Patriots Day lessons: Branding

Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts. Maine is the only other state to celebrate this day, which commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord that started the American Revolution. (Fun fact: Maine celebrates the day because Maine was once part of Massachusetts.) The holiday and the Boston Marathon that is held on it are part […]
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Ack! There was a hack, but now I’m back!

A week ago today, I was set to write my daily blog post when, horror of horrors, I discovered my blog had been hacked! This made no sense; why would someone go after my little blog, which was only two weeks old? Then I learned that hundreds of blogs hosted on Network Solutions and at […]
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3 books every business owner should read

The three books I’m going to recommend that every business owner–actually, every business person–should read are books about grammar. That’s right, grammar.
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What don’t you know that could kill your business?

So what’s happening in your industry that is changing how things are done? What don’t you know that could come back to bite you? No matter how long you’ve been in business, continuous learning is still a must. To think you know it all is a recipe for disaster. New opportunities are always popping up, and your competitors are ready to take advantage of them. Don’t assume you already know everything you need to know. Because you probably don’t.
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HARO: A great publicity tool for small businesses

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a service where you can receive three daily e-mail feeds (Monday through Friday) with queries from media members who are looking for expert sources. The range of topics covered is quite amazing. And best of all it’s FREE!
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Is MLB going the Toyota route and, if so, what lessons it can teach us

As your small business pursues growth, do not lose sight of what makes your company special to its customers. Don’t be guilty, as MLB and Toyota have been, of slowly stripping away bits and pieces of what makes your company special. Little decisions can slowly add up over time, leaving your most loyal customers puzzled as to why the company they adored years ago no longer is that great. Don’t become Bud Selig. Know what your brand stands for and honor it, always.
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Collections 101: Getting paid

• Always follow up immediately if a bill goes overdue. If a client doesn’t pay within 30 days, on day 31, I send an e-mail gently reminding them that the bill is past due and asking when I can expect payment. I know from talking with colleagues that many people do not do this. They wait and wait, hoping they won’t have to actually confront the client about the overdue bill. Or they fear they will offend a client by reminding them that they need to pay.
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How entrepreneurial are you?

One of my clients, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, has just posted a very interesting article on entrepreneurship on its web site. Entitled “7 Ways to Make Students More Entrepreneurial,” it’s written by Andrew B. Hargadon, a professor of management and the faculty director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of California at Davis. In it, he highlights seven important lessons about entrepreneurship that students should learn. The article was originally published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
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Have you annoyed your customers today?

This brings me to the question of whether you’ve done anything to annoy your customers today? Are you sure? Have you experienced your product or service the way a customer does?
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Self-employment: 3 tips for success

So if you think you aren’t cut out for self-employment because you aren’t always highly motivated in your current work, think again. Being on your own brings with it an entirely different mind-set, comparable to the mental transition that comes when you go from renting to owning a home. When it’s your own home, you are more apt to do whatever’s necessary to keep it in good shape. The same will be true of your own business. For those times when motivation flags, however, here are some things I’ve learned to do to get it back:
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