What groups will be disrupted? Clayton Christensen, best selling author and professor of business, defines the concept of "disruptive" innovation as one that expands participation in a market by lowering the cost to participate in that market.
Entrepreneurs are people who start, organize and operate businesses. An entrepreneur should have the innate ability not only to generate new ideas, but also to convert them into successful business entities, whether or not he or she stays with the business after it has gotten off to a successful start. Leadership, management and the ability to build teams are some of the most important skills that a successful entrepreneur needs.
Recently, Texas entrepreneur Ben Littlefield, who is considered by many in the business community to be a "rock star" based on his personal successes in business, announced the creation of a mentorship program to help fellow entrepreneurs achieve their dreams without damaging their personal lives, including their relationships with families and friends. A well-known no-nonsense business advisor, Littlefield's primary challenge is for his protégés to become extraordinary in their work.
Equity crowdfunding is an industry in its infancy. It is the next big thing in corporate finance, with a majority of the U.S. population having a high interest in potentially making an investment via equity crowdfunding platforms. By the end of 2014 crowd funding is estimated to add at least 270,000 jobs and inject more than $65 billion into the global economy.
Mergers and acquisitions are a part of corporate strategy whereby corporations expand the reach of their business, and they involve the dividing, buying, selling and combining of the assets of the companies involved. When two companies join hands willingly, the merger is regarded as a friendly acquisition. When the deal is not so friendly, it is a hostile acquisition.
Recently, reports have been making the rounds in Texas about a friendly takeover. Dachis Group, based in Texas, has been acquired by Sprinklr, a provider of cloud-based technology. Sprinklr helps companies manage their brands and customer relationships. The acquisition gives Sprinklr the social networking capability to interact with customers and manage online conversations online. The founder and chief executive officer of Dachis claims that his firm offers clients the largest independent solution for dealing with their social relationships.
Texas has always been a mineral-rich state. For over a century, oil and gas companies have turned Texas into a hub for the nation's oil and gas requirements. Some of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world have their headquarters in Texas, and many of them operate in and around Houston. While these companies are major drivers of the Texas economy as well as the country, they still get embroiled in various controversies with environmental organizations for allegedly polluting the air and water in the vicinity of their refineries.
Recently, Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, was taken to court by two Texas environmental groups, who claim that the oil company's refinery in Baytown is polluting the air and thus breaking federal air pollution laws. The 3,400 acre Baytown refinery, which is situated about 20 miles south of downtown Houston, is the second largest oil refinery in the United States and has the capacity to process almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day.
Business owners throughout the country, including Texas, will agree that improperly drafted business contracts leave them open to interpretations by different partners or different stakeholders. Ambiguous language or unclear terms that are not resolved before the contracts are signed can lead to drawn-out and expensive legal battles. A contract dispute can then lead to a loss of focus on business matters and jeopardize relationships with other partners and clients. They may also damage a business's reputation.
Recently, three of the largest and fastest-growing North American oil and gas companies became embroiled in partnership dispute. According to business reports, the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP is suing the Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc. of Canada, alleging that they both conspired to leave ETP out of a deal to build a pipeline from Cushing in Oklahoma to Houston.
Houston, Texas, is home to many small, medium and large successful businesses. While some businesses have grown by diversifying, other businesses have developed the expertise in-house to satisfy the demands of various customers. And some businesses have gone the route of a "merger" or business acquisition.
With the economy steadily showing signs of improvement, core sectors, such as infrastructure development, construction and real estate, are rising. One major recent development in the field of commerce and industry is that Martin Marietta is buying Texas Industries in a no-cash deal estimated at $2.06 billion. The stock-only merger is expected to be profitable to both companies as the infrastructure boom, led by construction in the private sector, is showing signs of improvement.
Most people in Texas agree that some of the biggest corporations in the world started as family owned businesses. Over the years, as the economic scenario changed and the businesses diversified, many of these family owned businesses were sold or merged with other businesses for better growth prospects. However, changing hands does not necessarily mean a business has to forgo all its traditions and values.
A fine example of this transition is a Schlotzsky's Deli franchise in Cove, Texas, which was sold to another franchisee from Central Texas after operating for 26 years as a family business. The franchisee, who currently owns all five Schlotzsky's in Central Texas, bought the deli in October 2013. According to the former owner's daughter, who still works at the restaurant, the new management has been very supportive and has made a lot of positive changes, especially when it comes to modernization.
Houston, Texas, is, without a doubt, one of the largest commercial centers, not only in Texas, but also in the entire United States. The city is home to some of the largest corporations in the world and has an encouraging atmosphere for many entrepreneurs, both young and old, who want to succeed on their own. Looking back at history, there have been many new ideas or new businesses that have changed the world and people's lives in some way or other. However, even in a conducive environment, a new business needs some sort of help during its early stages.
The Technology Incubator West Houston (TIWH), which was set up by the Katy Area Economic Development Council, is doing just that for start-up businesses in Houston. TIWH is a nonprofit organization that guides start-up technology businesses during planning and initial operations stages. For a nominal fee, TIWH mentors technology businesses by reviewing the business plan and advising entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs also have the option of choosing to become permanent clients. Future plans for TIWH also include providing offices from which new businesses can operate.
Large, international businesses may hold numerous patents, many of them for mundane things that can easily resemble patents held by other businesses. Inevitably, business disputes arise over ownership of the patent rights, particularly when potentially significant revenue is at stake.
In a recent development, Reactive Surfaces, a company based in Austin, Texas, west of Houston, filed a lawsuit against the carmaker Toyota. The Texas firm specializes in research on additives in paints and coatings. The suit alleges that Toyota's patent relating to a grease-resistant coating is invalid. According to court documents, this coating is similar to the fingerprint-resistant coatings on cell phones. In addition to Toyota, Reactive Surfaces is planning to file lawsuits against other companies holding similar patents.