Critical tips from today’s news
Passionate New York Jets fan. Keen Knicks fan. Spends hours a day on the social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Imbued of an entrepreneurial spirit — he even dreams of owning the Jets someday.
Gary Vaynerchuk may sound like an all-American boy, but at 33 he is a successful, grown-up businessman who has put his enthusiasms — and his penchant for publicity — to work in achieving 15-fold sales growth in his family’s wine business in the last decade, to $60 million.
He rebranded the shop, which was founded by his father, Sasha Vaynerchuk, a Russian immigrant, in Springfield, N.J., as the Wine Library and began online sales in 1997, when he was still in college. Since then he has steadily advanced his Internet-based marketing skills. His sites are tv.winelibrary.com, where his daily webcast, “The Thunder Show,” has won a wide following, and garyvaynerchuk.com.
Last December, seeking to enhance sales, he offered free shipping and promoted it three ways. As a result, he said, a direct marketing mailing cost $15,000 and brought in 200 new customers; a billboard ad cost $7,500 and won 300 new customers; and tweeting the promotion on Twitter attracted 1,800 new customers… Read more at Be It Twittering or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing – Question – NYTimes.com, published 11 March 2009
Flickr photo credit: respres
When banks say no, owners of cash-starved small-businesses aren’t giving up on finding loans. Many are turning to microlenders for the money they need to meet the payroll, buy supplies, pay the rent and keep the lights and heat on.
These microlenders — community-based nonprofit lenders that draw on a varying mix of financing from the Small Business Administration; other federal, state and local government agencies; and some philanthropies — say small businesses and entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking financing as home equity loans, credit lines and other loans have all but evaporated.
Adding to the pinch, credit card companies are slashing spending limits for many cardholders, including some longtime small-business customers who have relied on their credit lines as a source of ready cash.
Even profitable small businesses that once relied on banks for financing are depending more on microlending, a resource that was originally intended to be a lifeline for women, low-income and minority entrepreneurs.
Microlenders around the country say they are encountering a rush of inquiries and an increase in applications for their loans, which usually range from $5,000 to $35,000… Read more at When Banks Say No, Microlenders Say Yes – NYTimes.com, published 11 March 2009
Flickr photo credit: Daniel Y. Go
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a book event for The Plain Dealer columnist Marcia Pledger to promote her new book “My Biggest Mistake and How I Fixed It.” The book is actually a compilation of stories and case studies of local Cleveland small businesses that Marcia had written about over the last five years in her columns.
It’s a shame that most of you will only meet Marcia through the printed or electronic page because her enthusiasm and energy are contagious. Being a multi-mistake-maker myself, the first thing I said to Marcia was “I bet you have a long line of small businesses who want to be in your column.” When Marcia told me that she literally had to beg companies to share their ‘Biggest Mistake’ I couldn’t believe it.
“Let’s just say I have no problem doing my part to convince people. I’m not too proud to beg,” she said with a big smile and sparkling eyes. She was undaunted by the multitude of rejections she’s received over the five years it took to pull together over 260 small business lessons, from which just over 120 stories made the book. …read more of this at Book Review: My Biggest Mistake And How I Fixed It – Small Business Trends, published 4 March 2009
Flickr photo credit: julsatmidnight