Entrepreneurial

The man behind BlackBerry, Swiffer and Scion on how to do branding right

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This interview originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

In the brand-naming world, Sausalito, Calif.-based Lexicon has become legendary for its work over the last 30 years, and no wonder. It named the Pentium chip for Intel, the PowerBook for Apple, the Swiffer for Procter & Gamble, and Dasani for Coca Cola. As a recent New Yorker piece about the firm observed, Lexicon also managed to transform Research in Motion’s bland, corporate, painstakingly matter-of-fact smart phones into caressable little devices, all with the word Blackberry.

It’s not an easy trick to pull off, says Lexicon founder David Placek, who believes a good brand has to blend numerous variables, including resonance, pluck and the ability to tell a service or product’s story, often in just a few characters.

Following Netflix’s now-famous Qwikster debacle, I called Placek to learn more about his job, and how both big and small companies might do a better job of selecting brands for themselves. Our conversation has been edited for length.

Q: Let’s start with a really annoying question. Why can’t you just tell a client, ‘I’m going to give you 25 great names, and you’re going to love one of them.’ That tactic seems to work just fine for Don Draper.

LinkedIn expands promotional features for businesses

The online networking site, which more than a year began ago letting companies create their own profiles, last week expanded features within Company Pages that allow businesses to build and sustain their own followings in the professional community.

“It’s some pretty good intelligence,” said Ryan Roslansky, who heads LinkedIn’s Content Products. “It really helps members to have deeper insight and richer business intelligence on these companies.”

Not unlike the microblogging site Twitter, LinkedIn’s Company Pages update individuals about specific businesses of interest. But the depth of content is richer, said Roslansky, noting that posts include company news, employee moves, videos and white papers, among other information. These status updates appear in a follower’s news feed.

Why do customers shop at local small businesses?

– Stephanie Rabiner is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Despite hard times and shrinking profits, Americans still shop at locally owned, independent retailers.

A new small business survey from American Express polled 1,000 consumers aged 18 and older. Ninety-three percent of respondents believe that it’s important to support local small businesses. And on average, they spend about one third of their monthly discretionary income at these stores.

How to cope with a control-freak boss

Controlling bosses can make the workplace a living hell, but winning their trust is essential to improving office relations.

So says Kaley Klemp, an executive coach and co-author of “The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss”.

“Trust is a big, big deal,” said Klemp, who wrote the book with her fellow coach and dad, Jim Warner. “Controllers are looking for those who are on their side.”

Small business, America and the “Disenfranchized Diligent Optimist” gene

– John Krubski is an entrepreneur and the architect of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. He is currently working on his next book, “Cracking the America Code: How to Get US Back on Track”. The views expressed are his own. –

In their latest book — “That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” — authors Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum maintain that our hope for a happy future lies in how we address four critical issues: resolving the impact of globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption.

These are all very big issues requiring equally big solutions and presumably requiring some form of central planning.

Legal steps to closing a business

– Stephanie Rabiner is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

Unfortunately, closing a business isn’t as simple as locking the doors and laying off employees.

An often drawn-out process, a business owner must follow a long list of sometimes complicated legal steps.

Exclusive: Small business backs Obama, not Democrats: poll

The Obama administration has hurt small businesses but the president still leads in backing among current 2012 election candidates, a new survey found.

Some 63 percent of small businesses said the administration’s policies had been damaging to small business, while only 16 percent indicated they had benefited, according to the poll by Manta, an online community that promotes small business. Some 67 percent were highly unsatisfied with government, with only 2 percent highly satisfied.

Meanwhile, the survey, which queried more than 2,300 small business owners online between August 12 and 29, showed President Obama as the candidate with 21 percent of support, followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, with 14 percent; Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul, also a Republican, with 11 percent; and Republican former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, with 9 percent.

Are patent reforms good for small businesses?

– Cynthia Hsu is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. –

President Obama recently signed into law the America Invents Act, a patent reform legislation that does away with the old “first to invent” rule. What does the patent reform mean for small businesses?

Most notably, the new legislation pushes Americans toward a “first to file” system, meaning that those who file for a patent first will get awarded the rights.

Why the debt ceiling debate won’t stop America’s small businesses

– John Krubski is an entrepreneur and the architect of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. He is currently working on his next book, “Cracking the America Code: How to Get US Back on Track”. –

As recently as April of this year, the Amex Open Survey announced that “For the first time since 2006, growth has surpassed survival as the number one priority for entrepreneurs… Perhaps further evidence that economic recovery is reaching Main Street, more than one-third (35 percent) plan to hire, the highest level since the fall 2008 survey.”

Just a few short months later, the headlines were filled with gloom and doom about the impending, “unprecedented” default of U. S. debt, followed quickly by predictions of a “double-dip” recession.

Startup adds Hollywood flare to small business videos

Small businesses have been fast to tap social media platforms like Facebook, but their efforts to provide compelling video about their products and services have fallen short.

That’s the view of L.A.-based entrepreneur and media attorney Sam Rogoway, who is launching Near Networks, a national video service to improve those efforts, while keeping production within the budgets of many local companies.

“We saw this growth in local content and video had not caught up,” said Rogoway, 32. “Given how production costs have dropped, we thought there would be an opportunity to develop not commercials for local business, but real programming.”

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