Archive for the ‘Partners’ Category
Health care reform has been one of the hot topics of the 2012 Presidential election, at times more fiercely debated than issues surrounding the economy and job market. Health care costs far exceed taxes for many people, and can mount quickly without insurance coverage. Furthermore, coverage may not provide sufficient financial relief if you do not have the right type of policy for your budget and medical needs.
Fortunately, companies that sell private health insurance through partnerships with multiple carriers can provide you with a broad range of coverage options. The result? You truly can customize your plan so that it is both affordable and comprehensive. Here are three strategies to evaluate.
Bridge the Gap with Short-term Coverage
Short-term coverage offers a solution to several different scenarios including finding yourself in between jobs and waiting for employer sponsored coverage to kick in after starting a new job. These policies offer coverage anywhere from 6 to 12 months. The point of short-term plans is to offer protection against unforeseen accidents or illnesses. As a result, services like immunizations, preventive care and screenings are not covered by most short-term insurance policies. It is important to note that this type of plan does not typically cover pre-existing medical conditions.
High Deductible = Low Premium
Provided you do not need ongoing medical care, a health insurance plan that carries a high deductible could be an attractive option because these policies offer low monthly premiums. In exchange for the advantage of extremely low premiums, you must pay all of your medical expenses until you meet the high deductible, which can mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket – except for preventive care, which insurers must cover 100 percent under health care reform. Therefore, high deductible plans are a good route to take for those who are healthy and do not have any pre-existing conditions.
Talk to Mom and Dad
Health care reform provides an especially nice advantage to young adults, who can now remain covered by their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26. So if you are fresh out of school and still looking for a job, or your entry level salary is not as robust as you anticipated, just give mom and dad a call.
Keep it Simple but Make Sure You Do Your Homework
Online resources like our partner, GoHealthInsurance, offer you the chance to access information on a variety of plans, and better yet, review quotes based on the criteria you enter. Today’s resources are designed to be time efficient and simple to digest, so there really is no reason to select coverage that is not right for your particular situation.
Sole proprietors who don’t qualify for group health insurance plans now have an efficient way to explore options for coverage anywhere in the USA.
Orlando, FL (July 12, 2012) – ActSeed has teamed up with GoHealth Insurance to help 15 million self-employed individuals in the US find affordable health insurance for themselves and their immediate families. Now, an individual can complete a simple web form, receive a preliminary quote instantly and start the process of acquiring insurance within all of the 50 US states.
“At ActSeed, we constantly hear from self-employed entrepreneurs who seek affordable health insurance, but don’t know where to turn,” said Bill Attinger, CEO of ActSeed. “Instead of wasting valuable hours trying to research options through Google, we want to direct our community members to GoHealth, where sole-proprietors can quickly find the best and most appropriate health insurance plan for themselves and for their immediate families. The sooner we can help a solopreneur secure affordable insurance, the sooner they can get back to serving their customers and growing their business, so everyone wins.”
According to the US Department of Labor in June 2012, approximately 1 out of every 9 people in the labor force is self employed. Furthermore, according to a 2011 survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed, more than 12% of these “solopreneurs” do not currently have health insurance.
Sole proprietorships and one-person companies depend heavily upon a single individual to maintain operations. A significant health issue can derail a one-person company and quickly bankrupt the proprietor with health care bills and loss of revenue.
“With our service, we make it easy to shop, compare and purchase health insurance for individuals, families and entrepreneurs alike,” said Mark Colwell, Manager of Consumer Marketing at GoHealth. “The CEO and President of GoHealth actually founded the company because it was so confusing to compare their coverage options as young entrepreneurs. They knew they could utilize technology to help make the tedious task of purchasing coverage much simpler. Now after more than 10 years in the industry, we’ve helped nearly 30 million people shop and purchase health insurance.”
About GoHealth Insurance
GoHealth and its customer-facing website GoHealthInsurance.com is a health insurance technology platform, working with over 100 health insurance carriers and more than 10,000 licensed agents across the United States. Since the company’s founding in 2001, the GoHealth platform has helped nearly 30 million Americans shop and purchase health coverage. GoHealth, based in Chicago, Illinois, was recently named in the top 100 best workplaces in Chicago by the Chicago Tribune and is one of Inc 500’s fastest growing companies in America.
ActSeed is a national online community for startups, early stage companies and small businesses, primarily focused in the US. Since 2009, ActSeed has been helping reduce the unacceptably high failure rate of early stage businesses by connecting thousands of entrepreneurs to tools and resources critical for growing their businesses. To learn more, please visit www.actseed.com.
If you would like more information about this topic or to arrange an interview with Bill Attinger, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
…is from customers!
A great way to grow your business: find new customers using daily deals from GroupPrice. ActSeed likes Group Price because they enable you to increase your sales with no upfront marketing expenses while cutting your costs with daily deals from other small businesses.
One of the growth problems for startups is getting more cash coming in than is going out. Cash is the fuel that powers a business. Not receivables or IOUs, but cash in the bank. You must positively impact your cash two ways:
- Increase revenues by attracting new paying customers
- Reduce expenses by finding great deals for the business services you need
ActSeed has partnered with GroupPrice to help you tap this innovative marketplace to boost your business in two important ways:
- Spark an increase in sales by tapping new customers without any upfront marketing or advertising expense.
- Find daily deals on products and services aimed at your start up or small businesses with discounts up to 80%.
How to Maximize the Benefits from the ActSeed-GroupPrice Partnership
Two steps. Both are free.
1. Register with GroupPrice so you can buy and sell on the GroupPrice marketplace.
2. Register with ActSeed where you can access exclusive promotions and discounts from our leading partners like GroupPrice.
Like Fox Business TV, we think Group Price is like Groupon® – but dedicated to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses.
ActSeed and GroupPrice are aligned in a commitment to helping you find sources of capital and streams of revenue. Cash is king. Heck, cash is also queen, prince and the whole royal court.
Forrester Research has identified that “daily deals for business is a persistent and growing trend.” Startups and small businesses – the backbone of the US economy – have been badly weakened by the recession, but sites like Group Price are helping them recover and grow.
Raise your revenue. Cut your costs. Do both using GroupPrice.
…Now that’s an obvious partnership that ActSeed can champion.
It’s not uncommon that a startup in the USA has an almost immediate international presence, and it’s also not uncommon that entrepreneurs from other countries are trying to access US markets.
While we often talk about how the Internet shrinks borders and facilitates commerce, sometimes a “good ole fashioned” cross-border support group works well, too.
One good example of cross-border collaboration that is helping entrepreneurs and startup businesses in two countries is the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce (“SACC”), and ActSeed is proud to be a partner with the San Diego chapter. Founded in 1988, SACC-USA is the umbrella organization for 19 regional Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce across the United States. The SACC serves more than 2,300 members in Sweden and the US.
The mission of the SACC is to facilitate and support trade, commerce, and investment between the US and Sweden – helping Swedish companies find the right partners in the USA and vice versa. This is achieved through effective industry specific programs and events, corporate programs, trade missions, business matchmaking and lots of ”good old fashioned” networking.
The SACC San Diego was founded in 1989 as one of the first local Swedish chambers in America. The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in San Diego is a non-profit organization with the goal to promote, develop, and increase the Swedish–American contacts and interactions in the greater San Diego area.
More and more, the San Diego SACC is becoming involved in the local San Diego startup scene. Entrepreneurs from both countries are starting to collaborate on projects and help each other tap new markets and find investors. Through the international partnership between the SACC and ActSeed, we can help make sure entrepreneurs, investors and work-seekers in the US are aware of the opportunities emanating from and within Sweden while also helping entrepreneurs and investors in Sweden learn how to leverage ActSeed to participate in business creation and growth in the US.
You can learn more about the San Diego Swedish American Chamber of Commerce by clicking here.
Also, if you are involved with the San Diego SACC and are interested in joining ActSeed’s “Entrepreneur Group“, you can use discount code “SDSACC12″ to receive a 10% discount on either a monthly or annual membership.
If you are an investor from Sweden and want to find startups or small businesses in the US in which to invest, please join ActSeed’s “Investor Group” and start tracking deals; it takes about 15 minutes to get set up and costs nothing for the investor.
ActSeed is proud to be a collaborative partner with peerbackers.
Crowdfunding is becoming a popular approach for inventors and entrepreneurs to raise initial seed capital without incurring debt or giving up equity – a platform for essentially raising funds through donations from your own network and the crowdfunding community.
When you are trying to raise funds for your business or project, the task becomes much easier when you can demonstrate to your supporters that you are well-prepared to achieve your goals with the funding you seek. For this partnership, ActSeed has created discount codes for peerbackers users to join ActSeed’s Entrepreneur Group: “peerback11M” for a 10% discount on the monthly membership and “peerback11A” for a 25% discount on an annual membership.
Sally Outlaw and Andrew Rachmell, the peerbackers cofounders, are seasoned entrepreneurs and have successfully partnered in the past to create and produce “The Next Wave with Leonard Nimoy”, a TV series was devoted to exploring innovative technologies for both start-ups and existing companies. Below, we share some insights from Sally about her experiences while building peerbackers.
Q. Describe your “Eureka Moment”.
A. When I heard about the first-ever British soccer club funded via the web (ie., through many people paying a small subscription fee), I was hit with the idea that this “funding by the crowd” approach could work for small business. I knew the market opportunity would be huge as finding capital is the #1 pain point for entrepreneurs.
Q. How did you fund the company to its current state?
A. We funded the company in part through crowdfunding ourselves! We thought it was the right thing to do since we were building a crowdfunding platform and we wanted to have firsthand experience with raising money this way – in part so we could be in the best position to understand the requirements and to advise those using our service when we launched. The remaining dollars were contributed by us, the two founding partners, as well as a no-interest loan ($5,000) from an Advisor. We were fortunate also in that we worked out a payment plan with our web development company so we could pay over time as we built out the site so we hustled every couple of months to come up with that quarter’s payment.
Q. ActSeed champions the need for solid planning and preparation from the very beginning. How important is planning and prep to your company’s success?
A. There was so much planning that went into our site development & launch as we had to think through the architecture of the site including all the ways our users would interact with our platform, as well as what functionality we as administrators would need to manage the projects & financial transactions occurring through our website. Now that we have successfully launched, our ongoing planning has primarily been focused on how many projects we need to attract to post on our site & how we are going to attract them in order to hit our financial numbers. This planning has consequently led us to reach out to specific partners (Universities, Community Programs, etc) who work with the types of entrepreneurs we cater to so we could form mutually beneficial referral relationships.
Q. How long did it take to get your idea into the market from initial concept to first customer?
A. Being an under-funded, boot-strapped start-up, it took longer than it could have of course to go from initial concept to first customer – I’d put it at about 1 year. Our development curve was as follows: 3 months to fully develop the concept including research on industry & competition and financials, another 3 months to build a simple mock-up site & to crowdfund through it to raise some capital (the crowdfunding part was a 60 day raise), 4-5 months to design, build out & test the fully functional website and launch.
Q. What influence have the internet and new media had on the way you are marketing, selling and supporting your products/services?
A. Our venture would simply not exist without the internet and new media. It is because of the viral nature of the internet & social networking that our site, and crowdfunding in general, has ignited. Crowdfunding works best when you have a crowd (!) or can attract one using all the new media tools (we have embedded numerous sharing tools into our site for entrepreneurs to use to promote their ventures).
Q. Describe the challenges you faced as you built your customer base, including defining the customer target, establishing the right price and pricing strategy and of course, closing the first few deals. What wisdom can you share with other entrepreneurs?
A. Defining our target customer was easy – entrepreneurs needing capital – especially those needing $25,000 or less (and there are hundreds of thousands annually in that market). Our biggest challenge has been in finding the right sort of entrepreneur to use our service – those that are social media savvy, creative, and willing to promote themselves. Believe it or not, about 75% of those that submit to our site to post for funding never even follow through – either with registering, posting or promoting their venture on the site – which, as a life-long dedicated entrepreneur, I found very disappointing. I’ve heard the term “Wannapreneurs” and I guess that would apply here…meaning if you are not passionate enough about what you do to follow through, to shout about it from the roof tops and tell everybody you know and ask for their support, then I say stop now! We’ve started to overcome this obstacle (of getting the right customers) through creating strategic partnerships with those that already work with our target market. In terms of the wisdom to share question – I guess the biggest mistake I see is start ups declaring a huge target market but not indicating what % of that market they intend to capture and how. They will go to a VC and announce they are in a “40 billion dollar market” but then will not define what part of that market they can engage and explain the strategy through which this will be accomplished. So, I’d suggest knowing this before pitching!
Q. What techniques have you used to establish credibility in the eyes of customers, investors, partners, personnel and the general public?
A. I guess I’d say that we have established our credibility through our good customer service (led to great word-of-mouth and referrals), our relentless desire to help other entrepreneurs (as everyone can see how genuine we are in our efforts to support small business owners even when they are not our clients), and through the media attention we’ve received (for example being covered within 60 days of launch by both The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine). The technique we used for the media coverage was simply being scrappy. We did not hire a high-priced PR firm – I subscribed to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) as a source for journalists and built relationships with them, as well as I reached out to editors who were covering my topic (boot-strapping a business). Believe it or not – it works! (This is how we got covered by The Wall Street Journal – it started by an email I sent the editor).
Q. Have government, University, or other community / economic development programs been useful?
A. The most effective entities for us in this regard are the universities as we are beginning to establish working relationships with their business schools, entrepreneurial programs and clubs to offer their students and participants our funding solution for the ventures they are trying to launch.
Q. What is the most important thing people never tell you about joining or founding an early-stage company?
A. That you have to make everything happen. As an entrepreneur with a good idea for a product or service, you tend to think that the world is waiting for you…but they’re not. Getting going & noticed requires a constant investment of energy & resources…you have to have an incredible and endless amount of drive. Even on the days when you score big wins, you can often feel like – as you sleep – your venture is losing ground! BUT the good news is that with enough hard work & dedication eventually someone will hear about you and step up – whether it is an investor, an advisor, a media source, a big partner or customer and then your business can rock-n-roll!
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t ask you in the questions above?
A. Find a co-founder (it’s hard working alone and you will need varied skill sets). Make something that people want.
Often, founders seek a quick piece of advice on a particular subject. …not a full-blown consulting arrangement, but a chance to “bend the ear of someone who’s been there and done that”.
Sometimes, founders want to pick the brains of their peers on a given topic, too.
ActSeed is glad to promote Founders Space as a channel for assistance from people with experience in building and funding companies. Post your question and Founders Space will tap one of their advisors to provide the answer. Not only should you receive the guidance you seek, but the answer will be added to the Founders Space database so other entrepreneurs can benefit from the information.
In addition to the online advisor forum, Founders Space has launched Founders Space Roundtables – monthly events in select cities where an expert presents a featured topic and then the participants break into smaller groups for peer discussion related to the topic. Founders Space plans to launch these roundtables throughout the US, starting with San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Chicago and Houston (coming in January 2011). In order to join a Roundtable, you must be a founder or C-level executive at a growth-oriented startup or emerging company, or you can be an advisor with specific knowledge of the topic being discussed.
Founders Space is spearheaded by Silicon Valley startup vets Steve Hoffman, Publisher & Cofounder, and Naomi Kokubo, Editor & Cofounder. The Founders Space Roundtables are produced by Lyne Noella and Peter Seidel of WavePlay.
Entrepreneurs and Service Providers affiliated with Founders Space are eligible for special discounts on ActSeed’s premium group memberships. When joining the Entrepreneur Group or Service Provider Group, you can apply the discount code FSpace2011A for a 25% discount on annual memberships or FSpace2011M for a 10% discount on monthly memberships. These discounts are valid for group registrations through December 31, 2011 and will remain valid through each renewal period as long as you maintain your membership without cancellation.
ActSeed is glad to have earned a spot as one of Founders Space’s Helpful Organizations!
ActSeed’s “online community” for entrepreneurs is dramatically enhanced by the presence of local entrepreneur communities – active local groups that host seminars, roundtable meetings, speaker series and provide a venue for entrepreneurs to congregate for networking, education and fellowship.
Often, these groups emerge and then dissipate. They are a chore to maintain. They demand lots of effort, often from a just few dedicated souls. Some have emerge and growing with a unique “staying power”, driven as much by the organized as by the organizers. Like most ventures, longevity is one reward of consistently delivering value.
One such local entrepreneur organization is Startup Circle, which serves the San Diego area. Startup Circle is an active venue for entrepreneurs at all early stages of growth, but the focus is on entrepreneurs who are plowing through the “proof of concept” stage. This community provides access to mentors, networks and resources through monthly meetings, an active web site and a relentless commitment from its founder, Robert Reyes.
Robert champions building businesses through an architecture of trust above all else, although preparation and discipline are not too far behind. Startup Circle promotes business behavior that follows what he calls “The Dolphin Strategy”: a process for entrepreneurs to confront Machiavellian behaviors that can rapidly sink a small business culture that is similar to how dolphins avoid being devoured by sharks and other ocean predators. Applying collaborative strategies to local groups of entrepreneurs with common values and an established level of trust can lift each participant in the group.
ActSeed is proud to partner with Startup Circle and provide a resource for planning, preparation and engagement to the members of Startup Circle. Entrepreneurs and Service Providers affiliated with Startup Circle are eligible for special discounts on ActSeed’s premium group memberships. When joining the Entrepreneur Group or Service Provider Group, you can apply the discount code StartupCircle2011A for a 25% discount on annual memberships or StartupCircle2011M for a 10% discount on monthly memberships. These discounts are valid for group registrations through December 31, 2011 and will remain valid through each renewal period as long as you maintain your membership without cancellation.
ActSeed is excited to partner with Step-Up Venture University!
Step-Up Venture University (Step-Up VU) is a non-profit organization dedicated to global innovation through business education. Established in 2009 by Henry Shterenberg, a successful entrepreneur and adjunct professor at Bentley University, Step-Up Venture University is now expanding into career centers, school districts, and correctional facilities in Massachusetts in order to bring the fundamentals of entrepreneurship to underserved populations.
The partnership between Step-Up Venture University and ActSeed provides Boston-area entrepreneurs access to the academic resources of Step-Up VU and the global network and informational resources of ActSeed. First-time entrepreneurs combine the lessons learned through coursework at Step-Up VU with ActSeed’s online business community and “Entrepreneur’s Toolbox” of resources to build a stronger, more successful business.
Entrepreneurs and Service Providers affiliated with Step-Up Venture University are eligible for special discounts on ActSeed’s premium group memberships. When joining the Entrepreneur Group or Service Provider Group, you can apply the discount code SVU2010A for a 25% discount on annual memberships or SVU2010M for a 10% discount on monthly memberships. These discount codes can be applied through December 31, 2010 and the discount will remain valid for the life of your membership as long as you maintain the membership without cancellation.
To learn more about taking a course through Step-Up Venture University, visit their website.
More Information about Step-Up Venture University
Step-Up Venture University is a non-profit organization that provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunity to gain exclusive insight and hands-on experience in the basics of entrepreneurship. Step-Up Venture University is committed to changing how business and life skills are taught, not only to youth, but also to first-time business owners, senior citizens, and others. This organization helps people follow their dreams, set their goals, develop their strengths, recognize the opportunities and pursue them.
Courses at Step-Up Venture University are taught by successful entrepreneurs who draw upon the years of experience they bring to the classroom. Whether you’re a high-school student planning a part-time venture to put yourself through college or a dentist about to start your own practice, Step-Up Venture University can give you the skills and knowledge to bring your ideas to reality.
Step-Up Venture University offers courses in the following:
- Leaders in Training: The world belongs to leaders, not followers. Develop your full potential with this course covering the fundamentals of leadership, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and goal setting. Designed for middle and high school students.
- Introduction to Entrepreneurship: Starting your own business can be daunting, that’s why we are here to help. Become confident enough to plan, start and run your own business with this course. Designed for people new to the field of entrepreneurship and high school students.
- From Idea to Reality: Everyone has a dream. Take yours to reality with this course. Learn the fundamentals of grounding your dreams in reality while making them come true. Designed for those who have a business idea and would like to implement it.
- Taking Business to the Next Level: Do you already own a business? Has the economy hit you especially hard? Learn what it takes to move your business to the next level in this course for business owners.
- First Time Over 55: It’s never too late to start. A course designed for seniors with entrepreneurial ambitions.