Author: rivana_04


Starting a Hip Hop Blog – 5 Easy Steps to Rap Profits

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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Are you a hip-hop artist, producer, entrepreneur or fan who wants to make money in the rap industry? Have you ever thought about starting a hip-hop blog? Believe it or not, hip-hop blogs are becoming more and more popular, and there are plenty of opportunities for hip-hop bloggers to make money online. If the idea of getting paid to share your thoughts and opinions about rap is music to your ears, here’s how to get started.

Step 1 – Choose a Domain Name and Web Host

A domain name is the website address that people will use to visit your blog. In general, you will want to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and gives people an idea of what type of content they will find on your site. Examples of things you may want to use as a domain name are:

  • Your stage name (if you are an artist)
  • Your company name (if you have an entertainment company or independent record label)
  • Your blog name
  • Catch phrases or descriptive names

Chances are, your first option for a domain name will already be taken, so be prepared with alternates.

Once you find an available domain you like, you will need to register it quickly to prevent someone else from using it. There is a small domain registration fee, but many web hosting services will waive the domain registration fee when you sign up for hosting.

Step 2 – Install WordPress

WordPress is blogging software that has been used to power over 200 million websites. There are a number of reasons WordPress is so popular:

  • Affordability – WordPress is 100% free
  • Ease of Use – It does not require any computer or programming skills to install or use
  • Highly Customizable – There are thousands of free themes and plug-ins available for download
  • Supported – WordPress has one of the largest development communities of any open source software, so it’s easy to find free technical support online

WordPress can usually be installed in less than five minutes through your web hosting control panel. Once installed, you can customize your blog by downloading the hip-hop theme of your choice and installing whichever plug-ins you want to use through your blog’s dashboard.

Step 3 – Start Publishing Hip-Hop Related Content

Once you set up your blog, you will be ready to start publishing content. In general, you will want to publish content of interest to hip-hop fans. This could include:

  • Hip-hop related news
  • Music, videos and images featuring rappers
  • Reviews of new rap music
  • Information about upcoming hip-hop events
  • Links to other hip-hop blogs

If you are a rapper or producer, you should have no problem creating content based on your own music. Similarly, if you are starting your own entertainment company or independent hip-hop record label, you can blog about the artists you’re working with. If you are not in the music business at all, you can spend a couple of hours each day reading other hip-hop blogs and write a post each day about the hottest hip-hop topics. The key is to create as many good hip-hop related posts as you can each week.

The posts you publish on your blog will eventually be “crawled” and “indexed” by the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Once indexed, your blog will start showing up in search results for hip-hop related content. The more posts you publish and the better the quality of those posts, the better chance you have of people discovering your blog through search engines.

Step 4 – Monetize Your Blog

There are lots of ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Here are some of the easiest ways:

  • Join an advertising network and earn money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your site
  • Join an affiliate program and earn commissions by recommending products and services you use to your readers
  • Install a free e-commerce plug-in and sell your own CDs, digital downloads and hip-hop related merchandise
  • Sell ad space directly to artists and labels who want to promote their music through your site
  • Turn your blog into a membership site and charge people a fee for access to exclusive content
  • Charge a small fee for each CD you review on your blog
  • Charge people to post their rap videos on your blog

These are just some of the easy ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Experiment with each of these methods and see which methods earn you the most cash. Or, be creative and come up with something entirely new. As long as you keep coming up with content and getting traffic, the money will come.

Step 5 – Promote Your Blog

Now that you have got your hip-hop blog up and running, you need to start promoting it. The more targeted web traffic you get, the more money you are likely to make. Therefore, it is important that your blog gets seen by as many hip-hop fans as possible. Here are some free ways to promote your hip-hop blog:

  • Add your website to as many hip-hop friendly website directories as you can
  • Become an active participant in hip-hop forums and conversations on other hip-hop blogs (be sure to include a link to your blog in your “signature”)
  • Set up pages on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and link them to your blog
  • Talk to other bloggers about reviewing your site, swapping links and possibly writing guest posts
  • Write hip-hop related articles and submit them to article directories (like this one)

By following these quick, easy steps, you can start your own hip-hop blog and be on the road to rap profits in a matter of hours.

Applying Individual Competencies to Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Investment Activities

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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Sources of personal income include activities from being an employee, an entrepreneur and/or a business enterprise owner, or an investor. The strength of an individual’s competencies determines their success or failure in these activities, and their willingness to learn from failure so as to enable future successes. Competencies are about domain knowledge in academic and vocational disciplines, and in the related mental and physical technical skills. Disciplines are rules of conduct and subject areas of teaching. Individual competencies comprise personal, professional, and enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) knowledge and skills.

Personal, professional, and enterpriship competencies…

Personal competencies are about the self (intra-personal) and how an individual relates to others (inter-personal). Intra-personal competencies are both qualitative and quantitative. Beyond the fundamental satisfaction of human needs, the most basic competencies are the ability to read and write and to perform arithmetic operations. The ability to manage risk is essential to survival. Other inter-personal competencies include analysis, comprehension, logic, mathematics, and reasoning. Inter-personal competencies include oral and written communications, relationship building, and participating in and contributing to teams, communities, and work-places both socially and professionally.

Performance in an activity is a function of aptitude, ability, and proficiency. Qualifications are standard conditions or requirements for performing a role. Aptitude determines the suitability of an individual for a role; ability determines their expected quality of performance for an activity; and proficiency defines their level of competence.

Personal and professional competencies determine preferences for values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, including appearance and communications; motivation, conflict handling, and stress tolerance; decision making, learning, occupation, recreation, and relationships; and fiscal matters.

Professional competencies address domain functional subject areas and knowledge such as law, finance and accounting, human resources, information technology, program management, engineering, operations, and business development in both product-driven and service-driven industries, and the associated technical skills.

Domain competencies also address subject areas such as arts, cookery, entertainment, numismatics, philately, and sports from which activities arise that can be monetized, such as collecting, trading, and investing in items including art, coins, sports memorabilia, and stamps.

Enterpriship competencies are enabling and embrace the entrepreneurship, leadership, and management disciplines. Enterpriship competencies determine how to transform ideas into value, how to set direction that influences others to follow, and how to apply resources to activities to achieve results.

Every individual earning income as an employee, as an entrepreneur, or as an investor must be able to apply personal, professional, and enterpriship competencies in order to create or respond to opportunities and threats. Wherever there is crisis, there is opportunity.

Being an employee…

Being an employee means working for somebody else for income (although shareholder officers of “Subchapter S” corporations are also considered employees, even though they are owner-operators). Types of employment income include wages, salaries, and incentives such as bonuses, commissions, and tips. Opportunity for ownership may also be offered to employees through awards of stock options and shares if the enterprise is a corporation, admission as a partner if a partnership, or admission as a member if a limited liability company. Benefit packages may also be available including paid vacations, healthcare, profit sharing, and retirement plans.

Some employees remain as hourly paid administrative staff or operational labor throughout their entire careers. Others become salaried professionals and rise into management and executive ranks with substantial leadership and managerial roles. In these cases, a component of income is usually incentive-based according to the performance of the enterprise and an individual’s own area of responsibility. Whereas some employees prefer the predictability of a fixed wage per hour or salary per year, others prefer a high variable component with commissions and bonuses commensurate with their individual or team’s performance.

Some employees want to be associated with an enterprise that is well respected for product and/or service innovation; for constituencies served; for quality, efficiency and effectiveness; for values and guiding principles; or for sustainability. Others are solely concerned about the income potential. For some, working for somebody else, especially in a well established institution creates a sense of pride or duty; for others being self-employed is more satisfying, and in some cases a necessity because of shortages of work opportunities, or because of barriers to employment such as the “glass ceiling.”

Being an entrepreneur and/or business owner…

Being an entrepreneur means starting, developing, and assuming risk for either an upwardly mobile or lifestyle business enterprise, or performing as an independent contractor. Upwardly mobile enterprises are aimed at large markets with local-to-global aspirations. They are started through the “sweat equity” of founders and are initially financed by angel and venture capital investors, and may eventually become publicly traded enterprises. Lifestyle business enterprises are usually owner-operated and form the heart of “Main Street.” They are financed from the owner’s capital and also from secured debt if adequate collateral is available. Unsecured debt opportunities may be available if guarantors can be provided, or once steady cash flows have been established. To be successful, a lifestyle business enterprise usually needs a lot of “tender loving care” from the owner. However, such care can be a differentiator from large enterprises through detailed product and/or service knowledge and quality of service delivery.

Independent contractors are in effect enterprises in their own right and have to be entrepreneurial in order to find assignments. Individuals and enterprises who engage independent contractors have a right to control or direct only the result of the work performed, but not the methods by which it is accomplished.

Some entrepreneurs want to build an enterprise that is respected; for others, financial considerations are the motivating factors.

Artists, authors, composers, and entertainers require entrepreneurial competencies in order to earn sales, fee and royalty revenues from their work.

Being an investor…

Being an investor means placing excess or leveraged capital for a future return in assets that either are expected to appreciate in value or produce income, or both. Assets include durable items such as art, equipment, furniture, numismatic, philatelic, sports memorabilia, real estate, and securities (financial instruments representing money, debt, and equity capital and derivatives).

Capital can be accumulated wealth or leveraged through borrowings. Successful investing is about achieving returns through capital appreciation and cash flows from dividends, fees, interest, rentals, and royalties commensurate with risk. Short-term gains can be obtained from trading activities, whereas long-term gains are obtained from buying-to-hold.

Passive investors primarily buy-to-hold; active investors seek advice, make decisions for themselves, trade and buy-to-hold, and sometimes seek board positions to influence the direction of the enterprises in which they have invested. Buy-to-hold means that investments will be held in a portfolio until maturity (if applicable), or will be available for sale at some time in the future. Being an active investor means having analytical and quantitative capabilities, being willing to take risk, and being able to make decisions with anticipation and deliberation.

Whereas employees think in terms of wage per hour or salary per year, entrepreneurs and investors think in terms of returns from capital appreciation and cash flows.

Some individuals invest in stocks and bonds through employer sponsored plans, whereas others take responsibility for their own portfolios. Some individuals start early, sometimes borrowing on margin; others start late using excess cash. For some, the biggest investment is the one-time purchase of their home; for others, flipping to gain from capital appreciation in real estate properties or buying-to-hold for rental income is a routine activity, as is investing in other assets.

All investors have access to public secondary money and capital markets, but only accredited high net worth individuals and insiders have access to private offerings in primary markets. Some successful entrepreneurs put returns from their own endeavors back into the community by investing in other early stage enterprises.

Investors can become entrepreneurs by becoming dealers in certain assets and trading them. For example, collectors can generate revenue by trading collectible assets in both physical and electronic marketplaces.

Applying personal, professional, and enterpriship competencies to employment, entrepreneurship, and investment activities…

Basic personal competencies fundamental to all activities to starting, building, operating, participating, contributing, and investing in an enterprise include the ability to communicate and relate to others, and in the twenty first century, to use electronic devices for written communication and computations effectively and efficiently. Managing risk against the reward potential in terms of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and treating opportunities and threats is essential to personal and economic survival.

Professional competencies result from the extent to which an individual pursues academic or vocational disciplines based upon personal preferences. Academic disciplines lead to occupations in law, finance and accounting, human resources, information technology, product and infrastructure engineering, marketing, and operations. Vocational disciplines lead to occupations in the trades and crafts, such as clerks, carpenters, electricians, laborers, mechanics, metal workers, operating engineers, painters, plumbers, and salespeople. Professional competencies are fundamental to getting work done.

Regardless of the academic and vocational training, understanding basic economic, business, finance, and accounting concepts, and marketing and sales techniques is essential to success as an executive, entrepreneur, or investor.

Inter-personal competencies are just as important as professional competencies because without the ability to relate to other people, it is very difficult to get anything accomplished in an enterprise on an ongoing basis. Individuals who have difficulty in building relationships with others need strong professional competencies to compensate so as to be effective as individual contributors. Being teachable is extremely important. Coaching provides guidance on the enabling competencies: entrepreneurship, leadership, and management; mentoring provides guidance on the domain competences – guidance on subject matter, developing functional knowledge and technical skills.

Enterpriship competencies determine the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial, leadership, and managerial roles played by an individual whether as an employee, an entrepreneur, or an investor.

The entrepreneurial role is about creating or acquiring new opportunities or responding to threats – in effect, enacting change. The entrepreneurial role is essential when developing new products and/or services and processes, and improving existing ones. It applies to those who can offer suggestions that earn and add value. The entrepreneurial role is essential when changing jobs, when innovating and starting a new enterprise, and when investing in or divesting from enterprises.

The leadership role is about influencing people through aspirational, inspirational, and motivational communications. This role is applicable to anybody who has to entertain, inform, convince, and persuade others. It applies to those seeking employment opportunities; to entrepreneurs, business owners, executives or managers seeking employees, customers, suppliers, and investors; or to proactive members of an investor community attempting to influence other investors, management teams including both boards and officers, and other interested parties.

The managerial role is about planning, execution, and control of processes by any individual who has to achieve results, whether as an employee, an entrepreneur, or an investor.

Understanding individual competencies…

All individuals must understand their strengths and weaknesses so as to be able to take advantage of opportunities and respond to threats accordingly. Effective personal and professional competencies are essential for gaining entry level positions in enterprises, and the initial promotions thereafter. However, the enterpriship competencies in entrepreneurship, leadership, and management disciplines determine long-term success from turning ideas into value, influencing others to follow direction, and applying resources to activities to gain results in employment, entrepreneurial, and investor capacities.

Social Entrepreneurship – Now is the Time

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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Social entrepreneurship is a major area of interest in many social and civic organizations and has a significant impact on many areas of society. During the past decade economic resources have become more difficult to acquire and society has continued to exhibit economic and cultural decline. Concurrently, communities are in need of initiatives that will enhance their financial viability and programs that will enhance the overall viability of the population.

Social entrepreneurship initiatives are ventures that can serve as a method of increasing the social value of a community, organization or cause while enhancing the financial viability of a not-for-profit organization. With this being stated, social entrepreneurship has been defined in different ways by many different theorists. Gary McPherson, Executive Administrator of the Canada Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, states that social entrepreneurship involves various individuals working toward meeting social and economic goals simultaneously; while Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, defines social entrepreneurship as a term coined to describe “individuals who combine the pragmatic and results oriented methods of a business entrepreneur with the goals of social reform.”

A more basic definition of social entrepreneurship states that it is “the process of using entrepreneurial and business skills to create innovative approaches to social problems.” Therefore, it is a methodology that is presently being used to resolve community and societal concerns globally. Social entrepreneurship as an area of specialized entrepreneurship is not defined by the same titling in every culture. For example, in Latin America countries social entrepreneurship initiatives are referred to as “Micro Enterprise.” In India the same program would be identified as a “Social Mission.” Though termed differently in various regions, social entrepreneurship initiatives are being implemented to solve specific societal and community concerns by focusing on the needs and resource availability within specific geographic regions.

Social Entrepreneurship in Education Throughout the United States, many top tertiary level academic institutions are enhancing their business programs by including a curriculum that caters to the study of social entrepreneurship. In 2003, the Center for Responsible Business was launched on the University of California Berkley Campus. This subsidiary of the Haas School of Business was implemented with the intent of training students to be more principled and socially responsible members of society through attending “the preeminent educational institution in area of Corporate Social Responsibility.” Stanford University also has established a Center for Social Innovation as a part of its graduate school of business. This center was founded with the mission to “build and strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems for a more just, sustainable and healthy world.”

In 1993, Harvard Business School started its social enterprise program with its mission of “generating and sharing knowledge to help individuals and organizations to create social value in the not-for-profit, private and public sectors,” and the University of Miami has refocused its business school curriculum to include coursework in the areas of ethical-decision making, social entrepreneurship and community engagement with the primary focus being to expose students to various areas of civic engagement while concurrently teaching them leadership and team building skills.

Tertiary level institutions, including Duke, which has established a Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship as part of its Fuqua School of Business, and Columbia University where the research initiative on social entrepreneurship is embedded in its school of business, have also made strides to enhance the study and education of those seeking to venture into areas of social entrepreneurship and social venture implementation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International (AACSB – International) has identified over twenty-four tertiary level institutions that have included social entrepreneurship as a part of their business college and or business curriculums.

With social entrepreneurship being perceived by many as a new way of stimulating social change, Idee Winfield believes that the implementation of community-focused service learning projects is the first step in exposing youth to the various attributes associated with social entrepreneurship. Through community involvement, youth will begin to visualize and experience the various social issues within their community and envision ways to solve these problems. Winfield states that social entrepreneurship should be promoted in primary and secondary education, and coursework should be adjusted to allow students to “see how abstract socially focused concepts can have real world applicability.” Jeffrey Soderborg, a member of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Clearinghouse on Entrepreneurship Education, is also an ardent proponent of social venture education who believes that social entrepreneurship would be more readily accepted if youth were exposed to information expounding the laurels of these initiatives during their primary and secondary academic years.

As youth expand their horizons through the establishment of entrepreneurial efforts, knowledge and exposure to information about the process involved in the establishment of entrepreneurial business effectively plays a major role in the rate at which business entities are established. A study focusing on entrepreneurial interests among black youth ages 14 to 19 identified that 75% of the youth surveyed had interest in becoming entrepreneur. The study also found that these minority youth believed that more information about entrepreneurship should be presented through their schools. They also believed that entrepreneurs have a responsibility to reinvest in their community.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Personal values often serve as the justification for entrepreneurs to focus organizational efforts on socially focused ventures. The organizational decision to forgo pursuing financial gain with the intent of using the corporations’ profit resources to enhance a community is often referred to corporate social entrepreneurship. Corporate Social Entrepreneur (CSE) is a term used to describe corporate initiatives whose primary focus is to enhance a social concern and whose secondary focus is financial gain. The corporate social entrepreneur differs from the financial profit seeking entrepreneur in the area of decisions made that affect the community and environment in which their organization functions. Research identified that in corporate social entrepreneurship business acumen serves as a factor in the success or failure of social venture initiative implementation. Research identifies that success factors associated with the implementation of social responsibility initiatives were linked to whether the entrepreneur exhibits behavior that is moral, amoral or immoral.

The amoral entrepreneur would pursue initiatives only if they were deemed acceptable by the organization as a whole. The immoral entrepreneur implements initiatives based on what can be potentially gained for self as well as for the stakeholders, while the moral entrepreneur would pursue social responsibility initiatives based on what was in the best interest of the organization. Individuals identified as corporate social entrepreneurs are individuals who are more active in community activities and are actively involved in social responsibility efforts. Corporate social entrepreneurs also are more likely to implement social responsibility initiatives based on an organization’s long term objectives.

While many corporations are looking for ways to increase their social responsibility efforts, in some regions corporate responsibility efforts are not progressing. A policy paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean,” documented that corporate social responsibility activity in this region has “stalled.” The reason for stagnation in this region is “minimal government involvement” and the lack of “private sector involvement.” It was also identified that initiatives to implement programs focusing on social responsibility are often initiated outside of the market, and then subsequently not embraced by stakeholders who reside within this geographic region.

Corporations are continually looking for ways to increase corporate advantage through their social responsibility efforts. While proponents of corporate social responsibility believe that corporations are obligated morally to engage in efforts to enhance social, community and environmental concerns, many stakeholders believe that social involvement should only be initiated if the efforts are going to strengthen the organization’s image, brand, moral or stock value. With this in mind, corporations have separated social issues into specific categories.

These categories are social concerns that are general, social concerns that are value chain based and concerns that focus on social dimensions of competitive contrast. Generic social issues are identified as social concerns that do not directly affect the company’s operation and do not have an effect on a company’s competitive advantage. Corporations are least likely to get involved or invest in projects that focus in these areas because they will not receive a high value of return on their involvement. Value Chain Social Impact issues can significantly affect a company’s operation and can have an impact on the way a company conducts business. Corporations are more likely to be involved in value chain concerns, but only after conducting due diligence studies to ensure that a return on investment will be achieved over time.

Social issues that affect a company’s financial profitability or serve to enhance or increase a company’s competitive edge are likely to be areas that a company will invest in because of the direct impact that these initiatives will have on the company’s overall viability and stability. An example of a social dimension projects is General Electric’s investment in under-performing high schools throughout the country. General Electric believes that through investing financial and professional resources in under-performing high schools in areas where they have substantial financial investment, they are investing in enhancing a community, as well as directly increasing their future employment prospects.

Whole Foods Market is an organization that has taken control of its social value position through purchasing products from local farmers. Also, Whole Foods maintains strict controls over all of the products produced and sold in all of its locations. They even have extended their social and ecological efforts through offsetting the use of in-store electricity with the installation of wind conversion generators, converting their trucks to operate on bio-fuel and trucking spoiled produce to regionally located compost sites. Though the investments in these technologies may be costly at the onset, the long term financial, civic and market exposure benefits far exceed any initial costs incurred.

In the area of corporate philanthropy many corporations are at a loss. They continue to be involved in the conflict between philanthropic giving and investor requests for increased profits. For this reason many corporations engage in context-giving programs. Context-giving programs are programs that are defined as allotting resources to specific projects that will enhance the community while simultaneously enhancing the corporation.

Examples of context-giving initiatives include the Cisco System Networking Academy, which trains computer network administrators and provides job opportunities to those who complete the program; the DreamWorks SKG film production program that trains low-income individuals in occupations that are needed in the film and entertainment industry; and American Express Travel and Tourism Academy which trains high school youth for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry. Corporations that invest in corporate-giving social venture programs are concurrently gaining positive return on their social investment, improving the economic climate of the communities where they are located and gaining positive exposure for their organizations.

At times social ventures do not have the intended impact on the community. A study focusing on the impact of community focused business ventures found that businesses started with the intent of enhancing a community often lose focus by becoming focused on profitability and competition. Competition and self-focused motivators were identified to be factors that played an additional role in the impact and economic role that entrepreneurial ventures have in community settings.

While many foundations, trusts and philanthropic organizations, accumulate and distribute resources with the intent of providing services to enhance specific community or social causes, many of these organizations are looking for ways to gain public exposure for their efforts. Organizations also attempt to leverage their gifting efforts through seeking not-for-profit organizations that are willing match the funding received. The success of funded programs is evaluated through performance outcomes and indicators, and through promoting the organization’s work through success stories provided by program clients. These methods are viable ways for funding agencies to acquire value and exposure through their philanthropic efforts and simultaneously continue their efforts to enhance the communities in which they invest.

With the social philanthropic efforts of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates gaining a high degree of attention, and many leaders engaging in activities to promote social advocacy, corporations are seeking ways to also gain exposure with social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship from the corporate perspective can be defined as corporate social initiatives used by a corporate entity as vehicle to show support for social causes. In recent years, many Fortune 500 companies have implemented social ventures with the intent of enhancing their corporate image through providing funding for various social causes.

McDonald’s is one such company that has funded social causes for many years. McDonald’s primary social venture is the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Ronald McDonald House provides lodging for the families of adolescents, ranging in age from birth to 18, who are receiving critical care for illness in communities that are away from their community of residence. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to reside in these temporary living facilities throughout the child’s period of treatment at no charge.

The Federal Express Corporation also funds programs focused on the implementation of socially responsible programs. FedEx is a supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and has been acknowledged by Reader’s Digest as one of “Americas Best Charity Minded Corporation.” Federal Express has also been recognized for providing funding for numerous community and civic organizations, including March of Dimes, Heart to Heart organization, an organization that focuses on delivering food and health resources globally, the United Way and the National Civil Rights Museum. These are just a few of the charitable initiatives that allow Federal Express to present itself as a socially conscious organization.

Virgin Mobile has partnered with Youth Noise, a not-for-profit organization that brings youth together for networking and brainstorming opportunities, and Stand Up for Kids, the largest all volunteer not-for-profit organizations in the United States, to implement an initiative to expand its corporate social responsibility activities. The project involves recording artists donating ring tones to Virgin Mobile and through partnership agreements, 5% of the proceeds received through ring tone sales are donated to various “Virgin Mobile Charity Partners.” This initiative, established in June 2006, is being positioned to raise over $250,000 annually.

For social ventures to gain global acceptance, corporations need to become involved in ventures that allow employees and consumers to see the social, community and external benefit of these ventures. This process is identified in countries south of the United States, where the concept of social responsibility is one that has been embraced by many but implemented by few. Many government organizations expect non-government, or private organizations to take responsibility for ensuring the stability and longevity of the resources throughout this region while the private sector is looking toward government agencies for intervention.

Paul Van Putten, is an educator, entrepreneur and business consultant in the areas of social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial start-up, marketing, media management and leadership engagement. Dr. Van Putten has seamlessly transitioned between both academic and corporate environments having served as a College President and Corporate CEO.

Could Celebrities Be Cutting-Edge Marketers – Leading Online Business Entrepreneurs?

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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“Where is The Future of Online Business –
Could Celebrities be showing mainstream business the way?”
Have Your Competitors ‘Caught On” and already Talking to Your Customers in this latest marketing evolution for Web Success? (And are they doing it Auto-matically and VERY Cheaply!) SO MANY Crucial Questions to answer… please read on.

The following Report is the Cover Story for “Australian Business Solutions” magazine

YOU WILL DISCOVER HOW CELEBRITY MARKETING STYLES ONLINE LEAD ‘AUDIENCES’ TO WANT TO BUY RATHER THAN THE CONVENTIONAL BUSINESS APPROACH OF SELLING AND CLOSING. YOU WILL DISCOVER VALUABE, IN FACT ESSENTIAL INSIGHTS AND IDEAS THAT EVERY MARKETER, ENTREPRENEUR AND BUSINESS OWNER MUST NOW EMBRACE!”

(WARNING: THIS REPORT MAY FRIGHTEN YOU… IT WILL DEFINITELY ENLIGHTEN YOU!)
There is a buzz around on the television news, radio, in the print media, at business networking groups and meetings and especially on the internet right now. There seems to be a shift of focus for how people look for products and services and then decide how they spend their money.

In terms of influence and power, the new way people search for products and services and make their buying decisions online could even rival the search engines. And it’s been said that this buzz could be the single biggest thing to happen in business since the industrial revolution!

Sounds over the top, but is there enough evidence (for you) to be a part of it too? And is this buzz a fad or could it be here to stay?

If you’ve watched TV news or listened to radio or brought a newspaper in the past 2-3 years, you will have noticed references to websites in both stories and advertising, where you can find out more – including how to get more information about a product or service and/or how to buy instructions. In more recent times nearly every news presenter, TV show host, journalist and celebrity are also promoting how you can ‘follow’ their lives, interests and activities online too – and it all seems to be centred around websites such as Facebook.com, Twitter.com, YouTube.com, Digg.com and more, collectively known as Social Engines.

Celebrities are using these sites to raise their profile, build their brand and most importantly, solidify their popularity and [hopefully] longevity in their profession and industry. AND, these sites enable their audience (loyal army of fans) to talk directly back to them. And this is at the heart of the buzz and current shift – and why it’s so very important you read on and learn more.

On the Social Engine Twitter.com, Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres have more followers (fans) than the entire populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama. Their brand awareness and popularity building is personal, although as that increases, so too does their value to corporations looking for product endorsements to drive their market penetration and increase their market share.

Sporting stars like celebrities have broadened their talent base too, becoming more entrepreneurial and business savvy, seeing their name, brand and product value increase, in many cases, to a higher income level than the actual core sporting talent. In other words, acting, playing a sport, being a comedienne or whatever is their core talent is no longer their only talent. They have embraced the concept of brand building (and protection), marketplace communications and conversations – opting for direct contact via sources like online Social Engines. Here they can touch far more people quicker and easier than say a traditional autograph signing exercise.

A true business woman, leader and entrepreneur, celebrity Oprah Winfrey instantly connects and updates a loyal army of over 2 million+ people that follow her on Twitter. Her power and influence is no surprise or revolution in itself, but her army of followers are able to directly provide instant feedback and ideas to her too -and marketplace feedback is a life blood to your business growth and long term sustainability. (Try ignoring it and see where your business goes.) Everyone wants to be heard and Social Engines give you, your business and your customers a voice.

A loyal army of followers can also provide a viral effect to disseminate information quickly too, meaning they can ‘spread the word for you’ if you ask them to – this can be particularly useful if you want to spread good news and conversely if your brand comes under attack via other mainstream media mechanisms or on the Social Engines themself.

Although it might be hard to fathom, could celebrity entrepreneurs like these be showing more traditional businesses how to connect, behave, build our brand, increase our marketplace value and build our business too using these Social Engines?

Is this a valid idea and model for mainstream business or not?

Firstly, the power of Social Engines extends far beyond Twitter.com alone. Some of the other leading Social Engine sites sprout some pretty impressive visitor and member statistics, as well as services.

Facebook.com – If it was a country rather than a website, it would be the world’s 3rd largest after China and India.

On Facebook there are more than 250 million active users and more than 120 million of them log on to Facebook at least once each day and more than 5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide). The fastest growing demographic is 35 years old and older and within that, the fastest growing segment is 55-65 year-old females. Do people 35+ and women influence the buying decision for your products and services? This is worthy of your attention.

And there’s more… more than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared each week on Facebook alone and more than 2.5 million events are created and advertised each month. More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site and more than 50 language translations of that content are available on the site. The people supplying all this content include business owners and professionals, some of whom are surely in your industry and probably your competitors. And if you think because you’re a localised business that this doesn’t count, you’ll find this statistic most enlightening- 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States.

All of those statistics are just for Facebook alone (source Facebook.com/press/statistics).

You can also purchase Pay Per Click and Pay Per Impression advertising on Facebook (and other Social Engines). They take your spend to a whole new level of value and ROI with their member data allowing you to display your adverts for keywords AND additional, specific demographics of the member base. For example you can display your advertising message to women, 55+ in Melbourne who are single. You can even target people specifically on their birthday with a relevant offer.

YouTube.com – take a look at YouTube (which is owned by Google for good reason) – People are watching hundreds of millions of videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, ten hours of video is uploaded to YouTube -including promotional videos, education, product consumption/direction videos and client testimonials for business. Plus every video you add to YouTube includes a spot on the webpage where you can put a link back to your website. PLUS you can add these videos to your blog posts, making them more interesting to your blog readers on other Social Engines too (more about blogs in a moment).

YouTube’s user base is broad in age range, 18-55, evenly divided between males and females, and spanning all geographies. Fifty-one percent of users go to YouTube weekly or more often, and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues.

And could this be the good reason Google brought YouTube? It’s the 2nd largest search engine in the world today, 2nd only to Google.com. If you want to connect with your marketplace on volume, this is worthy of your attention.

Twitter.com – let’s take a statistical look at that quickly too. Twitter’s footprint has expanded impressively in the first half of 2009, reaching 10.7 percent of all active Internet users in June with 83.1% of users over the age of 25. In July 2009, the Twitter website recorded 23,284,395 unique visitors – who else wants to be ‘front-of-mind’ to an audience of that size? Does your target market include people 25+? This is worthy of your attention.

Twitter has been described as the “Pulse of the Planet” given its instant, viral spread-the-word-to-the-world-instantly nature. It has boosted box office numbers and it’s killed them too, just ask the makers of the movie “Bruno” – overnight ticket sales dropped by more than half thanks to the frank and instant feedback from those that had just seen it. It was so quick too because 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. People update anywhere, anytime – imagine what that means for bad customer experiences and you!

Do you let your customers walk away with a bad experience, only to stand out the front of your store or hang up the phone and blast their frustration and disappointment to hundreds, thousands maybe millions of people -in the ‘heat of the moment’?

The true power of Social Engines is not to be feared, it is to be embraced and when done well, you can influence large numbers of people in the ways you want them to know and represent you. This is worthy of your attention.

Understanding the nature of Social Engine participation is important and the question to answer is – What are people doing on these Social Engines? They are looking for ideas, insights, invites, offers, information, inspiration and conversation.

Savvy business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals are providing it all to them and at the same time, in a more passive or softer way than conventional advertising, promoting their business, building their reputation and ultimately getting more leads and customers to their web sites. These business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals are using resources within services like Facebook that include a Personal Profile Page, Business and Product Pages, Fan Clubs, Groups, Time-sensitive Events/Promotions, Classified Advertising (PPC) and more… and the really smart ones are sharing content direct from their website blog feed too (more about that in a moment).

Then there are sites like LinkedIn, a professional social network and directory of business owners and professionals who can communicate quickly and easily with one another. In a 2009 survey, 80% of businesses and companies who are members were using LinkedIn as a primary recruitment tool to find new employees. This is worthy of your attention.

On these Social Engines, people can say what they want about you and it’s uncensored. What do you do about it? Ignore it and hope the customers and prospects that really matter to you don’t see it? Should you take a proactive approach and start by monitoring what’s been said about you and then start providing your brand of information, insights, ideas and inspiration to your marketplace and control the information flow you want through them?

We are living in an era now where what happens in Vegas goes ON and STAYS ON YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and more.

“Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, WORD of mouth has become WORLD of mouth.”

Love them or hate them, social engines are here to stay simply because ‘the people’ love them and trust others on them. Facebook and MySpace are among the most popular destinations on the web. And even though they can be extremely annoying, there is one inescapable fact: the most irritating thing about Facebook is the 200m-strong army of people who use it.

And here’s the final enlightening point- Social Engine participation has overtaken pornography as the #1 activity on the Web.

SO Do you get involved or not? And if so, how do you do it easily and cheaply but still ‘play the game’ like a Celebrity with a 2m+ loyal army of followers?

The reality is that even if you’re not involved, your customers and prospects AND competitors probably are – and they’re talking to one another, perhaps about you and without you so the sooner you start, the better chance you have to becoming both a part of the conversation and then lead it.

The answer for businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals is automation – this is the single biggest break-through strategy and tactic that very few people have worked out, including many larger corporations who are successfully using Social Engines but they are not leveraged with automation, also known as things happening ‘auto-magically‘.

In many cases, businesses are employing specialist online staff on top of web masters and advertising/SEO experts. With automation, you can do a whole lot for very little extra time and virtually no money.

HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?

At its essence or core are six words that will transform the way you generate leads and make repeat sales online – those words are YOUR WEBLOG FEED PLUS SOCIAL ENGINES.

A Weblog or blog as it’s more commonly known is a type of website or part of an existing website that allows you to add content as blog posts or articles and display them on your website – content like information, ideas, insights, offers, news, invites, images and more and you can create blog posts quickly and easily without ever needing to get a webmaster to do it for you.

There are over 200,000,000 Blogs online today and that number grows every day. Again, not all blogs and blog owners are equal, many are neglecting to include automation and leverage and integration with Social Engines so there are many nay-sayers about blogging, but that attitude is changing as more people are enlightened.

A Feed or RSS Feed as it’s more commonly known will distribute your blog posts well beyond just displaying them on your website. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates of your blog posts, delivered ‘auto-magically‘ via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for your content (information) to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other technologies as shortened or full length messages, which Social Engines happen to LOVE. Your Feed makes it possible to display blog posts just about anywhere on the web or web connected device and most importantly directly to the millions of people online every day.

That means a Blog with an RSS Feed can ‘auto-magically‘ distribute information you create about you, your business, your products and your services quickly and easily across thousands of sites on the web. And you only have to create your pieces of content once!

A blog is a powerful code (invisible to the human, non-techie eye) and every time you add content to an existing or new blog post, like you would add content to a word document, it is distributed around the web in seconds and is fed directly into the biggest marketplaces and communities of people online every day.

What makes a blog with a feed even more powerful is that it reaches the biggest sources of people (leads) online – who by the way are not just using Search Engines anymore to find out about products and services, they are also using the “Social Engines”. PLUS your Blog Feed can also ‘auto-magically‘ update Google and Yahoo about your site too, so you still stay connected with the Search Engines for no more extra work, or money.

Now if you’re anything like me, when I first heard about these Social Engines, I dismissed them as not being a viable business and marketing channel because they appeared to be for personal networking and friendship (and they are indeed used for those reasons). Whilst many businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals are using these engines and winning new business – only a handful are doing it easily and quickly, because most of them do not know about the power of connecting your Weblog RSS Feed and how it fits in with using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg and hundreds more Social Engines.

In my own experience, I was wrong to not get involved with Blogs and Social Engines sooner (like many business owners and professional managers still are) as my competitors began to build an edge I did not have with my marketplace, simply because I did not understand and connect these two key points about connecting your blog directly to Social Engines. If you want to find new customers quickly and easily and build better sales from existing customers:

  1. Your website must be a Blog with a Feed and/or include one as part of your website
  2. Your online marketing mix and strategy must include sharing your blog post information with people on Social Engines like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg etc.

And here’s why…

Your competitors have possibly already figured out that social engines are where they can connect with people who include your customers and potential customers because the Social Engines are where your customers and potential customers are going online – and they’re going to these Engines regularly and for long periods of time. And people are making buying decisions based on the conversation they are having and the feedback they are hearing.

Even if you [believe you] have no competition, you’re not connecting with your marketplace as directly and as easily as you can, if you are not using the true power of Social Engines. These online sources or marketplaces attract people 24/7/365, who stay for a while each time. How could you NOT promote you, your business and your products and services there?

Every time you add content to your blog, it is circulated out to many Social Engines, once you set up a FREE account with them… people at these Engines who have an interest in what your business offers then come to your website to find out more.

Here’s an example of how your website Blog, its Feed and these Social Engines work together. (Note this diagram also includes the two largest Search engines -let’s not forget them. Using your Blog and RSS Feed, you can ‘auto-magically’ update them too.)

At the centre of this relationship are your website blog and its RSS Feed. Every time you add content to your blog, the Feed distributes it out to the Social and Search Engines with a link back to your website. People on the Social Engines instantly see a summary of your blog post and a link back to your blog/website. If they are interested in you, they click on the link and follow it back to your website to find out more about you and move forward with you.

“Although we like to feed information to the Search Engines for free listings, the Social Engines outperform them in providing INSTANT, FREE traffic (people) to your website… meaning Social Engines host millions of people live online at any given time who are exposed to your blog post instantly… and not only will they follow your link back to your blog/website if they are interested, they also have the power to make your Feed ‘viral’ – voluntarily passing it on to their friends who in turn pass it on… and so on.

The Social Engines and the people on them help you grow your prospect and customer base quickly, easily and cheaply – you can’t get any cheaper than free!”

The Social Engines are places where people go to and stay at; whereas Search Engines are places people only pass through ‘in search of’ a final site destination. This is the major difference and the significant extra power you’re missing out on if you are not involving your business in the Social Engines. Remember though, the Blog Feed is vital to ensuring your participation is mostly ‘auto-magic’ otherwise participating in them could over run your day, your week and your life!

The Blog Feed allows you to ‘auto-magically‘ update the Social Engines, minimizing the ‘air time’ you personally allocate to this.

So, who’s already taking this seriously and using Social Engines as a powerful, quick, cheap and easy tool and media to generate free leads quickly too?

Firstly, no matter your business, products and services, you’ll find prospects and possibly existing clients already participating in these sites on a regular basis. You are bound to find your competitors there too, it makes good business sense to be present on an Engine where millions of people congregate, converse and seek out people with the products and services they require – someone in your industry is probably joining them and being ‘front-of-mind’ and it should be you.

Everyone that gets it commits to it. These world-wide companies, brands and industry leaders have dedicated resources to connect and cultivate relationships with prospects and clients on the Social Engines with reportable, measurable results:

Motor Vehicle Industry: Chevrolet, Ford, General Motors, Honda

Travel and Tourism Industry: JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Luxor Las Vegas, Marriott International Hotels and Resorts, Carnival Cruise Lines, Hertz Car Hire

Sporting Teams: Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Chargers

Entertainment: 92Y, The Travel Channel, ComCast, Marvel Entertainment, Direct TV, Pop Caps, TV Guide

Finance: Wachovia, H&R Block, Intuit

Retail: Best Buy, The Home Depot, American Apparel, Rubbermaid, Whole Foods, Zappos.com

Food and Beverage: Starbucks, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Popeye’s Chicken, Tastidlite, Kraft Foods (see Vegemite Case Study below)

Other Global brands: Dell Computers, EMC and Kodak – all benefitting by directly connecting with their target marketplace – whether that’s existing customers and/or potential customers.

Case Study:

Kraft Foods have taken an interesting Corporation-Consumer collaborative approach to product promotion and development using Social Engines. Here’s what they say about their social engine strategy:

For many of our strong brands such as Vegemite – we acknowledged that we are simply (proud) brand custodians and that the brand is owned by ‘the people’. We focused our first two years of social engine participation on simply listening and asking questions.

Two of these questions were:

  1. How do you individually like your Vegemite?
  2. If there ever was to be a Vegemite variation what would this be?

Recently Kraft launched their latest product “Name me” a vegemite plus cream cheese experience. Here’s how they are using Social Engines to develop it.

“This is a work in progress; we spent two years listening and now with the product on shelves the Kraft Communications team is engaging with Vegemite loyalists and cynics alike on the 12 top social engines. They are engaging and getting samples out on and off line- and encouraging debate on the new products. There are a number of Facebook groups sitting in the following camps: pro original, pro new flavour and anti new flavour.”

This is just one way Social Engines are helping businesses already to grow brand, product and corporate awareness. There are many other ways to use it too that can and do lead to direct and immediate sales. No matter the size of your business and marketplace, Social Engines, like the internet at large give you a level playing field with industry leaders like Kraft Foods and the others mentioned here.

Your website with a blog and feed will provide regular content to the Social Engines ‘auto-magically’. You need to support that by also visiting the main Social Engines and engaging people on a weekly basis, as it forms part of your marketing, CRM and all the other pay-offs mentioned previously.

Adding content regularly to your Blog Feed, ‘auto-magically‘ keeps you in touch and front of mind to millions of people around the world, on the Social Engines (and Search Engines) so they can access your business, products and services quickly and easily.

The buzz appears to be more than a fad so for your business it becomes not a question of ‘if’ these Social Engines are going to be a valuable marketing tool for business. Rather, the question now is:

“How quickly will you get your business on the Social Engines

… to Capture Your Competitors Clients too?”

HOW TO GET STARTED

Here’s a checklist to help you get started with your new, exciting and FREE Social Engine Strategy:

1) Get a Blog website with a domain name of your choice OR if you already have a website, get a new sub domain or folder added called blog

2) Open an account with at Google, Feedburner, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, and LinkedIn.

3) Install an RSS Blog Feed and set up a Pinging list on it then add your Blog feed to the Search and Social Engine accounts you created in the step above.

4) Create content-rich education videos that can be added to your YouTube account and your Blog – that is then ‘auto-magically‘ added to your Search and Social Engine accounts.

5) Actively participate in or create new Facebook Groups, Events and Pages.

6) Make promotional videos about you, your business, your products, how you help and support people and upload them to your YouTube Channel then add them to your blog posts.

To really make this all work well for you, you need to know there is a big secret in succeeding with growing your business using Social Engines. You’ve read this far, so here it is: Social Engine success rest largely with you getting to grips with:

  1. Being a ‘face’ of your business and allowing people to connect with your ‘authenticity’ as a person ahead of a product, and
  2. the need to ‘listen’ to your marketplace, innovate with change to meet their ever-changing needs and then share information that will help them, rather than push product.

Millions of dollars are spent monthly with pay per click advertising on these sites and more millions are paid to ‘search engine specialists’ who supposedly help you reach number 1 ranking on keywords relevant to your business. It’s a fierce fight between serious players for top spots on search engines, both free and paid listings. An entire industry is built on it and around it. But you now know how to become a leader in your industry on the most powerful Social (and Search) Engines online today and how to do it Quickly, Cheaply, Easily and Auto-Magically.

In some cases, target market demographics may not be using Social Engines; therefore it would not be worthwhile. Consider these statistics when making your evaluation:

78% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Do you rely on 3rd party endorsements to build buyer confidence? If this is not a necessary part of your marketing and sale process, you may be able to ignore Social Engine Marketing.

Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy – Listening first, selling second. Would your competitors be prepared to connect and listen to your prospects and customers directly to discover what they want, and then give it to them? If not, then you may be able to ignore Social Engine Marketing… and least for a little while.

The worst part is the first part. When you start, your ‘following’ could be small but that is far better than not monitoring what’s been said about you at all! The only way to change that is to get in the game!

Get started right now, before your competitors do -it’s the future of marketing your business online, because that is where the people you want as your customers are going online. It’s only a matter of time before someone in your industry emerges as the leader on the Social Engines – get you and your business front-of-mind first. Enjoy the experience and I’ll ‘meet and tweet you’ on the Social Engines of the World!

Jennie Armato is known as “The Godmother of Web Success” having mentored and coached thousands of entrepreneurs around the world since 2004 to create your ultimate business and lifestyle using the true power of the internet.

A Business Model That Keeps on Giving

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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If there were an Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame, Wayne Huizenga would be a charter member. Most people recognize the Wayne Huizenga as being the former owner of the Florida Marlins baseball team, and the current owner of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins. These are the types of gaudy baubles a billionaire entrepreneur collects. However, his success came from the most elemental business: trash hauling.

Mr. Huizenga started as a small time cartage operator for a waste disposal firm in south Florida. He worked his way into sales and ultimately bought a small firm. In the 1960’s waste disposal was a local, independent, mom and pop type of business in the United States as well as in most industrialized countries. There was no scale. Each trash removal firm worked on contracts negotiated with local governments. There was always the fear of political winds changing and effecting a contractors future status.

From his perspective as a small time operator in a highly fragmented industry, Wayne Huizenga knew that he needed a safety net, not wanting to be tied to a sole municipality for his firm’s sustenance. His idea was elegantly simple: he would build a national firm, with appropriate leverage and economies of scale, by buying up key independent garbage hauling firms in strategically important markets. This would provide the strength to expand in every secondary market and standardize this formerly sclerotic industry.

This idea evolved into Waste Management. Mr. Huizenga became a billionaire when his firm, after ascending to the number one spot as an international garbage-hauling firm, with contracts spanning the United States, Europe and Asia, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The simple idea of consolidating hundreds of independent firms under one roof and standardizing the service menu was a thoroughly disruptive new business model. Former owners for these independent businesses were induced to sell by offers of stock, options and management contracts.

With a billion dollars in hand, Mr. Huizenga could have retired and collected art, cars, coins or stamps. He could have hung out with the idle rich. Instead, he applied the business model that created Waste Management to a completely different business category: home entertainment. In the 1970’s, with the market introduction of first beta-max, and subsequently VHS technology, and then the rapid descent of retail pricing for home video players, thousands of independent retail stores popped up offering video for rent. The ability to rent a popular movie tape and play it when desired in the comfort of one’s home, was a huge change in behavior and in the method of delivering entertainment to the masses.

Wayne Huizenga was restless, looking for a new challenge and open to any opportunity that offered huge potential upside rewards. He saw it in a small, but growing firm: Blockbuster Video. Today, the consumer recognizes the Blockbuster brand as a generic term for home entertainment. 25 years ago, Blockbuster was one of a handful of movie rental chains, several sold franchises to fuel growth, all were regional, struggling for capital to fund expansion, and competing against locally owned stores. The same fragmented industry distribution channels that existed in the garbage removal business were immediately obvious to Wayne Huizenga. He pounced.

After purchasing Blockbuster Video, Mr. Huizenga began the same type of assimilation program he pursued with Waste Management. Small, local video rental chains were purchased. The Company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the funds raised fueled a rapid expansion. The leverage and muscle that Blockbuster gained was utilized in purchasing product from the major Hollywood studios at more favorable terms than any competitor could negotiate. Small locally owned stores could not compete and thousands closed, creating more expansion opportunities for Blockbuster.

Blockbuster Video became a growth company with a huge following on Wall Street. Mr. Huizenga had replicated the success of Waste Management in a completely different industry. While Blockbuster was at its apex, he sold the business to Viacom. Hauling garbage is a highly needed, but largely unappreciated service. Renting movies is a service that is less important, but much more desired by the public. The same business model worked perfectly in two totally opposite areas of opportunity.

Blockbuster Video and Waste Management made Wayne Huizenga one of the most recognizable and successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Most people with but a small slice of this type of achievement would be completely satisfied and content. Not so with Wayne Huizenga!

Seeking another fragmented industry, where the opportunity to roll-up local and regional outlets would enable repetition of the Blockbuster Video and Waste Management successes lead Mr. Huizenga to the world of used car sales and marketing. He immediately recognized the same dysfunctional market forces, absence of scalability and pricing inefficiencies so readily apparent in the video rental and garbage hauling business.

During the 1990’s auto leasing became wildly popular. These cars are leased for a set term, typically returned with average or below average miles and dealer maintained. The problem for the automobile industry was, and is, the inventory glut that occurs as leased cars are returned. This created a unique opportunity for Wayne Huizenga and his favorite business model.

He launched Auto Nation with a public sale of equity on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Auto Nation is the largest seller of late model used cars in the world. Inventory is vast, offering virtually every popular model in great depth and variety. The scale and national reach of Auto Nation, enables pricing to be very sharp, almost always significantly lower than local dealers. In addition, all prices are non-negotiable and fixed, eliminating one of the major negatives to purchasing a car, haggling over price.

Three times, in three totally differing industries, Wayne Huizenga has applied a uniquely disruptive business model that has streamlined sluggish, non-dynamic business categories. He started very small. He thought very big. This is a perfect template for every prospective entrepreneur to study and utilize. A version of this strategy is often customized and applied to industry specific opportunities. This can be performed on a local, regional, national or international basis.

Entrepreneurial business models come in unlimited varieties. There is no single, linear textbook approach that fits unilaterally for every project. The entrepreneur that will customize a strategy offering beneficial disruptive features applicable to their product has the greatest potential for huge rewards. Innovate, create, and think outside of the box: the marketplace has an unquenchable thirst for new, different, exciting products and business models.

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Economic Conditions and Trends of the Walt Disney Company

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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With the economy remaining The Walt Disney Company’s largest threat, the recent turmoil in the financial markets has adversely affected the economic activity in the United States and other regions of the world in which Disney conducts business, and has affected demand for some of Disney’s products and services. A continued decline in economic activity could adversely affect demand for any of their businesses, thus reducing their overall revenue and earnings. A sustained decline in economic conditions could reduce attendance and spending at one or more of Disney’s parks and resorts, purchase of or prices for advertising on broadcast or cable networks or owned stations, prices that Cable Service Providers will pay for cable programming, performance of their theatrical and home entertainment releases, and purchases of Company-branded consumer products. These conditions could also impair the ability of those with whom Disney does business to satisfy their obligations to Disney.

Changes in exchange rates for foreign currencies may also reduce international demand for their products, increase the labor or supply costs in non-United States markets, or reduce the United States dollar value of revenue received from other markets.

Cultural and social values and trends

Each of Disney’s businesses creates entertainment or consumer products whose success depends substantially on consumer tastes and preferences that change in often unpredictable ways. The success of their businesses depends on their ability to consistently create and distribute filmed entertainment, broadcast and cable programming, online material, electronic games, theme park attractions, hotels and other resort facilities and consumer products that meet the changing preferences of the broad consumer market. Many of Disney’s businesses increasingly depend on worldwide acceptance of their offerings and products outside the United States, and the success of these offerings therefore depends on Disney’s ability to successfully predict and adapt to changing consumer tastes and preferences outside as well as inside the United States.

For example:

  • The success of Disney’s offerings in the home entertainment market depends in part on consumer preferences with respect to home entertainment formats, including DVD players and personal video recorders, as well as the availability of alternative home entertainment offerings and technologies, including web-based delivery of entertainment offerings.
  • Technological developments offer consumers an expanding array of entertainment options and if consumers favor options that Disney has not yet fully developed rather than the entertainment products they do offer, their sales may be adversely affected.

Political and legal issues

The success of Disney’s businesses is highly dependent on maintenance of intellectual property rights in the entertainment products and services they create. New technologies such as the convergence of computing, communication, and entertainment devices, the falling prices of devices incorporating such technologies, and increased broadband internet speed and penetration have made the unauthorized digital copying and distribution of their films, television productions and other creative works easier and faster and enforcement of intellectual property rights more challenging. The unauthorized use of intellectual property rights in the entertainment industry is a significant and rapidly growing phenomenon. These developments require Disney to devote substantial resources to protecting their intellectual property against unauthorized use and present the risk of increased losses of revenue as a result of unauthorized digital distribution of their content and sales of unauthorized DVDs and other counterfeit products.

Podcast Rocks Everybody and Is Making Lots of Money

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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What happened to the radio? Fewer people are listening to the radio, and the disc jockeys are improving all the time. Entertainment over the radio is on an all time high, but the public seems to look for an alternative to the radio.

Where are the masses going to? Let me tell you a little secret. It is known in the industry as the Great Podcast Renaissance. 2015 is going to explode with audio content, especially podcasting.

Listeners are getting busier and busier and do not have time to sit in front of the television. They want entertainment on the run.

Podcast rocks because the listeners can listen to podcasts on demand anywhere, whether they are in the gym, commuting to and from work on the train, travelling in the car, cleaning the house, or just lazing around.

The only device necessary to listen to your favorite podcast is a smart phone, tab, iPhone, iPod, or android unit. The choice the listener has is to stream the digital audio file or to download and store it on the device in mp3 format.

The listener can listen to whatever they want to listen to, not a program controller at a radio station’s choice. Furthermore, you can listen when you want to listen to the digital audio file, unlike the radio which has a set time for every program.

What used to irritate me is that when there is a talk show and it is just getting interesting, suddenly it stops because time has run out. Ever so rude the announcer will mumble a few words you can not hear and that is the end.

Indirectly podcasting can make you lots of money. If you give your audience great podcasts with good content, your audience numbers will grow and in turn reveal you to more and more listeners. Opportunities will start knocking at your door, for instance you will appear as a guest speaker at more TV and radio shows.

You can start selling your most popular digital audio file series. Give the listeners a live show where you sell tickets. This will really be fun.

Advertising is another great way of making money. Combine a digital audio file with a website. Start selling products related to webcasts, like a Webinar on how to become a great Podcaster or an e-book on the greatest podcast shows and their Case Studies.

Publish your own webcasts on your blog which in turn will bring you more traffic. More opportunities will arise to make money.

The sheer pressure of your audience will lead you to new heights and the audience will show you what they want. Be very sensitive to their needs.

Social Media and Brand Communications

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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Brand Communications – test of retention rate

We are constantly surrounded by brands. Everywhere we look we can see brands but how much of the brand communication is retained by our minds? What is the recall rate?

Here’s a simple test I always follow

  • Did you read today’s morning newspaper?
  • Tell us what section did you read? News / sports / Entertainment / Classified?
  • Which sections do you usually read?
  • Do you remember the name of at least one brand that you saw in today’s newspaper. Which one is it?
  • Do you remember a brand that you saw last evening on TV? Which one is it?
  • Name a brand you saw on some outdoor media while coming to this Conference. Which one is it?
  • Do you remember any celebrity name associated with the brand?

A simple test of brand retention would tell us that only the big brands who can afford to run a 360 degree multimedia ad campaign are retained in people’s mind. In addition celebrity endorsement also plays a big role. Traditionally, only the large businesses have been able to hire an ad agency or PR agency and run such advertisement and brand building campaigns. The entities in the small and medium (SME) sector, solo entrepreneurs, start-ups on the other hand have always used means like pamphlets and flier distributions, newspaper ads or networking and word of mouth marketing.

With internet and social media everything is changing. Social media is a digital version of the good old word-of-mouth marketing. Today, social media is the most easy and cost effective means of communication.

Definition

To simply define, ‘social media’ is a collection of simple, easy to learn and adapt, freely available internet based tools and platforms that can be used to reach out to a worldwide audience. The defining factor about social media is the ‘ability to establish real time dialogue in multimedia formats.’ Traditional media like Ad films, Radio, TV, Newspapers, outdoor hoardings, corporate websites are all one way medium. On the other hand social media tools like blogs, social networks, picture and video sharing enables two way communications which is friendly, open and democratic and simply put, ‘social.’

But ‘cost effective’ is not the only factor

We should not talk about social media just being cost effective. That sounds like social media is relevant only for those segments of entrepreneurs who cannot afford mainstream media brand communication. No, it’s not a case of “grapes are sour.” It is not just about the money, had that been the case these top most brands in India wouldn’t have joined the Social Media bandwagon.

Even NASA uses social networks as a matter of fact it does a pretty good job at it. Surely an entity like NASA would not be here if they didn’t see that cost effective or not social media offers a whole new kind of brand communication that has never been possible using any other form of traditional media.

So why is everybody joining social media?

Because of the revolutionary magical difference between traditional media and social media – the ability to establish a dialogue with, listen and respond to the consumers whenever, wherever and in whichever format.

  • Real Time
  • Two way communication
  • Longer shelf life

Every brand has a story; every entrepreneur has a story, a cause a mission with which they start. Social media gives the brand an ability to tell their stories.

The Social Consumers

The number of internet users in India has crossed 100 million this September. It is predicted that in 2 years India would overtake United States in being the largest country to be on internet. There are currently 38 million Indians on Facebook. This large number of people are the social consumers.

Social consumers are different from traditional consumers in that they no longer take purchase decisions by simply watching a TV commercial or outdoor hoarding or newspaper ad. They want more from a brand. It is no longer enough to tell, “We made this cream, if you apply it, you would become fair.” The social now wants to know – How and why I would become fair? Who else have become fair? What were their experiences during the process?

So how to connect to social consumers

The social consumers go to their respective social networks to find out about a brand and then make a purchase. They go with the brand that extends a friendly hand towards them, a brand that shares its stories heart to heart with the consumers.

A brand can achieve that only by being present on the social networks, using the same tools and platforms that the consumers are using for their day to day communications. The brand has to rise over the same old sales and target oriented greed and have to show love and respect for the consumers. They have to show that they care to listen and respond that they are sporting enough to handle negative remarks with dignity.

3 Tips for Launching a Successful Business in Music

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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1. Know Your Audience

It might seem like trite advice. But if you don’t take the time to understand your audience, you could end up:

  • Spending years building a business that appeals to very few people or no one at all.
  • Wasting time and money that could have been better spent elsewhere.
  • Missing out on profitable opportunities that are right in front of your eyes.

Who are you selling to? Why do they need your solution? What makes you unique and different from the other businesses available?

If you can’t answer these questions in a direct, specific way, you may not be ready to launch into business just yet.

For instance, think about musicians. If your business is built around selling products or services to musicians, you must realize that they don’t have a lot of money, and without a compelling offer, you’re not going to get them to take their hard-earned money and spend it with you.

2. Build Trust & Add Value

Many business owners aren’t looking at long-term prospects. Instead, they make many shortsighted decisions and mistakes that cost them credibility and profit.

Unless your offer is unique, different, or compelling in some way, it’s better to think of business as an exercise in building trust incrementally over time – not in days, months, or even weeks, but in years!

Launch a content marketing program. Publish new, value-adding content on a regular basis for your readers and prospects. Equip them with the knowledge they need so they begin to see you as the authority in your industry.

There are many ways to take a long-term approach besides with content marketing, but whatever it is, it should be an ongoing program that enables communication between you and your prospects, as opposed to a one-time campaign that only serves to drive attention to your business temporarily.

3. Stick To What You’re Good At

Many businesses try their hand at line extensions and diversification programs, only to fail or lose their footing in their market. This is because of the 80/20 rule, which states that you’ll get 80% of your results from 20% of your effort.

Initially, generating business is often a process of experimentation. You’ll try many different approaches to the same problem until you figure out something that works. But once you’ve found your footing, it’s better to focus on what you’re good at instead of branching out.

CD Baby is not looking to launch an app for this very reason – they want to make sure they continue to offer the best service possible in their chosen field of music distribution.

Aquarius (The Water Carrier) January 21 to February 19

August 9, 2017

Entertainment and enterpreneur

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A zodiacal constellation between Capricorn and Pisces and the eleventh sign of zodiac in astrology.

Aquarians are basically objective, friendly, progressive, humanitarian, futuristic, honest, tolerant, independent, inventive, unpredictable, intellectual and possesses very attractive personality. At some places, they are unemotional and detached too, we can call these habits their worst qualities. The Aquarians have two sorts of personalities, one is shy, gentle, sensitive and patient and other phase is lively and exhibitionist. This star possesses a lot of good qualities but a very few drawbacks in personality. Aquarians are very forceful having strong convictions and their also will power is very strong.

They are very honest in their statements, even if they do some mistake, they admit and accept it.

The very common habits in both types of Aquarians are that they are frank, serious minded, idealistic, active, tempered, sensible, refined, express themselves with reason, clear and logical, self-assertive, friendly, concise and always intelligent.

Both phases of Aquarians like to become temporary loners. They love to be independent and never follow even do not like to be interfered.

Aquarians have interest and a good taste in music, art and drama and gifted in drama and especially arts. They do not make friends easily but love to help humanity.

One of the most uncommon qualities which Aquarians possess is that their judgment of human nature is excellent and this habit helps them in choosing their friends and love. Scarifies everything for their loved ones, their emotions get hurt very easily because due to a good perfection in their personality, they expect everything ideally. Aquarians never shout very easily in their anger or grief but once they leave someone, and then never talk to that person for the lifetime.

In group projects Aquarians work best if given a leading part. They have a unique desire of knowledge as they learn by observing things. They are also very good entertainers as they can talk on any topic and entertain every kind of a person.

Aquarians have a very sensitive nature, so become depressed. They like fighting for a cause, planning and dreaming for the future, having fun, thinking about the past issues but dislike excessive loneliness, imitations and fake promises.

The Aquarians are called water bearer as it is symbolized as nourishing the earth with life giving energies. Here we find innovation, individuality and themes of change.

Favorite color of Aquarians is TURQUOISE

Star stone is AMETHYST

Flowers are WHITE ORCHID and POPPY AND NIGHTSHADE

Aquarians are very brainy, brilliant and visionary as they see so far that they leave their present behind. They approach life in a cool and an independent way.

They are not emotional, in fact, ignore their feelings and give priority to get best result by their idea. Try their level best to achieve goals as they have a business approach and socially progressive due to theoretical, strongly imaginative, philosophical, devoted to work and spiritual nature.

Aquarians are multi-talented, self-expressive, invite attention and prove their ideas as they are full of inspiration.

As far as food is concerned, the best food for the Aquarians is light food.

They are independent in their style, they do what they like for themselves, love to look and be different and unique, use all those things which are surprising an unexpected. They are art lovers for their pastime. They like to cook as well.

The best match is Libra and worst is Cancer. They are happy to be alone and emotionally cool but these bad habits sometimes create problems, they feel that emotions tie them down as commitments and as they love to be independent, so mostly avoid the things which bound them.

Excellent problem solver and good entrepreneurs and never lose hope, in fact overcome the negative issues very easily. Fixed in opinion and justify their actions and once they take decision, they wait confidently for its positive results in spite of facing many hurdles. They have a big thirst of knowledge and very observant. Love to see people’s point of view. For Aquarians, life is the study of people.

Aquarians are very sincere natured and very loyal to the one they love, but in romantic relationship, keep a bit distance to be balanced with their independence too. They are liked by the people due to their wise, sincere, clear, perspective, futuristic, tolerant and a unique nature.