Apr 26, 2018

SPARKCenter tour


Had a great time attending the SPARKCenter tour in Spartanburg, SC with the Talent Development and Attraction action team. It was good to see the humongous support from the county in creating and maintaining that "one stop shop". Another interesting aspect was the "landing spaces" concept and how often it is used. Taking back good information for consideration related to the Technology Incubator and the 5 year plan!

New Posts
  • derek.b.lotts
    Nov 12

    With the way things are at the moment, startups in almost every industry have huge chances of succeeding. The reason behind it is that they are considered to be innovators and often offer unique solutions which is exactly what consumers are looking for. However, that doesn’t seem to be enough. In the world of a competitive craze, it’s also critical that you develop a powerful brand. If you’re wondering why, here are five reasons why branding is crucial for startup success. Gives your business a unique identity This one may seem a bit obvious but it’s important to stress out just how much branding helps when it comes to creating an identity for your business. Fail to come up with a catchy business name and design a memorable logo and chances are other companies will simply do much better than you. On the other hand, if you manage to design a strong brand for your business, you’ll be able to highlight your points and tell consumers what is it that makes your business stand out . Helps you stay in the market How often do we hear stories about startups that got off to an amazing start but ended up shutting down after a few years? One of the biggest reasons why this happens is that startups fail to develop brands like large corporations do. Without a well-designed brand, consumers don’t have anything to create an emotional connection with and have no reason to come back. Not to mention that you can’t possibly stand out on the web and social media if there’s nothing that makes your business truly unique. Builds trust One of the key things you need to do is show consumers that you’re a leading expert at what you do. While offering a quality product is a must, it’s not enough to get the job done as you also need a memorable brand. Think of it this way – you’ve sprained your ankle and you need a product that’ll help it heal. Do you pick a cheap unbranded ointment or something made by a brand everyone knows about? For startups, it’s enough to build a brand everyone on the local level trusts. For example, you can find experts who can help you build a brand strategy in Melbourne and start working with them. Increases visibility There’s nothing more important to new businesses than gaining visibility. The more visible your startup is, the more opportunities you’ll get to achieve your company’s aspirations. This is another reason why branding matters as it brings you into the light and makes it easier for consumers to recognize you. Just think about it – many companies make running shoes but people only think of Nike because of how powerful their brand is. Just like Nike and other companies do, you should make your brand a medium for explaining your core values and describing your methods. Boosts your social media efforts According to reports, 71 percent of consumers claim they’ll recommend a brand to their friends and family if they enjoy interacting with it on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter aren’t only reserved for the big names in the business world. Even if you want your business to get recognized on a local level, being on social media is a must. To have your social media efforts pay off, you also need a good branding strategy as these platforms are all about visual and tones or voices. The bottom line Unless you want to join startup owners whose companies failed after a few years, investing in your brand is a no-brainer. Get the job done right and soon you’ll be able to compete with companies that have been out there for years.
  • derek.b.lotts
    Nov 6

    Before we get deeper into what makes a great side hustle, it’s important to define the term side-hustle, to begin with. First of all, it’s an activity that doesn’t require too much active involvement on your part. This allows you to keep doing your day-to-day work and avoid sacrificing too much of your free time in this pursuit. This side-income can be used to boost your cash flow, improve your lifestyle by affording some small luxuries that you keep close to heart, etc. All in all, here are a couple of ideas that more than qualify. Freelance writing One of the things you can try is freelance writing for blogs and newsletters. The best thing about this as a side-income lies in the fact that it doesn’t take much work, due to the fact that no one forces you to accept more than you can handle. Even a single post per week might somewhat improve your financial situation but if you’re one of those people to whom writing comes quite naturally, you can go for freelance writing in a bit more serious manner and commit to it somewhat harder. Career in art The next thing you need to take into consideration is a career in art. Never before was this so closely attainable. First of all, an artist in 2019 has a chance to publish their own work, on their own, which is definitely not a small feat. For instance, a writer can publish their novel via a Kindle Direct Publish on Amazon, while a photographer (even a smartphone photographer) can find a platform that specializes in stock image retail. All in all, you have so many options. Property investment One of the best ways to create a passive side income is to become a landlord but in order to do this, you need to learn a thing or two about property investment. First, you need to find organizations like FM Investment , that specializes in seminars, fairs and lectures about property investment. This will help you pick and manage your property. Other than this, you also need to learn how to screen potential tenants, as well as how to make the place more appealing to others. The vacancy is a huge problem and a serious money-loss for your enterprise, which is why you need to figure out a way to bring this down to a minimum. Once you get the ball rolling, nonetheless, the process is, more-or-less automatic. Dropshipping e-commerce business If trading is your thing, you might want to consider starting an e-commerce business. By opting for a dropshipping model , you get to be a trader, a middleman. You get to be someone who just closes the deal and delivers it from retailer/supplier to the consumer without ever actually getting a hold of the product. This means that you’re not in charge of the logistics like the manufacturing, storage or even delivery. You’re there merely to close the sale and get your share of the profit. Make a blog Why not turn your passion into a lucrative business and share your knowledge, opinions and stances on various topics with the world? First of all, blogging can, indeed, be a full-time job. However, you can start with something a tad more modest. Don’t rush to fill it with content. Write about your own experience instead of hiring content writers and contributors right away and take your time. Soon, the ad money will start rolling in and you will have a passive stream of income from doing something that you’re genuinely passionate about. It just doesn’t get any better. Conclusion The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of your time management. Once your side hustle starts taking more time and effort than your day job, you might be in a problem. Here, you’ll face a dilemma on whether to just drop it or commit to it full-heartedly. Until that point, it’s just an extra source of income.
  • derek.b.lotts
    Nov 5

    One of the biggest challenges that small enterprises encounter in the business world is the problem of security. Namely, there’s a misconception that in order for your business to be secure, you need to make massive investments in this sector and this is not necessarily true. You see, security is mostly a matter of your own effort and engagement, as well as how hard you can commit to this cause in the long run. All in all, here are the top five tips on how to make your startup more secure. Outsourcing cyber-security The first thing you need to consider, when it comes to your cybersecurity, is the fact that you can just outsource it. This means that you leave all the work to professionals, get to cut costs and make the administrative side of your job a lot easier to handle. Why? Well, you now have one less department to manage. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that choosing who you should outsource your cyber-security to is not a simple choice to make. So, try to make your decision based on some serious facts and considerations. BYOD security policies The next thing you should take into consideration is the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon. Virtually every single one of your employees, at the very least, uses their smartphone to check on corporate emails. The problem lies in the fact that this is a massive liability from the standpoint of security. So, try to come up with a BYOD security policy and make sure that every single one of your employees is aware of it. Also, keep in mind that not everyone will embrace it right away, which is why you should be extra vigilant for the time being. Physical security of premises Protecting your business in the digital world is a high priority but it’s definitely not enough. What you also need is to physically protect your premises. Why? Well, in order to keep your inventory and staff safe. For starters, you need a reliable alarm monitoring system by JD Security . This way, you’ll be able to detect any breach in time to react. Hiring a security guard, investing in a fence and a gatehouse can also be quite effective if you decide to keep the surroundings of your office safe, as well. All in all, you have so many options to look into. Better hiring process Regardless of how vigilant you are about your company’s security; this won’t do you much good if the hazard comes from within the company. This is why you need to upgrade the hiring process of your enterprise. Still, just because someone doesn’t have a criminal record or a history of employee theft, this doesn’t mean that they’re completely reliable. There’s a first time for everything and not every instance of employee theft gets reported or even discovered. In other words, you need to implement a number of procedures (from regular inventory to peer system) in order to prevent some of these things. Visitor management system Even if your team is well-vetted, from time to time, you’ll have to bring in some visitors to the office. When left unsupervised, these people are both a liability and a threat to both your security and themselves. Fortunately, with a great visitor management system, some of this threat can be mitigated. First of all, you need a check-in system, in the form of a device or an old-school application form. Second, you want them carrying badges or even security vests while on the premises. Lastly, you do not want to leave them unsupervised, which is why they need to be assigned a guard at all times. Conclusion The worst mistake that you can make here is underestimating the significance of one aspect of security in favor of another. All it takes is a single crack for your business to suffer from consequences that it might never recover from. So, make sure to plan everything out and take a systemic approach to the matter of security as a whole.