Where are the Entrepreneurs?

I wrote a post several months ago called “Is the Entrepreneurial Spirit Dead?” Well, according to new research at the Brookings Institute, it appears it very well may be. Their data shows that new business creation has been on the decline for the past several decades and for the first time in many years the failure of businesses is outpacing the creation of businesses. It seems that entrepreneurs across the country are getting discouraged.

entrepreneurs

entrepreneurs

This is a scary thought. According to the Small Business Administration roughly 64% of all net new jobs that were created between 1993 and 2011 were created by small business owners. If we aren’t cranking out any new entrepreneurs, we aren’t creating enough new jobs.

Before the economic collapse I had 3 great employees. As much as I tried to hold on to them, eventually I couldn’t keep them. Payroll is one of the biggest expenses a small business has. If there isn’t enough business coming in to justify having them, you have to let them go. And believe me, no one wants to lose a great employee. [Read more…]

How the On Demand Economy Will Create More Entrepreneurs

on demand economy

on demand economy

With more people working more hours, consumers are becoming more demanding. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but we’re just too busy to be tied down to a time frame. If you don’t believe me, when was the last time your entire family sat down to a scheduled dinnertime? Instead we’ve become an on demand society and an on demand economy.

So, what does that mean for the entrepreneur of the future? More money, more markets, more customers, more products and more services. But they have to be delivered on demand. [Read more…]

A Small Business is a Work in Progress

I currently run five different businesses and I’ve never written a single business plan. I know I’m going to get comments from people who swear you absolutely have to have one. But here’s one thing I’ve learned from running a small business. There is no definitive rulebook.

small business

small business

In looking back on each small business I would have to say that even if I had written a business plan, within a few months it would have completely changed anyway. No matter what I do there seems to be a certain learning curve every time I try something new.

With a brand new invention I thought I knew exactly who my target market was. After all, I invented it for that market. But no matter how many times I knocked on the door, it wouldn’t open. It was only after I experimented with different markets that I finally found the one where the product sold the most and sold almost effortlessly. This would never have been in my business plan because I didn’t even know about it. [Read more…]

How eBay Deals With Counterfeit Products

If you’re going to be a product entrepreneur, sooner or later you will have to deal with counterfeit products. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tiny one item inventor or NIKE, it happens to everyone.

counterfeit products

counterfeit products

The first time I heard about a counterfeiter I looked up “wrist water bottle” on the search engines and found a picture of me wearing my own product on a Chinese website. Since it had a phone number I called them up. When they were trying to sell me my own product they spoke perfect English, until I told them they were selling a counterfeit product and I owned the intellectual property. Suddenly, “no English”.

When I found counterfeiters selling my product on ebay I called up the company to let them know. As a company that deals with multiple people selling everything from used bikes to used chewing gum thrown away by Brittany Spears, they have to keep a handle on counterfeits. [Read more…]

Why Your Company Needs a Rainmaker

If you’ve ever been through a serious drought you know how it feels to get a massive downpour of rain. Companies go through similar droughts, whether through economic hardship, changes in technology, or just general changes in an industry. This is why your company needs a rainmaker.

rainmaker

rainmaker

In American Indian culture the rainmaker is typically a medicine man who would use rituals and incantations to artificially make it rain. This practice still goes on today in some parts of the world. The person who is able to bring the rain is the most valuable person in the tribe.

In business a rainmaker is the person who can bring in new revenue and find new clients. That person is the most valuable person in your company. Because without customers you don’t have a business. [Read more…]

How Your Information Marketing Business Can Survive the Free Economy

information marketing business

information marketing business

When it comes to information, it seems like everything is free these days. Free ebooks, free white papers, free newsletters, free videos, free blogs, and free webinars. Since content is king, the average information guru has to churn out an astronomical amount of content. And not just any content. It has to be well-researched, well-written, top quality content if you want people to read it, share it, and come back for more. And after all that hard work you’re just expected to give it all away for free. Where does it end? And how can your information marketing business survive and thrive in the free economy?

Here are several ways businesses are making money from the free economy:

  • Advertising – Most blogs and newsletters are free. But trust me, they take an enormous amount of time to maintain. That’s time that could be spent at another job making real, cold, hard cash. Even if you don’t count the years of sweat and blood equity someone has invested to gain the knowledge you read in a blog or newsletter, it takes a lot of time to research, write, and edit the blog or newsletter itself. I’ve read comments where people have complained about a blog having ads on it. Really? Bloggers and info producers [Read more…]

A Solo Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Their Company Going After They Die

Guest Post by Alicia Lawrence

business continuity

business continuity

Death is the one thing we can count on in this life. We often push the thought aside to avoid depression. But in the case of a solo entrepreneur, death is something we have to be prepared for if we want our business to live on. While some entrepreneurs are fine with the thought of having their business die with them, others value all the time, sweat and tears they’ve poured into their work and hope it will sustain their family even after they are gone.

This is a guide for those solo entrepreneurs who hope to pass down their business to a family member or friend. One caveat before we begin: every business is different and, while entrepreneurs love doing things themselves, it’s worth your investment to have a lawyer or financial planner look over your business continuation plan to make sure you didn’t leave anything out. [Read more…]

Exclusive Distributorship Agreement for New Products

exclusive distributorship agreement

exclusive distributorship agreement

You’ve invented a product and now you’re ready to take it to market. But before you jump into an exclusive distributorship agreement with the first person who shows interest in your product, there are a few things you need to know first.

1. Never grant exclusives without guarantees – The first thing everyone will ask when they approach you about selling your product is whether they can have an exclusive or not. I can’t really blame them for asking, because if they are going to put a lot of time and money into your product, they want to know that they have an exclusive to sell it and keep competition away. [Read more…]

4 Steps to Making an Idea Happen

making an idea happen

making an idea happen

I hear it from entrepreneurs every day. “I have a great idea!” You probably hear it a lot if you watch “Shark Tank”. Everyone with a great idea really believes in it. They think it can change the world, and maybe it can. But there’s a huge difference between having a great idea and actually making an idea happen.

Thomas Edison said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not saying that great ideas aren’t great. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Turning them into a valid product, service, or business that people will want to spend money for can be a Herculean task, especially if you don’t have money or the knowledge you need to see it through and get it on the market.

But that should never, ever stop you from following it through. Just know that you will have to put a certain amount of sweat, blood and tears into your new venture and be prepared for it. Here are 4 ways to make the journey a little bit easier: [Read more…]

Why Promotional Products Are Better Than Advertising

unique promotional products

unique promotional products

Promotional products are things like hats, mugs, T-shirts, water bottles, pens and basically anything else that you can put a logo on. If you look around your office or home you will probably see many different promotional products lying around. This is one reason why promotional products are better than advertising… people actually keep them. They are usually useful and are things that you might buy anyway, like pens and mugs.

 

Unlike advertising, you know exactly who got them and that the right people did indeed get them, because you control the process. An ad might not always get to the audience you’re targeting. With promotional items you can give them exactly what they are looking for, and since they want the product anyway, they will be much more likely to keep it around. [Read more…]