Orange Different Business

Having been on a lean start-up weekend for budding entrepreneurs, I know how tough it can be to get a great business idea off the ground. I’ve also gained some good experience working with entrepreneurs as a consultant, from online gaming start-up ‘Name That Place’ to a China-based surgical planning software company, to know it’s easier said than done. In thinking through the many issues around getting an idea to product stage and then into the marketplace – from validating the idea with customers, through to seeking investment, each stage requires time and effort. So it’s welcome news that mobile company Orange has launched the Win Your Business competition to give you the chance to follow in their footsteps.

Of course, the business-savvy folks at Orange aren’t just handing out investment cash, (but then money isn’t the key to start-up success). What they are doing is making sure you have the necessary support, advice and investment to get you started on the road to success – and change your life forever!

The competition panel of judges includes some of the UK’s most successful business leaders – Spencer McHugh and Martin Stiven of Everything Everywhere, the name of the combined Orange and T-Mobile business. Nigel Jones, head of one of the UK’s biggest integrated advertising agencies, Publicis Group UK. And Steve Neal, Partner at One of the UK’s top 20 firms of accountants Kingston Smith LLP. So why not tell them about your innovative new idea and you could become the UK’s next different business? They’re looking for a different idea, different approaches, clear strategies – something that is worth funding. The prize is worth up to £200,000 and includes not just investment capital, but legal advice, business planning advice, mentoring, and marketing consultancy.

To speed things up I’ve added the entry guide for you below, or access it online here (pdf). Then once you’ve registered and completed the application using the guide, you need to submit it by 31 March.

idea

What is your different business idea? As a guide, describe your idea in 100 words:

  • What is it that you propose to do?
  • What is your vision?
  • Is your idea innovative? How does it differ from what has been done before?

marketing plan

Take the judges through your topline marketing plan — this is how you’ll bring your strategy to action. As a guide, try to do this in 500 words:

  • Evidence of your market research
  • An understanding of what are your competitors doing
  • What is your vision?
  • Identify your target market — who is it for?
  • Lead times
  • Any regulatory restrictions
  • Marketing penetration strategy

financial plan

Take us through your financial plan — have you identified the level of business financing you will need to grow? As a guide, try to do this in 400 words:

  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Profit and Loss Analysis
  • Break-even Analysis
  • Personnel Expense Forecast

why different?

Tell us why your idea is exciting, different and innovative and why it should be considered for the prize. As a guide, try to do this in 200 words:

  • This doesn’t mean the product or idea has to be completely brand new – it may be a different approach to an existing idea or concept

operational plan

Tell us how your business will run and how you plan to get your products/service to market. As a guide, try and do this in 400 words:

  • Who is doing what?
  • What are the day to day activities?
  • How will the suppliers and vendors be used?
  • Who are the suppliers?
  • What are the labour requirements?
  • What are the sources of raw materials?

So that’s pretty much it. Just a reminder that the deadline for submissions is 31 March. So get involved, and share this opportunity with your friends.

 

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Does winning at roulette takes something special?

It doesn’t take a genius to know that winning at roulette takes ‘something special’. Either you have a system based on some maths (especially relevant to those who celebrate today, as ‘happy Pi day‘), or a mobile feed to a remote computer to crunch the numbers, or you have intutition of some form or another. What’s your take on this? Before you make your mind up consider these examples borrowed from Wikipedia which nicely inspire the idea that it takes something special to win at Roulette:

Real-life roulette exploits

  • In 1873, Briton Joseph Jaggers made the first famous biased roulette wheel exploit. By taking advantage of this flaw they managed to win over $325,000, an astronomical sum in 1873.[19]
  • In the summer of 1891 at the Monte Carlo casino, a part-time swindler and petty crook from London named Charles Wells ‘broke the bank’ at each table he played over a period of several days. Breaking the bank meant he won all the available money in the table bank that day, and a black cloth would be placed over the table until the bank was replenished. In song and life, he was celebrated as “The Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo”.
  • In 2004, Ashley Revell of London sold all of his possessions, clothing included, and placed his entire net worth of US$135,300 on red at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. The ball landed on “Red 7” and Revell walked away with $270,600. [a neat example of the power of intuition?]
  • On 2 October 2009, Derren Brown (as part of his controversial “The Events” series) bet £5000 of a member of the public’s money on a single number of a roulette wheel somewhere in Europe. This was shown live across the UK using a camera hidden in Brown’s sleeve. His plan was to use the laws of physics to predict where the ball would end up, based upon the speed of the wheel and the ball. Brown took approximately three seconds after the wheel started spinning to place his £5000 bet on the number 8, only to see it land on 30 – just one number out. [is this educated intuition or based on a system?]

In film

  • In the 1942 film Casablanca, Rick’s Café Americain has a trick roulette wheel. Rick (played by Humphrey Bogart) uncharacteristically takes pity on a young Bulgarian refugee couple. The husband has lost most of his money at roulette, trying to win enough to bribe police captain Renault. Rick suggests the man bet on 22. After the number comes up, Rick tells him to let it all ride. He does, and wins again. Rick tells him to cash in his winnings … and never come back.
  • In the 1971 Western comedy Support Your Local Gunfighter, James Garner’s character has a gambling addiction – he cannot stop betting everything he has on a single roulette spin. He loses several times, but finally wins at the very end.
  • Near the beginning of the 1973 film The Sting, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) takes his share of the money conned from a numbers runner and loses nearly all of it on a single bet against a rigged roulette wheel.
  • In the third part of the 1998 film Run, Lola, Run, Lola (Franka Potente) uses all her money to buy a 100-mark chip. (She is actually just short of 100 marks, but gains the sympathy of a casino employee who gives her the chip for what money she has.) She bets her single chip on 20 and wins. She lets her winnings ride on 20 and wins again, making her total winnings 129,600 marks (29,600 more than her smuggler boyfriend owed his boss, Ronnie). The odds of two consecutive wins on a European roulette wheel are exactly 1368-to-1 against. [and one of my favourite films of all time, btw]
  • In the 2011 film Fast Five, Don Omar and Tego Calderon play roulette and each bet their millions on red or black. The ball lands on green.

So where do you stand on this? Maybe you have a favourite online casino site you use to play – does this mean you have a different set of strategies than in the traditional casino gaming environment where different factors come into play? Certainly online casinos don’t face the kind of issues that real world casino owners faced in the past, as the randomness of the spin is 100% true. So what do you use to beat the house, when you play online, maybe just some plain old fashioned ‘lady luck’?