Friday, February 29, 2008

And now… the GREAT things about being an entrepreneur: TOP 10

My last TOP 10 List about "lessons learned as an entrepreneur" was meant to honor all those who have learned those lessons, overcome those challenges and achieved success. This new list highlights just a few of the GREAT things about being an entrepreneur... as requested by so many of you.


10) Having complete control over your income!
- There are no 3% cost of living increases or performance reviews. The profit and loss statement is the only performance review for an entrepreneur.

9) “Working for the man” means working for yourself.
- It is a great feeling to know that all of your hard work is not making someone else rich!

8) You call the shots.
- You get to make the tough decisions and take the business in whatever direction you choose. There is a lot of reward in never having to do something you disagree with.

7) Work as much or as little as you want.
- Sure, it is a lot of work in the beginning but once you are able to delegate, you’ll have much more time for family and friends. Some of the hardest working, most successful entrepreneurs I know get to work at 9:00 AM and are home by 4:30 PM.

6) Surround yourself with the people you choose.
- We’ve all had to work with people we don’t like or don’t respect. As an entrepreneur, you get to pick your partners, employees and clients!

5) Each day is 24 hours closer to accomplishing you dreams.
- Entrepreneurs are in constant pursuit of fulfilling their dreams. Every day is one day closer to success and an exciting new adventure.

4) The sense of pride that comes from building a business that truly meets a need.
– For a business to be successful, it has to solve a problem for a group of people. If you have a successful business, then you are truly helping people.

3) Creating jobs and providing a livelihood for people.
- Creating jobs and opportunity for people is also a “warm and fuzzy” accomplishment. It not only helps the employee but it helps their family and the overall economy.

2) Inspiring challenges: Constantly inventing better ways of doing things.
- As an entrepreneur, every spare second of brain power you have is dedicated to coming up with that next big idea that is going to make things better or more effective. It’s a constantly rewarding and fun challenge!

1) Something new everyday.
- You wear many hats as an entrepreneur… business development, sales, marketing, accounting, finance, etc… There is no official job description except to use your time doing what you think is best and what you enjoy most. That alone makes it all worth while.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to add to my list. (comment)

Another tool to help you manage your internet reputation.

First, I'd like to applaud PRweb for managing their internet reputation very well! Joe from PRweb commented on my post thanking me for recommending them...

Hi Guy,

Thanks for the kind recommendation and detailed guidance for people looking to increase their online presence or, as you mentioned, do some reputation management.


Joe Beaulaurier
When I realized that Joe found my little blog, it reminded me that I should mention a great, free tool for monitoring what is said about you on the internet (PRweb probably uses something robust to monitor blog buzz, etc... ) However, a great, free tool perfect for a small business is Google Alerts.

Google Alerts allows you to pick any keyword or phrase that you want to monitor and anytime Google finds something new on the internet that matches your selection, it will email you the link. I use this tool to monitor what is said about my company, PRstore, and my clients' companies. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week: My TOP 10 List

February 25th was the start of the second annual Entrepreneur Week. To recognize the importance of small business, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in 2006 (Resolution 699), advocating an annual week in support of American entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education.

Coincidentally, I am "celebrating" my first year as an entrepreneur so I thought I would share some of MY entrepreneur education over the past year in the all-so-original Top 10 list format...


10.) Having a boss sucks. Having 50 bosses sucks more.
- Nobody ever told me the word "client" was a synonym for "boss."

9.) Two weeks as an entrepreneur is equivalent to 2 days as an employee.
- Time flies when you have to find the money to write your own check.

8.) There is not such thing as "paid vacation" or "sick time."
- No workie = no money (at least as a start-up company).

7.) The expression "it's a small world" isn't just B.S.
- I'm convinced that everyone in Columbus knows someone who I will have to interact with at some point. I've disliked people in the past, but because I'm relatively P.C., I kept that to myself and now some of those people have made me money! Ahh.. finally a reward for being fake! YES!

6.) Government is the anti-start-up!
- Self-employment tax, payroll tax, income tax, workers comp insurance, social security contributions, state tax, sales tax, city tax, making it freaking impossible to be legally compliant tax!

5.) Everybody gets paid... but the owner.
- I'm envious of my vendor partners. I cut them checks like it's going out of style.

4.) 9-5 isn't so bad after all!
- 8 hour days are a blessing in disguise.

3.) The best way to get approval is not to need it.
- My biggest pet peeve is people who respond to a huge amount of work and go right for the negatives/changes and make no mention of the 95% that was perfect!

2.) There is no such thing as stress or worry.
- Or at least I tell myself that twice a day.

And my biggest lesson about entrepreneurship in my first year...

1.) Everything takes longer than expected. Especially the money part!
- When you project future earnings, if your spread sheet shows that by Year 5, you can buy Canada and sell it to France... you're probably a little optimistic.

Do you know your internet reputation?

Have you google’d yourself lately? You may be surprised how much is out there about you and your company. Thanks to the blogosphere, anyone with a computer (or library card) and an opinion can publish information about you on the internet. Search engines will index this content whether it is true or not and if it matches a relevant search for your company, your customers will find it.

Here are a few strategies that will help a small business take a proactive approach to controlling its internet reputation.

    • Yes, press releases are old news but what you do with them isn’t. Rather than writing a release and hoping the press will publish it, you can publish it yourself. For less than $300 you can send a “search engine optimized” press release out to thousands of websites through a site called Overtime, these releases will start to get search engine exposure and if written correctly, they will get better search engine exposure than that one nagging, unhappy customer who vented in his blog.
    • You can be general with the subject of the press release but it may be better to identify a specific topic that you want to target for search engine exposure and center the entire release around that one subject.
    • Take every opportunity you get to brag about yourself and put it on the web! New client? New hire? New product? Put it online!
    • This is your true opportunity to focus on a singular subject and dominate the issue! Having focused content ensures that your article will be full of the correct relevant keywords ultimately enhancing your search engine exposure on the issue. Particularly if someone is searching for you by name along with the subject.
    • Bloggers have a lot of power once they develop a base of loyal readers. Sometimes, this power can go to their heads. However, most of the time, they are more than willing to give anyone a fair shake or a platform to share their side of the story. If you find someone posting negative untruths about your company, there are some cases where it is appropriate to respond. Be careful here though... some things don’t deserve to be dignified with a response. Pick your battles wisely and respond with facts and objective reasoning. Never come across emotional or defensive, otherwise you’ll do more harm than good.

Go google yourself. Then plan on putting out 10 positive things for every 1 negative you find.

A great video on PRweb and how it works:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I hate to say I told you so: Wendy's Drops Ad Campaign

My post in September was about Wendy's new "red wig" ad campaign with a focus on men and their desire for "hot, juicy burgers."

After less than acceptable sales results, Wendy's finally pulled the ad campaign. They are going back to the classy, comfortable approach that made them successful for so many years. I'm actually a big fan of the new campaign featuring an animated Wendy and the message that "it's waaay better than fast food. It's Wendys"

The new campaign better represents Wendy's traditions while still focusing on the key target audience of 18-to-34-year-olds, Kerrii Anderson, Wendy's president and chief executive, said in an interview.

"It feels like Wendy's again," she said.

Holtcamp said Wendy's emphasis on its quality food was getting distracted by the red wig campaign. [more]

I agree and so does everybody else. 68,000 people gave the old campaign a "Thumbs Down" on an informal poll on "AOL Money and Finance." Only 6,000 people approved of the ads.

For your viewing pleasure... one more time... (btw: This ad almost humiliates men... I can't image how this was justified in the board room)