PAUL AND SARAH EDWARDS: LIFESTYLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
WE ARE ALWAYS encouraged to dream big—
to go for our dreams. These are important
messages for a successful venture, but
sometimes we get carried away and don’t
give our dreams time to firmly take root.
Recently, a colleague dreamed of launching an annual alternative-energy conference
for the towns in his region. He had a great
Paul and Sarah Edwards (
www.elmstreeteconomy.com ) are the authors of 17 print books and a new BarChart entitled How to Start a Home-Based Business.
MARY ANN HALPIN PHOTOGRAPHY
big needs to
concept and access to both the funds and the
personnel to carry it out. He went all out.
He planned a three-day event with
speakers, workshops, an exhibit hall, food and
entertainment. Vendors signed up. Community organizations lent their names. Facilities
for a large crowd were committed. Ads and
articles appeared in the local papers. Success
But throughout the process several of
his advisers had been skeptical. They weren’t
sure if there was sufficient interest or awareness in the region of the need for energy
alternatives. They urged him to start smaller.
Try an afternoon event, they urged, to test
the drawing power of his idea and to give the
region a taste of what a bigger kind of conference like this could bring to the region.
Our colleague remained undeterred. He
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“Connection.”At Online Edition,
search “Paul and Sarah Edwards.”
saw these naysayers as negative thinkers—
small-minded folks who couldn’t grasp the
potential of what was possible.
The weekend of the event arrived and
everything was spectacular—except the attendance. Those who came found it valuable,
but the turnout was small. Vendors were disappointed. His workers were demoralized. The
affiliating organizations were embarrassed.
Had he started small, none of this would
have had to happen. Compacted into one afternoon, the small crowd would have seemed
large and the event could easily have led to a
daylong one the next year with plenty of time
for word of mouth and the promise of more
to come to build on. Funds from a successful
small event could have been used to finance
a larger one, and if it was a success too then
an even larger one could have been planned
the year after that. But failing so big damaged
his efforts to do this again.
So let’s dream big. Let’s go for our dreams.
But let’s allow them time to grow into the full-blown success we envision. C
Mobile marketing for small businesses
AS TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES, mobile
phones are taking on a greater role in consumers’ lives. Because smartphones can now tell
users where they are and what businesses are
nearby, opportunities for small-business owners to take advantage of mobile marketing are
growing tremendously, according to Costco
member Shelly Allen (
com), a small-business consultant. “In a recent
survey by Ji Wire, more than half of mobile
users want to receive location-specific
advertising, and nearly 40 percent want location-based
coupons,” says Allen.
Allen explains that this
trend is creating a stir with
many small-business owners,
who wonder how they can
tap into this new opportunity.
However, just as many lack the
time, budget, or tech savvy to
develop and implement a mobile
Fortunately, she says, there
are a number of mobile marketing
tools available that can help you
attract customers on the go.
Foursquare, Facebook Places and
Yelp are three of the most popular,
particularly for brick-and-mortar
businesses that cater to local customers.
These sites encourage users to “check
in” with details being published on the business’s
Facebook page, and offer a variety of promotional tools and features that leverage word-of-mouth marketing.
“Beyond using social media sites that are
geared to mobile users, developing a mobile-enabled website is a must for any business,
both those with storefronts and those without,”
says Allen. “When you consider that there are
now more mobile devices (smartphones, iPads
and tablets) than PCs being sold, the need for
your site to be optimized for these devices is
no longer just helpful—it’s essential!”
What are the components
of a website optimized for
● Faster page-load times
● Simplified navigation
● Improved readability
● Click-to-call button
● Map and directions
In most cases, Allen
points out, mobile users
don’t want to peruse an
entire website on their
phone. Rather, they want
basic information, direc-
tions to your location,
and the ability to call
with questions. Thus,
a landing page with
this information is
typically all that’s
required to launch a success-
ful mobile marketing presence.
“For a small investment in a mobile-enabled landing page,” says Allen, “
small-business owners can achieve a significant return
on investment from mobile users who convert
into paying customers.” C
DECEMBER 2011 ;e Costco Connection 9
WITH SO MANY people unemployed, a new
breed of entrepreneur has emerged—the
“accidental entrepreneur.” This is someone
who stopped trying to find a job and decided
to start his or her own business. According
to the Kauffman Foundation (www.kauffman.
org), 565,000 new businesses were created
in 2010. Unfortunately, many new entrepreneurs do not have the training and experience necessary for success.
Research shows that people learn new
concepts better in an educational forum that
is combined with social interaction.
Tapping into this, American Express
www.openforum.com) and New York
startup Veri (
www.veri.com), a social learning platform, are providing Crash Courses
Crash Courses’ goal is to educate entrepreneurs on how to implement important
business functions within their organizations—everything from “The Art of Hiring”
to “Website Conversion.” Courses give
them the option to learn more on these topics while they collect IQ points to see
where they stack up against others.
And it might just alleviate the loneliness
of starting a business on one’s own. C
Get ready, start up!