Friday, June 24, 2011


5 Lessons Learned in Small Business

Small business is a lifestyle. It’s a gutsy way of living.  Let’s stop for a moment and consider what’s involved: 
  • Taking the Leap:  Believing in yourself and that you can do it.  
  • Taking the Time:  It can be a 24/7 position until it grows into your vision.
  • Extending the Effort:  Building something that others find valuable and the kind of team that can help you realize your dream for years to come.
There is no doubt about it, small business takes guts and determination – and at times, it can be somewhat akin to the school of hard knocks.  So here are 5 lessons that I’ve learned in small business thus far:

A Lesson in Social Media
It won’t just happen - the whole “build it and they will come,” thing just doesn’t work with social media. So many people are participating, there’s so much information, that there has to be a plan, a schedule with some type of strategy behind it, and a draw. Without a plan you quickly realize that it’s way to easy to get lost inside sites like Facebook and Twitter – and it’s just as easy to simply be ignored. Social media is hungry. So hungry that you have to communicate consistently - feed it daily - or you lose your impact.  

But alas, there are tools like HootSuite and Social Oomph to make that part a little bit easier. You can sit down once a week and schedule what you want to say all week long and it keeps you social - even on those busy days when you can’t be all that social. 

A Lesson in Online Reputation
In 2006, ABC News Primetime conducted a 6 degrees of separation experiment. They tested the theory that everybody on the planet is only separated from everyone else by six links.  Six degrees of separation didn’t hold up for everybody but on average, it did.  

I am convinced that when it comes your online reputation it just may be true 90% of the time. In terms of marketing, we want people talking about us and we want them saying favorable things. The best way to do this is to provide exceptional service - service that goes above and beyond the call of duty sometimes.  Providing a special service on occasion makes people feel. . . well, it makes them feel special. 

Best of all, when people have been treated in a special way, they like to talk about it.  But that takes planning and systems, which leads me to another lesson. . . 

A Lesson in Chaos and Control
Disasters happen - natural disasters and the ones that we tend to create. I have learned that in moments of chaos, when all control is out of my hands, that my best defense is a good offense. And by that I mean that disaster planning is the best thing I can do for my small business but it tends to be the last thing that I want to do - until everything goes wrong, of course. 

After learning the hard way, I realized that there are two tools that help me plan for disasters: remote backups and documented systems. There are so many remote back up options available, Carbonite being just one of them, that having a backup to the information that impacts your company is as simple as saving a file on your computer. But the thing that helps me the most is documenting and saving (locally and remotely) key information that I would need in a disaster. This has included backups to client files, my financial files, my passwords, etc.

I may not be able to control every bit of chaos that happens - but I can get ready for it. 

A Lesson in Online Attacks
Speaking of control: You can’t control what people say about you, but you can put your tactful “two cents” in if you know where the conversation is taking place. I’ve learned that transparency and honesty go a long way with most people – especially when it comes to building trust. But you’ll always have those few that just want to say what they want to say. And for those individuals that don’t really care to resolve an issue so much as they enjoy talking about it, there is the grace to move on with the rest of your business and your life. 

I appreciate tools like Google Alerts and Social Oomph. They let me hear what’s happening in the virtual world without having to hunt it down myself. You can schedule a keyword search for a person, the name of your company, an industry buzz word, etc. Every time that word or phrase is mentioned online, you are alerted by email. 

This lets you live your life and allows the information to come to you - and you receive the benefit of being one step ahead.   

A Work From Home Lesson 
Working from home is fantastic.  It’s great on the resources, too:  less gas, less overhead, and less on lunch – just eat in your own kitchen. But in order to make it work, you have to set some strict boundaries for yourself.   

Boundaries such as:
  • Steady office hours (so that you don’t end up working all day, every day). 
  • Dedicated work space (so that all your papers don’t follow you to bed each night). 
  • A little escape planning (because it’s easy to burn out and feel isolated). 
Ultimately, even just a short afternoon walk, a stroll through your backyard, and a good night sleep is a best friend to professional and personal creativity. And it’s creativity and consistency that drives business. 

So there you have it.  Those are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned thus far.  How about you? 

* * * * *

After being a 20+ year member of "the rat race," Staci traded in her office, opted out, and joined the virtual world and the Small Business Trends community. Staci hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is the Operations Manager for Small Business Trends, LLC and is also the Producer of the Small Business Trends Radio Show.  You can follow Staci on Twitter: @SannWood.

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Midsummer Eve (asi 1908)Image via Wikipedia
Today is Midsummer Eve and it is time for me to take a blog break and some kind of vacation. I will be back on a regular blogging schedule in the beginning of August.

Kirkwood "Lungboy" by John Cox.

I will contact the contributors (team members) of this blog (see the right column for a list of bloggers) and ask them if they want to publish some guest posts during the summer. If you want to contribute with a blog post, please write a note in the comment field or contact me via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.


What will I do during the summer? I am glad that you asked that question! ;)

Click Here to Learn How to Save Up to 90% off Retail

I will stop by now and then and post an audio podcast on

I want to end this post with the following question:

The Muppets: Pöpcørn

[Editor's note: Do you like Genmai Cha green tea with rice and popcorn?]

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It is now more than six years since Sweden introduced a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants. I will soon take a break for a smoke (i.e., take a blog break).

Rachelle Wilde Smokin' video and photos by Dwayne and Leanne Bell of Body In Mind.

I wonder if Rachelle Wilde would like to have a piece of choc coated licorice (lakrids in Danish) by Johan Bülow...

Choc coated licorice
Choc coated licorice

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Text Links Ads has managed to sell an ad on my blog, so I want to thank Best Orlando Vacation Packages for placing an advertisement ("Descuento Disney World paquetes") on EGO!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Thank you very much for the birthday greetings on my Facebook wall on May 25!

Birthday Greetings on May 25

I celebrated my birthday by subscribing to the Harry Binswanger List and order a new logotype & banner for my personal tea site called Here is a pencil rough by John Cox:


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