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

Archive for “Fund Your Business”

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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Get the Word Out Now!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen an increase in small-business marketing budgets in the last few weeks.   More small businesses are realizing that they need to market and promote their services more than ever to get their piece of the consumer’s shrinking budget.   After all, if you don’t get your name [...]

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How to Increase Sales in 3 Steps

If you want to get some new business, here are three quick tips that may help you boost your customer-list fast… 1. Make A List. Check It Twice. Look through all of your contacts and review the people you’ve met in your industry or at various conferences, local business meetings, presentations, etc. Then, make a list. Research [...]

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The Small Business Professor Gives Insights on Brother® Small Business Survey

A recent survey conducted by StartupNation’s friends at Wakefield Research for Brother® International, http://bit.ly/cIsNF5, indicated that small business owners “believe that stockpiling their cash now is the best strategy for survival.” The survey also revealed ways that small business owners plan to make their businesses more efficient this year. To find out more, I interviewed [...]

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Ready to Make Media Contact?

After conducting extensive research and preparing your story ideas (discussed in previous blog entries pertinent to our “7 Steps to Successful Public Relations”), the next step is to contact the media. Introduce Yourself. You can start with a press release announcing your new business and call or e-mail the appropriate media member with a simple [...]

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The Art of Getting Buzz in Entrepreneur Magazine

For many small business owners getting a write-up in Entrepreneur magazine is the holy grail of media coverage.  A few lines in the magazine can make all those sleepless nights, hard work, and determination seem rewarded.  No trophies or plaques required.  So what does it take to secure this much coveted ink? Aronado Placencia, host [...]

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Can a Consultant Save You Cash…and Heartache?

As a bootstrap entrepreneur, I’ve learned there are just some things you don’t cut corners on. My “golden rule” has always been to hire the best Lawyer, Accountant, and Business Consultant you can find, even if you can’t afford it. The truth is you simply can’t afford NOT to.  Running my small business over the [...]

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How to Start Getting Publicity Now

Since we have a fresh new year, I think it’s time to renew some basics about publicity from our “7 Steps to Successful Public Relations.” For example, just because you’re a small business owner, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get great mentions in big, media venues. But how do you get started? Well, first [...]

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Surviving Tough Times-Interview with Author, Successful Entrepreneur George Cloutier

Want insider secrets from a highly successful entrepreneur on how to survive tough, economic times? Well, today you’re in luck. I caught up with George Cloutier, owner of the highly successful business, American Management Services, http://www.amserv.com/, to discuss his new book, “Profits Aren’t Everything; They’re the Only Thing.” Here’s what he had to say. Tell [...]

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What Business Owner’s Can Do To Gain Capital

Banks aren’t lending-despite reports the economy is getting better. So, what does this mean for small business owners and people trying to start their own business? Basically people are going to need to get a little creative when it comes to getting money from banks. If you don’t have a perfect credit score, you have [...]

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Why Dell Beats the Hell Out of Threadless

First, they correctly targeted their customer and simply provided them with useful information.  Next, they implemented systems to monitor, measure, and manage customer service interactions.
(Great tips for handling customer service here.) These are great starting points and should serve as the foundation for any small business looking to incorporate social media in their marketing efforts.

While those are great steps for getting started in social media, it’s important that companies don’t stop there.  The real key to your success lies in your ability to actively engage that target demographic.  I urge you to roll up your sleeves a little and try some new strategies this year to finally get some ROI from social media.  To get you started, I’ve brainstormed a couple ideas below.

  • Include a playful and creative flyer in outgoing packages encouraging participation and possibly offering a reward… “Be a sweetie! (attach some candy to the card) Post a pic of you wearing this t-shirt on our Fan Page and we’ll send you a $5 gift card.”
  • Create a survey on Facebook or poll on Twitter (twtpoll) asking “friends” to vote on which new products to sell/create…the winning product will be offered to survey participants first, and at a discount. (See how Modcloth does this here)
  • Track down recent customers on Facebook and “friend” them with your companies Facebook page (who doesn’t want more “friends”?)
  • Spend money to make money…hire a Community Manager that will actually have the time to effectively target and engage new customers and strengthen your online branding. (Not sure what a Community Manager does? Read this by Chris Brogan.)

I truly believe social media is the future for small business marketing and I hope you can find at least one of these ideas helpful in your efforts to engage online.  Always be on the lookout for innovative new ideas to reach your customers and don’t be shy.  A sincere, heartfelt, and playful “hello” to your customers will be appreciated more times than not.  Just make sure you have the infrastructure in place to monitor, measure, and manage all those new customer interactions.

Need help with your social media campaign? Contact me directly here!

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I apologize for the outlandish headline, but I don’t really think it’s any more outlandish than crowning Threadless as the sales guru of Twitter.  I’m sure you’ve read some recent press in the media bragging about Threadless being the company to emulate when it comes to monetizing on Twitter. (Read one article from Inc here) [...]

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Fox Business Network Features Our Elevator Pitch Advice

The three most important things to achieve in delivering an effective pitch to investors are: A sense of confidence A sense of excitement A clear action plan Just this week on their popular Happy Hour show, Fox Business Network featured our advice on their show. Here’s the interview. Or just click on the image below. [...]

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Stop Dilly-Dallying. Get This Book. Start a Business.

It’s time. Right Now. Stop dilly-dallying. Starting a business doesn’t have to be scarey. And you don’t have to wait. Start on a path to opening your own business. Get our life-changing book, StartupNation: Open for Business. There are easy steps you can take. And there are over 30 examples of success stories using our process, [...]

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The Death of Twitter. (and the Birth of Twitter for Business)


So what does this mean for small business?

If you haven’t jumped in on the social media bandwagon yet, now is the time.  Customers and clients are using their blogs, tweets, facebook status updates, and more to talk about your brand.  (Don’t believe me? Watch this.) With the birth of social search, these conversations will now be mainstream for all of Google to see.  In other words, your customers will directly effect your Google search rankings.

Will Twitter be more business friendly in 2010?

Absolutely. Their real-time search collaboration is a big step in the right direction and Twitter isn’t stopping there. It has also launched a “Contributors” function (invitation only for now) which allows companies to have several authors send tweets under the same company profile. It is rumored that this may be one of the many new features in a “business class” Twitter account. These accounts would be part of an anticipated paid model launch in 2010. Also highly anticipated is the new emphasis on GeoAPI which will allow tweets to be seen with geo-location information. (Click here to read more.)

So what should you do?

Take advantage of this new opportunity to leverage social media in your favor by developing a listening strategy (read my post here for a how to), ensuring that your current web collateral can easily be shared socially (use AddThis or ShareThis buttons), and abandon spamming your marketing messages via your social networks in favor of developing mutually beneficial online relationships with key influencers in your industry.

Share your thoughts below in the comments! Are you using Twitter for Business?

Need help with your social media campaign? Contact me directly here!

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I wouldn’t encourage the naysayers to start chanting “the wicked witch is dead” just yet, but there has been a definite decline in Twitter users. According to the latest research from eMarketer, Twitter posted a decline in users from 23 million to 20 million. How is this possible you ask? Easy. The honeymoon is over [...]

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Leadership Guru and eePulse, Inc. Owner Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D. Shares Employee Motivation Tips

Are you having trouble keeping your employees motivated during today’s challenging times? Well, I recently caught up with human resource and leadership guru Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D. As the President and CEO of eePulse, Inc., www.eepulse.com, a Research Professor with the Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California and the Editor-in-Chief [...]

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Who’s On Your Team?

If you are trying to save money and start the New Year off right, there may be a secret problem lurking in your business. With the stress of trying to balance a budget, pay bills, obtain new customers, and have a life outside of the office, it can be easy to overlook one key element [...]

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ABC News Now Highlights 2009 Home-Based 100 Winners!

Excited to share the news: ABC News Now’s Tory Johnson just highlighted select winners from the 2009 StartupNation Home-Based 100. Click on the image here to view the interview or select “Play ABC Video.” I was able to mention these winners in the quick interview: Haralee Weintraub’s Haralee.com Joe Hansen and Cristy Stewart-Harfmann’s PricelessProfiles.com, and [...]

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Celebrity Product Placement: The Do’s and Don’ts

As the “royalty” status of Hollywood stars has risen, so has their effectiveness as key influencers in consumer purchasing behaviors. Celebrity product placement is considered an “influencer-marketing” approach for helping brands increase their competiveness in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Marketers and small business owners can harness that power through strategic product placement opportunities that have [...]

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CEOs grow more optimistic, third quarter in a row

Ever heard of “The Conference Board”? It’s a global, independent business membership and research association. Their mission is to provide organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance, among other things. They do a study on a quarterly basis that measures CEO confidence, which had increased in the second quarter of 2009, and [...]

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