Business Plan 10/3/13

Creating a business plan can be the first step in organizing your efforts to starting a business. Brainstorming ideas, researching, and documenting what you will do solidifies a guide for your journey through possible experiences you’ve never done and let’s other stakeholders know your plans.

Teach A CEO at CEOblognation.com offers a great starting guide for business plan creation. The elements of the plan discussed include:

+ Executive Summary: includes a mission statement, company description, growth highlights, products/services offered, financial info, and a summary of future plans.

+ Business Info: nature if business, business structure, goals and objectives, target market, industry, and strengths and weaknesses.

+ Products and/or services: descriptions, life cycles, intellectual property, and research and development activities.

+ Market activities and competitors: industry description and outlook, target market, competitive analysis, and regulations.

+ Marketing strategy: how products/services will benefit customers, pricing strategy, sale and distribution plan, and customer transaction process.

+ Operational plan: discussion of short and long-term actions that describe goals and processes to be done in daily operations.

+ Management and organization structure to discuss your team and how they will work together.

+ Overall schedule to quickly show milestones to be achieved for goal attainment and product/service offerings scheduling.

+ Critical risks and problems anticipated and how your company will deal with these challenges.

+ Personal financial statements to calculate what your worth and how the company is valued.

+ Financial history can include projections or prior history that shows a track record financially.

+ Financial Plan to show how the company, industry, target market and other variables have done historically while projecting what will occur financially and how to deal with challenges.

+ Technology Plan to lay out what technology is needed and how it will be used.

+ Appendix containing documents, explanations, and exhibits to substantiate the parts of the business plan.

Read more at ceoblognation.com.

The Small Business Association offers a business plan guide here
SBA.

Entrepreneur.com weighs in on the business plan basics here entrepreneur.com.

(Photo courtesy of Core77.)

Risk 6/18/13

Do you take risks? I’d imagine everyone does daily. The definition of risk is to expose to danger, loss, or harm. Synonyms to risk include chance, venture, peril, danger, or hazard. So, a venture, such as creating a start-up, can be a risk. One of the biggest risks to your venture is financing your beginnings. Some seek internal support from family, friends, or miracle. Others seek external financing from banks (loans and/or credit cards), investors, donators, or any business means possible. I chose to take a small amount of cash and invest in my penny stock strategy of value type companies and candlestick charting techniques. I’m taking a risk of losing my whole starting cash investment in a high risk venture, as defined by the investment community.

Dave Lavinsky with Entrepreneur.com offers 5 ways to minimize risks from investors’ perspective who might finance your business:

+ Build a board of advisors. You want to find industry experts and professionals to help advise you during business growth and operation. I chose my family and friends who know about finance and investing.

+ Use beta customers. This means finding prospective customers who will do free product and service testing. Their input offers valuable market research to your business. I use forums to talk about investing ideas and read feedback.

+ Forge partnerships. Developing relationships with others via networking, attending events, education, and offering your expertise helps show your viability in your industry.

+ Secure publicity. Media outlets advertise businesses that will benefit their customers. Getting your vision, expertise, and product/service recognized helps secure future customers. Investors like customers. I utilize social media as a free means of publicity.

+ Generate revenue. Customers who buy your product/service show their support for your business. This results in cash flow and revenue to aid your business in tackling the future. This is a key milestone to investors and financiers to help your business raise money. Once I sell stock I proverbially generate revenue.

Read more and photo courtesy of Entrepreneur.com article 226602.

For those who want to learn more about risk appetite (types of risk), tolerance (how much risk), and management (how to reduce and live with risk), the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) offers many resources: IRM Publications.

Entrepreneur 2/9/13

Are you an entrepreneur? Do a quick search and you’ll get many definitions and suggestions of how to be an entrepreneur. My definition: an individual with passion, ability, and propensity to take risk to start their own business. The news has been abuzz this week with colleges stating MBA students want to be entrepreneurs versus investment bankers. Make sure you do what you want with your MBA degree, and if being an entrepreneur is it I hope to at least give some ideas.

James Stephenson with Entrepreneur.com writes about 25 characteristics of an entrepreneur:
- Do what you like
- Be serious about your venture
- Plan everything
- Manage money wisely
- Ask for the sale
- Customer is #1
- Be a shameless self-promoter
- Project a positive business image
- Get to know your customers
- Use top notch technology
- Build a diverse business team
- Be a known expert
- Create competitive advantage
- Invest in yourself
- Be accessible
- Build a good reputation
- Sell benefits to all stakeholders
- Get involved with community
- Grab attention through marketing
- Master how to do negotiations
- Design workspace for success
- Be organized
- Take time off
- Limit the number of hats worn
- Follow up constantly

Wow, all if these characteristics can be sub topics in themselves. I’ll try to follow-up on each in the future to generate more ideas. Read more at Entrepreneur.com

(Photo courtesy of Entrepreneurship Forum)

Penny Stock Strategies 1/6/14

I’ll start this thought with a link to my penny stock board at iHub (28 followers so far). $Uptrend-Pennies$. I offer many posts with my ideas since April 2013. The contributors on the board bring fresh insight.

Penny stocks are defined in many ways by a great deal of different professionals and investing groups. The range I’ve seen so far is $.0001 to $10. $10 is the top of the range? This may seem odd but many stocks in the $1 to $10 range offer volatility with smaller capitalization. Many of these companies reside on the AMEX, NASDAQ, and NYSE exchanges. The OTC Markets offer penny stocks with less guidelines and filing requirements for companies struggling to meet big company status.

It is with these price ranges in mind that I offer these categories:
+ $.0001 to $.001: Bottom fishing.
+ $.001 to $.01: Sub pennies still with more interest.
+ $.01 to $1.00: Penny stock status by most.
+ $1 to $5 or $10. Penny stocks close to becoming larger cap companies.

Each of the four “levels” offer a chance to increase your investment greatly. Each has its specific risks that an investor/trader must acclimate to.

WikiHow has a very basic guide to picking penny stocks that will aid on my discussion:
+ Determine if a penny stock meets your strategy
+ Open an account with an online brokerage
+ Understand how the OTC (over-the-counter) works
+ Investigate each company before investing
+ Purchase penny stocks with preferred methods
Tip: Buy a penny stock when a company is at IPO (initial public offering) stage

See WikiHow here Buy Penny Stocks for more info.

My thoughts:
Strategy:
+ Playing promos and alerts
+ Following a trusted group or adviser
+ Playing the charts (analysis via technical analysis)
+ Trading companies with Revenue only
+ Trading companies not on the OTC (very possible and may be more liquid)

Online brokerage:
Many exist and my favorite so far are Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and eTrade. Each has its own fee structure, tools, and mobile app features.

Understand the OTC:
I’d broaden this to understand the OTC and big board exchanges (AMEX, NASDAQ, and NYSE in the US). Much learning and research is required just to understand how these markets work.

Investigate before investing:
A very broad topic and only necessary depending on your trading/investing strategy (as noted above). Many traders call company research DD for due diligence. Company info, or lack thereof, can be a tool that sways many. Be careful of others’ DD and I always suggest verify actual pieces of info yourself. This can be time consuming and require a little investigative nature. If you follow promos, alerts, or advisor/groups you may do little to no DD due to the trust you have with your marketing source of ticker targets. Many traders use TA solely to trade tickers and ignore company info due to the thought the info is inaccurate/unverifiable anyway.

Invest with preferred methods:
This means to understand the type of trading/investing orders that can be placed.

There are a few order types to get to know and a wealth of knowledge on when to use which order when. I simplify the process of trading penny stocks by just using a cash account (no loan/margin fees but less trades per week) and placing limit orders (very specific instructions for my order).

Be sure to research this topic well because free discussions with your brokerage may not cover all of your situation until you start trading and learn the hard way.

Realize and research the tax consequences of trading stocks. Consult a tax expert if needed and do some tax planning. Seriously, many do this step last and don’t realize a higher tax bracket may impact all of your income for not planning or realize short versus long-term capital gains.

Summary:
I just scratched the surface of penny trading but I hope this a basic start. See my prior posts for more specific discussions, or visit me on iHub :). Being an entrepreneurly (just made that word up) minded person can help aid in the various strategy choices, successful trading choices, business/capital gain consequences, vision to make profit, and leadership/management to be successful with trading/investing. Not all can stomach the risk versus rewards offered with penny stock trading/investing.

(Photo courtesy of buypennystocks999. A few strategy discussions are here.)

Entrepreneur Quotes 9/5/13

Words of others can offer motivation. Ever get told you are great? Compliments make anyone’s day. Quotes from others often give motivation and aid in complimenting your experience arsenal. What a better way to be succinct then to remember and offer a quote?

Tanya Prive with Forbes offers 32 quotes that every entrepreneur will enjoy. Here are a few I really like:

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
- Peter Druker

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently."
- Warren Buffett

"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."
- Thomas Edison

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
- Mark Twain

"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake- you can’t learn anything from being perfect."
- Adam Osborne

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
- Bill Gates

"Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
- Confucius

So, to summarize, be sure to create your future for more predictability, don’t ruin your reputation, it takes failures to build success, surround yourself with great people, learn from your unhappy customers, and be in a job you like.

Read more at Forbes- Top 32 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Live By.

(Photo courtesy of Webmaster Grade.)

10 Advanced Penny Stock Axioms 2/17/14

The pursuit for capital for my future entrepreneurship is going well. I’m applying 3 penny stock strategies with 3 different trading accounts to keep the trades straight.

+ My strategy: Penny stocks with Revenue, increased volume, current filings, technical analysis (TA) of buy, and low short selling. More is laid out on iHub.

+ Uptrend Pennies: Stock alerts from posters. TA can aid entry and exit but news is primary interest.

+ ANN Tickers: Penny stocks that reside in the AMEX, NASDAQ, and NYSE exchanges. TA is used for entry and exit.

Here are 10 Advanced OTC Axioms (a work in progress) by Vantillian at iHub. I posted his original 25 axioms a few months ago. The rest of this post is in Vantillian’s words:

I’ve already completed 25 Axioms here: iHub

If you have not done so already I would encourage you to read them as they’ve been around long enough to have a proven track record of helping investors in the online world. Here are some unsolicited testimonials:http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=57729224 

These new “advanced” axioms are another humble attempt to help folks that are crazy/daring/reckless/stupid enough to buy penny stocks. Why God made so many of us I’ll not know this side of heaven. wink 

I still consider myself an OTC “student” as opposed to “master”. But I’ve got several years of OTC (think “penny stock” whenever you see “OTC”) experience under my belt, some scars, a few trophies, and I’ve diligently and consistently sought to approach OTC trading and investing philosophically where using fundamental, bedrock, axiomatic truth results in the best market decisions. 

(I would exhort you to take a break if you think you’ve arrived.) 

Remember, an “axiom” is a principle or truth that stands alone without the need for proof. They just are. Abraham Lincoln might use the phrase “self-evident” to describe axiomatic truth. So, I don’t seek to present a case with well-structured arguments to “prove” these axioms…they are designed to stand alone and to either be accepted or rejected. And, if accepted, to serve as the foundation of one’s thinking and decision making on the OTC. Build your structures upon the solid ground of correct and accurate truth! Consider these axioms as sunglasses with colored lenses that will filter/color/define everything you see across the OTC landscape. We all work from mostly the same pool of facts and data…how we interpret it all makes the crucial difference. 

There will be some overlap between these axioms and the other axioms, but that’s okay. 

So, here are 10 Advanced OTC Axioms:

1. The Pigs Can Fly Axiom. Anything can run! I have basically stopped “warning” people about scammy, scummy, crummy companies because there have been several times when my warnings inadvertently kept people from making dough as the stock went through the roof. Anything can fly! The nastiest wart-covered, fat, sloppy mess-of-a-hog can grow wings if some hedge fund or some promo or some inexplicable force gets behind it. This is part of the allure of the OTC, I guess. Sometimes things happen in pennyland that leave even the most seasoned veterans slack jawed. You will never master the OTC for this reason! The law of gravity sometimes vanishes for an indeterminate amount of time but it always returns with vigor at some point. Sometimes, the really scammy companies run like the wind because you’ve got a fearless, no-conscience CEO tossing out insane revenue projections and/or fictitious buyout offers and/or anything that keeps the shiny object attractive just a little bit longer. (Also, understand that many times those posters yelling the loudest against scammy companies are trading the stock too! Perhaps it makes them feel better about their profits. Who knows. Where there is volatility, there is money to be made.) 

2. The Horse Apples Axiom. This axiom is closely related to the Pigs-Can-Fly Axiom. Realize that penny stocks are like dung. All of them. If you have chosen to buy a penny stock then you have chosen to purchase poo-poo. Now, sometimes crap can make people a lot of money (think fertilizer companies and/or Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome), but when you position yourself to defend or support your favorite penny stock company what you have essentially chosen is to become an advocate for doo-doo. I know this is a troubling mental image but it is accurate. “Hey, it’s crap! Don’t buy it!” insists the do-good crusader. Yeah, we know. They *all* are. What matters is if it will MOVE. What matters is if there is POTENTIAL for gains/volatility there. What matters is what the masses BELIEVE. What are you going to do Captain-Save-The-Planet? Tell them how bad that poop smells compared to that not-so-bad smelling dung over yonder? 

3. The Socrates Axiom. You can’t really be sure of anything. You will become a savvier trader when you embrace this. In the perception-driven world of the OTC, I would have to agree with Socrates that purported that: “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” (Debating whether or not you can really know for sure that you know nothing is another matter. Just work with me on this.) You can’t be sure of the share structure. You can’t be sure of that large European holder that you just *know* is waiting to sell his eleven million shares until after the stock hits a dollar. You can’t be sure of the guy/gal that gave you the tip. You can’t be sure that the numbers in the press release are correct. You can’t be sure how much stock is going to hit the street next week. Understand that non-dilutive contracts often mean absolutely nothing to these penny CEOs. Should a marketplace like this actually exist? That’s a good question, too. But for now, it does, and there is money to be made on it for those that understand it by never understanding it. 

4. The Share Swelling Axiom. Every stock gets diluted, period. If it’s not the company diluting, it’s ancient restricted shares coming off restriction. Or maybe it’s an escrow account that managed to stay hidden from the latest NOBO. Or maybe it’s an old cert some funder or accredited investor forgot about in his filing cabinet and he just found it. If it’s not one thing then it is another. There are many clever and creative means whereby the float on your cherished stock can GROW QUICKLY. Trusting that the stock’s float will remain stable is like having a tailgate party on a small lake that has quickly frozen over, inviting the entire town to come out, and trusting that the ice will hold up under the weight. Ain’t gonna happen. Sure, you’ll have a great time on the ice for awhile but something’s gonna give. When a stock is trading at a high price per share and there is liquidity at higher price ranges, the temptation is overwhelming for someone who has the power and ability to add shares to the float to do so. Oftentimes, stocks can and do go up when there is responsible dilution. And sometimes they even go up with irresponsible dilution (see Advanced Axiom #1). Penny stocks *all* dilute folks. Why would they be putting out press releases and hiring IR firms and shucking rumors if there wasn’t money to be made. And how do these companies make money? After all, they went public to raise money…and the way making money is done is through the *sale of more shares.* All of them dilute…even the ones that proclaim loudly that they are doing a share buyback. Think: how much of a buyback is it if they dilute twice as many as they buy? Maybe you’re a noobie to OTC investing and you’re thinking: “People would actually do that?” Yes, yes, YES they would do that (and they DO)! In fact, the louder the company and/or posters insist that the float is stable the more leery I become. Recently I got my butt handed to me because I neglected this axiom and boldly challenged a poster about the share structure of a stock I persisted remained unchanged. The very next day the transfer agent was called and we discovered that the scumbag CEO had diluted by about 5% of the outstanding. There’s always a reason why your favorite stock is getting buzzed about. Even if a stock’s run starts out as purely organic (which I believe can and does happen at times), understand there are forces out there that can add supply in amounts that will utterly cripple demand. 

5. The Friends and Family Axiom. Sometimes the pre-promo *IS* the promo. Do you understand what I mean by “pre-promo?” Here’s an example of what I mean: “Hey bud, head’s up on XYZX. Hearing massive push coming next week with loads of overseas money coming into it.” If you’ve been online for any amount of time you’ve likely received a private or public message similar to this! Understand that sometimes the friends and family (i.e. “pre-promo” or “pre-push”) program IS the program. In other words, sometimes YOU are the promo without knowing that you are the promo. Your dollars. Your money. Your stupidity. You bought in on the hype and hope of a promo but you were the promo. The push that is coming is happening right now. Today! By YOU. When some friendly tipster tells you they know a push is coming on some ticker, it’s time to start asking A LOT of questions before you buy unless the rumor originates from a semi-trustworthy source. Which, when considered carefully, the idea of a semi-trustworthy source is a misnomer because he/she is likely trusting an altogether un-proven, un-trustworthy source for their information. Remember, the information you receive is likely two or three steps removed from the origin. And many times the people that are the origins of information would make the devil blush. Digest this. I’m trying to help you here. This is not a friendly world. 

6. The Profit Axiom. If you’re not selling, you’re not making money. This axiom is not original with me but it is so good and true! Evaluate your trading activity over the last 2-3 months. How many bags are you holding because you were holding out for more profit? If you are holding bags that could’ve been sold for a profit, shame on you. Seriously, that’s just not good investing. The future is now. What are you waiting for? If the stock went up 300% over a period of years what would you do at the end of that time? Take profits. So why is it different for you to take profits a few days (or perhaps even hours) after you purchase a stock? Think in percentages. All pigs eventually get slaughtered. Good rule of thumb is to take some profit at 50% and some at 100% and then ride freebies. Be a disciplined person in an undisciplined world. You will win. 

7. The Matrix Axiom. Discipline your mind to think *reality* though you invest in a realm almost exclusively dominated by *perception.* Why? Because “perception” can only take you so far. It’s Wonderland! But it sure seems real for a time! It’s like the guy that married a beauty queen. His perception of her was that she was staggeringly gorgeous! But the morning after his wedding night he woke up to reality in his bed. She didn’t wake up a beauty queen! It took a lot of work! Think of the OTC as “The Matrix.” Remember when Neo would get plugged in to the Matrix and visit a world that was total perception? You need to discipline yourself to view OTC life through that mindset. It’s. Not. Real. But it feels so real to so many that perception does impact aspects of reality. What is real? Money. Numbers. People. The OTC is a world of perception that greatly impacts the real world of money and numbers. Understand which is which. Don’t confuse the two. Don’t lose yourself. Swallow the blue pill. Remember, perception eventually comes crashing down and reality wins every time. 

8. The Ebb and Flow Axiom. Think of each stock, each trend, each fad as having a window of time. Once the hub is seriously buzzing with the latest trend (such as “Q” stocks or “D” stocks) it’s time to start looking for the next “hot” thing. The essence of life is motion and change. Without motion and change there is no excitement, no buzz. Novelty rules the world. Most of these things tend to cycle. 

9. The Hero to Zero Axiom. Nobody stays hot forever (or for very long). If you think that you have found that guy who never makes a mistake, that guru, that golden goose…you have deceived yourself. If your “big gun” is currently blazing hot…ride the wave but don’t be left holding the bag. The most undisciplined investors stay dumb on purpose. Most investors are lazy. They are some of the laziest people I’ve ever met. They want to turn $1,000 into $10,000 by doing nothing but waiting a bit. And they want to find the next Jim Cramer to tell them where to put their initial $1,000. That’s lazy. But it’s not going to change. Some of the truths of these axioms rub me the wrong way as I type it, but I can’t change reality. The more that I can embrace these truths, remember them, and act by them…the better investor I will be. 

10. The Teamwork Shmeamwork Axiom. Teamwork on the OTC only works when there are positive vibes and the stock is uptrending. Why? Because those smart enough to realize the value of networking with other investors are also smart enough to realize those very same investors cannot be trusted. Private Ryan never gets searched for in the OTC war. Anyone that is pitching ideas of “nobody gets left behind” or “I will be the last one out” or “none of us are selling until $X amount” should not be trusted for long. I know this is harsh and will step on some toes. You, like me, have probably bought stock based on claims like this. But sometimes the truth hurts. I do not trade and invest to make buddies and friends. I trade and invest to make money. And as such, looking out for my own portfolio is the most significant factor when buying and selling securities. What is your most significant factor? Some of you may recoil a bit at this axiom and look for friendlier words from more cheery places. That’s okay, but please know this: The OTC is a battleground. People are fighting for money. Some people *kill* for money…so, deceiving you through kindness, notions of teamwork, or guilt-for-selling is STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE for more “leaders” here than you ever dared dream. Bottom line: Don’t get your need-to-belong and relational itch scratched here. Instead, find a good Bible teaching local church. 

10 More Advanced Axioms are being developed and should be posted sometime when I feel like it and/or I get enough pressure to do so.

(Photo courtesy of whowasalberteinstein.com)

Competitive Advantage 2/25/13

Do you have a competitive advantage? If you smile you might. Before covering your smile lets take a look at what a competitive advantage is.

According to QuickMBA (one of my favorite sites to brush up on basics), a competitive advantage exists when the firm is able to deliver the same benefits as competitors but at a lower cost (cost advantage), or deliver benefits that exceed those of competing products (differentiation advantage). The organization is able to create superior value for its customers and superior profits for itself.

QuickMBA continues by discussing resources and capabilities, cost advantage versus differentiation advantage, and value creation:
- Resources can be tangible, such as a piece of equipment, or intangible, such as the companies name
- Capabilities allow an organization to use resources effectively (we’ll discuss effective versus efficient in a future post), such as making a product faster than a competitor

Resources + capabilities = distinctive competencies

- Distinctive competencies enable innovation, efficiency and quality
- Cost advantage = making products or providing service at a lowest cost
- Differentiation = being different from competition in some way
- Superior value = providing the lowest cost or greatest benefit(s) (or differentiation)

Read more at QuickMBA.

Richard Branson with Entrepreneur.com would define competitive advantage a simply as it is a smile. A smile is:
- Contagious: others walking by will smile when you do
- Inspiring: a humorous story can lighten the mood and help others to think happily
- A diffuser: tough situations become easier when smiles occur and listening and eagerness to help prevail
- A greeting: customers are more willing to shop in an atmosphere that start with a smile

Read more at Entrepreneur.com

Entrepreneurs often have a competitive advantage via their ideas to save money or do something unique. Managers often utilize an organization’s resources and capabilities with a cost or differentiation strategy to create value for customers, hopefully at a competitive advantage. Leaders can use talent around them to create a unique and effective team that offers a competitive advantage over competitors’ teams.

(Photo courtesy of ServiceBlogger.com.)

Be Kind 2/3/13

One of the knightly virtues held in esteem in the 1800s was kindness. In moral society kindness is a value. Today more than ever a kind person can be in short supply. To be kind means having good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.

According to Fiona Robyn at Tiny Buddha, there are 4 ways to be kinder to others even when you feel like being unkind:
- Notice when you want to be unkind and be kind instead
- Identify why you feel a need to be unkind: were you hurt or just a bad day
- Acknowledge the hurt others may be feeling
- Decide how to act given the other 3: Remember the other person is having a bad day or working through issues, or take a stand to outrageous behavior but still acknowledge them. Read more at Tiny Buddha


Be kind is a state of mind and behavior we must discipline ourselves to have. Relationships abound when one side is kind and let’s the other act out for a short time. Being kind gives the unkind time to self-reflect and possibly realize actions and words can hurt others. Being kind summarizes the 3 Cs I wrote of previously for developing relationships: you communicate goodness and charity, compromise by having a pleasant disposition, and have compassion when thinking of others’ concerns.

(Photo courtesy of pravsworld)

Strategy 7/11/13

What is strategy? Such a pivotal question. The dictionary states,
“A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
The art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle.” So, we want to achieve an aim with a plan of action? If only I could stop there. After many courses, assignments, tests, and business experience I must go further.

Michael Porter is a popular figure in the MBA programs. A March 2001 article in the Harvard Business Rule shows Porter’s view on strategy and the Internet:
+ Sustainable competitive advantage comes from operational effectiveness
+ Industry structure is derived from competition forces
+ The Internet allows a common platform for an organization’s activities
+ The Internet allows connections to more relationships
+ The key is to harness the Internet’s virtual capabilities with your organization’s physical abilities

Read more at Harvard Business Review. Porter’s article is 20 pages and gives greater details on application of the point above.

I’ve developed a strategy for trading penny stocks (my start-up) that harnesses the Internet, education, research ability, and quantitative analysis to form a competitive advantage to new comers to investing. As I further develop my expertise in penny stocks my advantage strengthens. My strategy remains the same.

I apologize for the time between posts. I’ve started a penny stock board/forum on iHub. It takes as much effort and research as my posts here. See, my aim/goal is to take $1,000 and turn it into $1 million within 5-10 years. My strategy is all laid out on my iHub board. The link is in my Tumblr intro. Cheers.

(Image courtesy of Cascade Strategy.)

Be an Expert 2/24/13

How can you become an expert? Before I delve into this entrepreneurial characteristic, and useful trait in any business capacity, let’s define an expert.

Merriam-Webster: “One with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject.”

Business Dictionary: “Professional who has acquired knowledge and skills through study and practice over the years, in a particular field or subject, to the extent that his or her opinion may be helpful in fact finding, problem solving, or understanding of a situation.”

Urban Dictionary: “(1) Someone Who thinks they knew how to do something but actually just messed everything up. (2) Someone who goes into a serious explanation of doing something fairly simple or unimportant like how to drive a bumper car. (3) When something just doesn’t work how you want it to.

According to Software Creation Mystery, an expert has 7 qualities:
- Motivation that comes from dissatisfaction with how things are done
- Hard worker with discipline and focus
- Think critically while having a beginner’s mindset
- Utilize full brain power
- Do continuous learning through sharing
- Know yourself through self-improvement
- Solve problems with creative solutions utilizing skills and experience

Read more and photo courtesy of Software Creation. Though software oriented, this blog offers some useful insight into being an expert.

Ok, now that we know what an expert is, Susan Payton with Mashable offers this advice for becoming an industry expert.
- Be the go to person or organization in the industry
- Stay up to date with industry news, trends, and ideas
- Impart your wisdom
- Build on your expertise through personal branding

Read more at Mashable. Susan offers many links to useful resources.

Daniel Gulati with the Harvard Business Review offers these helpful tips to avoid ‘everyday experts’:

All-Star Advisor: Uses generalization to tailor personal successes to your situation. “Just follow in my footsteps. Don’t you see all my success?” Will their success work for you?

Blog Bandit: Passes off others ideas without placing their own value. “Let’s do what everyone else is doing.” Are the masses right or is there a fundamental issue being overlooked?

Failed Forecaster: Predicts the future by using past events. “Trust me, we need to learn from the past.” How closely does the future usually mimic the past?

Read more at Harvard Business Review. Read more of Daniel’s everyday expert descriptions and personal advice.

Be Kind #2 2/4/13

This topic is so important I’m writing about it again. Yesterday’s post focused on how to notice when you want to be unkind and instead focus on others’ point of view and be kind. Let’s explore some ways to be kind.

Chrysta Bairre with Live and Love Work shares 52 ways to be kind at work in her article 52 Ways To Be Kind At Work. I’ll let you read them all but here’s a few that caught my eye:
- Smile
- Say thank you in person
- Be encouraging
- Let go of a grudge
- Give someone a break
- Admit when you’re wrong
- Respect others
- Give something

(Read more and photo courtesy of Live and Love Work)

Here are some quotes about being kind:

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ― Mother Teresa

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ― Aesop

(Read more at Good Reads)

1 Year Anniversary 1/1/14

Tumblr sent me an e-mail today congratulating me on being with Tumblr for a year. Thank you all for reading my thoughts and ideas. I’ve learned a lot myself from your posts. Looking back on some accomplishments because reviewing results and celebrating success is important:

+ Attained 150 followers
+ Over 100 entries
+ Following 253 for their great insight
+ Promoted at work twice
+ Family is larger
+ Developed forum for penny stock trading
+ 8 month trading gain 646%

Goals for 2014:

+ Choose a business form for my investment base
+ Develop stronger relationships

May all of your goals for 2014 come to fruition!

(Photo courtesy of Tumblr)

Business Ideas 11/21/13

In a busy schedule sometimes it’s tough to come up with specific business ideas to write about. You want to write about tackling a specific problem, a way to improve something, how to build better relationships, and many other pressing issues directly effecting your business. But your blog is about reaching out to customers and others to show you can help in some way…

Carol Tice with Entrepreneur.com offers 50 ideas for a business blog. I’ll touch on a few:

+ Post customer success stories with permission

+ Link ideas together to form a roundup of a centralized theme

+ Pose questions for thought generation

+ Discuss current trends

+ Display company reviews and specific service/product reviews

+ Give a behind the scenes look

+ Talk about blunders

+ Create a contest that matters

+ Give tips and tricks

+ Be inspiring

Read much more at entrepreneur.com.

Here’s a quick link about developing ideas from Colorado State University writing.colostate.edu.

(Photo courtesy of omniguides.org. A good start for developing business start up ideas.)

Billionaires 7/12/13

One can dream right? Of being a billionaire of course! Today’s pic is of Salma Heyak. She is married to a billionaire but has made a successful career for herself in acting. I have a point to today’s photo pick- I do!

Salma appears in the Business Insider article regarding wives and girlfriends of billionaires who make a difference in the world. Each of the 15 women depicted aid in social work, fundraising for non-profits, start-up entrepreneurial aid, medical research, and teaching others. They are more than a pretty face.

Read more and photo courtesy of Business Insider.

According to Forbes, the U.S. has the highest amount of billionaires of any country. There’s hope and opportunity for us all! The top 3 are Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, and Amancio Ortega. Warren Buffett fell to 4th from the 3rd slot but I don’t think anyone loses in the ranking change up.

Read more at Forbes.

iHub App 6/14/13

I wanted to talk with you about Investors Hub, simply known as iHub. iHub is one of my favorite iPhone stock apps due to its varied services offered. The pic for today is from BKYI ticker for Bio-Key International from the iHub mobile app. You can see from the picture a search, 5 tabs, and 5 icons at the bottom of BKYI’s 1 month chart. iHub also has a website with an additional features not covered in today’s post.

- iHub’s Overview shows the latest trade price, bid (the highest buy offer) and ask (the lowest sell offer), the day’s range if stock price traded, the 52-week range of the stock’s ending daily price for 365 days, volume (shows as low, average, and high during the trading day), Open and Close price for the latest trading day, and More Financials if iHub has populated the latest stock’s financials filed with the SEC. The stock’s chart can be toggled from straight line, candlestick, and bar line (each gives an investor a different perspective) and volume or not.

- Level II is a paid monthly service that gives an investor a more in-depth picture if what buyers (bids) and sellers (asks) are requesting to buy or sell the stock at for the day. I’ll discuss this option more in the future because there is a learning curve associated.

- Trades are a unique free feature of iHub that shows trades by time. The Trades section gives a green and red horizontal picture of whether there is more buyer or seller pressure by each trade and current time of the trading day. If you can’t afford L2 service this basic service can still aid you in quick decisions.

- The News section shows recent news for a given stock. I’ve noticed iHub offers different news resources than other iPhone stock apps. Try to use a few different stock apps for news to get the most info possible. There are many investor websites that provide news also such as Yahoo! Financial, Google, Morningstar, Bloomberg, CNN Money, and the corresponding market place the stock trades at. News is important for company announcements, analysts predictions, and investment coverage. How much buzz is around your company?

- The Boards section offers a social element to iHub. Want ti follow other investors to see there ideas and research? Maybe you want to ask specific questions about a particular company? Boards are a forum format for chatting with fellow investors. iHub offers various paid levels of usage of the boards so don’t expect to be able to post infinite posts daily at the beginning if registering.

- The bottom bar within the iHub app shows Streamer (how to get to a stock’s Overview), your personal free mailbox for Admin, responses to your forum posts, and private messages (there’s a monthly device needed to send private messages), News (another way to see news prioritized from iHub’s perspective), and More which allows you to change settings, search forum boards by type and info about iHub.

In the future I’ll discuss Level II (L2), Trades, News, and Boards more in-depth.

Time Off 3/8/13

Who doesn’t like time off? I can name a few people I’ve met who were workaholics. Even during my MBA program I didn’t take time off. The truth is drive is a key component to getting things done while taking a break can help you put things in perspective. Ever worked on a project only to realize you didn’t accomplish the right things?

Taking time off isn’t only related to being away from work. Be sure to take breaks and lunch during the work day to avoid burn out on a daily basis. Leave a little room in your daily schedule for minor interruptions. Our goals usual gravitate towards making customers happy and you being happy is the first step.

Here are 6 reasons to take time off according to MBA Basecamp:
+ Recharge your energy
+ Catch up with friends and family
+ Prepare for the year ahead
+ Get to know yourself better
+ Bond with prospective friends
+ Think post-project

Read more at MBA Basecamp Blog.

For entrepreneurs Robin Hardy with The Examiner offers these tips for taking time off:
- Set an intention: work, play or both?
- Be realistic: time off is for relaxing more than accomplishment
- Communicate: let others know when you’ll be on vacation and let them know with advance notice
- Find the right place: stay nearby or go somewhere exotic?
- Make sure to get one thing done, one thing at a time
- Stay present: devote your attention to accomplishment or to relaxation

Read more at Examiner.com

(Photo courtesy of Boston.com)

Be Organized 3/7/12

Are you organized? Do you start the day making the bed or do you never do that task? Being organized takes planning, creating a routine, and wanting things to be organized. Whether you are organized or you hire someone to do it for you the rewards of being organized include:
+ More relaxation
+ More time for yourself
+ More time for others
+ You’ll help the environment
+ You’ll be a role model for others
+ You’ll be healthier
+ Breathing better
+ Get more done professionally
+ Saving $
+ Achieving more with less barriers

Read more at Life Organizers. Don’t believe me? Maria Gracia might change your mind.

Leslie Jacobs with Entrepreneur.com offers these 10 tips for being organized:
- Clean, organize and purge a given workspace
- Be like Santa each week- create a list of tasks
- Use one calendar
- Make a note of an event a week in advance on your one calendar
- List out your goals and incorporate in your calendar
- Choose one or two goals to accomplish each year.
- Remove unneeded office supplies
- Plan now for next tax year
- Update your contact list
- Have an office environment you enjoy (see my last post)

Read more at Entrepreneur.com.

Dun and Bradstreet has an article regarding virtual assistants (VA) for entrepreneurs. I’m sure this idea can work for any manager/leader. A virtual assistant works away from your office to help you stay organized with business events, whereas an a personal assistant works on site with you. Here are some benefits of a VA:
+ Communication via electronic means- tasks are in writing (the phone or occasional face to face meetings can solve needed one on one time)
+ Less equipment is needed- VAs provide their own
+ VAs are paid hourly, by project, or through retainer- save $ due to no employee benefits have to he shelled out.

Read more and photo courtesy of Dun and Bradstreet. The article offers many other ideas and advice for obtaining a VA.

Negotiation 3/4/13

What is negotiation? It’s a process where two or more individuals meet to gain an advantage for both sides by the end. Negotiation is important in all facets of business- the organization needs something from somewhere or someone.

According to Gregorio Billikopf with the University if California, an individual can use these negotiation skills to get ahead of the meeting:
- Prepare
- Search for clarity
- Show patience
- Maintain integrity
- Avoid the presumption of evil
- Control emotions
- Understand time pressures
- Break down large issues into pieces
- Admit mistakes

Read more at Berkeley.edu. Gregorio offers many other skill examples in his article.

Here are some interesting ways to start a negotiation by Dr. Phil:

“I’m absolutely not a buyer at that price.”

“You need to help me here. I want to do this deal, but I can’t at this price.”

“I’d love to do business with you.”

Dr. Phil also offers these tips for doing a negotiation:
- Start the negotiation with the right to negotiate. You mean business!
- Get over dislikes for negotiation.
- Open the negotiation to both sides.
- Collaborate to make the end result a win-win for all parties.
- Don’t take the negotiation personally.
- Educate yourself and have a plan.
- Don’t bluff.
- Avoid being emotional.
- Don’t believe what’s written. Challenge for better terms.

Read more at Dr. Phil.

(Photo courtesy of Paper Cut Project Manager.)

Invest in Yourself 2/26/13

How do you invest in yourself? Thinking of yourself as an asset is the first step in boosting what you have to offer others.

According to Jeremy Vohwinkle with Generation X Finance, investing in yourself can yield returns greater than other investments. Jeremy discusses a three part way to invest in yourself:

See yourself as an asset:
- Your job, or business you own, views you as an asset. What can you improve to provide more value to others?
- Your family sees you as an asset. What personal characteristics can you develop to develop relationships?
- Others you meet in life indirectly see you as an asset. How do you appear to others and how quickly do you communicate your value that can be offered?

Invest in your health:
+ Get more sleep. You can lose more time in your day staying unfocused due to sleep deprivation than keeping a sleep schedule.
+ Eat better. This topic can demand many posts in itself but reading blogs about nutrition and talking with fitness experts can help.
+ See a doctor. Being proactive about your health is like doing preventative maintenance to your vehicle or business asset. Keeping healthy aids in you providing value longer.
+ Make time to do things you love to do. Reading? Hiking? Being with others at a gathering? Making time to relax from the ‘grind’ will help you to focus on life and business events in the future.

Professional self investment:
+ Network with others. Try social media (within limits), go to business events, or meet up with old friends from college. Meeting and reaching out to others will help you connect yourself to those on need.
+ Create your personal brand. Your name is your personal brand. What you say and what actions you do effects the reputation associated with your name. How do you act when meeting others for the first time? If a search was done on the Internet what would others find? Creating your brand in advance will allow you to make a quick impression in light of the little time we often get to meet with others and build relationships.

Read more at Generation X Finance. Jeremy has left links to aid in further discussion on your personal branding within his article.

(Photo courtesy of Generationnewmoney.com.)

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