Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Graduate Programs for Entrepreneurs

As business owners it is important that we constantly continue our entrepreneurial education; whether it is via workshops and seminars or formally returning to university programs. An interesting article in October’s Entrepreneur magazine highlights the Top 25 Graduate Programs.

Graduate Programs

1. Babson College, Babson Park Massachusetts

2. DePaul University, Chicago

3. University of Southern California, Los Angeles

4. The University of Arizona, Tuscon

5. University of South Florida, Tampa

6. University of Illinois, Chicago

7. University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles

8. Drexel University, Philadelphia

9. Chapman University, Orange, CA

10. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

11. Temple University, Philadelphia

12. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

13. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

14. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

15. Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA

16. Rice University, Houston

17. Tulane University, New Orleans

18. Syracuse University, Syracuse

19. University of Chicago, Chicago

20. University of Virginia, Charlottesville

21. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

22. Simmons College, Boston

23. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

24. Rollins College, Winter Park, FL

25. City University of New York, Baruch College, New York City

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pay It Forward

Pay if forward!! What does that mean? No matter what stage of business you may be in, you have experienced trials and tribulations that have gotten you where you are. Most business owners give back to the community in one way or another. On great way to do this is to assist other business owners through sharing your experiences in business. This can be done by participating in networking events that allow you to interact with other business owners; taking in what they have to share and sharing your own experiences. There are also organizations such as SCORE that of provide opportunities for mentorship other business owners.

Paying it forward doesn't have to be solely in the area of business. There are many local and national charities that may be able to benefit from your expertise. Why not explore these avenues of community service to see how you can "pay it forward".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Building Confidence in Selling Yourself and Your Products/Services

Confidence to exceed in business cannot be faked. Therefore, it is important to build a core level of confidence so that even in times of nervousness or uncertainty, you will not be moved.

1. Continuous preparation and action assure unshakable confidence.

Everything thing that you do contributes to how people view you and your business. Do you follow up after meetings and sales? Do you stop and think during the day “What is the most productive use of my time right now?” Do you pour your heart and your mind into everything that you do?

We build confidence by planting seed for future opportunities and not by being complacent or unproductive. Once we stop and coast along, our skills decay. Success breeds success; that because we come to a point in our actions where our enthusiasm is the culmination of all the hard work that went before.

2. You must solidly believe in who you are and the value of what you are selling.

Do not second guess yourself and what you believe in; improve who you are rather than try and be like someone else. Are you operating from your core belief system and taking the actions your gut tells you to take. Most people don’t realize how powerful they become when they don’t have to think through their actions.

We become unsure when we don’t prepare enough, read enough study enough or work hard enough. Our confidence comes from knowing we have put the work in and prepared for success.

So here’s to success in business.

Taken from Entrepreneur magazine Sept 2008 – Solid to the Core by Barry Farber

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Marketing in a Slow Market

As many small businesses find ways to trim the fat, many are mistakenly putting less budget and energy towards marketing. Instead of cutting marketing, revamping your marketing strategy would be a wise move. There are four vital steps that a business owner must take in order to endure these times.

  1. Assess Your Customer's Behavior. Just as you are making adjustments to your business, no doubt your customers are as well. You need to figure out how these tighter budgets and perceptions of the importance of your offering and services affect the business that they conduct with you. Small business owners will need to adapt what and how we sell so as to meet the customer's needs as they emerge.
  2. Measure ROI. All advertising designed for branding or image awareness is not appropriate in this economy. Are your campaigns specifically designed to drive customers to use your services? Each step in the marketing chain must lead to a measureable response and ultimately a sale of your product or service. Always ask your customers how they heard about you.
  3. Market to Current Customers. Consumers, including your customers, are being a bit more careful about how they spend their money and look for companies that they know and trust. Remember it is more costly to find new customers than to maintain the ones that you have. Regularly reach out to customers through use of some sort of customer relationship management too. Vary your tactics, but stay top of mind without wearing out your welcome.
  4. Emphasize price promotions versus price cuts. As consumers are looking for ways to save money, they are more inclined to use coupons. This is a strong indicator of the trend towards price-specific promotion. Avoid full-scale price cutting, after all you still need to service as a business owner yourself. Short terms promotions will stimulate sales from current customers and draw in new ones.