Competitive Edge

What is BUZZ COCOA? It’s an ingenious blend of caffeine and cocoa – making for one energizing cup of hot chocolate! Why do I mention this on an article entitled “Competitive Edge” you might ask?

Because I have edge on the competition.

Not strict advantage – I haven’t been around long enough to muster a name as bold as Carnegie or Rockefeller. But nonetheless, I have established a strong personal brand and several months ago set out to establish the #1 Caffeinated Hot Chocolate Brand in the world.

We’ve had orders from everywhere – US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Latvia, and throughout Europe. The BUZZ COCOA brand went from nothing to being on the 1st page of Google for “caffeinated hot chocolate” in just 3 months, and we’re on our way to surpass any other listings in the near future.

What other crazy things are we doing??

  • Negotiating large wholesale agreements with both mid-tier & big box retailers
  • Getting some sweet PR deals (currently can’t be disclosed)
  • Rocking your Snapchat filters (more to come!)

Aside from going GLOBAL in just 6 short months, we’re working with investors, brokers, and retailers in the hopes of stocking your local shopping centers with the BUZZ. It’s an incredibly time consuming and scrupulous venture, but completely worth it in the end. Why? Because of competitive edge.

Business boils down to timing and execution. I believe that I have done both flawlessly.

And I’ll surely toot my own horn at that. Five, six years ago, you would have seen Swiss Miss trying to establish a caffeinated hot chocolate mix. Great idea! But you only put 98mg of caffeine in there… pathetic. That wouldn’t even wake up my grandmother.

And then a few years after you saw some pre-adopters – companies trying to make moves in an uncharted industry. There were two companies that did well, but their appeal died out and people vaguely knew about their brand identity. Not with BUZZ. You see, even reading this right now, and sharing this post across whatever social network you’re on only brings more power to the BUZZ COCOA brand name.

And in an effort to promote the BUZZ COCOA brand, I’ve been taking gigantic steps in the right direction for our PR presence – which includes, but is not limited to, our Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Business Collaborations, Press Articles, and so much more. We’re not even talking about some of the awesome stuff that’s about the debut before and during the summer.

So really, what is this Competitive Edge? Well, as many of us learn about Industrialization in America, the term Competitive Advantage came from what a business had over its competitors – betters workers, better facilities, better location. Or in my case, a better brand. I can assure you, in ten years, BUZZ COCOA will become commonplace in the United States, and the better part of the developed world.

I want to bring BUZZ COCOA everywhere.

My competitors simply want to test the market, profit, and sustain. Business projects should have a life cycle, regular products should have a life cycle – but when your product is a LIFESTYLE, it doesn’t come to a close, and it doesn’t stop. It keeps me on edge, wanting more. It keeps going.

That’s what my Competitive Edge is. And it’s that exact edge which keeps me alert and focused on building this brand and the product offerings it includes. Seriously, check out some of the stuff BUZZ has been doing.

And not to mention that our Snapchat has been BLOWING UP! Friends, I thank you so much for your follows and Snapbacks – they mean the world! But just in case you missed one of our Snapchat stunts in NYC this past week, below is a video summing up one of our experiences with Snapchat geofilters…

Still, while our PR stunts and awesome products may be getting us through now, there is much more going on behind the scenes in development for what will be coming. The BUZZ COCOA brand is going to revolutionize the way you energize your life and excite your world.

If there’s one thing you should walk away with from this article, it’s to build your own Competitive Edge. Find your passion within your current business or area of employment and beat it to a pulp – own that passion. Am I allowed to wake up and say to myself, “Eh, I don’t want to be the cocoa guy anymore,” really am I? To achieve a Competitive Edge, I won’t even mutter those words to myself, let alone think them.

To have the edge, you have to be all in.

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Follow BUZZ COCOA‘s journey to greatness on Snapchat (open on mobile): http://snpcht.me/BUZZCOCOA

Why We Need Startups

startup

As consultants, it’s in our job description that we are there to help; to guide our clients through thick and thin, to weather out the storm. It’s our job to guide the startups.

But what do startups provide us with? More 20 year old God-Complex “CEOs” who think they know how to run a company? Not necessarily, although that may be a true stereotype to some extent. Startups provide us with the groundbreaking innovation and discovery other companies are afraid to embark on because of the riskiness involved. For instance, just today California ruled that Uber’s contractors are really employees. There’s no doubt that a verdict such as this one will spin the ride-sharing industry in a direction we’re not quite sure of.

Think of startups like Wall Street during the internet and housing bubbles – it rocked from an economic standpoint. Of course, we are disregarding the moral hazard, the copious amounts of narcotics, and the fact that greed overpowered most of the influential individuals on the Street. Keeping this analogy as puritan as possible, you can see where I’m coming from.

Startups are the future of today.

And that is quite bluntly why we need to guide the startups: because we need the startups. The future of our economy, of our country, of our world – it all depends upon these innovative and edgy companies with nothing to lose. Sure, 98% of all businesses fail within the first year of starting up, but that 2% fuels us on an astronomical level.

Now imagine if we could get more than 2% of startups to succeed within the first year? Maybe 4%?

We’re talking about doubling innovation and startup ingenuity – an increasing of VC efficiency and allocation of all funds. As a startup consultant, my experience has lent to me the following principle:

Companies succeed with the right guidance. Likewise the opposite.

Companies succeed with the right guidance, and companies fail without the right guidance. This is where having a startup consultant becomes absolutely critical. Many startups and their owners tend to think in the “I am everything” mentality – they are the founder, the president, the CEO, the marketer, the support, the CFO, the sales trainer, and so on. Even I admit that I get into that cycle sometimes, and it’s quite a steep drop down into that rabbit hole.

Therefore, I want to address how startup consultants come to save the day. As a startup, you only know your company and who you want to sell your company to (consumers, investors, etc..). You might have woken up in the middle of the night, thought of a brilliant app idea, and forgot to go back to sleep. The adrenaline is pumping through your veins, the ideas are flowing, the fantasies of success and fortune are on the horizon. And yet you haven’t gotten yourself anywhere but into your shower to get ready for your 9-5 job. Which you’re not that thrilled about.

That’s where we come in – the awesome consultants who are budget friendly and fly a red-eye just to make it to your investor pitch. And speaking of pitches, that’s where this one comes in.

The CSC Institute is an organization which began its infancy back in January of this year. The organization prides itself on taking the first step into becoming a larger presence in the startup industry as a means of credentialing startup consultants – sorting the best from the rest. I had the privilege of getting involved with such a movement during that infancy, and now having established a CSC presence in the Northeast Region (Greater New York Area), good things are happening. The website for the Institute is still up and coming, but there’s a handful of information readily available. I’m actually working with everyone closely on the back-end, and things are going quite smoothly.

So what is the “Institute” and what do they do? Specifically, the CSC Institute strives to provide quality certification for professional individuals in the startup & small business industry. They put candidates through a challenging application process (from the initial preliminary application, to a resume/CV screen, to a phone screen, to an in-person interview) and based upon those evaluations they make the decision to award the individual with the Certified Startup Consultant designation (CSC). As you will notice on my LinkedIn profile, I finally got the designation as of this month. (Yay!)

Now that I’m done with this whole pitch, what’s the point?

My point is that, in a world full of individuals claiming that they understand the process behind startups and the plethora of strategies involved, the startups are actually suffering. Go ahead, ask any one of your entrepreneur friends and see if they ever had to deal with a flaky consultant or developer – there’s a good chance they did, and there’s even a better chance that those flaky individuals knew they couldn’t perform the work required.

Now, if there were a way to filter through all this nonsense and headache of flaky consultants and only identify the real, true hard-working individuals who have the education, the experience, the personality, and the willpower to exceed at helping you succeed…

That’s the exact reason for why I am getting involved with the CSC Institute movement, and why every other startup consultant out there should do the same. Understandably I have moved into a branding niche as of this past year, I still stay true to my roots. We need startups – good startups – because with our support and guidance, these startups will change the world.

A Game of Balance

Cue the ambient overtones of the Game of Thrones opening score.

worklife While not nearly as exciting or thrilling as George R.  R. Martin’s universe, your work life as an  entrepreneur becomes an incredible game of balance.  I’m going to focus this post on my perspective of  balance and how you too can multitask (direly a bad  habit, but nonetheless important).

So where does this balancing act of mine begin? For  starters, allow me to explain what I’m up to and what  I’ve got under my belt over these next few months.  Most importantly, I’m studying more than sleeping in preparation for my one of my actuarial examinations (see www.beanactuary.org), alongside with my upcoming employment at a major re-insurer next month. Thrown into the mix is my work with an actuarial society, a risk management organization, and the St. John’s University Entrepreneurs Society (in the great NYC) – oh and let’s not forget, this blog!

We’ll run with those items for now, as it’s really only a slice of the cake. I’ve got a million aspirations and to-do’s, but those are the prevalent issues at hand. Many of you might not have even known my pursuit of a career in insurance, let alone my involvement in the industry. Well it’s true! I’ve found the insurance industry to be a great place for not only individuals looking to grow their careers but also to innovate and revolutionize as well. As an entrepreneur, the words innovate and revolutionize fit well into my attributes.

But how in the world can I manage all of this while still promoting my blog, my brand, and continue to consult on the side? I admit, it’s a lot of multitasking as mentioned, but time management is key. If you don’t become an expert at your own time management it’s surely going to show. As a matter of fact, it shows for me more in my personal life than anything. It’s actually gotten to a point where people will tell me to show up somewhere 15-20 minutes earlier just because they know I’ll show up late if they don’t (hey, I’m working on it!).

Then where does one begin with mastering time management? Start with the little things and work on building your time management “portfolio”: allot certain time throughout the day for exercise, limit the amount of time you mind-numbingly watch television or browse Facebook (#techNOlogy!), and even take the opportunity to track how long it takes you to eat. Maybe you can do something productive like check emails or go through your to-do list while you eat your meal.

As you tackle more and more of your daily routine and scrutinize it to no end, you’ll start to see improvements in your time – namely, more of it. You can then use this time to wisely focus on the present issues at hand. For myself, I try to study for my examinations several hours per day (every day is different), then I make sure all my to-do’s have been taken care of, whether it be planning meetings or emailing my connections, and then I make time for my brand and my blog.

While many will argue your work must come before all else – which I agree with if you are a unique startup with a lot of potential – for my line of work, I manage what I have to do and move on. My service to my readers is my content, and to my clients my service is my consultation. I give you the time of day but do not dilly-dally, for the lack of a better word. You can do this too, it just takes time.

And time is what you have. Go take advantage of it – the most precious commodity that is slipping through your hands. Maximize the efficiency of your time and you will maximize your productivity and potential.

 

Wishing you absolutely the best.

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