How to Successfully Launch Your First Business


A friend of mine recently graduated college and landed a great job in the IT industry only to discover that her passion was baking.  She sent me an email requesting my advice.  I ended up writing a pretty lengthy response that I believe is filled with information any new entrepreneur can use… so I decide to share it with you; my favorite reader! I apologize in advance for any spelling errors.  I like for my my emails to have character.

So…you want to be an entrepreneur? This is a big decision. I’m glad you have job now to support you while you build this dream.  Since you want to become a baker lets hop right in to it.

Start Small and fill a Niche

I would start by baking cakes at home and selling them to friends and family while you save money and prepare for your bakery. You may even want to get access to a commercial kitchen at a church if things really get rocking. Most churches have underutilized kitchens and would be happy for an extra $100-200 a month. I recommend choosing a niche (wedding cakes, cup cakes, etc) and getting really good at it You can make a pretty good living off of wedding cakes.

Build a business PlanMost people say start here.  However, if you’re a procrastination you will never get started.  My advice is to simply get started and but build your plan before taking on too many customer.

Next, you will need to build a business plan with a good financial forecast. This means you will need to start pricing everything you need as if you were going to open the bakery tomorrow. (Location, oven, city inspection and tax fees, baking ingredients, credit card machine, etc). It wouldn’t be a bad idea to work part-time with a local baker and watch how the run their business.

There are many FREE biz plan templates online is one.

Get Support – Business is a team sport. Lone Rangers are punished harshly

Review your plan with several people who have been successful in business (The keyword is “successful”) and who you trust will give you honest feedback and won’t be a dream stealer. Look around your city for an SBA approved Small Business Development Center or other Free or low cost start-up support centers like SCORE.

I would also become a regular at chamber of commerce, non-profits, and other business/social related meetings. Make friends and lots of them and keep up with them on Facebook and with Christmas cards, etc. They will eventually become your customers. It’s not a bad idea to find out what the top charities are in your city and start volunteering when you can. This will get you noticed by the big players in your city.

Confidence is King – If you don’t have it now read motivational books take seminars and execute on your plan like crazy to build it.

When people ask what you do tell them by you own a cake decorating company and you specialize in_________cakes. Even if you’re baking them in your apartment.

Part of becoming a business leader means acting like one until you believe you really become one. Hence, the phrase from the movie “Boiler Room” Act as If. Customers absolutely love confidence and will pay a premium for it!

Save Your Dough – Most business owners fail because they go broke before they learn how to make money.  Don’t be this guy. Additionally, I would caution against taking out large loans on your first enterprise.  There is nothing wrong with growing your business with the earnings from your success.  Business loans are still loans and have to be repaid (Unless you’re like Trump and you go bankrupt every year).

While you’re doing all of these things keep your expenses way low and start saving like a maniac 25-35% of your pay. You will need at least 6-12 months to live on plus whatever your business plan dictates you will need monthly to run your business until it becomes profitable.   Starting home-based bakery can help with this transition.

Be willing to Fail – Because chances are you will

Most businesses fail in the first year. Don’t be afraid of this. Business is 90% mental. If you do the things in this email you will increase your odds by 1000%. Nearly every Millionaire has failed their way to success. In fact, most millionaires fail on average 16 times.  Since this is your first business you should be prepared to take at least 15 more shots.

If you don’t want to become a millionaire thats ok but the same rules apply. However, you should plan to make a lot of money at what you do otherwise it’s not worth the risk, worry and sleepless nights.

Oh…and you must learn to Sell, Sell, Sell yourself.  If you’re uncomfortable asking for money get over quick there are several seminars and training programs to help you with this.

Finally make sure you read the book “The E-myth Revisited”….this book is critical reading for all entrepreneurs according to nearly every business consultant in America and its core example is built around a bakery concept.

What would you have included in this email to my friend?

GaggleAmp helps Organizations Promote Themselves through Stakeholders


Everyone has been talking about Google + and Facebook’s new timeline so much these days until most have missed one of the latest innovations in increasing social  Brand Awareness; GaggleAMP.

Google AMP is a tool designed for brand managers and marketers looking to increase exposure by way of organizational employees, vendors, political, supporters, donors or customer networks. The organization builds a network and the people associated with the network amplify the messages pushed thorough it by posting and retweeting company info to their friends and connections on the various social networks. The idea behind GaggleAMP is to make it easier for an organizations  stakeholders to participate in the promotion of that organization in guided fashion.

The stakeholders who agree to promote the company simply sign up to be apart of a “Gaggle” on GaggleAMP and start posting messages. They can even receive emails telling them when they have a message to share.

I exepect to hear more about GaggleAMP in the coming months.  This technology has the ability to help small and midsize companies gain a competitive advantage when it comes to increasing brand awareness because it helps them more strategically tap into the relationships they already have.

Marketing Beyond the Trance of Scarcity

Trance of Scarcity Book

I recently started reading the book “Trance of Scarcity” by Victoria Castle as a part of a reading circle at the Center for Spiritual Living in Tucson. Since choosing to become a full-time entrepreneur in 2006 I have seen many ups and downs in business.  I know what it means to work really hard and stay focused and play even when I don’t see results or feel well.  I did this for several years and while I did see some business growth I always knew, that it was limited when compared to what I believed I was capable of.

Over the last year or so I have change may game plan a bit.  I have been making an effort to just relax, be happy, love my family, take vacations and enjoy life regardless of what the business was doing or not doing.

Please don’t hear this as “I decided to neglect my business” I still did all of the basic things I needed to do to run and promote my business. However, this time I did them from a place of joy and not obligation or fear.  When I would get out of this flow I would get back in by focusing on all the things I was grateful for.

The results have been amazing. I hired and contracted several employees this year and my marketing company Social Mobile Buzz is growing like a weed. While I do my best to practice my own marketing rules, I must admit that my largest business deals have come in spite of them.  I have shared how I have been creating these results with a few of my clients.  However, as of today, I will be making this message an even greater part of my consulting process.

Victoria’s book is a  great tool to support this mindset. I am very grateful that she took the time to write a book that provides such clear instructions on how to remain in the flow of abundance.


Setting Goals and Measuring Success with Social Media


I often meet with clients that want to set up a Facebook or Twitter account. When I ask them how they plan to use it they usually have no clue or jokingly say, “I just want to get more business or sale more products.” While this may be a statement spoken in truth. It warrants further discussion.

While there is an economic value to social media, without clearly defined goals it is difficult to measure one’s success. Here are few goals businesses often have for their social media plan.

• Brand awareness
• Lead generation
• Community building
• Customer service
• Employee Recruiting

When it comes to measuring the accomplishment of these goals you may want to consider measuring milestones that indicate success. There are a number of variables that can be measure. For example. If you wanted to measure brand awareness here are just a few metrics you may want to monitor.

• Number Facebook Page or Ad impressions and “Likes”
• Number of Facebook post shared
• Number of Facebook comments
• Number of mentions regarding your brand across the web
• Number of Daily Website & Blog visits
• Number of Blog comments
• Retweets with link to blog article
• Number of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, reviews

The great thing about social media marketing is unlike many other form of marketing, it can be tracked an measured in real-time. Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and Google Alerts are great tools to start with. Best of all they are free. As you advance in your social media marketing you may want to consider using paid tools to measure your performance.

What is a Brand?


The concept of a brand is very large and in many ways esoteric. However, I like to keep things simple. A brand is simply a promise or guarantee of uniqueness made to a customer. The best brands are those that communicate their uniqueness so well that when you think of a type of product or industry their name comes to mind.

Here are a few examples, when you need to blow your nose, you ask for a Kleenex. When you need a copier machine you ask for a Xerox. When you need to do an online search you “Google it.” These brands have been so well positioned in our minds until it is almost heresy to consider another product in the category they dominate.

Coca Cola is and anther great example. Have you ever wondered why it is called “the real thing?” Two words, brilliant branding. This phrase begs the question If Coca Cola is “the real thing,” what is everything else? The logical answer to this question is everything else that is not Coca Cola is a knock off, a fraud, a fake. Why? Because Coca Cola said so…over, and over again and so do all the people you know.
The last statement brings me to another point. While companies do their best to create and influence their brand, the people have the last say.

In the 70’s before Toyota became an industry leader in quality and sales, If you were to ask an American what they thought of Toyota or Japanese cars, most would say that they were an unreliable piece of junk. No matter how much they spent on advertising “Piece of Junk” was indeed their brand. Why? Because based on their experiences, this is what the people concluded and held in their conscious and subconscious mind.

As a business owner, speaker, consultant or coach you must consciously create your own brand. What unique promise will you make to your customer? What can they get from you that they can get nowhere else? This is your brand.

Why Customers Don’t Care about Your “Customer Service”



Based on this law, it is my firm belief that all failure in business stems from not delivering enough service to enough of the right people. As small business leaders it is easy to get caught up in goal setting, financial projections, creating the right sales pitch, finding the fastest path to get out of debt or become a billion dollar company and completely lose sight of the fact that a healthy business is one that truly renders service to mankind.

While focusing on strategic areas of our business is important, we must make a point not miss the big picture.

Assisting other people just like us to solve their problems is what service is really all about. This act is the derivative of all true wealth.

Unfortunately, the word “service” has become “too commercial,” and is often used in a sterile manner to describe how we will “manage” the people that “get lucky enough” to buy from us.

Guess what! Customers don’t care about your “Customer Service,” and no one wants to be managed or “handled.”

People that desire our assistance want to be treated with kindness, respect, human dignity, and yes, they also expect us to deliver on the promise of our company.

For years motivational and personal development speakers have been telling entrepreneurs and wealth seekers to visualize what one desires, write it down, do the work and your dreams will come true. Don’t get me wrong, this can work…but only to a small degree if all of the things you visualize are for yourself.

How many times have you stopped to genuinely ask yourself the question “how can I render more service to more people.” What processes would you have in place? How would you feel if today your company sold 1000 times more of your current product than you did all last year? Would you feel good about it or would you feel ashamed because what you currently offer has limited value or is poor quality? What support systems would you need established to deliver the best product and truly serve the most people at a fair price?

If you’re already rendering this level of service, great. Please share your experience. If this concept is new to you I’d love to hear your comments.

I Rule Money, Money Doesn’t Rule Me


If you’ve ever had the chance to attend a T. Harv Eckard, Millionaire Mind Intensive the phrase “I Rule Money, Money Doesn’t Rule Me” will sound familiar to you and bring back memories. If you haven’t had the chance to attend, I’d highly recommend it.

It’s been a while since I’ve actually attended one of Harv’s events. However, this week as I brought on another team member (aka employee) I was reminded of this phrase and what it means. Why? Because, this choice required me to stretch…again.

Today, I took some time to consider the aforementioned phrase. Here is how I understand its meaning.

One who is wise commands his money to perform the action of carrying out his vision (grow a business, build a new house, support a community, expand a country etc.), he creates a plan and mindfully releases the money (i.e. hires workers and pays for goods and services) to return with the desired results of his plan. He understands that money is energy. While it is aways working, it is never far and longs to return to its master because this is its duty and purpose.

The wise man knows that he must diligently and sometime evenly frugally manage the remaining money in his possession to achieve his goal.

He does not compare his results to his peers and is not discouraged by what he sees in his bank balance. He knows that his success no matter how great is for his growth and to enrich the lives of others. He expresses gratitude for all he has and is inspired by his vision of a better world because of his efforts.

On the converse, one who is afraid does not command his money. He is ruled by it. This individual has limited vision and allows his situation and others to dictate the worthiness of himself and his plans. He hopes that money will be kind enough just to stick around and not leave him poor and on the street. He prays and pleads that the “money god” will be merciful to him and grant him a discount, a break or , a “big” client or contract.

He is non-committal, undisciplined in his thinking, and obsessive about getting things for free. In fact, he unknowingly feels entitled to it. The person in fear only thinks of how money or the lack thereof will affect him or his family. It is difficult for him to see the full picture of how his choices affect others.

One who is ruled by money is a hoarder, regularly worrying that he will not have enough. He compares himself to others and is always second place in his mind. He complains about what he has, all the while never realizing that all that he has is sufficient.

The one who is afraid has yet to realize that money is here to serve him so that he can serve others.
Are you ruling money or are you living in fear?

What steps can you take today to begin taking command of your experience with money?

How to Setup Facebook VideoCalling

FB VideoCalling

Facebook has finally done it… Yesterday in coordination with Microsoft & Skype, Facebook launched their new video chat. One of my friends introduced it this morning and I have spent the last hour calling my Facebook friends on video chat. I even met someone totally new though another friend. This is definitely a game changer for Facebook. While you can’t chat with groups just yet, rest assured, that capability is coming next.

If you’d like to start video calling with your friends simply visit and click get started. There is even a great video to walk you through the process.

I promise you’ll never forget your first Facebook video call.

The Google Facebook War is in Full Swing


In effort to keep everyone informed about Google’s efforts to enter the social media space, I’d like to share an amazing article I found on today. These guys did an excellent review of the Google happenings. I thought about summarizing it because it is 3 pages long but…it’s really good and I didn’t want to take anything away from it. Enjoy and as always post your thought.
7 Reasons Why Google+ Will Succeed (and 1 reason why it will very likely fail)

Champions Have Short Memories

The memory of a Goldfish is appx 3 seconds.

The memory of a Goldfish is appx 3 seconds.

Some times in business we are faced with challenges that hit us so hard emotionally, mentally, and/or financially, that we consider giving up on our dreams. During these times it is critical to remember that if we want to succeed and win like a champion. We must develop the habit of having a short memory.

I know you’re probably thinking that this is completely opposite from everything you’ve ever heard, but let me explain. I’m not talking about forget peoples faces and names after meeting them or conveniently forgetting to perform a task that requires significant effort.

When I say champions have short memories, what I mean is that we must develop the skill of letting go of past failures and let downs and allowing them to remain in the past so these events don’t cloud and prevent future successes.

We must practice forgiving ourselves and others even though we sometimes want to hold a grudge; we must practice being the bigger person and strengthening our resolve to move forward by putting systems or new practices in place that keep unsuccessful past events at bay.

Champions have short memories because they make a habit of learning, correcting past mistakes, and forgetting the pain, and drama associated.

Champions know that they can be right about “how bad their situations is” or they can be rich, happy, and/or living life on their terms.

What events and/or situations could you stand to have a shortened memory about today?