Archive for June, 2013

Could Your Startup Benefit from Microsoft Ventures?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

microsoft sign

Up until now most people thinking about Microsoft might have thought software. But the tech giant announced this week it would also become a leader in aiding entrepreneurship as well.

Writing on The Official Microsoft Blog, Rahul Sood, general manager of Microsoft Startups, introduced Microsoft Ventures, a global effort combining several Microsoft programs currently proving funding, mentoring, and guidance to entrepreneurs worldwide.

In the post, Sood explained:

Today, Microsoft is announcing the creation of Microsoft Ventures, a coordinated global effort that offers the tools, resources, expertise and routes to market by providing mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits.

BizSpark

The new Microsoft Ventures effort combines and strengthens programs Microsoft already has in place with new programs still being built.

One of these existing programs is BizSpark. The initiative provides software including Windows and Office, Visual Studio, Windows Azure and additional support to promising and visionary startups at no cost. Microsoft says the program currently serves 50,000+ members in 100 countries on 6 continents.

Accelerators

The accelerator programs offer immersive 3 to 6 month experiences for early stage startups including mentoring, technical guidance and an opportunity to build connections. To be considered, startups must have a full-time founding team, less than $1 million in capital funding raised, and must be developing a technologically driven solution to solve a real world problem.

Microsoft already operates accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv and will be adding new accelerators in Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro soon.

Funding and Community

Finally, Sood says Microsoft Ventures is creating new resources to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

For example, the company will be expanding its existing Bing Fund to provide seed money directly from Microsoft for startups already experiencing early success. Neither Sood nor the Microsoft Ventures website are specific about the amount of funding likely to be offered or the criteria for companies to receive it.

Microsoft also says it has built partnerships with 200 startup focused organizations globally including Startup BootCamp, Enterprise Ireland and Telefonica’s Wayra. The company says it will continue to expand this community to make further investments in entrepreneurship globally.

The company has provided an easy way for entrepreneurs to learn more about the opportunities available. Microsoft Ventures offers a simple sign-up form to allow interested entrepreneurs to be notified as soon as program applications become available.

Microsoft Photo via Shutterstock

The post Could Your Startup Benefit from Microsoft Ventures? appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Maintaining Control of the Sales Process

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

sales process

Staying in control of your sales process is a big part of sales success. It’s easy to let emotion or distraction or someone else derail you if you aren’t careful. Maintaining that control comes from regulating yourself and there are a couple of aspects of that self-regulation that we’re going to explore. They include self control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, and innovativeness.

Self control is very important in the sales process. Being able to control your impulses while in a sales meeting or on a call helps you maintain control of the situation and position yourself as a professional. You never know what a prospect is going to say – no matter how well you prepared. Being able to control how you respond can be a game changer.

Trustworthiness and Conscientiousness Go Together

People like salespeople who are honest and have integrity. These are people who follow through on their commitments and tell it like it is. There will be times when you cannot provide the solution the prospect needs. You should tell them so. Don’t tell them you can help and then try to create a solution. They’ll see through it. Those who are honest and do what they say they will do are the ones who win over the prospect and build long term relationships.

Remember that sales is about relationships. You don’t want to be chasing after new clients all the time because you are losing current ones. You want to add to the foundation. Trustworthiness and conscientiousness are key to relationship building.

For me, adaptability goes along with self control. Can you bob and weave? Can you think on your feet? In sales, this is a great skill to have. When a prospect throws you a curve ball, how you react – or respond – matters.

Along the same lines is innovativeness. Coming up with solutions and ideas shows your prospect that you are really thinking about them and trying to help them solve a problem. We sell best when we match a solution to a problem. Sometimes our solution needs to be tweaked a little to fit the problem the prospect is experiencing. The ability to innovate during the sales process can be the difference between getting the sale or losing the sale.

When you realize that you are responsible for the success of the sales process you will make sure that you are staying in touch with your skills and techniques.

Remember, the prospect is looking to you to help them solve a problem and to be the expert in your field.

Sales success Photo via Shutterstock

The post Maintaining Control of the Sales Process appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Sibanthracite eyes $850m valuation

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

The Russian coal miner is planning to sell one quarter of its total equity at between $7 and $9.50 per global depository receipt

Davey says ‘lights are going to stay on’

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Minister dismisses fears of 1970s style blackouts after Ofgem warning and National Grid proposal to pay businesses to cut energy usage

Coal: seaborne ultimatum

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Producers of thermal coal, which is used to generate electricity, have more than just falling prices to worry about

Coal: Seaborne ultimatum

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Producers of thermal coal, which is used to generate electricity, have more than just falling prices to worry about

Anti-Govt Protesters in Sofia Undeterred by Torrential Rain

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Despite the torrential rain, anti-government protesters are gathering in front of the Council of Ministers building in Sofia for the 17th day in a row.

According to reports of dnevnik.bg, some 500 people have blocked traffic in front of the government headquarters in downtown Sofia.

Unlike previous days, there are very few flags and posters due to the heavy rain, yet the booing and the “Resign!”chants continue.

The protesters are expected to head for the traditional 7-km route including Parliament, Eagle’s Bridge (Orlov Most), the National Palace of Culture (NDK, the headquarters of center-right party GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, and Eagle’s Bridge again as a final destination.

The afternoon protest is the second one on Sunday, following road blocks of the Brussels Blvd in Sofia and the Trakia Highway near Plovdiv earlier the same day.

Meanwhile, a counter-protest took place in front of the National Palace of Culture (NDK), with some 20 people insisting that the socialist-led government of Prime Minister Oresharski, which had come under attack on its second day in office, be provided normal conditions to function and implement its program.

The series of anti-government protests in Bulgaria was triggered by the scandalous appointment of media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

Although the appointment was revoked, the people went on to demand that the cabinet resign collectively over ties with oligarchs.

Protesters are also calling for Election Code amendments which will guarantee greater representation of the people in Parliament.

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Davey tries to calm fears over blackouts

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Alarmist headlines about looming power blackouts and electricity rationing overshadow minister’s announcement of energy investment blueprint

Spain to deal blow to renewables

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Reform is unlikely to provide a return large enough to avoid the most indebted solar and wind energy projects falling into the hands of their banks

Bulgaria’s Customs Agency Head to Leave Office Next Week – Report

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Customs Agency head Vanyo Tanov will reportedly be removed from the post by the end of the week.

According to reports of Capital Daily, based on sources close to the matter, Tanov’s Deputy, Borislav Borisov, will act as interim director of the customs authority until a sucessor is elected through a competition.

The dismissal order has reportedly not been signed by Finance Minister Petar Chobanov yet because Tanov because Tanov is under hospital care and the Finance Ministry is unwilling to take steps while he is receiving medical treatment.

According to sources of 24 Hours Daily, Tanov requested retirement several months ago to attend to personal issues.

The potential successors of Tanov are said to be Borislav Borisov and former Customs Agency directors Asen Asenov and Emil Dimitrov, none of whom have confirmed that they are running for office.

According to Capital Daily, the frontrunner is Borisov, who has been working at the customs administration since 1995 and had been Deputy Director of the Customs Agency since 2009.

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