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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Graduates Must Market Like a Small Business

job-search-crossroadsTreat your life right now as if it were a business.

Then when it comes time to start your small business, you will have the upper hand over your competitors.

If you are about to graduate from college and at the start of your career, the best advice we can give you is simply to get out there and talk to as many people you can in the field(s) you are interested in.

There are lot of resources online that I am sure you are familiar with.

But you may not of heard of one right here in Orange County.

It is OCJobTalk.

OCJobTalk is a social networking site that connects students, professionals, job seekers and recruiters.

OCJobTalk represents the hidden job market.

The hidden job market is where the best jobs are and is the exact opposite of the spray and pray approach of simply signing up to the big job boards.

As a job seeker, you have instantly become a marketer. And as Uncle Seth says, you have to make yourself remarkable.

Because good enough just won’t do.

Good enough is average and average won’t win.

You have to go the extra mile and sign up for sites like OCJobTalk, that are small, not well-known but tightly focused and dedicated to finding the hidden gems of the job market.

We use the term “market like you mean it” all the time.

If you are serious about your search, you will use every means necessary to get what you want.

OCJobTalk can definitely help you.

By |February 28th, 2009|marketing|2 Comments

Laguna Beach Saturday February 28

By |February 28th, 2009|misc|2 Comments

Dr. Casey Cooper Small Business Warrior

caseytopnav_011I have the privilege of working with someone who truly understands the trial and tribulations of running a small business.

Dr. Casey Cooper is a licensed sports psychologist and a native of Mission Viejo, CA.

She has her own practice, a radio show on KLAA AM830 and recently sold her It’s a Grind coffee franchise.

She is relentless, honest and fun-loving.

She is also a true entrepreneur.

She has drive, passion and the ability to persuade others to buy into her dream.

She is organized, knows what she doesn’t know and sets realistic, honest goals as well as outrageous ones.

When it comes to marketing, she is her own version of Constant Contact because, well, she is constantly staying in contact.

She is not a “once you get to know her” person.  As soon as you meet her, you like her.

She is tough, intelligent and opinionated.

Did I say she was opinionated?

You can hear those opinions every Saturday on Sunday on KLAA AM830 from 2-3PM.

From Investment Banker Hater to Small Business Lover

wallstreet460Yeah I know all the freakin blogging rules.

I’m supposed to make this post useful for you, quick and easy to digest and on point.

It’s the Small Business Marketing Blog of Orange County, not the Steve Averill blog.

Well, today I’m indulging.

This one’s for my kids.

I used to be a dick.

I hated, loathed and felt an enormous antipathy toward small business and most people in general.

When you’re a 25 year old insecure investment banker, working in the World Financial Center with a daily view of the Statue of Liberty, a secretary, an expense account and no conscience, it’s just how you feel.

“A player….or nothing, ” to quote Gordon Gekko

Never mind the fact that I wasn’t even close to being a player.

Didn’t matter.

Everything around me suggested I was and that I deserved it all.

I flew on the Concorde at twice the speed of sound, had a limo service at my beck and call,  stayed in the best hotels, ate in the best restaurants, and indulged in, well, everything.

It was not the real world.

You wonder what happened in this financial meltdown, why Wall Street asked for a bailout and how the entire economy has been brought to its knees by the Bernie Madoffs of the world?

It is because they hate you.

You are the spinach.

They see you, they know you’re good for them (somebody has to take out those mortgages and buy those stocks), but you are utterly distasteful.

Never mind the fact that with an I-Banker’s profligate spending, your net worth was probably higher than ours.

Or that we created  nothing.

We just made it up along the way and moved  things around a bit and spun.  Boy did we spin.  You think Washington spins?  Go to Wall Street. It’s The Matrix.

I was slowly beginning to tire of it all when I was asked to do an analysis of financial institutions in Europe.

I will always have a soft spot for London and Portobello Road, because it was there, hanging out my window on the weekend, watching all these people walking leisurely to check out the antiques (Antiques!) that I got my bearings.

Just by watching people walking down Portobello Road.

They were happy.  They were laughing.  They were living life.

I wrote a poem about it.

I shared it with friends.

“You’re no investment banker dude”, one of them said.

I came back to the states and quit.

I moved to Boston where I wrote and performed in a show about the whole  experience called “Big Men Don’t Dribble”.

Then I moved to LA, played the Hollywood game a little and started combining my communications skills and business background into a career in marketing and media.

And here I am.

A lover of life and people and the daily battles all of it brings.

I know how hard it to be a small business owner because I am one.

I enjoy the passion and possibilities that ideas, energy and execution can provide.

I champion my clients and they do the same for me.

It’s still a struggle but life is good.

And I don’t hate,  but I do go toe-to-toe with false prophets and fakers and mediocrity.

Because most of us are good and work our tails off to make our dream real.

And that’s worth fighting for and pouring your love into.

By |February 27th, 2009|misc|4 Comments

Hang in There Small Business Owners

hanginthereDon’t quit.

Promise me right now you are not going to quit.

Everything you have invested so far will go to waste (WASTE!) if you walk away now.

It’s rough and no amount of genius marketing ideas is going to change that.

Businesses that were getting four or five inbound sales a day are now getting one or two A WEEK.

No good.

But the opportunity is there.

If you can stick it out.

A lot of your competition is going to evaporate.  Most will become demoralized and simply retreat to whatever safe haven they believe in.

But if you can work through this, fight through it, market like you mean it, network to get work, you can come out on top.

Especially if you are creative, resilient and dedicated to your customers.

The best product is the one that gets sold and perfect is the enemy of good.

Just do it.

Be the exception to the rule.  Be unlike the others.  Have faith and a touch of naivete.

Be courageous.

People like me will see it.

And we will bust through brick walls to help you.

Start a Small Business It’s Better Than Doing Nothing

small-business-loan_350What else are you going to do?

Can anyone listen to any more bad news without realizing that the game has changed for good?

That the old path of going to college, graduating and embarking on a long career with a single company (or two or three) is a thing of the past?

It’s over.

It’s all about You, Inc.

The good news is that there are more cheap tools available now more than ever.  You can bootstrap and spread the word about your business with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.  You can use email marketing programs like Constant Contact and MailChimp.  You can open a account for CRM (customer relationship management).

You can even track your Net Promoter Score, and build an email list and use it to refer others through a little company out of Phoenix, we discovered called Promoterz.

Almost all of these services are free and none cost more than $150 per month.

But you have to offer something valuable and you must have a unique selling proposition.

What can set you apart?  All of marketing starts with that single question.  Why should I buy from you?

You may not know it but chances are there is something about you and/or what you do that makes people gravitate toward you.

It could be your work ethic, your enthusiasm, your follow-through, your ideas, your salesmanship.

If you can tap into that one thing and build a story around it, you’ll be marketing like a madman.

Maybe not as nutty as these guys (who I love) but you get the idea.

This can be fun.

You can do it.

We can help along the way.

Look for our iPod Best Small Business Idea contest coming soon!