Three Opportunities for Veterans Eager To Start, Run or Grow a Small Business

February 16, 2012

For those actively serving, returning home from duty or looking to leverage skills gained as veterans from different service eras, we’d like to thank you for your service—and help you on your tour of duty in the private sector.

You’re likely already familiar with the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a military-private sector initiative to place veterans and military personnel into full-time employment. In addition, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act offers tax credits for employers that hire unemployed and service-disabled veterans. So finding a job in corporate America is, hopefully, becoming less difficult for former military personnel.

But what if you have that insatiable itch to strike out on your own? If you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur, check out these three opportunities unique to veterans, all designed to help you start your new business or grow its operations.  (more…)

Why Social Media Engagement and Customer Intelligence Go Hand In Hand

February 13, 2012

By Ramon Ray –

I know you get social media (or at least you’re trying). You try to post on a regular basis to Twitter. You try your best to create a great Facebook page. On the other hand, you know that you’ve got to be very focused on your customers. What you might not know is why it’s important to blend your customer service tools with social media intelligence.

Maybe you sell carpet. Before your sales teams calls upon your dental client, Dr. Marvin Drillman, wouldn’t it be great to know that he just Tweeted something about his wife’s upcoming birth day and you could suggest he re-carpet their den for her birthday. This is “social crm”.

As your business grows it’s critical that you not only invest the time and resources to build a database of your customers and know about their past sales trends and purchase preference, but that you and your team also know what your customers are saying in social media.  (more…)

5 Simple Ways to Get More Engagement on Your Facebook Page

February 9, 2012

By Gina Watkins –

It’s a question almost as old as Facebook itself: Once people have “Liked” your Page, how do you keep them engaged? One of the best ways is to use the right kind of content — the kind that will elicit a response and get your fans to take action.

Ready to engage some more on Facebook? Here are five simple ways:

1. Use photos. According to a recent report from digital marketing agency Web Liquid, Facebook posts with photos are the most likely to engage users. These posts showed a .37% engagement rate, compared to a .27% rate for text-only posts and a .15% rate for just links. If you think about it, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Photos, obviously, grab attention visually and people must click them to get a closer look. So use an intriguing photo to get people’s attention. Be sure to say something about the photo, too. We’ve seen people using this space to write more without having to link off Facebook.  (more…)

Business plans… for better for worse, for richer for poorer

February 6, 2012

By Peter Justen –

One of the debates I hear most often revolves around the need for a Business Plan. Love them or hate them…everyone has an opinion. I’ve heard VC’s say they never do anything without one, and I’ve heard them say they are a waste of time.

My opinion? Yes. No. Absolutely. No way. Without a doubt. Maybe.

I think it all depends on what you are going to use it for. I’ve seen hundreds (and written dozens) of business plans over the years and I can’t think of one where everything went according to the plan that was so carefully written. So why bother with them? Simple. I think the highest value to be gained from putting thoughts to paper lies in helping the writer think through their models.

Top 5 Reasons to Write Them

1. Make mistakes on paper before you make them with dollars. It’s a really good exercise to really think through your business model.  (more…)