Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Forbes PeopleForbes People

Entrepreneur

Getting to know entrepreneur Angel Alvaro Fong

How did you start your business?

The first thing I did was think of the following. 

When deciding on a business, the first decision I make is: Can I sell this to anyone. I then go out and talk to people for about 3 months or so, telling my target market my idea, asking would they buy it and for how much. By the time I’m through this exercise, I have a better idea than when I started, I know how much to charge, and I have a group of potential customers from day one.

The business itself doesn’t matter. You evaluate on:

1. Is there a market. 

2. Does it require special skills I don’t possess. 

3. Can I pull this off. 

What are the upfront costs, the fixed costs. 

Based on that, you develop your business. Entrepreneurs enjoy the creative process and the hunt. They don’t build a business based on a passion. They are, instead, passionate about building a business

What are some mistakes you wish you could have avoided?

The mistake people make when they use the phrase “follow your passion” is that they don’t realize that for entrepreneurs, Building the Business IS the passion. The business itself is almost immaterial.

What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?

I’m surrounded by interesting people with good ideas. A number of them have succeeded so far, but many others have failed. Recently I’ve been watching a close friend jump from one thing to another. At one time it’s real estate, then a restaurant business, after a month or so it’s something completely different.

I spoke with him that he needs to get his focus straight and stick to one of these (not to mention that these are pretty scattered as niches and mechanics). So what is a mistake you’ve seen others do and you yourself has done?

The experience of my friend (and some other surroundings) inspired me to also start a series of posts with interviews of successful entrepreneurs on what they learned through.

Not researching the market they are entering. I made this mistake a few times. Avoided it in fear of feeling unmotivated after seeing how established they are. Thoroughly inspected my competitors. Started small and then worked myself up to their level. I’m still small, but they know that I’m there behind them. Mimicking their every move. Doing newer things than them. Being more innovative.

How can I come up with a great name for my company?

If you are like me, you want your business name to be like that of Google, Facebook, Spotify, and other ‘hip’ big brands. While I am not sure how each of those companies came up with their ‘awesome’ business name, I know that the name itself is only awesome because the companies themselves are awesome. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if you have a weird business name but the company behind it has tremendous value, then your business name would definitely be perceived as ‘awesome.’ Having said that, let me share how we came up with mine.

Write down all the words that relate to or would want to be related to your brand.

Write a tagline, a catchphrase or a short pitch.

Combine Words in Your List

Connect the Business Names to the Taglines

Do a quick google search of your new business name before proceeding with other branding activities. If your name is taken, run the steps again with this constraint in mind. You can add words relating to your differentiating factor, terms that you would want people to use when searching for you online, and keywords that similar brands or competitors use.

While you can always change your business name, it is better to have a good one right from the start. The sooner people get acquainted with your brand, the better. Rebranding in the future, while sometimes is necessary, can become costly economically and affect your goodwill.

You do not need to already have a business to do this exercise. You can come up with a brand name for your blog or website, or use it as a username for any of your social media accounts.

How do you come up with business ideas?

Personally, I keep a google doc of all of my business ideas, whether they are good or not so good. When I have time, I expand on them and flesh them out. Occasionally I go back and skim through. Sometimes I laugh at my old, bad ideas, other times I actually follow through on an old idea. Point is, keep track of all of your ideas.

Another thing to realize is, most businesses are not new apps, or revolutionary devices. Most are boring processes that support existing businesses or consumers. For example, paper shredding. Most offices require documents to be shredded. Some do it in-house, if they have a small number of documents to shred, others have a company pick up the shredding on a weekly or monthly basis. This is the type of business that can be grown by doing some phone calling, door knocking, and with a website. Shredders aren’t really that expensive, the effort is in getting the contract, and building up the business to the point that you can hire someone to work for minimum wage to pick up the documents.

 How can I protect my idea so others don’t steal it?

In short, you can’t. And it won’t serve you to worry about it.

Focus on creating a stellar strategy and service. Start building your reputation.

Remember that ideas are cheap – it’s how the idea is executed that counts.

People that worry about people stealing their ideas usually fail, and fail expensively.

Put that money and resources instead into establishing product market fit, validating the idea and developing a realistic but aggressive distribution plan.

 What are the biggest mistakes first-time entrepreneurs can make?

A business is 1. A repeatable process that 2. Provides something of value 3. That people want ore need at 4. A price they’re willing to pay such that 5. The owner is profitable enough to be worthwhile to continue operation.

Not researching the market they are entering. I made this mistake a few times. Avoided it in fear of feeling unmotivated after seeing how established they are. Then I thought “f-that”. Thoroughly inspected my competitors. Started small and then worked myself up to their level. I’m still small, but they know that I’m there behind them. Mimicking their every move. Doing newer things than them. Being more innovative.

I would suggest that instead of a business plan, it’s more important to create a business model canvas and go back and update it at least once a year. In my experience, technology and business is changing too rapidly to warrant a full business plan these days unless it is a requirement of some funding you’re getting 

What kind of entity should I set up if I’m only starting my business journey?

The entity type is important (probably just a regular LLC or maybe s-corp), but id be more concerned with your Operating Agreement. This doc explains the expectations/ownership/provisions/buy-out clauses of all the owners.

But I’m not a lawyer or financial advisor. So I cant help with that

What are you most excited about at work right now?

I am most excited about collaborating and working towards something big— a common goal. Every day at work is an opportunity I have to contribute to the growth of the company.

 What are your tips for building a great team?

Build a know like trust relationship with people through tasks and goals to get a good feel for their level of commitment, accountability and proactiveness.

Once you have the beginnings of a team, it’s important to also work on your communication styles and being 100% honest without being rude. Read Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards to better understand your teammates and Crucial Conversations – tools for talking when stakes are high.

How do you market your business?

Not researching the market they are entering. I made this mistake a few times. Avoided it in fear of feeling unmotivated after seeing how established they are. Thoroughly inspected my competitors. Started small and then worked myself up to their level. I’m still small, but they know that I’m there behind them. Mimicking their every move. Doing newer things than them. Being more innovative.

 What online marketing techniques do you use? 

Figure out your target audience and find their needs/wants and get to know them, from then on out communicate with the other people in the business and find out more about how it’s run. Starting with a blank slate would be a lot more fun than monitoring a campaign that’s already going, also you can learn from start to finish how to completely build a marketing strategy for a company.
From there on out, I imagine the apprenticeship will kick in and start talking you through paid campaigns, SEO, SWOT Analysis and etc, but start simple and set them up on Instagram and Facebook, and run it organically.

 How should I decide where to set up my business?

It all depends on what you are offering and what your target audience is

How did you push through your biggest business doubts?

You need to accept you might fail and that it’s okay. Once you remove the fear of failure trying something new gets much easier.

How did you handle fast growth and scale your business?

If you are at capacity and it will take time to increase your capacity to accommodate, then you may consider increasing your prices to strategically decrease demand

What are the most common mistakes that new business owners make?

I’ll tell you where I think a lot of people go wrong – they start to think they need to spend more money to make more money. They start to take on a lot of overhead. They sign a lease on an office or new equipment. Staying lean is critical and a lot of the things they spend money on don’t increase revenue.

Continue to save the money where it doesn’t matter so you can invest it where it does. When you find a great marketing channel or an opportunity comes your way be ready to go all in.

This has a lot to do with seeing things in value (and ROI on the cost) instead of money. Money isn’t always directly correlated with value. The $7k used truck probably provides the same utility to the company as the $54k platinum brand new truck. Same with an office. Employees don’t need a kegerator and a ping pong table to feel pumped up to come to work for you.

 How do you plan for the future of your business?

I would suggest that instead of a business plan, it’s more important to create a business model canvas and go back and update it at least once a year. In my experience, technology and business is changing too rapidly to warrant a full business plan these days unless it is a requirement of some funding you’re getting 

the entity type is important (probably just a regular LLC or maybe s-corp), but id be more concerned with your Operating Agreement. This doc explains the expectations/ownership/provisions/buy-out clauses of all the owners.

But I’m not a lawyer or financial advisor. So I cant help with that. 

How do you evaluate the past ups/downs of your business?

Understand right away that some things are NOT in your control. It is a marathon, not a sprint. The quicker you stop getting upset, the quicker you can use this as a lesson to move on.

What advice would you give to a new business owner?

• Forgetting the Competition.

• Not Spending Enough Cash (or Spending Too Much)

• Making Hiring Decisions Based on Cost.

• Thinking It’s All On You.

• Putting Your Product First.

• Making Your Margins Too Small

• Picking the wrong partner. …

• Lacking focus. …

• Too much planning. …

• Choosing the wrong investor. …

• Not spending on marketing. …

• Doing everything yourself. …

• Hiring too quickly. …

• Ignoring the finances

What’s non-negotiable when you start a business?

N/A

How do you craft a great mission statement?

1. Do keep it short and concise. Sum up the company’s mission in just a few sentences.

2. Don’t write an essay. …

3. Do think long-term. …

4. Don’t make it too limiting. …

5. Do find out what your employees think of the mission statement. …

6. Don’t be afraid to change it.

 How did you raise funding for your business?

This is how most people start. With their own money. If they have no money, they make some by doing what they can to generate revenue.

The problem with a lot of new and younger entrepreneurs is that they want it all now. They think a good idea is enough for someone to loan them money.

They want to start with all the new tools and everything on their shopping list.

They play this game with themselves called “If I had (this much money), this is what I’d do with it” and they think that’s the same as wanting to build a business. It is not. It’s lottery dreaming.

Or they shoot too far above their weight class. First time out…No money, no collateral, no credit, no assets, no experience, never ran a business before….but they want to open a business that requires hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to start and actually expect someone to give it to them.

Most businesses will not get financing. Most start-ups will not qualify for a loan. Small business loans are rare and of those that do happen they’re backed by some kind of collateral. Banks don’t just give away money to people with “good ideas”.

Most people without resources bootstrap. Meaning self finance.They use their own savings. They work the business part-time while working a full time job to finance it. If they own a home they take out a 2nd mortgage

They start small. Doing the things they can to get revenue coming in, and reinvest to build the things that they need to grow.

How has your business shifted over time?

The way I manage my businesses it allows me to adapt as time progresses. 

 What KPIs do you use to measure your business success?

KPIs should be set based on your product’s specific use case(s). There’s no point of setting Weekly Active Users as a KPI if your tool is daily, monthly or annual use case. For example, Airbnb measures bookings quarterly or annually, and Asana would measure daily or weekly.

Next try and define the key actions for your use case – what are your users trying to accomplish, and how can that be tracked in your product? For a company like asana it could be tasks created, tasks completed or maybe even projects created.

For a co like Airbnb it’s going to be bookings for a guest or for a host.

Whenever metrics get brought in I see and hear support quality drops. Long term milestones are a good thing. Plans are a good thing. Number based metrics can be fooled and causes unneeded unhappiness as genuinely good support techs may feel like they are being rushed. Orgs that use metrics like this for anything will eventually lose all talent and will join Comcast in the wall of shame. A lot of our helpdesk guys will actually use time to better documentation look into root causes and document different usages so we can better understand what our customers want and resolve issues faster in the future.

Use customer comments feedback.

What are you working on now?

Right now besides real estate I am now dipping my feet in other projects in the music and entertainment industry. I am currently working on some projects on the pipe line.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Impact Feature

With Celebrity Boxing, he has shown his A-game as an American businessman, boxing promoter, producer, author, and undefeated professional boxer. So much has already...

Music

He is excited about the love he has been receiving for his newest track, titled “Ride With Me,” featuring Y.O.E A1. It is so surreal to...

Impact Feature

He has been involved around distinctive fields, having gained vast experience in each. We have come across many individuals who have done exceptionally well...

Entrepreneur

The Brazilian entrepreneur continues to grow with his fortune in the segment of digital info products with the company Pandoriana Cash. The financial market...

Music

YBezzy, The Prince of Rap, is a talented rapper and actor from Miami, Florida. Born and raised in Miami, YBezzy started recording music as...

Music

Caleb Peters is an up-and-coming Indie Electronic singer, songwriter and producer who is the first artist to sign with Kilbey Treacy’s record label –...

Music

This young rapper, songwriter, and artist exudes pure passion and love for music with every track he creates. It is so surreal to learn...

Entrepreneur

This industry expert has done extraordinarily well in the digital sphere, especially around the social networking areas. Adalberto Neto has established himself as an...