Why young entrepreneurs don’t have to start with BIG loans

February 3, 2012

In a recent study published by the Kauffman Foundation, young people listed two main challenges in becoming entrepreneurs: access to entrepreneurial training and access to capital.

There are many resources for young entrepreneurs to gain knowledge about starting their own business. The idea of funding your enterprise through sales is “The Lemonade Stand”approach. This idea can also be applied to funding entrepreneurial learning. Here are seven ways to get affordable entrepreneurial enlightenment without risking it all.

1.      Work for another entrepreneur to learn the ropes.

2. Read as many books and publications about entrepreneurship, start-ups and business as possible.

3. Volunteer for a company that needs extra assistance. See if there is a problem you can solve in a unique way, and take action.  (more…)

Free E-Guide to Help Your Business Prepare for Disaster

January 31, 2012

What runs through your mind when you flip on the evening news or catch the headlines on your mobile device and see that another tornado or hurricane has devastated town “X”, leaving countless businesses, not to mention residents, in dire straits? I’m guessing you feel empathy, perhaps followed by the question, “Wow, if that happened to me, would my business survive?”

Well, these are actually really important questions to be asking yourself, regardless of whether you live in an area prone to natural disasters. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and they’re not just physical. Virtual disasters that wreak havoc on IT networks can be just as destructive as physical catastrophes, paralyzing businesses and threatening their survival.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster and, of the remaining companies, at least 25 percent will close in two years. Furthermore, with fewer resources than larger corporations, SMBs have a harder time recovering from virtual and physical disasters than their larger counterparts.  (more…)

Veteran Entrepreneurs: Demonstrating Our Gratitude Through Acts of Support.

January 29, 2012

They served and fought on our behalf. They devoted years of their lives and many endured repeated deployments. Now is our opportunity to help them in return. 26% of returning veterans are not looking for a job or a degree: they’re looking to get into business for themselves, and we should all be contributing in one way or another to help. We can help returned vets build new lives and thrive as they launch new business and grow their piece of the “American dream” in these tough economic times.

Imagine the impact it would have if millions of experienced business people individually stepped up and did just one thing, like mentoring, coaching, investing, creating strategic partnerships, making introductions to contacts and connections to help further an enterprise, donating or discounting equipment or materials, office space, and so much more that might be needed. What a powerful thing it would be to show our gratitude in this way and pay it forward to help support local veteran entrepreneurs in our towns and neighborhoods all across the country. Imagine if the rest of us were to make a point of buying their products and services and do whatever we can to help give them a leg up.  (more…)

7 Ways to Make Your Kick-Off Gathering a Successful One

January 25, 2012

Hosting an event is a great way to kick off the New Year.  No matter the type, an event gives your business or organization an opportunity to make a more personal connection with the people you meet.  This can give you a huge advantage, especially in a tough economy.  Here are 7 ways to make your event a successful one and start 2012 off on the right foot:

1. Get the word out early. Sending a save-the-date email as soon as you firm up your event details allows invitees to reserve the time. You can follow up later and ask people to RSVP and register in advance. If you’re charging, ask people to pay in advance as well– they’ll be more likely to be there.

2. Create a sense of excitement and exclusivity. Everyone wants to feel like a VIP. Email a coupon to attendees that they can redeem at the door, or if there will be a cash bar, send a free drink ticket that attendees can redeem if they bring the coupon.

3. Increase the urgency when needed. As the registration deadline nears, send a reminder email to anyone you’ve invited who hasn’t signed up yet. For example, “Only 5 spots left. Register today!”  (more…)