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Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Virginia Get Your Business OnlineWeb Sites Are Now Free For Virginia Businesses

If you still don’t have web site for your Virginia-based business, today is your lucky day.

Google and a variety of government agencies and trade groups have partnered to give you a free web site, free domain name and one year’s free site hosting.

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The Entrepreneur as Salesman: How to Become Your Own Top Producer

Friday, October 21st, 2011

The Greatest Job You Never Thought Of - On Amazon.comEvery business owner can benefit from a strong set of sales skills but very few have them.

In this workshop I combine my 30+ years as an entrepreneur and sales professional to teach business owners how to think, act and close like a professional salesperson.

Drawing from lessons outlined in my 2004 book, The Greatest Job You Never Thought Of, I explain how, in spite of my many years as the owner of a successful business, I never really learned what sales was all about until I was forced to succeed as a commission-only salesman for a home improvement company.

That company provided extensive sales training and showed me how a sales-focused organization operates. They also gave me the opportunity to earn as much as $20,000 per month if I was willing to work for it.

In this workshop I dispel some myths and communicate some truths about sales while also sharing real, actionable information that any business owner can use to increase their company’s sales almost immediately.

I first presented this workshop yesterday at Connect113 in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, where it was very well received. If you’d like to have me present it to your business group, please give me a call at 703-348-7390.

Coworking Co-Founder Discusses Home-Based Businesses

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Radio Free EnterpriseIs It Time For Your Home-Based Business To Run Away From Home?

In this excerpt from Radio Free Enterprise you’ll hear from Billy Winburn, Co-Founder of Connect113, a coworking facility in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Billy and I discuss a wide range of topics that should be of interest to any home-based business owner who’s feeling a little cramped by trying to run a home and a business out of the same building. Not only are your kids, pets and spouse driving you crazy with their constant interruptions, you’re also driving them crazy by working so hard to ignore them.

You probably think you can’t afford something like Connect113, but when you look at what you’re already spending everyday and all the benefits you’ll get, you’ll begin to wonder why you haven’t done something like this sooner.

Give a listen and see what you think.

Radio Free Enterprise

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Don’t have Flash? Download the mp3 of this interview by clicking on this link.

 

Can Web Videos Drive Sales? You Decide.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

I have been posting video programming on the web since long before You Tube was a gleam in Google’s eye. Why? Because I believe that moving pictures and sound represent the very best way to tell a story.

When You Tube came on the scene they changed the entire game by offering free hosting, removing the question of what file format to post or what download speed to optimize for, and offering the ability for anyone to embed a video on their site without either having to produce it, post it or host it.

If you never had to deal with any of those issues in the pre-You Tube era you don’t understand what a revolution and a revelation You Tube was. Today, from a small business marketing standpoint, the wonder of You Tube is how many people watch it.

The video below describes how one inventor has used You Tube to sell over one million units of his tongue brush. That’s right; tongue brush.

If You Tube can help him sell a million tongue brushes, what might it do for you? Give me a call. I have some ideas for you.

Apple’s WWDC 2011: A Watershed for Small Business Owners?

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Why Apple's WWDC Announcement is Important for Small Business OwnersApple’s WWDC 2011: A Watershed for Small Business Owners?

Every June, Apple holds their World Wide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. In years past the focus was entirely on their Macintosh personal computer line, the Mac operating system and software being developed for it.

In more recent years the focus has been almost entirely on the iPhone and the apps being developed for it. This year both platforms were featured, as was an interesting melding of the two.

As a long-time Apple customer (1985) and follower of all things related to online marketing and commerce for small business owners, I watched the video of the WWDC Keynote Address with great interest and came away much more impressed than many members of the tech press seem to be.

Unlike many other observers, I believe that this year’s WWDC represents a watershed moment in online interaction and marketing that will impact small business for many years to come.

The primary complaint most mainstream tech reporters have expressed regarding the varied announcements at this year’s WWDC is that none of the “innovations” represented anything new. They were all ideas that had been around for years. Ideas like cloud storage of data, syncing mobile phones over the air, an online PC software marketplace and so forth.

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Can Blippar Make QR Codes Redundant?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Can Blippar make QR codes redundant?

This article on the econsultancy.com blog introduces what may be a more advanced take than QR Codes on the intersection between offline and online marketing.

Blippar offers smart phone-equipped consumers with the opportunity to enjoy and enhanced advertising experience by pointing their phone at a Blippar-enhanced ad.

This video shows the different ways the Blippar experience can manifest itself.

As outlined in the article / interview, Blippar faces the usual challenge of widespread adoption that any new technology must overcome. In their case, part of that challenge includes persuading large numbers of people to download the requisite app to their phone.

But there are a couple of other significant hurdles that I foresee. For example, while QR Codes are ugly, their presence on a print piece or elsewhere is immediately obvious. How does the consumer know they are seeing an ad that is Blippar-enhanced and is thus signaled that he/she should pull out their smart phone for an enhanced experience?

Also, the applications shown in the demo video will require large budgets and high talent levels to pull off. One thing I like about QR Codes is that they just present simple data or direct the viewer to a landing page which can be easily and/or inexpensively produced, making them more applicable to small and medium-sized businesses of the kind that I support.

The Single Most Important Factor in Writing Good Blog Posts

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The Single Most Important Factor in Writing Good Blog Posts

The video below is an interview with Cory Doctorow, a successful science fiction writer and popular blogger, in which he shares what he believes is the single most important factor in writing a good blog post – write like a wire reporter. Cory explains very clearly what that means shortly into the video.

At the end of the video he also uses the expression “it’s the attention economy stupid” and recommends that you treat your readers’ attention with respect and not try to fool them into thinking your article is something it is not.

It’s okay if they surf away this time if they’re not interested in this topic. Just let them know very quickly whether this article is right for them and they’ll respect your consideration next time.

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Add Patch.com to Your Local Internet Marketing Mix

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Add Patch.com to Your Local Internet Marketing MixAdd Patch.com to Your Local Internet Marketing Mix

I’ve just returned from an interesting short seminar entitled Optimizing Your Local Online Presence presented by some local Patch.com reps at Connect113 in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

I am familiar with local Internet marketing techniques but was only tangentially aware of Patch.com which is kind of like a combination of an old-fashioned local newspaper with a new-fangled online community and business directory.

I’m not going to give a long treatise on the vagaries of Patch.com. Instead I encourage you to do five things:

  1. Spend some time browsing the web site to get a feel for what it’s all about
  2. Become a member of your local Patch in your company’s name
  3. Create or Claim and Optimize your company’s listing on Patch
  4. Subscribe to their daily newsletter
  5. Post comments and reviews in your company’s name

I don’t think your Patch.com listing will be as important or beneficial as say your Google Places listing. But I am convinced that this is a critical local online community that you need to be an active part of.

Is Social Media A Fad?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Is Social Media A Fad?

Over the course of my life and career, I have been witness to a number of technological revolutions. Based on my experience, Social Media cannot be ignored by any business as a critical marketing and brand communication channel. It is here to stay. Until the next thing comes along.

Watch this video and decide for yourself.

Some interesting statistics from the video:

  • Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old
  • 1 out of 8 married couples met via social media
  • Social Media has surpassed pornography as the #1 activity on the web
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the third-largest country in the world
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is females ages 55-65
  • 25% of the search results about the world’s top 20 brands is user-generated content

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it.” Erik Qualman