small-business-issues-carnival.jpg

Wow!  What a plethora of good material I had to read through during this January 8th Edition of The Carnival of Small Business Issues, maintained by the elusive CA.  I feel like I just got a freakin’ MBA (maybe I did – hey, where’s my diploma?).

Anyway, on to the good stuff.  Here is what I learned…

Operations

Are You Copying Genius? Or Creating Mediocrity? by Debra Moorhead was an awesome post on receiving good business advice.  She so eloquently encourages us to hang out with the exemplary (and ditch the mediocre).  Surround yourself with good people, copy genius, and so many other points I can’t recount here.  Don’t miss this inspiring and accurate article by Debra!

Are You Exploiting Your Strengths? by David B. Bohl offers an interesting view on working on your strengths.  That’s right.  David points out that we normally tend to work on our weaknesses, but exploiting our strengths makes a lot of sense after reading David’s well-thought out article.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Business Performance And Profit by Jim Sansi had a great post on actually calculating and measuring the implementation of business processes (instead of just wingin’ it).  Using a simple example (that you should expand on), Jim explained how to measure profitability in order to help you know what type of systems you can and should implement into your company.   Great stuff.

Five Things Racquetball Taught Me About Succeeding in Business by Change Your Tree was very informative (and made me want to get on the racquetball court again).  Business does mirror so many other aspects of life… this was a great comparison.  This game teaches us to be patient, know the competition, know the angles, etc.

An Independent Consultant’s New Year’s Resolution, and How to Keep It, in 7 Steps by Tim King makes some confessions and commitments to improve in the new year.  How?  With his seven ethereal steps, of course (including): visualizing yourself completing the steps,  list the mental challenges and see yourself doing it anyhow, etc.  A wonderful New Year’s article (and he got in a few days of his “write 500 words per day” resolution too!).

Starting the Year off Right by Robert D Flach offers good reminders for all you self-employed people – start NOW tracking your income and expenses for 2008.  Tax time (in 2009) is no time to get organized.  He reminds us of the possibility of IRS audits for the nano business owner, and that you want to be prepared should the IRS chose to show YOU a little extra love this year (i.e. auditing you, that is).  Great advice worth heeding.

Marketing

Re-Evaluate and Measure Your Marketing Strategy in 10 Steps by Jay M helps us with the “science” of marketing.  With 10 ways to expand your marketing campaign, Jay spells out in clear and easy language how to review what you have done, what you should be doing in the future and analyzing how you did financially.  Wonderful material.

Marketing Tip – Train Your Team on Promotions by Ingrid Cliff makes such an important, often over-looked point to train your team on the new promotions offered to your customers/clients.  We all get so excited about our new stuff that we fail to brief the team on how to best sell it to the public.  Great reminder from Ingrid!

A Subtle Conversion Rate & Response Booster From 3 Masters by James Alenteal gives some straight forward advice on conversion at your site or blog (i.e. turning visitors into readers and/or buyers).  He gives examples (here, here and here) of three different people (actually four – see here) who have implemented some interesting conversion pyschology on their visitors.  It’s great stuff and takes just a minute to read (watch out – prepare to be converted!).

Bring the Love Back by Edith Yeung offers some quick advice on what your customers need (and the reminder that you might not be providing it).  With a funny video reminder, Edith tells us it’s time to give some love back to those customers… after all, they may not feel like you love them anymore.

The Power of Multivariant Testing by Jim Logan speaks to the need for testing of any marketing campaign launch.  But testing the success of a campaign can be daunting (how do you test direct mailers, their use and impact in an inexpensive way?  You have to change things and send them again).  Enter the world of multivariant testing online.  This is seemingly a powerful tool that lets you test multiple variables online all at the same time.  Jim knows what he’s talking about in this well-written article.

Blogging and PR: Six Principles to Live By by Laura Spencer offers six basic ways to get your business blog rolling.  They are straight and to the point, and come from experienced bloggers.  This is an article for all of us…

Mortgage Issues

When Should You Refinance? by Ryan from CareOne Credit Counseling offers some very practical advice on the decision to refinance your home, and for what reasons.  Use some of CareOne Credit’s handy dandy calculators or budget planner to help you make the right decisions.  There’s a lot of useful info on their site for those interested in repairing or enhancing their credit standing.

The Mortgage Loan Process by Ryan from CareOne Credit Counseling urges us to know the mortgage loan process before the surprises arise.  Walking you through the three basic steps of acquiring a mortgage (1 Applying for a loan, 2 the processing of your loan, and 3 the loan closing), this article provides very practical advice for the new homeowner, as well as those buying again for the second or third time.

The Power of Pre-Approval by Ryan from CareOne Credit Counseling provides yet another awesome and well-written article concerning a different aspect of the mortgage process: pre-approval.  The power of pre-approval during the loan process offers some very basic benefits to the future homeowner, that being ultimate speed of the loan approval, gaining bargaining power while house-hunting and offering comfort to the seller during the process.

Taking Advantage Of The Equity In Your Home by Ryan from CareOne Credit Counseling offers a great example of how much equity you can pull out of your home.  Explaining the difference between a line and a loan, Ryan details various terms, rates and costs to the homeowner during the equity-pull-out process.  Again, well-written content from this involved and detailed website.

General Business

Evaluating A Business Opportunity by John Crickett offers so many great tips on evaluating your move into business ownership.  There are tips on avoiding scams, making sure you’re the right fit for the business opportunity and making sure the move is profitable.  John’s blog is chocked full of so much more too.  It’s worth a visit (again, again, again and again).

Does Bad Personal Credit = Bad Business Money Management by Scott Allen explores whether the method by which you manage your personal finances spills over into how you manage your business finances (for better or worse).  No concrete answers here (except that Scott feels he is better at managing his business finances over his own personal finances), just good exploration into the possibilities.  Well written and insightful.

Top Ten Opportunities in 2008 for Personal Businesses  (article provided by Dawn as a guest blogger on Small Business Trends) by Dawn Rivers Baker gives a rundown of some upcoming opportunities (along with some convincing statistics on SMBs) for nano-businesses.  And Dawn has the experience to backup her predictions.  Ready to start your new business in 2008?  Why not start with Dawn’s suggestions.

Is the Sky Falling? by Mike Buckleygives us a candid rebuttle to the latest US recession scares in the news.  He reminds us that even in a recession, there are still many opportunities for the small business.  You may have to work a little harder, but you can do it.

Learn the Proven Money Making Keys to Success E-commerce by Dan-O gives some enlightening information of doing e-commerce well.  With a very interesting and brief history of e-commerce, Dan-O explains how personalization and online communities (among other ideas) make e-commerce sites enjoyable.  And enjoyable experiences online tend to bring customers back again and again.  Good reading from an experienced author. 

Social Security by Marc Blumer (is the name familiar… he’s my dad) offers some guidance on whether to take social security earlier or later, depending on your situation.  Interesting stuff for those in retirement mode… 

Miscellaneous

Finding Your Special Talent by Christine (all the way from France) shows us quite poignantly how trials can be avenues into embracing needed change.  And maybe this needed change can be a door to a new money-making venture, a new job, new fields of opportunity, a new life…  you never know what’s around the next corner.  Go ahead… go look and see what you find.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before It’s Too Late by Liz Fuller offers her regular straight forward advice on reviewing what went right this past holiday season, and how to perpetuate that behavior.  How?  Write it down!  With 5 simple questions, Liz encourages you to make a note of the past, and apply it to the future.  Good stuff.

Can You Really Achieve Total Success? by Dr. Joe Capista highlights the often-forgotten parts of what Total Success truly is.  It’s not only defined by dollars.  Where do you stand on his primary four areas of Total Success?  They are Family (Relationships), Physical (External), Spiritual, (Internal) and Work (Business).  Many decades of wisdom on his blog, and in his books.

Total Success is Determined by Your Thoughts, Beliefs and Actions by Dr. Joe Capista talks about the ingredients to Total Success.  They are found in setting goals and being determined to seeing those goals through to the desired outcome.  Truly a well-rounded definition to success.

Be A Balanced Mom by Iamawahm gives Moms who work at home 8 helpful tips to make work happen… and stay balanced.  From knowing when to ask for help to fighting the guilt that often plagues the work-at-home Mom, this Mother of three speaks from heavy experience.

A Few of My Own Posts

Creating Customer Trust and Loyalty… with Consistency

Selling Yourself… to Your Employees

Excellent Networking… by Playing to Your Weaknesses

Change Your Mind

Whew!  I’m worn out (plum tuckered out, as they say it down here in SC).  This material was very enlightening.  I hope you enjoy the recaps as much as I enjoyed the reading (I got the best end of the stick).  If you are interested in hosting the Carnival of Small Business Issues, feel free to visit here to sign up. 

Here’s to another great edition!  Take care now, ya hear!

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Advertisements