As previously stated in Part I, the key benefit of these businesses are that they capitalize on persons not having the time to complete these tasks themselves. Many people may say, “I can do that myself”, but will they? And if so, when? Technology exists to make life easier by shortening the time it takes to complete processes. By giving people the following services will in effect, do just that.
(6) Start a business setting up computer based Entertainment Centers for homes. I have a friend who has a DVD player, an HD-DVD player, the Blu-Ray player and TIVO! And, he also has his multidisc CD player with shelves of Audio CD’s and DVD’s. He came to my house and saw that I have over 300 movies, 4500 songs, a built in Blu-ray and HD-DVD drive, digital cable with the ability to record any channel to my hard drive which is 10 times the size of a TIVO drive all on my HP Media Center computer. One machine, that comes with a remote and hooks into my HDTV and speaker system. Needless to say he wanted one! So I charged him a fee to go to the store with his money, buy the system and install it! Now suppose I advertise that service? Instant new technology business!
(7) Start a business setting up public wireless networks! What’s a wireless network? You walk into Starbucks with your laptop, open your web browser and a T-Mobile login page pops up. You login (after you pay a fee of course) and you’re on the internet! That’s a public wireless network. Now suppose you did that for the local bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant or hangout. Its not that complex. You setup an internet service through the local cable or phone company for that business. You get the fastest service they have, which is about 10-15MBps, it’ll cost around $50 per month for the client which they’ll make back by the extra business they’ll receive. Remember setting up that service is JUST A PHONE CALL! Then you go to a best buy, CompUSA or Circuit City and get a “Linksys” wireless router (with the clients money) and hook the cable into it. Make a few software settings from the main computer that’s in the business (most businesses have a computer) and the network is up and running! What do you charge? $400 to $500 easy.
(8) Start a business implementing Skype (Instant Messaging + VOIP) among families and or businesses. If you’re not familiar with Skype you need to get familiar ASAP (www.skype.com). When I got Skype I was so excited by what I could do with it that I told a friend (not the same friend). He thought I was trying to sell him on some pyramid scheme at first, but when he came to my house and saw it in action he had to have it! He never knew that all the phone conversations we had, that I was on a computer, paying only $100 for an entire year of local and long distance calling with my own number, voicemail, conference calling, etc…! So, for a fee, I TALKED HIM THROUGH setting it up. He then wanted it for his company and asked me about integrating it. The rest, you know, was a fee! (smile)
(9) Start an information research service. All you need is your computer, an internet connection and a fee for your services. When I used to spend more of my time traveling I used to call home a lot and ask my wife to look something up on the net for me. Now its not that I didn’t have a phone that had internet capabilities, but she was far more faster at finding flight info, booking hotels, looking up info on google, typing a document or two and send them via email to wherever I needed. Now my associates who traveled with me took note of the speed at which I could make a call and get directions or nearly anything else I needed and they started asking if she could gather information for them! She came up with a billing monthly system and another business was born.
(10) Start a business making home based offices or workspaces more efficient! I’ve got computer cables running everywhere! Books and cd’s all over the place, and magazines I use as furniture now. Another friend of mine stopped by one day and was shocked that I was able to get anything done. I already knew my area was a mess, BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME to organize it properly. She said, “If you make me a flyer and a T-shirt design for my business, I’ll organize and NEATLY ARRANGE yours.” I gave her a shot at it, of course while keeping a close watch on my precious equipment. The job was excellent! She used some trash bag ties to bind together all the closest cables, got some inexpensive racks for the magazines, bought 2 small tables for $30 each and moved the things that were already furthest away from me to those tables in a very neat arrangement. Added 2 more stylish waste baskets and a coffee cup warmer (to keep the fuel hot) and I was a happy camper. Again, someone else saw my new office space and wanted this same service!!!
Technology can be your best friend if you let it. With a few simple steps you can create a whole new life for yourself and others. Now all the business ideas I mentioned in this 2 part article still require business acumen, so read up on every aspect of the business you decide to pursue. Be patient and DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE MONEY! Now I didn’t say NOT to give proper attention to acquiring funds. But, as they say, WORRY is a PRAYER FOR THE NEGATIVE OUTCOME! Find out if any of the above give you a feeling of peace while working at them. If so, it may just be your calling.
As a Digital Technology Consultant and publisher of THE ANTHONY REPORT [http://www.theanthonyreport.com], Anthony Stewart specializes in Media Content Production. He has over 10 years experience in Graphic Design, Video Production, Web Design, Interactive CD-ROM and DVD Authoring. He is fluent on both Mac and Windows operating system platforms and has built and serviced computer systems for clients since 1996.
His Media Design and Video Production clients have included, multi-platinum rappers Nelly and Lil Wayne, NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony and Marquis Daniels, MichCon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Daimler-Chrysler. He has also done extensive work for Loose Cannon Entertainment, the company behind recent NBA All Star Weekend Celebrity Main Events and Nelly & Jermaine Dupri’s Celebrity Weekends. Anthony has directed and produced several television shows, which include Everyday Cooking, Showreel, and the Digital Bridge. He is currently developing two shows for network cable in the areas of technology and health.
U.S. energy and technology businesses seeking new global markets should prepare to take advantage of new opportunities in Russia. A fresh start in U.S.-Russian political relations is dramatically improving the business climate. Russian economic reforms and the stabilization of the Russian economy has reduced the risk of doing business in Russia. Another factor is that Russia has become a nation of significant wealth because of oil and gas exports. Most importantly, Russia is about to invest in major new energy infrastructure that is a great opportunity for U.S energy and technology business.
A Fresh Start in US-Russian Relations
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev issued a statement on March 31, 2009 about building the bond between Russia and the United States. President Medvedev made a strong statement about the need need for more investment projects, joint research and development by companies and increased trade in high tech products between America and Russia. President Obama has made clear that he is also interested in strengthening the bonds and trade between Russia and the United States.
President Medvedev and President Barack Obama met in London on April 1, 2009. A Joint Statement by President Obama and President Medvedev on April 1, 2009 stated that they had discussed ways to strengthen the international monetary and financial system and promote global economic stability and prosperity. The statement also emphasized the steps that both countries will take to improve international security, rule of law, and peaceful resolution of differences. This establishes a very good climate for American-Russia business.
Russian Economic Reforms
Key economic reforms have been implemented in the Russian tax, banking, labor and land codes. Russia has passed a new Foreign Investment Law that defines procedures for participation of foreign investors in the capital of Russian strategic sector companies. This new law will create a transparent and predictable business climate for foreign investors. Another significant measure to improve the business climate is that the Russian tariff rate has been set at zero % for the import of some types of technological equipment.
Past problems of doing business in Russia have been reduced for two significant reasons, according to the U.S. State Department. First, Russia has been preparing to join the World Trade Organization by bringing regulations and laws into compliance with internationally accepted business practices. America and Russia concluded a bilateral WTO accession agreement in late 2006. The second factor that has facilitated business transactions in Russia is the growth of small and medium sized businesses. As with most countries, businesses that are small and medium sized are often more innovative and less bureaucratic than big corporations.
Stability of Russian Economy
The Russian economy has greatly improved since the difficult times in the 1990s during the transition to a free market system. Inflation and exchange rates have stabilized due to good fiscal policy, according to the U.S. State Department. In the past nine years, the Russian GDP growth has averaged 7%. Since 2003, Russia has had a budget surplus and has established a large stabilization/rainy day fund ($156 billion in 2007). This kind of economic stability is very inviting for international business.
Russian Oil Exports
Russia is becoming a wealthy nation because of oil and gas exports, which have become the engine that drives the Russian economy. Russia is the world’s largest energy exporter now. Although America is the world’s largest importer of energy, only about 3% of US oil imports were from Russia in February 2009. With improved US-Russian relations, there is a more opportunity an increase in oil exports from Russia to America. The US government has been striving to reduce its dependence on the Middle East for oil and importing oil from Russia would support that goal.
U.S. businesses that want to import Russian oil can look online for Russian partners. The Russian firm OOOLIGA, founded In 2004, has an online ad stating that the company is agent of Gasprom, Rosfneft, Lukoil and other oil companies in Russia. OOLIGA sells rebco (Russian Export Blend Crude Oil), d-2, mazut, as well as numerous other products. Another Russian company is Sakhalin Energy, which promises to deliver oil and gas “profitably and in environmentally and socially responsible ways.” Sakhalin Energy sells d-2, mazut, rebco, lng, jetfuel, lpg, gasoline, m-100, and diesel oil. The Oao Yandgaz Group is another Russian company that is selling oil internationally. Oao Yandgaz states in its an ad that it is a major oil extracting Company that is looking build “strong and long-term business relationships with buyers of petroleum products in accordance with Russian law.” The Oaa Yandgaz Group sells base oil, bitumen, diesel, jet fuel, lng, lpg, mazut100, rebco, other petroleum products. These are just a few examples of the many Russian companies looking for business partners.
Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies
In the April 1, 2009 Joint Statement, President Obama and President Medvedev pledged to cooperate in improving energy efficiency and development of clean energy technologies. This cooperation will be based on the Global Energy Security Principles adopted at the G-8 Summit held in 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Russia’s 2008 plan for implementing the St. Petersburg principles shows Russia’s commitment to expand electrical generation and distribution facilities in the next 10 years. They plan to double the total capacity of nuclear power plants and coal-fired plants. Hydroelectric power plant capacity will increase by 60% and gas generation plant capacity will increase by 40%. These massive infrastructure projects will be opportunities for American energy businesses. The projects will also be opportunities for U.S. companies that specialize in technology and products for energy efficiency and clean energy technology.
U.S.-Russian Energy and Technology Trade
These new developments in the Russian marketplace represent huge opportunities for American energy and technology businesses. Russia’s new wealth and economic stability provide an excellent environment for investment and trade. Russia has opened the doors for foreign technology businesses with new laws and zero tariff programs. Russia’s plan to make big investments in energy infrastructure will be significant opportunities for U.S. energy companies. All of these signs are extremely promising, and U.S. companies should be ready to take advantage of these opportunities.
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Fueling the high growth rate for Retailers, Manufacturers and Distributors is a flurry of mergers and acquisitions. In today’s world of mergers and acquisitions, and heavy usage of the Web, companies are facing a new reality. Software that meets the company’s needs now will not be effective after a new acquisition takes place, or if sales substantially increase as a result of using the Web.
While meeting with a prospective client — a CEO of a large cleaning supply company — about purchasing new software, he told me that he was planning to grow his business by end of the year from 300 million to 500 million dollars by acquiring competitors he was negotiating with. When I asked him how he planned to integrate his company’s software with the new companies he was planning to acquire, his response was: “You hit the nail on its head. The software we are using cannot support our future acquisition plans. We will have to let the companies we plan to acquire keep using their current software until we find software that can meet our new needs. Not having the right software will result in a substantial increase of our operating cost. The unfortunate part is that we did not have the foresight to think ahead of the fact that our current software would not be able to support our acquisition plans. Nobody expected that we would grow at this rate and now we have to pay the price.”
Here are 4 unforeseen business disruptions that are likely to happen when your business environment changes:
1. Quite often companies engaged in e-commerce, experience an unexpectedly high volume of sales’ transactions that the current software cannot handle efficiently, resulting in the need for additional labor and excessive operating costs.
2. Frequently, the current software cannot provide the desired analytical information needed, resulting in the downloading of large amounts of data to spread sheets and more complex data manipulation to get the needed reports.
3. When mergers and acquisitions take place, the number of users along with the transaction volume will substantially increase, resulting in the possibility that the current computer system will not be able to handle this sudden change.
4. The acquired company might not have the same business practices as the company doing the takeover, resulting in the possibility that the current software may not be able to handle the new business demands. This can result in multiple software platforms being used creating higher operating costs and additional complexities in the computer infrastructure.
When planning future expansion, steps should be taken to ensure smooth business growth.
Software effectiveness evaluations should be performed the same way as evaluating old equipment in a factory. When evaluating the current software functions, the focus should not be on how well the software meets the business needs today, but whether it can meet the business growth of tomorrow when the company moves to the “next level.” In today’s business reality, which is changing at lighting speed, lack of planning can be a very costly proposition.
Nobody likes change, but not facing the fact that a company’s current software is outdated can result in substantial business disruptions and expenses down the road. The question that should always be asked is: “if the business reality changes drastically resulting in an unexpectedly large amount of new users or volume of data transactions, could the current software be able handle it?”
Since 1980, Dan Kaplan has worked with corporate executives to improve purchasing, increase warehouse and distribution efficiencies, and implement software solutions that result in substantial savings and productivity improvements. To lower your operating costs, reduce your warehousing and distribution business’s quote generation process from 3 weeks to 3 hours and invoice cycle from months to one day
An information technology business can be a gold mine in the right hands, but IT is an extremely crowded field so you need to make sure that you take the right steps in order to make your business a success. That process begins with understanding the importance of IT and knowing how to properly position yourself within the market to make the best of your particular assets. If you can manage that, then the opportunities for success are almost limitless.
There are several key elements to starting an IT business and the first is recognizing the various aspects of IT and what they can bring to clients. Information is an extremely valuable commodity these days, so much so that entire social media networks are built almost every day with the primary goal of spreading information. The Internet itself is the penultimate resource for instant delivery of information and for not just local but global communication.
The IT expert is ideally positioned to make the most of these resources in order to help businesses become more productive and more profitable. Through your own information technology business you can provide the expertise necessary to manipulate social media, produce blogs, design websites and otherwise enable clients to market themselves to their best advantage and reach the widest possible group of potential customers, thus maximizing their profits.
As important as having a strong online presence is to a company, so too is having their own computer system running smoothly and efficiently. This is yet another area where an IT consultant can make a big difference. You can help your clients to put their own systems to better use and to keep existing systems functioning properly so that their business continues to run smoothly and everyone benefits in the end.
Once you understand your own importance in this cycle, you can then take the necessary steps to properly market your information technology business. As with your clients’ businesses, marketing is equally essential to yours and you need to not only identify potential opportunities but also position yourself to take the best advantage of them. Make yourself stand out by highlighting what makes you so much better than the competition and you’ll have clients seeking you out in no time.
Obviously staying on top of trends in technology is vital to being an effective IT consultant and that is another key to starting and maintaining a successful business. The more current your knowledge is, the more effective you’ll be at helping your clients to stay on top of those same trends. You’ll be giving them the competitive edge through your own expertise and that will make you someone that businesses know they can rely on for their IT needs.
Just because the field is a large one doesn’t mean you have to get lost in the crowd. With the right approach you can keep yourself head and shoulders above the rest and put your information technology business in the forefront. Then you’ll be able to sit back and watch the business opportunities multiply and the profits increase with them. It’s a win-win situation for everyone and it could very well be the start of an extremely successful career.