A year and 3 months ago, I titled my latest blog post “Business building in progress”. It might not surprise you that since then, I’ve been continuously building, and actually you could question if it wasn’t ideas I was building, rather than businesses.
In any case, a business isn’t built over 1 night, that’s for sure. But I would state even stronger that a business isn’t built unless you’re 200% of your time committed to it. You can let ideas grow on the side, that for sure, but you won’t be able to grow your idea into if you’re trying to combine it.
Bon, I’m writing myself an intro way to long. Let me come to the point… Early this summer I decided I had to compromise. 1 year ago, I still believed it was possible to build 3 businesses at the same time. I quickly dropped the least advanced case of the three, continued with 2 at the same time for about 9 months, and finally decided to focus on only one of them. Today, I’m the Chief Parking Facilitator at Carambla and I have my hands full with it!
The rest of the story will be written in the coming months… If you’d like to hear more, I’ll talk about the biggest challenges I faced during my first year as a start-up entrepreneur and share tips with the audience at www.tedxuhasselt.be in a couple of months.
During the last couple of months, I’ve been working hard on getting integrated in the Belgian entrepreneurial tech scene. The first company I fell in love with was www.dialogsolutions.com. I wrote them a business plan for a social software service. It didn’t just stay with a plan… I’ve been working hard on getting the product developed, and today we can officially say that a first full version is ready for launch: www.dialogfeed.com. Check it out if you’re a social media fan, and let me know what you think of it!
As I said, this was only the first company I fell in love with. My second love is in the field of parking. www.carambla.com is a company set up by four flemish entrepreneurs, going to offer a mobile solution to facilitate city center parking. Follow us on twitter, facebook and register on carambla if you would like to be the first user!
Last but not least, I’m setting up a company in the electric car industry. The opportunity for electric cars in the smart grid of tomorrow is huge, and together with two other passionate entrepreneurs, we’re going to connect the dots.
You can’t imagine how exciting these times are for me. It will take a lot of hard work to build these companies, but I believe in all three if them, and I hope together with all my cofounders, we can make a lasting difference.
Entrepreneurial greetings, Nicolas
Mass media? Where did it all start? Well, I guess it all began in the early 19th century, when the first newspapers were produced and distributed in the US. The communication potential of mass media was finally reached. This also reflected a huge opportunity on the advertising side. Suddenly, you could reach hundreds of thousands of people via the same medium. Later, the introductions of radio and TV could only add to this. And of course, about 10 years ago, also the Internet was discovered by the marketeers as the new medium. It is a typical example of a self fulfilling prophecy. Companies feel the pressure of the Internet, and at the point the marketeers jump on it, the ball goes rolling.
Today, a company without Internet-presence is out of the race, the race to win the consumers for your brand. 99% of meaningful consumer brands already created their web presence and the spend huge budgets getting traffic to their websites. We all know that Google, with a market cap of over $170 billion, makes a fortune in referring consumers to these websites.
Since 2007, there is another player popping up in the industry, facebook. And guess what, everybody is nowadays talking about “the facebook page”. Without a facebook page, your consumer business will be out of the race for consumer attention within 3 years. And indeed, we see that more and more brands open a facebook page and start allocating important budgets to send people to their facebook page. But wait… it is a facebook page - which means - you as a brand owner do not own the content, nor the visitors, nor the income generated from advertising or any other source. Are we throwing away the precious assets of the media independence that the internet brought to us? Mr Zuckerberg thanks you in advance!
But wait, we can help. At dialogfeed, we strongly believe in the value of social networks, and indeed you should have your presence out there, but contrary to what Mr Zuckerberg would hope for, we disagree that facebook will take over the Internet. Did radio disrupt newspapers? Did TV make radio irrelevant? No, what happened instead is that every medium gets positioned differently when new media are introduced. And this is exactly what will happen with the Internet over the next couple of years. Company websites have their own specific purpose. Think about having your product in your personal branded offline shop versus finding your product in a supermarket.
What we propose you at www.dialogfeed.com is the following: position your website where the most of the value for your business lies - at the conversion of consumers into customers. And as a matter of a fact, social interactions will boost this conversion. So facebook could claim that you will convert better on your, actually, their facebook page, or you can claim that you convert better on your own website, but in using the power of the testimonials generated on these social networks.Stay in control of your own web presence, go to dialogfeed.com, and bring the online conversations to your website. It is your community, and you deserve them.
My first client I made with Dialog Solutions, is in the laundry business - wooopwoooop :D
15 more days to graduation… which means that my GEP journey/world trip is coming to an end.Be sure that I will miss it! But that’s the least of my concerns… let’s first try to capitalize on my money and time spent this year.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Milton Berle– Milton Berle