Monday, November 19, 2007

Innovate to Compete Like PayPal

An article in Reuters said that in an answer to Google Checkout, PayPal will announce tomorrow PayPal Secure Card, designed to make it easier for consumers to make credit card purchases online as well as prevent fraud.

Innovation is an inherently different activity than problem solving: where problem solving is addressing an issue to bring you back to status quo, innovation raises the bar.

No matter what industry, your organization can build a stronger business through innovation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Business Langage Made Easy

Here are a few useful websites that can help you understand business language:

  • Business Lingo Explained -
  • The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary -
  • The MBA Jargon Index -
  • Dilbert -

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What to do when your hard drive fails

At our entrepreneur circle meeting, we spent time discussing the woes of one member who had lost his computer without a backup.

The two lessons that emerged are 1) have an emergency plan, and 2) always have a current back-up of your current drive, even if it's virtual.

For an emergency plan, I recommend contacting a place like Tech Restore, based in Concord, CA. They do work on WinTel laptops, MacOS laptops, any hard drive from a desktop computer, and even iPods.

For back-up services, you can use external hard drives or even virtual services that back up encrypted data over the Internet for a reasonable charge. I use two big Maxtor drives that I alternate. (Remember to completely disconnect your back-up drive when it is not in use to protect against power or lightening surges!) Thanks to Syd Weinstein for the tip, I'll also check out one of the online back-up services reviewed on Tom's Hardware site and compare them to the .Mac offering of 10 GB.

When you're building a stronger business, you've got to be prepared for emergencies.

Alan Weiss and Bill Ringle Discuss Strategy

Alan Weiss, president of Summit Consulting and known as the 'Million Dollar Consultant', has been a friend, colleague, and mentor to me for the past 10 years or so.

This past weekend, about 100 of the sharpest consulting minds from across the United States and Canada gathered for a retreat on business strategy in Providence, RI. Seeing old friends and making new ones made it a doubly-rewarding experience.

Here are 7 points I'd like to share with you from the seminar to help you build a stronger business:
  1. Being excellent at what you do is the foundation for both business and personal growth.
  2. Strategy and planning are entirely different, and blurring this distinction can be deadly to a business because planning is a bottom-up approach while strategy is a top-down approach.
  3. Strategy fails at execution, not on the drawing board.
  4. Strategy work is periodic and situational, not continuous. Once it is set, let it operate.
  5. Minimizing or avoiding risk has it's place, but to advance and achieve growth it's necessary to take prudent risks.
  6. Executives commonly use strategy to instantiate ambiguity. Instead, absorb the ambiguity and create tangible accountabilities for those involved.
  7. You learn the most and at a faster rate when you make a commitment. Commit to a strategy and you'll see very quickly how it impacts decisions. Waffle, meander, and prevaricate and you'll never really know which direction is forward.

Lastly, a favorite quote from George Santayana that's germane to the discussion:
A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts after losing sight of his goals.

As you build a stronger business, take the time not only to build a solid strategy, but to really use it as a decision-making framework.

More Choices for Cell Phone Customers

When most people buy a cell phone, they are also locked into the carrier providing service for that phone.

According to The New York Times article, "Locked vs. Unlocked: Opening up Choice", Apple's iPhone has caused much controversy lately as customers who purchase the phone are immediately locked into AT&T's service.

As a result, Apple claims nearly one in every six iPhones sold in the U.S. were bought with the intention of unlocking it.

Despite updating their operating systems, Apple has been unable to stop programmers from unlocking the iPhone, calling into question the legal limitations of such a practice.

Some say unlocking a phone violates the company's warrantee, while others imply that it is illegal. Yet no one knows for sure, as the laws surrounding the issue are unclear.

According to Kyle Matthews, 25-year-old co-founder of, unlocking an iPhone is very simple, requiring less than an hour to complete.

The amount of attention iPhone unlocking is receiving, is a good thing according to legal scholar, Professor Susan Crawford. It will allow Americans to see the choice they have when it comes to cell phone service providers.

When customer demand turns to customer revolt, leaders who want to build a stronger business find ways to adapt and be flexible rather than break.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Online Videos Serve as a Marketing Tool

In a New York Times articles, "You've Had the Root Canal. the Movie," Anne Eisenberg presents how YouTube can been used as a marketing strategy.

Dr. Jerry Gordon, a dentist in Bethlehem, PA., provided an informative video on his performance of a root canal. The video has been viewed more than 11,000 times within the first 2 months it was put up.

Other dentists may soon join Dr. Gordon in the usage of this marketing tool, especially those who have had success with regular Webpages. Dr. Kristy Vetter, dentist in Laguna Higuel, CA., says "We've had three to five patients in the last month or so that came that way, instead of by referral." The internet offers information and reassurance for customers of your quality of service.

Educating your target market is a smart way to building a stronger business.

Making Fast Food FASTER

In "Making Fast Food Even Faster" (The New York Times), Michael Fitzgerald examines the technical advances in the fast food industry - advances that have been very slow in coming. HyperActive Technologies, which uses artificial intelligence to predict customer flow, landed their first corporate customer, Zaxby's Franchising, a chain of 400 restaurants in Athens, Ga,. in January 2007. It took four years to have a restaurant chain buy their product.

However, restaurant technology companies are becoming more popular as "'it's the last $100 billion industry that still makes all its products by hand,'" according to R. Coulter, co-founder and chief scientist at HyperActive. Other companies are looking for new areas to access in the food service industry, such as "speed of service" and outside call centers to manage orders. New offerings, such as a wireless tabletop hub to improve table turnover provided by ESP Systems, are being assessed by restaurants.

Increased interest in new technologies does not always translate into implementation. The food industry is primarily focused on food quality and restaurant image. Roger C. Matthews Jr., head of the restaurant group at the investment banking unit of the Goldman Sachs Group, says that this market is risk-averse as no restuarant can afford a computer failure at peak time. Additionally, other low-tech and low-cost alternatives are available, according to Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a food and restaurant industry consultant. More specifically, Neal E. Sessions III, director of information technology at Zaxby's, says that "'the restaurant technology environment generally lags other industries by three to five years.'"

One way to build a stronger business is to take technologies you know and apply them to new industries.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creating Favicons is Easy

Creating those little icons that show to the left of the URL address in a web browser is simple when you use either of these online tools:

People who build a stronger business look for fast, simple, effective tools to get their work done...or they delegate it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet Your Neighbors - Online

People are now using social networks to meet their neighbors. creates password protected Web sites for apartment buildings and housing developments, allowing residents to post pictures and profiles of themselves, share information about favorite local restaurants, and complain about maintenance issues within their complex. Each building on the service is overseen by a company representative who logs neighborhood services and restaurants into the sites before it makes its debut. Also, everything but the forum postings are screened for inappropriate content. Managers at one complex asked the owner of LifeAt to discontinue the forum part of the service, since some residents were ranting on them; however, when the forums were removed the residents created their own forum on a Yahoo blog behind the property manager's back, so they decided to keep the forum open so the property managers could be proactive about issues at hand. is a for-profit company based in Manhattan that also operates a social networking service for apartment dwellers. Jared Nissim, the company's founder, runs the site as a sidelight to his primary business, the Lunch Club, which helps strangers meet., with 45,000 members, is a site that studies the role that Web sites can play in strengthening offline social ties. Keith Hampton, the founder, says that people in apartment buildings generally do not pursue social connections with their neighbors because they are young people who move more frequently and are less interested in the people who live near them and more interested in their own social networks. New York is an exception since the availability of housing makes people live in apartment buildings who otherwise would not.

When you strengthen your ties to the community and help others, you build a stronger business.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bridge Domains for Innovation

British curator and media researcher Ele Carpenter was so inspired by the striking similarities between embroidery and software programming, she decided to create Open Source Embroidery, an artistic and social-networking experience bringing a large and diverse group of people together.

Katie Haegele’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer ,“New Media: Computer Programming Meets Embroidery” points out how members of Open Source Embroidery are more concerned with the process of creating and the collaborative efforts of the project than the final product. It is an element Carpenter views as inherent in both needlework and programming.

Skilled and amateur needleworkers and programmers have come together to participate in creating a six-sided quilt with 216 “hexadecimal” colors. The project comes at the right time; the old-fashioned hobbies of needlework are now becoming popular and more socially acceptable to a younger generation.

By looking at the opportunities that exist at the intersection of atypical fields, you build a stronger business.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Perks and Flexibility Work

The biggest trends in today's workplace are perks and flexibility, according to The Wall Street Journal article, "What Makes a Company a Great Place to Work Today."

Versatile work routines accommodating individual schedules, paid paternity leave as an extension of family-friendly programs, and extra vacation time, have all become a big draw for many employees.

Drab offices with window-less cubicles are being filled with plush cafes and fitness centers as employers reach out to Gen Y workers who crave individual attention and recognition.

Rigid work hours, services performing family tasks and errands for busy employees (a popular trend in the 1990s), and corporate child care are now receiving criticism from today's employees.

When building a stronger business, consider the job from your employees' point of view.

Upgrading Voicemail Messages

Voicemail messages have been upgraded, thanks to the free services provided by Youmail ( and GrandCentral (

In The Wall Street Journal article, "Voicemail Gets A Lot More Fun With Free Services", Sarmad Ali details his experience with both services.

Youmail allows users to personalize their voicemail messages for individual callers in a phonebook, denies messages from unwanted callers and only requires users to type in a mobile phone number and an email address to sign up. Although a long-distance number is required to retrieve messages, canceling service is apparently as simple as signing up for it.

GrandCentral is even easier to use and provides the same services as Youmail but users must be invited to sign up.

A unique feature the service provides is a phone number that links home, office and cell phone numbers, allowing users to check just one mailbox.

When the phone rings, users pick up and hear a recording of the caller's name and four options for handling the call. New callers are asked to say their names the first time they call, which enables the service to recognize them everafter.

These are just a couple of on-the-go solutions for building a stronger business.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dual Benefits

Sandy in Connecticut asked Amy, a stay at home mom, wrote in to "Ask Amy" in The Washington Post to see if it was wrong of her friend to buy "armloads" of items from the Salvation Army and then sell them for about five times the purchase price in order to make extra money for the family. Sandy feels that those items are for the needy, not for her friend to profit from.

Amy asked Maj. Dennis Gensler, general secretary of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command for the Eastern Territories, who responded by explaining that the money raised from these "armload" purchases goes to fund programs at the 115 Salvation Army adult rehabilitation centers throughout the country. The stores have a dual purpose of offering low-cost goods for sale to anyone (not just the needy) and they use the profit from the sale of your donated goods to fund their operations. The money raised from a donation to the Salvation Army funds vital programs for needy people and fund's Sandy's friends stay-at-home lifestyle.

Savvy business people like Maj. Gensler understand that indirect benefits as well as direct benefits build a stronger business.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Competitive Forecasting Provides Better Results Than Surveys

Competitive forecasting, a new trend discussed in James Surowiecki’s book, “The Wisdom the Crowds”, has become a popular method of surveying the public, and the Sloan Center has jumped on the bandwagon. The first to broadly study Internet sales, The Sloan Center will launch a new Web site that will take the public’s predictions about internet-related trends and online sales.

In The New York Times article, “The Wisdom of Sales Trend Predictions”, Bob Tedeschi calls attention to the advantages competitive forecasting provides over traditional surveys. According to analysts, this method brings more accurate results because participants care more about their answers. One of the best known examples is The Hollywood Stock Exchange (, which has correctly predicted 92% of the major-category Oscar winners.

Competitive forecasting is also more appealing to participants than typical phone surveys.

Donna Hoffman and Thomas P. Novak, directors of the Sloan Center, will offer cash rewards like $25 and $500 gift certificates to the top-ranked participants of their site. The most prescient users also have an opportunity to gain an admirable online reputation.

An Online Prank Goes Too Far

In The New York Times article, “Don’t Marry Our Daughters After All” Brad Stone discusses, a prank Web Site pretending to sell underage girls for marriage to older men for large sums of money. Science fiction editor John Ordover created the site to poke fun at the inconsistencies in state marriage laws.

Unfortunately not everyone is in on the joke. The site has receives thousands of angry emails a day and Mr. Ordover has had to explain himself to angry listeners on several radio shows.

Online pranks carry risks. Be aware of this when building a stronger business.

Creative Ideas Don't Always Work

When Brian P. Tierney, the new chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings proposed to place two giant billboards and an inflatable giant bee by the newspaper’s landmark building to advertise the upcoming new “Bee Movie”, the neighbors strongly objected.

In The New York Times article, “No Bees on the Inquirer”, Pradnya Joshi notes that the new CEO received no complaints from staff.

Since his start with the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, Tierney has been encouraging his staff to be more creative with promotions. He has proposed to sponsor the first national sudoku championship and has raised the marketing budget from $300,000 to $14 million.

But his proposal for the movie promotion really offended neighbors who believe in respecting the historical landmark.

Innovation is not always embraced when you’re building a stronger business.

Shopper Calculations Often Wrong

According to The New York Times article by Alex Mindlin, “A Math Test for Bargain Hunters”, 59% of bargain hunters incorrectly compute sales percentages.

In a study by Florida researchers, shoppers were more likely to buy an item on sale for the second time, than the same item on sale for a higher, but equivalent amount.

A product on sale for 33% of a 25% discount would attract more shoppers than a product with a 50% discount. Although they are both offer half off, shoppers incorrectly added the first sale to be a 58% discount!

Taking advantage of customer perceptions help you build a stronger business.

25 Year Later USA Today Continues to Stay Relevant

On September 15, 1982 despite much skepticism, USA Today launched as the first national newspaper. Today, 25 years later, it has the largest weekday circulation of any American newspaper and attracts 9 to 10 million readers to its Web Site every month.

Richard Perez-Pena reveals USA Today’s rocky start and controversial image in The New York Times article, “At 25 ‘McPaper’ Is All Grown Up' " Neuhart, creator of USA Today acknowledges that the paper, which distinguishes itself from its competitors with large graphics, color photos and short, light articles, borrowed much of its structure from television.

From day one, USA Today received heavy criticism from newspapers like the Washington Post and The New York Times, who condemned the paper for not being committed to serious journalism.

After a change of leadership in the 1990s, the paper has incorporated more serious, in-depth articles into its glitzy, lightweight image.

Finding a niche helps you build a stronger business.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Subway vs. McDonalds marketing techniques

According to The New York Times article, "Eating Up Calories and Propoganda", Subway customers underestimate the number of calories they are consuming, due to the restaurant marketing itself as healthy.

For a meal with 911 calories, Subway customers believed they had consumed 205 less calories then McDonalds customers believed they had eaten.

When Building a Stronger Business, remember that perception influences buying decisions, but net calories are the after effect.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Co-Working Improves Social and Business Lives of Employees Who Work from Home

Feeling socially isolated as a result of working from home, Alex Hillman, a 23 year old Web entrepreneur, was inspired to create a local version of the new trend, co-working.

Co-working allows people who work from home to reap the benefits of working in an office, like socializing and sharing ideas. Without the distractions of home, it also helps employees stay on track and separate work life and personal life.

The article, “A Step Up From Working in PJ’s”, in The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights the co-working group using a work space at Independents Hall in downtown Philadelphia. With a chic interior design, conference room and kitchen, employees are willing to spend $175 to $275 a month to use the space.

To learn more about co-working visit:

Independents Hall in Center City.

Workplayce in Elkins Park.

Decreasing isolation is an important step in building a stronger business.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pay for Performance a Bad Idea

Harvard economist, Roland G. Fryer, has devised a plan to keeping inner city children motivated to succeed in school. The controversial new program would give fourth and seventh graders from lower income families, $100 to $500 for performing well on ten tests throughout the school year.

In The New York Times article by Joseph Berger, “Some Wonder if Cash for Good Test Scores is the Wrong Kind of Lesson”, advocates of the program say similar incentive programs in countries like Mexico have increased school attendance. Others believe the program will not only help underprivileged children, but children from all economic backgrounds by creating a driven, highly motivated school environment.

Opponents of the program believe that instead of being motivated by a love of learning and an inner desire to succeed and create better opportunities for themselves and their families, children would only be motivated by money.

Other opponents like Suzanne Windland, a Queens resident and mother of three, believe the program is unfair as it only favors lower-income children, which could spur resentment among the other classmates who don’t qualify for the program.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Free Online Service for Commuters

According to the article, "Email traffic alerts aid N.J. commuters" in The Philadelphia Inquirer, commuters traveling between New Jersey and Philadelphia will be able to check their email, cell phones or PDAs for up-to-date traffic jams and late trains.

The free online service will be provided by the Delaware River Port Authority, and a similar program is being developed for SEPTA.

The PATCO train line, run by the Delaware River Port Authority, will also provide uniformed "ambassadors" to assist commuters traveling at night and on weekends.

Providing information in formats and on devices that make life more convenient for your customer is a sure way to build a stronger business.

Recycling Can Save Your Life

According to the Men’s Health article, “Energy-saving lightbulbs”, government scientists believes compact fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury, could one day poison us.

Apart from standard recycling to prevent soil and water contamination, Ikea is also accepting bulbs at their store for free.

Visit for more information.

Natural Solutions Help Save Money

According to the Men’s Health article, “A Clean Sweep”, ammonia-based cleaning products can cause asthma attacks.

Homemade products can work just as effectively. Coffee grounds mixed with compost mulch can open drains, vegetable oil and lemon juice work as a glass cleaner, and simmering cinnamon leaves and cloves become an air freshener. Who knew?

When you’re building a stronger business, DIY is often an economic route.

Eliminate Stress, Live Longer

Worrying takes 16 years off your life! proclaims the article “Chill, You’ll Be Fine” in Men’s Health.

Negative thinking produces cortisol, a stress hormone that can be bad for your health when elevated for long periods of time. Stress-coping habits like overeating can also contribute to overall bad health, but activities like volunteering can help eliminate stress.

Genius Computer Game "Solves" Checkers

Chinook, a checker-playing computer program developed by Canadian researchers, can beat anyone at checkers.

The Canadian study entitled, “Checkers is Solved”, is discussed in Randolph E. Schmid’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s, “Computer Scientist Say Their Program Cannot Lose”. According to the scientists, every decision the checker-playing program makes is 100% accurate. For the 39 trillion positions possible in the game, Chinook can calculate them all!

The emergence of unbeatable computer –playing programs has not stopped people from enjoying the game. Ernest L. Hall, director of the Center for Robotics at the University of Cincinnati, believes such programs will encourage people to solve “other games we encounter in life”.

Being the best is a smart position strategy when building a stronger business.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Perception Matters When Building a Business

In order to make her small real-estate and property management firm look larger than it actually was, Angela Ford invested in an answering service. Instead of reaching Ms. Ford, her customers would first speak to a live operator, who would only direct their calls if she was available. Her company's revenue has more than doubled every year since it began.

According to The New York Times article, "Making a Little Company Look Big" part of building a successful company includes creating the image that you are more successful than you initially are. Besides paying for an answering service, entrepreneurs can also rent office space and design a sophisticated Web site.

Evan Carmichael, a chief executive of small business, had his friends dress in suits and work diligently in a borrowed office space when a local television studio asked to interview him. After the segment was broadcast his Web site went from 150 visitors a day to almost 1700 a day.

People who build a stronger business realize that perception matters and take advantage of technology tools and marketing techniques to put their best foot forward.

Public Chooses 7 Wonders

A poll on the seven wonders of the world was conducted via the internet and cell phone text messages, bringing in 100 million votes. The article in The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights the 7 winners as:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Roman Colosseum, Italy
  • The Taj Mahal, India
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Statue of Christ Reedemer, Brazil
  • Petra in Jordan
  • Chichen Itzen Pyramid, Mexico

The 21 runners-up included:

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Easter Island
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Acropolis
  • Cambodia's Angkor
  • Spain's Alhambra
  • Turkey's Hagia Sophia
  • Japan's Kiyomizu Temple
  • Russia's Kremlin and
  • St. Basil's Cathedral
  • Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Britain's Stonehenge
  • Mali's Timbuktu
  • Sydney Austraila's Opera House

Organizers of the poll admit there was no way to stop people from voting more than once. Nearly 200 nominations came in from around the world.

Surveys and polls are convenient ways to gather insights into public opinion--something everyone who is building a stronger business wants to do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Online Rating System: Help or Hindrance?

In The New York Times article, "On Second Thought, Let's Just Rate all the Lawyers", criminal defense lawyer John Henry Browne, sites his reasons for filing a lawsuit against allows regular people to find the kind of lawyers they need in their location. After typing in a zip code and specialty, a list of lawyers come up with a rating out of 10 points.

Unfortunately for Mr. Browne, his first visit to the site ranked him at a 3.7, in the site's "caution" zone. He claims to have lost two potential clients because of Web site.

Avvo appears to generate their rankings from public records including disciplinary reports and factor in education, experience and specialization help. Lawyers are allowed to add information to their profile after providing Avvo with a valid credit card number.

They will not disclose exactly how much each record factors into their ratings, but claim lawyers could temporarily increase their scores by inputing minor prizes and awards. After typing in positive information about his career and experience, Mr. Browne watched his score rise to a 7.4.

When you're building a stronger business, focus on the metrics that matter rather than getting caught in an arbitrary rating game.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Perils of Customer Involvement

Malibu Caribbean Rum recently sponsored a contest from its user-generated advertising site. They offered either a prize of $25,000 or a personal banana grove in a tropical location to the contestant who submitted the best original advertisement for the product.

According to The New York Times article "Outcome of an Ad Contest Starts an Uproar on YouTube", Malibu encouraged participation from You-Tube users and said they would consider their votes when making the final decision.

But when a winner was announced even before the final contestants were posted, many YouTube users became upset. Message boards were filled with complaints, and one user even created a short conspiracy theory video about the situation.

The uproar shows how user-generated promotions can backfire with some consumers.

Beware of the risks associated with customer involvement. You must not only be trustworthy, but transparent when building a stronger business.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The SAT Has Never Been Cooler

Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions have merged with iTunes to provide students with SAT study programs they can download to their iPods. Critical reading, mathematics and writing programs are all available for $4.99 in the games section of iTunes.

According to The New York Times article, "Prepare for the SAT Test, or Play with Your iPod? Have it Both Ways", SAT directors are understanding the need to accommodate to the changing learning styles of today's youth.

Since students use their iPods almost everywhere they go, it made sense to merge with iTunes to make studying more fun and accessible. Kaplan has even created a myspace page ( and a series of graphic novels.

While the downloads may be helpful, Kaplan director Kristen Campbell recommends only using them as a supplemental product, since the SAT is still a pencil-and-paper based test.

When you're building a stronger business, go to the places where your target audience is already paying attention.

Wired and Xerox Update Their Images

The first 5,000 Wired Magazine subscribers to upload their photos to, received a July issue with their face on the cover. The editorial theme for the issue was the growth of online personalization.

The New York Times article, "You, Too, Can Grace a National Magazine's Cover", discusses Wired magazine's partnership with Xerox to personalize their cover. While they did not make any money from the promotion, it also didn't cost much. The main goal for both Wired and Xerox was to update their images.

By partnering with the edgier Wired, Xerox hopes to discard its stereotypical image as a single copy machine and showcase itself as an innovator and technology leader.

With its young and forward-thinking audience, Wired believes their promotion will be successful. They have also printed personalized copies for television celebrities who could mention it on their shows.

Build a stronger business and keep your image fresh in the minds of your target audience. Wired and Xerox did to a good effect for a modest investment.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Truth About Hydrogen Peroxide

The effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for small cuts and wounds is discussed in The New York Times article by Anahad O'Connor.

According to research, hydrogen peroxide does not prevent the growth of bacteria in wounds and can actually increase the amount of time it takes for a wound to heal. In a study conducted in the late 1980s, wounds treated with the antibiotic bacitracin healed much faster.

The American Medical Association claims the only benefit of hydrogen peroxide is its ability to remove dirt, debris and dead tissue in some wounds.

Many myths die hard, but you've got to learn to let go and move on when you're building a stronger business.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Ad Placements for Widget Creating Web Sites

Widgets, or applications that consumers can use to produce videos, photo slideshows and music playlists, are posted on sites such as MySpace and Facebook and attract millions of viewers.

According to The Wall Street Journal article, “Widgets May Snag More Ads”, the companies creating the widgets, such as Slide Inc. and RockYou Inc. are not generating much revenue from their own content. Instead, the majority of their income comes from selling ads on their own sites because MySpace does not allow it and Facebook only allows the ads to run in certain places, which do not include personal profile pages.

Recently, some social-networking companies like Bebo Inc., have started to include ads with widgets on its profile pages, which should increase revenue for Widget creating sites.

Links to widget sites:




BunnyHero labs






Decreasing PC Power Usage Saves Billions

According to The Wall Street Journal article, “Computer Power Waste Targeted”, PCs waste half the power they consume and account for 2% of world-wide energy usage. Meeting an annual target led by Google Inc. and Intel Corp. to reduce energy consumption, could save more than $5.5 billion in annual energy costs and decrease 54 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The initial guidelines set by the EPA’s Energy Star program, raise PC efficiencies from an estimated 65% to 80%. The new initiatives seek to raise efficiency to 90% by 2010.

The plan also involves getting companies to use power-management software on their PCs that would put inactive desktop computers into sleep mode to save energy.

While the cost for energy-saving software would add $20 to $30 more on a PC and server, it could save the user $10 from $40 on an annual electric bill.

When you take steps to protect your environment you build a stronger business.

To Infinity and Beyond! Email services compete to provide unlimited storage.

Since email brings users into contact with all the services and products Web companies provide it has a key role in their business strategies. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have all created their emails according to their company needs.

In The Wall Street Journal article, “Web –Based Services Give Email Users a Taste of the Infinite” Lee Gomes acknowledges Yahoo’s plans to give “free unlimited storage” as a stretch. Yahoo believes most users will never be able to reach the actual limit and want to finally shatter the public's idea that Gmail provides the most storage.

The battle for perception is a very costly one to fight, but necessary sometimes when you want to build a stronger business.

Microfinance Provides More for Entrepreneurs

The opportunities microfinance has created in developing countries around the world have not gone unnoticed by Citigroup Inc., who has just launched their Citi Microfinance Donor Fund.

The goal of the charitable fund, according to Kristin McNamara’s article in The Wall Street Journal, “Citi Fund Backs Entrepreneurs” is to prompt the development of microfinance organizations that are too small to cover the cost of their own operations. The fund allows wealthy philanthropists to provide substantial financial support for poor entrepreneurs in the developing world who are unable to get support from banks.

Depending on the success of the Citi Microfinance Donor Fund, Citigroup plans to open a second microfinance fund and other special interest funds.

Microfinancing is yet another way to improve the entrepreneur ecosystem and Build a Stronger Business community.

Online Party Invitations Step Up

After nearly 10 years of being the only Web site providing electronic invitations, Evite is finally getting some competition! MyPunchbowl ( emerged in January 2007, with the same free service, fewer ads and some features Evite is lacking.

In The Wall Street Journal’s article, “Invite Sites Help Start a Party”, Katherine Boehert compares Evite and MyPunchbowl to see which provides the better service.

MyPunchbowl boasts a message board, the ability to give VIP status to certain guests, better control over guest responses and the capacity to swiftly add and share Google maps and YouTube videos.

Evite has responded to its competition by planning on introducing an online and mobile part-supply store, animated versions of its invitations and collaboration with

Know your audience and give them features they want and need to build a stronger business.

Using the Internet to Manage Event Invitations

After nearly 10 years of being the only Web site providing electronic invitations, Evite is finally getting some competition! MyPunchbowl emerged in January 2007, with the same free service, fewer ads and some features Evite is lacking.

In The Wall Street Journal article, “Invite Sites Help Start a Party”, Katherine Boehert compares Evite and MyPunchbowl to see which provides the better service.

MyPunchbowl boasts a message board, the ability to give VIP status to certain guests, better control over guest responses and the capacity to swiftly add and share Google maps and YouTube videos.

Evite has responded to its competition by planning on introducing an online and mobile part-supply store, animated versions of its invitations and collaboration with Evite also has 800 invite templates, whereas the newer MyPunchbowl only has 100.

According to Boehret, other drawbacks to MyPunchbowl are its lack of various fonts and colors, an obscurely placed preview button and limited guest response options—all of which are available on Evite.

While Boehret concedes both Web sites need more variety and improvements to make their invitations both hip and easy to use, MyPunchbowl appears to provide the most potential.

Microfinancing Program Builds Entrepreneur Ecosystem

The opportunities microfinance has created in developing countries around the world have not gone unnoticed by Citigroup Inc., who has just launched their Citi Microfinance Donor Fund.

The goal of the charitable fund, according to Kristin McNamara’s The Wall Street Journal article, Citi Fund Backs Entrepreneurs is to prompt the development of microfinance organizations that are too small to cover the cost of their own operations. The fund allows wealthy philanthropists to provide substantial financial support for poor entrepreneurs in the developing world who are unable to get support from banks.

Citigroup has required a minimum donation of $100,000 to their fund, which they hope will allow them to maintain serious donors. Although microfinance donors cannot receive the same recognition available from other charitable giving, they will receive an income tax deduction and will be able to decide where to direct their donations at a later date.

Depending on the success of the Citi Microfinance Donor Fund, Citigroup plans to open a second microfinance fund and other special interest funds.

Microfinancing is yet another way to improve the entrepreneur ecosystem and build a stronger business community.

To Infinity and Beyond! Email services compete to provide unlimited storage.

To Infinity and Beyond! Email services compete to provide unlimited storage.

In The Wall Street Journal article, Web-Based Services Give Email Users a Taste of the Infinite Lee Gomes acknowledges Yahoo’s plans to give “free unlimited storage” as a stretch. Competing with Gmail’s previously unparalleled 1-2 gigabytes of free storage, Yahoo’s storage space ends at some point, but believes most users will never be able to reach the limit.

Email brings users into contact with all the services and products Web companies provide, says Gomes, making email a key part of their business strategies. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have all created their emails according to their company needs.

Despite Yahoo’s increase in storage space, Gomes’s testing still found sending big files to be problematic. As improvements continue to be made however, Yahoo will address the issue.

The battle for perception is a very costly one to fight, but necessary sometimes when you want to build a stronger business.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Web Design

Bruce Temkin, a Forrester Research analyst, answers some Frequently Asked Questions about Web design in the Wall Street Journal article, "Good Site, Bad Site: Evolving Web Design".

Mr. Temkin cites navigation as the biggest problem Web sites are experiencing; with bigger and more complex sites, users are finding it more difficult to get what they want. Another problem is evidence on home pages that user tasks have been completed. For instance, a retail site that obscures it's return-product option behind a general tab like "Service and Support".

Temkin says the best sites answer the following questions: Who are your target users? What are their goals? And how are you going to help them achieve those goals?

The worst sites place personal or company preferences for Web designs over customer needs.

Finally, since customers can only say what's wrong, but not how to fix it, it's imperative to have good design mechanisms and skills from the start.

Follow this path and you'll build a stronger business.

Cellphone "Accidental" Dialings

In The Wall Street Journal article, "When You're Cellphone Goes Behind Your Back to Redial Your Office", Jared Sandberg reveals the phenomena many cell phone users have unfortunately fallen victim to: accidental dialing.

From receiving 15 minute voicemails of dog-walking to undetected eavesdropping on private conversations, accidental phone calls have become a big problem.

It has become such a normal activity that the FCC has had to warn the public about accidentally dialing 911.

Despite the implementation of key guards, which can lock and unlock dialing pads on cell phones, it still remains a problem for many.

You've got to maintain standards of accountability for your personal behavior when you're building a stronger business. Spend more time learning to use the phone effectively rather than coming up with excuses for "what it did to you"

Multitasking While on the Move

Hand held devices like Blackberrys, Palm Pilots and SmartPhones are currently being used by an estimated 50 million workers in the U.S., who spend more than 25% of their time outside of the office.

According to the article, "Doing More on the Go", in The Wall Street Journal, such hand held devices allow workers to perform a variety of tasks, including checking and updating client lists, timesheets and daily tasks, accessing records and monitoring inventory.

Since small and mid-sized companies are more likely to invest in and use the technology, Wireless and technology companies like Sprint Nextel Corp. and Microsoft have found a place to focus their efforts.

Keep up with the tools that can help you stay in touch when your schedule demands that you're on the go. Building a stronger business often requires it of you and your staff.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

'The Secret' Explained

Connecting with your sense of humor is a sure path toward building a stronger business.

Savvy entrepreneurs will also realize the lessons of piggybacking on a trend. Enjoy! ;-)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Using Observation to Increase Customer Loyalty

The staff at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel is famous for keenly serving and observing the influential in their restaurants, spa, and hotel rooms. The hotel keeps careful records on its guests' tastes, as well as what they spend there. The managing director, Mr. Kasikci, does his own research and has perfected his own branch of semiotics- interpreting signs of wealth and sophistication. For example, he says, a woman in good jewelery but poor clothes may have recently inherited wealth.

The distinctions can translate into the amount of pampering customers receive. For example, pillow cases at the hotel come in three tiers - no monogram, two-letter, or three-letter monograms of the guests' initials. Top dogs get 3 letter monograms, which are harder to use with multiple guests. The hotel also washes guests' cars and leaves Fiji water bottles in the cup holders.

Such attention results in greater customer loyalty and repeat business.

You can build a stronger business by taking a few extra steps to learn more about your customers and what they want and need; you'll be surprised at some of the simple, low-cost requests they make that can advance your relationship.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Curbing Child Obesity in One Town

In "As Child Obesity Surges, One Town Finds Way To Slim" in The Wall Street Journal explains one towns method of stopping child obesity. In hopes of curbing childhood obesity, Dr. Economos has developed a community-based obesity intervention in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Over the past five years, restaurants have switched to low fat milk and smaller portions; the school district has doubled the amount of fruit offered at lunch; and the town has repainted crosswalks, added bike trails and bike racks. At the schools, initially children opted not to purchase anything since the options were all healthy foods. Since the children were forced to go without a fatty or sugar-rich snack, more children began purchasing foods from the school cafeteria, which were all healthy options.

Instead of forcing children to go on a diet, the goal was to change their environment with small and inexpensive steps. During the 2003-2004 school year, Somerville children gained less weight then children in two nearby communities used as a control group, according to a report published in the medical journal Obesity.

When implementing change initiatives, think about ways to change the environment to support the behavior you're after and you'll build a stronger business with less effort.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Litmus Test for Entrepreneurial Success

If you were asked by a reporter what are the top 3 or 4 things you look for to decide whether a start-up company will succeed, what would you say?

Compare your answer with that of someone who makes this type of decision and then writes checks to support/acquire those businesses that are likely to grow significantly.

Robert Fox, president of RAF Industries and the namesake of Temple's Fox School of Business, shared some interesting insights at their annual business plan competition luncheon run by Temple's Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Bob said that the five things he and his partners look for in a business seeking funding include:
  1. It has to be a great idea. The idea has to be something original, rather than a "me too" or "I'll win on quality and service" model. Zany Brainy wasn't just another toy store -- it defined a new niche, he explained.
  2. The entrepreneur has to be committed to succeeding both short and long term. The founder has to have a clear vision for the company and be abele to accomplish his or her top priorities each day.
  3. The business plan has to be well-researched. Businesses seeking funding need a business plan, and the more details that show a thorough understanding of the customer, market, industry, and operating environment, the more an investor is likely to want to support the company.
  4. The business has to be cash positive. At $1 million, the company has sufficient "capital proof" of concept. As an exception, Bob related how SmartWool went from $400,000 to over $45 million in a few short years.
  5. The entrepreneur has to be a great sales person. When it comes down to it, selling speaks louder than words and someone has to be responsible for brining in orders.
No matter what size business you're growing, this advice can help you build a stronger business.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Negotiation Tactics for the Talented Entrepreneur

Question: What do you get when an academic entrepreneur incubation center brings in a quartet of the regions most accomplished entrepreneurs and lets them conduct a live, unscripted negotiation scenario for a simulated $200 million biotech deal?

Answer: Highly entertaining education. (Or highly educational entertainment -- take your pick.)

That's the outcome that the Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology pulled off earlier today at their forum called "Negotiation Tactics for the Talented Entrepreneur."

Using a custom case study as the basis for the negotiation, a team of two sellers (Tony Ibarguen and Charles Robins) represented the company "Catnome LLC" and a team of two buyers (Ian Berg and Mel Baiada) represented the US Pharma pharmaceutical company poised to acquire the start-up. Here are the roles more clearly delineated:
  • Tony served as CEO of Catnome
  • Charles served as Chairman of the Board and as the lead investor in Catnome of the venture firm BVP
  • Mel served as President of the US Pharma division for Veterinary Medicine
  • Ian served as President of the investment banking firm financing the deal for US Pharma

In the scenario presented to about 150 entrepreneurs and business leaders in attendance was that the representatives were to close the deal that day and resolve the final terms of the acquisition. Two events occured since the last meeting that have thrown in a few twists to the deal. One is a lawsuit by a "patent troll" firm. The other is bad press looming from an adverse reaction to the Catnome anti-allergen enzyme therapy for cats that reduced their lifespans by half.

Legal celebrity to the Greater Philadelphia entrepreneur community Steve Goodman of Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius set the stage, moderated, and provided insights and perspective to the event.

It was remarkable to see how all four entrepreneurs competed and collaborated, switched from offense to defense, parried and dodged verbal salvos. Although the content was staged, the interactions provided real insights into how issues are raised, objections neutralized, and agreements tightened at a negotiating table. Each entrepreneur was playing to win for his side, and as Charles pointed out, for the longer term as well because they would be working together in the new company and doing deals with each other later on.

Next week I'll share a list of the key negotiation take-aways from the session. For now, I want to point out how this experiment succeeded for Drexel's Baiada Center and how that might help you build a stronger business, as well.

Mark Loschiavo, director of the Baiada Center, took a risk in employing this format. It hadn't been done before. It wasn't the safe, predictible tried-and-true path of having panelists sit at a table on a stage and share their wisdom and experience about a particular topic. That format works. It meets expectations. It delivers some value.

What Loschiavo did with this Negotiation Tactics seminar was risky -- he really didn't know whether the entrepreneurs would actually complete a deal in the time allocated. Towards the end, the entrepreneurs introduced some creative twists to the negotiation that must have had the organizers scratching their heads wondering where they lost control of the seminar. And it's just that element of uncertainty that kept everyone of us in our chairs until the last minute of the negotiation -- we wanted to see how it turned out. There was unusual drama to the event and it was given time and space to develop that made this event so provocative and so much more valuable than a straigthforward panel discussion.

As an entrepreneur reading this article, you certainly can imagine that a scenario like this takes much more preparation to conduct than a panel discussion. It involved many more people behind the scenes and on stage to make it succeed -- from the management faculty who developed the framework of the simulated negotiation to the moderator to hold the ambitious group together and draw out the lessons learned.

Experiments are worth it. Even if the deal hadn't been made during the seminar, participants would still be talking about the fascinating conversations that took place and the tactics learned.

When you conduct experiments with your business, you learn to how to differentiate, brand, and communicate your competencies far better to your target audience.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Optimizing Your Website

If you want to get a high ranking on search engines you’ve got to be crafty and employ every trick you’ve learned from others’ rule books.

David Lury advises FSB readers in his article “The Tech Skeptic: Head of the Class” to pay the nominal fee for getting a listing on websites such as Yahoo. He suggests designing a website with features that will appeal to search engines such as descriptive explanations of what your company does on the website. Engines will be more likely to pick up these descriptions when people use them in search terms.

Although there is plenty of frustrating inconsistencies with these engines but some of the new ones have improved the quality of returns. Inktomi, a search engine optimizer found on a variety of search engines such as MSN and work with websites to ensure the most relevant content gets listed where it should. Having a search engine on your own website is important for feeding back the data to the larger search engine pool.

By being savvy about how search engines and optimizers work, you can ensure more hits to your website and build a stronger business.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rise to the Challenge of Leading Your Business

One of the most difficult things about being an entrepreneur is there is no one telling you what to do. You must be your own manager and push yourself to accomplish your goals. That requires a great deal of motivation. But it also requires you to gain the support and enthusiasm of your clients too.

  • Make a list of people you need to call. But before calling them, figure out what will motivate them – how will their companies reap the benefit of taking action?
  • Highlight any good publicity your company receives. The more familiar you are to a prospect, the less resistance you'll encounter to a call.
  • Don’t give up on potential clients even when they turn you down. If you are persistent, you stand a better chance of getting through or being top-of-mind when a need arises that is suited to your core competencies.
  • Keep your goals firmly in mind, review them often, and update them as necessary.
  • Don’t be deterred by detractors.

If you are persistent and offer a convincing argument for the value of your company, you will win the clients you seek and build a stronger business.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Know the Fundamentals of Marketing

One of the key things to remember when you embark on a marketing campaign is be original. You want to distinguish your company’s brand and principles from other companies, particularly your competition, with unique selling points.

A willingness to adapt to change is critical. As market forces change, you need to be able to respond and address them by focusing on appropriate products and services.

Be prepared to improvise in response to customer demands. Offer ways for your customer base to provide feedback on the Internet or by phone and you will gain information and insight upon which you can base decisions to add to subtract products and services.

Stick to your company’s principles. If you champion your company’s values and emphasize them in a way that wins the appeal of your customers you will win the loyalty of your audience

Provide a well-balanced offer that wins over your potential customers, and you’ll build a stronger business.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Program to Help You Grow

Small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. Networking, insight and free information can make the difference between success and failure. Small Business Development Centers are a national network of offices providing a resource to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses.

There are 1,100 locations across the country, including co-sponsors, like colleges and universities, as well as satellite and outreach offices.

Established in 1980 to spur job growth, the Small Business Development Center Program is a national effort financed by the federal Small Business Administration that offers businesses free planning, management and technical assistance. But generating publicity for the centers continues to be a major obstacle to their success.

Information about the center can be accessed through the Small Business Administration at 1-800-827-5722.

If you make the best use of the resources available to you, you’ll build a stronger business.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fellowship Builds a Stronger Business

You can be at the top of your profession and have a loving family, but sometimes it just isn’t enough, as the article “A Society of Men Sharing Faith, Concerns and Wisecracks” from The New York Times reveals.

Some people are turning to faith based groups to give them the solace missing from other parts of their lives.

The New Canaan Society is one such group. It was started by Jim Lane, a former general partner with Goldman Sachs in 1995.

“We are a group of men who love each other and love Jesus,” said Lane. “The more successful you are, the more isolated and lonely you tend to be. Being Fairfield County, our men tend to be driven. Many high-powered executives get to the top, only to feel dissatisfaction.”

According to Lane, members of the group support each other and share stories on how to be better fathers, husbands and men. It’s deliberately kept to an all-male crowd because Lane believes men are far more likely to be open with others if women are not around.

The group has mushroomed from eight at its start to upwards of 250 at its Hibernian Hall meeting place in Stamford, CT.

People need all manner of support to build satisfaction in their lives. Having a group that can reaffirm your faith can help you build a stronger business.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

From College Contest to Commercialization

Innovation requires an open mind and enthusiasm. As reported in ”A Car Built by Two, Fast and Way Cool,” by Fischler in The New York Times, Eyal Angel and Seth Rosenberg built a car for their senior design project, as part of a mechanical engineering major at Hofstra University. Neither of them had any training in building cars, but they both had a passion for cars. Their car was modeled after the Ariel Atom 2, a British racecar. However, though exotic racecars can cost close to a quarter of a million dollars, they built their car for $12,000. They hope to manufacture more of the cars and market them for $45,000.

Pursuing your passions and expanding your knowledge can build a stronger business.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Always a Downside it Seems

Have You Considered What Your Buyers Want?

The New York Times article “Economist on Fair Trade,” flagged up a recent article in The Economist which wrinkled its nose and tried to pick apart the argument for encouraging practices such as fair trade, organic farming and locally grown products.

It singled out fair trade items, specifically coffee, for its inflated prices. Although there is a larger price tag so that farmers in developing countries can get a fair share of what the branded companies sell, the popularity and higher price tags for fair trade goods have made the sector more attractive to other companies and has increased the demand for a product at a time when policies are being developed to reduce overproduction.

It states that organic farming uses much more land than is currently cultivated and that, were every farm to switch over to this practice, the rain forests wouldn’t have much of a hope.

Bloggers such as Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde and Samuel Fromartz author of Organic Inc. and contributor to environmental blog Gristmill dismiss the The Economist’s argument and point out that its claims on fair trade and organic farming are exaggerated.

Don’t ignore the reality on the ground if you want to build a stronger business.

Cater to a Niche Market for Rewards on Many Levels

The article, “Toys for Disabled, Step 1: What Can a Child Still Do?” from The New York Times shows Dr Steven E. Kanor as a modern day Gepetto for a niche market. He makes toys for children with special needs whose ability to play is limited by their physical impairments.

“What we’re dealing with are children who may not have the use of arms or legs, who may not be able to see, to hear, or even move,” says Dr Kanor. “But we start with what the child has left and focus on what we can do.”

Dr Kanor, 71, who trained as a biomedical engineer, is the founder and president of Enabling Devices in Hastings on Hudson, a 30 year old company that designs toys and leaning devices children with disabilities ranging from missing limbs to muscular diseases, quadriplegics and degenerative brain diseases.

Product inventions are tailored to specific needs. In one instance, Dr Kanor created an eye blink switch for a child paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident. The device allows him to manipulate devices by blinking and facilitates communication.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of children with disabilities is growing; it estimates that there are at least nine million children with a physical or mental disability. One reason the rate has increased is the increased survival rate of premature babies.

In a nod to the need for toys that can reach a broader audience the Toy Industry Association released a brochure detailing toys from the general market that can used by children with disabilities. But while other toy companies have shown interest in adapting some of their toys for specific children’s needs and abilities, Kanor’s company remains the only one to address special needs across his product line.

Elizabeth Bell, Enabling Devices marketing director, puts sales at $6m and estimates that 100,000 toys and devices are sold each year.

Sometimes, finding a niche in the market can also mean giving much needed benefit to a neglected group, and help you build a stronger business.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

University Students Take on Detroit Innovation requires open mind and enthusiasm

The article “A Car Built by Two, Fast and Way Cool,” from The New York Times offers a refreshing view of modern day car designers with a dash of bracing business basics.

If you see a gap in the market and want to produce a product, don’t let a lack of experience stop you. It certainly didn’t stymie Eyal Angel or Seth Rosenberg, two Hofstra University mechanical engineering students who built a sports car based on a combination of coursework, library and Internet research.

They developed an understanding of suspension design, electrical systems, fuel pumps, cooling and exhaust systems. They designed a paper mock up of a chassis and developed a computer model and from that they welded together a chassis composed of tubular steel parts in Rosenberg’s grandfather’s Floral Park machine shop.

The roadster is modeled after the Ariel Atom 2, a British racecar. It has a 2.4 liter turbocharged engine and is designed to vroom from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds or less.

With prototype costs at $12,000, Rosenberg and Angel plan to market the car at $45,000, a fraction of the cost of a brand name sports car.

If you want to build a stronger business, don’t let inexperience slow you down. Research, trial and error win the day.

These Power Lunches Fulfill a Different Need

Build a stronger business by thinking broadly about your customers

The Philadelphia Inquirer article “Higher-power Lunches” describes how city denizens in search of a bite sized portion of churchgoing have a solution in Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia.

The Episcopal church has launched “Twenty Minutes with God,” a 20-minute lunchtime church service on Tuesdays starting at 12:15pm; it gives enough time for people to pray, have a bite, and return to work without overextending their lunch hour.

By working around people’s schedules, this church has found a useful way to grow its audience and perhaps gain more parishioners in the long run. It offers a useful model on how to build a stronger business.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Review Your Priorities to Build A Stronger Business

The article “Final Take” from The New York Times What’s Offline section reveals some startling research about people’s spending priorities.

According to research from AllianceBernstein published in Money magazine, some 58 percent of parents “spent more on restaurants and takeout last year than they saved for college.”

Look at your priorities and long term plans this year and see how they compare with your overall strategy for building a stronger business.

Microbusinesses Thrive Under Flexible Business Models

Microbusinesses enjoyed a milestone and a little affirmation this year, according to the article, “Wanted: Nobody” from USA Today. There are now 20 million microbusinesses in the US; that’s one for every six private sector workers.

The micro-revolution offers self starters a chance to channel their interests and create an ensemble cast of specialists similar to a Hollywood film.

“They come together, do the work, and then disperse,” says Terri Lonier of Working Solo, which advises self employed professionals and the companies that work with them.

The fact of the matter is, as hard as entrepreneurs may strive to keep their staff sizes small, it’s inevitable that success will force them to outsource work to avoid getting bogged down in scut work that prevents them from building their businesses further.

Here again, the Internet provides a handy tool. Microbusinesses can track down specialists on the Internet on dedicated websites and find people whose talents and work schedules fit in with your own. With your talent pool only limited by the reach of the web you can build a stronger business one click at a time.