Small Business Expo & Workshop — Today!

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It’s a bit of last minute news, but for those of you business owners who have the time this morning, Los Angeles City College is hosting a small business workshop and expo today, along with the Hollywood Business Source.  It’s a free event, so if you have the time, there’s really no excuse, if you have the morning available.  The campus is out for the summer, so no need to concern yourself with unruly students.  And the college provides plenty of parking in their structures.  Event starts at 10:00am.  So, If you’re up, go get at ’em!

An Investment

As I look back over the things I’ve done and learned while starting and building a business, there’s something I realized I’ve overlooked.  I’ve ignored it or gave little thought to it and it’s surprising because this — I firmly believe — is the key to success.  I’ve talked and written about what the keys are to success.  I’ve argued there weren’t really any “keys”, but an adopted mindset and attitude.  I’ve read numerous articles about what successful people have in common with one another.  I’ve read those articles about the mindsets and patterns of millionaires.  Not just because they’re millionaires, but because they must be doing something right in order to have become millionaires.  Right?  But in between the chatter and the musings and the research, what makes the business owner successful, what makes the entrepreneur a millionaire and what gets the start-up founder funded?  A great marketing strategy?  A knowledgeable board of directors?  Deep-pocketed venture capitalists?  The best idea ever?

No.

It’s the investment.  The investment you make in yourself everyday.   You don’t have to have a whole lot of education, a whole lot of money to start, a whole lot of friends, or whole lot of anything .  You do need to have the time to invest in yourself and seek out investments that will return for you.  I mean, yeah, that may mean getting more education or building up a larger network.  But it really boils down to being better than you were yesterday.  It’s taking the time and looking at what you have offer and making sure you can offer it as best you can.  Outperform yourself.

I’ve tried taking on multiple projects and services thinking that the more I offered, the more clients I’ll gain because the more people I’ll appeal to.  Did NOT happen.  One, it’s hard to spread yourself thin and still be the go-to person for 5,000 things.  Two, I wasn’t equally interested or passionate about everything I was trying to offer.  Thus, many services lacked luster.  Just because I could do it, doesn’t mean I should’ve.  And vice-versa.  It was when I narrowed down what I could offer and would be willing to offer to just 3-5 services and sharpen those skills over and over again, that I noticed myself getting referrals, getting recommended — getting the kind of running start I wanted.  Not because I was trying to be everything to everybody. But, because I invested in myself first.  That, allowed me to better for my clients and it’s paid and continues to pay off.

How do I invest in myself?

  • I sign up for community classes that are of interest to my business and professional goals
  • I take community college classes 
  • I periodically attending networking events
  • I explore the businesses in my community 
  • I talk to other business and aspiring business owners
  • I read — a lot– of articles, magazines, books, blogs, any thing that strikes my fancy
  • I search jobs on Craig’s List to see what employers (business owners) are looking for in candidates who do what I do
  • I take some of those free classes on Coursea, Standford Online or Venture Lab

It’s seems never-ending, which is why it’s something I have to be passionate about.  Because if I wasn’t, I couldn’t do it.  And what would be the point?

June Business Gadgets on Sale

Spend less for what you need .  We know smartphones, tablets and laptops are not only helpful for businesses, small or otherwise, but critical in today’s market to effectively compete, close deals, complete transactions and conduct operations.  And if you can do all you need to do for a fraction of the cost, wouldn’t you be all over that like white on rice?  But let’s not forget items that we can use on business travel, recording imagery, communicating, the office or the employee lounge/kitchen and anything else we need to take care and manage business.

Through Costco/ Costco.com

Through Brad’s Deals  (FYI: These deals to expire and sell out fast!)

  • Refurbished Fijifilm AX655 Camera for $50
  • 7- Piece Luggage Set for Travel for $100 plus free shipping
  • HP Pavillion 10 TouchSmart Laptop for $285
  • Apple TV (from BestBuy) for $100 plus a $25 Gift card
  • Keurig K45 Brewer for $105 plus free shipping (and coffee cups)
  • Rocketfish 3G Mobile HotSpot for $18
  • RCA Charging Station for $14 plus free shipping
  • Motorola Power Pack for $10

Through Groupon

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (7″, 8″ & 10″ screens) for $109.99
  • iEnjoy MyBolt Battery Charger for $11.99
  • Blackberry Z10 4G LTE for $189.99
  • Acer 15.6″ Touchscreen Notebook for $299.99

A penny saved is a penny earned…!

“Gigs”

If you’re a service based business provider (B2B), you already know how challenging it is to find new clients.  Even harder if you’re relying on them finding you.  Forget about your website, forget about your online and offline marketing tactics, standing out in the sea of all others, is the equivalent to being the needle in the hay stack.  So then, how in the world are you suppose to find clients if your business’ site doesn’t rank on Google’s top 10 or your clients don’t know who you are?

You find THEM!

One of the most simplest tactics that may turn some heads or raised a few eyebrows is browsing a site that is infamous for scandal and scam: Craig’s List.  I know, I know — but bear with me here.  Although Craig’s List is sketchy and has been known to make the headlines in a very bad way, it is also a good source to find leads — depending on what kinds of services you offer.

Under the  “Gigs” tab on the Craig’s List home site, there are a handful of categories that fall under the types of gigs people are looking for help with.  Being realistic here, you have to cast your net wide and often.  You are not the only person who is scanning to see what’s available, so the more often you frequent this section, the more likely you’re gonna to stumble on a few worthwhile chases.  Also, be aware that some people already have a dollar amount in mind what they’re willing to pay for what they need.  You can negotiate if you feel the task is worth more or you  can take what’s offered.  Up to you.  In other cases, you’ll be able to set your own prices.  Depends on the agreement.

Avoid, as with any other posting, any listing that sounds like a scam, that gives you very few details or has a link that directs you to a more sketchy site.   The goal is to reap clients from an unlikely source, not be taken by some con artist.

Craig’s List is not for everybody.  Maybe the thought of doing of business from someone on Craig’s List disturbs the holy hell out of you — that’s completely understandable.  It does take some time to feel comfortable navigating those waters.  You may want to try Freelancer.com, People for Hire or Fiverr.com.  Those sites are much more reliable, but work is harder to find because much more people are competing.  If you want to see results and change things up a bit, you’re going to have to step outside your comfort zone.  And Craig’s List does border outside the green zone.  You know what they say, “In order to gain something you never have, you have to do something you never done.”

Just sayin’.

February Save The Dates

Check out these February events for those in the Greater Los Angeles area.  No matter what business you’re thinking about going into, or if you’ve already started your own company, there are events here for all levels of business owners and entrepreneurs,

 

  • February 4th – Taking Your Grant Writing Research Skills to The Next Level Event organized by eCivis, Inc. from 9am – 4pm PST.  Event cost is $299 for the early bird fee, $349 for general admission.
  • February 5th FREE Self-Publishing Workshop located at 1246 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood Library Branch) from 6-8pm PST hosted by the Toastmasters District One Speakers Bureau Workshop Committe, for more info, visit http://bit.ly/1fOqo6d
  • February 6thFREE Website Building Tools Class hosted by the Valley Economic Development Center from 6-8pm PST located at 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd Floor Van Nuys, CA 91403; from more information or to register, email hassali@vedc.org
  • February 6th – 8th – How To Sell To Women FREE Virtual Training Event hosted by Lisa Sasevich; to register http://bit.ly/1eHENio
  • February 7th – Women 2.0 Founder Friday, located at the Regus 3415 South Sepulveda, suite 1100 Los Angeles, CA 90034 from 6:30 to 9pm PST.  General admission starts at $22.09.  Visit http://bit.ly/1er4gjT for more information and to register
  • February 8thFREE Marketing and Promotions Event organized by the Business Entrepreneurship Club.  Event will take place the LA Mission College located at 13356 Elridge Ave, Los Angeles 91342 from 10am – 12pm PST.  Contact Dr. Norris Dorsey at  818.402.5050 and/or register at http://bit.ly/ML8CIQ
  • February 10th  — FREE Start Up Dos & Don’ts/ Business Plan class from 6-8pm PST hosted by the Valley Economic Development Center located at 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd Floor Van Nuys, CA 91403; from more information or to register, email hassali@vedc.org
  • February 10th – California Small Business Development Center is offering a How to Write a Business Plan Class for $40, hosted by Santa Monica College. Event takes place from 9am to 1pm PST on the campus.  To register, visit http://bit.ly/1fzdI51
  • February 19th – 2014 – 2015 Annual Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook hosted by the LA County Economic Development Corporation from 7 -10:30pm PST at the L.A. Hotel Downtown located at 333 Figueroa St, Los Angeles 90071; general admission is $155 if purchased by Feb. 14th.  Register at http://bit.ly/1acMC3E
  • February 26th – March 1st –  Black Enterpise Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.  Deadline to register for general admission is February 7th at $1395.  After February 7th, tickets to the event go up to $1695.  For more information visit, http://bit.ly/1ildZsN

(additional events may be added)

 

 

January — Save the Dates!

 

Look for more update as January progresses!  It’s a new year, take a leap and do what you need to in order to be and see success.

 

FREE EVENT: Affordable Care Act for Small Businesses!

Okay, listen up small busineses in the Greater Los Angeles area — the VEDC is hosting another free event regarding the Affordable Care Act and small businesses.  We all know that come January 1st, everyone needs to have ample health coverage.  But  this isn’t just for individuals who are uninsured, it affects small businesses too!  The Valley Economic Development Center — the VEDC — is offering this event to small businesses presented by City Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. to learn more about what steps small businesses need to take to cover their employees and how to avoid penalties or fines with the law.  The event takes place this Thursday, November 21st — sorry for the short notice — at the California Science Center, not too far from USC (if you’re familiar with the area).

Check out the VEDC’s website for more information!  Also, stop by the SBA and learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Small Business.

Councilman
Curren D. Price, Jr.
presents

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
TOWN HALL MEETING
FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Thursday, November 21, 2013
9:00 am – 12:00 pm

California Science Center
Donald P. Loker Conference Center
700 Exposition Park Drive (39th and Figueroa)
Los Angeles, CA  90037

THIS IS A FREE EVENT

Fro more information call (323) 846-2651 or email dorothy.randle@lacity.org.

               
VEDC  •  5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd floor, Van Nuys, CA 91403  •  (818) 907-9977  •  www.vedc.org

(images and content are credited to the VEDC)