Profiling

Everyone knows not to add or follow the “egg” accounts on Twitter.  Those are the people –or things, who knows –who seem to spam others with links, dirty photos, fake notices and crap.   And we all know not to open emails from people and companies we’ve never heard of or didn’t sign up for.  Another “no-no” — creating empty or skeleton profiles to start off your social media and online presence for your company.

twitter-white-icon

Would you build a store — for profit — and never open the doors?  No?  Exactly!  What would be the point?  The same concept is applied to those who think that just creating an online social media account is good enough.  They say to themselves, they’ll come back to it later and update it.  But days turn into months and they still have that egg picture account on Twitter –wondering why no one’s following them.  In business, it’s said, if people don’t know you’re there, you don’t exist.  It doesn’t matter how evolutionary your products are or how ground-breaking your service is, if people don’t know it’s there, it doesn’t exist.  If you social profiles are empty — you’ve written or added nothing there — you don’t exist.

People like to Google — EVERYTHING.  If you’re networking and you happen to bring up you have your own little boutique business and you do this and that, people are going to search for you on the internet.  It doesn’t matter if you gave them a business card or not, people are going to want to find out as much about you as they can.  And the more they can learn, the better they feel about you and your company.  But, if in their search, they stumble upon half-filled and empty profiles you’ve set up but never completed, they’re going wonder.  Wonder about the legitimacy of your business (yes, for real! because every business should have a carefully placed social media presence) and about your work style.  If you can’t complete something for yourself, how are you going to complete something for a colleague or a client?

But people do this all the time.  The hear of a new social site, join it — reading very little about it — create a profile with a little information and that’s it.   Really.  They give 30 seconds because they think that’s all it takes rather than spend the seven minutes to make their profile something worth exploring.  Some may say, ‘who cares, it’s just a profile’Your company cares.  Your company needs to be found and do business and make money.  Every business, even non-profits and religious organizations — are businesses and their goals are to make money (that might sound sacrilegious to some, but it’s the truth.  Think of the collection plates and “building funds“).

It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a nice and searchable profile, but you gotta put more in it.  Company name, logo/ photo — give an image to the name, something about the company or yourself  — why did you start your business and what is it’s primary mission– it’s general  location, ways to contact the business.  Definitely include a website or blog site link.  Give people a reason to touch base with you.  Get out of the habit of half doing things, even social media accounts.  They matter because they reflect your image and brand.  And if you think that doesn’t matter — you’re not in business.

{photo credit: http://www.iconarchive.com}

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25 Reminders of Entrepreneurship

  1. Cutting corners shows
  2. Even overnight successes had to prepare and plan at one point
  3. No trick has ever beaten hard work
  4. Treat time like money and don’t waste it
  5. Cheaper doesn’t always save money
  6. Barter to an extent
  7. Don’t network, it rarely works, build relationships
  8. Grow slow and controlled
  9. Invest in and pay yourself first
  10. Free time is now work time
  11. Market yourself, ’cause no one else will
  12. Draft and rewrite as often as needed
  13. Step outside your comfort zone with no expectations but taking everything as a learning experience
  14. Never downplay your talent or skills
  15. Be a connector when you can’t be a provider
  16. You define your success, not some magazine or reality TV game show
  17. Budget as best you can as often as you can
  18. Rejection and failure are the first few chapters, keep turning the page
  19. You won’t always be motivated, but you have to keep aiming for it
  20. Working smart are the lessons learned from working hard
  21. There’s no windfall from being self-employed
  22. Your reputation DOES matters
  23. If you’re not doing it well enough, keep doing it until you do, it’s not about perfection, it’s about excellence
  24. It’ll take many tries and reinventions, but it’ll always take persistence
  25. Don’t count the quantity of your coins, but measure the quality of your work

Before you get all hung up on being your own boss and the next supposed successful entrepreneur, know what it’s going to take and take from you.

Handle Your Business

Handling Documents:

Backpacks, no.  Satchels, Messenger bags,or Attachés, yes.

Exchanging Information:

Scratch or loose paper, no.  Business cards, yes.

Connecting and Reaching Out:

Networking events, no.  Community and Volunteer Events, yes.

Video-Conferencing & Chatting:

Skype, no.  Google Hangouts, yes.

Taking Payments:

POS machines, no.  Square or Intuit, yes.

Marketing Your Brand:

Flyers and brochures, no.  Blogs, Social Media Outlets and Local Papers, yes.

Handle your business … correctly. 

LinkedIn: Go Premium or Stay Basic

Is LinkedIn trying to hook you in with their ‘one month free premium upgrade’ too?  It’s tempting, too, huh?  I mean, after all, we’re already on LinkedIn and we have a very sparkling and complete profile.  What’s the harm in trying out some of LinkedIn’s special perks?

With LinkedIn Premium – Business Plus

Find and contact the right people

See the full list of who’s viewed your profile
Contact anyone with InMail
See expanded profiles
More search filters and results
 Annual: US$39.95/MO Save up to 25% per year
 Monthly: US$49.95/MO

 

If you’ve already done your homework, know that a premium membership with LinkedIn is a monthly paid membership, whether you use all the wonderful perks that come with it or not.  They do have the option to make annual payments on whichever plan you decide, which is nice to make a one-time fee, but again, you’re charged whether you use it or not. So, now, let’s ask ourselves the question:  do we need a premium account with LinkedIn just yet?

I say ‘yet’, because for many of us, a premium account with LinkedIn may in fact may be what we need to help us make the connections we need and extend our reach into industries that are important to us.  But maybe a few hundred dollars a year, isn’t worth it — yet.  If you log onto their ‘upgrade’ page, there are four tiers.  Everyone starts out with the basic plan (the free plan) because that is what meets our needs (the pocketbook) at the time.  And should our needs grow, we can change our plan.  But have our needs grown and can we still make do with limitations of a basic plan?

The idea of a free month on LinkedIn might sound like something you’d want to try, but before you click yes, consider how will use it.    Treat that trial period the same as if you were paying for it.  Would you use the InMail Messages to reach out to people in your extend networks?  Would you use the OpenLink or Introduction options to connect with anyone of interest?  Really consider how you would use the premium offer, have a plan for it.  It doesn’t have to require blueprints or a PowerPoint presentation, but there should be a goal in mind.

Oh, and one last thing.  Should you sign up for a free month upgrade, make sure to schedule in your calendar when you need to cancel before the end of the 30 days.  Because if you don’t, you’ll be charged monthly for that service.

{information taken from LinkedIn’s upgrade page}

 

May Entrepreneur Spotlight: Love Leigh Chocolates

One of the many joys of being an entrepreneur, is finding the person you’re meant to be and what you love to do.  Even if it’s a far cry from who you thought you were and what you were doing.  Most of the journey of entrepreneurship is about discovery.  And if you can throw a little love into the mix, you very well might have a recipe for success.  But be mindful what you add in your mix for success.  Add as many cups of optimism as necessary, knead in some hard work and commitment and on occasion, a few pinches of reality are okay according to taste.  Not a very long list.  And like the ingredients for success, what goes into Meredith Killian’s Love Leigh Chocolates, doesn’t require genetically modified chemically altered ingredients (that no one can say), but enough natural ingredients: “chocolate, real cream, and spices, herbs or fruit” and a flair for presentation.

Love Leigh Chocolates was born partially out of honor to Meredith’s mother, who gave her the middle  name Leigh, a name still loved.  Meredith thought it would be most fitting to incorporate it in her first business.  Meredith always wanted to start a business, like so many of us who need and crave that creative and directional freedom.  It was in law school that Meredith found her passion.  But it wasn’t in the court room or at a high power firm.  It was in the kitchen.  After graduating from law school, she started doing some consulting work, but somehow would always wind up back in the kitchen.  After some consideration to what she really wanted to pursue, Meredith made the jump and decided to head over to culinary school and make the kitchen her forte.  Fortunately, when she leaped, she didn’t leap by herself.  “I have always had the support of my family and friends.  A number of people have come through for me to help make things happen.  A friend of mine, Antwane Cowen, did an amazing job designing my website, Genelle Brooks-Petty from BPC Interior Design, has been a mentor. My boyfriend’s coworker volunteered to help with the logo.  When people believe in you and your product, things come together slowly but surely. “

Slowly, but surely, things did come together for Meredith and Love Leigh Chocolates.  Like anything else worthwhile in life, it has taken time, energy and constant dedication to make the dream a reality.  Dreams come true, not free.   Meredith had to dip into her savings to start her business, “not something [she] would recommend for most people, it’s scary. If given the chance, I would have pursued alternative funding options open to small business.”  But for a dream, we do what we have to do.  There have been other offerings of opportunity to grow without a high price tag.  “In California, there are a lot of free seminars given about how to start a new business; take advantage of these and talk to people while you are there. Start accumulating knowledge on things like business plans, and where your costs are going to come from.  Especially since each business is different.”  Even different businesses, share commonalities, common strengths, goals, struggles and uncertainties.  There are some things Meredith wished she had known at the beginning that would have helped her business later.  “I wish I had really understood how important marketing was.  Some people are natural sales people and so for them it might be easy, but many of the small businesses I know would like to have someone assist them with their marketing plan.”

At the end of the day, your business is only as successful as what you put into it.  You may not know much, let alone everything.  Part of the process of starting a business is finding and connecting to the minds that do and can help you.  You may not have every dime you need to get to where you want your business to be.  But you’ll be surprised at what you can do and accomplish once you take that first step.  “Don’t get discouraged. Come up with a plan [and] goals and then build a product that you are proud of. There are going to be highs and lows, but honestly that’s life. Every baby step you make gets you closer to that goal. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was not to forget ABC…..Always Be Closing.” 

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To find out how you can order your specialty Love Leigh Chocolates:

Visit Meredith’s website at: http://www.loveleighchocolates.com

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Email her at: loveleighchoc@gmail.com

Event: Where’s The Money? Business Expo, Saturday May 18th

WHERE’S THE MONEY?®
ACCESS TO CAPITAL BUSINESS EXPO

Find, Manage and Grow Money for Your Business!

Saturday, May 18, 2013
8:00 am – 3:00 pm

DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport
222 N. Vineyard Ave., Ontario, CA  91764

 

If you own a business or are thinking about starting a business come get advice and learn about valuable resources. Network with Bankers who are ready to lend money NOW!

The event will feature a Loan Pavilion where business owners can sit one-on-one with a loan consultant to discuss and determine their lending options in a more confidential setting. 

The Business Expo & Workshops are conducted by panels of experts providing learning opportunities and the chance to obtain information from business resource providers & lenders to help you find the money your business needs!

 

Your $10 registration fee which includes: Breakfast—Resource Expo—Lunch—Workshops—One on One Consultation!

 

Register online at http://iemoney2013.eventbrite.com/#

 

For more information please call VEDC at (818) 907-9977 or log on to www.vedc.org.

 

 

               

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

{information credit: Valley Economic Development Center}

Event: Innovative Financing Alternative Forum April 26th, 2013

The Minority Business Development Agency Business Center operated by the University of Southern California in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, in conjunction with UCBB and Hunter Wise Financial Group invites you to join in this:

Innovative Financing Alternative Forum

April 26, 2013
8:00 am – 1:00 pm

University of Southern California
Von KleinSmid Center Library
Room 105

For more information or to RSVP please call (213) 821-2541
or email 
info@mbdalosangeles.org.

{all information is credited is to the Valley Economic Development Center}