All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur advice"
(Entrepreneur) — How do you lead a brainstorming meeting? First, forget about the box that, according to generally accepted brainstorming practices, you’re supposed to be thinking outside of. The problem with the box is that no one knows how big it is. One person’s box could be tiny, another person’s box could be big. (“Let’s go to another room. The box is too big.”) Someone else’s box could be so big that inside of the box is everything–including reason, judgment and sanity. (“Dear God, what a box.”) Anyway, the box is stifling. It turns a discussion into an exercise. (“Is this ‘outside the box’ enough?”) And the box denies crucial truths about brainstorming: that there is a goal, and that because of time and money there are always limitations on discussion, even from the very beginning. The box is silly. The only box to be concerned with is the room you’ll use for the session. Which is what this is about. There are ways to brainstorm while not “co-locating,” as the sociologists call it, but this is not about that. This is about being in a room with other people.
(Black Enterprise) — Every small business owner should position his or herself as a thought leader in their industry or arena of business. Launching a business blog can be an important part of any successful entrepreneur’s business strategy to help meet their business goals. The Internet is driven by links and every blog post is a unique listing in Google, so it’s time to establish social proof of your business acumen by blogging. While blogging has been around for a while some don’t know the intricacies of being successful at it. Here are eight basic tips to get you started on the right track.
(Entrepreneur) — “If a CEO looks at his function as [finding the employees] to achieve business goals, spending a significant amount of time hiring the very best people for key positions is a great way to run abusiness,” says Reese, who spends as much time searching for–and getting to know–potential interns and recent grads as he does looking for industry leaders. “Great things come out of a culture that combines experience with youth and enthusiasm,” he says, citing Bill Gates, who hired a similar mix of “kids” and “veterans” in the early days of Microsoft, as an example…Jared Hecht, co-founder and CEO of New York City-based GroupMe, says a company’s core idea is one of its most valuable assets for recruiting–and retaining–talent. It doesn’t matter how many great people you hire if you can’t keep their attention, he says. Launched in July 2010, Hecht’s mobile group-texting and conference-calling service has raised more than $11 million from investors, has partnerships with Bon Jovi and MTV and sends more than 100 million messages a month.
(Inc.) — Detroit’s game plan is one that can be embraced by all of us, whether we’re running a start-up, governmental agency or a family. The same principles that will rekindle the soul of Detroit are the ingredients that will enable you to accelerate growth, slay dragons, and change the world: Double Down on Innovation. In today’s hyper-competitive world, creativity has become the currency of success. Detroit is in the midst of shattering conventional wisdom and reinventing itself from the ground up. When Ford Motor Company was facing the same seemingly insurmountable challenges as its competitors, it doubled down on innovation. They got back to creating instead of simply managing. The results? Record profits and a bright future. When your company or career is on the ropes, unleashing your creativity is job No. 1.
(Globe and Mail) — 1. Find a cause that combines your career and your passion. Determine what you value about your career, industry and profession. What would benefit others to have more of? What practices should be stopped? Consider what you talk about to your close colleagues or dream of changing with your co-workers. For example, Facebook’s Sandberg talks often about the importance of women to forge ahead in ambitious leadership roles, and IMF’s Lagarde is tackling ethics in the financial sector.
(Businessweek) — Define your niche and then design your website to maximize your appeal to that niche, making sure that your marketing campaign emphasizes your company’s strengths, says Gabriel Shaoolian, founder and chief executive officer of Blue Fountain Media, a New York website-design and online-marketing agency. “This is not about smoke and mirrors. There are no gimmicks to doing business online. Your website isn’t going to drive your business model. It is your business model that will drive your website,” he says. One trend that you might consider is incorporating mobile Internet applications, such as iPad and iPhone, into your site, says Brian Morgan, CEO of Adventure Life, a boutique travel agency in Missoula, Mont. Especially when they are on the road, your customers are likely to access your site using mobile devices.
(Entrepreneur) — You can lower your risk by slimming down what online security pros call your “attack surface.” And that means going beyond simply installing anti-virus software. Don’t assume partners have your back. If you depend on outside sources for technical firepower–outsourced services, cloud solutions and the like–come at it with eyes wide open. “Many business owners think their web hosting provider is taking care of the security of their website,” says Neil Daswani, co-founder and chief technology officer of security firm Dasient. ”Not so. At the low monthly fees at which many hosting services are made available, the web hosting provider does not scan the websites for vulnerabilities or malware.”
(Entrepreneur) — First, you should consider the market for another bar in your area. Is there really a market for one, and if there is, how will yours be different that the competition? Do they offer food to their patrons? One way to do this is to find out how much people in your metro area spend on dining out, bar services and entertainment in your area, then see how many bars and restaurants are in your area — as you will be competing against them as well. Then, divide numbers. Say, for example, you see people spend $1 million per year in your area on these services and there are 10 bars and restaurants in your area. That means each bar and restaurant is grossing $100,000 per year.
(Entrepreneur) — 1. Overinvesting in the business. To look more professional, young entrepreneurs may spend their savings too freely. Maybe they lease ritzy offices or purchase high-dollar equipment. Overspending on business expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary can quickly erode your personal finances, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, an online personal-finance resource for women. It can be easy to burn through your savings before you even have a product or service to sell, she says. That’s when young entrepreneurs dig themselves deeper in the hole personally. Instead, “spend every dollar you have on building a really good product and get it in front of users,” von Tobel says. “If your product isn’t good, there’s no hope for making any progress.”
Big companies don’t rely on guesses or generalities when it comes to sales and marketing. The more precisely they can pinpoint buying behavior, the happier they are and the more they are willing to invest in the tools that will allow them to perfect their strategy.
That’s why more advertising dollars are flowing to the internet and banks are doing everything possible to get you to buy with a debit card. Every interaction you have online and every purchase you make with digital currency is completely trackable, so that over time, when all that data is merged, who you are, your specific tastes and preferences become very clear.
With this information, marketers can create the right messages to sell their products and services — and they can develop their next offerings based on emerging trends, not whims. (I’ll share more about this with specific examples in my next column.)
It’s not just big, savvy, profit-seeking companies using marketing analytics to deliver the right message in the right place to their target customer. Even President Obama’s campaign is planning to use data mining and analysis to win another victory in 2012.
Big brother factor aside, the nugget that entrepreneurs and small businesses can take from this behavior is: Build predictability into your business by paying attention to customer patterns, then use those insights to drive your marketing, sales and customer service strategy.
We often operate from our gut; and I understand that. Yes, our subconscious and spirit are smart, well-informed tools, too. But the world is a crowded, noisy and distracting place — and as emotional beings we are fickle — so every day when people buy or don’t buy, respond or don’t respond to a marketing message, you should be keeping track of what’s happening and why. Over time patterns will emerge. Those repeat questions or requests, standard comments or complaints that irk you? They should actually make you rejoice. The huge response or lack of thereof is directional signage pointing you toward a predictable paycheck, because your customers are telling you exactly what they want to buy.
Though walking into a store and buying, or being moved by a political commercial may all appear seamless, perfect and natural, the truth is big companies — and as it turns out, big politicians — don’t generate great profits and great wins without knowing exactly what you and I respond to. They analyze what we like, what we don’t like and just how much we’re willing to pay for it, and serve up our heart’s desire at the precise moment that we’re ready to buy.
I see evidence of this in my very own business all the time. For example, to market a recent event we spent $99 on an e-mail campaign and a few thousand dollars to advertise on a popular Atlanta radio station. Emotionally, it seems like radio would bring the best response, right? Wrong. In terms of total number of responses, the radio spots came out on top. But in terms of the number of people the message reached versus the number that actually responded, e-mail was the clear and absolute winner.
This matters because when we are making decisions about where to market and how much to spend, the better we know our customers, how well a particular marketing vehicle converts an audience to respondents and respondents to buyers, then the better off we are in making investments that will grow our business.
In this economy, where competition is stiff and consumer behavior is flighty, you can’t afford to wing it. You might start out that way in the beginning, but to create a predictable paycheck for your business you’ve got to learn exactly who your target customer is, how much they’re willing to spend and when they’re willing to spend it. A clear and measurable sales and marketing strategy is how your business is going to survive and thrive.
Felicia Joy is a nationally recognized entrepreneur who created $50 million in value for the various organizations and companies she served in corporate America before launching her business enterprise. She is the author of Hybrid Entrepreneurship: How the Middle Class Can Beat the Slow Economy, Earn Extra Income and Reclaim the American Dream and is often called on to discuss the ins and outs of entrepreneurial success. She has appeared on CNN, FOX and in other national press. Felicia operates Ms. CEO Inc., a company that inspires women entrepreneurs to be savvy, profitable and bold in business; her company created the popular “Ms. CEO” tee. She also operates Joy Group International, LLC, a publishing, business development and consulting firm. Follow her at www.twitter.com/feliciajoy. Send your questions to email@example.com and she’ll answer them here in this column.
Get your business to where you want it to be: Learn more about Felicia’s convenient training, e-Publications and books that can help you take the guesswork out of starting and growing your business. Learn her proven strategies and approach for successful entrepreneurship, whether part-time or full-time. If you’re pouring money into your business or simply not getting a lot out of it, learn how to reverse those patterns and start making the money you want and deserve. If there is something specific you’d like help with, e-mail Felicia or connect with her on Twitter @feliciajoy.
Note: All advice offered in this column is for general information only. Felicia Joy and The Atlanta Post are indemnified against any and all related claims. Always seek the advice of licensed professionals before making business decisions.