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Seth Berger Leads Sixers Innovation Lab In Camden

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Entrepreneurs are flooding into Camden, including Seth Berger, University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business alumni, best known as the Founder and former CEO of AND1. Seth Berger is managing the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, which is housed in the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex Business Operations Facility. Seth Berger has years of experience as an entrepreneur includes acting as a consultant and CEO in the gaming, technology and sports industry over the past decade. With a life long career in sports, Seth Berger provides opportunities for companies to grow using resources that are invaluable to business.

The Sixers Innovation Lab supports startups by providing individualized, industry-leading consulting and investment opportunities. Companies that are selected by Seth Berger and the Innovation Lab team will receive office space at the Innovation Lab, access to industry leaders, third-party branding, marketing and legal services, as well as free meals and housing in the Philadelphia area. There will also be unique opportunities to pitch to industry-leading investors and venture capitalists. Seth Berger is overseeing each startup that enters the facility along with advisors from StubHub, DraftKings, Rothman Institute, First Round Capital, Maven Creative and more.

With a unique set of skills and lifelong achievements in the sports industry, Seth Berger is passing on his knowledge on growing your company into something incredible. Seth Berger tells us about what it takes to be an entrepreneur today, making a lasting impression in business, and how you can be a part of the Sixers Innovation Lab.

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Describe your career.

I started a business in grad school at 25, which is now known as AND 1. It started as a T-shirt company in NYC, where I am from. Then, in seven years it grew to a basketball apparel, sports illustrated company. I ran two companies at that time. In the middle of AND1, I also ran hoopstv.com and made all of the mistakes I could. Made a couple of deals with retailers, but ultimately sold AND 1 in 2005 to American Sporting Goods. My kids at that time were six, three, and one years old. The goal then was to just be super dad, take them to school, and to see them everyday. I had part time jobs, I didn’t want a full position. I managed a few companies along the way but, my career basically had three parts: running AND 1, coaching basketball at Westtown School, an independent international school, and consulting and advising at Innovation Lab. Working at Innovation Lab combined all of my skills as a coach, consultant, and CEO. As a coach, it helped me become a better consultant and CEO to help identify and recruit really talented CEOs.

As an entrepreneur, what are some surprises that come your way?

Whether I was running AND1 or the Innovation Lab, there were always surprises. I’ve never run anything before, so doing AND 1 and the Lab were the biggest surprises. I was never really good in school, I was only a good test taker. Memorization is the only skill I had and my biggest strength is admitting that I don’t know and I need help. That’s how I got so far. If you’re always curious, you’ll always grow.

From ‘93-’05, old businesses had to make a lot of guesses when it came to prices and consumers. Nowadays, with technology, you can test everything. You can have consumers telling you a price, likings, and etc.

I’m also really surprised with how fast things move now. Businesses would take three-five years to grow, now it can be successful in three-six months.

What are some of the risks you took to get to where you are?

When I decided to start AND 1, I was maxed out of student loans and lived off of five Visas. If AND 1 didn’t work out, the alternative was to take on a job that I didn’t like and find incredibly boring, nothing I looked forward to. I took a risk as in if it didn’t work, I was going to be really broke, but the thing was, I was broke anyway so I didn’t really care. The actual risk or the biggest risk for anyone is time. Time is your most valuable resource. My risk here at the innovation lab is can I help manage five to six companies at the same. I have the mentality of, ‘I think it’ll work.’ But if I spend three to five years here and it doesn’t work, it’ll be a really big waste of time. As an entrepreneur though, you’re comfortable with mistakes.

How do you make a lasting impression when you get into a new business?

By offering significant day to day support to our companies. If all of what you want is a check and a network, then there are lots of places to get that. In the Bay Area especially, there are tons of them but that’s not us. If you want help to figure out your business, what you do on a day to day basis or annual basis, then that’s what we provide.

What recommendations do you have to aspiring business owners?

Know your consumer really well and focus on them, one of the biggest mistakes in entrepreneurship is people who say, ‘I don’t want to focus on consumers in our market because then my business won’t be really big.’ I say to them, ‘Build a small business before you have a big business, it shows you already have a business, then continue to build and expand.’  With all of our companies, we end the day with these questions: Who’s going to watch our videos? Who’s going to use our service, buy our products and be as specific as possible with those answers? 

Entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting versus entrepreneurs who have already started. Those who haven’t started aren’t afraid of failing because everyone fails eventually. It’s actually because they don’t know how to take charge. When you are your own CEO, it’s like getting a blank piece of paper for an essay but with no question. Everything is already set, what time you go into the office, the dress code, etc. with your business, no one is there to tell you. Don’t be afraid to get help.

What are some benefits the 76ers Innovation lab offer that can’t be found anywhere else?

I think Rhyan Truett, Innovation Lab Director of Operations, and I make a great team, along with Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil, and other people on our team can be really insightful for your business. We also offer free housing, free food, and free office space for about three months. In which there’s also access to free snacks and the gym. Also, we have a marketing agreement with strategy branding for companies, possible free legal services, and lastly, you can play basketball here.

How does startup apply for the opportunity to pitch?

Interested applicants can submit an application form through www.sixersinnovationlab.com.

What industries have you seen so far?

Everything, from cyber security, foot apparel, you name it. Our owner has a really broad network. If we can add value to your company then be let’s be a part, but if we can’t help you then it doesn’t make sense to apply.

Tips for entrepreneurs who are interested in being at Lab?

Always be willing to learn, companies who are in here are different from when they first came in. Be interested in improving. Companies who just need a check are not for us. There are three things we look for: first is what you take in, how smart, how focused, and how intense you are. Your team is a major aspect. For me, a team is the most important. I have members who studied in Wharton and are way smarter. Second, is the idea. Something you can protect and is unique. Lastly, how can we help you? If the company already had parts one and two, then how can we support you.

What is the piece of advice that helped you throughout your career?

In the fall of ‘93, when we were selling team shorts. I met Michael who owned a record company. He started his business by doing 45s. Back in the day, they used to do single records of songs of TV show songs like The Flinstones, The Munsters and all of the sudden his business blew up. He asked me, ‘Why do you want to be in business? Why do you wanna make a difference in kids’ lives?’ I said, ‘I think this business can reach kids and I can make a little money on the way, I also get to spend time with friends.’ He assured me then that you’re in business to make money, you’re not in it for your ego, you’re not in business to make friends, and you’re not in business to change who you are. And he was right. For awhile we thought we served kids as opposed to our consumers. When I got with our accounts, I asked, am I going to make enough and do I need more? If I bring in people who are around me and they get a piece of what I have or more, it’s okay. If you’re giving them pieces of yours, then they’ll eventually give more back to you. If you’re not giving your team a piece and think you have to be more in control, then it won’t work out. Like I said before, teamwork is the most important aspect of a business. Be willing to give.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

15 Ugly Truths About Entrepreneurship Everyone Should Know Before Starting a Business

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Entrepreneurship

Becoming an entrepreneur is like taking the road less travelled. There is no map and you will always feel uncertain about your decision. If you decide to take an entrepreneurial journey, it’s going to be a bumpy one. However, nothing worth having comes without a degree of risk. Therefore you need to arm yourself by avoiding common “beginner” mistakes. You have to understand that entrepreneurship is not all sunshine and roses. There are some ugly truths that you need to know about before setting off.

1. You Can Lose Everything

A business is a financial risk. You can start a business with a small capital but eventually you need lines of credit for inventory and operations. In some cases, you might also need to take on loans to help the business grow. This means you will be taking on debt.

2. Extreme Stress

With everything riding on the line, prepare yourself to experience extreme stress. If you think exam stress is hard enough, it is nothing compared to taking the entrepreneurial path. When you start a business, everything is on your shoulders and there is nobody to pass the buck to.

3. Forget About Hanging Out

Expect to lose touch with family and friends. Becoming an entrepreneur is very demanding on your personal time especially in the beginning. There will be people in your life you will lose touch with because you will not be able to give them enough time.

4. It’s Going To Take Long

Don’t expect your business to take off overnight. Prepare yourself for sleepless nights and to work double time to achieve the results you want. In this event, you need to plan accordingly no matter how small or big the venture.

5. Regrets

Over time you will regret taking this path. This is normal especially if you see friends connecting on weekends while you work later into the night. This will make you regret leaving the comfort of your 9-5 job. But don’t worry because some of your friends will also regret taking risks.

6. Anxiety Competition

It is normal to think and worry that somebody out there is executing the same idea in a better way. Having anxiety over the competition is part and parcel of becoming an entrepreneur. Don’t let this drag you down but inspire you to work harder and become better than your competitor.

7. Other People Depend On You

You are now the employer. People now depend on you so that they can provide for their families. You will need to endure this even though you are sick, have personal things going on in your life because the business and your people are depending on you.

8. Success and Failure Will Impact Your Relationships

When you’re successful, everybody will want to work with you and be your friend. When you’re failing, it’s going to be the opposite. There will be many moments of celebration and frustration. For every friend you make, somebody will turn their back to you.

9. You’re It

Everybody is going to be dependent on you. Essentially, you are it; every responsibility will fall back on you. Being a leader means that you take this entrepreneurship responsibility and when there are problems you take the helm of the ship.

10. No Guarantee

Going to business is not a guarantee of anything. No matter how great the idea, product or team behind it; it’s still going to be the market that decides. In other words, your hard work is not a guarantee of success.

11. No Appreciation

Hard work is not only a guarantee of success it does not also guarantee appreciation. You have to remember not to expect it.

12. Success is Not Measured In Weeks

As you go along your journey, you will learn that success is not measured in weeks, months, quarters or years. While business is small, success can be measured easily. However as you go along you will realize that measuring success will take longer periods of time.

13. Your Stomach Will Twist

Entrepreneurship will make your stomach twist during unexpected situations like when you’re operating at a loss or when a supplier bails on you in the middle of a project.

14. You Will Have To Learn To Move On

Over time you will become attached to the business and cutting ties with people will be difficult. However, entrepreneurship is about adjusting and you will need to learn when you need to move on.

15. When You Fail, It Will Have Your Name On It

If you fail, people will know about it. Family and friends will know that you drove a ship and crashed. Many don’t follow the entrepreneurial road because of this thought.

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Guess Measures Carbon Footprint And Energy

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Guess Measures Carbon

Climate change is one of society’s biggest threats and the American clothing brand Guess is battling this issue by performing their first carbon footprint analysis for North America. In series of analyzation, Guess measures carbon footprint in hopes of reducing harmful manufacturing. A carbon footprint amounts to the total sum of carbon dioxide and its equivalents emitted through harmful anthropogenic labor. The main source of carbon emissions are through electricity generation, transportation, domestic energy consumption, industries and agriculture.

Guess begins calculating their first carbon footprint and greenhouse gases by referencing the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. By combating humanity’s current challenges that we are facing, Guess reported their ambition to go green by cutting back scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per square foot. Guess measures carbon in the analysis covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 by referencing the different emissions generated. Where Scope 1, their direct emission are generated from actions like chemical processing in result of building and space heaters. Meanwhile, their indirect emission, Scope 2 emissions refer to emissions generated as an outcome of purchased electricity from utilities and other energy provider, like electricity or heat.

“Through my experience leading this truly global company, I see one constant across borders: people, particularly the younger generation, are deeply concerned about the future of this planet,” Victor Herrero, Chief Executive Officer of Guess said. In embracing his concern through his work, CEO Victor Herrero continues to say that, “We aim to embrace existing solutions as well as to try new ones to address the social and environmental challenges of our time.”

The consequences that we experience is observable on the environment. Climate change strikes without notice, with harmful effects that are now in action as predicted by past scientists. Loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves are the cost of climate change. Upon this data, Guess measures carbon footprint and their energy to encourage more companies in stepping up to go green.

Guess reported the total carbon footprint in 2014 for North America to be 34,461 metric tons CO2e. With electricity consumption being the highest overall impact on carbon footprint and is heavily reliable for 97% of total emissions. By changing their ways, Guess reported its overall carbon dioxide equivalent from all types of greenhouse gas emissions, declined by 2 percent between its fiscal year ended in January 2016 and the 12 months ended in January 2017.

Predominantly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities, scientists have shared their predictions that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades. We have a long way to come to fix the problem that we have caused, but companies like Guess are a step closer to changing that.

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Tips On How To Manage An Online Business

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Business Online

Having the right e-commerce site can make shipping and tracking your inventory easier. IT is constantly changing and it is important to have a secured site to make sure your customer’s data is safe. Following these steps will seem daunting at first, but remember that success will come if you keep pushing towards your goals. America was built by small business owners and with faith, you can have a profitable online business.

Determining your target audience.

The first step in opening an online business is determining who will be your target audience.  It is important to research your competition online and find out who will be buying your products. There is a lot of competition online, so you have to find a way to stand out. I suggest coming up with a unique business name or signature product. Separating yourself from the rest of other online businesses is important to succeed long term.

You also have to decide if you want to sell a product or provide a service. Once you have identified your business model, you will need to come up with the terms of your business. I suggest seeking legal advice, so you can protect your company. It will need to be clear to your customers who you are as a business and what service you provide. It is also important to outline how you will provide customer service and solve any problems that arise.

Selecting the products you want to sell or determining which services you want to offer.

Before you start selling products or offering services, it is important to get registered with the state you are in. There are many advantages of becoming an LLC or incorporating your company. I recommend researching the options that are available in your state. It is important to protect your brand and make your customers trust you as a business owner.

In order to succeed as an online business, you need to have a strong vendor list. Being a licensed company makes more vendors’ want to work with you. Once you have added companies to your vendor list, you need to decide how you want to market your business. You can either hire a SEO company, marketing firm, or you can learn how to do it yourself. There are hundreds of free online tutorials on how to market your company for free on social media sites and YouTube. You can also use Google AdWords and Adsense to help promote your business. There are also several apps that can help you manage your social media sites as well.

Making sure your e-commerce site is effective.

I suggest hiring a website developer or technology company to build your site. There are several user friendly e-commerce sites that are very easy to set-up yourself. Having the right IT support to very important, because they can quickly resolve any issues that may arise.

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