Getting to Know You and Your Business: Summary from June 23, 2009

We asked the questions and you answered.  Getting to know you and your businesses is an important part of what we do here.  The heart of SBBuzz are the participants we have chiming in every week to help other small business owners like themselves.

Thanks for joining us every week and spreading the word!

Want to participate or have a small business question that other small biz owners can answer?

  • Next buzz-up is Tuesday, June 30th from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Eastern Time. Join us – We’re here to facilitate the conversation between small business owners.
  • Know small businesses that need help? Let them know when this chat happens, help them get started on Twitter and let’s talk!
  • Instructions for participating are at http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Below is a summary of the most recent discussion. To see the full conversation, go to: http://bit.ly/DmH3O

On to last week’s summary (Ms. Pixie was on vacation so we’re a bit late).

sbbuzz: Q1: How did you name your business? Brand, available URL, some combination? #sbbuzz

  • perfectquarters: Q1: I named my business by what we wanted to help people accomplish. Finding their “Perfect Quarters” to live in. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q1: My coach and I came up with “You Talk, I Write” because that’s basically what I do as a ghostwriter for coaches #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: @sbbuzz I had meryl.net before my business. Considering meryl is uncommon and I want to be a one-person biz, it worked. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q1: The URL was available and so wasn’t the name in all 50 state which we own it. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz Writing numbers on matchbooks + putting things in batches + Ocean State = @batchbook by @batchblue! 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q1: branding + available URL + name of family pet #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q1 I was thinking about using some variation of my initials SMB which turned in to eSeMBe – URL was a concern. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy@sbbuzz Q1: Brand, core principles provided inspiration. #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Advanced Systems was on-the-spot in 1991, we had to give a name where the computer parts were to be sent. Atrion just sounded cool. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q1 My name as a URL works out well because you’re getting me when you hire me and I do most of my business on the ‘net. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q1: I named my business knowing it provided an aspect of what we do. #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Techwhys is a future company and was definitely subject to URL availability. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: MemberHub name and brand is almost self-explanatory :). #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2: What would your advice be for someone who was just starting a new business? 140 characters or less 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q2 Be patient and make sure you love it, because it can take a few years to really solidify the flow of clients and income #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz Q2 Make sure it’s something you love to do. NO REALLY make sure it’s something you LOVE to do. Or it’ll never work. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q1: Edamar is a conjunction of our three founder’s names Ed David Mark. I put the DA in Edamar 🙂 #sbbuz
  • helpbusinesses: Focus, focus focus. Now who your customer is & what problems you plan on solving. Problem solver always get paid. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q2: Make sure your getting advice from the *right* people. And listen to experience. And make sure you LOVE it. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans@sbbuzz Grab a domain, set up a site, get into social networking — and of course, be sure you like it instead of money-maker topic #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy@sbbuzz Q2: Develop a plan; have accountability partners whether coach, mastermind team, advisory board. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2: Focus, focus focus. Now who your customer is & what problems you plan on solving. Problem solver always get paid. #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q2: Work hard and do the right things, every day. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2: Have a great mentor, business advisor on hand so you don’t waste money & make poor decision. #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Make good goals and give them a chance. If your plan called for services at $150/hr and a $100/hr client shows up early, pass. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q2 Have a plan, do what you love not just what you are good at, and use the resources available to help you get started #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q2: Use experts in their field to help build the business. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q2 and plan … not necessarily “a big plan,” but what’s success, steps along the way, how to track progress … #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q2: A wise person once said, if you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q2: Just make sure to qualify the expert and do your due diligence so they don’t run off with your money. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q2: I got a great email a while back: “do I do what I love or what I do well?” She couldn’t do both, and made money with the second. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q2: Know what you are getting into, and be prepared for HARD work and LONG hours. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2: While you know your craft understand the cash flow of the business just as well. Leveraging the cash flow will make or break U #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3: What different challenges are there to staying inspired at a product company vs. a service company? #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q3: Service business you have to LOVE people #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz 2 years ago, I left a service company and joined a product company. Was told I’d get bored of “the same thing”. SO WRONG. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q3: I’ve done a lot of both; products are also constant change, constant improvement, or they die — just like service. #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q3: I think service v. product are still similar, you still have to give great service either way. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q3 In a service business it’s harder NOT to take business personally – since as a person, you’re the business! #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz At product company, I work on marketing site, new features, refining old features, customer service, etc. Always different. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q3: To be inspired in a product verses a service business one must love what they do. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski: @sbbuzz At a service company, I had a hard time with quality of work being dictated by “billable hours”. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy@sbbuzz Q3: Tangible or not, product or service, I must believe in what in it means to customer to stay inspired. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q3 I don’t see much difference re: staying inspired. It’s either the stuff or the service that needs to jazz you. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry@scoblitz and so often the stuff, the products, are doing the service; products solve problems, and they have to evolve always … #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Q3 If you do it really well, the challenges should be similar. If you’re just getting by, a product company might be easier. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q3: I believe staying inspired in any business one must love the industry & the changes that come with it too #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: BTW, there’s normally a HUGE difference in startup costs and complexity between product business (big, hard) and service business #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz Of course, every great product company needs to also provide great service. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: I’ve worked for product companies my whole life, but we survived on top-notch customer support/service. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q3 a product company is really still a service company hiding underneath, or vice versa. It’s all about providing something. #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Q3 In a service business, every time someone prefers a competitor, it feels like getting fired/ dumped/ rejected. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q3 Talking about services is a tough topic even if you try to treat them as a product. Newsletter on services: http://cli.gs/psj7-6 #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4: Do you know who your biggest competitors are? How do you stay on top of what they are doing (or do you?) #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q4: Go do a search on Google for “Atlanta Web Design” and there’s my top 10! #sbbuzz
  • Whistletweet@sbbuzz Q4 – Twitter helps. So important with both products and service to keep your finger on the pulse of what cust want… #sbbuzz
  • wordpost: Q4: Our competitors are easy to spot, but we constantly make sure we do stuff they can’t or won’t. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4: While it’s important to be aware of your biggest competitors it’s more important to stay of top of industry trends & changes #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q4 With millions of people who do what I do, I don’t worry about them. It’s about what I offer. I look at my clients’ competitors. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4: Your competitors will also be easy to spot at time once you are in the business b/c they copy you 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q4: I’m on the mailing list of other service providers – they’re potential collaborators down the line & sources of inspiration now #sbbuzz
  • DrFernKazlow: @perfectquarters Key-if there’s a choice- then ppl buy frm person they like. If no choice will buy from someone they dislike. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz We certainly know who our competitors are. We keep tabs, but can’t dwell too much on what they’re doing. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: A wise competitor once said to me: I don’t care if you stand beside me on the pier fishing. There are plenty of fish. #sbbuzz
  • wordpost: Our company just collaborated with a competitor. We’re offering better services to our clients & earning more. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: I love how a counselor says she and colleagues refer patients to each other. It’s about the right fit, not competition. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: @sophware sometimes it’s not a real preference so much as a trying something different- helps to keep door open #sbbuzz
  • sophware: Q4 Competitors become a little more real and harder to collaborate with once your successful enough to have ‘market share’ goals. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q4 I hope to inspire my competition, not copy from them.#sbbuzz
  • lindadessau@merylkevans People don’t always realize how important fit is in ANY business relationship, even if it’s not a “personal” service #sbbuz
  • merylkevans@lindadessau When you “fire” a client — it’s not your failure… it’s the lack of a fit in goals and personalities. #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q4: Play nice with competitors, you never know when you might actually need their help one day. #sbbuzz
  • SvyATL: Q4. Always stay close to your clients. They’ll share competitive intelligence and tell you what your competitors do best. #sbbuzz
  • stop2think: Q4: gotta know comp! use twitter srch 4 thr names!…also aftr losin deal ask client y they chose othr, dnt b shy, but dnt b rude #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5: What’s the most memorable small business moment in your biz? First dollar, biggest mistake, best customer? #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q5: My largest sale was my first, then my best year was my second. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q5 When Billiards found me and asked me to do annual article. Still doing it after 4+ yrs. Love it when topic diff from usual. #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q5: Laying eyes for the first time on the business I had bought sight unseen. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q5 Oh, and meeting one of my first clients in person seven years after we first connected! He’s in Minnesota and I am in Texas. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q5 My first clients fell into my lap with almost no effort – like the universe was telling me YES this is what you should be doing! #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q5: The first time I got on #sbbuzz was pretty memorable. I saw the power of social media and was hooked!
  • Timberry: Q5 for me it was the first really nice review published in a magazine#sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q5: My most memorable moment was my largest client & biggest task. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q4: Honor strong competitors because they challenge us to do our best.#sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q5: When my husband quit his job and joined me 1.5 years into it, I knew we were on to something! #sbbuzz
  • Whistletweet: Q5 When we no longer recognized the names of our customers. We knew our message was viral at that point! #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q5 One of my biggest highlights was to see my byline on Web Worker Daily, then CNN Money and others. What a rush. #sbbuz
  • helpbusinesses: Q5: Now my most current memorble is the fact I’m still in busines 17 yrs with employees & able to pay them. TYG #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz For me, it was definitely the first interaction with users on our forums. Our baby was all grown up and seeing the world! #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: @scoblitz Most of my clients are businesses rather than pubs because harder and more competition in pubs. But people put value on em#sbbuzz
  • sophware: Q5 Having a client ask for an Atrion tech even though that tech didn’t know the technology at hand. Client wanted the tech anyway. #sbbuzz
  • DrFernKazlow: Q5 Don’t know biggest -1 was 1st time someone came from Europe my workshop another was whn NY magazine did feature story abt me!#sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q5: Another good one is when Constant Contact filmed an entire day in our working life with 11 crew and now its on their site. #sbbuzz
  • b2bspecialist: Q5: First client and then first cheque #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q6: What keeps you motivated at work? Tools, tricks? What about if you work from home? #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q6: My awesome team keeps me motivated. They have the best attitude and love what they do as much as I do! #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: Actually conducting real business keeps me motivated. Helping others, I love it! #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q6: Making a difference in someone life and adding to that memorable experience. Especially when they spend so much money! #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q6 I’m out with my dog three times during the day and that gets me fresh air, some face-to-face interaction and great company! #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz Honestly, the biggest reason I stay inspired at work is the eight wonderful people I get to work with. #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q6: When I see the light go on in someone’s eyes when they “get it” (power of the web) that’s the biggest rush! #sbbuz
  • b2bspecialist: Q6: Freedom to choose and helping family realize their dreams#sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q6 And I have amazing clients who are creating inspirational, world-changing projects! #sbbuzz
  • wordpost: Q6: The thrill of helping clients build better relationships with their constituents is what keeps me going #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz Q6 Other things for motivation: nice customers, my love of HTML & CSS, variety of work, and a dozen or so cups of black tea. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6: Helping people make their dreams a reality. Simple being part of that process. #sbbuzz
  • b2bspecialist: Q6: working with a 21 year old web engineer who is also my future son in law #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q6: Knowing we’ve helped our web design team work from their own homes and bring in a nice income is also motivating. #sbbuzz
  • stop2think: Q6: team approach to everything we are all in it together…everyone wants to be on a team and no one wants to let the team down… #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q6 Aside from the usual love work, love clients… the flexibility is important to me so I can handle all challenges coming my way. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q6: Looking forward to the challenges that each new day brings with a startup better keep you motivated :). #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q6 Music – always. Seeing sunlight helps a lot also. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q6: Motivating when teachers say they love our products AND student test scores are going way up. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q6: sounds cheesy, but I love what I do … focus on business planning and small biz, and it’s always fresh and new … #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q6: Motivational ice cream. Literally. If I get the job done to client’s satisfaction (big jobs), take myself out for ice cream! #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q7: How do you find business mentors? Do you formally ask them or just observe what they do? #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q7 I heard my mentor speak at an event & found out we had another connection. We met for coffee & that was that. #sbbuzz
  • wordpost: Q7: We belong to a peer group lead by a coach that has regular conf. calls and meetups. We’re friendly competitors. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q7: We mentor and many people find us thru referrals. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q7 Right now I’m also assembling an advisory board for a brand new (ad)venture (and that’s hot off the press 😉 #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q7: A little of both. After finding out what they do & how good they are, formally ask. 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q7: I believe it’s dangerous to be on the outside looking in thru merely observation. One should be close n personal for mentorship #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q7: Formally ask them. Also get them to invest so they’ve got an interest in helping! #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q7 Considering people who’ve been supportive in the past, and have specific complementary areas of expertise. #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q7: I choose my mentor thru the level of success they achieved in what i wanted to do. #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: This is going to sound funny, but my husband is my greatest mentor and taught me everything about business. He rocks! #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q7: I’m blessed enough to have my father as my mentor. Otherwise, find someone you respect and simply ask for advice! And listen :). #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q7: Sometimes the closest people to you can be your greatest advisor & at times your worst. Know there strengths before following #sbbuzz
  • b2bspecialist: Q7: I’m wondering whether a mentor is what I need. There are other ways to get advice like #sbbuzz
  • stop2think: Q7 i sy ask away! most pple r flatterd/happy 2 provid advic if in the know…nothin like 1st hand exp but also dnt go against ur gut #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q7 – It is hard for me to formalize mentorships with others, so I usually just watch and learn. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q8: Are you a mentor to anyone? Could you be? What are you doing to give back? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q8 – umm, its Tuesday?? I try to offer advice whenever I can, sometimes when its asked for. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q8: Yes, I mentor many of my clients who are in the startup phase. Try to help them avoid the mistakes I made. Do right 1st time. #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q8: I know I’m a mentor when I go to dinner or lunch with someone and they whip out pen and paper at the table to take notes. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz Q8 I’m no business mentor, but I try to share as much as I can about standards-based web design. #sbbuzz
  • mattharrell: Q8: Perhaps a “mentor” down the road. But I share my experiences in the start-up world with anyone that wants to listen. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q8: I don’t consider what we do mentorship because we get paid for our services. But we mentor underprivileged youth in Brooklyn #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q8: We’ve tried to mentor small business but it did not work people took advice for granted #sbbuzz
  • stop2think: Q8 im still young and dumb 🙂 so i give back to my peers and those who came befor me by recognizing/learning/teaching my mistakes #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q8: I mentor my new agents to duplicate exactly the revenue stream I make for themselves. My giveback is to shelters in our area #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q8: I bring some of the homeless people to the local thrift store for new cloths. And I volunteer in the kitchen 3 times a month. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q9: Slight change of topic but I gotta know. Twitter DMs: cute and nifty or unfollow swiftly? #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz There is no situation where an auto-DM is appropriate.#sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q9 – No fan of auto DMs – like to have that area clear for talking about people behind their backs! #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q9: If simple welcome, cute. If trying to sell something, unfollow quickly. Build relationship first.. Then I’ll buy from you! #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q9 Lately I’m unfollowing auto-DMs from strangers who jump in ask me to do something right away #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q9: I pretty much just ignore them if they’re auto-DMs. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q9 I don’t like the “thanks for following DM,” feels automated, adds nothing to the conversation … #sbbuzz
  • b2bspecialist: Q9: Auto DMs are bad form #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q9 – Lately, I have been getting @replies that are pitches, which I find even more annoying than Auto-DMs #sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q9: You can block auto DMs you know. I just have to look that one up. If anyone wants to know how, DM me @desireescales #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q9 – I love those auto-DMs that promote the Tweeters, ie. you are going to love my tweets … umm, just show me. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Only 1 reason to use auto DM – for @Financial_Tips I use it to tell people when to expect their tip each day. Pertinant free info. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q9: I dislike auto DM very much. I use tweetlater.com not to get them anymore. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q9: Auto DM defeat the purpose of twitter. Imagine if all out tweet were auto DM OMG, how cold would it be? #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q9: I dislike auto DM very much. I use tweetlater.com not to get them anymore.< I just found out about tweetlater.com TY> #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q9 When 1st on Twitter I used an auto-DM on the advice of someone – took awhile realize how annoying they are #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: One danger of using an Auto DM is that you will let your message go stale. Keep is fresh and keep engaged. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: The Auto DM as abused by marketers serves a purpose and I am sure it gets the results they expect – but it adds no lasting value. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q10: If you had ten minutes on @oprah, what would you tell her about your biz? Make sure to @ her, why not! 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • perfectquarters: Q10: I’d tell @oprah I’m a real estate broker for life not a deal and it’s my pleasure to be at your service #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q10 @oprah I would tell her how I plan to change the face of publishing, one book at a time. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q10 – I think if I had ten minutes with Oprah, I would try to learn as much from her as I can – gotta respect what she has done. #sbbuzz
  • sbbuzz: I would like @oprah to know there are SO many cool small biz owners on our chat, come join us next week? http://sbbuzz.wordpress #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: Q10: on @oprah: We’re literally transforming lives of teachers and students through hands-on learning. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q10: I’d tell @oprah we are helping small business stay in business & it’s important to use a consultant throughout the life of it #sbbuzz
  • b2bspecialist: Q10: How my business is providing my family with choices & for her to do a weekly spotlight on small business entrepreneurs #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz@sbbuzz Q10 I would tell @oprah that I could help her work more efficiently and be more productive. #sbbuzz
  • adarowski@sbbuzz If I had ten minutes on Oprah, I’d want to be a musical guest.#sbbuzz
  • soclmediacoach: Q10: I’m way too boring for @oprah. Just a businessowner helping others. No story here, move along. I wouldn’t want the attention. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Its hard for me to think of what I would tell her audience because I am not her audience – how could I help them? #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: If @oprah staff miraculously contacts me, I’d ask what they need and get it for them. Like I can give ’em anything they can’t get. #sbbuzz
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