Entrepreneurial

Can social media make your company smarter?

USA-LAW/BRAINYou’ve started a fan page for your company on Facebook. You’ve attracted a few followers on Twitter. You’ve got a presence on Foursquare, and you’ve started offering deals to customers through Groupon. Seems you’ve got that whole social media thing figured out.

Or do you? While social media presents, first and foremost, a cheap marketing and advertising option to help businesses generate leads and drive up revenue, some experts insist it’s about more than just setting up a few profiles and then moving on.

“Social technologies are to me holistic technologies, a lot like PCs or the Internet,” said Scott Klososky, a social media business consultant who’s releasing three new books on the subject this year. “I tell clients that they need to be using social tools as much internally as they do externally, as much to cut costs as they do to drive revenue.”

Klososky, whose clients range from managers at Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurs, encourages businesses to integrate different social technology tools into their day-to-day operations in a couple of different ways.

‘RAISING THE IQ’

One method Klososky suggests to managers is encouraging employees to build personalized “rivers of information” that push specialized, real-time information about their industry or expertise to them by way of social technology tools such as RSS readers, Twitter and Digg. A fairly simple idea one might argue, but a practice that many companies underestimate, said Klososky.

6 essential tips for a young entrepreneur

USA/-Cara Mico is the executive director at Demeter Design and a contributor to Under30CEO. The opinions expressed are her own. -

If I could write a letter to my nine-year-old self, what would it say? Maybe I would have skipped the year in private art school ($30,000 before interest) and opted for a year apprenticeship in Venice (which in theory would have made me money).

More importantly, where would I be? I am 27 and the executive director of a successful non-profit environmental consulting firm. After 5 years of blood, sweat, tears we have a functional board, and have worked with other non-profits throughout Oregon conducting watershed assessments and endangered species habitat restoration planning.

from Felix Salmon:

Norway, entrepreneurial paradise

Max Chafkin has a fantastic story in Inc magazine about how to structure an economy so as to encourage entrepreneurship, full employment, and general happiness and contentment, all while drastically reducing inequality. It's easy, in fact: all you need to do is become Norway.

There's loads of great stuff in this piece, and I'd encourage you to read the whole thing. But a few things stand out.

Chafkin starts with the tale of Wiggo Dalmo, an industrial mechanic with a high-school education who chafed under his bosses, set up his own shop, and is now running a $44 million company with 150 employees. That's the kind of story which should be common in the US but is in fact rare. But ask yourself: in the US, how much would such a person be paying in taxes? Dalmo paid $102,970 in personal taxes on his income and wealth last year, which is probably lower, not higher, than the CEO of a $44 million company would pay in taxes in the US.

from Breakingviews:

Cheap start-up costs leave VCs with poor choices

By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Is getting people to post goofy pictures of cats and bad English signage a better business than venture capital? Cheezburger Network, the profitable publisher of "I Can Has Cheezburger?" and other absurd websites, recently raised $30 million to expand its business. The fact that venture capitalists are skirmishing to fund oddball businesses that don't need their cash is a good illustration of the industry's problems.

Venture capital's best returns historically have come from the information technology industry -- in companies like Nvidia, Sun Microsystems and Oracle. The trouble is, traditional hot sectors like chip making, computer production, and traditional software have matured. And the hottest area of growth -- consumer Internet firms -- doesn't need much capital to thrive.

4 tips for marketing to millennials

Wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk rose to celebrity status through non-traditional marketing, making a name for himself and his family’s New Jersey wine business on the Internet through his popular video blog, Wine Library TV.

A frequent speaker on brand building in the age of social media, Vaynerchuk is the recent author of “The Thank You Economy”, which addresses the way consumers are interacting in an increasingly transparent marketplace.

Here are his top-of-mind tips for marketing to the millennial generation.

1. Listen and don’t talk. That’s the biggest problem for everybody, especially with this demographic.

3 worst ways to find a potential investor

stop-sign-e1286542310834- Adam Hoeksema is the founder and CEO of ExecutivePlan and a contributor to Under30CEO. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Only one to four percent of angel investor applicants successfully raise angel investment, according to the Angel Capital Education Foundation. I suspect that part of the reason that the success rate is so low is because entrepreneurs are using the following ill-advised tactics to meet potential investors.

The Office Visit

So maybe you are located out in San Francisco, California and you hop on to California Venture Capital to locate a VC firm in your neighborhood.  It turns out that there are dozens of VC firms nearby so you throw on your best suit, stuff a pile of business cards in your pocket and follow your GPS to the front door of Sequoia Capital.  Obviously you will be stopped at the front desk unless you have an appointment.  Maybe you are good enough to sweet talk your way past the receptionist and you simply push your way in to introduce yourself to Mr. VC.  Venture capitalists might like ambitious entrepreneurs, but don’t fool yourself, this tactic is not ambitious, it is disrespectful and will certainly end in failure.

DIY PR: 5 rules for getting the publicity you want

USA-ECONOMY/- Danita King is Principal and Founder of PR Noir and a contributor to Under30 CEO. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Now, it seems a bit antithetical for an owner of a PR firm to teach others the tricks of the PR trade. I thought, “Do I really want to give away the secrets to PR success?” But then I thought long and hard about what it means to be an entrepreneur and the sometimes financial roller coaster the thrill of sole proprietorship can bring. What if I had a different type of business? Would I be able to afford an expensive PR agency? Probably not. If I were making cut backs, would my PR expenses be one of the first things to go? Probably so. If I had to tackle PR on my own, would I appreciate and try to soak up any tips I could acquire? Heck yeah!

So, the entrepreneur (and not the publicist) in me is giving the green light on some DIY PR tips that will help your company get the publicity and exposure you want, so you can focus on what you do best — running your business efficiently and successfully.

Anything business can do, the Internet can do better

– Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and creator of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

People love to focus on horse races: NYC vs Silcon Valley, Facebook vs Twitter, IPO markets vs private exchanges, the valuation of some startup vs some other startup.

Like a lot of people in the tech industry, I’ve gotten inquiries recently on the meaning of Facebook’s “private” IPO with Goldman Sachs, whether VC valuations are indicative of a bubble, whether such-and-such startup is overvalued, and so on. These questions are all footnotes that will be forgotten in a few years.

Want to keep your employees? Try better benefits

USA/A better hiring mood and a labor market overflowing with quality candidates could make CEOs complacent when it comes to retaining staff.

That would be a mistake according to Luke Vandermillen, vice president at advisory firm Principal Financial Group, who said employee turnover can be costly.

Citing estimates, Vandermillen said the one-time cost of replacing just one employee can be as much as 150 percent or more of their annual salary. Recruiting, hiring and training replacements for lost people add up and companies also suffer from lost productivity and intellectual capital, he added.

4 pieces of advice on health insurance for entrepreneurs

USA/ – Ryan Hanley is a Commercial Account Executive for the Guilderland Agency, Inc. and a contributor to Under30CEO. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Health insurance is expensive.  There is no way to get around that fact and anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something you don’t need.  Unfortunately for a young business, the burden of health insurance is even more important than that of a larger or more mature business, (in development, not demeanor).

A Case for Health Insurance

For an entrepreneur skimping on insurance, especially health insurance, is playing Russian Roulette with your future.  At no time in your business’s growth will the health and wellness of employees be more important than the start-up years.  Think about the set-back in growth if the founder of a 2nd year business became ill and had to miss a month.  A terrifying scenario for most young businesses. Now think about that same situation coupled with the stress of the same business founder coming straight out of pocket for all medical expenses.  I’ve seen this situation where money earmarked for business growth is diverted towards medical costs and it’s not pretty.

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