Entrepreneurial

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.

2. Understand that they inherently want to explore as many things as possible. Way too many people think that this generation is simple. Their DNA has shown me that they are far more exploratory than any other generation.

3. You’ve got to be able to tell your story quickly and the story has got to be relevant. Way too many people in the wine business want to come out and talk about how many barrels they use or what the terroir is. There is nobody in the millennial generation that gives a crap. They would much rather know about the name of the dog that runs around in the vineyard. That’s much more personal.

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.

12 steps toward reinventing yourself in 2011

SecondAct contributor Michelle V. Rafter covers business and workplace issues for a variety of national publications. She is based in Portland, Oregon. The views expressed are her own –

Reinventing yourself at midlife is no simple undertaking, especially if it involves switching careers. It takes equal parts planning, stamina and guts.

But everybody’s got to start somewhere. Here are a dozen first steps, based on advice from SecondAct interviews with authors and other experts on careers and midlife transitions.

Your app likely won’t make you rich

– Paras Chopra is an entrepreneur and the director of online analytics startup Visual Website Optimizer. The views expressed are his own. –

Sorry for crushing your dreams but your Web app for tracking happiness levels (or for “social-aware” to-do lists) is probably not going to make enough money to let you retire in Hawaii.

Many programmers and developers find making a Web app very satisfying and there is nothing wrong with that – as long as you are doing it for fun, it’s OK.

Entrepreneur trades bestsellers for bracelets

– Melinda F. Emerson, known as the SmallBizLady, is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, small business coach and the author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months“. In 2010, Forbes magazine named her as one of the Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter. This article originally appeared on Second Act. –

Until three years ago, Janet Hill Talbert worked as a vice president and executive editor at a major New York publishing house. It was challenging work, and Talbert enjoyed nurturing her writers, including many bestselling authors.

But the stress of the job took its toll, and she started making jewelry as a way to unwind after hectic days.

7 tips for landing an SBA loan

– Rachel Zippwald is the vice president of California Bank & Trust, a major SBA lender. The views expressed are her own. –

Small businesses seeking financing are in for a bit of good luck these days.

Special Small Business Administration incentives, such as the waiver of certain fees, are still available until the end of the year, so now is the time to apply for financing. There are, however, a few caveats.

While SBA loans are available, it may take a bit more work to obtain one and banks are requiring more information than they have in the past. The following are a few tips to facilitate getting your SBA loan approved.

Microsoft-i4i fight has big patent implications

What has been an interesting side show over the last few years, has taken on a much greater significance with the latest news that Microsoft’s appeal of a patent win by software minnow i4i will be heard by the Supreme Court.

When the two combatants eventual square off in Washington, D.C. sometime next spring, tech companies large and small will be closely following every legal punch thrown.

In the Microsoft camp will be heavyweights Google and Yahoo and trade groups such as the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

Four wheels and style to burn

– By Regina Schrambling. This article originally appeared on SecondAct.com. –

First food trucks gave eager young chefs a route into the restaurant world. Now a new fleet of entrepreneurs is close behind with seriously cool mobile retail.

On weekends, one of the hippest places to shop in SoHo In New York sits at the corner of Broadway and Prince, with street artists to the west, trendy stores all around and an endless stream of tourists and shoppers flowing past on the sidewalk. Danceable music pulses out of speakers to stop the human stream long enough for it to notice a show window with graphic T-shirts and collectible toys on display. And every few minutes, a passerby becomes a patron, handing over $35 in cash for a tee and providing a smiling photo op – everyone who buys is snapped with a Canon digital camera, his/her visage to be posted on a website.

Cloud technology lifts “accidental” entrepreneur

– Cindy Bates is vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. SMB organization where she is responsible for the company’s end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts. The views expressed are her own. –

Recovery from the recession has been frustratingly slow for many whose jobs disappeared as companies shrank or even vanished.  Many have decided to take the plunge and start their own businesses.

This generation of business executives has become known as “accidental entrepreneurs.”  But a recent Microsoft survey discovered their ability to launch and succeed in a business was no accident – it was made possible to a great extent by technology.

Will Momzelle appeal to nursing mothers?

Christine Poirier designed her own nursing top to help her feel less insecure about breastfeeding in public after the birth of her first child. Her invention turned into a business and now she faces the challenge of expanding her Toronto-based apparel company, Momzelle, into the U.S.

The target audience for Momzelle is straight forward: new breastfeeding, active, urban mothers (see original story here).

“They want to be able to go to restaurants, cafes, meet their friends outside in parks and just have a baby and have a life as well,” said Poirier, adding they’ve sold close to 10,000 shirts this year, which retail from C$45 to C$70.

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