Category Archives: Biz Tips

Interview: David Troy, co-founder and CEO of 410 Labs

David Troy, CEO of 410 Labs, talks about their email program Mailstrom and how to get you to inbox 0.

410 Labs, makers of Mailstrom, is a lean product studio founded in 2010 by Dave Troy and Matthew Koll.

Listen to David’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

3 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out

These days, we’re all looking for a quick way to get our business noticed. But, what if there’s a more lasting way to keep your business on the map? It’s not as hard as you might think. Here are our top three ways to make your business stand out and keep it that way:

1. Upgrade your website…and keep it updated.

You need to have a website, it needs to look like you made it in the last year, and you need to keep updating it. On the most basic level, it keeps the search engine bots happy. Your ranking in searches would be improved. Another reason you need to update your website is to make sure it is mobile ready. In January, 55% of Internet usage was on mobile technology. People will search for your business on their phones and mobile devices. You need to be where they’re searching.

2. Figure out what your customers want and give it to them.

I’m not talking about your products. You know what your customers are buying. In this instance, I’m talking about content marketing. If you make air conditioners, your customers might want to know about air conditioners, specifically the air conditioners you sell. Another way to do it is figure out what questions your customers are asking. How often have you typed a question into Google? Consider all the questions people are asking and see which ones you can provide an answer for.

3. Ask your customers for reviews

Your customers are your best advocates. If you have someone who is satisfied, you want them to shout your praises from the rooftops. Give them a forum to do that. Whether it’s a short video, a place on your website, or your Twitter account. Ask them to talk about you on Yelp or Foursquare. Get the stories out there.

How do you get your business noticed? How would you be an advocate for a business? Share in the comments!

 

Interview: Eileen Brown, Author of Working the Crowd

workingEileen Brown is CEO of Amastra the author of Working the Crowd.
Click here to listen to Eileen’s interview.

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8 Ways to Measure Your Success

Success is hard. We all want it; we’re not always sure when we get there. It doesn’t always feel like you’re achieving the success you have your eyes on, but are you measuring your success correctly?

Here are our top 8 ways to measure your success:

1. You’re willing to ask for help.

Being successful doesn’t mean doing everything by yourself. A measure of your success could be your willingness to work on a team. Finding the strength the ask for help is a sign your headed in the right direction.

2. The art of letting go.

The unsuccessful can cling to things that aren’t good for them and don’t make them happy. As a successful person, you’re able to let it go to seek your greater happiness.

3. You aren’t afraid of failure

Failure is only the opposite of success if you let it win. Successful people know that failure is just part of the process of growing.

4. You’re happy for others success

People who haven’t achieved personal success are jealous of the people who have. If you can be happy for people who have found their success, it’s a good sign for you. Also, it’s healthy.

5. You look forward to the future

The successful have things they look forward to. Is there something coming up in your future that you’re excited for? What do you anticipate? If you don’t look forward to anything, maybe try finding a meetup or conference that can kickstart your excitement.

6. You can measure your goals

Just because you haven’t reached your ultimate goal doesn’t mean you haven’t achieved some. I you’re feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything, take a look back over the past few years and see what you have done. You might find a list of goals that you knocked out of the park.

7. You aren’t the victim

People with a victim mentality have a problem being successful. If you spend your life thinking “why me?” then you never get around to saying “why not me?”

8. You focus on the things you can change.

There are a lot of things you can’t change. Successful people focus on the things they can change. If you spend too much time focusing on what you can’t change, you’re not changing things for the better.

How do you measure your success? What are some things you look at to mark your progress? Share in the comments.

Interview: Amanda Pekoe, co-founder and CEO of The Pekoe Group

pekoeAmanda Pekoe is the co-founder and CEO of The Pekoe Group. The Pekoe Group is a full-service boutique marketing and advertising agency offering their creative ingenuity to you.

Listen to Amanda’s interview here. Read the rest of this entry

Inspiration: The Startup Founder Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

startupfounder

Failure is Always an Option: 3 Retailers that Disappeared

You think you’ve made it. Your business is on top and been up there for awhile. You’ve diversified, you have franchises. But, here are 3 retailers who found out that failure is always an option, and what you can learn from it.

1. Blockbuster

Always Blockbuster. Poor, poor Blockbuster. In 2002, Blockbuster was valued at $5 billion. It had even become synonymous with renting a movie. If you wanted to rent a movie for the weekend, you asked if anyone wanted to go to Blockbuster, even if you were going to Hollywood Video. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010.

What went wrong:

Netflix and Redbox came and pushed them out of the market.

What can you learn:

Always be ready to embrace new technologies, especially if your company’s product is technology. Evolve or perish.

2. K. B. Toys

When it filed for bankruptcy in 2008, K.B. Toys was the leading mail-based toy retailer, but even then it only represented a small percentage of the United States toy market.

What went wrong:

Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon had better prices.

What can you learn:

Downsizing is not a four-letter word. If you’re good at something, don’t be afraid to try and be the best at it. If K.B. Toys had focused on it’s mail order sales while decreasing it’s brick-and-mortar presence, would it still be around? If it had embraced Amazon’s Marketplace, or eBay would it have sold more through the mail? Maybe not. But, it’s something to think about.

3. Woolworths

In 1997, after 117 years, the last Woolworths closed its doors. It wasn’t all failure, though. The Woolworth Corporation changed its name to Venator Group and still operates some retail stores, including Foot Locker and Northern Reflections.

What went wrong:

Again, lower prices at Wal-Mart and Target helped to bury Woolworths. However, America moving out of the cities and into the suburbs was the first shovelful of dirt in the grave. As America left the city, tastes changed. And one of those tastes was a distinct lack of interest in what Woolworths had to offer.

What you can learn:

Sometimes, the market disappears.

Do you know of a company that failed? What can be learned from their failure? Share in the comments below.

5 More Reasons to Start Your Own Business

Last week, we talked about our top 5 reasons to start your own business and guess what? We have 5 more.

You ready? Because here we go!

1. You will finally have the respect you deserve

Mainly, you’ll learn to respect yourself. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Starting your own business is tough. More than tough. It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. When you get to the other side, success or failure, you’ll see exactly what you’re capable of when pursuing your passion and dreams. Everyone surrounding you on the endeavor will see it, too.

2. You’ll create jobs

In the last post, we talked about the tax breaks that come with hiring your family. That’s all well and good, but think about all the other jobs you’re creating. You’ll be an economy-stimulation machine. You’ll have the chance to mine and cultivate talent. You’ll be the one in the boss’s seat.

3. Your story will reach your customers

When we talk about branding on this site, one of the things we like to talk about is sharing your story. Why are you here? Why is this the thing you’re passionate about? When you share your passion with people, they can passionate in response. Your customers are the perfect people to hear your story and help you spread the word.

4. You can flex your creative muscle

One of the big things the self-employed tend to do is find their creative flow and use it to advance and grow their business. Imagine what kind of entrepreneur/boss/innovator you can be when you are allowed to work the way you’re comfortable with. Being your own boss let’s you off the leash to explore your full capabilities. Go as far as you can.

5. Start a legacy

Whether you want to keep the company in the family or hand it over to your most trusted second in command, you have started something that could last for a long time. Your business could be enduring. You could start something that lasts far into the future, beginning with your own innovation and spreading out for generations to come.

Why would you start your own business? Did you start your own business? What pushed or inspired you to jump from the corporate world into the world of self-employment? Share in the comments!

Inspiration: 16 Surprising Statistics About Small Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

statistics

5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

At BizTV, it’s no secret, we’re all about entrepreneurs, small business owners, and making your own way through the financial world.

Not included on this list: wearing pajamas to work

Today, we’re going to give you an excuse to join the ranks of the self-employed (as if you need one), and, hey, if you’re already there, maybe you have some of your own excuses to share in the comments.

1. Tax benefits

Bet you didn’t think that would be number 1, did you? But, it’s true. There are many tax benefits that the entrepreneur and small business owner can call their own. If you educate yourself on tax law, or hire a good accountant, there are expenses for your business that you can write off. If you employ your family, you can keep the money within the household. If you hire your children, you are relieved from withholding income taxes and paying payroll taxes, including Social Security, until the child turns 18. Also, you don’t pay federal unemployment until the child reaches 21. If you hire your spouse or parents, you don’t need to pay federal unemployment taxes on them either, though you must withhold federal income tax and pay FICA on them. Corporations are not allowed these tax breaks. Enjoy!

2. As long as you get your own work, you’re in charge of your own job security

This might be a double-edged sword if you aren’t good at selling yourself (read: get good at selling yourself). If you have a skill or product that’s in high demand, you’re on top. No one is going to downsize your department. You’re in charge of your own employment future.

3. You can challenge yourself

Think about your job right now. Are you challenged? Are you stimulated? Do you jump into work every day with a take charge attitude because you’re excited to solve the next puzzle that falls in your lap? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take heed: every day with your own business is as challenging as you want it to be. Are you going to integrate a new technology? Are you going to find a way to appeal to a new customer base? You have the ability to explore and challenge yourself every day.

4. You are the expert

Think about how satisfying it would be to tell someone: “Trust me. I’m an expert.”

Well, when you own a business that provides a certain product or service, you have the right to say you’re an expert in that product or service. You know what you’re talking about. You’ve learned things to trial and error. You create your own expertise.

5. You’re in control of your own networking

What’s your passion? Have you ever wanted to find people who share that passion? As the owner of your own business, you have the right to pursue the opportunities with those people who share your interests. In fact, it’s encouraged. Go to conferences. Go to meetups. You’ll find the people worth knowing in your industry.

Those are some of our reasons to get out of the rat race and join the self-employment movement. What made you leap from regular employment to entrepreneurship? Share in the comments!

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