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

Posts Tagged “small business”

Enjoy Summer More by Outsourcing

Hire Outside Experts to Boost Sales Summer is flying by and August is here. With this in mind, what are you doing to make your life easier during these warmer months? As a business owner, it’s easy to want to control every aspect of your business. But you can actually save time and accomplish more [...]

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3 Tips for Juggling Tech Priorities

At Rich Dad, we use a combination of innovation and speed to meet the needs of our ever-changing business environment and exceed customer expectations. And I’m sure you are dealing with the same issues at your small business. Things can get out of control fast (especially if you are outsourcing a lot of work) so [...]

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Top 3 Getting Organized for Biz Tools

With Labor Day upon us, either most schools are back in session or about to start.  That means Moms and Dads Gone Wild.  Do NOT let your mind get carried away with you…..I am talking about moms and dads all over the country are changing schedules, transitioning into a new routine, and welcoming the occurrence [...]

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Small Business surprise in my week away

Hi there StartUpNation!  I am back after one final tribute to summer last week.  Where I live, school is back in session as of today, and I am glued to my desk and ready to go!  In between camp and school, my WHOLE extended family headed to the beach last week.  We enjoyed one last [...]

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Add This Term to Your Business Vocabulary: API

Yes, another acronym.  API means Application Programming Interface.  Ok, your eyes just rolled back.  Don’t stop reading, I’ll give you some reasons why you need to know this term: 1.  The essence of an API is that it makes it easy for two types of programs to talk to each other. 2.  So when you [...]

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HubSpot Has Your Marketing Needs Covered

According to recent market research, more than 15,000 websites are currently using HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing tool that aims to do for small and medium-sized businesses what full-fledged marketing consultants do for larger companies. HubSpot strives to have every major marketing feature that small and medium-sized businesses need – Search Engine Optimization (SEO); lead generation, [...]

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5 Clues that You Need Salesforce

Here are 5 reasons that may indicate that you are ready to move up to Salesforce as your contact and lead management (CRM) provider. Ask yourself if these statements apply to your needs. If so, you may want to investigate Salesforce to see if it’s right for your company. 1. You want a system from [...]

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Constant Contact Focuses on Social CRM

Constant Contact, the largest email marketing company in terms of number of users, is expanding its traditional focus to keep up with digital marketing.  With the growing use of social media as an effective and required marketing tool, Constant Contact is entering the Social CRM business. The company recently acquired Bantam Live, a social CRM [...]

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Selling to Wal-Mart: The Do’s and the Dont’s

o Make sure your product fits Wal-Mart’s mission, demographics and consumer lifestyle.

o You will need to provide the buyer with data on competitors and how your products compare or are better than them. Actual customer marketing research should be presented (not just your opinions on why your product is the next million dollar idea.)

o They don’t want to see prototypes, unfinished samples, or waste time with ideas. You probably would not even get an appointment with an idea.

o Have your pricing and product configuration ready to go. They are interested in selling, not testing new products.

o Have your packaging ready, with bar codes….at the meeting.

o Make sure you are familiar with Wal-Marts buying process, and how they place their products into the stores. (this is not so easy to do, a great agent can assist in this.)

o Conceive every question or comment the buyer might ask you about your product, and be prepared to have the answers for them. Play your devils advocate, and be willing to be in the hot seat.

o Be prepared to take some heat on pricing, and always appear to be educated on the products demographics and competitors pricing. Know, know, know your best pricing going in, you will be drilled about it! Wal-Mart buyers deal everyday with many manufacturers direct, so in their category you better believe they know what something should cost. If you’re pulling the wool over their eyes, you could look silly.

o Be willing to listen to the buyer’s advice and guidance when it comes to the product. They have great insight!

The Dont’s-

o Make sure you don’t take pictures (anywhere in the building). They are very strict, so leave your cell and camera in the car!

o Think your product is the next million dollar idea! Be humble and willing to take criticism.

o Argue with the buyer. If they turn the item down, say thank you!

o Expect the buyers to dictate to you what you need to do to develop the item. They will give general advice, however, you’re presenting to them, you better know what you are selling.

o Waste their time.

Always Dream BIG!

Kim Babjak

Kim Babjak, and her team at KimCo LLC, are a multi-faceted product development company that offers a wide range of consulting in the areas of  “Mind 2 Market” product & business development. With over 20+ years of combined retail experience and sourcing overseas, Kim Babjak and her team of professionals can help create successful product creation and placement. We help companies with product development, prototyping, and manufacturing overseas and. With our vast retail buyer relationships, we can then assist with the product being placed into electronic retail (QVC), and big box retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Costco and many others.

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After returning from Bentonville last week, I realized what I had just done was the most exciting thing an inventor/entrepreneur could ever do. Walk the hallways of the buying office at the headquarters of Wal-Mart…. The blue and gray walls signify America, and the American dream of most product developers; to place their products into [...]

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Do you plan to GROW during the summer?

For my boys, school is out for the summer, and that means “let the fun begin!”  After sitting inside all fall, winter, & spring, they are absolutely ready for a new pace.  Summer brings warm weather and ditching the jackets, longer days, and growth.  I am not talking about just the flowers growing and blooming, [...]

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Be Loyal – Personally & Professionally

I say “Bless You” to my dogs when they sneeze, Do You? Where am I going with this? I say “Bless You” to the dogs because they are loyal to me and I am loyal to them.  We all strive to be Loyal to our loved ones in our personal lives, but Loyalty is also [...]

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Time for Some Summer Inspiration

  As Memorial Day approaches, I thought it would be nice to post a little inspirational message.   After all, it’s almost time to celebrate grads, dads and the arrival of summer.   However, many of you may be dealing with tough times or financial difficulties with your business and unable to truly celebrate anything. [...]

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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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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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12 Tips for Using YouTube to Promote Your Business


Soft-Sell
You shouldn’t ask people to buy your stuff after watching your videos. Most people aren’t ready for this. Plan your marketing funnel and you’ll see a much better response. This is a example:

Watch YouTube Video > Go to My Blog to Watch More Videos > Sign Up to Get My Exclusive Videos (You Capture Email Addresses Here) > Try to Sell Them a Low-Ticket Item > Try to Sell a High-Ticket Item to Those Who Bought from You Before

Video Responses
Look for videos related to yours and whenever it’s appropriate post your videos as video responses to them (don’t spam). This will allow you to piggyback a lot of the traffic that these videos get.
YouTube Video Response

Create Playlists
Playlists are a great way to get your videos watched by a lot of people.

Here’s how:
1. Add your video to a new playlist
2. Add great videos on the same topic (from other people)
3. Choose a smart name for the playlist (think about your keywords. i.e. “Dog Training Tips”)

YouTube Playlist

It’s a Social Network!
YouTube isn’t just a video sharing site; it’s a social network. You can add friends, message them, join groups, create your own group and use the bulletin board to interact with the YouTube community.


Promote Your Videos
Uploading videos to YouTube isn’t enough. You need to promote them. These are some ideas:

  • Embed your videos in your blog.
  • Email your YouTube link to your friends and contacts.
  • Ask people you know to tell their lists and contacts.
  • Write an article about your video and post it to article directories and forums.
  • Post your video to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and your other social networks.
  • ASK PEOPLE TO SHARE – When posting on social networks including “Please Retweet” or “Share this with your friends” really helps.
Zeke Camusio is a serial entrepreneur, online marketing expert, author of Google Rocketship and founder of an Internet Marketing Agency in Portland, OR.
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Most people are afraid to use YouTube to promote their business. But you shouldn’t be and here’s why: the most popular videos aren’t professional productions. They’re just a girl or guy, that gets in front of a camera and talks about what he/she knows best. No expensive equipment required. Here are 12 of my favorite [...]

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How to Double Your Productivity In One Week

Six years ago, I was working 12-hour days. Wanting to get more done in less time, I started studying productivity principles. Now I never work more than 6 hours a day but I manage to get more done than before! Here are the tips that more than doubled my productivity and cut my work day [...]

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10 Tips For Motivating Your Employees

Employee turnover is one of the most expensive costs your company will have. Not only is it expensive to replace a departing employee, but it also affects the morale of the entire team. Here are the ten tips that I use to keep my employees happy. Make Them Feel Like Part of Your Project Share [...]

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Ladies: Getting Your Legal Foundation in Place is Sexy!

This one is especially for the ladies, because I think this is an epidemic issue with us.  But men, you are warmly welcome here!  I hope everyone gets something from this post….read on! There are so many programs out there that talk about marketing, sales, Social Media, finding your bliss, etc….  All of these things [...]

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Lineage2, Aion, Blade And Soul