Keys to Success: Business Advice from Celebrities of Substance

An entrepreneur can learn from anyone’s experience. And Frances Bridges proves it. She is a writer I would highly recommend that you follow. In her “celebrity substance” blog series for Forbes, she looks at celebrities from a variety of professions, discussing what can be learned from their successes and failures. Here are a few lessons that stuck out:

Read More

A Dallas Artist Works to Raise Awareness of Homelessness

Of all the projects I’ve become associated with in recent months, there’s one that has a particular resonance for me and a relevance for this blog and its mission of helping disadvantaged populations get a leg up in the world.

Even as I write this, my friend Willie Baronet is in the middle of a remarkable journey, traveling across America to raise awareness of homelessness.

Read More

Great Entrepreneur Advice Hidden in Movie Quotes

I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the American Film Institute as a member of the national council. Everyone loves a good movie, and great business advice is hiding in some of our favorite movies. A few years ago, the Washington Post asked entrepreneurs which famous lines from the silver screen offer the greatest insight and advice for running a small business.

Here are a few key insights.

Read More

Before You Kickstart: The Risks and Benefits of Crowdfunding

A number of companies have raised capital through “crowdfunding.” Crowdfunding collects money from everyday people to support an initiative sponsored on an Internet platform. The initiative usually targets a common service, project, product, investment, cause, or experience. Funders donate towards a goal in return for products, perks or rewards  much like PBS fundraisers.

Crowdfunding has disadvantages and advantages. It is easy to think of it as an ideal way to get capital for a new creative project, but it requires a good concept, adequate preparation, and an existing community to support it. We hear of so many successes that the reality can often be something of a surprise. Only 44 percent of projects from Kickstarter, the best-known crowdfunding platform, are successful.

Read More

Keys to Success: Unique Ideas That Work

Great ideas for small businesses are everywhere. Here are three examples of entrepreneurs who followed their passions into business adventures — vitamin water for expecting mothers, fashionable socks and even potato peelers.

A business bump

Vitamin-infused water is big business these days. Small Business Trends brings us the story of two mothers from Brooklyn, N.Y., who aimed to take that a step further and create a prenatal drink.

Read More

Traits to Admire from Forbes’ Most Powerful Women List

There’s an ongoing debate in management schools about how women may lead differently from men and whether or not gender plays a role in determining management styles. What has been firmly established, though, is that there are clearly defined traits that are common in political, business and religious heads.

To examine the characteristics of successful women leaders, the 2014 Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list is a good place to start. To compile their directory of one hundred women who make a difference in the world, the Forbes editors’ based their rankings on the metrics of money, media presence, sphere of influence, and impact.

Read More

What SMB Owners Can Learn from Shinola?

Tom Kartsotis is an entrepreneur who thinks American manufacturing still has a future. He created Shinola, a high-end watch company in Detroit. After all, it’s a city that knows about manufacturing. But with recent economic struggles in the Motor City, some might see Detroit as the last place to start a business. Kartsotis saw an opportunity to be part of its revival.

The company says it expects to produce up to 500,000 watches annually by 2014 or 2015. With an average price of $600 apiece, Shinola watches are sold at Barney’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. Besides watches, Shinola also sells custom-built bicycles and leather goods. Courageous SMB owners can learn a thing or two from Shinola and its meteoric success.

Read More

Can SMB Benefit from Paid Advertising on Facebook?

Facebook can be a huge boost for small businesses, and a staggering number of them take advantage. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Facebook reports that 30 million small-business pages are updated monthly, and 1 million businesses pay for ads on the social network. The latter is a number that Mark Zuckerberg and company would obviously like to increase.

The methods of promoting goods and services are changing on the massive social network. A sample of recent headlines: “Facebook is ending the free ride” and “The free-marketing gravy train is over on Facebook.”

Read More

10 Ways Small Businesses Can Obtain Funding

Starting a business requires some combination of moxie and money. While moxie is something an entrepreneur innately has or doesn’t have, money can be obtained in a variety of ways. An enlightened entrepreneur will weigh his or her options to decide which avenues are best suited for the fledgling organization.

This list is not an endorsement of one method over another.

Read More

Keys to Success: The Ups and Downs of Starting a Business

Many small business owners are used to hearing “there’s good news and bad news,” and that’s certainly true with a recent roundup of headlines. Here’s a look at three recent nuggets, which show the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Help wanted

Let’s start with some positive news, which comes from the Wall Street Journal/Vistage International Small Business CEO survey. Out of 728 businesses polled in April, 61 percent say they expect to increase hiring — up from 59 percent in March. The survey’s Small Business Confidence Index, which reflects “small business managers’ sentiment on overall economic conditions, as well as their firms’ profit projections,” is up to 108.8, compared to 107.4 in March.

Read More