Guest Post: Don’t Be Dumb. Eliminate Small Business Customer Barriers

Create & Run Your Biz, Guest Column
May 14th, 2009 No Comments »

By Jim Blasingame

A while back, I needed to reach an acquaintance who worked in a local branch of one of the national banks.

When I looked for the local number in the phone book, all I found was a toll-free number that connected me to a computer answering system. That’s right – a local business didn’t publish a local number in the phone book, and here’s the stupid part: The answering system didn’t offer an option to connect to any branch or person. I’m not making this up.

“Don’t be stupid! Lesson 1

Don’t create barriers to customers and prospects. If you have any, take them down. NOW! I know you think you don’t, but in the name of efficiency and the advent of new technology, you might.

Undaunted, I called a local board member of that bank who gave me the local number (yes, they had one). When I called, I was told that my acquaintance, a loan officer, had recently been laid off.

“Why was he laid off?” I asked. Read More »

What’s Your Wow! Project?

April 3rd, 2009 No Comments »

Working from home can be an isolating experience.

In a down economy, with ample idle time around, it can make for a downright lonely place.

Learn how you can turn a quiet environment into a productive future and a powerful branding exercise.

The “Wow!” Project — so created by Tom Peters and Fast Company magazine — is a project (a book, a Website, a presentation, a new niche or direction) that can take you, your business and your future in a new direction. It’s not about changing careers. It’s about tweaking the one you have.

Listen as I discuss the Wow! Project with Jim Blasingame.


Maverick Brit Marketer Gets ‘In Your Face’ With Novel Webcast

Marketing & Publicity
December 12th, 2008 No Comments »

Whether you work from a home office or a traditional business location, marketing is essential to how you do what you do on your path to success.

Blah, blah, blah…

To many marketing sites talk about Twitter or email marketing or building a killer Website with outstanding SEO. And some help you navigate through the nonsense. That would be Andrew Lock, host of a new Webcast “Help! My Business Sucks.” The weekly webcast delivers marketing tips with that wry sense of humor only Brits can pull off with that snooty little accept of theirs.

“With an irreverent, entertaining, and humorous style, the show has become more popular than a supermodel at a Catholic boarding school,” his PR says. “In 2008 the show became the #1 most popular marketing WebTV show in the Apple iTunes store, beating well known ‘traditional business training’ competitors like Harvard Business Review, Advertising Age, and Business Week.”

Check it out. You may learn something (and maybe even craft your own Webcast) — and chuckle in the process.


A 2-Inch Home Office Billboard: The Power of the Business Card

Creativity, Marketing & Publicity
August 20th, 2008 1 Comment »

So I’m sitting in my home office, and I just got these spankin’ new business cards in the mail. Let me tell you, they’re pretty freakin’ cool.

They’re from an English outfit called Seems they’ve gotten good at producing high-quality, four-color business cards relatively el cheapo. My batch of 50 included about three each of 15 or so images I selected from My Pictures. Pix of me, Home Office Highway, my kids, my various logos — the lot. Damn impressive results, too. Not some flimsy paper or pixel pock-marked images. These are the Real Deal — especially at $19.99 + shipping. (That may not be muy el cheapo, but variable data printing — like different images on different cards — brings added value that 1,000-for-$9.99 cards just cannot deliver). Read More »

It’s Summer: Time for Small Business Holiday Gift Giving

Creativity, Marketing & Publicity
August 8th, 2008 3 Comments »

It’s August. It’s supposed to hit the mid-90s today in SoFla. Two of my kids are away at camp. My other will hibernate in his cave until afternoon, at which time he’ll summon me from my home office to go swimming or play Guitar Hero or some such.

School doesn’t start for another two weeks. So, obviously, it’s time to start thinking about planning holiday gifts for your clients.

Too early, you exclaim? Think about it (and reread the previous line to catch my caveat – “start thinking about planning…”). Soon enough, fall will arrive. Everyone will be off summer holiday. Projects will begin in earnest. And time will start whizzing by like pages flying off a calendar the way they do when a movie director wants to create the impression of time flying by… Read More »

What’s Your Home Office ‘Network’ Worth?

Commentary, Marketing & Publicity
June 24th, 2008 No Comments »

The Pensive Home Officer…What’re your eyeballs worth?

The Economist had a piece on the value and importance of Online Social Networks. A story in USAToday noted how investors at four Silicon Valley CV firms had valued LinkedIn — the business social networking and “career enhancement” site — at $1 billion. A Billion-with-a-B dollars. For what? Read More »

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About Me! Marketing Yourself as a Small Business Brand

Marketing & Publicity
June 9th, 2008 No Comments »

General Motors will spend more than $3 billion advertising its cars around the world this year. Burger King will drop $300 million pitching the freaky King’s fare.

How much to you invest to market your product or service? Do you even “market” yourself? You probably do, and don’t realize it.

When was the last time you called a client just to shoot the breeze, or sent a holiday or birthday card? Do you ever send business cards or articles to new prospects, or even to existing clients — just to show them your successes? If you’re a writer, have you put your best clips online for all to see?

If you specialize in a certain field or genre, you’re a brand or expert in the field, and that can become a powerful positioning and marketing tool. To some, these aren’t “marketing.” They’re just part of daily affairs. It’s time to change that thinking, and reconsider what “marketing” really is. Read More »

Hear All About It: Home Office Networking

Marketing & Publicity
June 5th, 2008 No Comments »

Isolated, alone and bored in the home office? Then maybe you need to network with other folks out there. WebWorkerDaily had a piece on what it called “The New Work From Home Trend: Getting Out.” Listen as I chat with Jim Blasingame, the Small Business Advocate, about ways of busting isolation and building business — even with a Tweet or two…

Whether it’s Twitter, FaceBook, Linked In or some other application — or just getting off your duff and heading out there, network. It’s the first step to making it rain…

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