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

Archive for April, 2010

4G Becomes U.S. Standard Speed in 2015

With Sprint’s newest 4G network already receiving good reviews in the cities it has been tested in, it’s unlikely any wireless carrier will continue to focus on updating their 3G connections. At the moment, T-Mobile remains the only carrier without immediate plans to move into 4G, though it has introduced plans to start 3.5G networks, [...]

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What’s In Your PR Quote?

Are you paying attention to the quotes you’re using in your press releases or just inserting them “as is” into your PR materials? Quotes are important so here are a few, quick things to keep in mind when writing:  Provide value. How many times do you see a press release where the CEO is “thrilled” [...]

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Business Planning—Market Research and Analysis

One of the biggest mistakes made by someone that wants to go into business is not taking the time to do the market research and analysis. Here’s the most common scenario: 1) a business idea, usually something the entrepreneur is crazy or passionate about occurs. 2) He or she develops a business plan, though the [...]

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Green Options For Your Home Office

Earth Day may have been last week, but it doesn’t mean you should stop thinking green.  As an entrepreneur you may not have made the leap (or may not want to) to an office building.  Instead you may be working from home, or chose to have a home office.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you can’t make green options for your home office.

Desks

The desk is a staple in any office—home or otherwise.  There are plenty of manufactures out there that make desks completely from recycled materials.  Look for desks made of bamboo and other eco friendly materials such as un-treated wood.  If bamboo and un-treated wood aren’t for you, think about buying a vintage desk.  Don’t forget, this is a form of recycling.

Paper

Recycling should be a given, but using recycled paper might not be yet. The costs are about the same when buying recycled versus regular paper so just do it.  Since many documents can be sent electronically these days, you may not need to use paper at all or very rarely.  Reusing paper is also a great idea—printing on both sides of the paper will help save paper and cut down on paper costs as well (I know I do it and hardly ever have to buy paper).

If you send a lot of mail, you should check out the green options United States Postal Service provides.  Not only do they make green choices as an organization, but they help you with making greener options as well.

Your Home

If you are in the process of building a home, you may want to consider using steel.  Residential steel buildings are a great eco-friendly choice to make for your home.  Steel is 100% recyclable and lasts longer than other building materials.  If you aren’t in the market of building a home, there are other options you can do easily and are affordable.

Make the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs over incandescent bulbs. “They use 75% less energy and last 8 to 10 years,” says Jennifer Roberts, the author of Good Green Homes.

Remember that little changes we all make can make a difference.  If everyone works together we can make the environment better.  What are some options you have made to make your office (home or otherwise) greener?

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Earth Day may have been last week, but it doesn’t mean you should stop thinking green.  As an entrepreneur you may not have made the leap (or may not want to) to an office building.  Instead you may be working from home, or chose to have a home office.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean [...]

Continue Reading

The Big Marketing Mistake Business Owners Make and How to Avoid it

Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership.

And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially looking for a Chevrolet Trailblazer.    I really liked the person that I was speaking with and told them that I was in the market for a Chevy and asked if they would contact me.  We exchanged business cards and I looked forward to their call.

A few days passed and I still had not heard from the salesperson.  I was very anxious because I really wanted to buy a Chevy Trailblazer.   So I gave them a call, leaving a voice message on their cell phone and on their office phone.  And then I waited for a return call.  And a few days, I still had not heard from the salesperson and so I gave up.

I decided that if they did not want my business, I would take my business elsewhere, ending up buying my Trailblazer through the car buying service located at my credit union.

I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the sales person, or business owner has lost thousands of dollars in sales from me all because they did not follow up!

I think many business owners confuse the term “marketing” with the term “selling.”   Marketing is simply the process or strategies that you use to get the word out about your business and gather leads.  Selling is the process of turning those leads into paying customers.

The biggest problem that I see in marketing your business is that you can be the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t convert the leads to clients you have nothing.  And the most important step in converting leads to clients is simply following up with them.

There are many ways to follow up with leads or prospects, here are just three.

1.  Phone:

After you exchange information and agree to follow up, give them a call within 24 hours.  Say something like, “Hey, I said I would follow up with you, and here I am!  I would love to get together with you to learn more about your needs.”  Don’t aim to sell them your product over the phone.  Aim to set an appointment and to build a relationship.  Find out about what they want before you start selling them.

2.  Email:

If the thought of making a phone call gives you hives, then you could also follow up by email.  The benefit to that of course is that you can do it at any time, and they can answer at their convenience.  If you don’t hear back from them though, go back to step one.

3.  Snail Mail:

Yes, snail mail still exists, and believe it or not people enjoy getting old fashioned cards and letters.  If you’re just not sure about the person, or if you want to send them some additional information, sending a letter via regular mail is a good option.  However, if the contact had indicated that they were interested in your product because they are looking to buy one in the near future, do not use snail mail. Give them a call first, within 24 hours is best.

The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make and it costs them thousands, if not millions.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Follow up with people right away.  I guarantee your sales will soar!

Note:  This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz:  Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

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Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership. And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially [...]

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Got a Celebrity Photo to Sell? Business Idea Becomes Success

Have you ever taken a photo of someone famous? Maybe you just enjoy viewing celebrity photos? Well, here’s a new business you’ll find interesting. Jordan Osher, CEO of Meet The Famous, http://MeetTheFamous.com, recently introduced “the first and only celebrity photo agency for the everyday person.” Here, people can upload, distribute and sell their candid celebrity [...]

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Controversy Sells

Recently, Tempe, Arizona, restaurant, Café Boa, sparked worldwide controversy when they announced the highlight of their Easter menu; rabbit.     This shocking revelation led to over 200 stories in the media from all over the world.  From Arizona to Tokyo, people were talking; even protesting; the Arizona restaurant that was cooking the Easter Bunny for dinner. [...]

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A Six-Letter Word to Use Often

With the way things are right now in the business world, there are many four-letter words that I’m sure you have no problem saying! But, at the same time, have you thanked your customers, partners, associates, and media contacts lately for helping your business stay afloat?   If not, here are three simple ways to [...]

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Got Word-of-Mouth PR?

Do you think of social media first when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing and PR? Well, before you start Tweeting, posting photos on Facebook and adding videos to YouTube, tell your story to the media. After all, if your business is featured in a major news-story on radio, television, print, or online, you can build [...]

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Leave Your Business and Make More

When I was an employee, I hated it when my boss was in the office. The boss always managed to muck things up and did more damage than good by running around being self-important and annoying. As soon as we could get him out of the office, systems started moving smoothly again. We got more [...]

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Take PR Action to Boost Sales Fast!

If your business is not getting the sales you want, it’s time to take action with public-relations activities. Do you want some free publicity within the next two weeks? Here’s what you can do right now: Research. If you don’t already have it, find the name and contact information for a reporter at your local [...]

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