Today’s roundup leads off with how to secure tons of press coverage and includes a piece on a Groupon-hating baker and why you should hire your kids this season.
Are you pounding the pavement trying to secure quality press coverage? If so, get ready for an ‘a-ha’ moment. As Mike Michalowicz writes in The Wall Street Journal, small business owners need only to contact their local college or university. Call up a club president and offer to give a talk at their next chapter meeting. Then call the school newspaper to alert them a week before the event. This will no doubt land you a feature spot and garner the attention of larger papers. Repeat several times and soon you, too, will be writing for The Wall Street Journal. Genius!
Diversity is not a strong suit of the startup community. As Scott Austin of Dow Jones VentureWire Lifescience writes, 89 percent of venture capitalists are men, and of those 86 percent identified themselves as Caucasian. Sadly, these numbers haven’t changed in recent years. Back in 2008, 86 percent were men. What can be done to diversify the startup community?
Here’s one point for the Groupon haters. As Greg Wilson of NBC Chicago reports, Need a Cake, a bakery in London, England, recently offered a Groupon that gave 75 percent off a dozen cupcakes. The result: customers swarmed the bakery and the business owner ended up with frazzled employees and a loss of $20,000. Have you ever had this problem with Groupon?
Just yesterday I wrote about how the NBA lockout is hurting small businesses (one restaurateur expects to lose $300,000), but today Jane Hendrick of Business Insider shows an inforgraphic with more real numbers. While Kobe Bryant is losing $1.9 million per bi-weekly paycheck (seriously?!), a restaurant owner in Utah is set to lose 30 percent of his revenue is the lockout continues. Ug.
There are few things I hate more than dropped cell phone calls. They not only infuriate me, but also aggravate my clients and sources. As someone who operates my business from a variety of locations, I need a more secure connection. Enter Toktumi, a virtual phone service—somewhat like Skype or Google Voice, but instead of talking online, your caller gets an 800 number that goes straight to the land line of your choice. Andie Jones, founder of Be Well Nutrition, loves this service. As David H. Freedman of The New York Times writes, Jones finds great value in using Toktumi, but still uses Skype for video conferencing. What phone service do you use on the road?
Just in time for Small Business Saturday, here are some great tactics to bring in loads of customers. As Carmine Gallo writes on Harvard Business Review, small business owners are smart to offer unique Foursquare specials to customers, just for coming in the door. Example: Every time you check into Walgreens, the company donates a free flu shot to someone in need. Another option: encourage customers to take pictures of products to get a discount when shown at checkout. More than 30,000 new people are signing up for Foursquare every day. How are you using Foursquare to promote your business.
Postage can get mighty price during this time of year. But as Emily Suess of Small Business Bonfire writes, there are several tools to lessen the pain. Try logging ontoStamps, Hasler or USPS for quick and easy ways to track your mailing expenses and even print postage at your office.
You need help around the office, your employees are taking a lot of time off and you are getting more and more stressed out. What should you do? Hire your kids! As Teri Cettina of Intuit Small Business Blog writes, children can learn a lot from small tasks such as filing papers and sweeping floors. Just make sure to properly train them, report their earnings to the IRS, pay them better than minimum wage (they will be more motivated), and document their work and hours. Extra bonus: you won’t have to worry about their heads getting clouded by hours of World of Warcraft while you slave away at work.