- Member Highlight – B2B Technology Marketing by Hugh Taylor
Here at BLANKSPACES, we’re fortunate enough to have one of the most unique mix of entrepreneurs and professionals coworking under one roof.
Meet one of our newest members, Hugh Taylor. Hugh has written marketing content for clients like Microsoft, IBM, SAP, First Data, and Google. You can pick up a copy of his latest book, “B2B Technology Marketing” here!
“Marketing technology products to business customers is a distinct discipline. It doesn’t resemble consumer-facing tech marketing at all. It’s not even the same as business-to-business (B2B) marketing in general. B2B technology marketing requires a completely different way of thinking about customers, products, and markets, mostly because these factors are in a permanent state of flux. This book takes a pragmatic, strategically informed view of B2B technology marketing, exploring the essential responsibilities of the B2B technology marketing executive, including: • Lead generation • Filling the sales pipeline • Strategic messaging • Supporting the sales team • Communications and public relations • Creating customer preference • Product marketing”
“Hugh has served as Social Software Evangelist at IBM, Public Relations Manager for SharePoint at Microsoft, and VP of Marketing at several early stage technology ventures. He is the author of three books and hundreds of articles, case studies, and white papers about the interplay between business and technology. Prior to tech, Hugh worked in television. He earned his AB and MBA from Harvard. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.”
- LA Biz Journal
LA Business Journal
Ex-Phone Exec Placed on Hold” NATALIE JARVEY
“Jerome Chang, the founder of co-working facility Blankspaces, said launching that many facilities in a short period of time is very capital intensive. And operating co-working spaces is unlikely to make someone a fortune. “Most people going into this business do it with the co-op mentality,” he said. “They’re looking to make a little margin to make it worth it but not looking to make a financial windfall.””
- 5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Business in 2014
by Joy A. Burke
If you are a solopreneur like me, you know how difficult it can be some days to get things done. At least the things that were on your list. There is no doubt: running a business – any structure of business – takes discipline.
That’s why I would like to share five simple tips we can each consider as we head into 2014 as viable ways to keep us on track and help move our businesses forward.
1. Create and Maintain a Business Journal
- Why this is important: Writing down your thoughts, progress and goals regarding your business is the easiest and most thorough way to keep track of your business history from a personal and honest perspective. No one else needs to have access to this. So you may include as much or as little as you please. As the days, weeks, and months move forward you can reflect on where you are now and where you started. This is also a healthy exercise in leaving work at work and not bringing it to the dinner table.
- Plan of Action: Use whatever writing platform you prefer, date it and get started! I use Microsoft Word and date each entry. My goal is to write daily about ‘what I did for my business that day’ – a phrase my business mentor suggested I use when considering how to start my entry. Include successes, ideas, upcoming events, goals (I literally bullet mine then print that section so I can refer to it), frustrations, hopes, plans of action, and anything else you feel belongs or simply want to add.
2. Commit to Two to Three Networking Events that Meet
- Why this is important: As solopreneurs, it can be difficult to get the social interaction we need to keep us sane. True, some of us went into this because we wanted to work alone, but, we still need to know how to relate to people. Furthermore, networking opens up doors to unlimited and unknown possibilities. Plant seeds now to grow to fruition later.
- Plan of Action: Whether it is Biznik, Chamber of Commerce, or another entity you are affiliated with, make it a point to connect with people at least once a week. It is simple to search online for local groups. Some groups only meet monthly – no problem. Getting out of your house and your comfort zone on a regular basis will help get you out of ruts, meet new people, and may just help you see things from a new perspective.
3. Get Busy with Social Media
Why this is important
: More and more business owners are spending their time marketing online. So should you. This is especially relevant if your focus is business-to-business. If you want to be seen, get online. We already knew consumers of all ages were plugged in, so it’s clear – regardless of your target audience, online is the place to make a name for yourself.
- Plan of Action: Spend some time discovering which social media sites are relevant to your business and reach your target audience. There is no limit to the number of sites out there, and you are only limited in your reach by how creative you want to be. It’s important to keep in mind you don’t want to hard sell your audience. Let them get to know you. Once they know and trust you, they’ll come to you and make their purchases and referrals.
4. Take a Contact out for Coffee
- Why this is important: Because so much of our time is spent online, personal touch is almost a thing of the past. Taking time – one of our most valuable commodities – and spending it with a client or potential client is a class act. It will be discussed with their friends, will be well remembered, and could well be the standard against which other professionals are held.
- Plan of Action: Flip through your portfolio of business cards and contacts. Who have you been meaning to call or email to follow-up with? Go ahead and call or email – but invite them to coffee, tea, or brunch for the full follow-up.***Bonus: Make a lasting impression by sending a hand written card thanking them for taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. ***
5. Update Your Website Regularly
- Why this is important: We live in a fast-paced culture where things are constantly moving. If your webpage is like a photograph and never changes, your clients and any potential clients will have no reason to come back to visit. They won’t know of any changes you make because the last three times they stopped by, there was nothing new. If you sell products, offer services, or host events – you may want to seriously consider the implications of no website traffic. If things are going as they could for you, your website should be the hub of all your marketing efforts.
- Plan of Action: Website changes do not have to be monumental. I would suggest the changes really only have to be on the homepage and perhaps on your product or services pages to mix it up a bit. On the home page, add or change an infographic or video; update the copy to reflect upcoming events or product launches. On your product or services pages, make a goal to add a new product or service every quarter; perhaps give new covers to your e-books or audio downloads; maybe be so bold as to change the order of your offerings so visitors have to look for what they saw before. It’s an idea – it works for Costco!
Bottom line, you can’t grow your business if people don’t know you arein business.
So include some networking and online time in your New Year’s resolutions – I know I plan to incorporate each of these. It may be the best thing you can do for your business in 2014!
Joy A. Burke is a freelance copywriter specializing in web copy & sales letters. She enjoys writing both as a copywriter & for middle grade readers. Joy lives in Washington with her husband, four cats, & lots of chocolate.
- Surprise: Recessions don’t spark business startups
[By Elizabeth Montalbano, contributing writerJanuary 14, 2010: 12:17 PM ET...an excerpt]
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Think recessions spur laid-off workers to launch new ventures? Think again.
The Kauffmann Foundation has found that the number of new businesses incorporated annually in the U.S. has remained remarkably consistent over the years.
“We have a surprisingly steady supply of new firms, despite frequent and sometimes sharp changes in economic conditions,” the study’s authors concluded. “No matter which data set one examines, any given year’s total of new companies is consistent with other years, with annual numbers fluctuating only mildly.”
From 1977 – March 2009, about 600,000 new businesses were formed each year during that 30-year period. The data includes formally established new enterprises as well as new franchise locations and other outposts of existing companies.
For more than a year, the potential for startup growth has been promoted as the silver lining of the recession.
The conventional wisdom goes that as people lose their jobs, they are inspired to launch that innovative little company that’s been percolating in the back of their minds for years.
Recessions also lower the cost of entry for new companies and make customers more willing to explore less-expensive alternatives to current products or services they’re using, said Rhonda Abrams, founder of entrepreneurial consulting firm The Planning Shop.
“I liken a recession to a forest fire — it can be devastating, but can clear out weak and old growth,” Abrams said. “Small upstart companies have a chance to get a hold better when their competitors are weakened.”
But Kaufmann researcher Stangler said there just isn’t data to back up that kind of ‘hopeful thinking.”
“It’s not that the reasons behind that thinking are bad, it’s just that from the evidence, we don’t expect there to be a huge increase in the amount of startups or a decrease during this recession,” he said.
Going back even further, to census reports from the 1940s and 1950s, there, they found remarkably similar results. Only one year — 1946 — had a noticeable startup spike, a result the researchers attribute to the effects of the end of World War II and a flood of returning war veterans.
What’s behind the consistency in startup launches? Stangler said two findings stood out: Even in down times, the U.S. has a fairly stable and consistent economy. Also, the number of working-age adults in the workforce fluctuates little.
But just because there’s no data to prove that economic turmoil spurs business growth doesn’t mean recession-era entrepreneurs should be disheartened, Abrams said. Citing her own research, she notes that the majority of current Fortune 500 companies were started during tough economic times.
Another note: more than half of 2009′s Fortune 500 companies launched in bear markets, it reported in June.
“Even if the numbers of new companies are consistent, you have a better chance at being a big success if you form during a recession or a depression than in good times,” Abrams said.
She also believes that when the dust has cleared, this recession will have spurred more new businesses than past downturns because the percentage of those who are unemployed will remain persistently high.
“More people will turn to consulting and other kinds of low-cost-of-entry businesses to tide them over,” Abrams said.
[see original article]
- World Magazine
“Office Sharing” Angela Lu
“Chang saw this as a solution not just to his own problem, but a problem plaguing a growing number of Americans: finding human connection—and the innovations that come with it—in an age of working remotely”. [Kristen Abitabile] says it is less stressful than working in a typical office because no one really knows what other people are working on. It also cuts down on office politics since people aren’t competing with each other.
- LA Times
“A new wave of shared workplaces rolls through Silicon Beach” Andrea Chang
“What’s so fundamentally different about a place like this versus working at a company’s office is no one works for each other,” Chang said. ‘The whole bureaucracy and politics and the environment of trying to vie for the attention of that one boss in the corner — that doesn’t exist. It’s just stripped away.”
- Wherever Worker
“6 Tips for Being Productive In a Coworking Space” Chase Fleming
“The most productive, effective way to enable good vibe and rapport is to contribute something beneficial first. You get what you put in, right?”
“Best Coworking Spaces In LA” Joy Bitonio
“Coworking spaces serve as a middle ground between traditional workplaces and the solitude of a home office…The biggest perk of coworking is the built-in community of talented people. BLANKSPACES offers a modern communal place to work, collaborate and get inspired on your own scheduling terms.”
“Why Your Office Will Disappear” Marissa Feinberg
“Your office as you know it will be gone…For those of you new to the concept, collaborative work spaces everywhere are defining themselves as ‘coworking spaces,’ or workplaces that foster productivity, collaboration and community. According to Deskmag, the number of coworking spaces has grown 200% annually for seven years.”
- Video #2