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!

Weathering Business

Now that L.A. has finally dipped out of that ridiculous heatwave we were in for the past two weeks — in spring, no less! — it’s time to get back to business.  And speaking of business, how many small companies out there were able to sway customers from leaving their air-conditioned cars, homes and offices into their place of business?  What were some tactics business owners employed to negate the heat and still turn a profit?  Mind you, this is Los Angeles, and the weather forecast has much to do with the business forecasts as all the other elements — natural or otherwise…

One local business in LA lures customers in with the promise of cooler temps

One local business in LA lures customers in with the promise of cooler temps

The Odd Man In

I remember as a child I wanted to be an artist.  I had my heart set on creating beautiful pieces that people would admire and talk about.  At one point, I even wanted to work at Disney, because they had wonderful artists that made movies come to life (mind you, I was 7 then and was madly in love The Little Mermaid movie).  But my career aspirations have change since.  In fact, where I envisioned myself working has changed a few times as I was propelling towards adulthood.  Even after adulthood, my aspirations changed.  I find myself at times thinking about all the odd jobs I’ve had — whether working through school, or just working through life — I don’t think I ever really saw myself having my own business.  Maybe because I thought it was an arrogant notion, or maybe because I thought that only certain people got to live those kinds of lives.  Whatever the reason, I laugh thinking about all the odd jobs I took on and how they seem so disconnected from where I am now.

How they seemed disconnected…

  • I definitely did the baby-sitting thing a few times.  Probably why I’m not so fond of kids now.
  • I tutored.  I think some of my friends would laugh if they knew that.
  • I worked as an inventory taker, which was a sporadic job that only offered the night shift.
  • I worked on campus at one point as a student evaluator.  I got to grade the services that were provided to students on campus.  Not too shabby.
  • I worked as an Administrative Assistant.  Yeah, that title always sounds fancier than what it really is.
  • I also worked as a General Office Clerk.  Very similar to an administrative assistant without the fancy name.
  • I was an assembly line person for a local newspaper near the university I attended.  Got to put the paper together.  That too was a another night shift job on a fully loaded academic schedule.
  • I was a banquet server.  For like SIX WEEKS!  Although I never dropped a dish, I was always afraid I was going that one day where I would spill something hot and steaming on a guest.  I nipped that fear in the bud… by leaving.
  • One of my longest gigs in my early 20s was when I worked at a department store.  I was the men’s fragrance lady.  Yeah.  I sold men fragrances.  By the way, men don’t buy fragrances nearly as often as women do.
  • I worked as some kind of personal assistant.  I say it like that because the job and title weren’t definitive, but I definitely was helping out someone with a lot of personal issues.
  • I had another gig with no real title or definitive description — I assisted a woman who owned her own graphic design business, by standing around and watching her put things away.  Her idea.
  • I worked as a remote Marketing Assistant for a real estate couple.  A little a fun, a little mundane, but one of the more interesting works.
  • Had my share of volunteering as well: local city campaigns here in Los Angeles, volunteered with the Central Station of the LAPD — now, THAT was exciting and if you want stories, you gotta email me.  And  I also volunteered as a Reading Tutor for the LA Public Library’s literacy program for adult learners.  If you have the heart and mind of making a difference, start in that neck of the woods.

Kind of a hefty list if you knew the time frame those jobs all took place under. But the one thing I gathered when I compiled this list for myself years ago strategizing my business plan, was that I tend to work and volunteer in positions of assistance.  Not because those simply were the only jobs available, but because that’s where I excel at.  I excel in helping others excel.  My service is to be of service.  It’s not a coincidence that my business rests on my personal strengths, as they should for any business owner.  It’s just me finally meeting up where I was suppose to be.

What odd jobs have you worked that actually gave you a hidden skill?

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)

 

 

Basket Vendors

Street Side Business 3What you see here are a few women on a side street corner and some bags on the ground.   You would assume there’s nothing of mere importance happening.  Just a few Angelinos going about their day.  Maybe they’re carrying on conversation, maybe they ran into each other and it’s been a while.  Or maybe this was their meet up spot.  But no.  These women may or may not know each — they do seem awfully friendly to be complete strangers, but it’s 8:10 in the morning.  And they haven’t finished going shopping or were merely catching up.  They’ve purposely stopped on this particular corner for a reason.  And no — these are not women of the night who are putting in overtime.  But business is still taking place….

 

 

You’ve seen this around town before.  I know you have.  And I’m sure these “pop-up vendors”, if you will, aren’t only in L.A.  People with their baskets selling hot food and cold drinks to the masses. You may not think 3 or 4 people would be considered the masses, but this is just a snapshot of a minute.  One minute in which a customerStreet Side Business is being served.  Not in a restaurant, not in line of a food truck, and not by a delivery person.  But by someone who knew they could sell their product without a middleman or red tape or limitations.  Let’s not look at this as would you or would you not eat from someone selling food out of a basket.   I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a little cautious about taking food from someone who’s also handling money, but that’s just my thing.  Look at this as GUMPTION.  As INITIATIVE.  As in talking your walk.  Someone thought highly enough of their product to take it to the people without waiting for the right time or having everything they’re “suppose to have” in place. Our opportunities aren’t always going to be perfect.  And the resources will not always be there.  So, what are you going to do when you only a few of the puzzle pieces?  Wait for things to line up and hope for the best?  When you have an idea that you can no longer sit on anymore, what are you going to do about it?  Let it waste away like so many other people do with their ideas or are you going to grab you a basket and do something about it?  Yeah, you can go ahead and criticize these people for all being too alike in what they’re doing, saying they don’t have a permit or license for handling food and transacting business.  But do you really think the give a damn?  They’re working on theirs while you’re thinking about yours…

Opportunities are no good without action.  Better grab a basket and get in motion.

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.

 

Social Media Management

Did you know that Intel Boutique offered Social Media Management services?  No?  Really?

It’s a little bit what it sounds like.  However, this isn’t a service in which you hire someone to manage your social media platforms for you, i.e. a contract social media manager.  Intel Boutique’s Social Media Management service is where you — the client and business owner — invite Intel Boutique to show you how to become adept (if not more) in managing and tackling your business’ social media presence.  We all know how important it has become for businesses to create a social media image.  Today, much of the marketing that is done is through social media and/ or uses social media channels to carry the message of a business or brand.  But using social media goes beyond setting up an account and a few links to the business website.  I’ve had multiple people admit they got their nephew or niece or neighbor’s kid to help them start their ‘socials’ for their business because it was easier to have them do it and they understood it better.  I understand that Gen Ys know more about using it.  After all, Gen Ys pioneered social media.  That’s fine and dandy, but how much do they know about marketing? How much do they know about creating a campaign or selecting the right social sites?  How much do they know about applying all of this to your business?

This is where Intel Boutique steps in.  Intel Boutique offers a choice of two intimate settings (one small and one large) for business owners in the Greater Los Angeles area who know a little sum-thin’ sum-thin’ about social media but haven’t yet used it or aren’t using it to its greatest value.   The service isn’t a lecture about how to harness the endless potential of social media.  It is a ‘walk-through’, if you will, in which how to best use best social sites for your business based on your business needs and audience.  No generics, no what has worked for others, no empty promises, no buying a whole bunch of fake followers and likes.  The Social Media Management service simply sits you down and explores how you need to reach your target market via social media channels.  You get to select the right sites for you — no matter if you’re selling a service or product — set up those accounts and profiles, create a campaign right then and there and get reading material (that’s been collected from various resources) that discusses how small businesses should use social media.

But why doesn’t Intel Boutique just manage the social accounts of other businesses that don’t know how or don’t have the time?  That’s not a ruled out service, however, the point of the service is knowledge and know-how.  That niece or nephew those people hired don’t really know what those kids are doing because they don’t know how to use it themselves.  That leaves them to trust a bunch of young’uns to represent their business on platforms that thousands on top of thousands will see.  These are the same kids that struggle to use a fax machine.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong in hiring someone who knows better than you what you need done.  But you also shouldn’t be so in the dark that you’re just blindly following them hoping for the best.

Stop by intelboutique.com and take a gander. You can still hire that kid on the block to set up your Facebook account.  But at least you’ll how he’s doing it and what he should be doing.

Social Media Management