Entrepreneurial

Small business ad spending fuels Facebook growth

The growing use of small business advertising on Facebook is a trend worth watching.

As much as 60 percent of the social media network’s estimated worldwide revenue of $1.86 billion in 2010 was gleaned from self-service ads, according to a new study from eMarketer, which specializes in digital market research.

The low risk associated with this type of promotional activity is increasingly attractive to small companies across the board, according to Debra Aho Williamson, the firm’s principal analyst.

“The self-serve systems make it easier for small advertisers with more limited budgets to get in and advertise on Facebook without engaging with Facebook’s direct sales team and spending a lot more money,” she said. “You can set a budget and a price cap. You only pay for ads if they’re clicked on. The other thing that makes it attractive is the targeting capabilities.”

Such self-serve ads, which typically appear stacked in fours on the right-hand side of a Facebook user’s profile page, have grown from roughly 50 percent of the ad revenue pie in mid-2010, Williamson said.

Small business prominent in State of the Union

OBAMA-SPEECH/President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was peppered with references to small businesses and other Americans who he applauded for living the “American Dream.” Following is a roundup of excerpts from the speech where he mentions small business.

On progress:

“We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again. But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise.”

On innovation and the future:

“No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth… The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living. Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.”

On improved Internet coverage:

Want free publicity? Try these websites

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

Entrepreneurs are always looking for an easy way to make a big PR splash.  If you are a local business that only serves a specific geographic area, then your local newspaper is still probably your best option for some free publicity.

On the other hand, if you offer a product or service that is available in multiple locations or via the Internet, then you must consider the following websites in which to submit your company to, and gain free publicity.

Customers want to pay with wave of their smartphone

INDIA-STARBUCKS/- Jason Beahm is a contributor to FindLaw’s “Free Enterprise” blog. FindLaw in is owned by Thomson Reuters. -

The future is now. Why? Because now we can buy coffee at Starbucks and pay with a smartphone.

Sure, Japan has had the technology for years, but finally the service was rolled out this week at 6,800 stores as well as 1,000 Starbucks inside of Target stores. For now it is limited to BlackBerry devices, iPhones or iPod Touches, so it’s hardly a revolution, but it’s a start.

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.”

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.

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.

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