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What Small Businesses Can Learn From ‘Shark Tank’

This blog also appears on the Redondo Beach Patch.

I am a big fan of ABC’s Shark Tank for many reasons. How the “sharks” interact with each other is definitely entertaining, but how they interact with the candidates who are seeking an investment can actually be educational.

Each week, entrepreneurs who believe they’ve come up with the next great thing, visit the Shark Tank and try to convince one of them to invest in their company.  They ask for an amount of money in exchange for a percentage of their company.  One by one the “sharks” ask questions to determine the company’s value and whether or not they want to invest. It’s fascinating to see how each company brands itself—some are fantastic and some are horrible.

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Yep, There’s a Community for That

In May, I received an email from someone I follow and whom I consider a colleague and my entrepreneur cheerleader.  His name is Mike Michalowicz and he is the author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” – that is how I first came to know him.  His email was asking me to be a part of something big with him; he was in essence assembling a team of freaks to help create buzz to launch his next book.  Freaks?  Buzz? Business Books? This was so me.

I read his first book years ago, loved it, and bought a copy for a friend of mine. I even had the privilege of speaking with Mike on the phone once after reaching out to him  for clarity on one of the book’s exercises.  Seriously, he got right back to me and scheduled a time to talk me through it!  He’s a good egg.

So I signed up to become a Buzz Warrior for his new book “The Pumpkin Plan”.  It seemed easy enough, tweet here, share there, snap a pic or two and share the love.

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Are You Making it Easy for People to Talk About You?

Personalized Tweet Zone sign from Lakers build day in L.A.

Here’s a simple and effective tip to help you promote your business or upcoming event.

Create a sign that reminds your customers or guests to update their status about you.  Here’s an example of a “Tweet Zone” we helped create for our client Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  They host up to 25 volunteers on each of their build sites five days a week and you can imagine how many of them have smart phones.  They designed this sandwich board that can be updated with an event hashtag very easily.  It also serves as a reminder to move away from the building activity and hard hat areas to safely post their status updates.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on signage, you can install a chalkboard or dry erase board at your location/event or order low cost business cards and pass them out.

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