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Five Tips for Bootstrapping Your Startup

March 30, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Tips for Bootstrapping Your Startup

Most entrepreneurs can sidestep the frustration and distraction of finding angel investors or lenders to fund their startups, at least in the very early stages. Here are five tips that will help you bootstrap your startup with considerably less outside capital: Start virtual: An office is often a luxury which – thanks to ubiquitous online collaboration tools like me (screen sharing), Slack (instant messaging on steroids), Skype (voice and video communication), and Basecamp (project management) – is often superfluous. If you don’t actually need a physical location for your business, [Read More]

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Six Tips for Fostering Brand Evangelism

March 17, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Tips for Fostering Brand Evangelism

Loyal customers are more than repeat business – they are evangelists for your brand. Brand evangelists not only purchase your products, they promote your company to their social networks, both on and offline, and remain faithful even when your prices are not the lowest. Converting a dispassionate customer to a brand evangelist requires purposeful, positive relationship building, and these six tips are essential: Share your brand’s story: Brand loyalty is built by fostering a personal connection between the customer and the company. Creating that connection begins with learning to tell [Read More]

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Get the Most from Your Advisory Board

March 3, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Get the Most from Your Advisory Board

Assembling a brilliant advisory board is an important first step. The next step is to get the board to measurably impact your company. The challenge is in harnessing your board’s collective wisdom during the brief times you have their attention: the advisory board meeting. Starting about three weeks before your next advisory board meeting, use the tips below to ensure it’s your most productive one yet: Arm them with information. If your advisory board is to effectively advise you, they should be well-informed on the specific topics for which you’re [Read More]

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Six Tips for Older Entrepreneurs

February 25, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Mature Entrepreneurs

You’re over 50 and looking to embark on a new professional path. What better time than now to consider starting your own business? That suggestion may seem at odds with the stereotype of the entrepreneur as a young, bullish risk taker. But a confluence of events – a volatile stock market, a scramble to rebuild retirement portfolios, and a jittery employment environment – are fueling an entrepreneurship boom among more mature individuals. In fact, of all age groups, entrepreneurship growth was highest among 45- to 54-year-olds, according to a report [Read More]

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Guy Kawasaki Entrepreneurship Course on Udemy

February 18, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Guy Kawasaki

I just received the following email from Guy Kawasaki: Hi there, Today, I’m opening my new Entrepreneurship course to the public!  The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship is for you if you’re thinking about starting a company but unsure about designing a prototype, building a team, raising money, and launching your product. I’ve been working on this course for the past few months, and I hope it will bring you closer to your goals.  Today, I’m offering Lifetime Access to the course for 75% off ($49 instead of $199).  The course [Read More]

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Tricks of the Trademark

February 13, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Tricks of the Trademark

As frivolous lawsuits go, attempts to trademark phrases, sounds, and even numbers can easily stray into the ridiculous. Take, for example, Harley Davidson’s attempt to trademark the sound of their engines or Syracuse University’s claim that they own the color orange. Graphic or other representations of brands that set them apart in the marketplace are hotly, even if sometimes laughably, contested. This is because your marks matter. Trade and service marks identify your brand and distinguish your products, and they’re worth protecting. If you’re marketing yourself correctly, your customers will [Read More]

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Pop-Ups Are Better Than Ads: How To Get “A Happening” Happening Around Your Startup

January 30, 2015 by Akira Hirai


The Beatles Double Decker Pop-up Bus

Is your startup stuck in the rut between a seed series and a Series A? Have you hit a wall with your social media engagement and are now struggling to find a way to provide fresh content and experiences for your customers? Or, do people love your product but fail to recognize and remember your brand? These are all common problems for early-stage startups. The truth is, you will not produce effective marketing until you really know your customer. What are their needs, wants, and interests? There is only so [Read More]

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Looking Ahead in 2015

January 26, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Small Busines Optimism

An old saying has it that people vote with their feet. If recently released research is any indication, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other like-minded businesspeople can expect a stampede in the new year – particularly if they follow the lead of their colleagues as well as their competitors. New research from Kabbage, Inc., an online provider of small business loans, shows that small business optimism is at a three-year high. Ninety-five percent of business owners taking part in the survey said they expected increased revenue in 2015. On an [Read More]

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Is Your Concept Feasible?

January 9, 2015 by Akira Hirai


Test the feasibility of your concept

The start of a new year brings thoughts of new beginnings. For some of us, that might mean thoughts of turning our ideas into businesses. We’ve all had “Eureka!” moments when we come up with bright ideas for that proverbial better mousetrap. If only we could build it, the world would surely beat a path to our door to buy it. A sure thing! In reality, new businesses are never sure things. In fact, most business ventures fail. And that usually means entrepreneurs go through tremendous hardship with little to [Read More]

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Rick’s Strategic Planning Process

November 24, 2014 by Akira Hirai and Rick Tifone


How to Really Do Strategic Planning

A strategic planning process, when done right, enables an organization to set priorities, focus energy and resources, and navigate a rapidly changing environment. That said, putting together a strategic plan takes significant time, energy, and resources to do it right. Rick Tifone, Principal Consultant with Cayenne Consulting, knows strategic planning. Since 2003, Rick has been providing consulting services focused on Strategic Planning, Exit Planning, Business Advisory, and Capital Acquisition Strategy. Rick has helped dozens of CEOs in software development, IT services, commercial and residential real estate, executive recruiting, medical equipment, [Read More]

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