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Business Book Club: Why Business Owners Need to Know About the E-Myth

Aspiring entrepreneurs often glamorize what it will be like to own and run a business. While that is part of what makes the whole endeavor so appealing and inspirational, it also hides some big and important truths. These truths of business can make the difference between having a company that runs like a well-oiled machine and the alternative – a business owner run ragged by their company. Which would you choose? I, for one, have seen what a business owner run ragged by their company looks like. Symptoms often include long work days, high employee turnover, feelings of despair or exhaustion, and the losing of oneself. It is not a pretty sight and definitely not something I aspire to. So how does one go about building the well-oiled machine? Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do About It, provides just the right prescription. To start, he describes a framework that explains the dynamics of a business. There are three different personalities needed in a business: the Technician, the Entrepreneur and the Manager. Just because you know how to make pizzas doesn’t mean you know how to run a pizza joint. That is the essence of the E-Myth. Many small business owners that are just getting started are dominated by the Technician personality. They think, “Hey I know how to make pizza, why not just open my own place!” In order to succeed, you need all three personalities present in your company. The Entrepreneur is the dreamer, providing the vision of success and the guiding values. These serve as the foundation from which your business is established, as well as the ideal for which you are always striving. The Manager, on the other hand, brings order. It is the Manager personality that creates the systems and plans to achieve the vision for success. The Manager quantifies, orchestrates, and strategizes. While the Entrepreneur innovates new and exciting ways of doing things. And the Technician is the one that does all the heavy lifting. The Technician loves getting things done and without them, nothing would get done. But when the Technician personality dominates a business owner, you end up doing all the work yourself. That is because you don’t have the leadership of the Entrepreneur nor the orderly systems of the Manager. It is the symbiotic relationship of all three of these personalities that make a business operate like a well-oiled machine. While this analogy of the three personalities may seem overly simplistic at first glance, the ease with which Gerber conveys the complicated dance of business is quite effective. Because the personalities of both the Entrepreneur and Manager are often overshadowed by the Technician, Gerber also provides a framework for which to incorporate those necessary components into your business. It is called your business prototype, and to learn more about that you will have to read his book! We will be discussing E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do About It at the July 9th EntrepreNerds meeting. For more information or to sign up visit us online www.Meetup.com/EntrepreNerds. *** About the Author: Ariana Friedlander is the Founder and Principal for Rosabella Consulting, LLC and has over nine years of experience working with small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create strategies for successful organizational growth. A dedicated life-long learner, she is also the Lead Facilitator for EntrepreNerds. EntrepreNerds is a business book club for professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to expanding their knowledge and skills through self-paced learning. Every month, EntrepreNerds participants read the assigned business book then come together for...

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How to Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Before filling out your profile and creating a company profile, take a minute or two to write down a few words and phrases that you want to connect to your profile. Keywords, i.e. graphic design, real estate, electrician, programmer, etc. are great. LinkedIn works like Google in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and your LinkedIn profile is searchable on other search engines. The more places you can put the words that define you and your business, the better. Personal Profile  Upload a picture of yourself (headshot of you smiling). Define your “Professional Headline” (essentially your elevator speech, truncated) – this will show up next to your name everywhere on LinkedIn. It is a great place to tell people what you do. Also keep in mind this is a great place to plug in some of those keywords and phrases. Avoid titles like ‘Owner’ and try to use a description of how you add value or what you do. Think about what you have to offer, what makes you unique, what value you bring and how you can help. You have a unique advantage with the amount of experience you have in your own business, highlight that if you like. It is always easy to change so don’t worry about getting it absolutely perfect the first time. Be sure to include a link to your website under the websites section. You can change the ‘title of the website’ that shows up on your profile.  Often times people won’t change that and all you will see is a link to “website.” Edit the ‘name’ and call it something like “Aspen Grove Marketing Website.”  Something more descriptive. Public Profile Section (just below where you list your website – click ‘edit’)– this is the section that allows you to change your ‘privacy settings.’ Your LinkedIn profile is searchable on LinkedIn as well as other search engines. I have mine pretty open because I want to show up in searches and I want people to be able to see what I have done and my recommendations even if they aren’t connected to me. This section also allows you to choose a custom URL. Take a look through this section and while you are here,  get a custom URL as well (i.e. http://www.linkedin.com/in/amyalcorn). Summary – similar to an executive summary of your resume. Tell the world who you are and what you can do. Outline your professional niche, highlight unique skills. This is more about you and your skills where the position description can be more about your work and success stories etc. Specialties – this is a great place to plug in keywords and showcase your ‘specialties’. Add positions like you would in your resume. Fill out the position descriptions fully and try to include some of the keywords and phrases. Think about what you would tell a potential client. A little more than an elevator speech but not a novel. Highlight success stories or problems solved as well. Connections – It is good to work on growing these. ***When you send connection requests or ask for recommendations, ALWAYS personalize the message. DO NOT leave the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” bit that LinkedIn pre-populates for you. If is it someone you may not know as well, tell them how you know them and why you would like to connect. Start asking for more recommendations. You don’t have to get 50 right now, just ask for a couple now and a couple in another month or so. You want to have fresh recommendations. (at least some within the last 6 months)....

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How to Use Twitter Successfully: What Is It & Why Is It Relevant?

Twitter tends to be one of those social media platforms that isn’t quite as easy for some people to grasp. After reading this, however, you will have a better understanding of Twitter and you may even be more interested in using it! “They say Twitter is like a river, ever-changing as it flows, and a Tweeter’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes….” What is Twitter? Twitter is a free online networking tool that allows users to connect and post status updates that are 140 characters or less. Users can follow each other and share pieces of their daily lives. Here are some of the terms used in Twitter defined for you: Tweet – a status post. Must be 140 characters or less. The ‘shelf life’ of a tweet is very brief, so feel free to do it throughout your day. TwitterStream –  For those of you familiar with Facebook, this is like your newsfeed. For those of you who are not, this is a stream of tweets from every user you have decided to follow displays on your home page. Follower – Someone who has opted to see your tweets on their homepage. @reply – Use the “@” symbol at the beginning of your message to reply to someone’s tweet. The only people that will see this are the people that follow both of you. Direct Message – A private (direct) tweet. Direct tweets do not appear in the public tweetstream. You can only send a Direct Message to someone that follows you. Retweet – See something you like in the stream? Simply retweet using the retweet button or “RT.” Similar to sharing a post on Facebook or forwarding an email. Retweets will give the original tweeter credit by including a link to their profile. Mentions – Using the “@” symbol anywhere but the beginning of a tweet will allow everyone who follows you to see this message. This is like including a link to that person’s profile. #, or “hashtag”: Including a hashtag will group your tweets by keyword. Hashtags are great for events, discussions, important topics, and groups. These also make it easy to search for a certain topic. Favorite –  A tweet you have bookmarked by clicking the star. Others can see your list of favorites as well. Trending – Current topics that are being talked about the most. Great, so now I kinda get it a little more… but how is this relevant to my business? Twitter is another platform that you can use to connect with your customers/clients, increase your brand awareness, position yourself as an expert in your field and open the lines of communication. Where to begin: Define your goals. Are you on Twitter to sell products, increase awareness, position yourself as a leader, and/or provide a feedback channel? Lots of larger organizations are very successfully using Twitter as a customer service channel. No more online forms to fill out or waiting on hold for ages.  Simply send them a tweet and you will be taken care of immediately. Get a feel for what people are saying and how they are interacting. Do a search of your company, your industry, your products, or your town.  Spend some time listening and observing. Don’t just push your ad messages. Be real, personable, and genuine. This is not a just another place to get free advertising. It is a place to connect with customers when they aren’t in front of you face to face. You don’t need to go follow everyone that comes across your screen.  Find the influencers in your industry/location/interest...

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Watch Where You Point That Thing: Understanding Focus Points and How to Use Them

Oftentimes with older film cameras, images ended up out of focus (or in technical camera terms, “fuzzy”). This was because we needed to rotate the lens to get the sharpest photo. But all of that is in the past, right? Those of us with the more expensive digital cameras (like DSLRs) know that this is not the case. This is due to two factors – one is called “depth of field” (DOF) and the second is called “focus points.” Depth of field (DOF) is really just the amount of the image that is in focus. Directly connected to the f-stop, DOF will be different depending on the f-stop, or aperture, that the camera is set at. These are those numbers like f 2.8, f 5.6, and f 11. For photography, the higher the f-stop number, the narrower the DOF and the more of the image will seem sharp and in focus. However, this is also dependent on how much light is shining on the objects in view. Bright sunny days will give us f-stops of f 8 or higher, which means pretty much everything is in focus. We only get into trouble when the light level drops like early morning, evening, shady areas and inside. Then we will see the f-stop drop down to f 5.6 or lower, giving us a wider DOF and more problems with focus. This is when we have to be more concerned with the second part of this equation, which are those focus points. Focus points are those little squares we see through the viewfinder that light up. For some of the more simple cameras, there may only be one or three points near the center of the viewfinder. If you make sure that the center point is always on your subject, you will be okay. However, if you have two people in the frame and a gap between them where the center focus lines up in that gap, you may end up with a very sharp image of the Rocky Mountains behind them and couple of soft fuzzy people. If you can’t get them to move closer together, try this trick: Move the camera right or left until your center focus point is on someone. Then, hold the shutter button down halfway until the lights in the viewfinder turn on. Without releasing the shutter button, move the camera back. Press the shutter the rest of the way for the image. The camera will hold the focus so long as you don’t release the button (the camera will try to refocus again if you let go of the shutter button). Some of the more expensive DSLR cameras can even track your eye as it looks around the viewfinder to find a different focus point. This is when some of those other red boxes start to light up. Any box that is red shows that the camera is focusing on that point of the image. You can even go manual and pick different focus points so that you won’t have to worry about where the camera thinks you want to focus on. A very handy feature if you have something close to you that you don’t want to have sharp and in focus. If all of this seems more trouble than it’s worth, take heart. You can always go back to the manual focus. On the lens you will see a switch for AF / MF. Click it to MF and you will have only yourself to blame for out of focus photos. Need more help mastering these concepts? Register for one of our Digital Photography...

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