Monthly Archive for March, 2013

Find work you can love

Whether work is a blessing or a curse depends on what you are working on and your attitude about it. James Matthew Barrie, the Scottish novelist said, “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”

Many hard working entrepreneurs were once unproductive employees, but now, with their wagonhitched to their own star, work is the stuff of their dreams. Many productive employees - once unsuccessfully self-employed - now understand the blessings of employment, and become the most valuable of resources: the entrepreneurial employee who loves his or her work.

Work feeds our stomachs with food and our spirit with accomplishment. Work creates, produces, energizes and fulfills all things humans need for survival and happiness.

If work is not a blessing for you - whether owner or employee - the problem is not work itself, but the work you are doing. Lebanese novelist, Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.”

Life is short. Keep searching until you find work you can love. I did.

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SBA Poll: Primary Business Accounts

The Question:
Which do you use for your primary business checking account and for business loans?

40% - One of the large national banks (like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.)

52% - A community bank (locally owned with just a few branches)

7% - A credit union

My Comments:
For all small businesses, retained earnings - profits left in the business - are the most important source of working capital. But for most small businesses, the largest source of capital comes from bank loans. That’s the reason I’ve continued to remind you every year that the most important relationship a small business has - besides with customers - is with your bank.

There is some very interesting research that has been published recently about the banking industry. In next week’s Feature Article, I’m going to connect some of that research with the poll responses you see above. Stay tuned.

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You can find this week’s featured article HERE

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Video - Small business lessons from big business mistakes

In this week’s video I give four examples of how small businesses cam learn from big business mistakes.

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Are you an Internet dynamo or a dinosaur?

Sometime during the spring of 1995, you and I were given access to the Internet for the first time.

Since then, related innovations have produced a new marketplace where businesses of all sizes turn prospects into customers in a virtual, parallel universe. Here is a short list of the significant innovations:

  • E-commerce – the ability to buy and sell online
  • High-speed internet replaced dial-up
  • Search engines indexing a gazillion online offerings
  • Mobile computing from convergence of mobile networks and smartphones
  • Social media transcending websites by connecting participants in online communities

After 10,000 years of the traditional marketplace, these innovations have at once produced unprecedented opportunity and disruption in less than 20 years. But here’s good news for small business: Part and parcel with the new capability is the incrementalization of virtual resources, which means they’re available in units and pricing that fit our focused (niche) applications and diminutive budgets.

We wanted to know how well small businesses are adopting the handy and affordable virtual marketplace tools, so in our online poll we asked: “How much of your sales can you attribute directly or indirectly to your online strategy?” Here’s what we learned:

Only 5% of our sample reported that 100% of their business resulted from an online strategy, while double that percentage said they did “more than half” of their business in the virtual marketplace. Just a few more, 12%, allowed that they got “about half” of their revenue from the Cloud, while our big group, 55%, said “less than half” of their business came from the Internet. And finally, almost one-in-five said the Internet produced “zero” business for them.

It’s good news that 81% of our respondents are experiencing some business from their online strategy. Twenty years after the telephone was introduced in 1877, I wonder how many businesses had adopted that proto killer app?

But another way to look at small business’s virtual marketplace adoption is that almost three-fourths of our folks still associate less than half of their business in any way to an online strategy. Sadly, that troubling news could foretell the unnecessary extinction of way too many small businesses.

After almost 20 years, customer expectations are increasingly evolving in the direction of more virtual interaction. Which way is your business trending?

Don’t act like a dinosaur – execute an online strategy.

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Check out my recent interviews with Anita Rosen. Anita is a keynote and radio speaker. She is also the author of the author of Project Management Question and Answer Book and E-Commerce a Question and Answer Book.

Learn Facebook marketing lessons from big business - with Anita Rosen

Facebook marketing is all about building community - with Anita Rosen

Why Facebook marketing is only for consumers - with Anita Rosen

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

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SBA Poll: How do your sales and online presence relate?

The Question:
How much of your sales can you attribute directly or indirectly to your online presence - website, social media, etc.?

5% - 100%
10% - More than half
12% - About half
55% - Less than half
19% - None

My Comments:
I long for the day when we stop talking about an online strategy and simply go to market with online tools as part of our plan. But until then, since so many small businesses have far to go to effectively and successfully incorporate online resources into their business model, I have to keep asking questions like the one we asked in our online poll last week.

The good news in our poll results is that 81% of our small business respondents see at least some business performance from their online strategy. I’m going to have more to say about this in next week’s Feature Article, including a comparison to past surveys on this topic. Stay tuned.

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Be sure to check out my segments from The Small Business Advocate Show with guest Kathy Perry. Kathy is a nationally known social media speaker and trainer with more than 25 years experience in technology sales and marketing strategies.

Click HERE for interviews with Kathy Perry.

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Who made a difference in your life?

The following quizzes, and the subsequent paragraph, are attributed to the late Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip, Peanuts. I’m passing along his thoughts because I think it’s important that we realize what is really important in life.

Quiz 1:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s World Series winners.

Quiz 2:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

“The applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners. The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who cared.” - Charles Schultz

This is Jim again. As we go through life, let’s make sure our goals and priorities include caring about and serving other people, not just about other things.

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