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Very interesting insight. Nothing like having number of customers who share same values as you do, but to have that the businesses first need to define their own values, which many businesses struggle with.

2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234326

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Excellent tips! I would also add that most people make a mistake of underestimating the time and effort needed when starting a business. Entrepreneurs are ambitious and driven by nature and it is very easy to underestimate what it takes to start a business.

4 months ago on Conversation @ http://entrepreneur.dev.entrepreneur.com/article/232240

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I would use a different term than Lazy to describe the second type of laziness. These people work in order to relax and enjoy their hard earned money. And yes, it is ok to be that type of lazy and yes, you don't want to do it half-ass. If you are going on a vacation (or become lazy) put all the work away and enjoy  your vacation. Just be prepared to get back to wok when it is over.

4 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.livefreeliverich.com/1/post/2013/06/why-its-okay-to-be-lazy.html

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It is a big misconception that you have to be in your teens or 20's to start a business. I do agree with you. Older people bring in wealth of experience and knowledge along with thick Rolodex and this can help them immensely when starting a business. 

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228592

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Trial and error is the hallmark of all successful inventors and entrepreneurs. You just have to make sure you learn from the mistakes and use that knowledge to improve your idea in the next iteration. How many times did Thomas Edison fail before coming up with the working prototype of a light bulb?

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228375

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With the rise of social media and Internet the first thing any customer will do is "Google" it. If you do not have street cred and built trust with past customers you stand to lose that potential sale. It is very important to build and protect business brand online. This is particularly more true for anyone who is in the services business - think lawyers, accountant and such.

1 year ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227410

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Ken - Excellent advice. We always hear the benefits of thinking big, and for the right reason. Without having a grand vision Amazon would not be where it is today. However, at the same time to take those baby steps that will get you to your grand vision. Without starting your journey with small steps, merely having a grand vision will not get you anywhere. 


One phrase summarizes the message - Think BIG, Act SMALL!!

1 year ago on Small Businesses and the Problem of Thinking Big

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Debra - Excellent tips. The last point is interesting. Every time I go to grocery store or Costco I see number of vendors providing free samples to taste. This works great when customers are hesitant to buy something new without knowing how it would turn out. Providing free samples helps overcome this hesitation.

1 year, 1 month ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227134

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Carla - These are great tips. I always advise my clients that good marketing doesn't have to cost much. By using the power of word-of-mouth and providing great customer service your customers can take care of marketing on your behalf. Another way to do this is by engaging with the community organizations you do business in. It doesn't cost much, but provides great visibility and credibility.

1 year, 2 months ago on Marketing Tips for Penny Pinchers

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Jan - Great tips for all business owners. My favorite it #1. Many businesses make the mistake of expanding too aggressively when things are going well. McDonald's did it about a decade ago and had to retract and focus on improving existing stores and menu. This helped them grow their sales and profit in the following years.

 

One of my favorite failure stories is the Internet company Webvan that went belly up after receiving large funding and going on expansion binge by building automated warehouses all over the country.

1 year, 3 months ago on Avoid These 7 Temptations That May Undermine Your Business

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Trevor - These are all valid reasons small business owners need to have social media presence. The bottom line is small businesses need to be on social media because the customers are there. However, I would caution against jumping in the social media blindly. You can get burned if you are not careful and don't know how to handle it properly. I had written an article on the traps small business owners need to avoid when considering social media presence. Would love to hear your expert view on them - http://www.smallbizviewpoints.com/2012/08/15/small-business-owners-beware-of-these-social-media-marketing-traps/

1 year, 3 months ago on Social Media and the Benefits for Small Businesses

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An ideal entrepreneur would be a big picture thinker with the ability to get into details. Of course it is not easy to find this combination in most people. Having said that I think you need to be a big picture guy to at least think about out-of-the-box ideas, but only those who can execute those ideas will be able to create successful business. The detail oriented person will spend too much time analyzing and may be able to take that next step necessary to make the business successful. I would put my money on the big picture guy to create successful start-ups.

1 year, 4 months ago on Big Picture vs. Details Person: Who Makes the Best Entrepreneur?

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Automated Phone System is the worst thing that has happened to customer service. Your experience with Reliance Home is not unique. Companies such as Netflix and Zappos understand the problems that automated phone creates. That's why Netflix at one point did not have Email based customer service. You had to call them and it was not the machine that was answering the phone. It was a human being. Not sure if they still have this policy. No wonder both of these companies consistently on the top in customer service.

1 year, 4 months ago on Customer Service is Not the Same as Being Customer-Centric

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I like to prepare the questions with the goal of identifying few characteristics of the applicant. Here are 10 questions that I like to ask along with the type of characteristics they aim to identify (mentioned in parenthesis).

 

1. What do you want to get out of this job? (Motivation, Needs)

2. Why did you leave last couple of jobs? (Stability, Commitment)

3. What would you do on the first day of the job if we hired you? (Preparedness)

4. What types of people do you get along well with? What type of people do you NOT like? (Teamwork)

5. How would you deal with a colleague or supervisor if you don’t along well with them? (Teamwork)

6. What actions would you take if we are running short on staff and there is a sudden surge of customers? (Ability to work under stress)

7. Will you work here part-time or full-time? Will you have another job after you accept this? Do you go to school? (Flexibility)

8. How much money are you looking for from this position? (Motivation)

9. What do you do for fun? (Interests)

10. What can you tell us about our business? (Preparedness)

1 year, 6 months ago on The Best Interview Questions to Ask a Prospective Hire

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