Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekly Affirmations for the Self-Employed

The answers to my business questions are out there. I can find out what I need to know.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Weekly Affirmations for the Self-Employed

When the going gets tough, I’m tough enough to keep going.

In Loving Honor of my Grandmother,
one of the toughest women I've ever known.
Marion Patricia Clark Magness
July 14, 1921 - April 22, 2008
I love and miss you, Nonnie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Print Yellow Pages Aren't Obsolete Yet

Would you use a typewriter in your new business? How about buying a pack of carbon sheets for making copies?

No, I don’t think so.

And neither do the wiki contributors at the Australian website ObsoleteSkills.com, an A-Z list of things we no longer need to know in the modern world.

But one of the included skills is, “looking up a business in the Yellow Pages.”

Whoa, slow down there.

Although I have previously written about how valuable it is to take your business online to be seen by the people who do NOT use the print Yellow Pages, there are still many people who do. Despite the trend that points toward the growing popularity of Internet searches, current user statistics of the Yellow Pages suggest that you shouldn’t abandon your business listing and/or advertising just yet.

While 93% of consumers use the Internet to search for businesses, stores and services, a whopping 95% of purchases are still made in brick-and-mortar stores. Plus, the 2007 Yellow Pages usage reports show that 86% of Americans used the print directory to inform purchasing decisions that year.

Is a print Yellow Pages advertisement enough? No. You have to be online, too.

But obsolete? Not yet. Not by a long shot.

The best article I’ve seen on how to best use a Yellow Pages print ad:

The second best article I’ve seen on what to consider before placing a print Yellow Pages ad:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Salesforce for Google Apps Available Today

Salesforce.com and Google have announced today that "they have integrated Salesforce’s customer relationship management software and Google’s suite of office productivity applications, which includes e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets programs, into a single software package." (NYT)

If you already use Salesforce.com as your customer relationship manager tool, you can now sign up for Google apps, or sign into your existing Google apps account, to activate the new relationship.

The partnership means that Salesforce.com and Google apps launch side-by-side and work together, eliminating the need for parallel or duplicated tracking of e-mails and sales related documents. For example, e-mails to sales leads that you send via your Gmail account can now be simultaneously tracked inside Salesforce.

The best part of this deal for small businesses is that these services are "web apps," or "web applications," meaning they are hosted and delivered over the Internet. You pay a small monthly subscription fee, rather than having to purchase, installation, store and maintain the software on your business's hard drive or network.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Julianne Hough and Adam Corolla - Dancing with The Stars

Go Scare Yourself

After a six-week hiatus, "Boston Legal" returned to ABC last night with a new episode. It was the kind of occasion that would have warranted turning off my phone, except that the only person who would call me that late at night is my boyfriend, and he knows to wait until after the show.

Determined not to miss a single second of a new BL, I tuned in to ABC five minutes before 10 pm and caught the end of "Dancing with the Stars"—the moment where the hosts bid sayonara to celebrity comedian and radio show host Adam Corolla and his dancing instructor and partner, Julianne Hough.

In the final moments before the credits, the show host put the mike to Adam and asked him a question that was clearly intended to lead the comedian into an opportunity to do what he would normally do: make a joke. But instead, Adam said something to the effect of: “I did this show because it scared me and I thought it would be a good idea to do something that scared me. I’m glad I did. To everyone watching who is afraid, too, I say just go out and do it. You don't know what rewards you'll reap from the risk.”

This morning, I received a similar message.

For a week or so, I’ve been subscribing to CEO/Entrepreneur/Attention-Getter Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out newsletter. The e-mail from Peter that greeted me this morning says:

So I spoke to a class at NYU last night, talking about marketing and creativity.
I suggested that they do one thing every day that scares them. I suggest the
same to you. Today, do one thing that scares you.

In less than 12 hours, I heard two people give the same advice.

Coincidence? Or divine instruction? Whatever you believe, when synchronicity like that occurs to me, I take heed.

Today, I will do something to scare myself. And I pass on the encouragement to you to do the same.

Taking the leap to self-employment was terrifying. Starting a second company, self-funding it, and taking the idea out into the world for people to judge has, at times, conjured sensations of being in mortal danger. These are intensely frightening undertakings.

But throughout my life, I have always found that confronting things I fear has been the right choice. It has forced me to challenge myself and my assumptions. As a result, I have always found skills, loves, friends and opportunities that I would otherwise not have discovered.

No matter where you are in the self-employment process, chances are you can benefit from a shake up, too.

If you're only considering starting a business, but haven't yet done anything more than talk about it, today is the day to put your foot forward.

If you've started a business, but there is an element of it that frightens you, today is the day to face it.

If you've successfully been in business for a period of time, today is the day to look at your dusty widgets and ask yourself, "What is holding me back from taking this business to the next level? What am I afraid of?"

Life is too short to be afraid, my friends. Go scare yourself.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Even if a picture tells a thousand words, the words are still important.

"Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling."

Bill Bernbach, the inventor of modern advertising

Sunday, April 6, 2008


This morning I learned about a new resource for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs: PerfectBusiness.com.

It’s an entrepreneur network that claims “launching a successful business has never been so simple.”

Ha! If only.

Anyway, in the attempt to simplify the start-up, PerfectBusiness.com provides some very interesting features, including:

  • Video interviews from very well-known and enviable entrepreneurs, such as the founder of
  • Trader Joe’s and the CEO of World Poker Tour
  • Networking clubs so you can chat online with people in the same phase of start-up as you
  • Pitch center, where you can seek venture funding
  • Tools and resources sections with articles and calculators that come in handy

And what every entrepreneur loves: it’s free to join.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Small Business Marketing Doesn't Have to Be Complex or Costly

Last month, Marketing Maven Wendy Maynard wrote about an effective marketing idea used at Key Bank that was both simple and inexpensive. Read more about the A-1 Steak Sauce and ketchup campaign here.

This week, a colleague told me about her friend, a photographer, who promotes her business by sending a “photo of the month” postcard to everyone on her mailing list.

One of my clients, Sock It To Me Socks, runs a “Cool Girl of the Month” feature on her web site. It reinforces her brand’s personality and encourages customers to interact with her web site as well as help spread the word about it.

What these examples have in common is that they are all simple, effective and inexpensive ways to generate attention for your business products or services. And it just doesn’t get easier than that for the small business owner wearing multiple hats and in need of a marketing strategy.

What kind of campaign or idea can you conjure that highlights a unique quality of your business?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Weekly Affirmations for the Self-Employed

I can handle the responsibilities of owning my small business.