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Archive for March, 2011

Boost Buzz Fast with Local Press

If you are a new entrepreneur, one of the best ways to start building buzz is by contacting local media-members. This way, you can practice your pitching skills with a smaller venue and begin creating media relationships to help your business grow. But how do you start your publicity efforts? 1.      Research. First, you want [...]

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It’s Hard to Constantly Innovate

As a small business running a generally small operation, with only a bare-bones team of 9, it’s hard to squeeze innovation into the equation, when everyone’s running at 110% focused strictly on their core competencies. Sure, we each get the occasional ‘light bulb’ idea, that seems like it will be a game-changer in our space, [...]

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My Huge Mistake & Guess What? The Nation Works!

Last week, I spent (wasted) a lot of time spinning my wheels and thinking about decisions that were irrelevant at the moment. Paralyzed with small details that did not matter and stuck in over-thinking the “what-ifs,”  I created a perfect storm for myself. This “time suck” went on for the greater part of the week [...]

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Guy Kawasaki on Enchantment, Marketing and Small Business

Guy Kawasaki is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having co-founded several businesses including Garage Technology Ventures, and Alltop.com, which is, as he describes, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web.  He’s written ten books including The Art of the Start, The Macintosh Way, and his latest, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, releasing March 8th, 2011, available on Amazon.com, and in bookstores everywhere.

I’ve read hundreds of business books, but never have I read a book like this.  In a nutshell, Enchantment is all about how to make people fall in love with you, and when people fall in love with you, you can accomplish anything.

This book is part inspiration, part motivation, and part practication (I just made up a new word).   With inspiring stories and practical steps, Kawasaki explains all the tactics you need to put together and launch your own enchantment campaign.  Kawasaki’s lessons are taken from his experience at Apple, but many of the stories are very personal stories from average, every day people.  (These stories happen to be some of my favorite parts of the book.)  Buy the book on Tuesday March 8th, or any day and you will be able to experience “enchantment” for yourself.

In honor of the release of Kawasaki’s new book, I asked him to give us his perspective on small business marketing today.  Here’s his insightful and unedited response.  Enjoy!

What do you see are the biggest challenges for a small business owner today?

Sales, sales, and sales. My saying is, “sales fixes everything” because as long as you have cash flow, you’re still in the game. As a friend once told me, the leading cause of failure of startups is death, and you die when you run out of money.

Is that different than what it was a few years ago?

It’s been like this since the recession hit. Every day, I wish for just one more bubble because this time I’ll know what to do!  But I believe that business is cyclical, so it’s not wise to panic. A rising tide floats all boats, but a receding tide makes the big, bloated boats hit rock bottom.

How have you seen business owners overcome these challenges?  (What’s working?)

More than anything else, these times are a test of will–how much are you willing to gut it out and grind it out. If you can survive these times, you’re pretty set to take on anything. I have great admiration for the companies that continue to put out great products and services with less money while maintaining high levels of customer enchantment. It’s much easier to write the book and make the speech than actually deliver results.

As far as marketing, what strategies do you use to market your business?

Right now, I’m mostly marketing my new book. To do this, I believe that “nobodies are the new somebodies.” That is, I don’t focus on only the so-called experts and powerful people. I like to work with as many people as possible because it’s impossible to know who will really make you tip.

Is there a strategy that doesn’t work?

I’ve never been one to throw money at a problem…for two reasons, I never had the money to throw and I hate wasting money in any case.

What advice do you have for business owners who are just starting out?

Prototype, prototype, prototype. Get to market. PowerPoint and Excel are secondary or even tertiary in importance. Get to market and get cash flowing.

Other than StartupNation, Entrepreneur Magazine, Alltop.com, what other resources do you recommend for startups?  Books? Websites, etc?

These are primarily information sources. Startups also need ways to reach and serve customers. For this, God provided Twitter and Facebook. These two sites are entrepreneur’s dreams because they are fast, free, and ubiquitous. The book that I recommend to startups is If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. This book provided the inspiration that changed my life. It’s not solely about writing–it’s about the human spirit. Every entrepreneur should read it.

Bonuses:

Online Quiz:  How GREAT Are You?

Online Photo Contest:  Submit your Most Enchanting Photo for a Chance to Win!

“Like” Enchantment on Facebook

Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com.  She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.

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Guy Kawasaki is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having co-founded several businesses including Garage Technology Ventures, and Alltop.com, which is, as he describes, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web.  He’s written ten books including The Art of the Start, The Macintosh Way, and his latest, Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds [...]

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Pick Yourself Up and Get Back to Work!

Yes, the economy is ugly. Yes, customers are tightening their purse strings. Yes, it’s harder to bring in new sales.   Blah. Blah. Blah. Things are tough for many people right now, but that’s no reason to just sit back and wait for things to get better.   It’s time to take action! No one [...]

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Managing a Home Based Business and a Remote Team

Schedule work times

Working independently, without the encouragement or atmosphere of other busy worker bees around you, it’s easy to be super flexible with your day-by-day schedule, allowing hours of precious work time to slip by more and more frequently, until you realize you’re not even working anymore, so the best way for you to run a business from home and ensure you’re putting in quality effort is by scheduling work times when 110% of your concentration during that time is on your work and nothing else because if you allow even 5% of your head space to be occupied by personal matters, you will not be spending enough time or energy on your work, making less-than-satisfactory progress.

3. Schedule personal times

Conversely, you want to make sure to schedule personal times too so you can unwind and make sure you’re staying healthy both with body and mind, plus giving yourself time to breathe when you’re not working, otherwise you can probably work yourself silly since you never think about the traffic on the late commute home, that it’ll be too dark outside to travel home, etc.

4. Schedule weekly or twice weekly visits with team members

You can schedule Skype video chats or simple phone calls with your team to review work that’s been done, progress, and responsibilities for the next few days or week. This way, everyone’s accountable even though you’re not reporting to each other at the weekly conference meeting in a big conference room. Instead, as the manager of your business working with remote members, you’re making sure everything is running smoothly and you’re checking in frequently enough so that team members don’t feel they’ve lost touch. You also can ensure enough progress is being made and that lack-of-progress is caught and dealt with early enough so that it doesn’t become a chronic problem, or even worse, a problem you discover one month later.

Danny Wong is the Co-founder of Blank Label Group, which powers the startups Blank Label,Thread Tradition and RE:custom. He’s also a blogger for HuffingtonPostTheNextWeb andReadWriteWeb.

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As winner of StartupNation’s Home-Based 100 Competition as #1 Most Innovative, I thought it would make sense for my inaugural post to be about managing a home-based business and a bit about how our home business is run remotely too. The four co-founders of Blank Label Group are now working from 4 completely different locations: Orange [...]

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