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Overcoming the Fear of Starting a Business

379_2898634October is the season when we celebrate fear. Fear in the form of ghouls and vampires. But not fear of starting a business!

If you’ve long told yourself you wanted to start a business but haven’t done it yet, I’m betting one or more of these fears is holding you back:

  • Fear of failure: What if I don’t succeed? What will people think?
  • Fear of competition: There are others already doing what I want to do. How could I possibly do it better?
  • Fear of success:(Yes, this is a fear!) I’ve come to expect little from myself. Will I be the same person if I start achieving more?

 

Let me do you a favor and bonk those fears on the head. There are no guarantees in life, and there are certainly none in entrepreneurship. But that’s part of the equation. You take the risk of failure with the potential for great success and growth. If you can deal with that duality, you’ll make a great business owner.

Let’s get you shifting your mindset and on to actually starting that business that you’ve dreamed of. Continue reading “Overcoming the Fear of Starting a Business” »

Your Social Media Etiquette Guide

There are dozens of social networking sites with more popping up almost every year. While the major players – Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin – have been around for years, many businesses trip over some of the basic etiquette stumbling blocks. Major companies have made the mistake of using inappropriate hashtags to promote their campaign, joking about national disasters or responding poorly to customer feedback. Unfortunately, these errors lead to negative associations and ultimately fewer customers.

The best rule of thumb when posting to all social platforms is to spend time researching and writing out updates before hitting the post button. Other tips include:

  • Personalize your company – post photos of your company outing or event
  • Start a weekly tradition to encourage engagement
  • Tag other companies, publications and people in your post that your audience looks up to
  • Provide full and accurate information for your company
  • Make sure your posts provide value to your audience

You might be aware of the basic guidelines for social media, but did you know each one also has their own subset of unwritten etiquette rules? This means that even if you understand one platform, you cannot use the same tactics on a different one. Instead, you must adjust how you post and the frequency you post for each network. The infographic below outlines the dos and don’ts of each social media platform.

SocialMediaEtiquette-IG

Why I Write for a Billion Blogs

743_3632469When I Google my name, I’m always surprised at how many channels I’m a published blogger on. Forbes, AllBusiness, Mashable…there’s a long list of places I write content, and let me tell you: it’s all part of my strategy.

I’ll share with you the reasons I guest blog so prolifically.

1. It Expands My Reach

While we certainly have some loyal readers on CorpNet’s Startup Starting Line, I’m always eager to reach more people and help them start a business successfully. When I write content for these blogs, people who wouldn’t otherwise have found me now have a connection to me and to CorpNet.

2. It Helps Me Brand

The more places both I and CorpNet appear, the more brand recognition we both get. So people start seeing our names over and over and think, “I keep hearing a lot about CorpNet. I need to check it out.”

I don’t mind sharing with you the fact that we recently tested out reducing our spend on online ads. The kicker? We didn’t see a drop in traffic to our site at all. In fact, it increased! I attribute that in part to my guest blogging. Continue reading “Why I Write for a Billion Blogs” »

It’s Time to Start Working on Your Holiday Marketing Plan (If You Haven’t Already Started)

775_4298494The holidays can have a way of sneaking up on you if you are not ready. With Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving all following on each other’s heels in quick succession, December will be here before you think. It can be aggravating to see Christmas decorations in the store before you’re ready for them, but they are a great reminder that planning ahead and preparation are your friends, especially when you are developing your holiday marketing plan.

Why do you need one?

You may be a Scrooge, but many of your customers are not. People revel in year-end celebrations and have come to expect promotions, discounts, gifts with purchase, and other freebies during this time of year. If you have a physical storefront, even a few strategic decorations can bring in more foot traffic. These holidays are a substantial part of our culture, so ignore them at your own risk.

If you decide to opt out on holiday marketing, make it a strategic decision, and communicate with your customers why you have chosen to do so. The rest of us will relax in the corner with a glass of wassail and prepare enticing holiday campaigns. Continue reading “It’s Time to Start Working on Your Holiday Marketing Plan (If You Haven’t Already Started)” »

How Technology Helps (and Hinders) Small Business Owners

432_2979754Ah, technology. It’s changed the way we do business…mostly for the better. But most of us who rely on our mobile devices can be victims of them from time to time.

Recently, Small Business Trends paired up with Verizon to conduct a study on how business owners use technology. What we found was pretty interesting.

How Technology Makes Us Better Entrepreneurs

One facet of the study focused on the ways business owners leverage technology. How many of these can you relate to?

 

  • Save Time and Money. As much as 61% of business owners find they save time and money with mobile technology. For me, that time savings comes from having access to all my important information within arm’s reach.
  • Better Customer Service. Being connected means being able to respond to customer service inquiries and complaints faster.
  • Improved Workflow Efficiency. T

Where We Let Technology Take Over

There’s always the other side of the coin, isn’t there? While it’s wonderful to be able to stay on top of our businesses through our phones or tablets, there is a line many of us cross sometimes that makes us a little too accessible. Continue reading “How Technology Helps (and Hinders) Small Business Owners” »

How to Get Organized Before 2015

454_3749572Next year may seem far away, but trust me: it’ll be here sooner than you’d believe. Who doesn’t like starting the new year out with a fresh slate and everything organized and in place? I know I do. So here are my tips for getting everything together so that you rock it in January.

 

  • Clean Your Desk

 

You probably don’t even realize how messy your desk is. Right now, as I look around mine, I’ve got a stack of sloppy papers, a couple of water glasses, and various and sundry cards and gifts from my kids on mine.

Put it on your calendar to clean off your desk. Put those papers in the appropriate file — even if that’s the “trash” file! If you’ve got time for a deep clean, extend that organizing to your files and the rest of your office. Continue reading “How to Get Organized Before 2015” »

Susan’s Birthday Beliefs: 37 Hard Truths About Being a Business Owner

701_3425126I’ve taken a note from CorpNet CEO Nellie Akalp, who always writes great words of wisdom for business owners on her birthday. To celebrate my 37th birthday (today!) I wanted to talk about what it really means to be a business owner. Which can you relate to?

1. It’s hard. Nothing (besides parenting, maybe) will challenge you as much as running a business.

2. You will cry. There will come times when you’ll feel like you can’t bear a single more problem. But trust me. You can.

3. It’s the most rewarding thing. The payoff of all that stress and challenge is that, for entrepreneurs, running a business is the best thing we could imagine doing.

4. It will change your life. I can’t ever see going back to Corporate America, and I hope I never have to. I’m an entrepreneur down to my soul.

5. It will affect your family. Sometimes for the better (flexibility to take long vacations) and sometimes for the worse (long hours or days not seeing you when you’re under deadline).

6. You DO have a boss. In fact, you have many. All your customers are your boss. If they’re not happy, you’re out of work.

7. Working in your PJs is overrated. There’s something to be said about dressing up, even if you work from home. Continue reading “Susan’s Birthday Beliefs: 37 Hard Truths About Being a Business Owner” »

Does Your Business Need a Cash Injection?

715_3679013If you have been operating your business for a while and are looking to grow your company, it might be time for a shot of cash to help you achieve your goals.

Why It’s Good to Reinvest in Your Company

Simply put, reinvestment means growth. If you take all the profit after you’ve paid your vendors and put it into your own pocket, you’re stunting your own growth as a business owner.

Reinvestment means you can get technology and tools that make your work easier. It means you get to explore new potential products, or conduct market research to better understand your customers. It means you can afford to hire help, taking some of the pressure off of you to do it all. Continue reading “Does Your Business Need a Cash Injection?” »

Why Tech Companies Need to Choose the Right Business Structure

436_3091776Let’s face it: not every company risks being sued. For most solopreneurs, say marketing consultants or designers, operating as a sole proprietor will suit them just fine. But then you have higher risk industries, like technology. What happens if another company sues you, claiming you stole their idea? Are you prepared to risk your personal assets to cover court costs?

Fortunately, you don’t have to jeopardize your own assets.

Separating Your Personal from Professional Persona

If you run a tech startup, I cannot stress enough the importance of separating yourself from the business. That means you need to do so legally, and you do that by choosing the right business structure. Continue reading “Why Tech Companies Need to Choose the Right Business Structure” »

10 Must-Have Tech Tools for the Fall

779_4091143This is a great time of year to take a look at the latest and greatest technology tools and apps that will take your business to the next level. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Social Media Management Dashboard

 

If you’re still using individual websites to manage each of your social profiles, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently you can connect with others and schedule updates. Here are some dashboards to consider:

Continue reading “10 Must-Have Tech Tools for the Fall” »