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The Best Business Advice for Entrepreneurs - January 2015

Here are the best business advice articles I've read over the past month.


10 Marketing Lessons for Early-Stage Tech Startups

I made every textbook mistake at my first startup, which is why I believe I was much more effective at my second one. I have adopted the motto “good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.“ We need to learn from doing, by trial-and-error.

The Benefits of Telecommuting

Yahoo and Best Buy may have caused a ripple when they announced their intent to eliminate or restrict their telecommuting policies. Yet, their decision cannot reverse a growing push to allow employees to work away from a traditional office. Before you dismiss telecommuting as a potential perk, consider what it could mean to your company's overall productivity.

Benefits to Your Company

3 Steps to Launch a Website

Launchhing your own website does not have to be as complicated as people make it out to be. In fact, you can knock it out in a few simple steps:

Pick a Domain Name

Your domain is the address people will visit to reach your site, YourName.com or MyPlace.net. The domain should give a sense of what you do and be short enough to remember, and yes, this is most definitely a case of do as I say and not as I do. At nineteen characters, I sometimes wonder if AlphaComm Strategies was the brightest name for my business.

Notes:

Your Small Business Needs a Website

If your business matters, it needs a website. Brick and mortar Shops understand the value of window displays to entice passing customers. The same concept applies to entrepreneurs in the 21st century.

Never settle for less when your business could explode into something larger. A one-man handyman company, a mom-and-pop bakery, and a jewelry maker could all expand if given enough customer appeal.
Running a website takes a little time and patience. It alone will not uncover a fountain of leads, but it's one major step to engaging potential customers in this interactive age.

How to Save Money on Copywriting

Copywriters are creative. We're generally not the sharpest tools when it comes to numbers, but a well-written contract can ensure the pricing terms are usually in our favor. It's what makes a capitalist society thrive, and the situation would be the same if our roles were reversed. Fortunately, I’m a nice guy and will suggest several ways you can keep your budget manageable, at least where copywriting is concerned.

Grant Writing 101

Do you want to know the top three reasons grant seekers fail to land an award? First, the applicant's work does not match the funder's priorities. Second, the applicant does not follow directions about when and how to submit a proposal, and third, the applicant fails to communicate with the funder before and after the application process.

The reasons for these mistakes are as diverse as the organizations that make them. Based on my professional experience, here are a few guesses why the mistakes persist:

Are You Offering Too Many Services?

As a business owner it's natural to want to give your customers everything they need. You might feel that failing to offer a complete package could result in competitors stealing your prospects, or you may fear being thought an amateur for leaving out what others deem to be an essential product.

Beware Bad Clients

As a new entrepreneur, how do you learn to distinguish good prospective clients from the bad ones? In the beginning it's easy to fall into the mentality that any prospect that comes knocking is worth pursuing, and I have a theory that no matter how much advice we read to the contrary, we have to experience firsthand the reality of bad apples before the message sinks in. While this is written from the perspective of a freelance writer, the advice is applicable to most fields.

A Tale of Two Sales Pitches

The other day I dealt with two distinct personalities regarding a front door installation. For the sake of anonymity we'll call them Bob and Jim. Bob is a sales representative for a national door and window installation company. Jim runs a local two-man home improvement operation. Their approach was about as different as sugar and salt.

Why you should publish your own e-newsletter

By Bob Bly

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly Direct Response Letter, www.bly.com.

Dear Direct Response Letter Subscriber:

There are a number of different business models for making money on the Internet.

Of these, my favorite - and the one I recommend to those who want to sell information products, dietary supplements, or just about any other product online today - is the "Agora Model."

The Agora Model is an online marketing methodology pioneered by Agora Publishing.

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