Archives January, 2010

Being the first one and jumping into the void

By Jose on 23.01.2010 // 11:02 am in General

During the last event Café & Finanzas (a networking event held at Madrid) of the year, Marc Vidal, Cink general director, and Julen Basagoiti, BZMK NEXA chairman, talked about management skills in Internet companies. They also described some of the qualities any entrepreneur should have.

During his intervention, Marc Vidal told three stories which had had an influence on his management and entrepreneur work. One of the stories was about a friend of his who had undertaken the titanic struggle of changing life in a favela, and how a few of this man’s friends (him among them) had warned him about the unlikeliness of achieving his goal and had asked him to focus on more productive tasks. The man’s answer was clear: someone has to be the first one.

The ‘moral’ of the story is very simple: we can not wait for someone to undertake for us. When someone has a business idea, s/he has to try to implement it instead of looking for excuses to postpone its launching. Even if our idea looks overestimated, if we don’t start working on it we will never know what would have happened. The results might not always be what we wished for, but empirical knowledge based on experience and trial and error also works in the business world.

People who submitted their project to this BBVA Open Talent second edition have also been through the process of hesitating over their idea and its launching. However, they have also proved that all entrepreneurs have initiative. Having an idea is obviously not enough, to perform previous checks is always necessary (what is basically known as a business plan). However, sometimes we must be audacious and jump into the void (within certain limits).

The importance of credibility

By Jose on 19.01.2010 // 11:01 am in General

Anybody who has worked in a Sales Department knows that a product is not everything: there are less tangible elements which can be determining when closing an operation. Maybe the most important one is credibility, since it is impossible to convince the client without it. This certainty can also be applied to entrepreneurship. At the end of the day, when an entrepreneur looks for funding or tries to find new partners, he is selling his project.

As MIT Sloan points out, the problem is that too many entrepreneurs focus almost exclusively on developing their business plan and leave out other tasks which are also important for the project’s credibility. These could be for example to keep an updated and adequate web page, to answer work e-mails and to look after the company’s image. The prestigious American business school carried out a study in order to determine which persuasion recipes do entrepreneurs use. They have discovered that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who inspire greatest confidence.

Many little entrepreneurs still solve the confidence issue through their business plan financial and technical aspects using these to cover shortcomings (specially related with experience). However, the study shows that it is more useful to focus on little symbolic effects which reinforce the company’s image of stability and credibility. All in all, credibility is about implementing a few basic product marketing strategies and finding a good packaging for the company.
Some of the tips they propose are widely used, such as holding meetings in places which suggest economic strength, using satisfied clients statements and dressing appropriately (even if it sounds basic). The study identifies four key areas in order to achieve investors’ confidence: personal credibility, company’s professionalism, experience (at least entrepreneurs’ experience) and recommendations and contacts network.

Naturally, it is easier to make progress on the two first key areas because it is on these areas where most of the entrepreneur’s main mistakes are made. The key is to approach this issue from a marketing point of view: the company and the entrepreneur himself are just products which need to be sold.

Image - Andrew Feinberg

Start of the voting stage for BBVA Open Talent second edition

By Jose on 07.01.2010 // 12:39 pm in General

The voting stage of BBVA Open Talent’s second edition started on January 1st. We invite you all to participate voting for your favourite projects among the following categories:

Cloud Computing
SMEs management tools
Financial services in social networks
Internet/mobile financial applications
Digital business

320 projects out of the 415 projects received before December 15th were selected for this second stage. The voting stage will last until February 15th and later the internal selection process will be opened. This process will end with the announcement of the 20 finalists: 10 most voted projects and 10 projects selected by BBVA’s jury.

415 projects received during BBVA Open Talent’s first stage

By Jose on 07.01.2010 // 12:29 pm in General

We are very satisfied with the successful reception of BBVA Open Talent’s second edition. We are thrilled to inform you that we have received 415 entrepreneur’s business plans during the projects submission stage. We are currently working to select the projects which fulfil the requirements established by the program rules and on January 1st we will announce which are the projects that go into the public voting stage.

From January 1st, a new stage starts: the projects can call for votes using a voting widget and all users can participate and vote for their favourite projects. The voting stage will last until February 15th. The 10 projects receiving most votes by the community, together with the 10 projects selected by BBVA investment committee, will get through the final stage. Up to 3 investments of up to 100,000 euros will be awarded and the most voted project will win a prize consisting in a trip to a USA entrepreneur’s event where 16 prizes more, specially useful for start-ups, will also be awarded. We just want to thank all of those who submitted their projects and all the people who helped make this entrepreneurs support initiative widely known. We encourage you to keep on participating from January 1st and we announce that we are preparing more initiatives to dynamize the big community of entrepreneurs which is taking shape around BBVA Open Talent.