Category Archives: Internet

Interview: Matthew Edgar, Founder and Developer for SpringTrax

springMatthew Edgar is the founder and developer for SpringTrax. SpringTrax can help hunt down and wipe out all your broken links and 404 errors.

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

Interview: Amy Abatangle, VP of Sales and Marketing at Untangle

Amy Abatangle is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Untangle.

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

Interview: Megan Berry, head of community and social product at RebelMouse

Megan Berry is the head of community and social product at RebelMouse.

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

Inspiration: 100 Social Networking Statistics & Facts [Infographic]

100SocialNetworkingStatistics_50e6990f1ebf8

Interview: Tony Emerson, SEO Specialist at SpareFoot

Tony Emerson, SEO analyst at SpareFoot, tells us about the changing atmosphere of search engine optimization and how to make your business more searchable.

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

10 Things to Put on Your Website Checklist

Short, tall, big, small, your business needs some kind of website to survive in this day and age. It doesn’t have to be big and flashy, but it does need to exist to make sure people can find you and confirm you are who you say you are. Want to know what should be on your website? We have some ideas in this post here.

But, before you launch your website, here are some things you need to double check before throwing yourself on the world wide web.

1. Spelling and grammar

I know. Who wants to spend all that time searching for spelling mistakes? Well, your customers are going to notice, so you should take more than passing glance at your spelling and grammar.

2. Compatability

Does your website work on all platforms? If it only works in Internet Explorer, you’re going to have a problem. A big problem. Open your website in multiple browsers to see how it looks. If you’re having a real hard time making it show up where it should, you might need to hire a web developer to fix it.

3. Titles and metadata

Okay, this stuff is starting to get a little more tricky. Titles and metadata are mainly things that help with search engine optimization. Even more layman, it helps people find your website. Make sure your pages have page titles at the top and descriptions that the search engines can display.

4. Links

Yes. Check every link. As the Internet gets older, links start to break down and lead to web pages that are no longer there. At your launch, make sure your links aren’t already out of date. Check them all, even if it takes awhile.

5. Check the forms page

Make sure your forms are going to the right email address. If you don’t see anything, you need to recode. People will get frustrated when they can’t seem to contact you.

6. Set up analytics

The go-to is Google Analytics because it’s free and it’s Google. You have to embed a code on your website, but trust me. It will come in handy later so you know what your traffic likes and doesn’t like.

7. Build a 404 page

A 404 page shows up when someone is looking for something that isn’t there. You want to build a 404 page that will be a landing place for people who type something in incorrectly. You don’t want to 404 page to show up everywhere, but you do want a default one that has your header on it so people know something’s wrong.

8. Back it up

You should have a backup of your website somewhere. Just in case.

Trust me.

Just in case.

9. Have content

I know this sounds like a given, but you don’t want to have an empty website. Coming soon pages are okay for a little while, but you want to make sure there’s something there for people to look at.

10. Talk to your employees/coworkers

Have them take a look at the website before you launch it. You should have more than one pair of eyes on the site to make sure you see everything. Have them run some of these checks, too.

If you’re really dead set against getting yourself a website, we understand. Check out this post on how to get your business online without building a website.

What do you check on before you launch a website? Share in the comments below!

The 10 Twitter Accounts Entrepreneurs Should be Following

The 10 Twitter Accounts Entrepreneurs Should be FollowingYou’re an entrepreneur on Twitter. Great. You can broadcast all your insights to an interested audience. But, it’s also a great place to find out what else is happening in the entrepreneurial world. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking for new connections, here are the top 10 accounts you should be following on Twitter.

1. Richard Branson

@richardbranson

The founder of Virgin is quite familiar with Twitter. He tweets a lot. If you’re looking for some nuggets of wisdom delivered directly to your feed, Richard Branson is the guy to do it.

2. Guy Kawasaki

@GuyKawasaki

Guy is an author of many marketing and business books. He’s seen behind the curtain at Apple and Google. He’s great at finding interesting material to share online, giving you a wide array of knowledge to look through.

3. Anita Campbell

@smallbiztrends

Anita is the founder and CEO of Small Business Trends. The Small Business Trends blog curates info on small business resources, trends, and advice. Anita isn’t limited to text-based posts, either. She curates podcasts, videos, and more for her audience.

4. Bijan Sabet

@bijan

If you want to stay up on to date on the latest technology, Bijan Sabet is the guy to do it. Bijan is a board member for Twitter. He’s also a partner at Spark Capitol. You can also take a look at his personal blog, http://www.bijansabet.com.

5. Seth Godin

@ThisIsSethsBlog

If you’re an entrepreneur who hasn’t heard of Seth Godin…where have you been? Seth has written several bestselling books on entrepreneurship and marketing. Like many on this list, he has a personal blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/. Don’t miss it.

6. Caterina Fake

@caterina

Caterina is the co-founder of Flickr and Hunch. She has the unique perspective of a woman entrepreneur. She tweets about her success as an entrepreneur, which can be inspiring and give you something to aspire to.

7. Brad Feld

@bfeld

Brad is the managing director of the Foundry Group. He invests in software and Internet companies. And, while he might not invest in your company, it gives you the chance to get into the mind of the investor. Also, he shares investments and trends to watch.

8. Cindy Ratzlaff

@BrandYou

Rather than an entrepreneur, Cindy is a marketing strategist (her Twitter handle is @BrandYou, after all). She has created award-winning marketing platrforms. Forbes named her one of the “Top 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” if you need another reason to follow her. If you want some marketing tips, this is the place to go.

9. Jason Fried

@jasonfried

Jason is the co-founder and CEO of 37Signals, which is a software for small businesses. His tweets focus on revenue generating business ideas. He also interacts with some of his followers, so don’t be afraid to reply to any of his tweets of interest. You may cultivate a relationship.

10. Randi Zuckerberg

@RandiZuckerberg

Yes, that Zuckerberg. Randi is Mark’s older sister. She has a media company and likes to tweet about tech tips and technology. She’s also a writer for Wired magazine. You can never go wrong with that.

Who do you think is an essential Twitter personality every entrepreneur should follow? Share in the comments below! And don’t forget to follow @BizTV,.

Inspiration: Personal Branding [INFOGRAPHIC]

Inspiration: Personal Branding [INFOGRAPHIC]

8 Online Entrepreneur Courses

8 Online Entrepreneur CoursesThe Internet is full of free resources. Are you getting the best of what’s out there? Don’t worry! We’re here to bring you a little closer to some of the vast reaches of the Internet.Here’s our list of the online entrepreneur courses that you can take for free.

1. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies

Explore how to identify and develop great ideas into great companies. Learn how to identify opportunities based on real customer needs. Develop solid business models. Create successful companies.

2. The Art and Science of Negotiation

This course provides an introduction to bargaining and negotiation in public, business, and legal settings. It combines a “hands-on” skill-building orientation with a look at pertinent social theory. Strategy, communications, ethics, and institutional influences are examined as they influence the ability of actors to analyze problems, negotiate agreements, and resolve disputes in social, organizational, and political circumstances characterized by interdependent interests.

3. Managing Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This course discusses the basics every manager needs to organize successful technology-driven innovation in both entrepreneurial and established firms. We start by examining innovation-based strategies as a source of competitive advantage and then examine how to build organizations that excel at identifying, building and commercializing technological innovations. Major topics include how the innovation process works; creating an organizational environment that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship; designing appropriate innovation processes (e.g. stage-gate, portfolio management); organizing to take advantage of internal and external sources of innovation; and structuring entrepreneurial and established organizations for effective innovation. The course examines how entrepreneurs can shape their firms so that they continuously build and commercialize valuable innovations. Many of the examples also focus on how established firms can become more entrepreneurial in their approach to innovation.

4. 21 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Whether you aspire to start your own business or are a serial entrepreneur, this entrepreneurship training offers real-world insights that can be put into action. Jason Nazar, CEO of Docstoc, shares important lessons learned over his career, first by working with new companies then on to starting his own successful business. From the early stages of vetting your idea and raising money to hiring the best team and continuing to grow your business, this training offers poignant insights from a real entrepreneur that can be applied to any business.

Jason Lawrence Nazar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc.com, which provides the best quality and widest selction of documents to start, grow and manage your small business and professional life.  Jason is also the creator and host of StartupsUncensored, the longest running and most widely atteneded technology gathering in southern California, which regularily brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, techies and investors.  Before starting Docstoc, he was a partner in a venture consulting firm in Los Angeles where he worked with dozens of startups. He holds a BA from UCSB and his JD/MBA from Pepperdine University, where he was the Student Body President of both Universities.  Jason was named one of the “Most Admired CEOs in Los Angeles” by the LA Business Journal, but he’s more proud of his three point shot and ping pong skills.

5. How to Build a Startup

Learn the key tools and steps to build a successful startup (or at least reduce the risk of failure). An introduction to the basics of Steve Blank’s famous Customer Development process, where entrepreneurs “get out of the building” to gather massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback, and then use that feedback to continuously iterate and evolve their startup business models, improving the chances of success at every step.

6. Technology Entrepreneurship

This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now spreading across the world. You will learn the process technology entrepreneurs use to start companies. It involves taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to sell and market the idea, and managing rapid growth. To gain practical experience alongside the theory, students form teams and work on startup projects in those teams. This is the second offering of the class. Last time, nearly 40,000 students from around the world participated and worked in teams together. The top teams were matched with Silicon Valley mentors, and the best teams at the end of the class pitched their ideas to investors. Many of the alumni of the last class are continuing to build their startups and will be mentoring teams this time. By the conclusion of the course, it is our hope that you understand how to:

a. Articulate a process for taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity (high performing students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of alternative theoretical models).

b. Create and verify a plan for gathering resources such as talent and capital.

c. Create and verify a business model for how to sell and market an entrepreneurial idea.

d. Generalize this process to an entrepreneurial mindset of turning problems into opportunities that can be used in larger companies and other settings.

7. Entrepreneurial Behavior

There are literally dozens and dozens of different definitions of ‘the entrepreneur’ and the concept of ‘entrepreneurship’. Researchers and writers often seem to pick the definition that best fits the area they are discussing. We have explicitly linked entrepreneurship to the capability for exploiting successfully innovative ideas in a commercially competitive market. Leaving to one side the fact that individuals working in the public and non-profit sectors can be very enterprising, in historic and policy making terms entrepreneurship refers to business behaviour related to innovation and growth. For our purposes, entrepreneurs may be broadly defined as people who manage a business with the intention of expanding that business by applying some form of innovation and with the leadership and managerial capacity for achieving their goals, generally in the face of strong competition from other firms, large and small. The overall aim of this unit, therefore, is to provide you with opportunities to consider and reflect on the personal aspects involved in transforming an innovative idea into an entrepreneurial product.

To get the most out of this unit you will need to make notes throughout.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Entrepreneurial behaviour which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area.

8. Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship

This is an advanced entrepreneurship class, designed for teams who have already started a company or are seriously thinking about starting a company. We encourage teams to take this class together as much of the work will be focused on working with your board to make real progress on the most important issues in your startup. For each startup team, we will create a board comprised of your peers based on your needs, their skills, and everyone’s engagement. In addition, one of the early assignments will be for each team to find one or two domain experts to serve on their board for the duration of the class. One of the requirements in this class is to serve on another team’s board. As we go, we will refine board membership based on peer reviews and demonstrated effort. We will optimize this class for entrepreneurs willing to invest the time and energy to help themselves and others. After the completion of this course, students:

a. will understand the crucial role boards play in launching successful startups,

b. be able to identify and recruit effective board members,

c. be able to manage a board meeting, eliciting useful guidance and making important decisions, and

d. will have made meaningful progress building your startup. This class will be interactive and team based. We will use videos and readings to convey board best practices. However, most of the learning in this class will take place from applying these best practices to your board with the goal of making meaningful progress on your startup.

Are there any online courses you’ve seen for entrepreneurs? Share in the comments below!

Top 6 Social Networks for Entrepreneurs

Top 6 Social Networks for EntrepreneursThese days, it seems there’s a social network for everything, and maybe there is. The entrepreneur spends most of his/her time working and it might seem like there isn’t any time for social networking. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, have you considered looking for a social network catering specifically to you?

1. Inspiration Entrepreneur

Founded by the people behind Entrepreneur Magazine, Inspiration Entrepreneur is a little bit like a Pinterest for entrepreneurs. You’ll find inspiration, ideas, and other entrepreneurial content shared by entrepreneurs across the web. If you’re good at finding great content or looking for it, this is the place to do it.

2. Killer Startups

Killer Startups is another place to generate ideas. On this site, users submit their startups and others can rate them and discuss them. You can also submit news stories, giving you an avenue for press releases, which is never a bad thing.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn seems to be the social network for all white/gray collar workers. Which includes entrepreneurs. Not only do you have the opportunity to post yourself and your own information, you can also create a profile for your company. At this point, LinkedIn is a well established social network. It’s not going anywhere. Also, it has integrated mobile apps to keep you constantly connected. If you choose one social network to be on, as an entrepreneur, this one should be it.

4. StartupNation

If you’re looking to dive head first right into the world of startups, this is the place to do it. StartupNation is packed to the gills with information, hints, tips, inspiration, and more. It even has a radio station. StartupNation wants to give you practical advice on how to rock your business.

5. Cofoundr

You might be able to see where this is going based on the name. Cofoundr is a place where entrepreneurs, programmers, freelancers and investors can find each other. Cofoundr screens out the younger crowd, so you won’t get teenagers trying to muscle in. You create a profile, post your business idea, and wait for people to start discussing. You may find a similar project that you want to join. Or, hey, you might even find your cofounder.

6. Perfect Business

Perfect Business is a pretty serious social site for entrepreneurs. Here, you’ll be able to find resources (like the other sites), but you’ll also be able to make business contacts. You’ll find videos to help you out, plus one of it’s partners is Virgin Money, so it’s hard to go wrong with Richard Branson backing. Regular membership is free; gold membership is $29.99 a month. So, don’t sign up for something that isn’t going to pay off.

Those are our top social networks for entrepreneurs. Where do you think entrepreneurs should be spending their online time? Share in the comments below!

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