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Life Changing Conversations for Entrepreneurs

Sending Clear Signals – Are You on Message and Memorable?: Podcast

I got to meet marketing and brand strategy expert Bill Schley at the 800CEOREAD Pow Wow in December. Bill has clear and simple advice for entrepreneurs and company owners to stay on-message. The problem is that in so many organizations, there are a multiplicity of messages going on, leading to confusion. Listen in and learn as Bill explains how developing a tagline that tells a story in a memorable, repeatable way, can serve as a tool to keep corporations and startups alike on course for success.

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Top Tips for Company Owners for Search Engine Optimization from Noble Samurai Co-founder Eugene Ware: Podcast

Did you know that there is now the concept of a marketing balance sheet? We all know about financial balance sheets, but what about marketing? Marketing has historically been viewed as essentially a creative or budgetary black hole. That’s no longer true in an online world, where we can all measure, well, everything. In this podcast Noble Samurai co-founder Eugene Ware describes the marketing funnel process and how to view those metrics as what is essentially a new-age version of a balance sheet. Eugene, who is expert in SEO and marketing, began Noble Samurai to improve all elements of the market research process.

Anyone concerned with a meaningful online presence could benefit from hearing Eugene’s advice on content, keywords and links. I’m not sure there is any kind of business or industry that doesn’t have an online component these days –

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Everyday Heroes

Dean Klassman

It is easy to honor champion company founders when their success is obvious. I would like to start a series on this page to recognize heroes – and you know who they are. Those who go completely and totally out of their way to bring about something great in the world.

So let’s talk about Dean Klassman, a hero from Illinois. Dean created and runs a program called Buddy Baseball. It is not his day-job and Dean receives no pay. The Buddy Baseball program pairs one or more able-bodied kids with special needs kids to help them play baseball – and everyone, I mean everyone, scores a home run and gets cheered on. When you actually see a couple hundred people show up for each game, and the joy that it brings to everyone involved, it is easy to be inspired. And isn’t that what our heroes should help us feel?

Who do you know who is an everyday hero? E-mail info@howtheydiditbook.com so that we can feature your pick in an upcoming post.

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Guts and Glory

I wrote about a comment I saw on ExecuNet from a gentleman who didn’t have much good to say about the current generation of executives. He specifically commented on lack of guts and courage in the corporate world, and I thought he had a point.

I had to stop and think about guts in the modern world. There are examples that come to mind – Lee Iaccoca taking charge at Chrysler – his leadership was heroic.

But nearer to hand I thought about a company I had the privilege to take part in. PV Powered in Bend, Oregon, was an early stage company losing tons of cash throughout the recession. The company had great technology but was not yet far enough along to have landed enough customers to reach breakeven or even close to it. In desperation the company sought to sell itself.  At the time, Bear Stearns had gone under. Lehman went under and it looked like the US banking system was at risk. Definitely not a time when investors put money into high risk, illiquid assets.

Like so many tech companies, PVP needed cash, and looked to its large investor group.  But everyone said no – except for a father and son investing team that owned a construction company in Washington.

You might think, well, no big deal, someone wrote a check for millions despite the recession. But that wasn’t the full story. The company had already attempted to sell itself, but each time a buyer appeared, they eventually left. And the last potential buyer had not only backed away, but specifically labeled all the deficiencies at the company, all the reasons it just wasn’t worth buying at all.

With that less-than-glowing endorsement, the father and son, Dan and Mason Evans of JH Kelly, decided to keep writing checks throughout the recession and to retain the management team. Luckily, things improved dramatically over the ensuing four quarters and a new offer came in, culminating in a $90 million sale of the company earlier this year.

The decision by Dan and Mason Evans and their EVP Mark Fleischauer is the exact definition of guts, of moving forward despite uncertainty and fear in the marketplace.

Now let’s talk about you. How do you keep moving forward when everyone else is running in the opposite direction?

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The Latest in ADD: ADOS

David Zach

I just heard a great new acronym for the rampant attention deficit issue we all know and love. This was relayed to me from futurist and speaker David Zach:

ADOS: Attention Deficit…Ooh Shiny!

Later I heard author Sally Hogshead, creator of the Fascinate Test, say that the average person’s attention span has plummeted from 20 minutes to 9 seconds…or roughly to that of a goldfish. Which means …Ooh Shiny!

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Your Favorite Entrepreneur Cartoon?

Here’s mine, thanks to the brilliant cartoonist Jeff Wiley.

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How to get Ready Now to Win in 2011: Podcast with Coach Jim Rohrbach

Jim Rohrbach

Take a listen to this podcast with Jim Rohrbach, coach to successful company owners (www.SuccessSkills.com), as he talks about the key thing you need to do right now to be ready with your plan in place for 2011. This all has to do with the biggest lesson coming out of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think & Grow Rich, putting your chief aim and mission in place right now.

Jim also talks about the importance of finding a mastermind partner or developing a mastermind group to help keep you on track, and to share your wisdom and energy with others.

Jim also posted a great article here Why You Need to Read Think and Grow Rich and there’s a free tool for writing your mission statement on the website.

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At Least They Are Passionate About Budgets

Don’t you kind of wish American politicians would get this passionate about the budget and massive deficits? Give it to members of South Korea’s Grand National Party and opposing Democratic Party for caring deeply (ok, a little too deeply) about their budget. That’s the thing about entrepreneurs: we have to live within a budget.

Seoul, South Korea

Photo Associated Press. In Seoul, South Korea, clashing over a budget bill in front of the National Assembly

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“My Father is Li Gang!”

This has become a rallying cry in China against censorship; it’s also a bitter joke about avoiding responsibility. It comes in the aftermath of a tragedy as reported in NYT. A drunk driver was speeding along and struck some bicyclists head on, killing a woman named Chen Xiaofeng. The driver attempted to get away, saying “my father is Li Gang!” The accused son’s father, Li Gang, is deputy police chief. Chinese censors quickly suppressed news of her death, but it’s the age of the Internet and news leaked out. So now most Chinese know, but the government continues to censor commentary. It is an ugly reminder of economic opportunity without political freedom…

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Founders Share Advice at Entrepreneur Bash

Seven founders featured in How They Did It gave great advice at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur Bash on November 16th in Chicago. Take a look at these videos from the panel that included:

Bill DeVille, Health Personnel Options, Ohio
Jim Dolan, The Dolan Company, Minnesota
Tim Krauskopf, Spyglass, Illinois
Vince Pettinelli, PeopleServe, Ohio
Chris Moffitt, Rubicon Technology, Illinois
Michael Polsky, SkyGen, Illinois
Mark Tebbe, Lante Corporation, Illinois

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