Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

A lack of good budgeting tools and why I started my own

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Last year I did terrible in managing my money .. I basically used my credit card for everything and by the time I payed it back (every month, in Germany that is quite common) I needed to use it again because I only got enough to pay it back. So I spent 3000€ and I payed back 3000€ .. which was the problem: I was running after my money, constantly.

Then my beautiful girlfriend Elizabeth introduced me to Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) and inspired me to change my spending habits big time. So, then I started budgeting and managed my money better .. honestly I rather tried .. and failed .. and succeeded .. and failed .. and … and I am still on my way. I created an Excel-Sheet that was helping me managing the money. You need to realize I owned at the time: One German company, one american company and my own private money. So I had to consider three different entities for my finances. And then I looked into budgeting tools because my sheet reached its limits.

And guess what? I did not find one that fulfilled my criteria:

  • International, multiple currencies
  • Multiple accounts (private, business A, business B, spouse,…)
  • Bank Connection
  • Virtual Accounts / Funds
  • Goal setting
  • Automized transaction generation to manage funds, goal and bank accounts
  • easy to use

While some tools have great features and cover some of the things I really needed, all of them together I did not find. So I started working on my own tool and called it accordingly to my company: Skelpo Budget (www.skbudget.com)

The great thing about creating your own tool is that you can customize it in a unique way. Talking to my friends and partners I realized: I am not the only one having that problem, quite a few people would have use for such a tool.

And so here it is, Skelpo Budget, fulfilling all the requirements mentioned above. And right now we started in beta .. everything is for free and it is still a lot to do. But the goal is clear: The easiest and best working budgeting solution for people with high expectations.

Please do register there (email me at ralph@skelpo.com for the beta code) and test it. Stay tuned for more updates very soon (weekly) and see this project grow.

Everything is free during beta and even after, I honestly don’t want to rip anyone off but I really want to help people to get through the same problem I stood before last year. So I can promise that the monthly fee won’t be much (I guess something around $5 per month or so). Help me out here guys! :)

Thanks for reading,

Ralph

App Developer List – appdevlist.net

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

We proudly announce our newest product: App Developer List
As a company providing app development we are aware of common problems that developers often have:
– Good clients are hard to find
– Many clients have high expectations for developers
– They often lack appropriate funding for what they want done
– Cheap alternatives are available for lower rates

We also know that Clients have similar problems:
– It is hard to distinguish between qualified and unqualified developers
– While rates are low, the service quality is also low
– Cheaper developers don’t care about the apps, just the money
– Too many developers apply to jobs without proper qualification

App Developer List solves these problems by:
– Providing free publication of app requests
– Keeping clients contact and personal information well protected
– Only allowing quality developers to easily look through and apply to jobs after paying a minimal service fee

Some advantages to this system include, that only qualified and interested developers are given access to clients, and clients can be sure of quality due to the fact that developers are already personally invested.

(originally from skelpo.com)

Entrepreneurship and Investors – Contradiction?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

While get more and more involved in entrepreneurship I see certain patterns that are used all over the place. One particular thing is really something where I would not follow what most people do or want do: Having an investor.

Many startups and entrepreneurs have some sort of business idea (or general idea and they hope it will bring money eventually *gg*). But in order to get to a point that the business would run it requires resources such as time and money. And if you work fulltime you need to your bills somehow. So the idea of having an investor is for most people a very much liked possibility. Someone else pays while you work for it and in the end you sort of share the return in some split.

What is that really what you want? I mean I can speak only for myself but the idea of that someone else pays me and I work is not really why I am an entrepreneur (at least not generally). Especially since it tends to be that investors and business angels get a higher and higher role in the startup I often ask myself “Is that really what you would want?”.

As of now I am a 21 year old guy who is studying at the same time as I am an entrepreneur. I have two fulltime employees and my main company (Skelpo) is offering services in programming in mobile and web. Yes I do not have the financial flexibility to just employ more people and do way bigger projects and lot’s of “riskier” things.

But I would not want it any other way: I work for my own money and I am not responsible for anyone on how I spend my time (which is one of my main reasons why I am entrepreneur). The money we get with Skelpo is mainly used to invest in other projects and to start several things at the same time. Yes – oh my gosh – I am not “focussed” on only one and only one thing. But who cares? I am not responsible for anyone else’s money and I can afford to do that.

And you know what? That freedom, that is what I want – nothing else. Working for money and having safety – if I wanted that I’d work for a company. But my goals are higher and I want to do different things in different areas.

So, what do you think? Am I ruining myself by that or is that just another lifestyle of entrepreneurship?

By the way: I may be wrong but as long as I remember correctly neither Apple nor Google or any other really big company started with a BA or investor from the beginning. Most of their things were either self-financed or they had really good loans. And don’t get me wrong. A BA or investor is not necessarily a bad thing at all! At a certain point it is probably not possible to survive with one (can’t tell, haven’t been there yet *gg*). But having one from the beginning and working more for “him/her” … that idea is just killing me. ;)

Ah, one thing: I am not opposed at all to silent investors. As long as you have the freedom to totally “waste” your money and time I’d go along with that.

Overhyped startups and entrepreneurs

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Take a look around the startup scene and the people behind. To me it seems pretty much like there is a big hype about all kinds of things. Clouds, SaaS, Facebook, Social Media and many more. And the top topic of all things is: “Funding”. Everyone is looking for investors, no one has money and everyone has a great idea. So what do people do? They gather in groups .. and so we have lot’s of social entrepreneur events and people are getting together.

There is nothing wrong with that but sometimes I think “Is it still about YOUR idea or is it more about the COMMUNITY you are in?” Do we spend more time meeting with people from the same scene or do we actually work and move our projects on? Where is the fine line to have the right balance? Because obviously both is important. But ask yourself: Would you still do the same thing if you were to be alone and there would be no scene and community around you?

Just some thoughts ;)

Predictions

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Because of the fact that I frequently say “every bet that this and this will happen?” I want to make it official and post my predictions for 2013 here – so that you actually can quote me on that ;)

  1. Apple’s quality will suffer continuously and so will the quality of apps for iOS.
  2. Games will develop as one of the main app categories for iOS.
  3. Apple’s stocks will go down but stay at a certain point
  4. Google will produce more and more own devices to keep up with Apple.
  5. Samsung as well as Android will improve and reach more and more of the market.
  6. Android Apps will be with higher quality and slowly people will start to pay for them.
  7. Cloudservices will face new and old challenges as e.g. privacy, security, safety, availability – but more visible for the public
  8. Facebook will stop growing and users will continuously leave it or become inactive on it.
  9. Microsoft will cooperate with Google to build something against Facebook (including Skype, ebay etc.)

These is my humble list – let’s see in one year what came true. ;)

Being different

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I consider myself different to most people – in fact to everyone. Well, some say thats good, some would not want to say that from themselves. Why is that? The other day I remembered myself when I was about 12-13 years old. I had just started working commercially on websites and successfully had my own website running. To do so I rented a server for that which costed 70 Euro each month. It did not take long until another one had to follow and so I had to pay 170 Euro each month. With 14! Well, tell me what you want but thats not how most 14-year-olds spent their money and therefor time. I grew with the responsibility of getting the money thats required for the server bills. Sometimes I struggled quite a lot because of that and I was thinking stuff like “Why aren’t you bringing newspapers to people? That’s so much easier and you actually earn money.”.

All of that brought me into the entrepreneur-mindset which in my eyes says: “Don’t work for money, work for a product to make the world a better place. Money? That’s just a number, doesn’t fulfilled you.” And I kept this mindset ever since. The only thing is – unfortunately – that all of us need money to live. It is maybe even the only thing that brings you back to reality sometimes.

Now I have two full-time employees and quite a few freelancers working for my company – Skelpo. The responsibility is even higher – the goal, motivation and spirit is still the same. And that’s why I now don’t want to as everyone else is. Having a safe job, safe money, safety where ever you look. Safety? That even exists? Maybe some things are safer but certainly not absolutely safe. But I can tell you one thing: My life is interesting, exciting and – most important – worth living for good! Thanks to god for all the blessings!

Counter Personality Business Strategy

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Being an entrepreneur brings you constantly to points in life where you need to leave your comfort zone. Everyone who knows me a little bit knows that I’m rather introverted than extroverted. I just feel way more comfortable with myself alone to relax than hanging out with people to relax. Well, the consequences of this natural behavior are that I’m not really up to meet new people every day and I rather stick to people who I know for a while. This habit is quite not useful when it comes to the point of acquiring new customers and partners. But, this gives you an extra benefit if you use it right! Look at my old article here about the social aspects of the issue: http://www.ralph-kuepper.com/2012/09/silent-introverted-making-friends/

I’ve been to quite a few business meetings /conferences the very recent past. On most of them alone without anyone I know -> that is nothing I would naturally like! But still it worked in all cases more then well. Being a more reserved person and talking to people really affects how people see you. Instead of being seen (not that I’d care much) as a trash-talker you are seen as an highly educated and indeed sophisticated person. You know what you talk about, you know what you can do, what you don’t and why you talk what you talk. That’s something people that are rather extroverted will not always have (which is not a bad thing at all – just better for different purposes).

All in all I can say that I – as someone rather silent and reserved (for most times) – approach business and especially conferences and meetings completely different to what I naturally would tend to do. And guess what? It works! :)

Entrepreneur vs. Artist – Creative people!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Just a few days ago a friend and business partner of mine and me we talking about what it means to be an entrepreneur. Somehow we concluded that it is not far away from being an artist and I want to show the similarities. For have a better understanding let’s just compare these two elements: Artists / Entrepreneur and Band / Company. What do an artist and an entrepreneur have in common? Both of them work not primarily for money (well it is appreciated and necessary but for the most part it is not the main aim of what both of them do). Both of them consequently might need to live on a lower level of lifestyle (at least in the beginning, you just don’t start being famous and rich). Artists write songs and want to share it with the world. True entrepreneurs create companies and products that help the world to move on. Okay let’s see what it is that bands and companies have in common. Both need a crew. There is the “true” band, the original members and there is the staff team that helps them (sound engineers, technicians, producers,…) and you find all these elements in a company too: You have the founders (original members) which lead and drive the company and then you the employees which are pretty much like the staff team of our band. They support the founders to reach their goal. And it is not said that any of the staff is less valued. Ask Phil Collins if he wants to change his main sound engineer … or ask Apple if they want to replace Tim Cook just for fun. Once you got into a unique place in a company or band you are irreplaceable (at least until a certain level).

Entrepreneurs as well as artists try to give something to the world. They don’t want to get money in the first place but rather give themselves and their talent to the world. And both are creative! A great product is equally creatively created as a great song is – just on different areas. Somehow our society does not share this opinion yet. At least there is no tax-releasing law for entrepreneurs while there is one for artists. If you need one and until what point is a different question but I personally see that there might be some sense to see both equally, even tax-wise.

All together I want to say that there are certain similarities with entrepreneurs and artists and that both primarily “give” to our society. The question is: Does this point of view change our attitude towards them?

Geld – Als Christ der größte Götze?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Hier bei OM werden wir mit allen möglichen Christen konfrontiert. Dazu gehören auch alle möglichen verschiedenen Auffassungen. Nicht selten passiert es, dass man beim dem Thema Geld folgende Statements zu hören bekommt:

  • Wir Christen sollen uns von der Welt unterscheiden.
  • Wir dürfen die Welt nicht lieben, also auch nicht das Geld.
  • Die kommerzielle Welt ist nicht die unsere.
  • Man gebe dem Staat was dem Staat gehört und Gott was Gott gehört.

All diese Statements in der Bibel sind nicht wirklich klar formuliert, noch sagen sie etwas über den Umgang aus. Doch werden sie häufig benutzt wenn es darum geht wie wir Christen mit Besitz/Kapital und Geld umgehen. Insbesondere dann, wenn es darum geht “bescheiden”, “einfach” und “demütig” zu sein. Diese Begriffe werden gerne dazu verwendet, dass es sowas wie “christliche Armut” gibt – oder politisch gesprochen “christlichen Kommunismus”. Dr. Deichmann hatte dazu auch einmal etwas schönes Geschrieben, “die linken Christen.” (http://www.predigtpreis.de/predigtdatenbank/newsletter/article/predigt-ueber-lukas-169.html)

Ich selbst muss gestehen: Ich mag Geld. Ich mag es zu haben, darüber zu reden und mich damit zu beschäftigen. Ist mein Denken/Verhalten nun unchristlich?

Am letzten Sonntag haben wir eine Predigt dazu gehört wie wir uns für Gott einsetzen können. Ein relativ häufig behandeltes Thema. Ein Statement blieb mir aber im Gott: “Auch durchs Geld verdienen konnten wir diese Kirche hier aufbauen/finanzieren”. Und damit wurde mir unmissverständlich klar: Geld ist nicht nur etwas was wir als Götze, Gefahr und “von dieser Welt” ansehen können. Es ist vielmehr und insbesondere auch ein Geschenk von Gott mit welchem es uns ermöglicht wird, uns universell für ihn einzusetzen. Dank des Geldes können wir uns für Gott einsetzen, ganz egal was wir tun. Wir müssen um eine Kirche aufzubauen keine Maurer mehr sein – wir können auch einen Maurer bezahlen. Diese Beispiel lässt sich auf vieles übertragen, was es aber raussagt: Geld als Handelsmittel ist universell einsetzbar – auch christlich.

Wir sollten also nicht direkt alles was kommerziell/finanziell gedeutet werden kann automatisch als Götze und Abkehr von Gott deuten, sondern können dies auch als Chance sehen sein Königreich auf Erden aufzubauen.

Some new stuff for google but it’s not working :D

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Google is not working! I really wondered when I tried to enter farbenlernen.de, farben-lernen.de, learningcolors.us and learningcolours.co.uk to google … google said “the pages does not exist.” :D

Thats the first time I feel happy that those mistakes not only happen to “normal” companys – Google does those mistakes as well. :-)