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LAUNCH! Magazine Issue Six


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Produced e-magazine highlight entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship program, intended for online viewing. Assembled content, managed freelance writers, and executed design and layout.

Produced e-magazine highlight entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship program, intended for online viewing. Assembled content, managed freelance writers, and executed design and layout.

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  • 1. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 1l a u n c h m a g . c o Noelle Nguyen’s AmericanLoveAffair +S. Paul Dietzel II Dat Do Varun Khanna Srinivas Rao David Rosendahl
  • 2. 2 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o Saturday, March 31, 2012 BSCHOOL.PEPPERDINE.EDU/BPLAN
  • 3. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 3l a u n c h m a g . c o LAUNCH! LAUNCH! Magazine celebrates the creativity, dedication to responsible business practice and entrepreneurial spirit of students and alumni at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, principles fundamental to its mission and that the school and its faculty have embraced and actively advanced for more than 40 years. PUBLISHED BY GRAZIADIO SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT © 2012 PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY DEAN: LINDA A. LIVINGSTONE, PH.D. ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM: Larry Cox, Ph.D. PUBLISHING EDITOR: Dianne King EDITOR: F. Douglass Gore III EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE: Jaime Quigley PROFILES: Amy Biemiller Lightstream CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY: Leroy Hamilton ARE YOU READY TO GO FROM EMPLOYEE TO FULL-TIME ENTREPRENEUR? ENTREPRENEURS S. PAUL DIETZEL II Anedot DAT DO Derivatas, Inc. VARUN KHANNA Vedanic. NOELLE NGUYEN American Love Affair SRINIVAS RAO BlogCastFM DAVID ROSENDAHL MindFire Inc. CONTENTS 16 4 6 8 10 10 14 18 THE SHORT LIST
  • 4. 4 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR S. PAUL DIETZEL II Anedot A s most non-profit organizations know, the number of people who give is directly correlated with the ease of giving . Because today’s consumers are used to managing bills and making payments electronically, they expect that same utility when they want to make regular donations to a church or synagogue, support a local charitable event, or give to a cause that interests them. But it’s not always easy for charitable organizations to initiate and manage an electronic system to streamline giving. And when it comes to using electronic systems at temporary locations —say, a park for a fun run or multiple city sites for campaign events – the challenge only increases. “I worked with many clients who were finding it more and more difficult to effectively provide donors with an easy way to give at public events. I wanted to come up with an antidote for this problem,” says Paul Dietzel (MBA ’11), who developed Anedot in 2010. By harnessing software as a service, Dietzel devised a way for organizations to collect donations, organize information and streamline fundraising without having to install a server or software.
  • 5. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 5l a u n c h m a g . c o S. PAUL DIETZEL II, MBA ‘11 Company Name: Anedot Company URL: Location: Baton Rouge, LA Mission: Optimize donations everywhere. Business Idea: Use Software as a Service to help political campaigns, nonprofits, and other organizations efficiently collect donations. Problem Set Out to Solve: The more difficult it is to do something, the less likely people are to do it: we make it easy to give. Target Customer: Political campaigns, non-profits, faith-based organizations, causes, and individuals who want to raise funds on either Facebook, a website or a mobile phone. Year Founded: 2011 Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential Number of Employees: 7 employees “Anedot is focused on the entire fundraising process and equips organizations with a powerful, easy-to- use and intuitive web-based application that allows them to accept donations through any modern web browser or mobile smartphone,” he says. “Business is going great. We’re signing new clients each day,” says Dietzel, fresh from a roadshow demonstrating Anedot’s potential to help politicians running primary campaigns. Dietzel, a long-time entrepreneur, is used to acting on inspiration. “I started my first business while in high school and have never worked for a company as an employee,” he says. “I love the adventure and the challenge of entrepreneurship, the ever-changing environment, the journey,” he says. “I enjoy helping people and showing people how they can become more efficient by using technology.” While Dietzel feels he was born for the challenge of entrepreneurship, he also sees it as something that continues to shape him as a person. “I am still very much evolving as an individual. I learn so much every day. I have made hundreds of mistakes along the way and will most likely continue to make mistakes, but I try to learn from each one and improve,” he says. Key in that evolution have been a few important mentors. “I found early in my experience working on my MBA at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management that the professors were a real source for ideas and inspiration,” he says. In fact, those lessons-learned still guide him in his business development strategy today. “Professor Larry Bumgardner’s Business Law class has helped shape my business decisions from a legal and ethical perspective. Professor Augus Harjoto commanded focus on the meaning of financial data instead of just making the numbers line up. Professor Larry Cox revived my inner imagination and reawakened the part of me that can stare into the world, see problems and then come up with business solutions,” he continues. Another professor who has had distinctive influence on Dietzel has been Kyle Murphy, whose Strategy class, with its emphasis on real-world best practices, was inspirational. “He has since become an advisory board member of Anedot and gives great insight into my decisions with the company,” he says. Dietzel derives great satisfaction in encouraging other would-be entrepreneurs by sharing his own experiences. “Never give up and never take no for an answer,” he says. “If someone tells you that something isn’t possible, it’s only because they haven’t found the possibility yet. As an entrepreneur, it’s our duty to create that possibility.” 
  • 6. 6 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR DAT DODerivatas, Inc. D at Do (MBA ‘05) was successfully applying his skill as a valuation specialist/financial engineer at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Los Angeles, when two “a-ha” moments presented themselves. First, he and some colleagues discussed the possibility of turning certain types of valuation methodologies into an efficient, affordable standardized valuation process. “I suggested that the firm invest in developing software that would perform these complex valuation calculations,” says Do. “While many people thought it was a great idea, it never materialized because software development wasn’t considered a core business of a Big Four.” DAT DO, MBA ‘05 Company Name: Derivatas, Inc. Company URL: Location: Los Angeles, CA Mission: Provide our customers with sophisticated, standardized valuation tools and market insights that help improve decision making for company management and investors. Business Idea: Provide valuation software to solve complex valuation issues for privately-held companies that are backed by venture capital and private equity. Problem Set Out to Solve: Startups need an effective and cost-efficient way to perform valuations. Target Customer: Venture capitalists, private equity firms, valuation firms, audit firms, and privately-held companies. Year Founded: 2011 Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential Number of Employees: Three, plus a dozen software engineers when engaged in product develop- ment. 6 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 7. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 7l a u n c h m a g . c o Second, an important client had a misvaluation, whereby management unknowingly underpriced the company’s new financing round. “When the misvaluation happened, I thought this was probably a more common problem than most people realize . Appropriate valuation models help to effectively determine the price of a future fi- nancing round,” he says. “What was needed was a robust software platform at a reasonable cost that would meet the needs of an underserved market.” As would be expected of a financial analyst schooled in careful decision making, Do consulted with several PwC colleagues whom he trusted and respected before making the ultimate decision to leave the corporate world to pursue entrepreneur- ship. “I loved working at PwC because of the caliber of people I was surrounded with as well as the opportunity to work on interesting projects,” says Do. “But this is a special situation in which I felt that the innovative business idea could be better executed as a startup.” Armed with guidance and support from his colleagues, and a round of angel funding, Do launched Derivatas and stepped up to his first challenge: software development. “I quickly came to the realization that I’ve taken software for granted for so many years,” he says. “Building software has to be one of the most difficult things you can do. You literally have to consider every possible scenario or permutation of users’ requirements as you design a software platform. So before you start coding, you have to exhaustively map out all possible outcomes. Not a task to be taken lightly!” Supported by a cadre of trusted software develop- ers, Do marshaled the idea through the Beta testing stage and then to release in December. “I’ve been delighted by the market traction we’ve gained,” says Do. “We have a good virtual pipeline of clients and there’s enthusiasm in the market place for our software platform.” While the software offering is meeting market needs today, Do is already looking to the next challenge. “We plan to raise another round of financing from private investors in 2012. Part of the proceeds will be used toward expanding our sales/marketing team. We also want to invest further in product development by adding features and functions that will help our clients achieve even greater efficiency,” he says. Entrepreneurship agrees with Do, stimulating creativity and relationships building. “So far, it’s been a great experience,” he says. “My flexible schedule allows me to pick up my 5-year old son from kindergarten every day. Then I get to help him with his homework for about an hour or so. It’s special to me because it’s a good bonding time for us.” Also special to Do is the newfound freedom to dream, which entrepreneurship has provided. “I get to dream freely and to dream big,” he says. “My software engineers keep reminding us that there’s no limitation to what software can do. So as long as we can imagine it and conceptualize it, it can be coded into software. How great would it be if everyone could have a period of uninhibited dreaming at some point during their career? Just imagine how much innovation would result from that!”  Dat Do
  • 8. 8 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR VARUN KHANNA Vedanic. W hen you measure popular opinion against personal experience, you may just come up with a new business. That was exactly what happened when Varun Khanna (MBA ’12) compared what he knew about herbal skincare with what he was witnessing in the marketplace. “As a reseller of high-end herbal bath, body, and beauty products from India for several years, I compared my products to those from other companies purporting to be ‘herbal’ and found they were using parabens, sulphates, and more 8 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012
  • 9. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 9l a u n c h m a g . c o VARUN KHANNA, MBA ‘12 Company Name: Vedanic Company URL: Location: Culver City, CA Mission: Establish an organic skincare line in the ma- ture bath, body and beauty market. Business Idea: Develop a high-end skincare line using India’s ancient ayurvedic formulations of organic, natural and herbal ingredients. Problem Set Out to Solve: Many common skincare formulations contain chemical that are damaging to the skin. Target Customer: Adults who are serious about all-natural skin- care and value the environment. Year Founded: 2012 Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential Number of Employees: Two co-founders than 200 other chemicals that essentially are banned in many parts of the world,” he says. “It was time to launch a responsible line of herbal skincare that used India’s ancient ayurvedic formulations of organic, natural, and herbal ingredients.” Khanna’s business instinct has been as sharp as his product knowledge. Topical skin care is a multi-billion dollar industry, with skin care the most important category in the global beauty market. Yet even with plenty of like-minded entrepreneurs moving quickly into the category, Khanna researched for 18 months before he launched Vedanic. “Typical manufacturers will spend all their money rushing their product into the market- place, yet will not consider that the ingredients are actually harmful to the skin,” he says. Taking the time to develop the line correctly is one of the distinctions of the brand. The other is operating with the courage of Khanna’s larger convictions of responsibility and staying true to the origin of the company name. ‘Veda’ is Sanskrit for ‘science’ and ‘nic’ is part of the word ‘organic. (Sanskrit for organic science) “It was important to me, not only to manufacture products that were produced with premium, handpicked herbal ingredients, but also to ensure the entire supply chain was held to higher standards,” he says. At Vedanic, manufacturing and packaging is achieved using fair trade practice which prohibits child labor, and done in an ECOCERT (one of the highest standard of organic and natural certifications in the world) laboratories under strict FDA-ap- proved quality control. The formula for Vedandic resonates with the company’s target audience – those who pay careful attention to what they eat, wear, drink and drive and who put a value on themselves and the environment. “We are proud of our products. They stand up to the test. In the end the customer decides whether the product deserves their hard earned money,” says Khanna. Vedanic products are available online, and Khanna has his eye on expanding the brand footprint. “The next challenge is marketing,” he says. “We need to establish our brand in the ma- ture bath, body and beauty market,” he says. To that end, he has launched a niche target market online ad campaign. Very shortly, Vedanic will be advertised on Sony TV nationally, and a high- end spa campaign will follow. As a consummate entrepreneur (he started his first business at age 11), Khanna’s experience has both informed his personality and delivered a feeling of success. “Entrepreneurship gives me deep satisfaction,” he says. “Being an entrepreneur gives me a sense of ownership, responsibility and account- ability, all of which help me be a better father, son, brother and husband.” 
  • 10. 10 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR NOELLE NGUYEN American Love Affair® W here is the crossroads of fashion, business, and a sense of patriotism? One intersection is American Love Affair®, a company recently founded by Noelle Nguyen (Presidents and Key Executives MBA ’12). While the company itself is new, the genesis of the idea spans Nguyen’s formative years outside the United States. Born in Vietnam, Nguyen and her mother fled the country after the fall of Saigon and spent a harrowing two weeks at sea before landing in Thailand. They lived in a refugee camp for two years where Nguyen first came into contact with Americans. “I looked forward to the days when members of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army came to our camp and brought us food and clothing,” she says. That early experience was soon followed by other American influences in her life, including church members who sponsored her and her family when they immigrated to Maryland. “I’ve developed an unwavering appreciation for Americans, and an allegiance to the country I’ve called home for more than two decades,” she says. Today, Nguyen focuses that appreciation into a passion for designing, developing, manufactur- ing, and marketing American-made apparel and related products. The American Love Affair site sells only American-made brands. 10 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 11. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 11l a u n c h m a g . c o NOELLE NGUYEN, PKE MBA ‘12 Company Name: American Love Affair, LLC Company URL: Location: Los Angeles, CA Mission: One e-commerce destination from which to purchase expertly crafted American-made fashion and consumer products. Business Idea: Design and market American-made apparel; provide a commerce platform for other American brands. Problem Set Out to Solve: A nationwide loss of pride in American-made products. Target Customer: Those who support American manufacturing and would like to promote the prominence of the “Made in the U.S.A.” label. Year Founded: 2012 (e-commerce division) Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential Number of Employees: 12 (e-commerce division) “We scoured the market and found a few hundred companies that manufacture in the United States. We are highlighting about 50 of them in our launch,” she explains. Entrepreneurship has given Nguyen an even greater appreciation of the American business system. “You are free to take a risk and you have an opportunity to earn a return on your investment,” she continues. “This is clearly not a freedom that many others around the world experience. In America, with hard work and average intelligence you have a reasonable chance at success.” While Nguyen has embraced the freedom of working for herself, she says that structure is critically important for aspiring entrepreneurs. She advises current Pepperdine students who are interested in entrepreneurship “not to fly by the seat of your pants.” Instead, they should make a plan. “ You must force yourself to adopt some level of structure and planning while still maintaining the flexibility and instincts to respond to a changing environment,” Nguyen advises. She also counsels students to take advantage of the experience and advice of Graziadio professors and advisors. “They inspired me every day with their knowledge and intellect. Understanding how they think allowed me to stretch my own thinking,” she says. The driving motivation behind Nguyen’s business is seeing four simple words—MADE IN THE USA— show up on more clothing labels. While she says the mission of the company is to create stylish and superbly constructed clothing, the company’s vision is to remind people to “fall in love again with all things that are uniquely American, be it country, community, or, perhaps, fashion.” Nguyen’s experiences, particularly during her escape from Vietnam, her time in the refugee camp, and her early years in the United State, have shaped this vision for her company. “From these experiences I have developed an appreciation that may be difficult for someone who has never lived beyond the boundaries, safety, and charity of this country to fathom,” she says. “The greatest compliment I could be paid is to be called a patriot—one who is pro-American and defends its greatness.”  l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 12. 12 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR SRINIVAS RAOBlogCastFM W hile the blogosphere may sometimes be called the next great frontier, it is one that is already well populated. According to internet search engine Technorati, in 2011 there were 164 million blogs. This is the audience that Srinivas Rao (MBA ‘09) successfully caters to. “Bloggers come from all walks of life. The one thing they all have in common is a desire to build something they can call their own,” he says. To help them do that, Rao conducts one-on-one interviews with the best minds in the blogosphere, best-selling authors, and successful entrepreneurs, and podcasts them via his BlogCastFM brand. He has interviewed A-list bloggers like Marcus Sheridan about creating interesting content; Danny Brown about standing out in the blogosphere; and Gini Dietrich about getting on the radar of mainstream media. “I get to connect with amazing people who have interesting stories,” he says. But Rao is quite the interesting blogger himself. He started his blog, The Skool of Life, in 2009 and has over 3,000 subscribers. Followers describe his posts as unconventional, adventurous, intelligent and inspiring. Rao will tell you that he is simply sharing his experiences, struggles, and lessons learned in an effort to help others. In his search to make his blog better and more informative, he asked questions—lots of them—of those who were already making a success in the blogosphere. It was this experience that led him to start BlogCastFM. “I started a weekly series on my blog called Interviews With Up-and-Coming Bloggers. After about 13 interviews, one of the guys I interviewed suggested that I start a separate site focused solely on interviews,” he explains. 12 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 13. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 13l a u n c h m a g . c o Now with hundreds of interviews logged and an average of 30,000 downloads each month, BlogCastFM is fast approaching Rao’s goal of media empire status. While the business has yet to provided Rao with a consistent income, it has provided him much satisfaction in the things that make him happy. “Even though it hasn’t necessarily been super lucrative financially, it’s opened up a wide array of interesting opportunities. I’ve been able to speak at conferences, meet and interview best-selling authors, and even live abroad six months rent-free,” he says. That excursion aboard was to Costa Rico, where he was able to pursue his other passion —surf- ing—which served to fuel his creative fire. That adventure also provided the freedom he craved, and the focus he needed to build BlogCastFM into a brand. “I think there’s something incredibly fulfill- ing about building something with your own SRINIVAS RAO, MBA ‘09 Company Name: BlogCastFM Company URL: Location: Los Angeles, CA Mission: Turn BlogCastFM into a full-blown media empire Business Idea: Leverage experience blogging to help other bloggers grow their business Problem Set Out to Solve: Share blogging success tips from A-list blog- gers with millions of bloggers world-wide. Target Customer: Internet marketers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and bloggers Year Founded: 2010 Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential two hands because you actually see the impact of your work,” he says. “I didn’t always know where my next check was coming from or if it was coming at all, but I learned exactly how valuable my time is.” Rao advises current MBA students to consider the extra opportunities graduate school provides to hone entrepreneurial skills. “If all you do is go to class and do what’s re- quired of you, then you’re missing out on the MBA experience,” he says. “The great thing about being a student is that you have tons of time available and less of a need to make money right away. Use that time wisely.” One of the best ways Rao made use of his time was in network building. “When you’re in school anybody will talk to you because you’re a student. Do as many informational interviews as you can and in this way you’ll build your network before you need it,” he advises.  l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 14. 14 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR DAVID ROSENDAHL MindFire Inc. F or David Rosendahl (BSM ’05), entrepre- neurship has been a calling to work with creative people in order to help others solve business problems. “I was involved in founding a startup around age 18, and from that time, I was bitten by the bug,” he says. “I’m not sure I chose entrepreneurship — sometimes I feel like it has chosen me.” In the late 90s, he surrounded himself with designers, engineers and marketing experts and founded an Internet service provider that offered Internet access, email service and web market- ing. When that company was acquired, he leaped into web-based software, developing products for small businesses. Then in 1999, he took up the challenge to help marketers synchronize their direct mail campaigns with the Internet. 14 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o
  • 15. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 15l a u n c h m a g . c o Rosendahl’s entrepreneurial success has not been without challenges. “Learning to cope with my own weaknesses and delegate to those who have complementary strength has been a learning process,” he says. “Also, learning to take time away from the business (like vacation) has been hard. Only in the past few years have I been able to do this successfully. I think I’m a recovering work-a-holic.” Another challenge has been learning to manage conflict properly – an issue most business people can relate to. Rather than shy away from conflict, Rosendahl approaches those situations expecting to benefit from them. “I’ve learned that success in life is directly correlated with the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have. Whenever I’m in a situation that requires an uncomfortable conversation, I think of this maxim, and how true it has been to date,” he says. A key skill Rosendahl learned during his studies at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business Management has also paid off in making his business a success. “As an entrepreneur, it sometimes feels like you’re the only one with challenges. I learned the value of speaking to as many people as possible about my goals and aspirations in order to gain perspective,” he says. “I have found that more often than not, someone else has been in a similar situation, and a good conversation can make a big difference.”  “When my partner Moe Farsheed and I decided to start MindFire, we didn’t have a specific technology idea. We just wanted to help marketers bring buyers and sellers together in more meaningful ways,” he says. Key to getting their idea off the ground was carefully listening to what really was a problem for marketers: managing and tracking the results of cross-media campaigns. “While meeting with a marketing agency and a large bank’s marketing team, I realized that marketers needed help, but were severely hamstrung by technology, obstacles, and a dizzying array of options. They needed a simple solution to help them make sense of their off-line and on-line marketing,” he explains. Rosendahl and Farsheed started work on that solution, which has become LookWho’sClicking, the company’s flagship product. It automates the creation and management of highly-effective direct marketing campaigns using landing pages, personalized URLs, QR codes, SMS text messaging, email, microsites, response tracking and more. “Today we have over 500 clients in 24 countries, and we are the leading provider of personalized URL and landing page technology to the world’s graphic arts and marketing communities,” he says. Developing and retaining strong relationships with his business partners, vendors and clients is key to his success, Rosendahl explains. “As I have gotten older I have realized how much business is about relationships,” he says. “The relation- ships we have developed with team members and clients have been hugely rewarding.” DAVID ROSENDAHL, BSM ‘05 Company Name: MindFire Inc. Company URL: Location: Irvine, CA Mission: Enable our clients to successfully leverage multi-channel marketing, improve their ROI and take the guess-work out of what works through analytics. Business Idea: Personalized cross-media marketing solutions. Problem Set Out to Solve: It is very difficult for marketers to use the variety of media available to them in a way that is orchestrated and intelligent. Target Customer: Print and marketing service providers. Year Founded: 1999 Avg. Annual Revenue: Confidential Number of Employees: 40 SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 15
  • 16. 16 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o Are You Ready To Go From Employee To Full-Time Entrepreneur? BY NATHALIE LUSSIER T he very idea of leaving the cube behind to become full-time entrepreneur can be exciting. But the grass is always greener on the other side, and while entrepreneurship has its benefits, there many things fledgling entrepreneurs should consider before deciding to go it alone. If the lure of “firing your boss” is calling you, here are 10 things to ponder before you make the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. YOU’RE THE MAN, OR NOT. If you want to become an entrepreneur because you don’t want to work for “the man” anymore, consider that working for yourself might mean working for a meaner boss. Also, when you take on clients and customers you end up working for more than one person instead of just for yourself. UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS. If you’re going to become a solo-preneur and go it alone, there are essentially three different types of businesses you need to be aware of, and any business can be a combination of these. You can either provide a done-for-you service, a consulting service, or a product. 3 START WITH A SERVICE BUSINESS. Until you build up enough of a customer base, you will likely be providing high end services. This is a good place to be because you are fine tuning your knowledge 1 2 16 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012
  • 17. SPRING 2012 | ISSUE NO. 5 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE | 17l a u n c h m a g . c o you can’t take on more work than you can manage. Other times you’ll know you need to quit your job when your business becomes more profitable and motivating.  Nathalie Lussier got her Bachelors in Software Engineering then promptly turned down a “stable” job on Wall Street to start her own online business. She’s an online business triple threat who teaches people how to get techy with their business as a digital consultant. Find Nathalie at nathalielussier. com. Courtesy of The Young Entrepreneur Council About the YEC. The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemploy- ment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY IS NOT A JUSTIFICATION FOR OR AGAINST ENTREPRENEURSHIP. If you want to start a business, there will never be a more perfect time than when you’re ready. Starting a business is the most powerful force for personal development I’ve ever experienced, so get ready for the ride of a lifetime and don’t make excuses if you put it off. BE A SPONGE. Learn as much as you can before, during, and after you start your business. It’s not necessary to go back to school or to spend years researching your idea and market. However, it is necessary to read books about business, you business industry, and marketing. It’s your job as the business owner to stay informed and to keep an open mind to new ideas and tools, because the business landscape is constantly changing. START ON THE SIDE. The best way to know if you can make it as a business owner and if your ideas are viable is to start your business on the side. Check with your boss and company policies before going ahead with the side business, and then hang your shingle up. Watch what happens, how you feel, and who responds to your offers. GET READY FOR GROWTH. Once things start to take off for you, you’ll need to make a choice as to whether you want to keep your business on the side or make the leap to full time. Sometimes you need to leap before the income is there, simply because and skills to be able to package them up into more scalable product offerings down the line. You’ll want to jump into fulltime entrepreneurship before you get to the product phase. 4PLAN TO SAVE MONEY. As you look at the best time to leave your job, put together an estimate of how much money you need to bring in on a monthly basis to sustain your lifestyle. If it doesn’t seem feasible, look for ways to scale back on your spending. Start saving now so that you have a nest egg when you do leave your job. It always takes longer to become profitable than you might think. 5SURROUND YOURSELF WITH OTHER LIKE-MINDED BUSINESS OWNERS. It’s easy to stay in a job that isn’t serving you if all of your friends are doing the same thing. Instead, find yourself a group of accountability buddies who are in a similar situation to you, or a few steps ahead so they can give you guidance as you navigate this new path in your career. BE WILLING TO PIVOT. As human beings we think we’ve got all the answers figured out. When it comes to business though, you need to be flexible and listen to the market and response. If you’re working your tail off trying to sell a product or service and it’s not giving you the returns you’re looking for, consider what your audience and market is spending money on. It’s possible that what you’re offering just isn’t a good fit. 6 7 8 9 10
  • 18. 18 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o THE SHORT LIST American Love Affair Denim and fashion apparel Noelle Nguyen, PKE MBA ’12 Anedot Optimizing the way we give Paul Dietzel, MBA/MPP ’11 Artful Gentleman Men’s fashion done better Jake Wall, MBA ‘08 Behind the Brand Expert insight to grow your business Bryan Elliott, MBA ‘99 Beyond the Olive Premium retail olive oil products Crystal and Chip Reibel, MBA ‘09 Bizible Marketing-SEO SaaS marketing for local businesses Aaron Bird, MBA Blindbid Bid for leads instead of share them Michael O’Hare, MBA ‘09 Proven social media advice Srinivas Rao, MBA 09 Business Simply Put www.businesssimplyput. com Strategy and financial management Lori Williams, MBA ‘05 Capchure LLC Advertising Network for Tech Bloggers Aaron Moskowitz, MBA ‘07 EndPlay Web content management solutions Christos M. Cotsakos, MBA ‘83 DeJant Group Corp. Natural aphrodisiac drink Omid Semino, MBA Derivatas Business valuation software Dat Do, MBA ’11 and Geoffroy Dubuisson, MBA ’11 DermaShoppe High-end, physician-dispensed skin care products Jimmy Nguyen, MBA ‘09 and Patrick Leroy, MBA ‘09 Business strategy advisor; The Redwood Bar & Thirsty Pockets founder Dev Dugal, MBA ‘04 Online document warehouse Jason Nazar, M.B.A ’05, J.D. ‘06 FCearth Eco-friendly, culturally informative soccer gear and apparel Jeff Rozic, MBA ‘06 Global4PL Supply chain solutions Sergio Retamal, MS ‘04 Global Wave Financial technology company Zubin P. Mehta, MBA ‘06 identifiDesign Taking brand communica- tions to the next level Nick Norris, MBA ‘09 Empowering job seekers Sameer Gupta, MBA ‘09 Jungo LLC Flickerz - Flickable flying toy discs Michael Cheshire, MBA ‘11 Krav Maga Worldwide, Inc. Youth self defense Matt Romond, MBA ‘12 Kensel & Co Middle market investment services Brendon Kensel, MBA ‘00 Layla Singer/Songwriter/Fashionista; a music phenomenon Darlene Kiloglu, MBA ‘11 MP3 audio course-oriented flashcards Brett Fisher, MBA ‘11 and Stephen Yeoh, MBA ‘11 Linked Orange County Networking and business con- nections Bryan Elliott, MBA ‘99 Locaxion GPS-enabled smart phone apps for golfers Pratish Shah, EMBA ‘10 Lolay, Inc. Location-based mobile apps Bardia Dejban, MBA ‘10 LSR Lifestyle Wholesale cigar company Jordan Rockwell, MBA ‘10 Markex Global Strategetic international trade Kasra Ferasat, MBA ‘10 MindFire Inc. Personalized cross-media marketing solutions David Rosendahl, BSM, ’05 Personal Care Physicians www.mypersonalcarephysi- Troy Medley, MBA ‘03 Quantumsphere Nano catalysts and integrated catalytic solutions Kevin Maloney, MBA ‘02 SG Biofuels, Inc. Jatropha as a low cost, sustainably produced oil Kirk Haney, MBA ‘95 Shadys Custom branded canvas golf cart coverings Jaime E. Parker, MBA ’99 Shark Bite Scuba Maker of award-winning The Tank Dolly® Kimberly Isaac, MBA ‘10 Personal Development Srinivas Rao, MBA 09 Smile Brands Inc. Support services to general and multi-specialty dental groups Steve Bilt, PKE MBA ’01 Sohve Strategic consulting Nick Mitchell, EMBA ‘07 Superhero Enterprises Character-based publishing and merchandising Davien L. Watkins, BSM ‘08 SwitchStream, LLC Management advisory services and venture investing Kyle C. Murphy, MBA ‘05 TrustyMax Maker of go2socket – grips bolts other sockets cannot Tim Kim, MBA ‘10 Vedanic Premium organic & natural skincare Varun Khanna, MBA ’12 End-to-end web solutions Dhaval Doshi, MBA ‘09
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  • 20. 20 | LAUNCH! MAGAZINE| ISSUE NO. 5 | SPRING 2012 l a u n c h m a g . c o ENTREPRENEUR’S JOURNEY FAST PITCH COMPETITION 2012 FIRST PLACE WINNER Diane Jenkins, MBA ‘12 I was preoccupied shopping one day. I had put my purse down for what I thought was a second. But when I reached for it, it was gone. I had no warning that someone had just stolen my purse. I have come up with a solution that I call the Charm Alarm. It is a fashionable bracelet with a charm that activates a smart card that looks just like a credit card. Put the card in your wallet and you can go shopping and travelling with ease. The moment these two are ten feet apart, the bracelet will let out a beeping warning sound. And when they are 15 feet apart it will let out a high pitched shriek, which is the perfect deterrent for any pickpocket or thief. This security device works with and complements jewelry lines such as Pandora and Brighton. A variety of marketing will include a website, infomercials, magazine ads and retailers. So take it from me, Diane Jenkins, with a Charm Alarm you are better safe than sorry. 6100 Center Drvie | Suite 400 | Los Angeles, CA 90045 | © PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY. All Rights Reserved. GSBM.DG.030312 “ “