Easter always comes at exactly the right time. The busy first quarter is usually over and entrepreneurs and employees are hanging for a chance to unwind, relax and recharge.
Of course, entrepreneurs never completely switch off and I just know there will be plenty of business owners also using the break to reflect on the quarter gone and prepare for the rest of the year.
With this in mind, I’ve found five great articles that I think will spark some ideas:
US-based small business website Inc is a great source for new trends and ideas. This week the site published a great article featuring tips from LinkedIn sales training consultant Barbara Rozgonyi on how to use LinkedIn as a sales tool. It’s a great beginner’s guide, but there are also some tips for long-time users of LinkedIn who may be able to take their activity to another level.
US management and marketing guru Seth Godin is much loved by entrepreneurs and for good reason – he has a great way of getting you thinking with a short piece. His blog is required reading, but I loved this short article on the power of the word no. “There are a million reasons to say no, but few reasons to stand up and say yes,” he writes. “No requires just one objection, one defensible reason to avoid change. No has many allies – anyone who fears the future or stands to benefit from the status quo. And no is easy to say, because you actually don’t even need a reason.”
If you haven’t checked out our new sister site, LeadingCompany, then make sure you take some time on the weekend to get it done (you can even download a free eBook). One of the features of the site is a story a day from the gurus at the Harvard Business Review. One you just must read is on the secrets of making your ad go viral – based on an experiment using eye-scanners, it presents five problems (including people not liking prominent branding and getting bored easily) and provides five solutions, including putting the “joy” or “surprise” of the ad at the start to hook people in.
Here’s a lovely piece from the small business section of the New York Times. The focus is a serial entrepreneur named Alex Zhardanovsky, who sold one business and decided to create an online pet food sales firm. But instead of selling the dog food one bag or can at a time, he used a different strategy, selling pet food subscriptions whereby users signed up to receive a new batch every few weeks. It’s part of a growing move to make ordinary retail sales into subscription sales, which of course have the benefit of creating a regular stream of cashflow for the entrepreneur. “This is the best business model you can ever have because we can place inventory purchases against future sales,” Zhardanovsky says. “I will be shipping out 24,000 products next month whether I land a new customer or not. I already know how many bags of Blue Buffalo brand chicken-flavored dog food I have sold in the next 60 days.”
If you love investigative, long-form journalism, there is no better site than Longform.org, which collects the best new examples and highlights great pieces from the past. On the home page is a list of articles that were finalists in the 2012 National Magazine Awards in the US and one that grabbed my attention was a piece on the breast cancer industry, which is now worth a stunning $US6 billion worldwide. With that sort of money involved, an unfortunate number of scams have popped up, as this article from Marie Claire explores. It’s fascinating stuff that might make you think twice about buying some “pink” products.