Friday, February 24, 2012

Grab the Popcorn, It's Movie Time!

One of my personal goals this year is to watch the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films. I'm currently on number four, Singing in the Rain. I'm not typically a fan of campy musicals, but you've got to agree that there's something wonderful about this movie. I can't believe that people could dance like that! I really wish I had fulfilled my adolescent dream and purchased tap shoes. It's never too late, right?

I'm thinking that I'll work on this routine tonight. :)

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Toot Your Own Horn!

Flickr CC olga.belobaba

I am fascinated with the idea of creating a personal brand. As indiepreneurs, we may shy away from corporate jargon, but the concepts behind self marketing will help any new entrepreneur create name recognition and establish expertise.

Currently, I’m reading Self Marketing Power, and will review it soon. In the meantime, here’s a short ‘net roundup for those of you who lack the time for leisure reading. Print these puppies out (or not, save a tree!) and peruse while waiting in line at the market:

Personal Branding 101 offers ten tangible tasks that you can accomplish within a specific timeframe.

10 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand offers well-known and unique tips from seasoned self-marketers.

Women and The Art of Self-Marketing helps to reframe the social stigma women often use to equate self-promotion with lack of humility.

What steps have you taken towards personal branding so far?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post: Green Your Small Business

Today's post comes from Gainesville native Emily Rodriguez, M.S. - Plant Ecologist and Environmental Activist.

From Flickr User
When thinking about how to incorporate green practices into your small business, consider the phrase, “People, Planet, Profit.” You probably already have a good idea of how your business serves people and generates a profit, but what about the planet? Sometimes it’s possible to save money while helping people and the planet, but other times, you make a personal sacrifice or spend money specifically to be more environmentally friendly. Exactly how to partition your resources among the three Ps is up to you, but here’s some information to help you make those decisions:

Before the environmental movement of the 1970s, point source pollution was one of the biggest environmental problems we faced. That is, businesses used to literally discharge toxic materials from their premises into the environment. These days, non-point source pollution is a leading cause of environmental degradation. Hardly anyone is intentionally dumping pollutants generated by their business, but low levels of pollution are still being emitted by enough people, that it’s causing problems on a large scale. Examples of non-point source pollution include storm-water run-off, fertilizer run-off and vehicle exhaust fumes. This type of pollution has contributed to global warming, a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and algae blooms in our springs, to name a few effects.

So, the number one change you can make to become a greener small business, is to reduce your non-point source pollution. Around the physical location of your business (and home), plant attractive native plants and discontinue or minimize fertilizer and irrigation. Wherever possible, minimize your indoor concrete footprint – and outside, use permeable surfaces such as mulch, pavers, or pervious pavement. Minimize the amount of gasoline you consume by cutting down on driving and flying or switching to alternative fuel vehicles. If you cannot cut-down on your own exhaust pollution, you can purchase carbon-offsets, which pay for projects such as tree plantings.

Of course, we all know “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.” Consider participating in local recycling programs. Consumable items that you need for your business can be made out of recycled or renewable materials. Partnering with other ventures may help you become part of a recycled waste stream – think creatively and ask around. Be flexible in setting employee work hours, since using electricity during off-peak times is more efficient. Remember that technology can be a powerful tool in minimizing our impact on the environment. There are investments large and small that you can make in water and energy saving technologies for your business. It is possible to maintain a healthy natural environment and to thrive as a small business, as long as you take care of the three Ps: “People, Planet, Profit.”

Have you taken steps to green your small business?

Consider the following resources:
Green Guide for New Businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easy Shortcuts for Increasing Blog Traffic

Mike Licht
Have you launched a company blog to promote your brand? If you’re already generating quality content on a consistent basis, you need to promote your blog to gain traffic and raise brand awareness.

With limited time and resources, what’s the indiepreneur to do? Here are a few Information Slinger approved articles for quick (and cheap!) ways to generate blog traffic:

How to Promote Your Blog With Only $100 offers tips for (mostly) free blog promotion. Some tips, such as gaining a following in Twitter and getting involved in the blogosphere will take a lot of time, effort and strategy (but are probably worth the effort!). The minimum shortcuts to success:  Activate Google Alerts for mentions of your business or brand, and offer giveaways and donations to charity.

How to Promote Your Business Blog with Social Media offers tips for utilizing the strength of social networking. Highlights include: Use automated feeds to push content automatically from their blog to select social networks. However, remember to follow the 80/20 rule. Only 20 percent of your posts should be promotional; the rest should provide value to your customer.

How Not to Promote Your Blog by the folks at ProBlogger provides an overview of blog etiquette. The best tips include: Be genuine. Focus on writing for your customers (rather than search engine optimization), and avoid cold-calling for link exchanges.

Do you blog for your business? Here’s your chance to show us what you’re working on! What topics have generated the most interest?

Today, I picked up The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging at the public library. I'll review it, and let you know if it's worth the read.