Meet Amazon’s (AWS) Startup Programs

Huge investments in hardware and software tend to slow startups down. AWS allows you to access the resources you need easily and quickly. … Instead of waiting for a new server and hire a database administrator, startups can just use Amazon’s AWS and start working on their apps, for example

Most startups have so much to do without having the required budget or the technical expertise to accomplish their tasks. This is why startups should really consider Amazon’s AWS to help them get the job done.

It used to be that startups were in a disadvantaged position because they need to spend a lot of money in order to have the infrastructure to test and develop their services, and to support their growth. And traditionally, startups were forced to start big, making it a struggle for them to make profits gradually as time goes by. It was either that or to admit failure in time and give up. AWS changed all of that!

And you would be in good company, as well. Amazon has revealed that some of today’s most successful businesses started out using Amazon AWS. If you are a startup, then you would breathe easier knowing that Pinterest, Tinder, Spotify, Yelp, Airbnb, Dropcam, FunPlus, FourSquare, and AdRoll, all used AWS during their early stages and even until now, when they have already become some of the most recognizable brands.

What are the specific reasons for startups to consider AWS?

1.  Amazon’s AWS has everything.

Think of the Swiss Army knife. It has everything you need to survive. Now think about AWS and compare it to the Swiss Army Knife. AWS has everything you need to stay competitive and to survive in today’s business climate.

You could get access to AWS’ wide range of offerings that you might need, and they have almost everything that most startups require. From relational databases, to servers, traffic, Hadoop deployments on EC2, storage, user generated content on S3, metadata and roll ups on DynamoDB, Route 53, and to ElastiCache.

For startups, you need to be very agile. Whether you have an original idea or a great product, or you are playing catch-up in a growing market, you need to be able to get the infrastructure you need without worrying about huge capital outlays upfront. Huge investments in hardware and software tend to slow startups down. AWS allows you to access the resources you need easily and quickly. It enables for quick provision of services and technologies, and relies on its big infrastructure technology platform. Instead of waiting for a new server and hire a database administrator, startups can just use Amazon’s AWS and start working on their apps, for example.

Another thing, AWS is not only a leader because of the wide range of services it offers, it also gives you deep functionality for each service. For instance, you do not only get a general compute resource, you can also take advantage of different options and features such as getting compute resources that are optimized for memory, storage and I/O. Another example is that Amazon’s relational databases work with MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, Postgre SQL, and Amazon Aurora.

2.  AWS is continuously innovating.

If you have unique needs that AWS is currently not offering, do not fret. AWS has been innovating and adding services here and there, at a pace that cannot be beaten. For instance, in 2008, the said platform only offered EC2 and EBS. The next year, they added three new services, and then 20 more services over the next three years. That pace has not slowed down and if you follow their annual AWS re:Invent events, you would see what the cloud service provider has been up to and what it plans to roll out in the near future.

3.  AWS is easy on the budget.

AWS prices its offering fairly and competitively, and it is not one to shy away from a price war with its competitors. Plus, sharing AWS infrastructure cost with a lot of users means that they are able to leverage economies of scale to drive down costs further.

Amazon’s AWS then passes these savings to the customers, which in turn attracts more customers who use more AWS services. As you can see, it goes back to more users giving the company the chance to lower infrastructure costs while also adding more hardware and infrastructure. This effectively helps drive down prices while ensuring top-notch services.

Startups on AWS also love that they only pay for what they need, only when they need them.

4.  It is very easy to get on AWS.

With AWS, you get access to a wide range of affordable services provided by one vendor, and you do not have to worry about contracts and legal terminologies.

Amazon’s AWS has made it a point to make enrolment to its various services very simple; all it takes is a few clicks. Compare that to the old way of doing things, wherein you are bound by contracts and you have to negotiate for a fair price and customizations with different vendors.

5.  AWS welcomes that “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” attitude.

AWS prices its offering fairly and competitively, and it is not one to shy away from a price war with its competitors. Plus, sharing AWS infrastructure cost with a lot of users means that they are able to leverage economies of scale to drive down costs further.

Amazon’s AWS then passes these savings to the customers, which in turn attracts more customers who use more AWS services. As you can see, it goes back to more users giving the company the chance to lower infrastructure costs while also adding more hardware and infrastructure. This effectively helps drive down prices while ensuring top-notch services.

Startups on AWS also love that they only pay for what they need, only when they need them.

6.  AWS gives startups worry-free backups.

No more worrying about your disaster recovery backups. You can use Amazon AWS for that. Specifically, you can use EC2 to synchronize files between two computers while using S3 to store your disk backups.

Courtesy Four Cornerstone March 2020

 

7 Resources for 1099 Contractors During Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 is having an impact on all areas of the economy. From large businesses to smaller restaurants, everyone is having to adjust to a new normal in business activity. Freelancers and other 1099 contractors are no different. With several foundations, corporate relief funds and other financial programs emerging from a variety of industries, it’s not clear how freelance workers are being supported during this time.

Here is a list of seven resources for freelancers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of industry-specific grants and funds worth applying for as a freelancer, self-employed worker or independent contractor.

Expanded unemployment benefits

Due to COVID-19, independent contractors can qualify for unemployment payments from the government. In the past, this service was not available to freelancers and 1099 contractors. By following the steps specific to your state, you can qualify for relief and potentially a $600 weekly increase during this time. While this may be a long process to apply, it can help greatly once you’re approved. Be sure to stay up to date with your application and have an understanding of how your state’s unemployment relief is changing due to the virus.

The Small Business Administration

The SBA has announced extensive programs to help struggling small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. While freelancers and other 1099 workers work on a contract basis, if you’ve established a business entity in your name, you may be able to qualify for a loan. In New York City alone, for example, loans with no interest are being offered to all businesses with less than 100 employees. Look into disaster relief loans and other financial assistance available in your state.

SBA debt relief

If you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six months. Again, while this isn’t a program specifically designed for freelancers, it can benefit those that have created business entities and are in debt with SBA.

Depending on the industry you work within, there may be a grant or relief fund you can apply for.

Industry-specific grants and relief funds

Depending on the industry you work within, there may be a grant or relief fund you can apply for. Below is a list of options you want to consider based on your industry. The industries include comedy, writing, contemporary arts and other creative freelance industries.

Marketing-Led Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategies

Businesses are laying off workers, shutting their doors (some permanently), and struggling to react to the radical destruction that coronavirus (COVID-19) is doing to our society and communities. Most have already sustained massive damage, and we still have yet to see the scope of this global pandemic

Any return to normalcy may seem far-off, but sales and marketing are on the front lines of restarting the economy. When the dust settles, we have a responsibility to turn our shock and grief into fierce determination and lead the charge of responsible, strategic, and sustainable future growth.

However, there’s no team better suited to lead that charge than the marketing department. Marketers are uniquely positioned to provide creative solutions to aid their organization in times of change and chart a course for navigating success.

In this eBook, we’ll discuss leading strategies to create a marketing-led growth strategy for 2020 and beyond, including:

Positioning your organization for automation

Strategically aligning your systems and teams

Getting consensus on how to define “qualified leads”

https://www.startupcatalystbrief.com/frs/13932899/marketing-led-post-covid-19-growth-strategies/download

Courtesy of SCB, Startup Catalyst Brief – https://www.startupcatalystbrief.com/

The Coming Crisis of Entrepreneurship

Just a few months ago in Crain’s March 15 issue, I was celebrating the fact that Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, Akron OH) seemed to have broken out of a decade long period of economic stagnation that followed the 2008 recession. Cuyahoga County was experiencing annual job growth of more than 8,000, a rate not seen since 1998, and unemployment had decreased to the lowest level since 2002.

In a few short weeks, COVID-19 and the economic lockdown wiped out these gains. From February to April, unemployment in Cuyahoga County tripled from about 30,000 to almost 100,000, employment decreased by around 100,000, and 30,000 or more people dropped out of the workforce.

The impact of the virus and lockdown on local employers is harder to gauge because there is less current data available. Heading into the shutdown, the total number of establishments in Cuyahoga County had grown to more than 36,000, the highest level in a decade. After suffering a severe loss of more than 3,400 businesses from 2001 to 2014, Cuyahoga County was enjoying a modest five-year growth of about 175 establishments per year, which suggested starts were exceeding closures by 0.5% per year. It’s worth noting that small changes in business openings and closings drive change. In an average year, about 3,500, or 10%, of businesses fail and a similar number, about 10%, of new businesses take their place. Thus, a 1% change in the start or stop rate represents about 350 businesses.

Based on anecdotal data and media reports, it’s realistic to expect a significant negative shift in this delicate balance as more marginal businesses call it quits and fewer entrepreneurs launch new businesses in this uncertain environment. If, for example, 3% more businesses fail and 3% fewer businesses are launched this year, Cuyahoga County would have nearly 1,700 fewer businesses the next year and over 30,000 fewer available jobs. It’s not too early to ask Cuyahoga County political and community leaders to develop a plan to deal with a severe unemployment problem intensified by a dearth of entrepreneurial ventures.

To date, national, state and local approaches have focused on lending businesses money to cover payroll and other expenses and giving workers money to maintain aggregate consumer spending. Government lending and giveaways are stopgap solutions that buy time and minimize suffering, but a comprehensive approach is needed to create a climate that restores entrepreneurial vitality and economic opportunity in Cuyahoga County.

Local leaders should begin by viewing the problem through the lens of a typical small business owner. For many small businesses, the startup after the lockdown will require organizing and mobilizing new financial, labor and material resources in the face of uncertain customer demand and greater risk. The best thing local government can do to help private sector businesses adjust to these new circumstances is to create a secure, orderly and predictable environment and to avoid a massive, expensive and disruptive burst of new initiatives aimed at solving unemployment or other difficult social problems. Stability, predictability and clear communication of a steady, dependable approach will do much to reassure existing small business owners as well as those who might be considering launching a new business venture.

Leaders need to adopt a small business perspective, especially when it comes to how small businesses view workers, because restoring entrepreneurial growth is an essential precondition to reducing unemployment. The average small business person does not set up a business simply to hire workers. Instead, the number and kinds of workers a small business needs are determined by the market — what customers want, need and are willing to pay for, along with the technology available to meet customer needs. Coming out of this pandemic, handling employees will be more challenging for small businesses since work processes may change a lot. For example, employees likely will be making more demands for safety and working from home, regardless of what employers want.

In this uncertain environment, leaders should realize that this is not the time for an equity drive. There’s no doubt that the economic consequences of the pandemic fell heavily on the poor, vulnerable and working people. However, leaders should understand that many entrepreneurs and small business owners suffered significant and irretrievable losses during the pandemic, too. If the goal is to get the most people hired as quickly as possible, local governments should avoid all measures that make it more difficult or expensive to hire workers and to refrain from making comments that disparage business owners. Ultimately, it’s simply a practical fact in a high-risk environment: Most people will not start the businesses that will eventually hire workers if they feel government will devalue their sacrifices and redistribute any potential rewards to the workers.

Second, political and community leaders should realize that the pandemic has irretrievably destroyed a portion of society’s wealth. That wealth is lost, not hidden somewhere in a cave or bank account. The lockdown damaged the financial capacity of all levels of government, so any help from the state or federal government is likely to be minimal. Businesses have lost customers’ revenue and individuals have lost income so local tax revenues will be weak and voters will have little appetite for tax increases. Now is a good time to demand better performance from existing employees, trimming of nonessential functions, less regulation, more innovation and an overall focus on the more efficient delivery of public services.

It’s hardly fair or reasonable to expect business owners and workers to struggle in a difficult environment and pay taxes without asking government to change and give maximum value for the money spent. Demanding more from government would have a huge impact on the poor and most vulnerable in society. About 40% of the Cuyahoga County government budget, for example, is spent on health and human services. To ensure accountability and better services to the poor, county government should develop meaningful metrics that measure the quantity and quality of public services for the most vulnerable and needy members. Society asked health workers and first responders to deal with the pandemic, scientists to develop treatments and a vaccine, business owners to shut down and workers to lose income. It is not unreasonable to ask local government to figure out how to do better for about the same amount of money.

Third, political and community leaders should adjust their vision of the community’s future to include many commonplace values and traditions. The pandemic has shown the weaknesses of the urban expert’s vision of a high-density, environmentally sustainable city with much zoning regulation and dependence on public transit. There is value in a diversity of homes and living styles, spread out over a moderate landscape tied together by private transportation.

In a “true emergency,” it turns out that many aspects of lifestyle that are taken for granted are really important, such as the mundane and ordinary jobs that maintain our lifestyle. A pandemic that disrupts normal life brings home the importance of a trusted circle of family and friends, schools and libraries, social and religious activities, and leisure and recreational activities that are part of normal daily life. But new technologies and adaptations, many of which are enjoyable as well as convenient, will linger on and might seed new business ideas and ventures.

The goal should be a healthy, prosperous and safe city with well-functioning and efficient services at a reasonable cost. Our resiliency depends on having measurable objectives; rational, rigorous cost-benefit analysis to make the best use of scarce resources; and transparency about the use of those resources. And an entrepreneurial mindset — whether is it about starting a new business, maintaining an existing business or thinking about how to get more from every tax dollar as an entrepreneurial government employee — will be key to returning our cities and states to prosperity.

Trutko is an economist and market research professional. The lifelong Cuyahoga County resident lives in Rocky River and can be reached at jmtrutko@gmail.com.

How U. S. Companies Plan for a Safe Return to the Workplace

In a new survey of 100 executives, respondents expect most employees to be working on-site by December. To do so, they are implementing a range of interventions that could transform how people work.
As COVID-19 lockdowns lift across the United States and worldwide, company leaders are considering the monumental challenge of how to restart and then run their businesses while ensuring the safety and well-being of their employees and, where applicable, customers.

To gain insight into the potential steps US companies are taking, we surveyed 100 executives at firms across the country and across industries. These executives expect 80 percent of their workforce, on average, to be back on-site by September and that 88 percent will be back by December (Exhibit 1). The results also suggest that for these companies, working from home won’t be the next normal for all. Four in ten respondents say that permanent remote working is possible for less than one-quarter of their desk employees, while two-thirds say that no field employees will be able to work from home indefinitely.

As part of their guidance for reopening businesses,1 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that companies follow a hierarchy of controls (starting with eliminating the virus from their workplaces) to protect on-site workers.2 Executives were asked about the following four types of interventions that correspond with the CDC’s guidance: limiting direct and indirect person-to-person contact, identifying and isolating potentially infectious people, increasing hygiene protocols, and using personal protective equipment, or PPE (Exhibit 2).3 The results suggest that most companies surveyed have, or will, implement many of the measures tested in the survey, as well as a range of change-management practices that reinforce the behaviors that can help keep employees safe at their workplaces. In fact, many respondents’ companies are applying measures across the four interventions. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed say they have implemented or planned for at least one measure from each of the four categories.

Automation Pushes Entrepreneurship Training Forward

http://torrancedailybreeze.ca.app.newsmemory.com/?publink=0151c95d9

The world economy faces a massive disruption of labor. Jobs are going to machines at an alarming rate, and ramifications will alter everything we know about work. Three forces have been at work since 1990, but will soon go to warp speed. First is the Gig Economy, which is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.

Second is the automation of anything that is repetitive and can be replaced by robotics; most automobiles are now made by robots. The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data. Artificial makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Deep learning is a type of machine learning that trains a computer to perform human-like tasks, such as recognizing speech, identifying images or making predictions.

Because Big Data has been growing exponentially, AI and deep learning have much to work from. In 2013 SINTEF estimated that 90% of all information in the world had been created in the prior two years. Lots of data is exactly what machines need in order to learn to learn. Google’s DeepMind AI has learned how to read and comprehend what it reads through thousands of annotated news articles.

McKinsey research says that up to one-third of U. S. workers and 800 million globally could be displaced by 2030. They recommend businesses and policymakers act now to keep people employed. The single most impactful solution is to empower one and all with entrepreneurship whose innovative and creative skills can allow laborers to transit to self-employment (or to thrive as a freelancer in the Gig Economy).

Third and finally, the COVID-19 crisis March 2020 has caused massive unemployment, and a “New Normal” will be slow to form and have eliminated millions of jobs. Nothing offers a more promising solution to individuals than starting a small business using lean startup entrepreneurship. By using a passion, an interest, or acquired trade, people can learn entrepreneurship by validating a viable concept using customer development. “Lean” enables anyone with desire to design a successful business model that can be scaled and repeated.

More than 40 million people have filed for unemployment in the past three months, and the U. S is predicted to experience a coronavirus-induced recession through 2021. Then, working in an office could become a status symbol, most meetings could be replaced by email, business travel as we know it could be gone, office building may become “elaborate conference centers”, mandatory on-the-job medical screening could become the norm, middle management positions could be cut forever, 9-to-5 office hourse a thing of the past, and automation accelerated.

The need for large scale training of “lean” entrepreneurship is enormous. ERI, Entrepreneurship Resources, an educational organization has dedicated itself to lean launch training and the spread of entrepreneurship currency. See clintoneday.com and ERI-learneship.org for more information.

New Founders Podcast, 1st Episode Story of WeWork

For years Adman Neumann sold the world on this vision:  that his company, WeWork, was going to turn the trillion-dollar commercial real estate industry and “elevate the world’s consciousness.”  But last year, in the span of just a few months, everything fell apart.

What went wrong?  The first podcast from Bloomberg Technology below will tell you the story of WeWork…how it captured the startup boom the 2010s and also became a spectacular bust that marked the end of an era.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/season-1-episode-1-capitalist-kibbutz/id1161880916?i=1000479562405   Apple Podcast

Episode One – Capitalist Kibbutz:  Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, was a rising start in Silicon Valley.  His reckless behavior tanked his company, which was once valued at $47 billion, and got him ousted as CEO.  In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet looks at Adman Neumann’s early childhood living on a kibbutz in southern Israel, which he says inspired WeWork and the company’s message of community.

Episode Two – The Bar is Now at Your Desk:  WeWork sold it customers a fun environment, where beer flowed freely and members partied at the office.  But getting these WeWork offices off the ground was utter chaos, especially for the burgeoning company’s young, inexperienced workers.  In this episode, reporter Ellen Huet takes a look at WeWork’s early days, when the company was growing so fast that buildings opened without functioning bathrooms and police raided an office for mishandling alcohol.

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cDovL2ZlZWRzLmJsb29tYmVyZy5mbS9CTE0zOTIzMTUzMjg5/episode/MjIzNjJhYjQtYjY0ZS0xMWVhLThlOTEtM2YwZDdiNjEzOWMy?ved=0CAcQ38oDahcKEwj4jKzGl53qAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ

Google Play Above, Last Website

Which Small Businesses Are Most Vulnerable to COVID-19 and When?

(For more from this article: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/americas/which-small-businesses-are-most-vulnerable-to-covid-19-and-when?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=7499140e9ccc43c9a2c06c6fc7cc5a35&hctky=10391094&hdpid=a4997f62-946f-47c1-b9fc-47a6c68dd16a        Courtesy McKinsey & Co., 6/18/20 by Dua, Ellingrud, Mahajan & Silberg)

As the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic comes into sharper focus, the position of the nation’s small businesses appears, overall, to be particularly bleak.1 By mid-April, according to a report from the Facebook & Small Business Roundtable, about a third had temporarily stopped operating,2 and by mid-May more than half had laid off or furloughed employees. Our analysis of several surveys of small businesses suggests that before accounting for intervention, 1.4 million to 2.1 million of them (25 to 36 percent) could close permanently as a result of the disruption from just the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic.3

Before the crisis, small businesses accounted for nearly half of all private-sector jobs. Widespread business exits wreak longer-lasting unemployment and economic damage than temporary shutdowns do, so it’s important to understand which small businesses may remain shuttered permanently. That knowledge can help business leaders and policy makers develop interventions to protect small businesses in the short term, ensure that they can participate in the recovery, and put more of them on a more resilient footing in the years to come.
Plotting the effects of COVID-19 against existing financial risk sheds light on the overall vulnerability of small businesses. The sectors most affected by the coronavirus and the least financially resilient include 1.7 million small businesses, employ 20 million workers, and earn 12 percent of US business revenue (Exhibit 2). A long-lasting COVID-19 crisis could continue to affect these sectors disproportionately and make more of their firms vulnerable to permanent closure.

The potential fallout from the pandemic goes deeper the longer it plays out. An additional two million small businesses compete in sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, which have fewer businesses that now report negative effects from the pandemic but are also less financially resilient. The longer the economic impact from COVID- 19 continues, the more risk these sectors face. Construction, for example, is believed to be highly sensitive to the economy’s overall health, so a more protracted recovery, combined with relatively low resilience, could lead to significant vulnerability later.

Determining each sector’s level of immediate vulnerability provides a clearer view of the magnitude of the challenge small businesses face in the first few months of the crisis. Surveys of small-business owners helped us generate a range of estimates. At the low end, half of small businesses experiencing a “large negative effect” from COVID-19 could become vulnerable to closure, according to these owners. At the high end, an additional quarter of small businesses, experiencing a “moderate negative effect,” could become vulnerable to closure.

Differences between sectors depend on how much COVID-19 has affected them and how likely affected businesses are to close (Exhibit 3). It isn’t only the kinds of small businesses with well-known challenges, such as restaurants and hotels, that are greatly affected. So are other small businesses, in educational services, healthcare, and social assistance. Many private-sector educational services, childhood-education centers, sports classes, and art schools, where physical distancing would be a challenge, could become vulnerable. Similarly, small businesses in the healthcare sector—including ambulatory care (such as dentists’ offices) and small private practices that patients may be reluctant to visit in person—are also highly affected.

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4 Tips for Starting a Business in an Economic Downturn

COVID-19 has forced millions of companies to reassess their business models, but what about the businesses that are still just ideas in the minds of aspiring entrepreneurs? As mass layoffs and desperate bailouts dominate the news, few people are talking about what it’s like to launch a business in the current climate.

But like other crises throughout history, the coming recession will create genuine opportunities for founders. As Michael Loeb, founder and CEO of Loeb.nyc, said, “Moments like these are like forest fires. The blaze will cripple some businesses, but they will also provide the heat to release new seeds into the soil. Many amazing companies have been born from the ashes of economic downturns and market crashes.”

The 2008 housing and financial crash saw people in the U.S. seeking affordable accommodation without long-term commitments. That’s when emerged as a cheaper and more flexible alternative to traditional housing. By 2011, Airbnb was valued at more than $1 billion.

If you think your business idea is ready for the next step, position it as a solution to emerging . Here are four tips that will help.

1. Find your niche.

Industry-defining companies like Airbnb take form during recessions. Are you able to address a unique niche right now — offering a solution to help people get through the current ? Alternatively, can you adapt your original idea to address that niche?

Take a moment to step back and assess the world around you. Identify the issues faced by friends, co-workers, people in the news. Envision the potential solutions to problems that aren’t being answered by what’s currently out there.

Many such niches are getting carved out amidst the current turmoil. Both healthcare and education — two of the most vital industries in any society — are seeing significant disruption. These industries need innovative reconstruction initiatives urgently. Education hadn’t been disrupted meaningfully in 100 years. Now parents and students are looking to optimize their time, online resources and teacher interactions to avoid losing months of study.

If your product or service doesn’t yet fit a current need, see if you can adapt it to fit the new normal. Conditions won’t be normalizing anytime soon — adaptability is a strength. Do you have a software product that can, for example, improve users’ videoconferencing experience, even if it wasn’t initially designed to do so? Can your service facilitate businesses’ online experiences or communications?