How This Entrepreneur is Winning the Battle Against Time in a Rapidly Evolving Industry

How This Entrepreneur is Winning the Battle Against Time in a Rapidly Evolving Industry

In an industry that changes as fast as internet technology, time is a blessing and a curse. No one knows that better than Scott Seltzer, founder and CEO of ConnectMe, LLC. As a hosted voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications service provider, business has boomed in the last decade as reliable internet and better routers have become more affordable – and more commonplace – among ConnectMe’s target audience. But as the market continues to grow, Scott finds himself lying awake at night worrying about staying ahead.

Internet Technology – A Fast Moving Industry

To give ConnectMe the infrastructure it needs to constantly improve and develop its offering, Scott has made a series of operational improvements and strategic hires this year, including bringing on a partner identification manager and partner engagement manager. With their help he hopes to more effectively target the sales channel that offers the biggest opportunity: managed service providers. After joining us at Duke University for the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program last April, Scott set a lofty one-year goal for his business: Become the name on every major player within the telecommunications and internet technology channels. (more…)

Your Ticket To Passive Income: Global Property Investing

Your Ticket To Passive Income: Global Property Investing

This Is The Key To Real Financial Freedom

We had two agendas in Panama City last week.

First, we shared all the practical information, collective experience, and hard-won wisdom we were able to cram into our three days together with the specific objective of arming the crowd in the room with everything they need to know to be able to process, filter, consider, and vet a potential overseas property investment.

It has never made more sense to own real estate overseas than it does right now. The advantages in today’s world are compelling.

Real estate is a hard asset that can appreciate in value while earning cash flow.

That’s true of real estate anywhere. However, real estate in another country is also an investment in your lifestyle. (more…)

Back to School Stock Sales?

Back to School Stock Sales?

Wall Street is still trading near its all-time high, and gold is near a 9-year low. So, are there any back-to-school stock sales for you to buy before the Santa Rally? Or should you be getting defensive (and getting a second opinion) on your financial plan? I have found a few areas of opportunities that are worth a look, and a few warnings that are worth paying attention to.

Here’s What I’ll Cover in this Blog
1. U.S. Stocks
2. Electric Cars
3. Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Autonomous Cars
4. Chinese Technology
5. Gold Miners
6. Lithium
7. Clean Energy (LEDs, solar +)
8. Micro Mobility
9. Facebook, Snap, Weibo and Social Media
10. Red Flag Industries: REITs and Retail

And here’s more info on each… Click on the highlighted words to access a longer article on that company or topic.

1. U.S. Stocks
U.S. stocks are a tale of two indices. The NASDAQ Composite Index leans toward younger companies with great earnings, that are overpriced. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hosts legacy brands, many of which are weighed down by pension promises, health care costs and debt, but are using financial engineering and cheap, easy, borrowed money to make their earnings look better than they are. They are also overpriced.

Companies like Advanced Micro Devices, Facebook, Nvidia have sales growth of 40% or more, with net profit margins of 5%, 39% and 36%, respectively! Turtle Beach’s sales growth was 218% in the last quarter! On the other hand, many of the Dow companies have low or negative growth with high debt and high price to earnings ratios, like American Express (2.67 D/E, 28 P/E), Home Depot (11.60 D/E, 25 P/E) & IBM (2 D/E, 26 P/E).

2. Electric Cars. 

A Tesla Motors Model S sedan in the courtyard of a TED Conference. Feb. 27, 2013. Photo by: Steve Jurvetson. Wiki Commons. Used with permission.

The Tesla 3 was the #1 selling car in the U.S. in August. Tesla production is expected to double in 3rd quarter over the 2nd quarter. That is great news for Tesla and EVs. The not so good news for Tesla is that the $7500 tax credit per vehicle ends in 2018. How will that impact sales? Will Tesla have to lower its prices next year, and get squeezed on profit margins, just when it is finally making money? The impact of the tax credit won’t start showing up until the 1st quarter 2019 earnings report in late February 2019, however.
3. Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Autonomous Cars.
Nvidia continues to be a NASDAQ and FAANNG superstar, with 40% sales growth and 36% net profit margin. Turtle Beach keeps revising earnings and profits upward. Nvidia is trading at an all-time high, with a 40 P/E. Turtle Beach’s P/E is 13.55, with a price range of $1.64-$36.50. Today’s price is $22.40.4. Chinese Technology.
Chinese technology is even hotter than U.S. technology, with 68% sales growth & 32% profit margin in Weibo, and 61% growth and 21% profit margins in Alibaba. The issue is the trade war and headlines. Alibaba had $12.2 billion in sales and $1.2 billion in profits in the 2nd quarter of 2018. However, since the net income was half of last year’s, investors gave the stock a beating. Jack Ma announced on Sept. 10, 2018 that he will retire as Alibaba’s chairman in one year, on Sept. 10, 2019 (Alibaba’s 20th anniversary). By the book, Chinese technology is on fire. However, the P/Es reflect their heat, with Alibaba at 50, Weibo at 33 and CTrip at 46. Even with the pullbacks in the share prices of late, many Chinese technology companies are trading near their all-time highs.

5. Gold Miners
Gold is trading near a 9-year low. Gold miner ETFs are currently trading at a discount off 70% of their all-time highs. The price of gold is down 37% from its all-time high. Once gold prices start to go up, the miners have more upside potential, due to the sell-off. Gold tends to be a good hedge against a downturn.

6. Lithium
With the explosion of electric vehicles, lithium mining companies are doing quite well, which is why FMC is spinning off its lithium division, Livent, into an IPO. Livent’s sales are up 51% year over year in the first 6 months of 2018. Remember that pricing is everything, so don’t buy in just to buy in, without knowing if you are getting a bargain. SQM has a 25 PE, with Albermarle at a 33 PE.

7. Clean Energy.
The U.S. solar industry has been heavily impacted by the Chinese tariffs because the silicon ingots and other parts are a global marketplace. It’s something to embrace as a homeowner/consumer if you are living in a sunny state, particularly now when the 30% tax credits are in place. Most homeowners with solar enjoy utility savings of up to 90% on their neighbors. The savings can be even more if you are powering your own EV with solar, and cutting out your gasoline bill. However, as an investor, I’d avoid the solar space for now. LEDs are increasing in popularity, as are electric vehicles. Clean energy ETFs are trading at an all time low. The performance of the solar companies will weigh heavy on the funds, while the growth of LED lighting, lithium and EVs could lift the share prices.

8. Micro Mobility.
Companies like Bird and Lime are transforming the last mile in the inner city with electric scooters. Millennials love this easy, affordable solution to expensive parking, cars and gridlock. The companies are still private, but it pays to put this emerging trend on your radar.

9. Facebook, Snap, Weibo and Social Media
As I mentioned above, the technology companies in China, like China’s “Twitter” Weibo, have faster sales growth and higher profit margins than the U.S. competition. In the U.S., Facebook (owner of Instagram) is the clear leader. However, even with the Cambridge scandal, the company is still trading near an all-time high. Twitter has finally figured out how to make money ($100 million in the 2nd quarter of 2018), and has sales growth of 24%. But the share price is high (P/E is 95).

It was easy to see before Snap Inc.’s IPO that the company hadn’t figured out their product or how to profit from it. (Click to see my blog.) The company lost $3.45 billion in 2017, and just lost a key C-level executive in Imran Khan this week. Facebook and Weibo would be on my Stock Shopping List, waiting for a better bargain.

10. Red Flag Industries: REITs and Retail.
Nike is doing great, as are other athleisure brands like Lululemon (but not UnderArmour). However, there have been dozens of retail bankruptcies over the last few years. Unless you are a powerful analyst, retail is a dangerous dark alley to avoid. Most mall owners, like Simon Property, Taubman and Macerich are overleveraged, have expensive share prices, owe a massive amount of money, are losing revenue and many are barely breathing in terms of profits. The mall REITs are keeping investors in with high dividends. However, the adage from Will Rogers is pertinent here: “I’m more concerned about the return of my money, than the return on my money.” Don’t reach for yield! The higher the dividend, the higher the risk. Even a 5% yield is quite risky in today’s world.

The over-riding macro sentiment is that stocks are very expensive, and this is the 10th year of the bull market. There are more pressures weighing the macro economy down than there are balloons still lifting stocks. Free, easy, borrowed money, decent (not stellar) GDP reports, low inflation and low unemployment were all present before the Dot Com crash and the Great Recession. What was troubling then were the asset bubbles, which are higher today than ever (and are the reason the Federal Reserve Board is raising interest rates). Earnings support a Santa Rally this year, more in the NASDAQ Composite Index than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, if the interest rate hikes don’t spook investors.

There are a lot of ifs in those sentences, so the most important stance for the Santa Rally is a defensive one. Make sure your assets are protected, that you have enough safe and that you know what is safe in a world where bonds are in a bubble. It’s never a matter of jumping all in or all out. My time-proven easy-as-a-pie-chart nest egg strategies earned gains in the last two recessions and have outperformed the bull markets in between. Call 310-430-2397 or email info @ NataliePace.com to learn how to get safe and protected, and to get a second opinion on your current plan to see exactly where you stand. Most people are far more at risk than they realize. If you lost 1/3 or more in the Great Recession, and you haven’t made any changes, then it would be smart to learn more now.

I’ll address the Santa Rally in my October 2018 monthly teleconference. Be sure to tune into that teleconference on Oct. 11, 2018 (Thursday) at 9:00 am PT (noon ET). Click here for the call-in phone number and to listen back 24/7 on demand. If you’d like to listen to further commentary on the Back to School Stock Sales, listen to my September 13, 2018 teleconference at BlogTalkRadio.com/NataliePace.

​Here’s a calendar of the major events coming up.

Article originally posted on https://www.nataliepace.com
Natalie Wynne Pace is the co-creator of the Earth Gratitude project and the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Gratitude Game, The ABCs of Money and Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is (aka You Vs. Wall Street). She has been ranked as a No. 1 stock picker, above over 835 A-list pundits, by an independent tracking agency (TipsTraders). The ABCs of Money remained at or near the #1 Investing Basics e-book on Amazon for over 3 years (in its vertical).
Creating a Five Star Management Team

Creating a Five Star Management Team

In this episode I’m interviewing Toni Jacaruso, a brilliant businesswoman with a sharp eye for a big idea, and a quick draw for making tough decisions. After spending seven days with us at a Birthing of Giants Fellowship week, Toni pulled the trigger on her plan to revitalize her company’s management team.

Toni founded Jacaruso Enterprises about 10 years ago, after spotting a huge problem in the hospitality industry. Unbeknownst to us hotel guests, most of the familiar hotel chains are actually locally owned franchises. Staffing is handled by each hotel individually, and more often than not, on-site salespeople are skipped altogether.

“What we found out in doing research,” Toni explained, “is over 50% of branded hotels do not have salespeople on site.”

With no dedicated salesperson in place, requests for negotiated rates or group bookings tend to get pushed to a hotel manager’s voicemail, where they quickly get lost or receive inexperienced attention. It’s a huge gap that a lot of business disappears into. With her substantial 15 years of experience working in the hospitality space, Toni stepped in to create a company that filled the breach.

Small Companies Solving Problems for Big Companies

Jacaruso Enterprises provides sales support to hotels and hotel chains nationwide. Toni gathers together top-notch salespeople who handle sales, negotiation, and prospect management for their clients regionally. Those salespeople are supported by regional directors, and a strong management team layered all the way up to the Austin headquarters. So now, when the phone rings with a sales call, Toni’s team is there to answer with the expertise and urgency needed to close the deal.

Toni’s company fits into one of the most successful business models that an entrepreneur can utilize. She started a small company that solved a problem big companies had. It’s a classic idea that has launched more successful businesses than any other. Jacaruso Enterprises is no exception.

A Booming Business

Ten years have passed since Toni founded her company, and business couldn’t be better. Jacaruso Enterprises now has over 60 different hotel brands as clients, is over 100 employees strong, and pulled in $8 million in revenue last year. Their growth is so remarkable that they made the Inc. 5000 list for the past 2 years. According to Toni, her business generates a lot of referrals from happy clients, and the renewal rate is very high.

“We have had unprecedented growth this year. So [I] just could not be happier with the growth that we’re seeing.”

Toni discovered, however, that with the unprecedented growth came an increase in work and responsibilities. It was beginning to tax her busy management network, and the team quickly found themselves being pulled away from the roles they performed best at. This was the problem that Toni took with her to a Birthing of Giants Fellowship week in July 2018.

An Upgrade To Management 2.0

Toni had surrounded herself with some of the strongest salespeople in the nation. They formed the core of her team at Jacaruso Enterprises. They helped bring her company to its current level of success; however, Tony had even bigger plans for her company. She knew that her current management team wasn’t properly positioned to help her achieve her dreams. It was time for something we talk about a lot here at Birthing of Giants: Management 2.0.

Entrepreneurs must never stop refining the talent in their company. Even when you’re certain that you have some of the best people in place, your management team has to develop and grow in response to a growth in revenue and clients. Sometimes that means bringing new people to the team. Sometimes it means moving existing team members around into slightly different roles. Toni needed both.

True to Toni’s natural quick start entrepreneurial style, once she decided that her management team needed expansion, she pulled the trigger on her plan within weeks of returning to Austin! The changes she made included promoting four people internally into VP and senior VP spots, adding two new VPs to the team, and hiring on three more Sales Directors. In the weeks that followed Toni added even more Sales Directors, all regionally placed to ensure great local coverage for her clients. She calls it Management 2.1, or maybe 2.2. Creating the perfect management team is a fluid process that takes time to get right.

The takeaway here is that you can’t scale your business, you can’t take your company to the next level if you don’t take on the overall strength and quality of your management team. Toni did it. She did it fast. She did it Toni style. Now that’s a fast draw.

Check out my extended interview with Toni Jacaruso on Forbes.com.

Article originally posted on https://birthingofgiants.com

Lewis Schiff is the author of Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, the executive director of the Business Owners Council and the co-founder (with Norm Brodsky) of BEN Global Mentorship that helps business owners transform their companies into scalable enterprises and, eventually, enduring institutions with help from rockstar entrepreneurs from around the world.

Crytpocurrency Scams and Phishers Posing as Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, Your Friends and Family and More.

Crytpocurrency Scams and Phishers Posing as Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, Your Friends and Family and More.

Crytpocurrency Scams and Phishers Posing as Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, Your Friends and Family and More.

Pages and Profiles Impersonating Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, or a Friend or Family Member Are Offering Free Cryptocurrency, Free Government Money or Threatening You With Fines and Fees. Beware and be informed!

Some very aggressive scams are targeting crypto and Elon Musk fans, impersonating Elon, SpaceX and Tesla, and even showing up as a friend or family member. Your best defense is to know the red flags of a scam and avoid the ruse altogether. If you spot a fake page or profile report it immediately to the social network, to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to the FTC. (Click on the blue-highlighted links to access.) Share this blog with your friends and family members because as soon as one page or profile is reported, another one is created. Below are a few ways to spot scams before you hand over your information.

Red Flags of a Scam
Very aggressive scams, set up on pages and profiles that look legitimate, are targeting cryptocurrency fans. Phishers and scam artists use all kinds of ruses to lure in unsuspecting victims, including posing as a friend or family member, as your bank, as a lottery win, or as a sure-shot, can’t lose investment. Below are a few questions to ask yourself before you hand over any personal information or money. Most scams are alike in that the devil is in the details. If you look closely enough, the cracks in the façade of the fraud are quite visible.

Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Red Flags

  1. Pushy salesman or person.
  2. Email or URL looks fake.
  3. Misspelled words.
  4. Promises of fast, easy, often free money.
  5. Comes in as a phone call, email or shared on a friend’s timeline.
  6. Guarantees that you can’t lose.
  7. Require you giving personal information.
  8. Require you giving money first.
  9. Website doesn’t have a physical business address.
  10. 800 phone number and fill-in-the-blank contact form, instead of a staff member and real email address to contact.

Before buying anything from anyone you don’t know, or sharing any of your personal information, you need to check out a few more things.

1. Find out who owns or leads the company. Read their bio and then Google that person with the phrase “SEC fines lawsuits scams” and see what turns up.
2. Click on the Contact Us link. If you don’t see a physical address and phone number, that is a red flag. If there is only an 800 number and a fill-in the form email submission, the warning bells and whistles should be going off for you.
3. About Us. What do you see on the About Us page? A legitimate corporation will list the executives and their bios. A questionable enterprise will have a video and sales pitch, with stock photos and no mention of who is running the company and how you can get in touch with someone there.
4. Referred by a Friend or Family Member? Sadly, this is the most common way for people to get roped into scams and losses. Many people fell for Madoff in this manner.

Below are two screen shots from pages that are impersonating Elon Musk and SpaceX.

The Fake Elon Musk Tweet
If you look closely on this page, you’ll see that the official Elon Musk account replied to Tech Girl. Right below that a fake account with Elon Musk’s name and the same profile picture replies again offering a sweetened deal. Further in the thread the same scam artist offers free Bitcoin and Ethereum, and even a chance to win a Tesla. However, there is no “official” check mark next to the scam artist’s profile, and the “real name” shows up on the right as GizeMyOrgun.

The Fake SpaceX page.
If you look in the comments on the screen shot below, you’ll see that there is a “huge giveaway for our community!” The page is set up to look like it is run by SpaceX. However, on the About page, you can see that the page is actually run through a URL m.me/spacexpage. Even the “Official: SpaceX” Facebook page is not really official. Both Facebook and Twitter make it easy to spot verified pages with their blue check marks. If you see the word “official” without the check mark, chances are it is a fraud.

Private Message from a Friend or Family Member on Social
Last week, someone set up a fake account of my aunt, using her family pictures. They sent me a friend request, which I immediately accepted. Then they sent me a message about something very important that they’ve been wanting to get in touch with me about. The scam artist asked if I had heard of grants from the Health and Human Services. “My aunt” then told me that it was completely legitimate and $100,000 had shown up in her bank account. At that point, I reported the profile to Facebook. I noticed that other relatives had accepted the friend request. Facebook was very quick about deactivating the account (within minutes!).

It’s clear that there is a very aggressive campaign of fraud going on right now, through multiple channels. So, protect yourself. Never give out any information to anyone who contacts you online, by phone or through email. If you worry that your bank needs something from you, go visit your local branch.

If you are worried about your finances, your budget or your investing strategy, or if you have lost a fortune on cryptocurrency or gold, it pays to get The ABCs of Money that we all should have received in high school. I just published The ABCs of Money, 2nd edition last month on Kindle. It’s updated with 2018 data, statistics and information, and costs only $3.99.

If you want to make sure you are safe and protected in your nest egg before the next market correction, call 310-430-2397 or email info @ NataliePace.com to receive an unbiased second opinion on your current strategy. You can learn to save thousands annually in your budget when you stop making the billionaire corporations rich at your own expense. If the myth that you can make ends meet by cutting out café lattes and avocado toast worked, then you wouldn’t still be in debt. It’s the big-ticket bills that are sucking the health out of your husbandry, and there are solutions. Our easy-as-a-pie-chart nest egg strategies earned gains in the last two recessions, at a time when most people lost more than half, and have outperformed the bull markets in between. Call 310-430-2397 to learn more now.

Article originally posted on https://www.nataliepace.com

Natalie Wynne Pace is the co-creator of the Earth Gratitude project and the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Gratitude Game, The ABCs of Money and Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is (aka You Vs. Wall Street). She has been ranked as a No. 1 stock picker, above over 835 A-list pundits, by an independent tracking agency (TipsTraders). The ABCs of Money remained at or near the #1 Investing Basics e-book on Amazon for over 3 years (in its vertical).

 

 

Evolving Entrepreneurship: How Nick Sotos Continually Improves His Leadership Game

Evolving Entrepreneurship: How Nick Sotos Continually Improves His Leadership Game

Nick Sotos calls himself an eternal optimist, and that mindset seems to be paying off. As President of iD Additives, Inc, a supplier of foaming agents and other products for the plastics industry, his leadership has helped the company make the Inc. 5000 list for the past seven years running. Today, iD Additives pulls in $8 million annually in sales, and Nick’s plans for growth are only just beginning. They started with an eye toward brand visibility.

The Importance of the One Year Plan

When he attended the Birthing of Giants event in September 2017, Nick set himself the one-year goal of getting the company’s new product line to market and increasing brand visibility. His plan worked out so well that several new opportunities have arisen from it.

“We have the marketing and we have the opportunities,” Nick says. “Now I need people to help me with the follow-up.”

Part of this follow-up requires Nick to take a step back from some aspects of the business. In the past he viewed himself as an entrepreneur who does everything. But during his time at Birthing of Giants, he’s come to realize that this isn’t sustainable.

“That’s how I’ve always done things,” he says. “But I’ve learned to think about getting stuff off of my plate, letting other people grow into those spots so that we can continue to grow.”

Letting Go To Grow

This is one of many realizations Nick has had since joining the program, and not all of them have been easy. He recalls one instance when he pitched his plan to our entrepreneur-in-residence, Norm Brodsky,only to receive some challenging questions back from that entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. Despite his initial hesitancy, he admits that Norm was right, and he’s pleased to have had his mindset challenged.

“Sometimes it’s a little difficult, a little uncomfortable,” he says. “But you have to trust in the process. It’s advice, and you’re going to choose to do what you want to do, but having someone with that level of experience offering you advice helps you rethink things.”

Nick has since attended one of our Gathering of Giants events – our program specifically designed as continuing education for Birthing of Giants graduates. Nick continues to challenge himself as a leader, and bring the insights he learns back to iD Additives. We wish him the best of success!

Birthing of Giants is a gathering of entrepreneurs focused on advanced education via strategy-planning programs lead by a team of leading entrepreneurs in American business. Our programs, including the One-Day MBA and the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program, allow business owners and entrepreneurs to gain from the wisdom of thousands of experienced business leaders. We help you implement proven strategies for sustaining and enhancing business growth.

Article originally posted on https://birthingofgiants.com

Lewis Schiff is the author of Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, the executive director of the Business Owners Council and the co-founder (with Norm Brodsky) of BEN Global Mentorship that helps business owners transform their companies into scalable enterprises and, eventually, enduring institutions with help from rockstar entrepreneurs from around the world.

Don't forget to download your FREE ebook ,The Five Biggest Money Mistakes Women Make and How to Fix Them!

 

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