For start-ups, appearance is everything… IT security Choice list… BBC on YouTube… Entrepreneurship could be cultural

Fake it ‘til you make it. For start-ups appearance is everything.

A new report highlights the importance of making new businesses appear credible to employees and customers, reports The success of an emerging business depends largely on the owner’s ability to convince potential employees or customers that the nascent company is operational, according to Erno Tornikoski from the Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences and Scott Newbert from the Villanova School of Business, both in the US.

The pair analysed data from a three-year study that identified and repeatedly surveyed 830 Americans who were actively involved in starting a small business. Their report appears in the current Journal of Business Venturing. reports that about half of the survey participants ultimately created successful businesses — defined by researchers as ventures that had made a sale, hired employees, or received external funding. The researchers found that an entrepreneur’s personal characteristics, such as level of education, had little to do with the success of his or her venture.

The quality shared by successful entrepreneurs was the ability to make their emerging organisation seem legitimate.

The researchers also found that whether or not an entrepreneur had created a business plan for their start-up venture had no bearing on its success. Because things change so rapidly for an emerging venture, it is important to be flexible, Newbert explains.

“Of course you need to have a reasonably crystallised idea of what you are going to do — whether you write it down or have it in your head,” Newbert says. “But it’s important to remember that as soon as you write it down it’s going to be wrong.”


IT security — when only the best will do

The rise and rise of online commerce means keeping your IT systems secure is more important than ever. If now is the time for an upgrade, perhaps you should check out Choice’s list of top internet security packages.

Top stuff — Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 ($100): Scored top on anti-spam, anti-virus and firewall components and did pretty well on anti-spyware, ease of installation and interface too.

Pretty darn good — CA Internet Security Suite 2007 ($73) and Panda Internet Security 2007 ($102): CA Internet has excellent anti-spam, anti-virus and firewall components, and at $73 is great value for money; Panda has excellent installation and interface features, but is a little more expensive.

Still worth a look — Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite 6.5 ($90), F-Secure Internet Security 2007 ($135) and Bitdefender Internet Security v10 ($95): All scored well, but fell down on the anti-spyware and useability fronts.


BBC deal with YouTube is a world first

The BBC began showing excerpts from its news and entertainment programs on video-sharing website YouTube last Friday, becoming the first international broadcaster to strike a deal with the Google-owned portal. The deal gives YouTube credibility and gives BBC access to millions more viewers.

BBC is offering three branded channels on the site, including one showing up to 30 news clips a day. To read more about the deal visit The San Francisco Examiner.


Why some cultures are more entrepreneurial than others

European economies have poor economic performance compared to the US because they lack economic dynamism — loosely, the rate of commercially successful innovation, Edmund S Phelps argues in the Wall Street Journal.

He says a country’s dynamism, being slow to change, is not measured by the growth rate over any short- or medium-length span. The level of dynamism is a matter of how fertile the country is in coming up with innovative ideas having prospects of profitability, how adept it is at identifying and nourishing the ideas with the best prospects, and how prepared it is in evaluating and trying out the new products and methods that are launched on to the market.

He points to evidence of a dearth of these elements in Germany, Italy and France. Far fewer firms break into the top ranks in these countries, and fewer employees are reported to have jobs with extensive freedom in decision-making, which is essential at companies engaged in novel, and thus creative, activity.

He sees the sort of economic model operating in these countries to be a major cause — perhaps the largest cause — of their lacklustre performance characteristics. To read more visit Wall Street Journal.


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