January 2009

96 Great Questions

96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire by Falcone

Great employees are the fuel that grows a business, so hiring those employees is a top priority for every manager or business owner.  ” Plenty of job titles advise on how to handle interview questions; but too few lend depth to the employer’s side – what to ask, and how.  Paul Falcone’s 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire  [Amacom 2009) is invaluable in telling how to organize interviews to best identify high-performance candidates and how to spot evasions and untruths. An excellent guide to turning general answers into specifics, and to using these candidates’ specifics to assess strengths and weaknesses.”  Midwest Book Review

The SCL Biz Guide to Growing A Business has more on smart (and legal) hiring and firing.

Marketing on MySpace

Myspace Marketing by Percival “Got something to sell? With more than 150,000,000 members, MySpace is your #1 marketing opportunity! Whether you’re a business, band, or organization, MySpace is the place to deliver your message and reach your customers. Best of all, you don’t need to spend a fortune to profit from MySpace marketing: just get this book! MySpace marketing pioneer Sean Percival covers all the free and dirt-cheap guerrilla marketing techniques you’ll ever need, including

  • Identifying and precision-targeting your audience
  • Promoting your band, music, event, nightclub, or movie
  • Reaching the 60% of MySpace users who are 25 or older
  • Creating and designing a highly-effective MySpace profile
  • Quickly building your friend network
  • Attracting “must-have” friends who build buzz and businesses
  • Planning your marketing “call to action”
  • Optimizing search engines to find your profile
  • Making the most of MySpace video, music, and blogs
  • Marketing to specific high schools or colleges
  • Hiring through MySpace”

Myspace Marketing: Creating a Social Network to Boom Your Business, by Sean Percival [Que, 2009]

For more help in advertising and marketing, see the SCL Biz Guide to Growing A Business.

Ready to Be an Entrepreneur?

“The last day of a recession is the best day to start a business, the saying goes. ”

The Editors of Money Magazine agree and they have an online handbook for would-be  entrepreneurs to help you decide if this is the time to go for it.  Start by interviewing yourself, get help with your business plans and marketing,  identify your customer base, chase the moola, advice on picking your advisors, make the best use of your expertise, choose the right legal structure, and more, with these short, snappy chapters.

The Would-Be Entrepreneur’s Handbook

2009 North Bay Economic Outlook Conference

The Sonoma State University School of Business & Economics will host this conference focusing on “The Future of the North Bay’s Financial Industry,”  with California State Assemblymember Noreen Evans delivering the keynote address. Robert Eyler, Economics Department Chair & Director,  Center for Regional Economic Analysis (CREA), and Brian Sobel, President Sobel Communications will lead a panel discussion on North Bay Economic Trends.

February 6, 2009 • 7:30am  to Noon
The Sheraton Hotel, 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma

Conference Program – For registration information, email shalyn.eyer@sonoma.edu

Ready to Start Your Own eBay Business?

eBay Business Start-Up Kit by Stim eBay Business Start-Up Kit: With 100s of Live Links to All the Information & Tools You Need, by Richard Stim [Nolo Press, 2008] “is packed with in-depth information and practical advice to help you get your eBay business up and running quickly and easily. Best of all, it features an interactive CD-ROM that makes setting up shop on the web’s leading commerce site a cinch. No more trolling the Internet, or digging through millions of web-sites. You can turn to either the book or the disk to quickly look up how to:

  • list items and become a “PowerSeller”
  • find auction-management tools
  • pick a business structure
  • keep essential records
  • ship items, handle returns and issue refunds
  • obtain business licenses and permits
  • pay (and minimize) taxes
  • and much more”

3-2-3 – Go!

Regular SCL Biz readers may recall a post about the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce helping to launch SantaRosaMFG.com, a group dedicated to promoting awareness and economic vitality along the 101 Corridor. The President, Dick Herman, recently announced a new campaign: 3-2-3: 3 Years, 2000 Jobs, $300 Million, to promote the growth, retention and expansion of nearly 100 local manufacturers who contribute to the economic vitality of our local communities.

For more information about SantaRosaMFG.com and this ambitious plan, including a video of Dr. Robert Eyler, Sonoma State Economist, speaking about the current economy, economic development, and his views on the 3-2-3 Program and the opportunity for growth along the Santa Rosa Corridor.

Do You Have the Knack?

The Knack by Brodsky

“Brodsky and Burlingham, both Inc. magazine columnists, offer a host of advice to budding businesspeople in this thoughtful guide. Having seen businesses fail and succeed, the authors have served as mentors to a wide variety of self-starters and use their experiences as object lessons. The book focuses mainly on big-picture practicalities—the protection of startup capital and the necessity of focusing on high–profit-margin sales—but also expounds on overcoming the sales mindset in favor of the entrepreneurial mentality and facing mistakes with grace and an eye to learning. With a clear, conversational style, the authors give advice on raising capital, maintaining relationships with banks and lenders, customer relations, dealing with unexpected roadblocks and hiring good management. But in the end, they contend that entrepreneurship is not only a passion but a way to achieve a happier, richer, fuller life for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren—and with the right mental habits and skills, anyone can achieve entrepreneurial success. Encouraging, succinct and informative, this is an excellent guide for anyone looking to dive into a new business or expand an existing one. ” [PW August 2008]

The Knack: How Street-smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up, by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham [Portfolio 2008]

See the SCL Biz Guide to Starting a Business  for more help.

Take Your Business Up to the Next Level

From the Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center, this course has it all: “An intensive 12-session training program designed to encourage business expansion and growth. The course focuses on teaching the art of better business practices while producing a comprehensive business plan to guide business expansion decisions and activities.”

There is a free orientation class (recommended, but not required):
January 21, 2009 • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm or
January 28, 2008 • 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The course:
12 consecutive Wednesday night sessions, February 4 through April 22, 2009, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Redwood Empire SBDC Conference Room
421 Tenth Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
1-888-346-SBDC

Information & online reservations

Venture Capital Opportunity for Technology Innovators

There is a venture capital firm located in San Mateo, that has been very successful in partnering with Internet startups and helping them grow into successful businesses. Here is how Tandem defines itself: “We are a collection of hands-on entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses multiple times. We work alongside you, the innovator, investing:

  • our sweat to complement your team,
  • our funds to grow your business and
  • our network to boost your traction.”

Check out their website for more information – Tandem Entrepreneurs – Freeing Innovators to Be Founders

Employment Law Seminar

The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce will host this “Employment Law Seminar,” presented by Shelley Brott, Senior Consultant, The Personnel Perspective. If you are a business owner, manager or supervisor, or a human resources professional, you will learn about the new  HR laws and how to avoid common mistakes related to: Hiring, Performance Management, and Legal Compliance.

January 14, 2009 • 7:30 – 10am
Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, 637 First Street, Santa Rosa

Information & Reservations

Celebrate the 2009 Book of Lists

The North Bay Business Journal produces an incredible reference for anyone doing business in our area: The Book of Lists. An annual publication, this collection of businesses, arranged by the type of service they provide, is invaluable. Meet those who made the 2009 list, enjoy Hors d’Oeuvres and fine local wines at this event celebrating the publication of the 2009 Book of Lists.

January 14, 2009 • 5:30-7:30pm
Doubletree Hotel, 1 Doubletree Drive, Rohnert Park

Information & Reservations

Success Through Invention & Product Development – RESBDC Workshop

“Learn to develop your invention, product, idea or service and get it to market. Research and protection of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.” Presented by Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center Instructor, Steve Schneider.

The workshop is repeated on four dates:

January 14, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon
February 11, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon
March 11, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon

Participants MUST ATTEND Success Through Invention Workshop Prior to Attending Product Development for Inventors. It is repeated on these three dates:

January 28, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon
February 25, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon
March 25, 2009 • 9:00am – Noon

Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center
606 Healdsburg Avenue, Santa Rosa

Information and Reservations or call 1-888-346-SBDC

New Year, New Start: Tips to Evaluate Your Business and Plan for a Profitable 2009 – RESBDC Workshop

The Sonoma Valley Economic Development Partnership and the Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center invite small business owners to get your business off on the right foot for 2009! Learn about setting specific, attainable goals for the new year and how to turn them into a plan of action. This workshop will cover how to develop a financial “scorecard” for your business, how to use the scorecard to make better business decisions, and how to develop marketing resolutions that will improve your bottom line. The adage “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” is never more true than during a challenging economy. Create the success you desire!

January 12, 2009  • 8:15-10:15am
Sonoma EOC Meeting Room, 175 First Street West, Sonoma

Information & Reservations [space is limited - advance registration required]

Drive Business to Your Website

Search Engine Marketing, Inc by Moran

“In this book, two world-class experts present today’s best practices, step-by-step techniques, and hard-won tips for using search engine marketing to achieve your sales and marketing goals, whatever they are. Mike Moran and Bill Hunt thoroughly cover both the business and technical aspects of contemporary search engine marketing, walking beginners through all the basics while providing reliable, up-to-the-minute insights for experienced professionals. Thoroughly updated to fully reflect today’s latest search engine marketing opportunities, this book guides you through profiting from social media marketing, site search, advanced keyword tools, hybrid paid search auctions, and much more. You’ll walk step-by-step through every facet of creating an effective program: projecting business value, selling stakeholders and executives, building teams, choosing strategy, implementing metrics, and above all, execution.” Includes a DVD with over 2 hours of exclusive how-to video presentations, plus audio interviews and white papers on cutting-edge search engine marketing topics.

Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Website, by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt [IBM Press, 2009].

Find more on marketing, public relations, and advertising in the SCL Biz Guide to Growing a Business.

How To Start and Manage a Business – SCORE Workshop

This workshop, presented by SCORE, is a four-hour seminar to help prospective and current owners of small businesses to succeed. Subjects include guide for seeking financial aid, writing a business plan, marketing, advertising, and sales promotion. Other topics: record keeping, taxes, insurance and legal needs.

January 10, 2009 • 8:30am – 12:30pm
SRJC, 1597 Emeritus Hall on Elliott Avenue, Room 1520

Information and online reservations

See the SCL Biz Guide to Starting a Business for more help.

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