5 Things you may be doing to undermine your new business

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The dream of launching a business runs deep in the American psyche, but more often than not those dreams go bust.

Half of new U.S. companies fail in their first five years, according to Gallup. Expand the timeframe out to 10 years and the failure rate reaches 70 percent.

That’s not surprising, says Randy H. Nelson, an entrepreneur who has built multi-million dollar companies. The skills it takes to start a business aren’t necessarily the same as those it takes to keep that business afloat. What is surprising, though? In the U.S., more businesses are now being shut down (470,000) than are being started (400,000).

“Many entrepreneurs have the gumption to take that dramatic first step of sparking something into creation, but too many lack the perspective to reflect on what’s needed for the next step,” says Nelson, author of “The Second Decision – The Qualified Entrepreneur” (http://randyhnelson.com/book/).

Also, anyone can declare themselves an entrepreneur. No qualifications are required. Nelson says that’s different from the Navy, where he served as a nuclear submarine officer and had to prove his qualifications before advancing.

Because of that lack of proper qualifications, Nelson says entrepreneurs often make five mistakes that threaten to put their businesses at risk.

1. Insistence on autonomy. An Inc. magazine study once said that a trait most entrepreneurs share is their desire for autonomy, which is great starting out, Nelson says. “In the startup phase, the company is all about you,” he says. “Your fingerprints are on everything, and there is very little you don’t know and aren’t directing.”

But after the startup phase, the company steams into the growth phase, becoming more complex and more vulnerable to industry and economic trends. At that point, an entrepreneur’s insistence on autonomy can hinder the company’s ability to respond quickly and intelligently to challenges it faces. “In the growth phase, you simply can’t do it all, and it’s foolish to keep believing you can,” Nelson says.

2. Unwillingness to build structure, cultivate expertise or delegate. Many entrepreneurs will need to surround themselves with a strong executive team – or at least a steady right-hand individual – to ensure the company’s success, Nelson says. But too many business owners fail to create the kind of structure that produces good leadership decisions within a managerial team.

“As you grow your company and enlarge it to meet new opportunities, you must also build in accountability,” Nelson says. “Systems need to be put into place, and people, too.” The entrepreneur needs to know the employees and where their strengths lie to put them to good use, he says.

3. Lack of financial leadership. Entrepreneurs by definition take risk when they make the decision to start their own business. In the area of financial leadership, which includes tracking cash levels and trends, financial covenants, metrics and expenses, entrepreneurs who are not financially literate and active will need the direct support of a financial expert to ensure they receive the advice and input needed in their organization.

The Small Business Administration has estimated that up to 60 percent of businesses owe their demise to a lack of cash. Other sources have this number as high as 90 percent. Nelson says: “When it comes to financial leadership, it is what entrepreneurs don’t know that they don’t know that will multiply the risk in their business exponentially.”

4. Reacting unwisely to boredom. Starting a business proved exhilarating. The day-to-day operation of it may pale in comparison. A bored entrepreneur can create significant troubles for the business, Nelson says. “Things are going to get up-ended in a hurry, because many bored entrepreneurs either start new companies or abruptly make changes in their current companies to keep their own level of excitement high,” he says.

“Of course, entrepreneurs are to be celebrated for their guts and desire to innovate. But when a serial entrepreneur habitually and almost obsessively looks for new sandboxes to play in, what happens to the existing company or companies often isn’t very good.”

5. Failure to engage in self-examination. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, the same things they gauge in their employees.

“You need to set aside your probably abundant self-confidence and take stock of what you know, what you’re good at, and what skills you still need to master in your leadership role,” Nelson says.


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TV Creatives, APPLY: Meet Hollywood’s TV, network & studio producers & directors


Tomorrow is the extended deadline to participate in the complimentary invite-only  6th Annual Hollywood Creative Forum.

Taking place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles Wednesday, February  25 this year,  attendees will get to meet with television producers, directors and business professionals from some of the media industry’s leading national networks, studios and production companies.

This event is for  diverse producers of non-fiction and reality TV content and represents an opportunity to learn, network and exchange ideas with some of media’s most successful creators and deal makers.

If you’re a mid-to upper-level writer, director or producer of non-fiction or reality content, this is THE event to attend.  The registration deadline has been extended to February 13th so be sure to sign up now!

You can score the next big deal!

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Web-based Start Ups may be stymied by FCC uncertainty on Open Internet

home office stock

I am excited about the future and about being able to exploit the internet economy and build a business from scratch. I am optimistic and doubly elated that digital and online publishing presents wonderful opportunities for people like me who come from underrepresented and traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds.

A challenge for up and comers has always been funding. For people building their dreams in new media and in a way that traditional funding sources like Banks are still uncomfortable with, curating various platforms for funding is always a tough haul.

Compounding this difficulty is the fact that when you are a new enterprising business making your living online, there are only but so many ways to monetize your presence. It can be done effectively if properly planned and executed. With the assistance of third party funding from an angel or venture capitalist, a small blog can turn into a mini media conglomerate sort of like the one I’m trying to build.

You can hire a small staff, engage third party search engine optimizers, buy access to content promotion platforms, paid for sponsored content, acquire an affiliate manager and a publicist. You can revamp your sites, secure more sophisticated content delivery network services and upgrade your web securities. The possibilities are numerous.

Of course, getting financing is easy to get if you are already part of an entrenched media company and are a spin-off and have proven your success. Notwithstanding, I’ve been monitoring trends and happily took note of the fact the funding market has been getting favorable for other less well-known sites that are without  a celebrity cache.

Then came last week’s announcement from FCC chair Tom Wheeler who decided to flip the script on the path he was traveling on Open Internet. Wheeler announce plans to impose Title II regulation of the Telecommunications Act which was created to govern monopoly landline telecommunications and certainly nothing as dynamic and rapidly changing as the Internet.

I’ve been a fervent advocate of letting rising online and Internet businesses get opportunities to succeed in the same environment as their predecessors like Google and Amazon.com.

But with the announcement to alter an existing thriving and well-oiled and working machine, I am perplexed and disappointed that we’ll be forced into a new paradigm.

Just like the, we are guaranteed litigation because there is no way the various interests who feel they may be detrimented by this decision will not sue the agency. The absence of finality and abundance of certainty will likely scare away investors from considering nascent and rising web-based start ups.

It’s easy to discuss these wants in the abstract but there are so many nuanced variations and factors that will make it all very challenging to circumnavigate and place a cloud over the industry.

I did take note that the cable and telecom stocks rose after Wheeler’s announcement because he claimed there will be no rate-regulation, but forbearance is still not finality.

Newer biz need finality to court funders.

Indeed, there is a distinction between established and entrenched infrastructure-base businesses and web-based ones that are still too nascent in the eyes of funders.

It’s still a risky market and it isn’t clear that all of the back and forth between FCC, the White House and Congress will make it a more attractive sector for investors to explore.

We are back to square one…

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16 Tech, blog and social media conferences to attend this year


For two years now, I have gotten emails from companies inviting me to private receptions at popular summits and conferences assuming that because I regularly cover certain topics that naturally, I have plans to attend the underlining events.

Most times, I had no clue those events were even scheduled. Doh!

I traditionally have stuck with the familiar and  gone repeatedly to women’s blogging conferences like BlogHer, which takes place July 16-18 in New York City this year (http://www.blogher.com/conferences); Blogalicious and Blogging While Brown, which will be June 18-19 in Austin, Texas this year. (http://bloggingwhilebrown.com/).

But I really need to branch out.

So I think I need to take a pro-active approach and learn of the 200 or so marketing, social media, tech, niche industry and blogging conferences that take place annually, and then decipher which I am most interested in attending.

[Professional note: If there are any conference organizers or brands that would like to  interject some much-needed diversity in the attendee list at these events and are looking for a delegate to send on their behalf, please feel free to give me a holler at jenebaspeaks(at)yahoo.com! ha!]

Anyway, here is the result of that search in order of which they are coming up and registration deadline:

What: Digital Summit Phoenix

Description: - Digital Summit Phoenix is a premier digital strategies forum with a goal of educating and promoting forward thinking and thought leadership on topics related to internet business and marketing. Digital Summit Phoenix is presented by TechMedia, the leading producer of regional digital forums in the United States, serving thousands of digital professionals every year.

Where: Scottsdale, AZ

When: Feb 4-5

Website: http://digitalsummitphoenix.com/

What: 2015 ANA Media Leadership Conference presented by Google.

Description: This conference presented by Google will bring together the leaders of the media industry to discuss urgent issues and share insights on the newest ways of connecting with today’s consumers.

Where: Hollywood, Florida

When: March 4-6

Website: http://www.ana.net/conference/show/id/MLC-MAR15

What: SXSW Interactive

Description: This mega multi-day, multi-tracks conference brings together entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators, and influencers for a sneak peek into the future of technology and digital creativity.

Where: Austin, TX

When: March 13–17 , 2015

Website: http://sxsw.com/home

What: GigOm Big Data, Bold Strategies

Description:  The GigOm Structure Data conference is bringing together prominent big data analysts, technologists and companies who are implementing some very cool data strategies

Where: New York, City

When: March 18-19, 2015

Website: https://events.gigaom.com/structuredata-2015/

What: New Media Expo

Description: This expo is the only tradeshow, conference and media event dedicated to blogging and new media and is perfect for bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and anyone else  producing some other form of new media content.

Where: Las Vegas, NV

When: TBA

Website:  http://nmxlive.com/2014-lv/

What: Social Media Marketing World 2015

Description: This is the world’s largest social media marketing conference. By attending, you’ll make connections with 100+ of the world’s top social media pros.

Where: San Diego, California

When: March 25, 26 and 27, 2015.

Website: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/

What: The Social Media Revolutionon

Description: Conference is touted to help others learn and network with the most successful New Media content creators in the World. You’ll connect with peers attending from 50 countries for 3 days of educational sessions (over 140, in fact) presented by more than 175 industry leaders.

Where: New York City

When: April 13-16

Website: http://nmxlive.com/2015-lv/

What: Content Delivery Summit

Description: This summit is a one-day conference designed to bring together telecom carriers, service providers, content owners, and industry vendors for a detailed look at CDN platforms for the delivery of video and content acceleration.

Where: New York City

When:  May 11, 2015

Website: http://www.contentdeliverysummit.com/2015/

What: Confab Central

Description: Our annually sold-out show returns! Join 650 content strategy enthusiasts—from newbies to old-timers—for three days of awesome workshops and sessions. More speakers, more networking, more everything. And as they say … either you love Minneapolis, or you’ve never been here.

Where: Minneapolis, MN

When: May 20-22, 2015

Website: http://confabevents.com/events

What: TED Women 2015

Description: This is part of the popular TED series of conferences for innovators, motivators and thinkers. It brings together a global community of women and men interested in the innovations, ideas and individuals building momentum around the world. The program will start by drawing out collective wisdom — choose from one of two interactive workshops to stimulate your thinking on transformational change. Then, in six sessions of TED Talks,  speakers will share insights on creating, sustaining and recovering momentum. They’ll offer up fresh insight and new perspectives. Together, we’ll discover a vision of where things are headed.

Where: Monterey, California

When: May 27-29

Website: http://www.ted.com/attend/conferences/special-events/tedwomen


What: Social Media Strategies Summit

Description: This summit helps start-ups to large enterprises via interactive workshops and engaging sessions to boost their social media marketing efforts and reach  business goals.

Where: New York City

When: June 9-11, 2015

Website: http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/

What: TechCrunch Disrupt NYC

Description: TechCrunch Disrupt NYC is often named the hottest tech conference of the year.

Where: NYC

When: August 10-12, 2015

Website: http://techcrunch.com/events/disrupt-ny-201


What: Brand Manage camp 2015

Description: dedicated to helping companies big and small create and grow strong, vibrant, profitable brands through Fresh Thinking. We accomplish this by delivering world-class learning experiences as well as by providing brand and strategy consulting services.

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When:  October 1-2

Website: http://brandmanagecamp.com

What: ABC Kids Show

Description: This is the largest trade show and exhibition of baby and childrens products and services nationwide.

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When: October 18 – 21

Website:  http://www.theabcshow.com/

What: The WSJ.D Conference

Description:  The WSJ.D conference brings together renown CEOs, aspiring entrepreneurs, industry experts, and more for three days of inspiring debate and discussion about technology in today’s world.

Where: Laguna Beach, California

When:  October  19-21, 2015

Website: http://wsjdlive.wsj.com/

What: AdTech

Description: This conference touts itself as THE  event for modern marketing and media.

Where: New York City

When: November 4-5

Website: http://www.ad-tech.com/ny/


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When is the best time to write? (INFOGRAPHIC)


I write three to five blog posts, articles or columns daily. I write all day but for articles that require deep thought and introspection, the evening hours are best for me. There are little to no distractions. I am usually at home then and it’s dark and still. There are not interruptions from phone calls and emails around then too. It’s the best for me.

I do and can manage writing in the day for late breaking news I want to write about or quick think pieces that need to go out so they can be timely, and capture search traffic.

The mornings are a great time for others. How about you? Check out QuickSprout.com’s recent infographic on the best time to write:

The Scientifically Proven Best Time to Think and Write Creatively
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout



image: Minimal Workspace Tumblr

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Women: How to Create Your Own Corporate Ladder (VIDEO)

Video  Creating Your Own Corporate Ladder   POLITICO.com

Last month at POLITICO‘s “Women Rule Summit“, some of the top, well-credentialed and most impressive female entrepreneurs were on a stage offering advice and sharing their stories at the “Creating Your Own Corporate Ladder” session.

The event was moderated by MORE magazine’s editor-in-chief Lesley Seymour with Hint Water CEO Kara Goldin, Momofuku Milk Bar co-owner Christina Tosi, Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck and winery owner Merry Edwards, California’s first woman wine-maker.

It was great. “You can have it all but you can do it in your own way,” was a great take-away. Check it out:

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50 Tips for New Media & Independent Publishers (FREE DOWNLOAD)

digital publishers 1.pdf

I’ve taken my summary of the infamous leaked New York Times innovation report that I previously blogged on here and condensed it into a  more functional ebook format that can be downloaded, put in a binder, photocopied and shared with your staff, marketers and content marketing and promotion team.

All you need to do to access the downloadable file is social share this post. Thanks for spreading the word!


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8 Interesting Facts about Blogs


A short while ago, blogging wasn’t highly regarded. Certainly, no one took anyone seriously if they earned a living running a blog. Several success cases and the fact many news outlets publish blogs on their sites have changed the game.

Today, blogs are essential for businesses.

Here are some interesting facts about blogs and why businesses should have blogs along with an informative infographic from BestWebHostingGeek.com:

1. A lot of people read blogs more than once daily.

2. The reading of blogs usually starts at 7.am and reaches a peak period at 10am.

3. While sharing on blog usually reaches a peak at 7.am, comments on blogs hit the highest point at 8.am.

4. The findings of a recent survey reveal that most prefer to read blogs in the morning that at any other time of the day. 79% of the people interviewed said they prefer to read blogs in the morning, 64% have a preference for afternoon, 51% prefer evening, and 40% favor night.

5. Businesses that update their blogs 20 times a month (i.e 4-5 times per week) generate 5 times more traffic than those that update their blogs less than 4 times a month.

6. Businesses that own and regularly update their blogs generate 4 times more lead than those that do not own a blog.

7. Blogs help to influence customers’ buying decisions and purchases. A sampling of customers’ opinion shows that the information on blogs assists 21% of the surveyed customers to make up their mind on the purchase of a product, helps 19% to fine tune their choice, provides answers for another 19%, helps 17% to discover a product or service, and serves as the inspiration for the purchase of a product or service for the remaining 13% of the surveyed customers.

8. Companies that have more than 51% articles on their blogs experience a 77% increment in median monthly leads.

The below infographic summarizes these and other facts:


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Sorry haters of the selfie culture, we’re not more narcissistic today


We’re not becoming more narcissistic as a society as critics of the “selfie generation” often muse.

According to behavioral social scientists, there is such a thing as “normal narcissism” which is unlike the true form of narcissism, which is a verified psychological disorder.

This excerpt from the Penn State University blog explains:

We are, in fact, no more narcissistic than we were decades ago…

“I don’t think people are usually referring to a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) when they toss around the term ‘narcissism’ today,” says Aaron Pincus, Penn State professor of psychology.

“Narcissism has both normal and pathological forms of expression,” he explains. “Most of the recent media coverage has focused on what I refer to as normal narcissism. It’s normal for individuals to see themselves in a positive light and to seek out self-enhancement experiences such as successful achievements and competitive victories.”

It’s also normal to want to show off your accomplishments, he says.

“Some people are focused on these things more than others, and some are self-centered to an annoying extent,” but if they can generally manage these needs effectively and “seek out their gratification in culturally and socially acceptable ways, and regulate self-esteem and interpersonal behavior when disappointments are experienced, that’s not pathological narcissism.”

For instance, there are those who “think highly of themselves and will let you know it,” says Pincus, “but in many cases such individuals are also highly accomplished. I think these are the folks most people are referring to when they toss around the term ‘narcissism’ today.”

Read more about what characteristics do make someone a true narcissist. HERE!

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