Monday, June 27, 2011

Unintended Conseqeunce of Affordable Care Act Boon for Young Entrepreneurs?

With all of the debate about the Affordable Care Act and all the back and forth yet to happen during implementation, there does appear to be at least one bright spot for entrepreneurs. It's a bright spot shining specifically on young entrepreneurs, the result of coverage extension through age 26.

It used to be, back in the day, like way back in 2010, you went to college and were covered under your parents' healthcare until receiving your sheepskin. Once you graduated, you were now looking at no coverage or bridge policies available in select states only for college grads. The clock was ticking to find a job for many reasons, and among the most compelling of them was health coverage.

Now, fast forward to 2011. It's no secret recent grads are facing a depressed job market. What they also are facing, however, are evolving opinions of entrepreneurship by younger citizens. This generation has been raised among software, devices, social media platforms, and products generated by the youngest of business moguls. Huge brands like Apple and Facebook are communication lifelines to them, not "new-tech" gadgets. Just as these products are perfectly natural to them for everyday use, so is the notion of a young person with a great idea launching a business. And now, one of the largest concerns of every entrepreneur, affordable healthcare coverage, appears to be within reach... at least until 26.Many are seizing the opportunity to strike out on their own.

For more background on how this legislative policy may reshape the age range of small business start ups, check out

Friday, June 24, 2011

For Small Businesses, Facebook Leads The Pack

article reposted from, an entrepreneurial resource we highly recommend.
Written by Resources for Entrepreneurs Staff
Published: 6/24/2011

"Small business owners are using Facebook, LinkedIn, and industry-specific networks most when utilizing social media.

Facebook is the social networking site most often used by the small business owners polled in the 2011 U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey released June 22.

Of the respondents who use social media in their businesses, nearly three-quarters said they utilize Facebook, followed by LinkedIn (57 percent), industry-specific communities (26 percent) and Twitter (23 percent).

The total number of respondents who said they use social media went up from 32 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in this year's survey. Among 11 regions considered individually in the survey, Washington state had the highest usage, at 45 percent. At 35 percent, Arizona had the lowest usage.

This breakdown coincides with a recent Zoomerang survey showing social media adoption by small businesses is more robust on the West Coast than in the Intermountain West region where Arizona is.

However, according to the Zoomerang survey, only 29 percent of West Coast businesses have a presence on a social media site, whereas the U.S. Bank survey not only shows a high rate of usage in Washington state, but 44 percent usage in Oregon and Southern California.

In related small business technology news, both Roost and VerticalResponse have recently released tools to help small businesses better use networking sites to connect with customers."

Where do you fit into the mix? What Social Media have you explored for your business, and which have you found the most effective to leverage?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glimpse into the Modern Entrepreneur

A recent article from Business Wire caught our eye, filled with interesting insight into today's modern entrepreneur. The article, Small Business Survey by Deluxe Reveals Snapshot of Social Media Savvy Entrepreneurs," was based upon a survey run by Deluxe Corporation on the site PartnerUp, and reflected the replies of over 500 respondents. We love nothing more than learning as much as we can about the backgrounds and needs of entrepreneurs. (We're not surprised to see how many would spend free time by the way!) Here are just a few stats:

"-- 75% were motivated to start their own business in order to pursue a personal passion and work for themselves; only 10% started a business after being laid off from a job.
-- They want to work for themselves, not someone else. 63% would not take another job if offered one.
-- If given more free time, 40% of small business owners would spend it on their current business or try to start another new business venture, vs. leisure activities.
-- Women entrepreneurs represented almost 40% of those who responded to the survey; more than 60% of respondents are currently raising a family.
-- Many entrepreneurs have a day/night jobs -- 35% started their businesses while still working at their previous day jobs" 

How well does this data reflect you? Comment below!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Need some marketing help?

Today, we're passing along some information about Deluxe's "Project REV." In a nutshell, business products firm Deluxe takes 9 small businesses and provides marketing mentoring and a slew of Deluxe products. That's a fairly simplistic view, but the impact can be high. Working with SCORE, the selected contestant's can test run various marketing channels to identify the greatest bang for their business.

It's worth checking out if you need a starting point, a boost, or even a lifeline for your marketing! Visit ProjectREV for details.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leveraging your natural talents for success.

John Walters of 1-2-1 Business Consulting urges small business owners to leverage their natural talents, and to more effectively leverage the talents of others for greater success.

As a small business owner you face many challenges including managing the “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done” syndrome.

Of course it’s true that as a small business owner you have to take on many diverse tasks in order to become successful, at least in the early stages, from Marketing, Order taking, Production, Invoicing, Accounting and more.

However, I want to challenge you to think a little more about whether you do in fact have to do everything for yourself.  Is there a better way? Can you leverage your skills to be more effective?

Let’s say that you encounter a minor plumbing problem in your home.  Could you tackle it? Perhaps, but the plumber armed with the appropriate tools can do the job much more efficiently, and so it is with many tasks.
You may be saying, so what, I can’t afford to engage specialists every time I need a minor repair or a small job performing within the home or the business. Well, guess what, neither can the other small business owners that you come in to contact with every day.

The thing is that we are all blessed with different skills, meaning that we perform some tasks better than others, and we all have things to do in the business that we would prefer not to do, therein lies the opportunity.
My message is that you should look for potential opportunities to work together with other small businesses in order to maximize your respective talents for mutual benefit.

Let’s suppose that you are a natural at Marketing, but you loathe dealing with the administration aspects of the business.  Perhaps you know another business owner who really struggles with marketing, but is much more comfortable with bookkeeping etc.  Is there an opportunity to use your respective talents to help each other out and thereby become more productive?

Yes, I’m referring to a form of bartering, which has been around forever, and can be an excellent way to leverage your skills in order to be more effective.  And, so the next time you are thinking “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done, I want you to stop and ask yourself:
  1. Do I know someone that could perform this task more efficiently?
  2. Is there something that I could do for them instead?
  3. Is there an opportunity to barter for mutual benefit?
Good luck.

Implementing the above will certainly help to improve your business.  Should you need additional help you should contact “121″.  We have the tools, proven methodologies and experience and we are there to help you.

Find more scheduling and efficiency strategies in OED's Online Community, and via special events located at

Monday, June 13, 2011

Problem solving and the silver bullet

post by John Walters of 1-2-1 Business Consulting 

I sometimes come across Small Business Owners who are looking for the one quick fix that will solve all their problems, you know, that elusive magic silver bullet that everyone talks about.

Unfortunately, instant remedies/one size fits all solutions seldom work.  Yes, you may paper over the cracks, but often the problem re-emerges later.

Why is that?  Well, quite often the quick fixes that we put in place are designed to fix specific problems, and too often the real problem is something that lies undetected at the time we implement the quick fix.  In short, we don’t take the necessary care to ensure that we really understood the route cause of the problem before we jump in to try and fix it.

Let’s dig a little deeper and ask yourself the following next time you have a problem:

  1. Do you really understand the problem?
  2. Should you be doing this task in the fist place? Peter Drucker once said “there is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”.
Assuming that you answered yes to the above, you are now ready to start to solve the problem at hand.  There are numerous tools and techniques that can be applied to help you to identify the route cause of the problem, and so I will simply give you a check list that you may find helpful the next time you are presented with a problem.

  1. Do you understand the problem?  If no, carry out further analysis until you have identified the underlying cause of the problem before you set about trying to fix it.
  2. Confirm that you really should be doing the task in the first place. Remember what Drucker said.
  3. Identify potential solutions to fix the problem.
  4. Evaluate the alternative solutions to find the most appropriate and cost effective solution.
  5. Implement the solution.
  6. Monitor the impact of your change to ensure that you realize the result you expected.
  7. Where necessary take additional measures to bring about lasting, sustainable improvement.
I hope you find the checklist helpful.
Good Luck.

Should you require further help please contact “121″. We have experience of designing and implementing tailored solutions that will bring about sustainable improvement. In summary, we care and we are there to help you.

Find more scheduling and efficiency strategies in OED's Online Community, and via special events located at

Friday, June 10, 2011

Small Business Jobs Outlook for the June 2011

The headline from this morning's story on E-Week shows signs of stability, if not outright growth. So are jobs leveling off AND being added among small businesses?

The post by leads off with, "Over the next three months, 90 percent of merchants expect to keep headcount the same or add jobs to their businesses." The article relies on data from MerchantCircle, a social network/business group for Small Business which indicates elevations in confidence from holiday sales at end of 2010 continued through each quarter this year so far.

Two large stats to emerge are, "Merchants remain cautiously optimistic about the economy and revenues: 57 percent of small business owners expect revenue to 'improve' or 'slightly improve' over the next three months," and, "Over the next three months, 90 percent of merchants expect to keep headcount the same or plan to add jobs to their businesses, down slightly from the previous quarter, when 92 percent of merchants expected to maintain or increase headcount."

So what's your business's outlook for the rest of this year? Do you see your headcount increasing, holding steady, or subject to some belt-tightening? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Office Move Headaches

Relocating an office can be filled with headaches and challenges not seen in a house move. In today's age, staging telecom and IT infrastructure ahead are not just luxuries. They are critical steps to a smooth transition and a prevention of dreaded-downtime.

"Office relocation" is the topic on our minds this week as OED prepares to move to our new digs. Located a mere 200 yards from the current office, you would think it was an easy, hassle-free adventure. Not so much. But we take comfort in knowing the crazy challenges that spring up are bumps in the road to a space that's better suited for our staff and the programming we provide. We also take immense comfort in sharing stories to see we truly are not alone in move migraines.

Have you ever moved your business? What were key things you did to make it easier on you and your staff? Were there things you wish you did differently, or budget busters you underestimated? Be candid. Share your successes and your challenges to help another small business owner. That's what OED is all about.... entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs. Ok, back to the packing...