The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Archive for April, 2009

Stadium Marketing Idea that You Can Copy

Last night I attended my first baseball game of the season at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It’s tradition in most stadiums around the US to incorporate a little crowd participation on the big screens during a break in the game. Everyone has a little fun watching the KissCam, you know when couples are shown [...]

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What’s Wrong With Your PR Activities?

The phone is not ringing and crickets are chirping. That’s likely what will happen if you are sending out press releases to the masses and waiting for the sales to come in. I bring this up because several entrepreneurs contacted me recently about their PR activities. They hired publicists. But instead of obtaining media exposure, [...]

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A Lawyer Comes Clean….

Hello.  My name is Jessica Eaves Mathews and I am a serial entrepreneur. There.  I said it. I am coming clean.  It is high time I admitted that not only do I love helping my law clients set up and run their own businesses, but I have a *fond* attachment to setting up my own [...]

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200 Years that changed the world – YouTube video

Sometimes, being “widely aware” is as important as being “narrowly focused.” Thought you folks would benefit from this audio-visual snapshot of what’s happened over the past two hundred years in the world and why it’s so seismic relative to the history/future of humankind and the planet we inhabit. While this isn’t specifically about business, it [...]

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5 Steps to Marketing for Optimal Response

I typically focus on email marketing, since it is cost effective, it has a viral quality, and VerticalResponse happens to offer a great email solution for startups, but the following suggestions can apply to direct mail projects as well. When designing your email campaign or your promotion mailing, from copy to layout, consider how your [...]

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The beginning of the end … of the bad economy

I received a press release today that deserves a few minutes of your scanning. It’s the monthly consumer confidence report issued by The Conference Board. It shows that consumer confidence actually trended up this month for the first time this year. Is this a sign that we’re going to start hustling and bustling again? Well, little by [...]

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My Most Passionate Encouragement to Start Up

Check out this NYC regional TV show with Brian Lehrer as host (and me silenced in the first few minutes but then unLEASHing my enthusiasm about why now is a great time to start up, once my mic starts working, that is…) I give a five point prescription for steps to take to pursue your startup opportunity [...]

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Website

For many of you, your business website will act as a central hub for your marketing, branding and communications. It will be a major touchpoint in your relationship with your prospects and customers. If you plan on being successful, it behooves you to create a website that fuels your business growth. Then why is it [...]

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A new way to cut costs: your phone system

An overlooked cost savings for entrepreneurs is switching to VoIP, or an internet-based phone system for your business. According to a recent survey, over 86% of business owners rated VoIP satisfaction level as “very high.” Why? VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer features, services and equipment that some traditional phone systems can’t compete. In terms of service outside your business and systems inside your business, switching to VoIP can save your business money. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

VoIP choices

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) based systems use the internet for calls. Most smaller businesses choose a basic package from Packet8 or Speakeasy for their service. You can also choose a hosted service and all you need is either an adapter (ATA) or a router. The equipment is all done remotely by a provider. If you have a high call volume and don’t have room for wires, this option works well because there is no maintenance and configuration to worry about.

Cost savings

Typically you can get a good VoIP system for under $1000 plus the cost of the equipment. If your business places a high volume of long distance calls, you can expect to save quite a bit. Monthly bills for service plans typically run up from $10-20 monthly. One study tracked the impact on Intel Corp when they switched to a VoIP phone system and found a cost savings of $312,000 a year. Most business owners are surprised to learn that you’ll save the most by becoming more efficient.

VoIP features

Besides the standard features that all businesses need (voicemail, call forwarding, call transfers and hold messaging), auto-attendant is another additional service that lets the caller dial by name, extension, or listen to a general message containing business hours. Features are generally included in a VoIP plan, but make sure you ask if you specifically need a feature like video conferencing or one-click dialing.

VoIP providers

There are many phone system providers that offer affordable VoIP solutions. Some of the larger and well-known companies like Vonage and Jive have websites where you can see pricing and packages. You can also visit our quote center and find a list of vendors that match your specific needs by simply filling out this form. There are many systems to choose from depending if you want services outside your business or inside your business so do your homework. You can get an inexpensive system with all the “big name” features and the systems just plug into a standard Analog line.

VoIP negotiation

Ask for free equipment. Most salespersons are allowed to include VoIP phones or adaptors to win a contract. If equipment is a no-go, ask for additional features. Can you get a bundle package for cheaper? Try shopping at the end of the month when sales needs to meet their quota.


An overlooked cost savings for entrepreneurs is switching to VoIP, or an internet-based phone system for your business. According to a recent survey, over 86% of business owners rated VoIP satisfaction level as “very high.” Why? VoIP and internet-based phone systems offer features, services and equipment that some traditional phone systems can’t compete. In terms [...]

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We’re learning that free is a good price.

Just got a newsletter from the School of Visual Concepts, a Seattle-based org providing classes in several disciplines, giving small businesses that needed vitamin B shot of knowledge to immediately apply in their environments. “If you were thinking of attending our free “Get a Job in Tough Times” presentation tonight at the School of Visual [...]

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Be Clear. Be Brief. But come back…often.

So I’ve spoken briefly about Twitter in the past. I am still observing the form to understand its place in the overall ecosystem of social networking…and I heard recently that Strunk & White just released a 50th Anniversary Edition of the Elements of Style. To me, it was the perfect collision of old and new…and [...]

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Innovative Idea: Dead Roses For Those You…Liked

Hard to tell if this qualifies as innovative or if it should be put in the “people-will-pay-for-anything” category…but I can say I’ve seen it all now.  I suppose it’s green, technically… I suppose it’s home based. Clearly niche, if you believe that only a small segment of the population would actually put money behind the [...]

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Tips for Developing Your Online Writing Style

Ever thought about writing like you dress in your online communications? I gave a talk the other day on making the most of social media and email marketing and we got into the conversation of creating the voice for your company in your online presence. At VerticalResponse, and right here in my SUN blog, I [...]

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Interview with Peter Ross, CEO of Senior Helpers

I often get asked, “what is the hottest franchise?” or “what sort of business should I buy?” and my response is typically the same … Often is depends on your interests, skills, work ethic, location, and several other factors. But when pressed, I urge people to look at changing demographics, sites or other factors that [...]

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Does Your SEO Copy Sound Like An Ad?

I just spoke to a potential client who wanted to stay away from search engine optimization (SEO) in her copy because she was afraid it would be dishonest and sound like a commercial. Do you think this way too? If so, you are missing out on a great opportunity. How are potential customers going to [...]

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How to make money….when you’re not busy!

Boy, it sure does sound like that is a silly thing to say? How do you make money when you do not have work? Well, it isn’t easy…but you can do it. My husband lost his job two months ago, after 25 years in aerospace… who has issues? He is OK though because: 1) He [...]

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3 Ways to Get your Business in the News

You have news and you don’t even know it. It might not be the Wall Street Journal that picks up the fact that you have a new head chef in your restaurant, or a new winemaker at the winery, or that your software company just hired a new VP, but you’ll be surprised at the [...]

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Ready to Make Your Blog Headlines Irresistible?

Want more people to read your blog? Start with the headline. If you can intrigue your audience with tantalizing headlines, your readership should soar. To that end, here are 5 tactics for making delicious headlines that your readers will eat up! Ask a Question Make your blog entry relevant to your target audience by asking [...]

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Do it…because it feels good.

Do it once a year. Do it once a month. Do it twice a week.   Pro Bono, I mean…what were you thinking?   Especially in this time, when things are tight for everyone, time is valuable. Give it freely. Find a way to connect with those in your community. I’ve noticed messages being targeted [...]

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