Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I’ve lost 3 businesses in 5 years

I have 6 and half years of entrepreneurship.

At the age of 20 while in university along with other colleagues I’ve started an NGO of students called DaAfaceri (YesBusiness). Its goal is to support young people to start their own businesses. It was not much, but we have contributed to some startups and other students that took contact with the NGO got better jobs that they would have got without the NGO.

I left this NGO after almost two years of being president so that other students will get the chance to take it further. In November this year the NGO will be 7 years old.

After I left DaAfaceri (the NGO) I’ve started a small business along with another member of this organization. We were at the age of 22 and we said: “After what we did with the NGO we can’t fail”. Well it took us 5 months to fail. We lost all of our money, we had no investors and our project was a disaster.

It took me 6 months to recover from that failure.

In the summer of 2005 we (the two associates in the company) finished the university and decided to separate.

In September 2005 I have decided to try again on my own. I had no money (in fact I had about 350 USD), but I said that if I do not try again, I’d be sorry.

So I din try again this time with a less ambitious project. And with a lot of hard work, a lot of enthusiasm and not that much business knowledge I was successful … at least for about 16 months.

The business made little money, the market was very small, I wanted it to grow, but soon I realized that there was no place to grow unless I made a large investment. I didn’t have the money to invest; there were no investors willing to invest (in fact in Romania there are very few investors that are venture capitalists and invest in startups).

So in march 2007 I said that my small, very small business is almost broke. So I decided to start a new business along with a friend, a business on training for companies – marketing and management trainings for companies. That business is called PICANT.

PICANT started in July 2007 and we were more successful than we expected. It is true that we didn’t expect too much. 2008 started a little slow and business wasn’t very good, but since May 2008 till December 2008 the business was booming. We worked 6 days a week at least 10 hours a day.

The money was ok, we’ve built a nice brand and 95% percent of our customers were very happy with our trainings.

Unfortunately in 2009 the Economic Crisis touched Romania and the companies cut off their training and marketing budgets. So we who sold marketing trainings lost another business.

The great thing is that we are only 27 years old. (My partner turned 27 last week. I still am 26 for the next 3 months).

So after almost seven years of entrepreneurship, at the age of 27, maybe it is time to do some business…

Elections for the European Parliament

On 7th of June in all the 27 EU countries will be held elections for the European Parliament.

The European Parliament is a unique structure, being the EU’s Legislative. The European Parliament in theory represents the 490 million citizens of the EU.

But it is expected that only about 30% of the voting population to take part in these elections.

This might mean that Europeans are not that much interested in the EU… What I believe it’s very encouraging is the fact that a lot of young citizens will vote. At least this time the young ones will chose the future and not the ones over 70.

Enjoy the EU Anthem

Friday, May 22, 2009

Peace and Prosperity

Have you noticed that most of the fairy tales with young (male) heroes that fight with some kind of evil creature or person end with the young hero becoming king? And all of these fairy tails end with the phrase “And the new king brought peace and prosperity”?

Well, it seams that today’s leaders of the world ignored all of these fairy tales, because in the last hundred years no one understood that war and military spending will not bring prosperity to the people.

All of the wars were followed by recessions and hard times for the simple citizens.

I heard an economist’s (I can’t remember the name) speech on FORA.tv saying that now we have the same situation as the one after a war, but without a war. Well… some of the world’s strongest economies are at war (USA and UK) for at least 8 years.

The USA and other countries spent huge amounts of money on the military budget in the last 8 years. Why this taxpayer’s money wasn’t spent on investments that all the taxpayers would benefit?

We all need leaders that bring peace and prosperity!

Enjoy this Manowar song on war heroes and remember that these wars and war heroes belong in fairy tales.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Great example for cultural marketing

Watch the hole video.

I would go to Moscow to see such a show

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bags packed, car ready … going on a trip

I’m leaving tomorrow for about one week to visit some friends in the western part of Romania (Timisoara and Oradea). I’ll be driving for 1500 km in 6 days and there are no motorways on this route.

Afterwards I will speak at the event Marketing Days 2009 in Cluj Napoca. The students in marketing at the Babes-Bolyai University organize this event between 11th and 13th may.

I will speak about branding and what are the basics in brand building. I hope the students in Cluj will enjoy my speech.

But till then it will be an awesome weekend in Timisoara – great city and lots of pubs. Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Oradea staying at some friends and drinking Palinka. Palinka is a local spirit drink with 60% pure alcohol. J

I’ll post pictures from my trip.

Enjoy a beautiful weekend.

An old song on the economic crisis

The band Faithless has a quite old song – “Mass destruction”. It is very interesting considering the actual economic crisis:

“Wicked mind is a weapon of mass destruction.
Disinformation is a weapon of mass destruction.
Racism Disinformation is a weapon of mass destruction.
Fear is Disinformation is a weapon of mass destruction.
Greed is a weapon of mass destruction.
Inaction Disinformation is a weapon of mass destruction.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Steve Jobs speach at Standford

It’s pretty old (2005), but it’s great.

It really is helpful to review it when things seem to go bad.

I hope that Steve Jobs will get well soon and rejoin Apple.
Enjoy it!

A raise in taxes in Romania

From the first of may taxes were raised in Romania by the Government.

It’s not a direct raise, but by introducing a minimum tax on companies even if the companies are not making any profit.

Forcing companies in paying VAT for automobiles less than 3.5 tones, VAT for fuel and maintenance expenses for cars made another indirect raise in taxes.

These measures are taken in 2009 when the GDP will decrease by 4%.
I hope the Government is only stupid and not mischievous.

The best thing for a young entrepreneur is to fail

I believe that the best thing that can happen to a young entrepreneur is to fail. It is better that being successful because in this way the entrepreneur will gain precious experience and “in field” experience is the best training you can get.

Plus a young entrepreneur has all the time to try again, and again until he or she succeedes.

Here’s a video of Randy Komisar that confirms this opinion.

Enjoy it !