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Posts Tagged “entrepreneurship”

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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White House unveils new initiative for small business owners, but something is missing

Yesterday President Obama unveiled a new initiative to encourage entrepreneurship in the United States. Dubbed “Startup America,” the goal of this new program is to encourage “high growth” entrepreneurship to increase the number of new jobs added to the economy. The program brings together people from both the private and public sectors. According to the [...]

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Why you Need to Build a Startup Family

Over the last 7 years, I have been involved in more startups than most entrepreneurs will in their lifetime. That’s not to say that I’m an “expert” in entrepreneurship (or an expert in anything for that matter), but I certainly have had a pretty diverse set of entrepreneurial experiences for a 27 year-old. I have [...]

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55% of Americans Don’t Like “Workin’ for the Man”

Happy with your day job? If so, you’re in the minority. 55% of Americans are not happy with their work and wish they could be doing something else, according to the latest study by The Conference Board, reflecting the highest dissatisfaction level in the 22-year history of the study. In just one year (from 2008 to 2009) [...]

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Partner: Beat The Economy Together

I wonder if products have the same experience people do, that when they meet their match, they feel like they are “home?” I’ll bet the product manager of this doosey has earned his bonus: Hillshire Farm ham and turkey + reusable Gladware = Green, Money Saving, The-Big-Corporation-Proves-It-Can-Still-Listen-To-Customers   What partnerships could you consider in your business? [...]

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Diversify Your Revenue Streams: Spin What You Got

I picked up a book in the airport recently: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. It’s a fast read and has enough tabloid photos to keep you interested. Her come-sit-by-me-and-dish point of view is disarming and I genuinely enjoyed her tales, her vulnerability and her wit. More importantly, I respect what she is doing. Wishful Drinking [...]

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How to Conquer Your Business Startup Fears with Mind Mapping

Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, and financial competency. The dreaded, “what if I can’t do it?” question creeps into our daily thoughts. We start reasoning that it might be better to “just wait another year.”

These fears are extremely common and unfortunately well founded. Reports show that as much as 50% of all new start-ups fail within the first year. That is not exactly encouraging odds. However, we all have a choice when it comes to creating our destiny. We can use statistics like these to confirm our business’s certain death, or gain confidence from the fact that you could be part of the 50% that become a success. In the famous words of Zig Ziglar, you just have to eliminate your “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”.

One of the tools I use to overcome my fears is mind mapping. It’s a terrific tool that can help you isolate the source of your fears, bring much needed perspective, and help brainstorm solutions to your sticking points. There are several “mind mapping” tools out there and many are free to use. I prefer to use the tool by Wisemapping since it’s free, allows me to add notes and web links, and I can publish or share the completed map.

To demonstrate my fear mind mapping strategy, I’ve created an example below.

Startup Fear Mindmap

First, I outline my top fears associated with starting the business. I then brainstorm how I can overcome those fears. My final step will be answering those questions. My goal is to find a positive solution to each of the questions I’ve asked. For example, for the question, “Can I reduce my startup costs with outsourcing?” I would research potential manufacturing possibilities until I could answer the question with a “yes.” If I can’t find a way, I then brainstorm ways to overcome the obstacle. A “no” isn’t necessarily bad, it just means you need to tweak your business plan to compensate for this reality. Try to be as thorough and honest as possible with your mind map. The goal is to solve your sticking points on paper before you’ve invested your time and money. I use this tool regularly for many of my business decisions including product launches, partnership agreements, and even potential marketing opportunities.

It’s amazing what this simple exercise can do for your confidence level. You are no longer living in fear of the unknown. Instead, you are on a mission with a powerful road map to your business’s success.

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Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, [...]

Continue Reading

In Small Business, Is It About College or Training?

Every now and then I get asked or ask the question: what universities could do to prepare their students for a world in business.” I was randomly going through articles on Startups at Alltop and came across Is College Worth it For Entrepreneurs? at youngentrepreneur.com.   Classic, “Top 3,” “Best Of” list below:    1) [...]

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