Archive for May, 2010

Mommy, May I?

May 31st, 2010

 Mommy Bloggers, as a recent NY Times article noted, “…were once little more than glorified electronic scrapbooks. Now they have evolved into a cultural force to be reckoned with.” I had a chance to meet many of the wonderful women behind this “cultural force” this past weekend at the Casual Blogger Conference.

I was there as a vendor to pitch the Tshirts4Hire idea and explore how receptive they were to it. Overall, they were quite open to the idea though most would only want to promote companies/products a few times a week instead of everyday. Many asked if they could have their kids wear the shirts because they didn’t go many places. Interestingly enough one of the barriers was the design or cut of the shirts which are men’s sizes and styles. Will businesses be willing to shell out some extra money so they can look fashionable?

There were many different topics or areas of expertise.

There were some that focused on saving money or finding the best deals like

http://bargaindivas.com               http://thethriftycouple.com       www.utahdealdiva.com

Others on recipes or photography while others focused on various areas of interest

Some were an extension of their own business

And some were just a family account using a certain voice.

http://themomnerd.com   http://scattergenius.blogspot.com http://thepersonalexperienceexpert.blogspot.com        http://thegregbeefamily.blogspot.com http://bridgetjohns.blogspot.com http://fangupofamily.blogspot.com  http://prematuritywithlove.blogspot.com  http://likeswimming.wordpress.com  http://andimeanit.blogspot.com  http://tracys-treehouse.blogspot.com

However, it doesn’t require attending a conference to meet all these amazing people. There is a great resource for those of you that blog or are interested tapping into the mommy blogosphere for advertising, reviews, or even customer groups can use Blog Frog. Blog Frog is a platform that provides an instant community for a blog so that its like-minded visitors can talk to each other. It also is searchable (currently has about 2 million blogs) so you can type in the product or service and find conversations and bloggers whose audience is interested in what you’re selling.

I also had the chance to witness a turning point for a successful small business. A nearby vendor, Oh Sweet Sadie, while helping a customer was invited to teach classes at a national conference (with over 12,000 potential customers present) by one of the biggest names in their niche business in September. One of the owners tried to put it into perspective for her husband (who’s a huge tennis fan), “it would be as if Pete Sampras had said he’d pay for you to come to the US Open with him because he values your opinion.”  It is great to see those moments of success. Good luck Oh Sweet Sadie and the rest of the bloggers!

The Status of Management Reports

May 26th, 2010

Throughout my time spent in organizations I’ve seen a lack of communication. Most workplace conflicts were because there was a disagreements about who should do what, when, and how. Since starting to organize a startup or two virtually I’ve found that despite my best intentions that dearth of communication plagues my own creations.

Last week, however, I was introduced to a simple tool that helps minimize the communication problem within the organization. A weekly management report. That’s it-no drum roll necessary. I’ve include some videos of some training that was delivered to The Foundry by Adam Slovik of RemedyMD. They’ve been broken down to palatable blips of time and don’t include the introductory portion. For me personally it works as a great way to organize my thoughts and stay focused on the right things during the week.

Management Report

Metrics Section

Progress Section Part 1

Progress Section Part 2

Plan Section

Problem Section

Priorities Section

How to use them during the week

Friendly entrepreneur Public Service Announcement

May 25th, 2010

Like some of you, I have gone to the trouble of formally registering my business. In my case, I’ve registered an LLC and hope to utilize it at some point in the future. When I first registered I was inundated with junk mail offering me every type of small business service imaginable. Slowly the junk mail tapered off and since I don’t use the business on a day-to-day business, it had been mostly forgotten. Then a few weeks ago, my wife mentioned that someone had called regarding the business and wanted to make sure we wanted to continue to be listed. She had agreed to the free listing mostly out of fear that not agreeing would somehow impact the validity of my LLC. Fast forward a few weeks and I noticed that our newly received phone bill was substantially higher than usual. Looking through the pages I finally found a mysterious $49.99 “EnviromntImpact MnthyFee” billed on behalf of www.mygreensite.biz. After scratching our heads for a while, my wife and I suddenly remembered the aforementioned phone call.

I spent the next little while scouring the internet for clues about the company behind mygreensite. Googling “mygreensite.biz” turned up hundreds of carbon copy sites differing only by business name which proclaimed each particular business to be part of the “Green Business Coalition”. It was humorous to skim through some of the listings which varied from a Baptist Church to mechanics to hair salons – apparently all “green”. One of the more incriminating/informative things I stumbled upon was a telemarketer script registered with the state of Alabama. This should give you a good feel for the tactics used by this company to sign you up for their “service”. This particular script references findagreenbusiness.net which is being served from the same IP address as mygreensite.biz (along with greenbusinesscoalition.org and onlinegreendirectory.net).

After jumping through some hoops, we managed to talk to someone at the mygreensite “business” and disputed the charges. It was lucky for me that their charge was a big part of my phone bill or I likely wouldn’t have noticed it and payed the amount in which case this would probably be a much more frustrated story. So beware the phone calls offering you any type of listing service and also let others know about this borderline fraudulent activity.

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