2010 was a great year for OPEN Forum and I feel fortunate to be a part of it. I write for a lot of business audiences aside from this one because that is what my business does – it creates small business content. But this audience is different. You are different.
I love writing for OPEN Forum because it forces me to be on the top of my game. The readership here is very business savvy and the writers are top-notch.
Here are some of my favorite articles and postings from this year:
How I Tweet, by Guy Kawasaki
Back when he wrote this article, Guy “only” had about 180,000 followers. Today it’s around 300,000. In this great article, Guy explains how he uses to Twitter and how small business owners can use his techniques for marketing. Among the questions he answers: How can you actually follow more than 180,000 people?
On Sep. 29, OPEN Forum hosted a live Q & A with Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA does so much for small business, and there has been a lot added this year alone, so this video was a great reminder. It covered issues like the small business jobs and credit bill, healthcare reform and stimulus opportunities.
How to Get Your Website Ready for the Coming Rush of Mobile Visitors. by John Jantsch
My friend John Jantsch posted a lot of excellent content this year, and one I liked in particular was this. As John said, “Mobile devices promise to revolutionize marketing as we know it. . . . [People] are using smart phones to surf the web and view websites in rapidly growing numbers. As anyone who has viewed a web site through the lens of a mobile browser can tell you, it's not like viewing one on a 27' LED Cinema Display.” He then goes on to give some great advice as how to re-think your site for mobile screens.
9 Traits of a Great Small Business by Steve Strauss
Of everything I have written here, my favorite, and certainly one of the most popular, was the article above. My point was this: We all know what a good small business looks like – it makes a tidy profit, runs efficiently, and grows slowly but surely. You might quibble around the edges of that definition, but that is the essence of it. But a great small business, what is that? I suggested that that great small businesses share most or all of nine traits, including creating a great team, being innovative, and being fun places to work.
3 Surprising Don’ts for Increased Productivity by Scott Belsky
As Belsky said, “When it comes to boosting productivity in your work and life, there are the usual suspects. Yes, better managing your calendar and eliminating distractions is important. And, of course, we could talk forever about the methods and systems that might help the cause. But what about the less obvious realizations?”
He then goes on to examine
- Not making your system too productive
- Not filling every void with action
- Not always prioritizing urgent items
Gotta love that counterintuitive thinking!
This article was a very good read for any small business owner. Branson started out similar to you and me – his first record store was above a shoe shop and he bartered the rent. What did he learn since then? Plenty, including:
- “Small is beautiful,” Branson said, “because smaller companies can stay both more nimble and more customer-focused. They can also maintain the style and “cheekiness” of their early trailblazing if they stay relatively compact.”
- “Outstanding brands are built around great people who deliver consistently great customer service every day.” “You can’t kid people,” Branson said.
6 Tips for Improving Your Cash Flow by Katie Morell
This piece is full of excellent tips on this always-important issue. It included ideas like:
- Barter: Bartering is great because “you don’t have to use cash for the things you need.”
- Step Back and Evaluate: “Many small business owners set up their business do things a certain way and keep doing things that way. Look at the business processes along the way and see where there are possibilities to make efficiencies.
How 16 Great Companies Picked Their Unique Name by Glen Stansberry
This piece was one of the funnest reads and told unexpected stories of how big-time companies coined their names:
- Google: “The name started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a "Googol" of information. (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.)”
- Volkswagen: “Volkswagen literally means “people's car.” Adolf Hitler initially came up with the idea for “cars for the masses,” which would be a state-sponsored “Volkswagen” program.
- Yahoo: “The word "yahoo" was coined by Jonathan Swift in the the book Gulliver's Travels.”