Scrunchie Is Back: Interview with the Founder, Marie Aragon

With the ambition to revolutionize the French hair accessory industry, Scrunchie Is Back is a brand of hair accessory created by Marie Aragon. The products are completely Made in France and not at all the old 90s product that our parents were wearing. While operating online she also opened the Scrunchie Room, a cute apartment studio in the heart of Paris where clients can meet and try on the different products. We got to visit her there and hear all about her entrepreneurial journey, from her career as an accountant to becoming a self-made Entrepreneur. (Transcript below)

“Hello my name is Marie Aragon, and I’m the Founder of a hair accessories brand called Scrunchie Is Back. At the end of High School, I wanted to become a Chartered Accountant because I thought it was the best way of being closer to the entrepreneurial world. I realized pretty fast that accounting studies and this job wasn’t made for me. I refocused my studies towards business and entrepreneurship.

It’s during these studies that I created my first e-commerce at the age of 20. During my Masters in Entrepreneurship, I was working part-time for a young clothing company who went bankrupt while I worked there. I ended up at the end of my studies with a single professional experience of a company’s failure. It wasn’t easy to start over after that. But I got the chance to cross path of “Réseau Entreprendre Paris”, and I learned so much being in contact with entrepreneurs that were ambitious and had so much potential for development.

What is Scrunchie Is Back?

Scrunchie Is Back’ ambition is to modernize the hair accessory industry. Today, the market is composed of two segments, we can either find products that are on the low end, Made in China, or high end products that are expensive, and made for hairdressing, not fashion. I want to step in between these two segments by creating a brand that has a many products, with accessible prices, made in France, and a distribution mode that is different.

IMG_3966

I recently created The Scrunchie Room, which I use as an office but also as a Sales Showroom. The objective was to be close to the customers to allow them to try and buy the accessories easily.

IMG_3957

Did you Meet any challenges?

The most important difficulty is to find the right equilibrium between my professional life and personal life. There can be a frustrating part because we want things to go fast so we put in a lot of energy. But we also need to take the time to appreciate the little things like seeing my friends and family.

We are drawn to an objective, a success and a goal but between that goal and the present there is a whole path. The most beautiful thing in entrepreneurship is to enjoy that path, to take the time to celebrate successes. Also being happy to go through hurdles, because it allows us to grow and discover new things.

Do you have any Advice for Entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself, either with organisms, NGOs or entrepreneurs who have experienced things before you did, for example Réseau Entreprendre or Beeleev. You can be coached or get advice from them.

I also find a lot of inspiration in Entrepreneur’s Books, once again in the same logic, to see that we can’t build a company in two days, and that even the founder of Zappos or Nike went through the worst nightmares and difficulties, it gives courage. I really liked the book written by the founder of Zappos, Delivering Happiness. I found it really well written, and his story is really inspiring. He managed to bounce back from situation to situation. The reason he held on and succeeded is that he never let go and he had wit. It’s a perfect recipe.

Join the Community and connect with other Beeleevers: www.beeleev.com

Advertisements

Success Story: Theodo, Video Interview with Fabrice Bernhard

Fabrice Bernhard, CTO and co-founder of Theodo, created the company in 2007 with his friend Benoit. Growing steadily, it became a real success with 21 million turnover in 2017 and important clients such as BlaBlaCar, Societé Générale and BNP Paribas. After expanding to the UK, Fabrice had to also assume the role of UK CEO and now splits his time between London and Paris. We got the opportunity to catch him in their beautiful French offices and get him to tell us the story of his successful journey.

The entrepreneurial story of Fabrice and Benoit Charles-Lavauzelle began when they created Allomatch, a platform to find bars and restaurants broadcasting sports events. Even if the startup was very successful (200 000 unique visits per month in 2008), Fabrice tells us that they didn’t think it had the potential to be as big as they wished. Thus, Theodo was born in 2009, when they identified a real demand for web and mobile application. Fabrice is value-oriented, he does that by implementing a Lean Strategy in every aspect of Theodo’s business model, focusing on quality and continuous improvement on each project and lead Theodo’s turnover growing from 1 million to 21 million today.

You get to learn a lot of interesting fun facts about Theodo when getting a personal tour of the company from Fabrice. For instance, the story of their name: at the center of the triangle constituted by the three offices Allomatch occupied in Paris, is the Luxembourg garden and… a statue of Théodore de Banville, famous French poet and writer!

We also felt the vibe and culture of the company. Many walls there are made of white board material, as an incentive for creativity and they made sure to garnish the space with comfy chairs and workspaces all around, to cater to the needs of the 5 startups hosted there (BAM, SICARA, SIPIOS, Theodo France and Theodo UK).

IMG_3836 copy

Each gets a conference room named after them, with others called Allomatch, Luxembourg (a reference to the origin of their name), and one connected live to the London’s office. We got to record this interview, sitting comfortably at the raw wood kitchen table on a typical rainy Parisian day of March. (Transcript below).

Hello my name is Fabrice Bernhard. I’m 35 and I’m the cofounder of Theodo. Now acting as UK CEO, based in London.

Who is Fabrice Bernhard?

One thing you need to know about me, is that I’m a passionate programmer. I discovered programming when I was 10 and I was very lucky to live in the same village as the founder of the World Wide Web: Tim Berners-Lee. I actually got to discover the internet as early as 1995 and as soon as I discovered the internet, I knew that’s I wanted to do. So I went on to study Computer Science at Polytechnique with the idea of creating a Tech Startup.

What Brought you to Create Theodo?

The first startup that we launched at the end of our studies with Benoit was Allomatch. Allomatch is the website to find venues to watch sports in bars and restaurants. It was an amazing project and we started in 2007. But after 1 year and a half we realized that it wasn’t as big or it couldn’t become as big as we expected. So we started thinking about the next step.

One thing we had, was an amazing engineering team. We were surrounded by other startups that didn’t have that kind of capability. So that’s when we decided to launch Theodo and help startups build web and mobile applications.

Did you Meet any Challenges?

We were quickly recognized for our tech expertise which helped us grow, not only with startups but also with SMEs and Corporates. One thing we realized fairly quickly was that IT services is very hard and it’s a very long process. The normal way of doing it is usually to spend a lot of time doing specification and then trying to build these specifications and then realizing that’s not exactly what you wanted. So we were very frustrated with this and we also realized that our client were not amazingly satisfied even though we were putting a lot of energy in the project. That’s when we discovered Lean and completely changed our way of working. We started completely removing the specification phase, went directly into the building phase but with the client inside the team, releasing every week. That was not only so much more effective from our point of view but it also made the client super happy. That’s really when the growth of Theodo started at the time we were doing 1 million turnover and now, five years later we are doing 21 million turnover.

My second challenge is when we decided to grow abroad and grow the company internationally. Until then we had actually achieved all this growth together, Benoit and I. And when we decided to open an office in London, we decided to do it in a bit more separate way so I became the leader of the UK office and Benoit stayed in Paris. I had been, until then, the CTO, so primarily focused with tech, tech related things, including recruitment. Being the CEO of the UK was a big challenge for me. I had to learn and discover all the things I had to learn about like management and sales. It took me some time but it was a very rewarding journey.

London is very international but it is still also very British. So in terms of management it can be quite a surprise specially if you come from a Latin country like France. The kind of management style that we are used to in France can make Brits go completely red. Be careful about that and learn to say things with a bit more subtly then you might have been used to.

Any Entrepreneurial Advice?

I can give three tips. The first one, I would say, is trying to find networks that you can join. It can be the network of people of the same nationality, same country or it can be networks about common passions. For example for me, because I’m French I jointed French Connect London, it is an amazing network. I also joined the British Chamber of Commerce which was also a very good network and then I joined a few other networks that were more tech related.

My second advice once you start having a network and therefore can find clients and partners, it’s certainly to live on site. Even though London is a very international city it is also a very British city, which means that you need to understand the British culture and that it’s impossible if you don’t live on site and interact with British people on a daily basis.

My third tip, once you understand how the British culture works, then you are ready to hire local. The UK is also very international but having British people on your team will make a huge difference in signing clients and growing the company there.

Join the Community and connect with Fabrice and other Successful Entrepreneurs on Beeleev: www.beeleev.com

International SEO: Listen to the Expert

Photo 1.pngGrowing your business internationally is a natural step in the life of your company and surely one that keeps you awake at nights. To achieve that goal, using the Internet is often your golden ticket to grow global, but do not rush into it before having defined an international Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Charlotte Prieur, Digital Marketing Consultant and a Beeleever, develops further on this essential problematic that only seasoned marketers take into account…

On Internet, trends come and go very quickly, but one is definitely here to stay. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been receiving a lot of attention these past few years. It can be defined as the optimization of your website’s organic or natural ranking in the results of Search engines such as Google, the most famous and used one. To give you an idea of its importance, Organic traffic represents in average between 30% and 50% of a website’s visits.

Sources-data25

You may ask: why is ranking on top of search results so important? Well, 58% of internet users are going to click on the first 3 websites that Google shows them. This simple stat should put ranking on top of your priorities.

Now, you wouldn’t launch on a new market without studying it first, right? Well it is the same with SEO, you need a marketing strategy on that front too. A lot of factors need to be thoroughly studied before jumping into it. Let’s talk about the most significant ones.

Figuring out the Structure that Works for You

Are you going to work on different websites or just use one? It depends! If you are targeting a specific country, you might want to create a specific website. If you are not sure, an English version might be the way to go. You do however have different options:

  • Distinct domains, also called ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain): It means that you have to buy a different domain in each country and that you need to start from scratch each time. The perk is that Google automatically recognizes the targeted language and country, which gives you a great base in terms of ranking. People also tend to have more trust in a website that’s localized in their country. However, the downfall is that this method is time and money consuming. If you are only targeting one or two countries, you might want to learn more about this option.

Example: www. yourwebsite. it

  • Subdomains: This can be a solution as it only gives you one main domain to work on. It is still localized and remains less expensive than the first option. However, if you want to optimize it to its full potential, you need more technicalities when it comes to the use of linguistic and localization tags like Hreflang and Canonical.

Example: it. yourwebsite. com

  • Directories: This option allows you to easily create different versions of the same website. Although, it is the cheapest option, it is rarely advised in terms of SEO due to its poor efficiency.

Example: www. yourwebsite. com/it

Don’t get Lost in Translation

Once again, are you targeting one country or multiple ones? In the first scenario, choosing the local language is strongly advised as it will build up trust in your company, products and/or services. If you are not sure or targeting several countries, working on an English version is usually the way to go.

About the language itself, remember that everything has to be translated and optimized. I really do mean everything. For instance, do not leave out the contact part or things that seem minor to you. In general, search engines aren’t huge fans of having multiple languages on one website, mixing them is thus not recommended for your ranking.

That being said, translating is good… but adapting is better! When it comes to choosing your keywords, you cannot just translate the ones you are currently using in your home country. And if it isn’t for your local customers, do it for Google. If you want it to work its wonders, you have to adapt your content. There are lots of tools like Adwords or Keywords Planner to help you in the choice of your keywords, with localized suggestions.

A little tip: Always keep in mind long tail SEO techniques. They consist in highly specific search terms (more than 2 words), that’s what’s going to make a difference at the end of the day.  For example: your company sells cookies, you would be tempted to use « cookies » as a keyword. How about considering one of your products instead and going with « milk chocolate peanuts cookies ».

search-demand-curve

Entrepreneur, Meet Targeted Country

In order to be successful, you can’t just adapt the language, you have to think about the market, the culture and the use local people have of the internet. All those factors differ from one country to another, even from one region to another. In the U.S., targeting New York is going to be completely different from targeting Wisconsin. And for the language, a French-Canadian website is not going to do so well in France and vice versa.

It is also important to consider search engines. Yes, I have been talking about Google, it is everywhere but it doesn’t mean it is the only search engine. If you are planning on developing in China, you’d better get familiar with Baidu which represents 80% of the market share. Study your market and take into account the specificities of the principal search engines. For instance, and on the contrary to Google, Baidu uses the meta-keywords in its SEO as well as mobile optimization.

No one will ever say this too much: CONTENT IS KEY. It is the one thing that is as true in any country, no matter which search engine is the most used. As websites have become more visual, blogs have started blooming in many of them. Adding new content on a regular basis is one of the essential step in working on your long-term SEO. And, of course, being on social media helps! Not only for your online presence but for your ranking, as you will be using netlinking strategies. And that is as technical as we will get today.

Last word of advice, always keep in mind that creating a SEO strategy takes time and perseverance. For small companies, it is an investment, but it is one you should really consider making. It does not happen overnight but done right, it will be worth your while, no doubt about it. Even with effects that will not be immediate, it is still considered as the most efficient and durable promotion action. And remember, if it gets overwhelming, you can always ask for some help.

For more information and advice don’t hesitate to contact Charlotte Prieur, Digital Marketing, Content, SEO & E-reputation Consultant at charlotte.prieur7@gmail.com or by giving her a call at + 33 (0)7 70 28 79 81.

Connect with Charlotte on Beeleev! Join the Community to connect with other innovative CEOs and grow your business: www.beeleev.com

 

Booking Local, Growing Global

Fredrik JanssonFredrik Jansson started HotelSpecials in 2003. Now this hotel-booking platform has grown to offer hotel deals and specials from more than 5000 hotels in 6 European countries (Norway, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark) How did Fredrik achieve success in this competitive and versatile industry for decades? What does the future has to hold for his highly localized business model?

The beginning of a decade long journey

Fredrik, 41 years old, is a Stockholm-based entrepreneur. “I was born in a family of entrepreneurs in the cold and snowy northern Sweden. Both my grandfather and father run their own small business. So, by the age of 20, I left my hometown for Gothenburg to participate in a training program for entrepreneurs. The people I met there inspired me to start something before getting too old with a nice and well-paid job.

HotelSpecials_logo-white-notldHotelSpecials was established in 2003 in The Netherlands by chance. My Dutch partner, Remco, was very good at manipulating Google search results before SEO practices became popular. Our first product was only a very simple homepage listing hotels. Then we started to get emails asking for bookings. One thing leads to another; a small booking engine was developed. The year 2007 marked a major change in our strategy: the site recorded over 1000 bookings per day. We realized HotelSpecials could be something big!

For a while, we have looked up to booking.com as the best company to learn from. They also started in The Netherlands, so, a big inspiration and competitor. However, while booking.com commoditizes hotel rooms and sell them to everyone on global scale, we focus on unit special offers on local level. For us, the purpose is not to have as many rooms at as many hotels but to list handpicked hotels with deeper offers like dinners, free upgrade or free kids. We always try to get extra discount for customers who are looking for package deals.”

Competing globally as local businesses

“In the beginning, driving traffic wasn’t an issue because we were at the top of the search game. However, as Google continuously upgrades its algorithm, we now rely more on our existing database of loyal customers and big online travel agencies like trivago, tripadvisor or skyscanner.

In fact, newsletter is currently our main source of sale leads despite many difficulties like aggressive spam filters or the possibility of pay-to-send newsletter to Gmail addresses. For us, those challenges can also be opportunities. If we are good enough to pass all filters, we will be the only one that can get to customers in the travel sector.

In the long term, branding is the top priority. We want to move away from the commodity market and be clearer about our focus on customers’ holiday experience instead of selling rooms. We want customers to see us as human with feelings instead of machines.

That is why we launch our websites with local domain for each country (hotelspecials.nl, hotelspecials.de, hotelspecials.be, hotelspecials.se, hotelspecials.dk, hotelspecials.no). Instead of an international corporation, we introduce ourselves as local experts – a bunch of local entrepreneurs who know the market and run a local website.

The difficulty is to be local on a large scale.

The difficulty is to be local on a large scale. It only takes 3 – 4 weeks to technically set up a new site with local domain. However, as all contents on our websites are in native language, deployment in a new country requires thorough analysis on the behavior patterns and interests of customers. Using AI to develop content can also be an interesting option in the future. For now, we chose to work with marketing or content partners before opening any new office with new international teams.”

“Germany is the most challenging country”

pexels-photo-358591

HotelSpecials is available in 6 countries in Europe: The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. All these 6 websites are run by international teams located in Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands. “Germany is the most challenging country for us. It’s a huge market, which is very traditional and strictly regulated. You need to be super local to convince customers. A hard-to-get trust signal like local certifications can immensely boost the conversion rate of your site. They trick is to embrace the rules and business practices there.”

“Sweden, on the other hand, is much easier. Swedish do value quality and durability, but also keen on new things. We are savvy internet users equipped with broadband connection, laptop and big phones. Startups do not really need formal trust signs to attract curious consumers. That’s why there are a lot of startups coming from Sweden.”

The future of the hotel industry

“Airbnb is truly a game changer. Yet I am personally not convinced about the success of this venture-founded firm. It is operating on a low profit margin and competing against the giant booking.com. Hotelspecials is not a direct competitor of Airbnb because we are not going to include private apartments in our portfolio. This is something we learn along the way: stop doing everything and be a great niche player. Hotelspecials will focus on our core business – hotels. We want to help people spend great time together by removing the hassle of booking for dinners and the like. Hotelspecials is the one-stop shop for people who want to get away with their daily life and enjoy a short vacation. This year, we plan to relaunch the platform with new features and more mobile friendly interface – our biggest investment in a long time!

I see a bright future for the hotel industry.

In general, I see a bright future for the hotel industry. We should expect the rise of self-service hotels with mobile check-in and smart locks, where you can have immediate access to your room and pay without receptionists. Many hotel chains have come a long way in enhancing customer experience, creating major challenges for small and independent hotels.”

In 2016, Fredrik co – founded timetomeet.se, a real-time conference room booking platform. “The meeting industry is developing in the same patterns with the hotel industry 15 years ago. It is digitized very fast. In 2 – 3 years, online bookings can completely replace phone calls and emails for conference rooms. The market is profitable because the need for meeting rooms will evolve the same way as which for hotel rooms, but with the absence of big, international suppliers. It is, however, harder to scale up because localization is more stressed. Rarely would anyone from Stockholm book a meeting room in Paris, for example.”

Connect with Fredrik on Beeleev! Join the Community to connect with other innovative CEOs and grow your business: www.beeleev.com

Nicolas Hazard, Serial Social Entrepreneur

NH -3-42 PM 4182 1Voted “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Nicolas Hazard is the perfect example of a successful social entrepreneur. When he founded INCO, a global accelerator supporting social enterprises, back in 2010, he managed to bring together the financial sector around social actions. We got the chance to interview him and get his take on his journey as a French entrepreneur in Austin, USA.

 

Entrepreneurship: A Means to an End?

The creation of a business often arises from the Entrepreneurs’ observation of their surroundings, with the goal of solving a problem. This is what happened when Nicolas Hazard founded INCO. He went through difference professional experiences abroad and in the French public sector and saw that his need for doing good was not being fulfilled with traditional means, as he tells us, I quickly noticed how limited political actions were”.

What was his solutions? He turned to entrepreneurship: “I decided to turn toward the private sector, specifically the entrepreneurship part of it, to induce a much-needed difference in this world. I decided to become an entrepreneur so as to become an actor of change and ameliorate the situation”. He then narrowed his attention to the financial sector. As he tells us, the 2008 financial crisis trigged this choice. After 2008, the financial sector was characterized by mistrust and fraudulent behavior, as Hazard points out: “I see finance as a tool that needed to be re-anchored in reality, at the service of startups who make the world more inclusive and sustainable”. This tool, usually used for profit driven behaviors, turned into something useful for the startup community, following his beliefs of making the world a better place.

Social Entrepreneurship: A Distinct Way of Doing Business

We can already start to notice that Nicolas Hazard differs from most entrepreneurs. He looks for a better economy, to make a social change, and uses social enterprise as a mean to an end. Social businesses are organizations that use commercial means to maximize a social or environmental outcome.

After graduating from Science Po Paris and HEC Hazard could have followed the path everyone has, of the traditional financial industry jobs. But he didn’t, and ended up creating INCO after working in different jobs abroad and in the French Public Sector.

INCO_Noir_Bleu-1-1024x201

INCO operates in more than 20 countries with the goal of “creating economic opportunities for ALL.”.

The choice to make his company a social business reflects his views, but not only that. He wanted to make it a holistic company that helped startups from start to end: “INCO invest in companies who combined both a financial viability and a positive social and environmental impact. Since we quickly noticed that the startups we financed also needed some support to fully mature their projects, we decided to make INCO an integrated accelerator, combining all the stages of development needed for these young companies”, these include investment funds, incubation programs, workforce development and media.

e37d76_ef2dbeac95af48838d186fe106c8705d~mv2_d_1806_1268_s_2.png_srz_831_588_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srz

Mr. Hazard is also the president of CALSO, a non-profit organization helping disadvantage individuals on their journey to success. His companies are not the only mean he uses to reach that social business potential. He organizes each year the Impact. event, dedicated to social entrepreneurship, which brings together 1,500 political and economic decision-makers from 50 countries every year in Paris.

Austin, an Exemplary Technological Hub

austin-texas-is-most-likely-to-get-amazons-5-billion-headquarters-according-to-the-data.jpg

Austin, capital of Texas, with a population of 970,870 individuals, is where Mr. Hazard chose to create one of his incubation programs. An entrepreneur may overview a city like Austin as a place to set up a business and go for more mainstream locations like Silicon Valley, however they may be wrong. Hazard’s reasons to set up in Austin his incubation program, Tarmac TX, was well thought through:

“By exemplarily adding technological, entrepreneurial and academic talents, the city of Austin became one of the major technological hub where big companies in the likes of 3M, IBM, Google or even Silicone Labs implanted themselves. Besides, the administration of Austin, especially City Hall, wanted to make the city an example of inclusiveness and durability, capable of rising to the social and environmental challenges inherent to large metropoles. Austin is also known today for its excellent quality of life, with a dynamic cultural and artistic scene. So many reasons that pushed us to prioritize the capital of Texas compared to other American cities.

Where the Tech industry tries to answer the ecological challenges and fight against inequalities, INCO would like, with its partners, to be present to contribute to this convergence. It is in this very fertile context that in January 2016 in Austin, our program of incubation, Tarmac TX, was born. An adventure made possible thanks to strategic partnership made with the enterprise 3M.”

The French Social Know How

stamp-frame-colored-black-Made-France_0_1400_727

France is known for many thing, like its food or the beauty of the country, but the French Social Know How is also something to be pointed out. As Hazard tells us “I personally try to export the “Social Made in France”, and in particular the model of social enterprises that unites economic performance and general interest, by putting vulnerable individuals back to work”. As an entrepreneur, he tells us that “there is a lot to learn from other countries, especially in the United States, where all entrepreneurial dreams can be realized.” And that is why he travels so much and exposes himself to “as many entrepreneurial mindsets as possible”. He also notes that France doesn’t have to be “ashamed” of itself in comparison to other countries, and this Social Know How is a very valuable asset. He also tells us that paradoxically “this model works well in the U.S., a country where they value individuals who give themselves a chance to succeed, whatever path they have”.

“Every Entrepreneur has his own experience, his own path”.

We asked him if he had any advice to give to entrepreneurs:

What I learned and I appreciate the most from the United States is that to be successful you first need to fail. When raising money, you need to be able to show that you have learned from your setbacks and that you weren’t discouraged. More than money and partners, who always end up being found if the project is good, you first need to be tenacious and know how to admit what did not work the first time, so as to be able to start again.”

An Article by Syrah Ribourel

Connect with other Entrepreneurs on Beeleev! Join the Community to connect with other innovative CEOs and grow your business: www.beeleev.com

Doing Business In Japan: Interview with Aurore Leauté (Video)

Interview of Aurore Chasseloup Leauté, Founder of Ohward and Aura Legal, about her experience of Doing Business in Japan as a French Entrepreneur. (Transcript below)

“Hello My name is Aurore and I am a Lawyer. I created my law firm specialized in corporate law, that I tried to build like a startup: flexible and innovative. I also have experience in the customers experience field. And I created a startup that was called Ohward, that had the aim of matching former CEOs with acting ones for an exchange of experiences.”

Doing Business in Japan: What are the difficulties?

“While working in customer’s experience, I was in charge of international business. I thus developed a subsidiary in Tokyo. The first the step was to find a team there. We wanted to find locals (Japanese) and not Europeans to develop the business in Japan. This was the first difficulty, finding a Japanese who was capable of developing a business from scratch, able to meet our international clients but especially someone who would accept to work in a small French entreprise.

Furthermore, the Labor Laws in Japan are very similar to the ones in France, meaning ithey come at a high cost. We finally found someone amazing and this first step cleared.

The second one was to adapt to the culture, and to how they run a business. Japanese have a lot of respect and even in business, they never say “no”. And if they don’t say no, we cannot assume they mean “yes”, because its is just their way to be polite. This can bring a certain amount of misunderstanding. And finally, their time management is different. For example the time required to sign a contract is very long. You can’t be impatient and rush, you need to learn to be patient.”

How to Succeed In Japan ?

“Its an incredible experience and very rewarding. My advice in a few points, is the following. First, is that a person needs to know how to take their time. A Japanese was telling me that a French company needs 7 years to gain the trust of Japanese companies and enter in partnership with them. Second, you need cash, as Japan is relatively expensive. Third you need to be open minded, you can’t impose your way of doing and thus accept the Japanese Culture. And last point you need to mix the companies on a local level, mix Japanese and Europeans together in both locations.”

Join the Community and connect with other Beeleevers: www.beeleev.com

8 Last Minute Gifts for Entrepreneurs

Faking gratitude when receiving a no-good gift is never very pleasant. But things get awkward (and even a bit heartbreaking) when you realize that your gifts to someone will end up rotting in a corner right after the wrapper is off.
No more suffering from bad gifts and fake smiles! We have a great list of helpful and irresistible gifts for those entrepreneurs you call family or friends.

Subscriptions to an Online Learning Platform

In comparison with a shopping gift card, a gift code that gives access to a learning platform is a much more enticing and practical gift for learners. There are several platforms you could look into: Coursera is the place to go for certified courses delivered by top universities and educational institutions that can lead you to obtain an actual degree. For more specific courses, Udemy and Lynda are good options. With modules ranging from business to science, your gift can’t be left unused. The only drawback is that only Udemy has an option for gift giving…

Tickets to a World-Class Business Event

Vivatechnology-Paris-Startup-Connect-2

You’ll surely notice the rising excitement when your special someone will open his present and find  a ticket to the upcoming CES, SXSW, WebSummit or Viva Technology (of which Beeleev is a partner). More than an event, you are giving an entrepreneur the opportunity to increase his visibility amongst inspiring and like-minded people. However, make sure he’s available when the event happens or you will both end up crying over spilled milk.

A Book (or Books!)

Books are common but golden. Take a look at our Summer Reads list for inspiration (those books work for winter, spring and autumn too)! However, for this holiday season, we’d like to add some more titles:
First, the book Sapiens and its sequel Homodeus summarize in a relatable way the history of humankind and where we are heading to in the future. Not interested? There’s The Social Animal, a book that looks into sociology, psychology, and biology just to give you a comprehensive explanation on human behavior. And last but not least, classic non-fiction books like The 4th Industrial Revolution or The Design of Everyday Things should also be alternatives.

A Productivity Gadget

SWS-productivity

If you want the gift to fall more on the comforting side, a productivity gadget is the key. Depend on your budget, the choices range from a simple mug warmer to a fancy smart note/smart pen or noise-cancelling headphone. While a mug warmer is the perfect gift for someone who wants their drinks hot all the time, a smart notebook or smart pen is an interesting and practical upgrade for the old style note takers who have too much notes to reorganize manually. And don’t forget noise-cancelling headphones! It’s just a great boost that helps you stay focused during both work and travel.

A cool stationary product

downloadYes, we have mentioned smart notebooks and smart pens, yet, traditional paper and ink still have their charm. Fountain pens or leather journals remain appreciated.
Beside the classic plain journal, look for an artsy update with a pre-printed Bullet Journal. A Bullet Journal is the mix of a diary, a planner and a to-do list. It’s trendy to get a blank notebook and do all the drawing and design by yourself, however, if the lucky recipient isn’t that good at drawing or just simply too busy for that, get him a professionally drawn bullet journal.

A leather bag

olu-eletu-134760.jpg

It’s elegant, classy and most of all, practical. An ideal leather bag should be big enough to fit a notebook, a book, a laptop, a phone, a headphone and possibly make-up. The thing is, a leather bag will always complement one’s look, regardless of his conservative suit and tie or smart casual office attire. A great gift (not only for yourself)!

We hope to have sparked a few good ideas for your last minute shopping! In anycase, we at Beeleev wish you Happy holiday and a lot of success for the year to come!

Looking Forward to your International Success!