November 2008

Not Enough Time to Read Everything? How About Listening?

There are never enough minutes in a day, especially for small business owners. Try this website – copy and paste text into it, choose a male or female voice, and it will create an MP3 file for you to listen to while you drive to work or walk the dog. It’s free! [In English, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, Portuguese, or Catalan.]


The Customer Is Always Wrong?

The Customer Is Always Wrong by Martin

If you own a retail store, or work in one and need a laugh, read The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles, edited by Jeff Martin [Soft Skull Press, 2008]. “The mundane tasks and indignant exchanges with impossible customers are hilariously captured in this collection of personal essays by a cross-section of writers and humorists. Some, like a spa attendant’s dishy tale, are spun with a catty flair and flirt with a mild contempt for frivolous consumers; others, like Wendy Spero’s turn as a door-to-door knife seller, are outrageously funny and incorporate life lessons in the litany of humiliations. Breezy and occasionally creepy musings on everything from guilt over serving fattening Swedish pancakes to seniors to the horrors of working at Sears may provide some nostalgic chuckles and perhaps even some unpleasant flashbacks as this collection elevates retail selling to a rite of passage.” [PW, July 2008]

Congratulations to Wild Flour Bakery & Real Goods

SCL Biz loves to see local businesses get good press, so we were happy to see Wild Flour Bakery, in Freestone, mentioned in the November/December 2008 issue of VIA (the CSAA magazine) as a Readers’ Favorite: “The scent of handmade organic bread just out of the wood oven is intoxicating.”

Wild Flour Bread

The Real Goods  Solar Living Center, in Hopland, made the ‘Go List’ – a sun-powered carousel, electricity-generating bicycles, an organic farm prompt VIA to call this “a fantasy land for kids, gardeners, and anyone who wants to be kind to the earth.”

Real Goods

Get LinkedIn

How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn by ButowHow to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn: Making Connections and Capturing Opportunities On The Web’s #1 Business Networking Site, by Eric Butow and Kathleen Taylor

“The Web 2.0 innovation LinkedIn [] has gained huge popularity as a professional networking tool and is often considered the key to success for businesspeople and job seekers today. In fact, all Fortune 500 companies are already part of this service. Butow (CEO, Butow Communications Group) and Taylor (cofounder, TalentPlanet) show how to use LinkedIn strategically to communicate and to gain competitive advantage. The 12 chapters supply detailed and practical instructions for functions such as registration, profile creation, and the management of contacts, leads, and recommendations. In addition, members are offered guidance about proper business etiquette and for using LinkedIn to its full potential, especially with regard to recruitment, job seeking, and business intelligence.” LJ, September 2008

Keep an Eye on the World of Your Consumer

The Nielsen Company does market research on a global scale, but your small business may not be able to afford their fees.  Check out their website for free periodic reports on ‘trends and insights’ to consumer confidence and spending during a recession, packaging and the environment, consumers and designer brands, etc.

Nielsen Reports and Studies – Global Consumer Reports

Best Cities for Business

Thinking of expanding or relocating? “The Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.  The components include job, wage and salary and technology growth. ”

Best Performing Cities

Web Marketing for Small Businesses

Web Marketing for Small Businesses Web Marketing for Small Businesses: 7 Steps to Explosive Business Growth, by Stephanie Diamond [Sourcebooks, 2008].

When it comes to marketing and competing against the giants, small businesses have always had it tough. But now there’s a way to level the playing field like never before.

Web Marketing for Small Businesses shows entrepreneurs how to take advantage of the marketing opportunities on the Internet to get the word out about their business and win new customers. Stephanie Diamond, founder of Digital Media Works, has over 25 years experience in the marketing world and served for eight years as Marketing Director of AOL. She helps small business owners through topics such as:

  • Working with social networking sites
  • Creating mindmaps
  • Selling your story in a compelling way
  • Choosing the right tactics
  • Choosing the right tools
  • Evaluating customer actions
  • And much more

See the SCL Biz Guide to Growing A Business for more marketing ideas.

Guerrilla Publicity: Campaign Without Going Broke

Guerrilla P.R. 2.0 by Levine Guerrilla P.R. 2.0: Wage an Effective Publicity Campaign Without Going Broke, by Michael Levine [Collins, 2008]“According to Levine, limited means are no bar in public relations as long as confidence, dynamism and, above all, moxie exist in abundance. Levine’s theories are steeped in specifics, and readers will find his examples of highly successful campaigns (such as the launch of M.A.D.D.) and flops (remember New Coke?) instructive and entertaining, and his book a clear-eyed and clever bible for the enterprising grassroots publicist.” PW, May 2008
Guerilla Publicity by Levinson Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars, by Jay Conrad Levinson [Adams Media, 2008]“This completely updated version of the publicity bible lays out the foundation of practical PR knowledge, while bringing you up to date with the latest Web-based publicity strategies.You will learn how to capitalize on low-cost (and sometimes cost-free) technologies so you can: Offer your expert advice over the Internet with podcasts; send out an e-mail blast to quickly reach your consumers; blog about your latest product or service; connect with your clients on social networking sites; conduct effective virtual seminars; build a Web site in order to build your name recognition. It’s all inside-and more.”

No Time? Get Time!- Manage Your Time and Take Back Your Life!

In this workshop, you’ll laugh as you learn where your time is actually going, how your personality style can drive your decisions about how your time is spent, and perhaps most importantly, learn how to prioritize that to-do list once and for all! If you live with that sinking feeling that the pile is too high and time is too short- this workshop is for you!” Presented by Redwood Empire SBDC Instructor Karin Iwata.

November 20, 2008 • 1:00 – 5:00pm
606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations or call 1-707-524-1776

Post Your Business Press Release Online – Free!

NorthBay biz, the monthly magazine for business in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties has a great new service for local businesses: you can post your press release online, you can also sign up for notifications of press releases in your industry, and you can browse all of the online press releases or search by keyword, industry, city or county.

Check out Biz News

One Page Business Plan – RESBDC Workshop

Creating a plan has never been easier than using the One Page Business Plan system. This concise process will bring new energy to your business and you’ll find that the greatest value is developing a one year action plan that guides your business decisions and focuses your limited resources where they will be most productive. Any business owner who needs a written business plan will benefit from this workshop.”  Presented by Redwood Empire SBDC Instructor Cynthia Riggs.

November 17, 2008 • 9:00am – 1:00pm
Redwood Empire SBDC, 606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations or call 1-707-524-1776

Three Keys to Effective Supervision – SRJC Workshop

“The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their supervisor. This interactive class will help you to be a better supervisor by helping you be more user-friendly to those you supervise. You will learn three key practices that will lower turnover in your organization, improve morale and increase productivity. The three keys are deceptively simple but produce extraordinary results: Key One: Relationships The foundation of all good supervision. Learn the why and how of building relationships with those you supervise and the danger areas to avoid. Key Two: Clear Expectations This key that will save time and trouble. Learn how to be clear about expectations from day one and beyond. Key Three: Effective Feedback This key ties it all together. Learn how to address what is working and what is not working. ” Presented by Rita Sever, MA.

November 15, 2008 • 9:30am – 12:30pm
2702 Maggini Hall, Santa Rosa Campus

Information & Reservations

California Outlook 2009: Preparing for Recovery

Hosted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board: Back by popular demand, register today to hear Dr. Christopher Thornberg’s state and local economic forecasts. This leading analyst will discuss the future of California’s economy, the real estate market, and how your business may be affected in 2009.

November 14, 2008 • 7:00 -9:00 am
Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel, 170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa

Information and Reservations (Reservation Deadline November 7)

Amp Up Your Customer Service – RESBDC Workshop

In this lively and interactive workshop, you will define what customer service means to you and assess how your business is currently doing on the 5 key dimensions of quality service that customers want to experience most. Using those 5 key qualities you will devise simple, powerful and customized strategies you can implement immediately to not just meet your customer’s expectations but to exceed them!” Presented by Redwood Empire SBDC Instructor Karin Iwata.

November 13, 2008 • 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Redwood Empire SBDC, 606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Information & Reservations or call 1-707-524-1776

2008 Health Care Conference: Frontiers of Health Care

The North Bay Business Journal is presenting this conference on the latest health care trends impacting you, your company, your employees, and your community. Dr. David Greenberg, a professor and vice president of special research for the Buck Institute for Age Research, is the keynote speaker and there will also be two panel discussions: “New Approaches That Work” and “Meeting Employers’ Needs.”

November 12, 2008 • 8:00 – 11:30am
Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

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