Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Entrepreneurial Life: Not So Scary After All

It still surprises me when I'm out meeting with people at networking events or conferences and I get the question, "How could you own your own business? That's just too risky?"

My reply is, "Not these days." Have you read the paper lately? Large companies are dumping employees in record numbers these days. On average, employees in their 20s will have 3-4 different careers (that's careers, not jobs) before they retire. And we all know people who have walked into work and were blindsided by losing their jobs.

Owning your own business a risky proposition? Not these days.

Business owners at least control their own destiny. If things start going South, business owners have the opportunity to turn things around. That's the beauty of owning your own business. You are the bus driver and can take your business/life wherever you choose. As an employees, you're the passenger in the back of the bus. When your boss tells you to get off, you must.

If you have the financial resources, support of your family and the passion to run your own business, don't let the risk of an unsure future stop you.

-Ron Ameln, SBM

Vacation Time, Or Not?

The weather is getting warmer and the days longer. It's time for many of us to start thinking about summer vacations. Disneyworld, the beach, a lounge chair and a good book at the lake, that fishing trip...pick your destination.
Vacations are not only a great time to reconnect with our family, they are essential to recharge the batteries. The problem is many entrepreneurs miss out on this opportunity. The reason: they can't leave the business.
Over the years, as I've covered business owners, I'd hear this excuse all the time. "I just can't leave. The business couldn't survive." Well, let me be the one to break it to all business owners. You can leave for a few days. If you're business can't survive a Thursday-Sunday away from the office, you need to turn in the keys to the office and go get a job. Because you don't really have a business.
For starters, I don't think you're business will disappear if you miss a few days. If you believe it will, may I suggest a few books, "The E-Myth," by Michael E. Gerber and/or Bill Collier's "How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner ... and Still Have a Life." Both books will help outline how to turn your dream into a self-sustaining business.
No matter what stage your business is in, you need your time away to recharge. See you at the beach.
--Ron Ameln, SBM

6 Ways To Economically Use Direct Mail

Here are some simple direct mail tips to follow, provided by Diane Carson, co-owner of Marketing Xperience LLC, a full-service outsource marketing department
1. Hire a professional marketing company to design a direct mail campaign and execute the plan.
2. Mail on Monday to arrive Tuesday—the slowest day of the week.
3. Use inexpensive postcards to keep your name in front of potential customers.
4. “Certified Mail” grabs potential customer’s attention instead of more expensive mail and package delivery services.
5. Send out a small initial sample and test. Tweak or change the offer in subsequent mailings.
6. Update databases regularly.