The Grammy Award-winning rapper and entrepreneur donated $ 250,000 to the organizing committee for the 2013National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, a business contest for kids in low-income communities.
At thirteen years old serial entrepreneurCreelPricestarted his first business and years on he is helping develop Australia’s next generation of entrepreneurs. Club Kidpreneur is a social enterprise that provides entrepreneurial training and business coaching to 8 – 12 year olds who want to launch their first business. After piloting the idea and [...]
Morris Miselowski is a futurist. He's one of those people you can ask about what's coming next and, not only do you get an answer, it'll be a fascinating one. I askedMorris a few questions about what are the big things, that are coming trends, that every entrepreneur should be aware of. These are [...]
For startups looking for a new competitive advantage, a multilingual presence may be the answer.
While non-nativeEnglish speakers have long realized the value of pushing their products to the English-speaking market, nativeEnglish speakers are just beginning to realize the value of a multilingual strategy. More than just being able to launch a business in a second language, the world is becoming a multilingual marketplace. And whether it be Spanish, French, or even Mandarin, an additional language is becoming a necessity for many entrepreneurs to get ahead as the process of globalization continues to accelerate.
So what are the real advantages of a multilingual strategy? When we launched Everypost, a social media management mobile application, we made the app available in six languages from the start. Why? Because it was a more cost effective way to market our new product against larger competitors and create more awareness for our brand quickly. We were able to reach an international audience, giving us more users and more feedback faster than we could ever generate from solely launching in the English market. With each additional language, we had the opportunity to reach more customers. A multilingual approach is a cost effective way of marketing, widening your reach, and promoting your brand in new markets without having to spend heavily on other strategies.
With every additional language, the potential customer base widens. There are few other ways to receive a dramatic increase in customers for such little investment. In our case, we discovered there are over 101 million Internet users in Japan, over 17 million of whom are on Facebook — so translating our mobile application into Japanese was a definite way to find targeted users that would appreciate our social media solution. Even though our nativelanguages are English and Spanish, a large segment of our customers are using the app in Japanese.
French startupLikebook, a service that pulls users’ Facebook updates, photos, comments, and compiles the information into a unique paperback or hardback book, quickly internationalized as well. That company offers the service in six languages, specifically building on an enormous opportunity in Brazil — the country with the second largest number of Facebook users in the world.
Another company that took on the “reach-as-many-as-you-can” strategy from the start is Kiip’s self-service advertising platform, offering businesses the ability to instantly run their own ad campaigns to offer users real-world rewards. Kipp made the move to launch the self-service product globally in a whopping 11 languages across Latin America, Europe, the Mideast, Asia, and Japan — giving brands more reach, and giving developers of Kipp apps greater opportunity to successfully monetize their creations.
Setting up a business in multiple languages isn’t an easy task, but it’s feasible — and there are ways to make it easier. If you are just starting out or want to test offering your products or services in another language, try translating your business website with the help of a multilingual website plugin. It also helps having a multilingual team as part of your long term global strategy. This will ease the costs of translation services and you’ll receive continuous feedback from native speakers.
ClickBus, a Brazilian online booking platform for bus travel, has set out to reach 14 countries in its first year. After immediate success in Brazil, the decision to move into Mexico and Germany – after a law binding all German bus companies to the government came to an end — is giving ClickBus a huge chance to capitalize on the situation and expand its global customer base. With headquarters in Brazil, ClickBus plans to employ local representatives in each new market — a great way to smooth out the process of setting up shop in another language.
A multilingual business strategy is not only a gateway to global success, but also a tremendous advantage to increasing awareness for your brand. With Internet and mobile phone usage growing at an accelerated pace in the non-English speaking world, your business needs to plan how to keep up and stay ahead of competition. It is only a matter of time before multiple languages will become a standard for businesses, so by investing the time and energy now — or before even launching — your business can reap the benefits of the global marketplace.
Fernando Cuscuela is an experienced entrepreneur who likes nothing better than to start new businesses and make them profitable. He founded a successful Digital Media Agency, Clickbunker, and most recently he started Everypost, where he now focuses most of his attention.
As I was running a mentoring session last week at the FailCon conference in San Francisco, the popular notion that entrepreneurs should be “authentic” kept rattling around in my head.
When I first arrived at the conference, and as I listened to various speakers and chatted with attendees, I kept thinking, “Wow. These people really need a hug.” But as the day progressed, I began to consider a different notion of “authenticity” than I previously had.
Let me start with some background. One of the things I frequently hear from several colleagues and mentors at Stanford is the idea of entrepreneurs being “authentic” to their market. Brilliant people such as Mark Leslie and Andy Rachleff have brought this language into the vernacular through their teachings of one of the most popular classes at the Graduate School of Business, Formation of New Ventures (which I am now also teaching).
“Being authentic” means an entrepreneur deeply understands her market when she comes from that space, or she is solving a problem that was personally experienced. The premise is that the deep knowledge of a market enables entrepreneurs to find a good product-market fit and thus enables a greater chance of building a successful company.
But there is another side of authenticity that is worth considering. As the day at FailCon progressed, what struck me was how the speakers and attendees were not wallowing in their misery of failed projects and companies, but rather that most were looking for learning opportunities on how to avoid mistakes a second time. The attendees were seeking to improve their skills and talents so that they would not make similar mistakes in the future. They were hoping to learn from other people’s crashes so that they could avoid doing them in their next (or current) endeavor.
I found the failure very authentic.
As I got to the end of the day, I began to think the conference was doing something quite unique; not unlike what we try to teach our entrepreneurs at XSeed. That is, to make original mistakes, not the mistakes others have made. Most conferences share stories about how successful entrepreneurs built huge firms, and where pundits get to pontificate on their genius. FailCon does the opposite, in a good way.
Having moved back to Silicon Valley last year, I think that discussing one’s failures is a particularly difficult task in today’s culture. If you read this recent New Yorker article on San Francisco’s “entrepreneurial culture,” you’d think everyone is trading houses with rock stars except for you! While the implication of what is happening in the Bay Area is the topic for a whole different article, the current environment makes discussing mistakes you have made (or are making) not easy.
No one is perfect, no one is living the perfect life, and despite what people try to project — especially as a CEO where one always has to be upbeat and put a positive face on things — most startups fail and/or have near-death experiences.
In the end, I give great credit to Cass and the FailCon team for trying to do something important and valuable. While failing is not why any entrepreneur gets out of bed in the morning, discussing your train wrecks and foibles in public is a courageous thing to do.
Robert Siegel (@robsiegel) is a General Partner at XSeed Capital, with extensive leadership in strategy definition, operational execution, and international sales and marketing for companies large and small. Prior to XSeed, Robert served in upper management at GE Security, Pixim (acquired by Sony), Weave Innovations (acquired by Kodak), and Intel, among others. He is currently on faculty at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, has co-authored several articles for California Management Review, and served as lead researcher for Andy Grove’s book “Only the Paranoid Survive.”
This video from Google will warm the cockles of every entrepreneur's heart. Incidentally, no one really knows what a 'cockle' is or, why they need to be warmed as opposed to chilled. I digress. Every entrepreneur has their reasons for doing what they are doing. Most startsmall but aim big. Most fail along the More Info »
It still seems a little impossible to believe that Steve Jobsdied just over two years ago. Regardless of what you think of him as a person, his business or, his products, Jobs was the ultimate entrepreneur. This video is of Jobs in 1990, sharing his thoughts on why what he was doing was so More Info »