Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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Week 5 | Sales

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 7:47 pm

This week, we partnered with Wake Wash, collected various consumer traffic data from the company’s website, and began to develop interpretations using that data. We currently use Google Analytics and Mixpanel as our main software platforms. For now, we consolidate the data provided by these platforms into easy-to-read visual diagram reports and provide these to customers along with our suggestions. What differentiates us, as a consulting agency, is that we build on this data by providing tangible, albeit subjective, advice. In the future, our team will use our interpretation patterns to append some additional code to customize the open source platforms we use.

A completely surmountable obstacle I envision for Ivory Informatics, like any other budding start-up, will be sales. Since we’re working with small business owners, who most likely have not been exposed to the utility of data-driven business decisions, we will have to pitch our services tactfully and show that what we do is immediately effective in order to close sales in this market. This is my main priority moving forward.

Week 4 | Partnerships

Friday, July 11, 2014 7:06 am

At this point, Ivory Informatics has secured a couple web and cloud based platforms to run consumer traffic analytics through. This week, we’ve been testing out these platforms. We recently realized that the best option to this end would be to compose a free consumer report for a business with more website traffic than the ones we’ve been testing on so far. After narrowing down potential clients, we decided to contact Wake Wash, as they are well ingrained into the Wake Forest community.

For us to use these platforms, we must get in touch with the web designers from our customer businesses and convince them to add a few lines of HTML code to the existing site, so that we can track various consumer traffic metrics internally on their website and provide a copmrehensive analysis report. Though it may prove initially difficult for us to convince small businesses to let us in, we’re putting great efforts into starting with a few small projects and then expanding our name recognition, so that there is less confusion regarding the technical side of what we do. Ultimately, filing as a North Carolina LLC will prove dividends both for legal protection and professional recognition. By customer networking or aggressive marketing on our parts, we’re working toward a solid customer base in Winston-Salem.

 

 

Week 3 | Competitive Advantage

Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:03 am

This week centered on researching a specific niche market our organization could help serve. After a few days of research and customerinterviewing, we’ve narrowed in on almost all aspects of our business plan.

There are incredibly few, if any, analytics consulting services currently operating in the Forsyth County area. However, there is an evident plethora of non-profit organizations and small businesses in the region. We attribute this discrepancy to the increasingly outdated stigma of small business owners that big data is functionally incompatible with small business operations. We’re here to change that. After all, who wants to pay and use a data interpreting technology without understanding its inner workings? That’s precisely why analytics consulting exhibits such immense potential for Forsyth County small businesses. There are an overwhelming number of small enterprises, and it’s our mission to improve their operating effectiveness through data analysis. We will prove this logic to be a geographicadvantage as we expand our client base and reputation.

Pricing wise, we’ve figured out that we can offer our services at three times less per hour than the larger analytics companies charge in other regions and still make enough profit to cover our operating expenses. This will be our plan until our client base and reputation spreads.

As for specific services, we plan to start out analyzing methods to reduce media churn rates (goal of 5%) as well as improve consumer traffic. Improving the effectiveness of small business websites, and correlating clicks, views, and page opens to sales at segmented time periods may be our bread and butter. But of course, this needs to be tested in the market. Eventually, we hope to expand our services, potentially working with Baptist Medical Center in health care and Flow Motors in the automotive industry.

Additionally, our developers have procured multiple website layouts, which should be published in the coming weeks.

 

Best,

Kevin

Week 2 | LLC to EIN to GnuCash

Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:35 am

Research is incredibly interdisciplinary–I’ve conducted research for my classes, for my economics projects, for my mobile application development platforms.

And now, I’ve been researching how to properly establish and legalize a business entity.

Swimming through throngs of legalese is difficult, but I’ve learned how to fend for myself. My co-founder and I have agreed to establish Ivory Informatics as an limited liability company–hence, Ivory Informatics L.L.C.–with reasons two-fold:

(1) We want our company to stand as an independent legal entity, much like a corporation, in case we really mess something up and get sued. This really shouldn’t occur for our company’s purposes. Hopefully.

(2) We elected to choose a taxation route that follows the taxation methods of a partnership, in that the company itself isn’t directly taxed. Rather, profits that are “passed through” to the members are taxed as personal income.

This form of legal governance should give us enough initial mobility and safety to grow in the early stages.

 

After identifying the most suitable entity to establish as, we needed to actually file. This required digesting more extensive legalese insofar as I learned to draft an Articles of Organization and an Operating Agreement, two fundamental documents needed for establishing ventures in the state of North Carolina. We paid $125.00 to file through the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Corporations Division, and our application is now pending approval. If all proceeds smoothly, our organization will be a limited liability company with full license to profit from business operations in North Carolina.

When all is filed and complete, our objectives will shift to researching EIN–social numbers for companies, essentially–and establishing an employer identification numbers in order to set up a bank checking account for our business.

 

I digress to the, fun-for-math-people-like-me, stigmatized-for-you, world of financial accounting. I’ve recently come across an open source software that handles basic accounting needs (general ledgers, journals, accounts), constructs financial statements (income statements, balance sheets, statements of changes in equity, cash flow statements), and even constructs and stores invoices. It’s called GnuCash, and the best feature is that it’s completely free!

This week has quite evidently been packed with logistics. More to come soon.

Thanks for reading!

 

Finally understanding the small print,

Kevin

Week 1 | The Essence of Ivory Informatics: Initial Struggles and Long-Term Goals

Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:09 am

Ivory Informatics is an informational technology and consulting organization geared toward optimizing the capacity and performance of non-profits and small business owners in the Winston-Salem area through analytics, database management, and data-driven business optimization.

If you’re curious, the name derives from our view of analytics in the world of business optimization as the hypothetical, oh-so-elegantly-cliched, “elephant in the room.” Alliteration never hurts anyone, either.

The start of this summer marked some initial obstacles to the inception of our organization, but we have hurdled the most daunting of them. I initially co-founded Ivory Informatics with a friend–senior computer science student, at the time–around April, 2014. We drafted a business plan, networked to contact clients, and reached out to faculty to receive administrative support and advice for our venture. My co-founder graduated this last semester, 2014, and is now pursuing greater paths in a graduate school away from Winston-Salem. The first challenge for me this summer, naturally, was to recruitanother talented individual who would bring a solid analytics background and whose ambitions collided with our organization’s overall mission. Thankfully, our organization has found an exceptionally talented Wake Forest student to fulfill this role and help our organization assist through innovation. More about our team in later posts.

Effectively, this was the first time I had to analyze personality fit in an organizational setting. My proclivities lay most toward Mark Cuban’s–entrepreneur and Dallas Maverick’s owner–sentiments in selecting a running mate who brings a completely different skill set. Like Cuban, I believe that confluence supersedes conflict, creating synergy to bringabout efficient organization and effective contribution. The point is that I specifically looked for someone exhibiting talents where I may lack.

Now, the fun stuff. Since this is my ‘Week 1′ post (belated, I apologize), our missions, and blog post topics, for the upcoming weeks are the following:

  • Further solidify our business model to spell out specific financial and operation expenses, fees, and services, and cash flows.
  • Execute extensive research on the technological needs of non-profits and small businesses and develop custom ways to discover solutions to suchneeds through analytics and database management.
  • Execute extensive research on the appropriate analytics platforms judging by efficiency, ease of use, and price.
  • Expand our client base.
  • Construct and maintain an informational and elegant website displaying our mission statement, services, experience, track record, and testimonies from previous projects.
  • Utilize social media platforms to market our organization and acquire more clients.
  • Contemplate incorporation andlegal protection logistics.

 

I’m excited for what we have the potential to accomplish this summer. Thanks for reading!

Hopeful,

Kevin

Authors
Alexander Adcock (7)
Gracious Addai (3)
Susie Alexander (6)
Assel Aljaied (10)
Megan Archey (7)
Kenneth Bailey (6)
Marco Banfi (3)
Johanna Beach (8)
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Tiffany Blackburn (9)
Meredith Bragg (9)
Quentin Brillantes (8)
Samuel Buchanan (5)
Robbie Bynum (1)
Cailey Forstall (9)
Cameron Steitz (5)
Cecelia Carchedi (2)
Carl Turner (1)
Adelina Cato (5)
Kristi Chan (7)
Brittani Chavious (12)
Avinav Chopra (1)
Hannah Clark (8)
Kathryn Covino (8)
Sarah Crosier (8)
Keshav Daga (8)
Jennifer Daye (7)
Mike Dempsey (8)
Eva Dickinson (2)
Will Dietsche (8)
Catherine Douglas (8)
Zanny Dow (8)
Stephen Eason (8)
Elisa Burton (1)
Epiphany Espinosa (5)
Hannah Shows (8)
Nina Foster (5)
Hannah Gable (8)
Charlie Garner (8)
Kent Garrett (8)
Nicholas Gomez-Garcia (8)
Gracie Wiener (6)
Brooks Hall (7)
Meghan Hall (7)
Tim Han (1)
Adrienne Henderson (1)
Ryon Huddleston (7)
Adeolu Ilesanmi (8)
Nicole Irving (8)
Jessica (8)
Dalton Jones (8)
Kevin Wang (5)
Ty Kraniak (11)
Nick Ladd (15)
Elizabeth Lane (8)
Yuan-Chih Lee (8)
Kenneth Lowery (5)
Duncan MacDougall (6)
Lauren Martinez (7)
John McMurray (8)
Megan Miller (5)
Colt Mienke (1)
Brad Neal (9)
David O'Connor (9)
Olivia Wolff (3)
Kristen Plantz (8)
Lucy Rawson (7)
Cynthia Redwine (6)
Julia Reed (8)
Matt Roemer (8)
Melissa Ryon (3)
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Kayla Santos (8)
Maddie Saveliff (2)
Lisa Shaffer (8)
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