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Monthly Archives: April 2009

An A in Marketing for ZPizza of Irvine

You know you’re a marketing geek when the new owners at the local pizza shop get you all excited about how they run their business.

It’s the bond that happens when like-minded people get together.

Brothers Armando and Francisco Cervantes, the (relatively – 2008) new owners of ZPizza of Irvine just flat out get it.

They know it’s all about the community.  They watch every penny.  They treat customers like family.  They innovate.  They care.   And they communicate that in every way possible.

Theirs is an interesting situation because they are the only stand-alone franchise out of the entire ZPizza chain.  In fact, they are not even a franchise, but an independent entity representing the original ZPizza location founded by Susie Megroz.

Their store is where the ZPizza chain got its start.  It is the mama store, if you will.  And to celebrate that, the boys have rolled out “Junior“, a smart car which they had wrapped by Wrap One (see pics below).

OK, so vehicle wraps are nothing new, but the smart car choice gives it a cute peppiness and environmentally-friendly appeal.

And they use the car not only for deliveries but as a promotional tool for events and fundraisers.

If you see Junior rolling around Irvine, just know that these guys put into their pizza what they put into their marketing…the desire to stand out in a sea of sameness.

My kind of guys.

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Karma and Your Small Business

karma-1Brad Feld, MIT grad, and co-founder of a venture capital company in Boulder, Colorado, wrote a great post on his blog the other day entitled, Great Entrepreneurs Believe in Karma.  It struck me because I have been using the word “karma” so much in the last few months.

Partly, I think, it is because of the time I have dedicated to OCJobTalk with my partner Justin Moore-Brown.  OCJobTalk is a social network that connects  people looking for work in and around Orange County.  Running the site and meeting new people every day (even if its online) has been rewarding in and of itself.  And we are just starting to reap the benfits of the seeds we have sown thus far.

I have also been encouraging small business owners and friends to help someone even if they don’t see a direct benefit. It is a new more cooperative economy we are dealing with now.  Everybody needs help.  And it doesn’t take too much time to offer someone a piece of advice or give them a referral.

Fast Company has a great article on Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes who also directed President Obama’s online campaign.  Hughes was the poet of the bunch and nicknamed “The Empath”.  It was his empathy and quest to find cool tools to help people share and connect that made him so valuable to both Facebook and Obama.

That kind of empathy is where karma starts.  When you begin to see others not as objects in your sea of subjectivity, but as people just like you.  With strengths and weaknesses and the desire to succeed.

Read Bryan Elliot’s mission statement for SoCal Action Sports Network and you’ll see a karma guy at work there too.  You’ll find it in his language… “connect”, “collaborate” and “generosity”.

Helping someone is rewarding because the act itself makes you feel good.

Those good feelings are a kind of karma that can energize you to fight another day.

And that newfound energy may lead you the following day to make that extra call, push a little harder or find an elegant solution to a vexing problem.

Now go get your Karma on.

Irvine Named Best Small City for Startups

irvine-seal-2Businessweek named Irvine as the best small city in California to start a business.

In a report entitled “Best Small Cities for Startups“, Irvine joined Auburn, Santa Fe, Cary and Cambridge representing Alabama, New Mexico, North Carolina and Massachusetts, respectively as places where “high-growth companies could thrive”.

The report was, in part, based on a few universal qualities: affordability, availability of a talented labor pool, existence of a thriving business community, and quality of life.

Businessweek asked San Francisco-based GIS Planning, a geographic data provider that helps companies select optimal sites through its Zoom Prospctor website, to identify the best small city to start a business in every state across the country, examining cities with populations between 20,000 and 200,000. The choices took into account 11 factors that shape a city’s entrepreneurial climate, from the education level of the workforce to the amount of venture-capital investment.

What do you think?  Is Irvine the best place to start a business? I think so.  But then again, I live here.