Could you be an entrepreneur?

Building your own business is not as intimidating as it used to be.

This is partly down to all the different technologies that are available to us now, specifically, the Internet. So in this modern world of technology ANYONE can be an entrepreneur…

Well, not exactly. You may have the tools you need, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the temperament necessary to become a GREAT entrepreneur. Without that, it may be possible you’re not meant to be a successful businessman at this point. How do you know if you have what it takes to succeed this way?

You’re a charmer

While whilst being an extrovert isn’t a prerequisite for winning in business – you don’t really think that Bill Gates was an extrovert before he was successful, do you? – however knowing how to speak to people is. The fact of the matter is that most companies cannot succeed without the hard work of multiple individuals. It’s not just about getting investors to put money into a venture; it’s also about inspiring people to do what needs to be done for the sake of the organization. You need to be able to talk people into doing things that they never thought possible, if you want to win the game of business.

You’re a bit of a mad scientist

While you don’t need an actual science degree to become an entrepreneur who can compete with the best in today’s market, you still need some level of scientific curiosity to be able to offer customers something new.

Asking questions like “why is this not working?” and “what does THIS button do?” pave the way towards innovation – something that consumers today really, truly, value. You need to be brave enough to ask questions and explore some pretty crazy alternatives if you want to compete in and dominate the industry of your choice.

You’re pretty darn stubborn

You can’t expect yourself to succeed if you don’t know how to stand your ground. Sure, you also need to know when to stand down and admit that you got some things wrong. But, for the most part, you need to have the stomach for the trials and tribulations most entrepreneurs have to face. You can’t expect instant success for your business, and you need to be able to push through your company’s darkest moments if you want your enterprise to survive in its first year or so. If you want to take your business to the top, then you darn well better believe in what you’re doing.

You’re an optimist

A boy on a laptopYou can’t build a business if you always think of the worst-case scenario (and panic) every time the progress of your company hits a snag. Apart from stubbornly believing in what your enterprise has to offer to the world, you also need to believe in looking at the brighter side of life. That way, instead of focusing on the problem itself, you’ll just find other elements of the situation that you can use to your advantage. If you can look at a crisis and think that it gives you an opportunity to show off the company’s resilience, then you have a better chance of succeeding.

So, do you think you’re meant to be a successful entrepreneur?

Taxing the Smartphone

On Monday a report was released in France that contained the suggestion that a tax should be levied on Internet devices in order to raise money to promote and protect French cultural production.

A Tax Paid Phone

A Tax Paid Phone

For several years France has had a policy of taxing broadcasters and spending the money on supporting its own film and entertainment industries, but revenues are falling. The problem seems to be that many more people are accessing their entertainment via the Internet and therefore not contributing to its production cost.

The Lescure report as it is known suggests a tax of between 1 and 4% on any Internet capable devices (smartphones, eBook readers and games consoles included), but as we might imagine many of the producers of these devices are not happy about the proposal.

Money has to be raised to maintain the entertainment industries, but many of the companies that provide access to this entertainment are not based in France and do not contribute. They probably don’t want to either, and so we come across the same problem that I wrote about last week, collecting national taxes from international corporations based in another state is never easy, and borders are porous.

The proposed tax would replace one already in existence upon storage devices. Currently tax is levied on blank CD’s and memory sticks as well as computers with hard discs.

The manufacturers complain that the price of the devices would rise leading to fewer sales, although the author of the report argues that such a small percentage increase would make little difference, and would not even effect the home job market because most of these devices are assembled overseas. A 1% tax would raise something of the order of 90 million Euro a year.

The problem remains though. As our sources of entertainment move away from pay TV, publicity funded channels and national subscription systems such as the BBC, money is taken away from the producers and associations that represent and fund these industries. Some see the fact that Google and Apple amongst others are operating outside the tax system and are not contributing to the industries that they make their money from as unfair, and hope that this change in tax law will go some way to evening out the field.

The Wall Street Journal goes into a little more depth on the matter in its free online edition.

I wonder if France takes this step if others in the EU will follow. There are many different ways of making money through so called free downloads as we all know, but the money ends up in the pockets of the provider and not the producer and the industries involved are feeling the pinch. Maybe this needs to change.

Selling second hand items online

The world is caught up in a massive credit crunch which has turned every consumer into a spendthrift. Maximizing resources has been declared one of the most predominant consumer trends in 2012. Popular auctioning sites have become playgrounds for shoppers and sellers alike. Re-purposed goods have created such a massive niche that recommence is now a part of first world culture.

Spendthrift Nation

Second hand childrens toys

A jumble sale of second hand toys

The economic climate has had a lot to do with the boom in recommence, but the benefits of selling and buying re-purposed goods has lasted as long as it has on the strength of its other benefits. In the past, selling second hand items was inconvenient, demanding that consumers use stores that bought at low prices to create space for further mark ups. The internet has cut out profit hunting middlemen, allowing you to sell your second hand items online directly from home. Today it takes little more than a five minute registration process to re-purpose old items.

One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison

Regardless of how unusable an old item may seem to its owner, the global marketplace offers up a massive consumer group bound to include at least one buyer who will find value in another person’s junk. The World Wide Web has extended the contacts list of the average consumer, introducing a myriad of potential buyers.

Security and Convenience

Online auction sites have made resale a streamlined process by offering shipping and packaging services for consumers who want to profit effortlessly from their old items. Secure online banking services ensure that buyers and sellers are kept safe from the penny pinching public.

One Stop Shopping

In a brick and mortar environment, it can take months to find a buyer. The traditional garage sale demanded that you invite strangers into your own home over weekends that would be better spent elsewhere. Today’s online vendors separate consumers into groups according to indexed categories, sending sellers a whittled down group of appropriate buyers. A single site may act as a retailer for products as diverse as fashion, décor, gadgets and tools, so you need visit only one vendor to sell a closet full of unwanted widgets.

Global Economies

The sheer size of the global marketplace means that low value items can be bartered up to produce often startling returns. A fourth edition novel from the Eighties might sell for a few dollars at a brick and mortar store. When you place items on sale, the internet gives you the potential to find buyers who overvalue items and are thus willing to pay far more for them. A buyer who attaches sentimental value to that second hand book is generally willing to part with a significant chunk of income in exchange for personal value. The online marketplace operates according to its own economy, where demand is directly proportionate to the unique personal value individuals place on niche products.

Scarcity is another predominant force that pushes price tags well beyond real world worth.