The reading level for this article is Novice
“There is a sure way to avoid criticism. Be nothing and do nothing.” – Napoleon Hill
Hi. Welcome to Issue Fourteen of the Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle.
1. News Update
The middle of summer is coming up as the entrepreneurial energy flows here in downtown Chapel Hill. I’ve just returned from a two week trip to Providence, Boston, and New York. June 12-18 I attended a wonderful seminar on globalization and poverty put on by the Institute for Human Studies. Sixty-five other undergraduate and graduate students attended, with about 20% from outside the U.S. I’ve never had so many intellectually engaging discussions on globalization at 2am in my life. June 20-26 I was in New York City, then Boston, then New York once again. I stayed at my brother’s apartment in Queens for two nights and then went to Boston for three days to speak to a group of high schoolers and middle schoolers at the Lead America Business & Entrepreneurship Conference at Bentley College.
This issue begins with the new welcome message to zeromillion.com that explains the site’s resources, its mission, and how to become a part of its growing community. Our second section is new to the Chronicle and will highlight the discussions that have taken place in our online discussion forum over the past month. In order third section, we have a recent interview conducted by Susan DeFiore of HBS Digest. Finally, we’ve listed our book recommendations for current and aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or would like to contribute content to be published in the newsletter or online, I encourage you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do feel free to forward this newsletter on to your colleagues and associates. On behalf of the Zeromillion.com team I thank you for being a subscriber.
The below welcome message was published June 30 and was written to provide an introduction to zeromillion.com to first time visitors as well as explain the mission of the web site. We wanted to publish it here so all past visitors could read it and become more familiar with the resources on the web site, our mission, and the growing community. We welcome feedback and discussion on this message in our discussion forums.
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Welcome to a global community–a community of current and aspiring entrepreneurs, business leaders, and marketers.
This site was founded in June 2002 by Ryan Allis and a team of young entrepreneurs with the goal of becoming the top resource online for all things related to entrepreneurship and business. Today, zeromillion.com has become a collaborative effort of over four hundred persons through the world who are working to create and add content, energize our discussion forums, add interviews, and build an international network. The site today has grown to receive over 80,000 unique visitors each month and has been featured in national and international news media such as Investors’ Business Daily, Entrepreneur Magazine, Young Money Magazine, and CosmoGIRL magazine.
This site currently contains over 550 articles under the eight section of business, ebusiness, economics and policy, entrepreneurship, marketing, personal development, web marketing, young entrepreneurship. Within the business section alone we have over two hundred articles on topics ranging from finance to management, interviews with over ninety business owners, audio content, and a selection of related PDFs and ebooks.
Other features of our site include the active discussion forums, the Directory of Entrepreneurs, the Directory of College Entrepreneurs, free reports and ebooks, The Entrepreneur Interview Series with over 120 interviews with business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives, and a collection of free monthly newsletters including the internationally reviewed and acclaimed The Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle.
Whether you’re a fifteen year old aspiring entrepreneur with a vision, a Nigerian youth tired of repression and lack of access to opportunity, a thirty-five year old MarCom executive from Britain who wants to learn the best practices for product positioning, a fifty-five year old refuge from Corporate America now venturing out on your own, or a successful entrepreneur who just wants to give back, we know you’ll find a home here.
What is our mission? Quite simply it is to bring together in one place a top quality resource and a top quality community in which aspiring and current business leaders from all countries can collaborate and learn from each other.
And what is the mission behind this mission? To us, entrepreneurship isn’t about making lots of money. It’s about encouraging competition, creating jobs, promoting innovation and technological progress, and providing better quality goods and services at lower costs to everyone–raising standards of living and reducing poverty in the process. The economies of developed nations would not be as dynamic as they are and the prosperity that we have seen over the past two centuries would not have been possible without entrepreneurship.
Today, if there is a place for concern, however, it is not so much over the economies of developing nations. To us, it’s not about how many SUVs or DVD players we have, it’s about being able to provide basic healthcare, nutrition, and education to the 2.8 billion people who live on less than $2 each day. It’s the positive impact that we feel we can make through practicing entrepreneurship, making entrepreneurship possible, and promoting entrepreneurship that, for these people, can make the difference between starving and having the chance to make a go at life.
A small merchant in Lima, Peru who wants to open up his or her own small sewing business with just two machines and one employee would have to work eight hours per day for 289 days to get an official permit to start the business legally without paying any bribes (de Soto, Mystery of Capital). In many countries, the situation is worse. Without competition, the market economy cannot work. And without an environment that makes it easy for anyone–without regard to political connections or wealth–to easily start a company, the the underdeveloped world will remain poor and inequalities in income will increase. Access to entrepreneurship and equal entrepreneurial opportunity for all is not a panacea. Many other steps, such as the development of proper legal systems and private property law, rooting out corruption, developing an educated and healthy populace, promoting a free press, electing ethical leaders, allowing freedom of speech, and creating the proper market and legal institutions need to be taken for proper sustainable development. However, we believe firmly that access to entrepreneurship and equal entrepreneurial opportunity for all it is an essential step in the process of increasing the standard of living for all within a society.
This is why we have created zeromillion.com–to be a resource, to be a community, to be a connector. Between the Western world and the Eastern world, between aspiring entrepreneurs and current business leaders, and between the developed world and the developing world. We hope you will benefit from this resource and community, share it with others, participate in our growing forums, and become involved in helping this site grow.
On a final note, this site has been developed around a book that was written between June 2002 and October 2003 by the name of Zero to One Million: How to Build a Company to One Million Dollars in Sales. If you have not yet had a chance to read this book and are a current or aspiring entrepreneur or business owner, I would very much recommend it. I hope you will join the growing numbers of members of the zeromillion.com community that have read the book behind it all.
Thank you very much for reading and for your support!
An Interview with Ryan Allis
I started my first "company" at age 11. I thought of ways I could earn money after my parents would no longer buy me the $60 brand name shirts I wanted so I could look cool going into 7th grade. I knew I was good at computers so thought I could help others learn to use them. I put up a few flyers, "$5/hour for computer help from responsible 11 year old," and went from there. I got into web site design at 14, and web marketing at 16. My senior year in high school I worked with a company that had a product in the nutraceuticals/arthritis arena. When I started working with the company we had one employee and were doing a few hundred dollars per month in sales. When I left a year later to go off to the University of North Carolina, we were doing close to $200,000 per month in sales. This was certainly a great learning experience for me and was the initial inspiration for my book, Zero to One Million: How to Build a Company to $1 Million in Sales.
In October 2002 I formally incorporated my first company, Virante, Inc. and having been working to build it ever since. Also in the Fall of 2002 I met a senior computer science major at UNC who later would become my partner in my second company, Broadwick Corporation, which was started in July 2003. Virante now has 4 employees and Broadwick has 10. Both are growing very rapidly.
What does your business do?
Virante provides web marketing consulting and search engine services. We essentially work with high-potential clients who have a product that they want to sell online. Our job is to increase their sales by properly planning and executing a coordinated web marketing strategy. The company web site is www.virante.com.
Broadwick has developed and sells permission-based online email marketing software that allows businesses and organizations to create, send, and track email newsletters that are sent to their subscribers and customers. The name of this software product is IntelliContact Pro. Broadwick currently has 443 clients who use IntelliContact Pro, and this number is growing by four or five daily. The web site for the email software is www.intellicontact.com.
How do you succeed in your business?
What kind of equipment do you use in your business?
Computers, servers, printers, routers, fax machines, software such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop, WS FTP, QuickBooks, etc.
What is your biggest problem with running an on-line business? An off-line business?
No matter what type of business it is, the biggest difficulty is making sure you are selling what the market demands. If you aren’t, no matter how much you work your butt off, you won’t succeed. Second biggest difficulty is hiring good quality people and building a team that can work well together. Third biggest difficulty is establishing an early-stage company in the marketplace and properly positioning its product or service offerings.
What is your niche?
My personal niches as an entrepreneur are with technology and health companies. Broadwick’s niche is email marketing software. Virante’s niche is providing high-quality results-driven web marketing services to high-potential clients.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to run a business?
Properly analyze the opportunity and whether what you want to provide is really going to be demanded in the marketplace. Use the Market, Advantages, Return (MAR) model from Zero to One Million to do this. Once this is done, take action. Have a bias toward action always, find partners if necessary, and build a great team. Even if you cannot see the path all the way to the end goal right now, keep at it. If you wait until all the stop lights are green along the road before you get started you’ll never get there. Keep learning continuously and keep meeting people. If you plan to sell a product online, learn how to get your site to the top of the search engines and how to build partnerships. If you plan to offer a service, consider writing articles or a book to build your credibility.
What are your goals and aspirations for the future?
I’ll be going back to school this August after taking the past year off. I need to do two more years in order to finish my undergraduate degree. I’d like to finish this while at the same time building Broadwick and Virante further. My interest in entrepreneurship, however, is equaled by my interest in development economics—that is the economics of underdeveloped countries such as those in Africa. I’d like to pursue a masters degree either at Oxford or Columbia in development studies and if I am able to succeed in business and perhaps take a company public or have one of my companies be acquired I’d like to use the funds from this to start a foundation that would work to decrease poverty, improve education and healthcare, and reduce corruption in African nations. While I will always be an entrepreneur, I could see myself either becoming very involved in such a foundation or working in the top levels of an organization such as the World Bank or UN.
Ryan Allis, is the author of Zero to One Million: How to Build a Company to $1 Million in Sales. He is also CEO of Broadwick Corporation, a provider of permission-based email marketing and list management software IntelliContact Pro and CEO of Virante, Inc. a Chapel Hill, North Carolina based web marketing consulting firm. Ryan, who is 19, is on leave for a year from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is an economics major and Blanchard Scholar. Additional information on the author can be found at www.ryanallis.com.
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Each month in the Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle we will be featuring discussions from our Entrepreneurship Discussion forum at http://www.zeromillion.com/talk/. So far we have 374 registered members in the forum. Topics from June included:
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The following books are recommended for reading by aspiring and current entrepreneurs and business leaders. The books in bold are must reads. Please email any recommendations for additions to this list to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Globalization & Economics
This concludes this issue of The Entrepreneurs’ Chronicle. We’ll see you August 1, 2004. If you are not subscribed and would like to subscribe, please visit http://www.zeromillion.com. If you would like to contribute content, become involved with the zeromillion.com team, make suggestions, or provide feedback please feel free to contact us at email@example.com. We encourage you to participate in our discussion forum at http://www.zeromillion.com/talk/.
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