December 31, 2015

10 things I learnt in 2015 on my first eCommerce experience

I may be a fast learner, but there are still a few things that must be learnt the hard, painful, shameless, pitiful, ... etc way.

It's not an humour post... well, yeah, it is.

July 5, 2015

What nobody tells you about becoming an entrepreneur, until it's "too late"

If you are on this particular endeavour, you'll feel quite empathized about this subject. And that's because you're an adventurer of life, but also a true willpower warrior, even against your loved ones. E.g., I had to listen today "a work is when you get a salary"... Er... Yes, and no. People seem to discard us as workers when we decide to launch ourselves into this self employment state, for many reasons...:

June 3, 2015

Achieving a company success may seem impossible. But it's not.

The reason I decided to start this fight about achieving a company success in the e-commerce sphere... is not a simple answer I could just tell you in a few lines. In fact, some days I wonder what the hell I'm doing working up to 19 hours a day, with no revenues and no benefits (so far). However...

April 22, 2015

5 Tooltips for E-commerce entrepreneurs that I had to learn the hard way

I you made it to the front door, but now the real work begins, you'll end up adding many skills, and then some. But even then you'll be stop by hundreds of tiny issues. That's part of the entrepreneurship personal evolution, but what if I could speed up a little that process by telling you 5 ways to earn many minutes a day, and be more productive?

April 8, 2015

3 things to do before starting a business

Between the moment you decide what you wanna do, 'til the moment you create that there is a gap that's filled with a process. We'll talk about that process I've overcome, at least a big part of it. Trust me, if you feel a bit lost, keep reading, it'll be a brief introduction in 3 steps that will clarify your mind:

February 1, 2015

Stairway to ... e-commerce

If you're, as I am, trying to start a business, you may find that in the mid way you'll need to take action to achieve the long term objectives. And that might be an e-commerce. Deciding what, when, how, where, and why could be a tricky process. Find out more:

The business idea process: 

From the moment you realize you have a good business idea, there are two possibilities: It's a good one, or not. You may think it is, but the answer will come from the market itself. Your customers have the last word on this matter. Anyways, your idea value is exactly zero. It will increase its own value once it becomes something real, and the business worth will depend on many variables, including the people who carry on.

There is no business, or idea, that will succeed, if there is no business plan. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, you better start learning about this. There are online courses to do it, or you can try the old fashion way (going to physical academies, college, etc). It won't be as simple as that, but it's a start.

I'd recommend a few platforms to help you achieve this step:
Google Actívate (Spain)

One of the best tools you'll get is a Business Canvas Model, that will give you the ability to see at first glance what, when, how, why, and where about your project. It's also a main step in order to convince angel investors that your project is viable, realistic, and goal driven.

Why should you do it? 

It's not (all) about the money, but about the great opportunity, qualification, means, resources, etc. You should wonder if you'd be wasting the chance if you don't, but more important, asking yourself what's the main reason that moves you to do it. Worst case scenario, you'll end up being the same person, but older, and much more experienced. Remember that any case is different, and you have to consider what age you are, if you have children or not... etc. It's never late, but everything must fit in on the project, even the personal situation you are in.

Whom will you sell to?

One of the most important basis of the project, if not the most, is your target. Even if it's modified along the unknown path, it'll start somewhere. Once you know whom you'll be selling to, you need to grow the business idea over it, and not the other way around.

For starters this will be a messy part of the project, since they'll think they know exactly what kind of person it will represent. But your idea, and your predictions will worth nothing at all. It's more a try and fail process. You need to "get out of the building" and ask around, get feedback, and start over and over again, until you end up with a "Minimum Viable Product" to a singular target. You'll understand more once you do the proper course in one of the platforms I recommended you to.

To get out of the building can be just making experiments in web analysis, or doing it literally, or both. You'll figure it out.

How long will this require?

In the past there was this idea about all businesses not having any profit for a certain period after the start. In fact, every business that showed this characteristic in its business plan, whenever they were looking for investment, was rejected for good, because it was unrealistic.

Fortunately, this mindset has changed over the time, as many people have successfully accomplished a positive outcome from a minimum investment enterprise. And I emphasize "minimum", not zero, because every endeavour in this field needs a basic amount of money, time, and resources.

You can get profit from the start, if you focus on this task by creating a clean environment in finances. It's simple: Reduce your expenses all you can, eliminate all the middlemen, and get the most revenue you can. Besides these, and even more important, create a trustful relationship with customers.

This process it's called: The LEAN STARTUP.

If you manage through all these advices you'll be positive balance within a year, if not months. You have to create a healthy economy, and surround yourself with a supportive kind of people.

Preparing the way:

At the beginning you'll be mostly all roles in one. So you need to set a few things: You need to know your business sector; you'll also have to manage your website/e-commerce; a proper customer service; of course you'll need a delivery system; and a product line whatever you decide to sell. But most important: A BUSINESS PLAN. As we discussed above.

So I guess you'll need a couple of months to prepare the whole thing, along with another few to create a first scratch of business plan (Canvas Sheet will be helpful, though). Once you have this figured it out, the creation process will begin. Oh, you wouldn't think you were all good to go, would you?

It means your v1.0 canvas will be much different from the final version once you reach a good MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

What's the MVP?

The Minimum Viable Product is the basic set of product or products, in the minimum costly or the simpler way, to start selling and therefore getting incomes. The sooner you can get income, the better.

Once you get some feedback from the first customers you sell to, you'll modify the canvas sheet, maybe the services, the products, or other parts of the business model, to please your new customers. In some way this behaves like the scientific method: Trial and error.

Starting the e-commerce:

Now you have done a few exchanges for your services, you'll earn some experience, modify some aspects of your business idea/model, and you'll have a modest, simple, working progress e-commerce.

But even if you're doing OK, you need much more than just sell: Web analysis, marketing, lawyer/s, business advisor, among other things. The position you show up in the web search engine (Google is not the main search engine in China and Russia, for example), the website itself (simpleness, efficiency, etc), the country's laws that will apply to you when selling in that country, etc.

As you can see in this chart, considering selling in a foreign country may be a good idea, but only if you have all this covered.

You will grow as much as you adapt to the market, you'll get better negotiation margins, more profits, and someday you'll consider getting an investment partner to escalate your project to bigger areas... or not. It's up to you.

Best luck! And thank you for reading!

January 19, 2015

The death of the JPG


Today I'm going to talk about an image revolution. Either you work with images or just use them (exploring the Internet, taking photographs, etc), you'll be amazed about what's about to be revealed.

When we first met the JPG format, we thought there had happened a miracle, because Internet was surfed using 7k or 14k bps. Later 25k and 33k modems came, but still... We used the phone line to connect, and it was clearly unstable. It could take half an hour to download just a few megabytes, or even just one. The websites were so simple that they were almost all in text with small pics in bmp. And... jpg arrived to the common people.

The time for the beautiful Internet had just arrived:

Suddenly many web pages started to implement images in their navigation bars, full of colours, adding pictures, or even mixed up with the text. Some of them were links to another pages. The image revolution came to the known Internet. By that time you'll remember the "best" search engine: Yahoo. In Spain we used Altavista aswell.

So... What's new in this horizon? Mobile platform is extending itself to our very hands, one user at a time, but that number is growing exponentially as we speak, and there will be many many things connected to the Internet, a few times more than our current total population. And not all of those things will be computers, either mobile or desktops... There will be more facial recognition than governments will admit, more intelligent cars using images and sensors, ... even drones. And do you know what's the biggest use of bandwidth most of the times? Correct, one of the main problems is the video and image streaming. Many videos are made by adding thousands of compressed images, if not all of them. And there is something coming this way about the quality and the compression.

As users we like high quality images... Oh, those zoom in and out functionality in our smart phones (let's call them phones from now on, since almost everyone has one)... But we've seen that even our best photographs, and specially those shared to us, are pixelated. Not all of them, but many. Same goes for videos.

One of the revolutions we're currently living on, is that everyone is a camera out there, every single person can record, share, comment, and make something go viral in the time a reporter use to get his camera on his/her shoulders. Thanks social media for that. I don't know how you get informed, by in my case I use some apps that get feeds from other pages, and so on. This is becoming an issue in my "advanced" country (specially after the "Google tax" law they just made, the reason for Google to shut down its Google News page in Spain, but that's long enough to be discussed in an entire post).

As I was telling you, we're about to experience a change, that will modify images, photographs, videos, but specially the bandwidth you use, your apps use... the web pages use... And what you'll "feel" will probably be more the using time, the downloading time, and the loading time in those cases. BPG is the next solution, and it will be as big change as JPG was to BMP.

I'll share a comparison.

After seeing this, what we can only say is... how long will last this old fashioned jpg in the cyber world? Bets are on the board. But I think it won't be there for the next 10 years, although we'll notice its disappearance sooner than that date.

By the way, BPG means "Better portable image", for those who wonder what those letters mean.

Thanks for reading!

P.S: Leave a comment if you're interested in debate this subject, or know about the matter and want to share.