Friday, April 22, 2005

Using Your Website To Attract Media Attention

Nicole Plegge, digital marketing copywriter at Brighton, a marketing and PR firm, has written an excellent article on using your website to attract media attention. "Now is the time to start optimizing your site for journalists and the search engines," Plegge said. "The steps are similar to building a site for customers--provide plenty of quality information, easy-to-use navigation and strong keywords. By building a high-quality news section, your site can explode throughout the different media."
Check out Nicole's article.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hiring Smarts: Finding The Perfect Employee

Finding the perfect candidate for each job opening is every manager’s goal, but doing so is no easy task. When asked to name the most difficult aspect of the hiring process, more than one-third (34%) of executives surveyed cited reviewing resumes, according to a survey developed by The Creative Group. Another 27% said asking the right interview questions is their greatest challenge.
The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service, offers the following tips for developing a strategic hiring process:
Use the right criteria. Create a set of requirements that can be used to evaluate applicants. It should outline the technical aptitudes, educational requirements and soft skills needed for success in each position.
Make the system uniform. Each resume should be reviewed against the same standards.
Begin at the end when reviewing resumes. Candidates tend to place the least flattering information toward the bottom of their application materials, so starting there may be useful.
Develop questions in advance. Create a core list of interview questions to be asked of all applicants for a given position.
Don’t skip steps. When you’re short-staffed, it can be tempting to rush through the hiring process. If workloads are unmanageable, consider bringing in freelance or project professionals until you have identified a final candidate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Attracting An Angel Investor

If your company is too young, too risky or too offbeat to qualify for traditional bank financing, you might want to look for an angel. An angel is a private investor, often a successful entrepreneur, who invests in small businesses close to home.
The following tips might help your company attract angel investors:
1. Build a strong management team.
No matter how great your product, investors demand an experienced management team. Anyone can have a good idea, but it doesn’t mean it will translate into a successful business. The ideal entrepreneur is someone who has run a business before, and someone who can do it again.
2. Find a big, potential market to serve.
Investors also look for companies that can grow quickly to meet the demands of large markets. The bigger the potential market; the more customers.
3. Create a business that depends more on equipment than people.
Most investors look more favorably on businesses whose growth would require additional equipment, not staff. Why? Because it is much easier to add hardware than to add people. When staffing and manpower is an issue, investors are more cautious.
4. Ask experienced investors or entrepreneurs to serve on your board.
Find board members who have experience and can help you with the pitfalls of raising money and running an early-stage company.
5. Write a killer business plan.
A good business plan includes a two-page executive summary and a business plan of no more than 20 pages. People with money are quite busy. They have more to do than look through a 60-page business plan. Remember: It’s the two-page executive summary that opens the door.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Perseverance Pays

Let’s face it, victory goes to the most resilient. Almost nothing, small or large, was ever accomplished without setback after setback after setback. A lot of people cut and run, and sometimes that makes sense. But others take their lumps, fall down, bounce back, get knocked down again—and come back for more.
You might be in that same situation now. If so, don’t give up too easily. Ignore the naysayers and put a hand in the face of the doubters. Use Fred Smith as your role model. No one exemplifies this “I’ll Show ’Em” attitude more than Smith.
As a graduate student at Harvard University, Smith was excited to discover one of his class assignments was to develop a business plan. The students would develop the plans and the professor would grade the work on the viability of a fictitious business.
Smith came up with the idea for a one-of-a-kind, overnight package delivery business. The more and more he became involved in the project, the more passionate he became. He really felt the business could work. He spent day and night fine-tuning the business plan and finally submitted his dream to the Ivy League professor.
His grade: C. The professor said the business would never work.
Smith decided to prove the professor wrong. When he graduated, he began turning that plan into the American dream. Today, Smith’s dream is Federal Express, a multibillion dollar company. And when you walk in the Memphis, Tenn., headquarters of Federal Express, you’ll find Smith’s original college paper framed for all to see. Complete with a red “C” slashed through the top.
The paper sits in the front lobby to remind Smith and his employees of a simple lesson: Persevere and never give up on your dreams.