Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

After listening in on a HubSpot webinar called Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead, I realized The Dead were way ahead of their (marketing) time.

Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott gave a spirited webinar inspired by the marketing tactics of The Grateful Dead. Having attended a Dead show or two in my day, I found it to be a unique and entertaining take on marketing for small businesses.

Here are a few of my favorite marketing tidbits:

  • Be remarkable—make your content interesting/valuable enough that people will want to share it
  • Watch your competition, but don’t follow them
  • Free content attracts customers—win through familiarity
  • Make it easy for people to share your content—create a community of sharing
  • Experiment, improvise, take a chance
  • Put your loyal customers in the front row—give them perks, first dibs on products or news
  • Stay on top of technology in your industry

Next up, PR tips from The Rolling Stones… April Fool’s!


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Have you been to the library lately? For many people under the age of 10, the answer is probably no. But for small businesses, the library can be a valuable resource.

Here in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library offers you the opportunity to search books online and have them transferred to your local branch. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find most of the business and marketing books that I’ve searched for—even new releases. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a bookstore junkie. But this way, I can scope out books before I head over to my local bookshop and plunk down my money.

Live in Chicago? Another Chicago Public Library perk that I just learned from fellow Twitterer Allison Hanlon: you can check out a Museum Passport which give you 1 week of FREE access to local museums (choose from 12, see specifics here). Talk about a great recession buster, especially for families. Have I convinced you yet? Check out the CPL’s online catalog or find your local branch.

Looking for your local library? Search Libweb for an extensive list of public and academic library locations.

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Here we are in the first week of 2010. A new year. 365 new days to achieve your goals. Sounds daunting, yes? I have always started off the new year by writing a list of goals. However, this year I’m taking a new approach. Instead of making a list of what I must do, I’ve decided to make a list of what I want to learn.

For example, here are a few things I want to learn in 2010:

  • Ways to increase traffic to my (and my clients’) website
  • New ways to market my design business
  • How to actually use Google Analytics
  • How to best integrate my contacts/calendar with my new Droid phone
  • Flamenco
  • Guitar (or should I say, relearn what I have forgotten)

So… what do you want to learn in 2010?

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photo by ttcopley

2009 is coming to a close and, in my quest for organization, I’m inspired by articles such as 10 things to Do Before the New Year (from Web Worker Daily).

Personally, I always do year-end organizing for my small business— it just feels right to start off the new year at least slightly more organized than you left the last one. My current routine includes the following….

  • Designing my 2010 Quick Peek Calendar to send to friends and clients.
  • Filing paperwork into project folders—or the recycle bin
  • Sorting and filing project samples—setting aside samples to enter into design competitions
  • Reconciling final bank statements
  • Filing financial statements and receipts—creating new folders for next year
  • Preparing and mailing client invoices
  • Paying bills
  • Cleaning up the email inbox
  • Assessing needs for office supplies or equipment could be purchased this year
  • Making end-of-year donations to my favorite nonprofit organizations

How are you spending the last few days of the year? Share your ideas!

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see more tipsheets

Hot off the presses… our latest Small Business Tipsheet: How to Find the Work.

Nine quick and easy tips for finding new clients or projects.

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Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

10. Break large projects into small chunks.

This advice was actually via a Twitterview of CFC speaker Dyana Valentine (@dyanavalentine) by HOW Magazine (@HOWBrand). My question to Dyana was how to manage a large project that seems overwhelming. Her advice was: “Break that sucker down. Map time available, chunk it up, match tasks to chunks. Ask for help if you need it.”

I thought this was fabulous advice — especially the part about asking for help, which can be hard when you’re an “I can do it all” kind of person. I’ve also applied her advice to my blogging, realizing that a short post each day is a more realistic goal than a lengthy post (and easier for readers too, I think). Thanks Dyana!

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Part of a series of post-Creative Freelancer Conference postings:

9. Tell potential clients about your work process:

  1. Initial consultation details (free? time limit?)
  2. Project types (we take on jobs of $xxxx size or larger)
  3. Fee structures (hourly, by the project)
  4. Communication preferences (email, in-person meetings).

Based on this advice (inspired by Michelle Goodman’s session, Dealing with Nightmare Clients), I’ve decided to add a “How We Work” page to my website. This will give new clients an opportunity to learn more about our work style before we meet in person—helping to determine “are we the right fit” in the beginning of the process.

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