Being Effective Online

Online tipsHaving an effective online presence is as important as simply being online.

Being online will bring some likes and friends, but that  activity will come from people who already know you or from your family and friends. What you want is an online presence that creates awareness of your business, or educational efforts in our case, and keeps that customer coming back for more. The goal is to make your customer a lifetime ambassador for your business.

Part of our Power of Business effort has been to get first-hand experience on reaching those goals. This video is a first report on our initial efforts as we develop platforms and writing titles that sell. Examples of what we learned are shared plus you get a peek at the on-going effort where we look at the power of Facebook and the Facebook ad.

Online is huge and it matters. Getting found though is often the issue. Just today I read that 2 million blog posts are put online each day. Add that to all of the tweets, posts, pictures, and videos posted, you can see why you need to focus on being efficient and effective in your online efforts.

In the video various types of content formats are discussed. Here at Power of Business we curate content, offer videos, do our monthly chats, provide some short fact sheets, and, of course, our blog.

Admittedly getting online is a scary undertaking. This is where a team can help you out as can a personal learning network. Dipping your toe into the online world may mean finding people you can learn from. There is nothing wrong with lurking and learning.  In time, you can begin to ask questions.

An effective online presence means you need to write, think and act differently. People want information quickly and they are typically focused on one problem at a time. You also need to offer some fun and flair. At times you may feel more like an entertainer than an educator. You also need to be flexible and be able to change quickly.

So get online. Engage and network with your customer base. Enhance their online experience. It builds your bottom line!!

Find the Powerpoint slides here at “Are We Entrepreneurs?”

 

How Do You Define Your Professional Self?

Question mark

Photo (CC 2.0 – Attribution, Sharealike) by Stefan, on Flickr

Do you own a business? Then let me ask you a question. If I were to ask you to categorize yourself into only one category, what would you call yourself?

Think about the terms you use when you introduce yourself or when someone else introduces you. Who do you say you are. Who do others say you are?

Easy right? The reality is that there are lots of choices and different agencies and writers use different titles.  And there is no clear cut division so things get very messy. It’s typically impossible to compare one one group with another or one report to another.

So let’s here from you.  Put your answer in the comment box or send it to me at: glenn.muske@ndsu.edu .

I am providing some examples but feel free to use some other category. Many of you might see yourself in two or more categories but give us one category that best fits.  If you want to add some additional comments, please do so.

If you are not a business owner, please share this with those who are.

Examples typically seen include:

  • small business owner
  • entrepreneur
  • sole proprietor
  • self-employed
  • solepreneur
  • family business owner
  • main street business owner
  • retailer
  • home-based business
  • business owner
  • life-style entrepreneur
  • ?????

So which one are you?

Where are the Entrepreneurs?

Photo (CC) Bruce Berrien, on Flickr

Photo (CC) Bruce Berrien, on Flickr

Thanks to Connie Hancock and Becky Vogt of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for the idea and background material for this blog post. 

If you have been paying attention to the news over the last year or more, there has been a ongoing discussion of how there is a decreasing number of small business start-ups.  This trend may be seeing some signs of change, but the trend is concerning given how small businesses are the lynch pin in our economic engine. Just think of how many key businesses in your life are small businesses. This is true in urban areas and even more correct as you move to rural areas.

A Gallop study found several reasons for why people are not starting businesses. Forty-nine percent indicated that they didn’t know where to start. Prospective owners also feared that their lack of knowledge in running a business would be a hurdle

Survey respondents, 84%, also indicated that they liked the security of a steady income, and although not shown in this study, other work has shown people shy away from business ownership because of the loss of fringe benefits.

Other indicated that they did not have the savings necessary to start a business. It does take money to get started. And it takes even more money to make it through the lean first years. It is often said that you estimate your cash needs and then you should double or triple that number to get to an amount you actually will need.

And there is another group worried about the odds of success, 49%, and the competition, 28%.

Yet as you examine the list, there is a clear theme that runs through it. None of these items are insurmountable. The skills of being a business owner can be acquired by the owner (plus the owner can also hire needed skills). In terms of business financing, history is full of stories on how businesses have started using very few dollars being very frugal or bootstrapping instead.

Regarding the risk, potential business owners can minimize the risk by careful planning. Admittedly you can’t eliminate the risk. And the odds may be against you, but individuals who have the passion will start. It’s understanding what drives you and then looking for how that drive can fill a niche in the market.

Potential business owners can decrease their risk and eliminate some of their questions about how to start and run a business by accessing the vast variety of resources available to help small business owners. PowerofBusiness is one such effort. We are focused on small, often rural, business owners.

There are also resources such as the Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Small Business Development Centers. Plus most states have some type of program as do many colleges and universities.

As you can see that while there seem to be many hurdles, there are ways of removing them or, at least, minimizing them.

Starting a business can be a scary thing, no doubt. But ask most business owners and they will tell you they are glad they made the decision. Make your plans and then take the leap. As Shia LaBeouf once said, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”

Mobile Devices and Safety/Security: It’s Crucial

We are a mobile world. Our lives are filed with mobile devices. They are so easy to carry around with us.

The ease of carrying the devices with you makes it just as easy for someone else to carry them away.

But there are many ways that you can protect your device and your data as well as your customer information.

Connie Hancock, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, guides you through some basic steps to keep your data and your devices secure. Take a couple of minutes to watch the video and download the quick-read tips.

Security is crucial. Take action today.

 

Find Opportunities in Agritourism

Red River trail Vineyard

Red River Trail Vineyard, by Glenn Muske

More and more agritourism businesses are springing up around the U.S. and worldwide.

People are desiring to experience the open spaces, sounds, and sights that you can get on an agritourism adventure. Plus many desire to again see some of the things they experienced or the things they have heard their parents or grandparents discuss. Plus there are the foods. Yum!!

If you are interested in starting such a business, there are many avenues for help. Marketing Agritourism Online is available here at Power of Business as is a past chat with an agritourism operator, Liberty Hill Farm. Recently, Louisiana Agritourism did a blog post on “12 steps to a Successful Agritourism Business.” The LSU Ag Center offers more help on their agritourism website. Other states also offer similar information.

So if you think agritourism is for you, you can find lots of information. And stay tuned to more chats we will be having plus check out our newsletters for more information to help you develop a successful business.