How the Startup Bus Helps Entrepreneurs the World Over

Have you ever wanted to start a new business, but you don’t have a partner or that million-dollar idea fleshed out yet? Have you ever wanted to quit your job and become your own boss, but never had the courage? Whether you’re looking to get pushed out of the nest, are in need of a team to build a business on, or just want to start something awesome, hop on the startup bus.

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25 Buspreneurs, 3 Days, 5 Startups, 1 Bus

The startup bus divides 25 strangers into 5 teams and asks each team to forms its own business. Teams have two traveling days to come up with the next great idea, flesh out their business plan, and figure out as many logistics as possible.

Logistics are important. At the end of the trip, the teams present their ideas to a global consulting firm, and they can’t just sell them dreams. This firm will pick apart their business plans to determine which ones are the most feasible and well planned. The winning team receives mentoring and potentially funding from an experienced startup investor.

From SXSW to Mumbai

While the description above might conjure images of tech geeks hoping off a bus in Austin to pitch their ideas to a group from Silicon Valley, the Startup bus has operates all around the world. The startup bus has expanding to the Europe, India, and the South Pacific, providing resources and opportunities that the residents wouldn’t otherwise have had.

The four startups that don’t win the mentoring and investing still walk away with comprehensive business plans and consulting advice to continue with their execution. Buspreneurs that don’t move forward with their ideas still leave with strong business connections and the know-ho to create a cohesive business plan. Think of it as an entrepreneur boot camp, or business school in 36 hours.

The Navy SEALs of Entrepreneurship

The Navy SEALs perform special operations to protect the national security of our country. However, they also serve as symbols of America, and stand for loyalty to their team and teammates. It’s no wonder that buspreneurs are liked to the navy SEALs. They complete special operations to a short period of time, by highlighting the specialized talents of everyone involved, forming bonds of unity and training along the way.

Of course, you learn much more on the startup bus than loyalty and teamwork, you also learn about yourself. Will Mitchell of StartupBros listed out what he learned that went deeper than his business planning. For example: you are capable of more than you think, and it’s your doubt’s, rather than your abilities that hold you back. It’s important to surround yourself with people who inspire you both in your personal and professional life. And you create your own luck. These life lessons are things that Mitchell will carry with him long after he leaves the startup bus.

What to Know Before You Go

The excitement of making it big with your grand idea should come with an ounce of reality. Life on the road isn’t glamorous. Many Startup Bus alums recommend bringing motion-sickness tablets whether you’re prone to carsickness or not. Your excitement and moving around your table to brainstorm mixed with the turns and bumps of the bus are a recipe for nausea.

Also, board the bus knowing that there could be breakdowns, failures in the facilities, and even highway truck accidents. The StartupBros experienced this when the Internet and heat for wide lengths of time. They also camped out on the chairs of a Taco Bell one night because the bus was stranded and in need of repairs. Like all travel, there are always potholes waiting on the road to success.

It’s Worth It

We could end this article with something cliché, like how it’s not about the destination, but the journey itself, but that wouldn’t do the Startup Bus justice. Instead let’s end with a call to action for entrepreneurs who want to help their community, or the global community, to function better and more efficiently.

The more times the startup bus leaves the station, the more great ideas can help the world.








5 Useful Startup Tips From Someone Who's Been There.

Getting a tech startup off the ground is both terrifying and wildly exhilarating. Even if you’ve been considering it for years, once you decide to run with your idea you’ll be forced to make hundreds of small decisions and hope that you get most of them right.

That’s why it’s so important to consider the advice of tech entrepreneurs who have already achieved success in order to plan for the hurdles you’ll have to overcome. Here are 5 tips to help with your tech startup:

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Manage Your Finances from the Beginning

When your company is brand new, it’s easy to throw your own money into the project without giving it much thought or keeping accurate records. However, once things take off, unraveling your business from your personal life will be time-consuming and frustrating. It’s always better to start by setting up a completely separate identity and accounting system for your company.

If you’ll be working from home, create a clearly defined work area with its own equipment and internet access. This way, by the time you begin looking for investors, you’ll already have a track record of excellent accounting and money management which will only help your cause.

Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You

Even though your operation may be small in the beginning, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Customers like to reach customer service quickly and know that their problems are being handled. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your email and social media accounts.

A great way to do this is by providing every employee, including yourself, with the tools to stay connected on the go. You don’t have to spend a lot here; for example, the Simple Choice Plan from T-Mobile makes unlimited text, talk and data simple.

Use Social Media to Actually Listen

Most startups use social media to promote their products and services. In fact, if you do a quick Google search you’ll find tons of articles about how to do just that. While marketing is an extremely important piece of the puzzle, you should also use social media to listen to what people are saying about your company.

Consumer engagement is so much more than just a trendy buzzword. Look for ways to connect with your customers, thank them for tweet mentions, Facebook page likes, and make your customers part of your culture.

Do Everything Yourself

Although it seems like you are doing everything yourself in the beginning, this is a very valuable learning experience. Resist the temptation to hire someone to do tasks you can do yourself. We learn by doing, and it’s important that you know the ins and outs of your business.

That’s not to say that there won’t be certain situations where you’ll have to outsource tasks or that you won’t ever need to hire someone. Just remember that it’s your business, and you need to know how each job connects to the bigger picture.

Have Fun

This tip is probably the most obvious, but it’s the one most easily forgotten. When stress is building and you feel you’re in over your head, don’t forget why you decided to launch your startup to begin with. Have fun and enjoy being your own boss. Listen to the successful people around you but toss their advice out the window if it doesn’t resonate with your own ideas.

Stay true to your vision, and don’t let the pressure of the day-to-day problems cloud your view. Remember that the 10% it takes to finally get your tech startup launched requires as much effort as the earlier 90%.

Launching a tech startup is an amazing accomplishment. However, unlike a house where once you build it you can relax and enjoy it, once you launch your company you’ll be faced with new and different challenges. The secret is to lay the proper groundwork in the beginning with an eye toward growth.








Wanna Be Startin' Something? 5 Ways to Become an Entrepreneur

Slowly working your way up the ladder isn’t for everyone — sometimes people want to be the ladder. Many people leave their 9-to-5 jobs dreaming about starting their own business and supporting themselves as their own boss, but very few do. Don’t let the years slip by working in the corporate world; here are five ways that you can become an entrepreneur.

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Start an Etsy Shop

If you think Etsy is a website where people sell knitted bears and button necklaces on the side, think again. Etsy has a whole blog category with case studies of people who were able use the site to support themselves full time. Called “Quit Your Day Job,” there are stories of people who started their own brick-and-mortar stores, have customers across the country, and learned exactly how to brand themselves through Etsy. Think of this website as a stepping-stone to learn about the industry and your competition instead of a cutesy knickknack store.

Find a Business Partner to Lean On

Even though you have support from your family and friends, the idea of going into business alone can be daunting. One way to make it in this harsh world is to find a business partner to help you. On top of having someone to bounce ideas off of and take a chunk of the workload, your partner can provide emotional support for you and offer a fresh perspective when times look rough.

Entrepreneur recommends finding a partner with complimentary skills – someone who offers something you can’t – and who has similar work habits. It’s easy for someone to grow bitter when they think their partner isn’t pulling their weight, so you need someone similar who you can trust.

Return to School for an Entrepreneurship MBA

With the power of the Internet, it’s now significantly easier to return to school and further your education. Some universities have started to offer specific Master’s degrees in entrepreneurship. For example, Villanova University offers online classes and let’s students work toward their MBAs both part and full time. Whether you’re taking the full 21 courses over the span of 20 months, or taking a class or two after work, your knowledge of entrepreneurship will prepare you to eventually start your own business.

Start Your Business During Nights and Weekends

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to immediately support yourself and your family with your product or idea, start building it out and preparing your business in your spare time. If it’s service-based, take on a couple of clients when you get home from work or on the weekends. If it’s product-based, construct the product and deliver it when you get home. Keeping your full-time job until you have a strong client or customer-base gives you time to make mistakes and hone your system before you strike out on your own.

Take a Leap of Faith

While most of the above suggestions have recommended ways to start your business without risking your regular paycheck just yet, those tactics don’t work for everybody. There are some people who need to fully cut their ties and jump full force into business. If they don’t, their company goes from brilliant idea, to side project, to what could have been.

Put in your two weeks notice. If you’ve been fired, that’s great. It’s a much-needed kick in the pants that you needed. If there are lay-offs or other cutbacks where you currently are, it’s a sign. Listen to fate and strike out on your own. Don’t think of it as losing your job, think of it as your current company opening up 40 more hours a week for you to focus on doing what you love.

You’re not going to get very far if you sit around longingly reading articles on the Internet. What steps can you take today to start your own business? What goals can you set for the end of the month, the week, and the day to bring you closer to your dream? Your career as an entrepreneur starts now, are you ready for it?








6 Sites Vice.com Should Develop Out

Successful startup Vice.com isn’t so much a media empire as it is a wildly successful uprising within the media. It’s the little punk brother who grew up and made good by getting a killer education without losing his edge. After earning some serious credibility with their coverage of global political developments like the ongoing Ukrainian revolution, Vice has launched its own dedicated news site. Vice is also partnering with FreemantleMedia, the company behind “American Idol” among other TV hits, to create a Vice food platform for both online and on the air content.

It’s certainly not by imitating the status quo of news media that Vice earned its hard news bones. Just look to Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith, the guy who regularly leaves his comfy digs in New York to see what’s going down in the corners of war-torn Liberia, which is something the major news networks won’t touch with an 800mm lens. We love the work Shane Smith does, and we’re excited to see what his team has to offer through the news and food sites. In fact, we’d love it if even more of Vice’s drop-down menus and investigations got full promotions. Here are a few spinoffs the media upstart should consider iterating on.

Vice Sports

ESPN may stock its extraneous channels with the minutia of miniature golf, but it’s only Vice that grabs news about the insane (but increasingly likely) future of full-contact melee sports with robot suits. The consistent draw of Vice has been its willingness to seek out the stories that nobody else is telling, but people obviously really want to see. For those of us who are bored to tears with the same menu of just football, baseball, basketball, and the occasional peppering of soccer when the editors are feeling frisky, a full-on Vice Sports site dedicated to the strange, extreme, and innovative world of athletics would be a dream come true.

Vice Gamer

Vice doesn’t go to the gaming culture well very often, but when they do, it’s for something nobody else in that super-saturated niche of journalism wants to talk about seriously. There was a great article back in May of 2013 when actor/artist James Franco offered an editorial about games addiction and, to an extent, the deeper reasons why we play video games in the first place. People who are even marginally interested in games can get all the industry updates and gossip from a million other sources, but a sharp look at the people within gaming culture and the myriad of oddities that spring up from that ever-more-pervasive bit of pop culture is seriously lacking. What are you waiting for, Vice? Get on it before someone else does!

Vice Explains

It may seem like we’re ungrateful for asking Vice to up the science content, but Vice, please up your science content. Don’t get us wrong, we love the stuff you run on Motherboard, especially when you give us the inside scoop about NASA, but we’re itching for something a little more practical. A site dedicated to producing educational scientific content that won’t make us want to drop an imaginary class would be just peachy, especially if it mixed articles, videos, and interactive content. There’s enough controversy and misinformation out there about everything from solar power to frickin’ fracking, so a no-BS approach to injecting some science into Vice viewers’ brains would not only be fun, it’d be a public service.

Vice Invests

Vice stays vital by staying young, but one area it hasn’t really put much energy into is the world of finance. Really, hear us out. Generation Y, the very people Vice wants to inform and engage, have an increasing amount of spending power, but they’re spending it differently than their parents. In an era of crowdfunding, sharp awareness of economic disparity and disconcertingly young tech-sector billionaires, maybe it’s time the Vice goes whole-hog into market talk. We’d love to see profiles about new companies that are truly interesting and that are looking for investors, advice from people who really know how to live on the kind of budget a lot of Gen-Yers actually maintain, plus explanations of economic issues that are honest for a change. Maybe Vice could even go the extra mile and up their site to give their readers meaningful tools to start their own businesses.

Vice Comedy

Sure, comedy websites tend to live in their own, ghettoized corners of the Internet and they tend not to mix often with the big, serious kids in the news world, but we’re not asking Vice to ape The Onion or anything. We love the Kids Telling Dirty Jokes series as much as the next guy, but what we really want is a very Vice-like offering of incisive, informed, and no-garbage comedy that cuts to the point. We have faith that they’d be able to mix it up with funny stuff about modern life and bigger picture political humor. Vice’s news content already makes a habit of speaking truth to power, so giving the reporters a chance to let their hair down could result in some killer content.

Vice TV

Vice has been upping its video content for years and has had big success on HBO. We think that’s great, but we want to see more than a long list of short-run video series in a little “Video” section of the main website. A dedicated online network of original Vice programming would be a great way for up-and-coming content producers to strut their stuff, plus it would be easier to use than trying to find the videos piecemeal in the current site. If nothing else, offering Vice viewers an alternative to cable (possibly with an originally scripted series) would be a boon to cord-cutters everywhere. Netflix can’t have all the fun.

These may all just be dreams, but the launch of Vice News and the upcoming food site give us hope that the Vice uprising will continue into other spheres. There’s plenty of room to grow, especially for a voice as strong and consistent as Vice’s. What sites would you like to see Vice develop?








Social Media Movements for the Greater Good

Social media has taken a lot of hits over the years, with many people considering it a waste of time. When you think of social media, you often immediately think of services such as Facebook and Twitter. While these do make up the majority of social media use, they don’t cover everything. And while they do have many benefits, they’re rarely used to help move the world to a better place. If you own or find yourself part of a non-profit and/or civil rights movement, check out how you can use social media for good.

Sharing Inspiring Content


Image via Flickr by SoniaT 360

As a consumer, finding uplifting content often serves as the most pleasant experience when using social media. That, and sharing said content. A great story or new information can make a person’s day. Take the Lean In movement, for example, which came from the book of the same title by Sheryl Sandberg. The movement encourages women to follow their ambitions, and has gained popularity via Pinterest. Lean In’s Pinterest account has a board for women’s favorite inspirational quotes. Lean In also recently partnered with Getty Images creating images that portray women in an empowering way.

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Some sites, such as Upworthy, produce and display content meant to inspire and encourage people, while shedding light on more positive aspects of life, as well as issues that don’t get discussed often enough. They present these videos and information in ways that promote sharing through social media.

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Reinforce Positive Behaviors

When new movements come about that give people the opportunity to behave in a positive way that can create change, you can’t find a better way to spread the word than through social media. One movement, Giving Tuesday, exists to encourage Americans to give what they can and take part in charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Giving Tuesday cleverly implemented the idea into social media by asking participants to share what they call an “unselfie.” This genius play on the infamous selfie has the participant take a picture of the cause they want to support and not of themselves. This worked well because it accessed an already existing popular social media behavior, and put an interesting and positive twist on it. This strategy is sure to create curiosity while simultaneously inspiring others.

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Capitalize on Creativity

Social media has given lots of people new ways to express their creativity. Some organizations have realized that they can capitalize on this by creating a bit of creative competition among their followers. For example, (Red), the organization dedicated to eradicating AIDS, asked its followers to try to set a record for most Vines sent out toward a single cause. The vines just had to show something red to raise awareness for the cause.

Some of the most afflicted countries in the world took this idea to heart and came up with all kinds of creative ways to make vines that really portrayed the message. Some images include showing several hands holding a red ribbon together, or red candies used to spell out the (Red) logo.

Or take Justine Tunney, the founder of the Occupy movement’s Twitter account. As the movement recently settled down, she decided to reassume control over the account to spice things up again.

As a transgender, she’s faced struggles with people trying to silence her during the movement. Since she’s reassumed control, she’s called out those holding back the movement, while reigniting the flame and getting people interested in the cause once more. Her reignition has created responses all over the globe. It’s phenomenal how all of that can be accomplished simply from a single Blackberry phone.

Giving a Voice to the Unheard

One of the greatest results of social media, and one that doesn’t always get discussed, is how many people now have a voice. Social media has allowed for people with similar ideals to find each other and exchange ideas. Now, anybody with access to the internet can find a way to empower their voice.

This has led to public recognition of previously unknown issues. One of the most interesting cases of this happening involves prosopagnosia, or “face-blindness.” Most people, including psychologists and doctors, knew nothing of this phenomenon until the internet allowed people with the issue to find each other. Once the movement grew online, doctors began to give the issue more attention. Bringing awareness of this disorder to the public allowed medical professionals to put time and money into developing ways to help.

Regardless of the cause, social media offers one of the best ways to help creat social change for the better. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by all the nonsense out there. You empower anything you give your attention to. Help participate in cutting through the weeds and focusing on positive movements.








6 Unwritten Laws of Employment for Startup Companies

Finding the right talent for your company is crucial. Startups need a lot of work, and you need to know that you can rely on the people you have working for you. There are several things you should look out for when you’re hiring new talent in your company. No matter what type of business you’re in, consider these points for hiring.

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Understand the Difference Between Want and Need

The most important thing you need to keep in mind when your hiring is that what you want and what you need may be two completely different things. Remember, when you hire someone, you need to be able to pay for the skills they have. You may want the perfect programmer that knows ten different programming languages. But do they need to have that much experience for your company? Make a list of the qualities and experience that you absolutely need a candidate to have, as well as one for the “perfect” employee. Make sure you set realistic expectations for your needs.

Keep an Eye on Job Boards

While it’s expected that you’re going to post an ad on as many websites, newspapers, and college campuses as possible, it’s also important that you keep a lookout for those who are job hunting. Many job boards allow job hunters to post their resumes. If you keep an eye on the resumes, you’re more likely to find someone with the qualifications you need. Sometimes you need to go to them, instead of waiting for them to come to you. This also allows you to pick and choose the perfect candidates for the positions you have open. (Graph via Bright Labs)

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Interview Multiple People

Resumes are great. They give you an idea of the person you’ll be talking to. But it’s also important to make sure that you’re interviewing a number of people. If you automatically hire the first person that applies for the position, or if you jump at the highest quality resume, you may end up missing out on some great talent. It’s important that you actually meet with potential candidates to ensure that they’ll be a good fit for the company and the position.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Too many entrepreneurs are nervous about taking the leap and hiring new talent. Even if you know that you need someone to fill a position or role in the company, ti can be a difficult step to make. However, it’s important that you not wait too long. There are several repercussions of waiting too long to hire. First, if you’re a customer-based business, you could easily alienate customers because you don’t have adequate staff. In addition, if you do interviews, but take weeks or longer to get back to candidates, don’t be surprised if you find the perfect person for the job found something else.

Be Honest About the Position

It’s difficult to encompass everything that a new hire may be responsible for in a small business. However, if they are going to have many different types of responsibilities, make sure that you make this clear upfront. Some people are more comfortable in well-defined roles, while others work well taking over anything and everything that comes their way. Getting the right person for the job means that you need to make sure you offer all information necessary to allow the candidate to decide if it’s going to be a good fit for them.

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Put Together Interview Questions

You want your candidates to be well-prepared for their interview, but you need to make sure that you are, as well. Put some good questions together to ensure that you get a feel for the person you’re talking with. Make sure that you’re careful though, and don’t break any employment law. You can find several great interview question ideas online.

Finding the right person for the job is never easy, and it seems to be more difficult the smaller the company is. However, with some time and effort, you’ll find someone that will fit into the company like they’ve always been there.








5 of the Best Tech Companies to Work For in the World

When employer-review website Glassdoor rated the top 50 places to work for, technology companies made up almost half the list. It’s clear that the IT sector does it better, with a focus on work-life balance and plenty of employee perks.

The Glassdoor team on Halloween. Costumes are definitely an important part of company culture.
The Glassdoor team on Halloween. Costumes are definitely an important part of company culture.

 

But which tech companies are leading the way?

1. Twitter: Microblogging Platform Outranks the Rest

Microblogging social media platform Twitter came out on top of the tech heap in Glassdoor’s 2014 rankings with an enviable rating of 4.6 out of 5. No wonder its employees are so happy; its San Francisco headquarters seems more like a luxury resort than an office space with its yoga studio, rooftop garden, and arcade parlour. It also doesn’t hurt that its software engineers are amongst the best paid in the United States. They typically make $142,863 annually, which is $50k more than the national average.

Twitter isn’t run by a faceless board either. Company chief executive officer Dick Costolo is particularly popular, with an approval rating of 96 percent.

“Twitter is an exceptionally transparent place,” one Twitter director told Glassdoor. “Senior team sets that bar very high. Also, we are charting our own course – not copying the playbook set out by other companies.”

2. Grafix Softech: Interactive Workplace Values Employee Contributions

Indian-born businessman Tej Kohli was an e-commerce pioneer when he founded his first company, Grafix Softech, in Costa Rica in 1998. Creating secure e-payment solutions continues to be the company’s focus, although it’s expanded its operations to provide more comprehensive business services including creative marketing campaigns and search engine optimization from its offices around the world.

Grafix Softech’s diverse interests present exciting challenges for its employees, but it’s Tej Kohli himself that makes working for this global tech company so appealing. Despite having many business interests, he continues to take an active role in his premiere company. He looks beyond credentials and evaluates potential employees on their personal strengths. He believes that nurturing his workforce’s talents is the secret to business success, so he takes the time to listen to his employees, communicate with them, and reward them for outstanding performance.

This personalized approach makes Grafix Softech workers feel more valued and happier than many others in the industry. No wonder the majority of Grafix Softech employees have worked for the company for at least a decade, much more than the average 5.4 years that most Americans spend in any one position.

3. Riot Games: Popular CEO Heads Leading Games Firm

If computer games are your passion, a position at Riot Games should be at the top of your wish list. Its standards are high, but if you can keep up you’ll embrace the opportunity to learn and grow under beloved CEO Brandon Beck. He is so well-regarded that he has a virtually unheard of approval rating of 100 percent.

Beck’s popularity may have something to do with the enviable workspace he’s created for his valued employees. It includes a fully stocked kitchen and bright office space to maximize productivity. Riot Games also strives to offer a good work-life balance to its employees who enjoy flexible working hours.

All these benefits led one employee to comment on Glassdoor, stating “Everyone here is immensely passionate about what they do, and if you aren’t learning something every day, you must be in the wrong office. The company takes ridiculously good care of us, and tries every step of the way to make sure we’re engaged culturally, intellectually and socially with the industry and each other. It’s by far the best place I’ve ever worked.”

4. Google: Setting the Standard

Google has always been regarded as one of the best tech companies to work for. The world’s largest Internet search engine and the creator of the Android mobile platform has featured prominently on Glassdoor’s list for the last six years. Business networking website LinkedIn also names Google the world’s most in demand employer.

The standards are high but employees who meet them are rewarded with plenty of perks. There are more than 15 cafes on the main campus in Mountain View alone, and all snacks, drinks, and meals are provided free of charge.

Workers also enjoy complimentary onsite haircuts and the use of laundry and gym facilities. If the stress of the job ever becomes too much, employees can unwind with video games, table soccer, and ping pong.

Anyone serious about their craft will appreciate the opportunities to learn at Google just as much as the enticing extras. “The older teams, such as infrastructure and apps have people who can teach you more in an hour than you learn many places in your entire tenure,” one Google software engineer posted at Glassdoor. Its innovative 20 percent time program also gives employees the chance to balance their regular tasks with fulfilling work on special pet projects.

5. Atlassian Software Systems: Paving the Way Down Under

Atlassian Software Systems might not be an international household name, but tech workers around the world hold this Australian company in high esteem. In 2013, leading Australian business magazine BRW named the local tech company the second best place to work in Oz. It was also the top information technology firm on the prestigious list.

The Atlassian team has developed software for some of the world’s leading companies including Facebook, Netflix, eBay, and Twitter. Workers at its Sydney, San Francisco, and Amsterdam offices are encouraged to “build with heart and balance” and “play as a team.” Those employees who go the extra mile are rewarded for their efforts with Kudos in the form of gift certificates to Amazon, iTunes, and local retailers.

All “Atlassians” enjoy plenty of perks including five paid days off a year for charity work, study programs, and a 20 percent pet project scheme similar to Google’s initiative. All Atlassian offices also offer on-site yoga classes, bike facilities, Xbox consoles and billiards tables, and fully stocked kitchens. A good work-life balance and a long-term commitment to the company is encouraged with employees receiving a paid trip, to the value of $3,000 for Aussies and Americans and 2,300 euro for Dutch employees, after five years’ service.

A career with one of these innovative, employee-focused tech companies will deliver the security you need with the job satisfaction you’ve always hoped for.

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Face-to-Face vs. Virtual: Which Is Better for Acquiring and Retaining Customers? [Infographic]

Tech companies always tout the advantages of virtual meetings, but they rarely point to the disadvantages that could make it harder for businesses to retain current customers while attracting new buyers.

Virtual meetings obviously cost less money. A phone call hardly costs anything compared to a plane ticket. How much money you spend communicating with clients is only part of the equation, though. You also need to consider how much money you get back from them.

Face-to-Face Meetings Bring in More Money

Research shows that dollars spent on face-to-face meetings lead to larger revenues than dollars spent on virtual meetings. That means you lower your revenue stream when you slash your company’s travel budget. It’s tempting for any business to cut travel expenses, especially when a tech company introduces meeting platforms that cost so little that they are practically free.

Despite this temptation, companies need to look at the bigger picture. Do they want to save money now by putting future profits at risk? That’s a dangerous proposition in any competitive market.

Keeping Travel Expenses Affordable

Traveling to meet customers face-to-face can make your company more successful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to how much money you spend on travel. For instance, being proactive by finding cheap flights and working remotely via a Lenovo tablet laptop is a great way to stay in touch with your office without compromising client service.

Look for ways to save money when you send a company representative to a conference or client meeting. In addition to booking cheaper flights, you can also bundle services such as hotel rooms, flights, and car rentals.

Lowering your travel expenses could keep partners and investors happy while you avoid the pitfalls of virtual meetings. It’s not just a matter of saving money in the short-term; it’s a matter of building a successful business by maintaining relationships with current customers while forging new relationships with prospective clients.

 








8 Things to Consider When Budgeting For Your Own Startup

Creating your own business is not only a huge decision, it’s a scary one. You’re literally giving up every sort of security and financial safety net you have to pursue your dream, and for that, you should be commended, but you should also be very cautious.

There are numerous ways that you can make your start-up a cost-effective enterprise, and you should utilise every one. If you’re not being cautious with money, your business is going to fail and your life will be infinitely more complicated. Here are a few things and fees to consider when you’re budgeting for your very own start-up.

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Business Filing Fees

Among the first fees you’ll encounter are business filing fees. This includes your business license, a fictitious name statement, and reseller license feeds. The fees are usually paid annually, and the cost varies, but the price is £100 a year for a sole proprietorship. Corporations can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds.

Phones & Computers Keep Your Business Connected

For a landline, you’re going to pay about £20 a month. For a cell phone, you’re looking at £50-£100 a month. If you consider the cost of a cell phone for every individual employee, and it quickly adds up.

You’d be wise to implement a BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device plan. This will allow you to restrict access to certain company documents while still allowing them to do work and share it with other workers. You could save money here by ditching the company landline — there’s no need for it.

Perhaps even more significantly, though, a BYOD policy will help you cut down on the number of devices that you have to supply to employees. After all, another huge fee for start-ups is the cost of computers and other devices. Implementing a BYOD plan for computers will allow your workers to use their own laptops, tablets, and other devices at work.

Accountants Keep Everything Organized

You don’t want to handle all of the finances alone, do you? Hire an accountant to deal with your business taxes, especially if you work from home. This is more of a necessity than other items on the list. Accountants can range from £300-£1000 annually. There’s no way to cut corners here, you need an accountant.

Insurance Protects Everyone

You’ll need to pay for various types of insurance as well. Liability and errors and omissions insurance can vary, but it usually runs from £1500-£2500 annually. Disability insurance runs from £250-£500 a month. Life insurance is fairly inexpensive, especially if you’re young, and will run you about £10-£20 a month. As you age, the rate will increase. The earlier you sign up, the more you save.

Lawyers Help With Business Structure

It’s always smart to have a company lawyer should the issue arise. If you want representation, you’re looking at spending about £150 or more an hour. You’ll need a lawyer for the formation of your company, financing, for website and customer agreements, and the day to day legal work of the company.

Advertising Your Business

Another crucial financial pit for start-ups is the unexpected advertising that comes with a start-up. You’ll want to advertise everywhere, from newspaper ads to the Internet. A decent online campaign will run £100-£600, but hopefully, it’ll pay for itself. Rather than putting ads in the paper, you could cut that cost completely by advertising on social media. Social media advertising is completely free.

Internet Fees

Another important business fee that a lot of companies don’t factor in is the cost of Internet. You’ll want a fast connection, and one that can hopefully withstand multiple people connecting at once. The cost of an upgraded cable Internet connection can be around £75, but if you want a T1 connection, you’re looking at several hundred pounds a month.

Hosting Costs

For a decent website host, you’re going to have to shell out about £40. There are cheaper ones available, but they’re probably cheap for a reason. Pay the extra pounds and go with a hosting service that offers twenty-four hour support. You’ll also want a fairly flexible host, one that allows you to upgrade and fix issues whenever the needs arise.

There are many hidden costs and fees to consider when starting your own company, and these are just a few. Are you financially able to start your own company? Can you think of any other things to consider?8