For students entering the final year of their program this September, the anxiety of finding a first “real” job may be the cause of a few sleepless nights for some. And for those that are able to sleep soundly, soothing dreams of entry-level jobs at major corporations are likely providing them with comforting images through the nights.     But maybe 4th-year college students and recent grads should be dreaming about jobs other than entry-level positions at bureaucracy-rich Fortune 500 companies. Sure, with the way the economy is these days, striving for a job – any ­job – that is even somewhat related to one’s major is ambitious. The smartest new grads, however, have targeted goals on their mind: They’ve got startups in their career crosshairs.   A job at a startup provides opportunities that few career paths can. Such jobs offer young professionals room to contribute, gain new skills, make mistakes (and learn from them), and prosper. The same cannot be said for the average entry-level job at a typical major corporation. Those jobs tend to be strictly defined as opposed to dynamic. Many startups, on the other hand, spend their early years finding their true direction. Flickr, for instance, was born out of an online role-playing game. The photo exchange capabilities built into the RPG proved to be more popular than the game itself, causing Flickr’s founders to reposition their company. Testing out ideas, changing directions, and re-strategizing is common among startups. Employees at new ventures learn to adapt, gain new skills, and leave their comfort zone quite frequently. Surprises, twists and turns, and curve balls can certainly be scary, but being in such an environment is an experience that pays dividends in the long run.   And what about those disenfranchised college students who, if they’re not busy listening to Arcade Fire or dissecting Catcher in the Rye, are pining about the lack of voice they’ll have at a large corporation. If you identify as one of those, well then I have some news for you: You’re right. The execs probably won’t care about whatever suggestions you have, young noob (although the good ones will at least pretend to). But if you find yourself on the floor of a startup, not only will the CEO listen to what you’ve got to say, he or she will genuinely seek out your feedback and act on it accordingly.      Now get this: If your idea turns out to be a dud, that might actually be a good thing at a startup. Jake Eichengreen, who works at VegasTechFund, told what surprised him the most about working at the young tech investment company: “After the first couple weeks, the only feedback I got was that I hadn’t screwed up enough,” he says. “They encourage us to take big risks and just stand by them and learn. It’s a really experimental culture.”     All in all, the smartest grads spend some of the early years of their career at a startup. It’s an environment where any young professional can prosper. Being surrounded by ambitious teammates who are experiencing high levels of job satisfaction thanks to the limited bureaucracy, the abundance of recognition, and the challenging but flexible environment will push anyone to be their best. So to all the new grads out there: Don’t forget the young scrappy ventures when you begin applying for jobs. It might just be the best decision of your career.      Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest in startups, tech, and business.       Read More
  The only way to achieve unbridled startup success is by signing over part of your business to a venture capital company in exchange for cold hard cash – right? Wrong. Startups from all corners of the country have found massive success without having to shell out a portion of the profits to a VC partner. By using personal savings or taking out business loans, you can get your dream project off the ground without surrendering equity.   Here are 5 startups that made it big without the help of a VC. Read More
  By empowering foodservice businesses to make better financial decisions, Kitchen Friend is the hospitality industry’s newest BFF.    In the highly competitive foodservice industry, a lack of control over kitchen finances can bring any business closer to ruin. An inability to identify profitable dishes, difficulties pinpointing reducible food costs, and failure to provide value-add menu items result in unhappy customers and a paltry bottom line.   But what if a small restaurant had access to kitchen finance management tools typically reserved for large hospitality businesses with deep pockets? What if a small restaurant or café were able to increase menu profitability, reduce food costs, fix menu weaknesses, and maintain food quality using a menu management tool designed specifically for the hospitality industry? The result would be a much more even playing field.   Kitchen Friend is a menu costing and profit analyser that was built with one goal in mind: to empower kitchens of all sizes to take control of their finances.   The idea for Kitchen Friend first came to Daniel Vid in 2009. While working as an operations manager for a hospitality company, he could not find a suitable recipe calculator application. The thought of launching a menu costing and profit analyser crept into Daniel’s mind and soon, the idea was being formally explored and developed.   Originally, Kitchen Friend’s genesis platform was scheduled to be an iOS application. However, given the nature of the foodservice industry, Daniel decided that Kitchen Friend had to be a desktop application first. At this point, it was apparent that a team of skilled developers needed to be put together in order to bring Kitchen Friend to life.   After hiring – and firing – some unqualified and unreliable developers, Daniel realized he needed a professional agency.   “I came across some stinkers as well as some great coders,” Daniel explained. “However, even the great ones were a pain to deal with as they would go AWOL for days or weeks and I would be sitting around waiting for updates.   “Then I began working with NapkinBetaBeyond. Their team manages all the developers and, should there be any issue, they take care of assigning a new developer and briefing them on my project. Removing that stress from my plate is invaluable.”   By leveraging the NapkinBetaBeyond team, Daniel gained access to a skilled group of professionals who provided intangibles that were lacking among previous developers that Daniel had contracted: agility and transparency. NapkinBetaBeyond’s CIS+ WorkflowSM, 1:1SupportSM, and Big TeamSM approach to collaborating with Daniel culminated in the official launch of Kitchen Friend, a beautifully designed kitchen finance management application. With signups increasing each week, the future looks bright for Daniel and Kitchen Friend.   Kitchen Friend empowers kitchens. NapkinBetaBeyond empowers entrepreneurs.       NapkinBetaBeyond is your Best Strategic Relationship.  Taking Startups from Napkin ➤ βeta ➤ Beyond. We build AMAZING. Everyday.       Read More
  Are you ready to take charge of the content on your website without being held back by lackluster platforms or perplexing systems? NapkinBetaBeyond empowers businesses and organizations by providing them with the tools to execute their content delivery and management strategy easily and effectively. Our developers are adept at building intuitive sites that use WordPress or ExpressionEngine as their content management system (CMS), allowing for effortless control and centralized administration.   Leverage our experience and expertise today for a manageable tomorrow. Read More
  If you’re like most nine-to-fivers, even the smallest annoyance during the day can cause you frustration that extends beyond the confines of your cubical. Forgotten forks, tangled cables, and broken keyboards can ruin your entire day. Fortunately, there are tricks that can make those occurrences less frequent and your day more manageable.    Here are 17 incredible life hacks that you can use at the office right now. Read More