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Supporting Veteran Owned Small Businesses

This video shares examples of a few veteran owned small businesses. Feel free to comment and share your own examples with website link belo...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frustrations Of The Female Entrepreneur

The hard thing about any entrepreneur can be the ability to get your ideas heard and then be taken seriously. My advice would be don't give up - keep going and if you truly believe in your service and product and have an ability to try out innovative ways of promoting them GO FOR IT!

For a female entrepreneur who balances a work and family life there can be the issues of making time for each sector of your life whilst remembering to take some time out for yourself. Its not the easiest juggling act in the world but use your planning skills to prioritise.

There is no space for sexism these days, in any shape or form and this question more than alludes to it. I have hundreds of female clients, all entrepreneurial and most of them are more switched on than their male counterparts but all experiencing the same commercial frustrations.

So, is there really a difference between males and females concerning the frustrations of an entrepreneur?

feel free to leave a comment on the subject. I'm sure our readers would benefit from your insights.

Monday, December 26, 2011

MOJO For Small Business

Marshall Goldsmith says "Mojo is: that positive spirit--towards what we are doing--now--that starts from the inside--and radiates to the outside. Mojo is at its peak when we are experiencing both happiness and meaning in what we are doing and communicating this experience to the world around us."

How important is this idea for small business? Should they spend a serious amount of time being concerned with it or are there simply more important things to think about?

In my opinion MOJO is not something that you directly work for, and there spending time trying to create it is counter productive. The first, and arguably most important action you can take to have more MOJO is to do the self work you need to in order to find your passion and align it with your business and the team you hire. It’s about knowing and living your personal values, purpose, mission and vision. You can’t directly create MOJO. What you can do is position yourself in an environment where you can more easily have MOJO. You can also practice the necessary skills to that you are prepared to maximize your time with MOJO when it comes forth.

In my experience, most small business owners do possess a significant amount of mojo... it's why they started their business in the first place - they love what they do and want to spend their time doing it. I think the biggest challenge for the business owner is to RETAIN the mojo, even in the day-in, day-out stress of running their business. That's where delegating undesirable tasks, daily planning and narrow focus can really help.

Mojo as Marshall talks about it relates to living your vision and loving your work. If small business owners value having bliss in their business, then getting their mojo flowing is essential. When your mojo is flowing, you can achieve much more with much less. You can create possibilities where others wouldn't see it and you can deliver a much more authentic experience for your clients.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Is A Micro-Business?

The European Union makes a general distinction between self-employment, micro,
small and medium sized businesses based on the following criteria:

0 Self-employed
2-9 Micro business
10-49 Small business
50-249 Medium-size business

The US make this difference:

Small Business: The Small Business Association (SBA) has extensive descriptions for what constitutes a small business, but in its simplest terms it’s an organization with 500 or fewer employees. Of the 119.9 million non-farm employees out there, 60.2 million belong to a small business.

Microbusiness: The American Association of Microbusiness considers to micro businesses to consist of five or fewer employees. According to the SBA, we had 21.7 million microbusinesss in 2007. This segment accounts for only 3 percent of revenue in the business world, yet they constitute three-fourths of commerce. Microbusinesss in this context means a firm with no hired employees with net earnings of at least $1,000 ($1 for construction firms) that are subject to federal taxes.

The term microenterprise connotes different entities and sectors depending on the country.

Generally speaking, in developed countries, microenterprises comprise the smallest end (by size) of the small business sector, whereas in developing countries, microenterprises comprise the vast majority of the small business sector—a result of the relative lack of formal sector jobs available for the poor. These microentrepreneurs operate microenterprises not by choice, but out of necessity.

Microenterprises add value to a country's economy by creating jobs, enhancing income, strengthening purchasing power, lowering costs and adding business convenience.

Because microenterprises typically have little to no access to the commercial banking sector, they often rely on "micro-loans" or microcredit in order to be financed. Microfinance institutions often finance these small loans, particularly in the Third World. Those who found microenterprises are usually referred to as entrepreneurs.

The terms microenterprise and microbusiness have the same meaning, though traditionally when referring to a small business financed by microcredit the term microenterprise is used. Similarly when referring to a small, usually legal business that isn't financed by microcredit, the term microbusiness is used.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Small Business Quotes For Your Desk

Here's a few quotes that won't be out of place prominently displayed on your desk. Feel free to offer your own suggestions as a comment reply .....

"Success is just a matter of luck. Ask any failure." ~ Earl Nightingale

Run faster and Faster to remain in same place- Philip Kotler

"For whatever is seen is temporary, but whatever is unseen is eternal"

BREATHE!

Luck is where Opportunity Meets Preparation...

If you want something done, give it to a busy Man (or Woman).

"Your future depends on so many things; but mostly on you"

There are those who work and those who take credit for the work.
It is better to be of the kind that works because the competition is less.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

** " I skate to where the puck will be,not to where it has been”
Wayne Gretzky - Hockey Great

Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun

Make a Customer, Not a Sale

Intellectuals Solve Problems, Geniuses Prevent Them

"Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Always remember that when dealing with people..visualize an invisible sign hanging around their neck saying MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and less minds simply talk about people"

"Think big, think fast and think ahead".....D. Ambani

The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed in these two: common-sense and perseverance.
Owen Feltham

The future depends on what we do in the present. Mahatma Gandhi

"Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
Destitutus ventis, remos adhibe
Latin Proverb

You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

He who enters into a dispute with a fool can be comforted by the knowledge that his opponent has done the same.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Connecting With Customers Via Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer a great opportunity for small business to connect with new and potential customers. Not to mention, they are free to set up, so they offer a great way for companies to cut their costs.

Facebook fanpages present a forum for customers and businesses to communicate. Consumers can post about their experience with a product or service, they can even share pictures. Businesses can post about promotions, contests, updates, and based on the content the post, they can draw in new fans.

For small businesses that don't have the means to advertise on a wide scale, Facebook allows companies to tailor the audience who receives their internet advertising. Companies can focus on relevant demographics for their ads. By doing so, their ads gain value, without spending money on print or television ads that may not reach their target market.

Twitter acts as a live conversation. Messages of 140 characters or less are very focused. Twitter is especially beneficial for small business internet marketing, because small business can directly connect to customers who are tweeting about their products and services. It's also beneficial for small businesses looking to connect with larger business in it's relevant field. Twitter presents small business with the opportunity to build direct connections across physical boundaries.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tips For Generating Sales Leads

Do you have a marketing budget? That will help you separate the 'possible' from the 'probable'.

Bear in mind that you don't need leads; you need customers. If you just want leads, go to the library and get a local business directory. That'll have lots of names, positions and telephone numbers - there's your leads, now hit the phone and call them.

If you want customers, the first thing you should do is define who your customer is - and who he isn't. For example, we get a lot of calls from people who have an idea for starting a business, and want us to develop their website. We pass on those - our customer profile is a small/medium marketing agency with third-party clients.

We know who we want to contact, so we go to the places they congregate. If you want to hunt ducks, you go to a duckpond, not a local zoo; if you want to find a lion, don't bother looking around the duckpond. Guess what you'll find at a local Chamber of Commerce?

Talk to your customers about things that interest them - giving your spin on it, of course. Get involved in the general conversation, get known for being the expert in your field, and the customers will come.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Generating Leads For A Small Business

Generating qualified leads is one of the most challenging processes you can go through in sales. It can be frustrating.

here's a few ideas to mull over for generating leads for your small business ....

• Website - Keep your business website clean, working correctly, and the content fresh. Make sure your Contact Us function works well. Test it. Test it again and regularly. Your website is your business face to the world. Keep it fresh and clean.

• SEO – Make sure to stay up on Search Engine Optimization techniques, which seem to shift over time. Keep your webmaster up-to-date on the latest industry key words that might drive leads on your website. Check your web pages for position in a Google search every so often. Don’t let SEO go stale.

• Conferences – Face-to-face discussions at tradeshows can generate some of the most qualified leads possible. But this can be expensive and is limited to the people you can attract to your booth. Booth graphics, give-aways, and pre-show marketing can help drive those leads. It’s also important to pick the appropriate venue and audience for your product.

• Linked-In – LI is ripe with leads. If you link-in with the right contact in an industry his or her contacts can be just the leads you’re looking for. This requires looking through your connections’ connection lists (if its public.) Pay attention to who’s linking with whom. Occasionally go through the suggested connection list. And you can join groups on LinkedIn that share common business interests. These group notifications can get overwhelming so develop as system to use them to your advantage. There is also an Answers feature that lets you create and publish interesting questions that might develop leads. Make sure your LI profile has key words that reflect your products, services, and target markets. Always keep your profile clean, professional, and with pertinent content to attract potential leads.

• Buy Lists - Purchase an email or direct mail list in an industry. This process has many variations, because privacy is of primary concern to people on-line. Usually these vendors handle your direct or email messaging for you, so you don’t actually get to keep the list unless someone responds to your message.

• News - Pay attention to news articles related to your customers, products, market or key issues within your industry. Many of these articles will note companies or even decision makers at companies that you may want to target. Get in the habit of quickly scanning articles for key contacts.

• Search Engine - Google or use other search engines to uncover lists of names. Attendee lists, target industry group memberships, or other sources. Google key customers to determine their competitors – your future customers. Use Google Alerts to comb the web news for key business issues.

• Network – Call key players in your target industries and ask them about their business. Tell them what you doing or thinking about and take notes. Usually, if you’re gentle and respectful, they will share some key nuggets and perhaps even list some key contacts. Call or email people you know to share key pieces of information about common business issues. You end up getting more than you give. And always recommend the good service people you know because the favor will be returned. Go to social media events for b2b crowds. Bring business cards, introduce yourself, and have a conversation. Follow-up with everyone you meet with a thank you email and a LinkedIn invitation.

• Advertise – Emailing or direct mailing a list is one way. Banner ads on target industry web sites can work. Make sure you have a viable, comfortable landing page that makes lead feel like they’ve come to the right place – instantly. Collect key contact info at all costs. Print Ads may be effective, but they are very expensive and difficult, if not impossible to track.

If you have other suggestions please feel to reply as a comment ....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Does Intuition Have A Place In The Business World?

Intuition is like finding a needle in a...wait...not one but 20 haystacks. A single needle. It will give you the direction you should search but until you actually have the needle in hand it's not as useful.

Similarly, intuition will give you ideas but business still operate on the principle that their sole purpose is to increase top line revenues while maintaining or widening the operating margins (as a percentage of revenues). Therefore, you need hard data to justify your intuition (or be able to absorb the risk to the business if you're wrong due to a lack of data).

As the idea in question becomes more strategic to the company, the risk / impact to the business of failure is proportionally greater so having hard data becomes similarly more important.

Weak business leaders wait until they have all the facts before making a decision.

However, in any worthwhile, often fast-moving, business opportunity, we never have all the facts, so weak business people wait and wait and wait, hoping that the next bit of information will allow them to make the "perfect" decision.

But as Voltaire said, "Perfect is the enemy of the good" and as George Patton said more recently "A good decision today is better than a great one made tomorrow."

Making good decisions necessarily relies on intuition because all the facts aren't yet known. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" largely defines intution as the sum total of all one's knowledge and experiences leading up to a decision. That is, you're not "winging it" but rather allowing your subsconcious mind to process at light speed a lot of disparate, often incomplete, information to make exactly the right decision most of the time.

So I would say that intuition not only has a place in the business world but is a core competency that needs only your trust in it to let it be a valuable guide in building value. After all, you can always make a new, different, good decision tomorrow. ;-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nielson Survey says 63% Check Consumer Ratings before going any farther in the buy or contact you process – Do you know how your business stacks up in this process?

Why incorporating proactive online reviews / reputation monitoring & management into your online sales and marketing initiatives is no longer something to be ignored.

The stats show that target audiences, consumers and potential clients not only think about looking at online reputation and reviews, they use it widely in their buying-contacting decision making process

Don't take my word for it!

Look at these global stats revealed in an independent study done by NM Incite, a Neilsen McKinsey Company, the top survey company in the world

* Check Consumer ratings - 63% do before going any farther in the buy or contact process

* Consumer Reviews - 62% check them before they go any farther in the buy or contact process

* Company Facebook - 15% check it before they decide to buy or contact.

And why do folks post online reviews and comments?

The same study shows:
* 58% do so to protect others !

These stats show that ignoring proactive monitoring, management, protection, promotion and repair of the online reviews / reputation side of your online presence equation is no longer a safe option for any size business.

Reputation911 has a free "how does the Internet reveal, see and show you online and where" analysis . Please contact us for this free analysis and know precisely where you stand in the online reputation area and how to take charge of it.

Neil Licht, ndlicht@reputation911.com 1-508-481-8567 direct line

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Is A REAL Entrepreneur?

According to my own experience (and the experience of many others) 80% of all business owners and CEOs are NOT entrepreneurs.

15% (of the remaining 20%) are what I call "lame duck" entrepreneurs. These "lame ducks" are usually fairly successful and sometimes even very successful in their business (as measured by their industry's standards).

Only 5% of all business owners and CEOs are REAL entrepreneurs.

However, real entrepreneurs can also be temporarily broke (even after years of great success). So, just looking at the current state of a business doesn't necessarily tell if the business owner/CEO is a REAL entrepreneur or not.

What are, in your opinion, the traits of a REAL entrepreneur?

What is a REAL entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs will risk almost, if not everything they have on an idea that they are passionate about.

They are passionate about what they do and cut out any naysayers or negativity and not let it stop them.

They will work around the clock on something they believe in and not even think they are working:)

It's not about the money and more about the sense of achievement.

They are constantly thinking of new ideas and also ideas to improve their existing business or project.

They love networking with other likeminded entrepreneurs because they know that networking is a HUGE key to their success.

They have charisma and can persuade most people to go their way on things.

They feel that literally NOTHING is impossible...

There are too many traits to name but these are just a few.....