrepreneur of the trends that impact the business’ ability to enhance productivity and sales. Jeff Cornwall, of Belmont University does an in depth look at business trends and their impact on the small business. His research can be found at forum. Belmont.edu/cornwall/.

 

The entrepreneur can always use valuable tips from veteran business owners to improve their business. Denise O’Berry runs an informative blog that deals with tips for the entrepreneur. She keeps the discussions light and informative. (http://www.justforsmallbusiness.com). John Jantsch’s blog, duct tape marketing offers multiple tips per week. He keeps the terminology simple, and easy for even the layman to understand. A must read for those who are new to business. (http://www.ducttapemarketing.com).

 

Finally, in terms of valuable tips for the entrepreneur, Ben Yoskovitz delves in depth with the spirit of business ownership, and the factors that aid the entrepreneur in formulating a successful business. His site; startupspark.com also spotlights some entrepreneurs of notable mention.

 

Productivity is the pinacle issue for many small business owners. After all, if your marketing plan isn’t working, and your employees do not have the motivation to perform their tasks efficiently and in a timely manner, then how will the business flourish? That is what the final set of blogs deal with. WorkHappy net deals with just this. How to make the tasks you perform more productive, and how to get more out of your work. Carson McComas has developed methods to aid the entrepreneur to perform more intelligently, not to perform yourself to death.

 

Anthony Cerminaro is an attorney who has also dedicated his time to the functionings of business. His blog, bingbangbuzz.blogspot.com/ looks at the many issues and challenges that confront entrepreneurs everyday. He also explains the legal issue that can destroy a business. Dane Carlson takes this one step farther and relates the advice to actual real life circumstances. He offers insight into business opportunities as well. (http://www.business-opportunities.biz/)

 

Wil Schroter runs a blog called Gobi network.com/wil. It is on this site that aid is offered to entrepreneurs through the means of networking. He gives contacts to investors, investors, employee agencies and the such to enhance the growth of small businesses. Michael Simmons also deserves a definite read. He wrote the Student Success Manifesto. This is a thoughtful piece of work which offers solid advice for the soon to be entrepreneur. It is a new blog, but the insight and thought put into it leaves the readers vying for more.

When Should You Give Up on Your Dream of Becoming an Entrepreneur

Are you the type of person who has been dreaming for years of actually owning and operating your own business? Perhaps you have tired numerous ways to open your own business, even when you had the money to do so, but it just has not been successful. There does come a point when you need to figure out than tit is time to let go of your dream of running and operating your own business. Of course if you have not tried every possibility then you should not give up.

Some people just don’t have the knack of running and operating their own business. Many people really don’t realize how much. You could try speaking to various people on the topic of becoming an entrepreneur. You may be able to find out what you have been doing wrong or if you are able to continue with your goal. Usually when people attempt to open their own business for the first time they hit a lot of road blocks. Some give up after the road blocks, but others keep trying without really realizing why they are not successful.

 

One way that you can tell it is time to put your dream of becoming an entrepreneur on hold or putting it out of your mind altogether, is when you are putting out more money then you are making. Most people get loans to start up a business or they save up their money in order to be able to afford their own business. If you begin to notice that the amount of money you had to start with is slowly dwindling, then it is definitely time for you to think about letting go of owning your own business. Some people may put the idea into your head that you should never give up on a dream. Unfortunately some people follow this way of thinking and end up more broke than before they even started making the effort to start their own business.

 

The bottom line is that if there is no profit in the business then it may never turn a profit. Of course you should also keep in mind that sometimes it may take time for your business to really get off the ground. Most business starts off slow and than gradually build more business as time goes on. So if you actually do get your business up and running make and you are only making a small profit than you may want to give it a little more time. You should know how to recognize the signs of when to call it quits for your business.

Universal Health Coverage Will Increase the Entrepreneurial Spirit in the United States

“Universal healthcare would increase the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States.”

I normally don’t agree with Nancy Pelosi, but when she said the above statement I totally agreed with her.

 

Let’s put aside for a minute the fact that medical care should be a basic human right and available to everyone in a wealthy nation like the United States. On a pure economic and job creation level, universal healthcare would be a huge asset.

 

The best way I can explain why I believe this is to give a true life example. Bill is a good friend of mine. A real brilliant guy. The type of guy that you say to yourself once you get to know him “That guy has something special. He’s going somewhere.” For about ten years Bill worked at a large consulting firm and his career blossomed. But as he moved up the corporate ladder he began to get bored with his job. After some soul searching he decided to quit his job and start a new company. It was always his dream to build something from the ground up.

 

Today, just five years after launch, his company is a raging success. Each year sales are double or triple the previous year’s. At this moment his company has about 500 employees. Five hundred good paying, career orientated jobs added to the local community because Bill was not afraid to take a chance, work hard and follow his vision.

 

Six months ago Bill was diagnosed with a chronic health condition. If treated properly it is not life threatening, but the treatments are very expensive. Luckily he has health insurance, so with a weekly doctor visit he is able to continue living his life and building his company.

 

I asked Bill the other day if he would have taken the leap from the corporate world to become an entrepreneur now, knowing his current health condition. He didn’t answer right away but thought about it for a few minutes, in typical Bill style. Finally, he just said “No.” When I asked him why he said that he would not have left his job with a chronic condition without another job waiting for him with good health insurance. He would never be able to get a private policy with his pre-existing condition. Bill said it would have been way too much of a risk, a risk that would have put his health and the well being of his family at jeopardy. Sure, he could have used COBRA to extend his policy from his former employer, but COBRA only lasts eighteen months and for a person with a chronic condition that is not good enough of a safety net.

 

The more you read about this subject the more stories you hear about people who have pre-existing conditions staying with a safe job rather than making the entrepreneurial leap. I can not blame these people at all. But if we have universal health care that does not allow insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions medical coverage then these entrepreneurs would be willing to strike out on their own and create something great like Bill did.

 

If Bill was diagnosed with his condition five years earlier then he would never have started his company, a company that has created 500 jobs and contributed millions of dollars in federal and state taxes. If for no other reason, we need universal health insurance coverage to help keep America’s entrepreneurial spirit alive.

Dust Bunny Cleaners: Entrepreneurs in a Weak Economy

Every once in a while the economy just sucks. People lose their jobs and everyone enters panic mode. There just isn’t enough money to go around. But the dark clouds of a recession have a silver lining. Something wonderful and beautiful always happens in a recession. The old dinosaur companies die off, but the young entrepreneurs tend to take their shot at the brass ring.

In Utah just this exact thing happened. A young man found himself unemployed and didn’t like it so he began to test and try and fight and struggle. Soon he had an idea, for a janitorial service business. He dreamed up Dust Bunny Cleaners. It was going to service mid-sized businesses.

 

The young man began to build up his business. The fees and licenses almost killed him. He didn’t know anything about janitorial work except for a brief 2 months of experience. And worst of all he didn’t know anything about business. That didn’t matter he just kept on going anyway.

 

Terrified that young man went out with a stack of business cards he personally made, and a handful of papers he jokingly called marketing materials. They were little more than brief descriptions of what he intended to do, if hired. He pounded the pavement and went to work promoting the fledgling start up. To his surprise he got one, two, three contracts, and it continued to grow.

 

Soon the company was profitable. The young man was in business and Dust Bunny Cleaners, became more efficient and a better service. Today, it is one of the best Janitorial Companies in West Jordan, Utah. And it continues its steady march to success.

 

Dust Bunny Cleaners continues to serve the West Jordan City area and is expanding its business. Each day that passes more and more companies are deciding to use them as their janitors. The business is growing. It is interesting to know that even in a down economy the American Spirit is still alive and capitalism continues. Dust Bunny Cleaners is still a young business but once upon a time, so was Ford, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. It is a great business and they do excellent work. With a little bit of luck this business and all those new start-ups will help a slumping economy and create more jobs.

 

Anybody in the area that has any use for an office cleaner, or janitorial services should definitely check out this business. You can get hold of them by calling (801) 433-7834.

Do You Have What it Takes? The Seven Entrepreneur Success Sign

Do You Have What It Takes?:

The Seven Entrepreneur Success Signs

It’s in your blood. It’s your passion, your calling. You’ve had it with your day job, and this is your life, your career. You’re hungry to do your own thing.

 

But wait a minute…

 

Are you ready to make this commitment? What’s key is whether you have the right stuff to make a go of your dream. To tackle the business world on your own demands stamina, ingenuity, guts. Before you to take on the competition and become a titan of industry, I’ll advise you to scrutinize yourself with an objectivity only a few can muster.

 

Let’s see…

 

Can You Bring It?

 

Here are the seven prime elements for a hot self-starter. If your have them, your odyssey, your new life will become a real treat:

 

  1. An Obsession: Is your dream job a 24/7 fixation. I mean, if you had to do it for free, would you still burn with the passion? You must ask yourself if you’d still be as driven if the money, the lifestyle, the passion were missing. If you smile, sigh, and beam with satisfaction whenever you visualize or imagine doing your daily bliss, then you’re on the right track.

 

  1. A Plan: You must see the broad, general strokes clearly. A vision of your market potential is crucial. Do you have the first steps down cold? Do you have the people, capital, and resources to follow through? All of the “what if” scenarios must be addressed, every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed. Your business plan should become your bible. Get it right and you’ll be off to a great start.

 

  1. Money: Speaking of capital, you must have ample financing to make it work. A financing strategy must be in place. Again, this is reflected in your business plan. Loans, grants, savings, venture capital, and family/friends are all sources. Explore your options. Don’t look down at anything. Most businesses, especially in the early days, are cash poor-until the receivables start pouring in. Statistics show that close to 84% of the businesses that fail, fail due to a lack of sufficient financing. Consult with bankers, venture capitalists, the Small Business Administration, and other professionals. Those resources are vital. Get the best advice and follow it!

 

  1. People: It goes without saying that you must insert the right people in the right places. You must find them and be able to afford them. A hot entrepreneur must motivate his/her employees. And it’s not always just about money. People need to feel that you can offer growth and a sense of purpose. Everyone wants to contribute and be recognized for their contributions.

 

Before you attempt to put your product/service on the market, ensure that you’ve sold your people on your vision. Otherwise you’ll waste time, effort, and money. Your company will never get off the ground unless your key employees are mentally, spiritually and physically compatible. They must feel your passion, breathe your air.

 

  1. Management: Early on, you should decide whether you’ll manage the daily operations of your enterprise or hire somebody to handle those mundane, yet critical tasks. This is central because your business will crumble without clear lines of responsibility and accountability. There are pros and cons on the issue of hiring management expertise. Most of them revolve around:trust, management style, image. In any case, you must devote yourself to the business of the business via marketing, revenue generation, and financial management. A solid business manager can relieve you of much of the daily grind, so you can handle your company’s growth.

 

  1. Flexibility: An embryonic enterprise should never lock itself into a tight script. Be prepared for change. If you’re managing appropriately, welcome it. Doors and new strategies may open for you. Understand that payments may not arrive on time, and people may arrive late or never show up. Contracts may not close and are often broken. People quit. Have a plan B ready at all times, ready for implementation. Don’t become sentimental. It’s about money-success-fulfillment. Have confidence and enjoy the process.

 

  1. Survival: How will you make until your customers and clients show you the money? That’s what every owner must grapple with. Give your product/service marketing and sales program a long lead time before income is expected. Just to be safe. Again, plan B. Can you pay the bills, feed your family, and run the business until the cash begins to flow. You’ll require employees who can afford to miss a paycheck or two, and are willing to sacrifice. If not, cash must be tucked away for those lean times. Are you a survivor?

 

Here’s hoping that you can get it done and live the dreams you dream.

Entrepreneurship and Dreams

Anyone who is an entrepreneur (current or aspiring) knows that passion and dedication are essential qualities to building a business. So is the ability to self-motivate. Nonetheless, hearing the stories of others can be incredibly inspiring and serve as a gentle reminder to look up from what you’re doing and stay connected to why you’re doing. Hearing Eric Lochtefeld speak at NYU on Tuesday night was one of those moments.

Eric is the founder and CEO of the University of Dreams, a company that provides professional development opportunities to college and high school students through internship placement and experiential learning. In listening to Eric speak, it’s clear that his mission in life is to encourage others to discover and pursue their dreams.

 

On his personal journey to building Dream Careers into the powerhouse it is today, Eric has gone from high to low and then back again. Several times, in fact. At various points in Eric’s career, he has worked with music legends such as Gwen Stefani and the Beastie Boys, slept on a warehouse floor, started multiple companies out of little but his own strong will and the ability to inspire others, experienced significant personal pain, and traveled the globe. He spoke to the students ‘” all interns in the program ‘” about the importance of following your dreams, and that as long as you do what you’re good at and what makes you happy, you’ll be successful.

 

We share Eric’s sentiment, as launching and building Urban Interns was truly our dream. Despite our own highs and lows, not a day goes by when we’re not proud to have chosen the path of the entrepreneur. We also share the view that internships are critical experiences for students and college grads, particularly those who aspire to one day work with or become entrepreneurs. The experience of learning from those who have taken an idea and from there built a business will not only give you a glimmer of what you might have to deal with yourself someday, but it will help you evaluate whether entrepreneurship is really right for you.

 

Another key point Eric touched on last night ‘” finding a mentor and the importance of maintaining personal relationships in our increasingly connected world. We can relate- there are several moments in our history where personal relationships opened doors that were game changers for us.

 

If this doesn’t make you want to run out and intern for an entrepreneur, how about this one? 75-percent of the Dream Career’s team started as participants in the Dream Career Program. Entrepreneurs value good people, and as organizations grow, so do the opportunities.

 

From two entrepreneurs living their dream, a heartfelt thanks Eric, for the inspiring words.

Kiva Connects Philanthropists with Budding Entrepreneurs

A unique Web site is bringing together aspiring philanthropists and budding entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Kiva, meaning “agreement” or “unity” in Swahili, is a non-profit, Web-based charity dedicated to microfinance, allowing private donors to provide small or “micro” loans to struggling entrepreneurs in the Third World. Since its launch in late 2005, Kiva has generated over $5 million in loans to those hoping to open or sustain small businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

With most traditional charities, donors have little opportunity to follow the progress of their beneficiaries. Contributors to Kiva, however, can see how their money is used from the moment they invest, in addition to having the opportunity to reinvest their initial contribution as soon as it is repaid.

Applicants for the small loans are screened by Kiva’s local partners, existing microfinance organizations such as World Relief and Action Now. After approval by the local partner organization, a photo, business plan, estimated repayment time and some biographical information are posted on the Kiva site for each loan applicant. Visitors then browse the applications to select a recipient. Loan requests range from $400 to $1200, and although a donor can choose to fulfill the entire amount of an applicant’s loan request, donors usually invest from $25 to $125. Most individual loan requests are thus fulfilled by a number of donors.

 

Loans are distributed via Pay Pal, which does not charge Kiva for transferring funds; the first non-profit with which Pay Pal has made such an arrangement. Once an applicant’s loan request has been met, Kiva transfers the funds to one of its microfinance partners located in the recipient’s home country, which then disburses the funds, charging borrowers a reasonable rate of interest on their loans. According to Kiva’s FAQ section, the organization carefully screens its partners and does not work with those that charge usurious rates.

 

Microfinance is an expensive proposition for the lending institution, given transaction costs and currency exchange rates. Because there is little profit to be made in funding the poor, most traditional financial institutions do not make loans in the comparatively small amounts requested by Kiva’s applicants. Microfinance institutions, therefore, by lending money at reasonable rates to people with few existing resources, generally make just enough from their small fees to remain in business.

 

After disbursing the funds to borrowers, partner organizations provide Kiva with periodic progress reports that are then posted on the “journals” section of the site, along with comments from the loan recipients. Lenders are also encouraged to comment and to make their own journal entries. As the recipient’s business develops, the partner organization begins collecting payments, sometimes in amounts as low as $4, to return to Kiva. Once an individual loan is fully repaid, the money is redistributed to the original investors, who can then withdraw the money, or use the funds to invest in another small business.

 

Kiva’s entrepreneurs are a diverse group, representing countries from Ghana to Mexico to Azerbaijan. Their business ideas are even more varied, ranging from small food stalls and bicycle repair shops, to investment in a single payphone.

 

Loan requests are filled at varying rates, with some applicants reaching their goals within days of having their requests posted, while others wait for months as investments trickle in. African nations seem most popular with Kiva’s investors, along with Afghanistan and Mexico. Recipients in more obscure countries like Tajikistan and Azerbaijan see the slowest rates of investment.

 

Those interested in Kiva’s nontraditional investment methods should log on to www.kiva.org.

Disclosing the Secrets of Entrepreneurship

We have all experienced the anxiety of applying for employment, interviewing and inevitably proving yourself to be worthy of hire. We were all encouraged by guardians to go to college, get a traditional four year degree and “make something of ourselves.” Most of us worked our way through college dreaming every night about the big job that we are going to land after graduation. So when we finally obtain that degree, we get our first Direct Loan bill and we are employed by our initial jobs, fast food or waiting tables at restaurants. It had to be those horrific moments that helped us to appreciate the Blessing of a dream- seeking career.

Coincidently, we were raised observing our parents struggling everyday to maintain household expenses working for others. Therefore, we are apt to propel the tradition. So, the question remains the same. How long are we actually content with improving and implementing our skills as employees for minimum pay? Although promotions and raises are exciting and appear impressive on resumes, it is very uncommon for us to become CEOs of that cooperation. Incidentally, we are constantly fulfilling the employers’ expectations and goals. However, it is necessary to challenge the “norm” to build our economy and communities.

 

Entrepreneurship is defined as the act of launching or managing a business venture. The inclination of owning a business is often perplex as well as alarming to people who aren’t familiar with the concept. And to others who have contemplated the thought are apprehensive about resigning from full- time employment and job security. Yet, becoming an entrepreneur is inevitably rewarding and submissive to personal empowerment. Subsequently, we must seize opportunities that allow you to fulfill your personal dreams and visions. Fear does not have to rule our decisions we make or do not make. Bottom line, you only have one life to live!

 

Managing a business would be challenging and will require commitment and perseverance. Moreover, research confirms that the lack of a prominent mission statement and extensive preparation for entrepreneurship are the two (2) major determinants for failure. Therefore, it is important that if you elect to explore entrepreneurship, please be sure to establish what appeals to you and do plenty of research. You must have a passion for what you are selling, the business that you are attempting to establish. Don’t go into anything just for money value because there is a great chance that you will not be successful. You must have confidence and enthusiasm about your product and service. Be creative, and be sure that your product and service are in great demand. Considering a business plan will help you have an advantage over your competition. They are often required to assist entrepreneurs to think through their strategies, balance their enthusiasm with facts and recognize limitations. Marketing is certainly an imperative tool for exposure which is a major part of the business plan. It is recommended that you remember to set achievable goals for short-term success which, in my opinion would escort you to long- term inheritance.