Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs #7

Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 11:00pm by Site Administrator

Welcome to the seventh Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs (CoBE #7). Critieria for inclusion: relevant to bootstrapping, entrepreneuring, startup/ small businesses. This carnival may soon appear on other guest host sites, but a note will be posted on this blog in weeks that that happens.

To be fair to everyone, entries are selected approximately in order of submission. Please support this carnival by linking back to this post.

Editor’s Choice

  1. 5+1 Simple Ideas For Brainstorming With A Dictionary by Samir Bharadwaj. Samir offers not only a selection of brainstorming tips but does so in a great example of good blog article formatting. Nice headings, bullet lists and images.

Picks of the Week

Here are this week’s additional picks of the week.

  1. Analysis Paralysis: The #1 Killer of Productivity by Dominic Tay.
  2. 8 Moves to Make When the Chips Are Down by John Wesley.
  3. Hey, Where are the Bugs Anyway? by CA.
  4. Blogging for Service Providers by Vandelay Website Design.

Other Entries

Here are some additional entries for this week’s carnival.

  1. Seeking a Dream by Michelle Cramer.
  2. 7 Highly Effective Habits for Stress Releasing by Dianne M. Buxton.
  3. 5 Things To Consider When Looking for A Network Marketing Business by Chris Tackett.
  4. 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Marketing Overnight by Eric Hudin.
  5. Make People Comfortable By Greeting Them Right by Warren Wong.
  6. Do You Know How to Delegate Effectively? by Sue Massey.
  7. Spending Those Hard Earned Dollars On Advertising by Matt Hanson.
  8. Top Ten Franchise Opportunities for $20,000 by Tom Stanley.
  9. I Can Stand My Stand Up Desk by FitBuff.
  10. Accounting Tips For Those Using A CPA by Mike Harmon.

That ends this second edition of the Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs. Any articles submitted on or after Aug 24th that meet the criteria but not appearing here will likely appear in the next edition.

Please use the submission form for future editions. Limit one entry per week per person. If you find you are not getting into this blog carnival, please read 11 tips for being included. I’ll particularly point out a few reoccurring problems:

  1. Submitting the same article twice. Always send something fresh. It’s not that hard to keep a spreadsheet of your carnival submissions.
  2. Submitting 2+ articles within minutes of each other. If you can’t be bothered to pick your best, I can’t be bothered to either.
  3. Don’t make paragraphs too long or backgrounds colored. Anything that makes it hard to read your article reduces the chances that it’ll be read and accepted.
  4. Being off topic or simply not targeted at bootstrapping entrepreneurs, or entrepreneuring in general. If you’re talking only about wealth, career, blogging, etc., in your article, and do not tie the topic in to business or entrepreneuring, then I might not accept it. If it’s selected for a Pick of the Week, then I’ll summarize it and do the tie in. But if it’s not picked, then I won’t necessarily put it in the rest of the carnival edition.

50 Practical Home Office Feng Shui Tips

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 2:48pm by Site Administrator

If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you’re probably the envy of everyone in the working world. Sleeping in, foregoing any sort of dress code, and being able to run your errands in the middle of the day are just a few of the perks of being able to earn your paycheck in the comfort of your very own home. On the down side, maintaining an organized work space in the middle of your home can be frustrating, as bill paying, laundry, and other household chores can find themselves in the middle of your office files. Below are 50 simple ways you can maintain a happy, clean, and organized office area at home by practicing the fundamentals of Feng Shui. By including the key elements fire, water, earth, and wood, you’ll have a work space that maximizes your productivity and energy while nurturing a calm, soothing balance.

Furniture

  1. Don’t obstruct the doorway. Keep shoes, umbrellas, books, and other items put away. Keeping the entrance way clear will allow positive energy, or chi, to flow freely in and out of the room, uncontrained. You will be able to improve your mood as soon as you enter the room since your eyes won’timmediately jump to the clutter and disorganization and you won’t be tripping over mismatched shoes and the raincoat from last month.
  2. Rearrange furniture frequently. You don’t have to totally redo the setup of the whole room, but shifting your furniture frequently will maintain a healthy level of energy. You will subconsciously notice the changes, keeping you alert and on you toes. Try moving the desk a few inches closer to the window or switching the placement of two chairs. It may not seem like a big change aesthetically, but you’ll be able to feel the results instantly.
  3. Move the TV to another room. Keeping the television in your home office will be a constant distraction. You can find all the news, stocktrading information, and other work-related updates you need on the Internet anyway. Move the TV out of your office and leave room for healthier, more natural workspace.
  4. Don’t lose sight of the door. Make sure all of your chairs and sofas are situated so that anyone sitting in your office will always be able to see the door. Having a way out and keeping track of who or what comes in is a traditional measure of good Feng Shui.
  5. Leave at least 3 feet between furniture. A standard Feng Shui tip for arranging your furniture is to leave at least 3 feet between all the pieces in the room. For instance, leave 3 feet between your desk and the computer chair when unoccupied. Allow 3 feet between your 2 lounge chairs or between a chair and sofa. You can find other similar tips by clicking here.
  6. Make sure your furniture represents the elements. You obviously won’t be able to have a desk made of fire, but try to incorporate the wood and metal elements into your furniture constitutions as much as possible. Most of your furniture will undoubtedly be made of wood, but see if you can find an end table made of aluminum or one that features a metallic finish.
  7. Add pillows and blankets. Buy a couple of throw pillows and a comfy blanket to give your office a cozy appeal. Let them lie easily on your chairs or couch, but only indulge in wrapping yourself up in the blanket if it’s really chilly. You want to promote an easygoing atmosphere, but you don’t want to fall asleep at your desk! Try PotteryBarn.com for ideas.
  8. Don’t overcrowd the room. Putting too much furniture or accessories in your office will lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding leads to a tense, nervous energy. Keep the amount of items in the room to a minimum, including only the furniture and electronics you need to conduct your business and host clients in a basic, but comfortable, way.
  9. Give yourself a choice of places to sit. If you limit yourself to the one desk chair you use while on the computer, you’ll end up feeling cramped and panicky. Have at least one other sofa or chair for you to sit in while taking a break from the computer once in a while. Visit JCPenney.com for ideas. Changing your physical placement will keep you focused longer.
  10. Be comfortable.
  11. Make sure all the furniture in the room is comfortable to you. Since it’s your office, you will be the one spending most (if not all) of your time there. Being comfortable will keep your mind off your external circumstances and allow you to work.

Light and Color

  1. Windows When selecting a room for your home office, you should pick the one that has at least one window. Enveloping yourself in natural light helps keep you on track with the progression of day and night, keeping you in sync with the environment around you. Make sure the window has blinds or curtains, though, in case the sun is too bright or causes an irritating glare on your desk.
  2. Lamps Putting lamps on your desk or end tables will allow you to control the amount of light you receive more pointedly. If the overhead light is too harsh for example turning it off and relying on lamps and the natural light from the window will keep you more relaxed and your eyes less strained. If the main light isn’t bright enough however, a lamp will help you see better and concentrate on your work, as your eyes will naturally be drawn to where the light is focused.
  3. Light bulbs Choosing the right light bulbs for your home office is extremely important. You will want bulbs that radiate feelings of warmth. Avoid buying fluorescent lights altogether. Click here to read more about the benefits of lighting when creating a Feng Shui environment.
  4. Blue Incorporating the color blue into your home office helps include an association with the element "water." Blue is a soothing color and is best used in the East and Southeast areas of the room. According to Feng Shui expert Rodika Tchi, painting the ceiling blue is a great way to not only add color to your office, but to improve productivity and promote good energy.
  5. Green According to Viewzone.com, green "is considered to be a color of freshness, growth, and peace," so try adding cushions or pillows in light, subtle shades to give your office soothing energy with a punch of personality.
  6. Red Bold reds are thought to introduce feelings wealth and happiness into a person’s life. Supplementing your otherwise subdued room with red accents will brighten your mood and perhaps even bring you luck. Don’t go overboard with strong reds or you may end up creating a negative energy infused with anger and agitation.
  7. Metal Metallic accents will brighten up your room in a subtle way. Use a bronze paperweight or hang copper windchimes near the window to represent key Feng Shui element while allowing natural light to reflect off the metallic surfaces.
  8. Earth tones Earth tones are known to be soothing shades of yellow, brown, and green. They generally make people feel comfortable and at ease because of their relationship to nature, so stick to these shades when designing your home office. A deep yellow rug or tan curtains will create a simplified atmosphere perfect for work.
  9. Balance As with any Feng Shui practices, you must maintain a balance of color in your room. Adding too much blue and not enough red will leave your office vulnerable to the water element, for example. Keeping the elements in check through color is a fun, inspiring approach to Feng Shui interior design because of the choices you have to accessorize each area.
  10. Mirrors Mirrors help positive energy dart about the room by letting in more light and allowing you to keep your eye on what normally wouldn’t be seen. Hang a mirror over your computer to watch the wall behind you and open up the space around you. Mirrors maximize your space by making rooms appear much larger than they actually are, making the office feel roomy and uncramped.

Decorations and Plants

  1. Put up family photos To make your home office more inviting, hang up or display photos of you with family and friends. You’ll make yourself more comfortable by seeing familiar faces and recalling fun memories. Use a variety both wood and metal frames to incorporate the two elements.
  2. Paintings Paintings are also positive additions to your home office. Choose ones that feature garden scenes, landscapes, and other natural designs to invite earth tones and keep you in touch with the environment.
  3. Crystals Certain crystals like quartz, amethyst, and malachite increase the power of Feng Shui. Click here to read more about where to place crystals in your room and to find out which ones will benefit you the most.
  4. Flowers Introducing plant life into your home office will boost your spirits and help balance out the elements. Plants, even flowers, represent wood. Put a potted plant on the windowsill or situate a larger fern or hibiscus plant in a corner to brighten up the room. Click here for specific tips and ideas for bringing in the right flowers for your space.
  5. Bamboo Bamboo also represents the element wood and is considered to be extremely lucky. Read Diane Kern’s ideas for selecting and maintaining bamboo to ensure that the plant brings you the best luck possible.
  6. Fountain Having a small water fountain in your home office is good for many reasons. The sound of the running water will soothe your senses, the water element will be fully represented, and according to the Target Woman, the fountain will "attract and trap the chi."
  7. Caring for a plant. Having a plant in your home office will do no good if you can’t keep it alive. Dying or dead plants will increase the amount of negative energy, making you feel depressed and frustrated. Refer to the Garden Guide Web site to learn tips about container gardening.
  8. Place wall decorations at eye level. Hanging up pictures any old way is a direct infringement of Feng Shui practice. Let all your wall decorations hang at eye level, creating a consistent, organized aesthetic.
  9. Avoid sharp-cornered objects. Sharp-cornered objects are not only potentially harmful, they are also believed to obstruct the pathway of chi. Your desk will most likely have sharp corners, but as long as you are not sitting where they point directly at you, the chi will still be able to flow around you easily.
  10. If it doesn’t have a function, you don’t need it. If your end table doesn’t hold up a lamp or represent any of the key elements, you probably don’t need it. Get rid of any decor that doesn’t serve some sort of Feng Shui function by balancing out the elements, and you’ll free up space and feel better about everything that does belong.

Sound and Scent

  1. Music Play soothing music throughout the day to alleviate stress, calm nerves, and keep you relaxed. Try a Norah Jones CD or listen to something purely instrumental so you won’t get caught up in the lyrics.
  2. Eliminate distractions. Close the door if others are at home with you so that you don’t have to listen to distracting noises. Eliminating unnatural, exterior noise will keep you focused on your work and will allow the chi to move around your room with minimal disruptions.
  3. Evaluate your reactions to certain noises. Does the sound of birds chirping keep you relaxed? Does the rumbling dishwasher make you stressed? Evaluate your reactions to everyday noises and then try to accommodate accordingly. Crack the window a little to let in natural noises and drown out that dishwasher. Or, turn up your music to keep out the bothersome weed eater outside.
  4. Pick a room located far away from loud noises. When selecting the perfect room for your home office, pick one that is located far away from loud, distracting noises. For example, if your neighbors are always out on their front lawn playing or visiting, go to a room that’s located at the back of your house. If the neighbor on your left has a dog that barks all day long, choose a room on the other side of the house. Eliminating as much extra noise as possible will help you concentrate.
  5. Candles Light candles to welcome scent and give your office a relaxed atmosphere. The warm flame is a soft, natural representation of fire that also helps you feel cozy. Visit the Yankee Candle Comapny Web site to find your favorite scents and special seasonal deals.
  6. Incense Lighting incense is another way to bring scent into the room. Many incense smells like the ones found here are believed to promote healthy chi.
  7. Garbage Take out the garbage often to get rid of bad smells that will interrupt your room’s chi. Mildew, garbage, and other noisome scents will also distract you until they are eliminated. Empty out your trash several times each week to keep bad smells from developing in the first place.
  8. Citrus Citrusy scents like tangerine and mandarin increase the amount of energy in the room, keeping you awake and alert even after hours of work.
  9. Geranium and Lavender These soothing scents will calm nerves and help you keep things in perspective. Click here to read more about which scents are good for promoting your room’s chi.
  10. Burning oil Burning tiny amounts of oil will cause your room to smell better in seconds. Try out one of these oil burners from The Body Shop to improve your room’s fragrance.

Eliminate Clutter

  1. Don’t use your workspace for any other chores. Clutter will immediately destroy any good energy that was present in your home office before. To help eliminate mess, don’t use your workspace for any other purpose other than business. Don’t fold laundry, pay bills, or let your kids play on the computer in the room that you’ve specially designed for work.
  2. Organize your desk.Invest in a collection of wire baskets that stack on the top of your desk to eliminate floating papers and general clutter. Office Depot carries a large stock of desk accessories that will minimize the amount of roaming items and keep you from losing important items. Clean up the inside of your desk by sliding in dividers or small containers that will hold paperclips, rubberbands, and extra staples.
  3. File papers. It might seem old-fashioned, but every office needs a filing system. Buy a simple filing cabinet and start filling it up. To make sure you can find your papers easily, make a folder for almost everything. Divide topics into subtopics, and divide those further. It might take a little extra work in the beginning, but when you’re trying to find a specific document, you’ll be glad you did. Choose multicolored folders and use separate colors for different projects, clients, or months.
  4. Clean up before ending each workday. As a part of your daily routine, straighten up your desk and office before leaving each day. This practice will help keep you organized and ready for the following day, and when you begin work in the morning, you won’t be walking into a messy room. Instead of seeing stacks of papers and clutter, your eyes will settle on the calm organization you’ve worked so hard to preserve.
  5. Hide unruly cords and cables. Even though you’ve taken the TV out of your office, your computer and radio and/or CD player have lots of messy cords ruining your simplistic mood. Having to look at a tangle of wires will stress you out and distract you from your work. Use a surge protector to safely plug in all those wires to your wall, and use hefty twist ties to prevent tangling. Try investing in a cable kit, like this one from cable-safe.com.
  6. Bring in as little food as possible. Being able to work from home means that you can eat in the kitchen. Try not to bring food into your office, as it will only add to the clutter and garbage. If you do decide to have a snack, make sure you clean it up as soon as possible.
  7. Hide your magazines and manuals. Old magazines, guidebooks, and manuals can stack up quickly, leaving your home office looking more like a dusty library than a Feng Shui refuge. If you’re not ready to throw everything out, hide items in a basket underneath a side table or stash them inside hollowed out ottomans. You’ll never know there’s a messy collection of Reader’s Digest underneath you feet!
  8. Buy a bookshelf. Use a bookshelf for books and manuals that you refer to frequently. Put taller items at the end of each shelf and shorter ones in the middle. This organization idea will make your books look better and stand straighter.
  9. Separate your mail. Sort your mail as soon as you come from the mailbox, and separate your personal items from business-related envelopes and packages. Take with you to your office the mail that is for work only, and keep it in a basket or on a shelf designated for mail. Each week, file or throw away old bills and envelopes to keep the stack small.
  10. Make to-do lists to keep your mind clutter-free. Breathe deeply. Don’t get overwhelmed, you’ll be able to finish it all. To avoid panic attacks at work, make yourself several "to do" lists throughout the day. Whether they’re involved outlines on the computer or a simple note dashed on a post it, keeping track of what you need to accomplish will ease your mind and keep you organized. Re-prioritize after lunch, and make a new list for the afternoon or following morning.

Following the practices of Feng Shui will help organize the movement and energy in your home office, essentially increasing your productivity and improving your mood. By balancing out the elements of fire, water, wood, and earth as you arrange furniture, maximize the benefits and focus of light and color, decorate in an organized manner, realize the potential of sound and scent, and eliminate clutter, your home office will not only be a productive environment for work, it will also be your own personal refuge.

Bootstrapping Case Study: Screencasting on the Cheap

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 8:00pm by Site Administrator

Screencasting is building into a hot niche, and tutorial videos have a great deal of potential for generating revenue. You could build a business around it. There are millions of people searching every day for information on “how to” do something, possibly on a topic you can “teach” through a video screencast. I previous wrote about bootstrapping an online information business. This post is supplementary to that one, and there is a bit of overlap here.

To clarify, screencasts are videos where you’ve “captured” your activity while running a piece of software. Camstudio is a free piece of software that lets you do that, but it has a limited feature set, if you want professional quality production, callouts, swipes, narration, etc. For that, you need something like TechSmith‘s Camtasia Studio, which runs about US$300.

I splurged earlier this year and bought a copy, and it’s worth every cent because it paid for itself in video tutorials I produced for other websites. But you don’t actually have to pay for it up front. If you follow my instructions, you can bootstrap your way. All it requires is a bit of planning, and you could generate enough income to pay for a copy.

Strategy
Here’s one way that you can spend nothing upfront on Camtasia Studio and get the benefits of the full version.

  1. Brainstorm a plan for video screencasts that you can sell online, along with how you’ll promote.
  2. Set up a Paypal account.
  3. Set up the infrastructure for a website where you’ll sell your videos.
  4. Integrate the PayPal purchase button.
  5. Download the 21-day free trial.
  6. Produce a round of videos and post them on your site for sale.
  7. Promote your videos by releasing teasers on YouTube and other sharing sites, and SplashCast. Blog about your videos, too, to drum up interest.
  8. Sell either downloadable copies of your videos or a flat or monthly membership access.
  9. Pay for a full copy of Camtasia Studio.


Variations
There are at least three variations to the process above:

  1. Start with the free Camstudio for prelimary work.
  2. Promote your for-sale screencasts by offering an excerpted tutorial to some select blogs, in return for a promotional link.
  3. Instead of selling screencasts yourself, sell them to blog owners, along with a tutorial article. If you’re using either the free Camstudio or the free trial of Camtasia Studio, you can start selling articles with videos right away. No setup, no PayPal integration.

    You could sell such blog articles for between $50-$200 each, depending on how much work they are. My own tutorials over at Tubetorial, SearchEngineJournal and Performancing took between 4-6 hours of total work each, including scripting, screencasting, production, video upload to SplashCast, article writing, editing.

    While this freelancing, which is not entrepreneuring, it could turn into a startup business.


Promotion
Ideally, you will want to have some “presence” online, maybe with a blog, before you try to sell a brand new video series. Or a very powerful copywritten sales page. This gives you a better chance of converting viewers of your teaser videos into buyers.

Summary
If you’re covering a hot topic and have screencasts that really teach something useful (such as how to use such and such software or web application) and are targeted to the right people, then there’s a good chance you could sell your series. Or you could get a promise from various bloggers that you’ll write an article and have a screencast video with it. With a bit of savvy and willingness to do the necessary work, you could turn screencasting into a business.

Obviously, you are ultimately paying for the Camtasia Studio software. However, you’ve made it work for you, without an initial cash outlay. That’s bootstrapping in action.

Bootstrap a Business Through Blogging

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 7:00pm by Site Administrator

For startups/ entrepreneurs considering launching a blog to promote business, heed the WSJ. The Wall Street Journal got it right when they said Blog it and they may come. Blogs, once established, can generate search traffic and/or regular readers.

The operative word is “can”, as there really are millions of blogs out there. It takes more than just writing, though. It takes networking and promoting your blog, as well as authoritative content to establish you as an expert on something. Do it right, and a blog can be more effective than advertising in indirectly producing sales.

What topic should you write about?
One question is ‘what topic’ to cover? Should the blog be about the business? Will anyone care? Will that drive the right readership and convert them into clients/ customers? Would a topic peripherally-related be more useful to readers? I.e., a topic that does not hard sell your services.

For example, a software company CAN blog about their updates and how great they are, but would that drive traffic? Would writing about software development be better? Would enough people read that to make it worth continuing, and are those readers ever going to buy a copy of the software?

Maybe a blog about managing a startup business or team management – with personal case studies – would be much more targeted. Wouldn’t those readers tend to be owners/ managers, and wouldn’t they be more likely to buy the product, thus justifying the blog?

Who should write on the blog?
Then comes the question of who should write this. If you want the blog to also be about the business itself, maybe you, the owner/ entrepreneur, should write. At least initially. If it’s your business, your writing doesn’t cost anything except your time, and you’re more likely to be passionate about it than a hired blogger from outside the business.

If you have the gift of good communication, then you are a good candidate. But keep in mind that the existence of the blogosphere didn’t suddenly create a world full of good communicators. Some bloggers can’t form a coherent sentence, no matter how intelligent they may be in person.

If you fall into that category, being the blogger will harm rather than help your business. Poor grammar and spelling are fine on a personal blog, not on a business blog. And I don’t mean the occasional typo. Mediocrity of topic will also harm your brand.

This is even more important if your website is actually trying to sell products or services. Blogging becomes a supplement to advertising, and can in fact be more powerful. Hiring a professional blogger, someone who can be passionate about a topic can make a difference. Making them a long-term partner, such as through vesting shares and/or a percentage of net profits, should make them more passionate – but it isn’t absolutely necessary. (That is, there are many professional bloggers who are simply passionate about writing period.)

Keep in mind, though, that if your business’ blog does well in readership/ traffic but doesn’t convert that into sales, the cost of your hosting could become a problem – as the Wall Street Journal article points out. So factor both a possible professional blogger and web hosting into your blog operating costs – at least in the medium- to long-term.

Summary
I’ve probably asked more questions than I’ve answered. Bootstrappers tend to do a lot of things themselves, usually because of lack of funds. But even a bootstrapping entrepreneur has to at some point delegate tasks they can no longer manage.

Ubuntu for Entrepreneurs: 15 Business Apps for Our Favorite OS

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 3:34pm by Site Administrator

With the entire biz-world buzzing about cause marketing and corporate responsibility, it’s no surprise that in the truest democracy on the planet – the World Wide Web – Netizens have adopted Open Source as their moral code. Not only have many migrated to open-source applications like FireFox and OpenOffice from their Microsoft counterparts, but more and more people are making the leap to Linux, fueling its rise as one of the most powerful influences in computing today – consumer demand even forced Dell to finally offer factory-installed Linux PCs.

In fact, Mr. Chairman and CEO Michael Dell himself uses the Feisty Fawn version of Ubuntu Linux at home on his Dell Precision M90 laptop. And who wouldn’t want to be like Mike? Ubuntu‘s easy installation, configuration, and support community have shaped it into what is probably the most popular personal distribution. For entrepreneurs, the widespread adoption of Ubuntu – and offshoots like Xubuntu, which uses the Xfce desktop environment and is lighter on system requirements – mean greater flexibility and cost savings. Not only is open source free, but you can avoid app bloat by picking and using (or even mashing up!) exactly what you need to run your business.

Like Mike, it is easy to understand why many entrepreneurs have crossed over Ubuntu Linux. With the ease of adoption and business utility of the following apps. And when you’re bootstrapping, who can argue with the open source promise of always free?

  1. Automatix

    In technologese, Automatix is a free graphical package manager for the installation, un-installation and configuration of the most commonly requested applications in Debian-based Linux operating systems. That translates roughly to say Automatix is a great tool to help beginners get their machine up and running quickly instead of spending billable hours trying to learn Linux from the ground up. As you evolve into an Ubuntu-guru, you may find you don’t need it anymore; but if you’re just getting started and want to quickly add tools like Skype or Google Earth, Automatix is the way to go.

  2. Firestarter

    When your most important assets, like client files and accounting records, are stored on your computer, security becomes a top priority. With helpful options like viewing active network connections and real time events, defining inbound and outbound access policy, and whitelisting or blacklisting traffic, the Firestarter firewall is a must-have in your defense arsenal.

  3. KDE Kontact

    Entrepreneurs must be experts at juggling all the minutiae of business and daily life. To keep all balls flying high use KDE Kontact Personal Information Manager to organize and manage your business. Kontact is a fully customizable alternative to MS Outlook that unites mature KDE applications, like Kmail‘s shared email folders, Kolab groupware, KOrganizer calendar sharing, KNotes sticky notes, and Google synchronization into one comprehensive suite.

  4. KMyMoney

    A contender for SourceForge.net’s 2007 Community Choice Awards, KMyMoney is a free, easy to use, personal finance manager for KDE. It provides all the same important features found in commercially-available personal finance managers like Quicken or MSMoney. For entrepreneurs, KMyMoney strives to be the easiest open source personal finance manager to use for tracking profits and loss; and it’s easy to transition to use since it follows traditional double entry accounting principles.

  5. CrossOver Office

    Here is the methadone for your Microsoft Office addiction. If you find it impossible to quit Microsoft cold turkey, CrossOver will enable you to install popular Windows productivity applications and browser plugins – including programs like Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Quicken, QuickBooks, and Lotus Notes – in Ubuntu without needing a Microsoft operating system CD or license. It includes a simple user-friendly interface and integrates directly with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu environment. You just click the application icon or name to launch exactly as you would in Windows. And even better than its contenders, any documents created using CrossOver Office applications may be opened and edited with other native Linux programs, such as OpenOffice or GIMP, so you can eventually wean yourself away to full open source freedom. The downside? CrossOver Office is only free for evaluation for 30 days, so be prepared to shell out $39.95 for a license from Codeweavers when the trial expires.

  6. Skype

    If your business knows no boundaries, Skype is a no brainer. Skype saves international entrepreneurs serious cents on long distance charges by allowing you to make calls over the Internet using your computer using decentralized peer-to-peer technologies so all calls avoid a central server. For those who are considering outsourcing customer support, Skype can be used to set up a cost-effective call center. Security is not an issue, as all communications are encrypted from end to end to quell worries of unwanted listeners spying in on calls. In fact, you can even use Skype as a home securitysystem!

  7. Pidgin

    Entrepreneurs who do most of their communicating online should try chatting in Pidgin, an instant messaging program for Windows, Linux, BSD, and other Unixes. Pidgin can log in to several accounts simulatenously on multiple IM networks – including AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, Zephyr, and even MySpace , so your clients and peers can always contact you from whichever network they currently use. Pidgin also supports many features of the various networks, such as file transfer, away messages, and typing notification.

  8. Scribus

    Design and produce press-ready output magazines, newsletters, brochures, booklets, calendars, and all other branding and marketing collateral for your company with Scribus. Scribus has similar features as professional desktop publishing programs like Quark, PageMaker, and InDesign, with spot color support, CMYK color, high grade PDF creation, Encapsulated Postscript import and export, and creation of color separations. A versatile, award-winning professional page layout program, Scribus can run on the Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops.

  9. Compiz-Fusion (Beryl/Compiz)

    Impress your clients with the stunning 3-D graphics accelerated visual effects and features of OpenGL window and compositing window manager Compiz-Fusion. The fluidity and continuous evolution of open source ware are exemplified by Compiz-Fusion‘s history of the forking of Beryl from Compiz, and its reconvening back (hence the fusion). Usable in any desktop environment, including Gnome and KDE, Compiz is flexible enough to add more features through a plugin system. Infuse creativity into your workspace and visualize it through the very cool transparent 3-D cube form that can even be set up to be controlled by WiiMote!

  10. GIMP

    To manipulate images or photos for quick uploading to websites, emails, or newsletters, bring out the GIMP. GIMP – or GNU Image Manipulation Program – provides Photoshop functionality in a free package, giving you the ability to retouch photos and compose images, with CMYK support in the works. Anyone who has used advanced graphics editors before will be easily adjust to using its familiar interface. Much better than Paint, GIMP is best for business owners who need an easy way to resize and make basic edits to images. And with the portable version, you can edit your snapshots from anywhere.

  11. Beagle

    Give your business enough time and you’ll accumulate more files in storage than you can remember. When things start to go missing, Beagle is a search tool that ransacks your personal information space to find whatever you’re looking for. Beagle also allows users to write their own simple filters by using external programs.

  12. Kompozer

    Kompozer is one of the most popular WYSIWYG HTML editor available on Windows and Linux and is open source and free. Nvu is based on Composer component of Mozilla Application Suite . Nvu allows novice or beginners who have little or no knowledge of CSS/HTML to create attractive web pages .Nvu was started by Linspire. As of now Nvu development has ceased and there is a project called Kompozer which if fork of Nvu and is unoffical bug-fix release of Nvu.

  13. Deluge

    Share files with your clients, team members, or staff with Deluge, a BitTorrent client created as an effective native, GTK-based torrent solution for Linux. Deluge is among the most feature-rich clients in development (second only to Azureus, but without the bloat, and tied with µTorrent according to Wikipedia) , and it does this without the need of tools such as Java or Wine. Because Deluge was created with the intention of being lightweight and unobtrusivewwithout monopolizing system resources, it is ideal for entrepreneurs who regularly run several programs simultaneously on their desktop.

  14. Evince

    This quick and light version of Acrobat Reader, allowing you to view documents in various formats, including PDF, postscript, djvu, tiff and dvi. This little app efficiently replaces the multiple document viewers that exist on the GNOME Desktop with a single simple application.

  15. gLabels

    Doomsday types may have predicted the death of direct mail with the rise of e-mail; yet direct mail continues to prove itself an effective approach to market reach and penetration for growing businesses. gLabels can help you with your company’s direct mail strategy by helping you create address labels, business cards, CD labels, and covers on the GNOME desktop environment. You can save on printing costs by taking advantage of gLabels database of common label and sticker formats like Avery, Neato, and Memorex, and then stopping by your local office supply store to buy and print only as many laser/inkjet peel-off labels and business cards as you’ll need per campaign.

Jetsetting entrepreneurs will have even more options available as Linux-based mobile devices enter the fray. At the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, development of the new Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded project was underway as programmers discussed a mobile version of their OS in collaboration with Intel, which plans a new low-power processor and chipset architecture for full Internet capability on mobile devices. The mobile edition is slated for release in October, together with the new Ubuntu 7.10 version.

While the use of Linux in smartphones is still comparatively low, accounting for only 6 percent of the phone OS market in 2006, demand for open source is expected to increase as more handset makers move away from older proprietary systems, an analyst with Canalys.com, surmises. He also expects demand to be strong in Asia, particularly in China. It seems even Mao would happily embrace the virtual democracy and freedom of open source.

Viable open source applications have exploded in the past few years and will continue to do so as the movement gains more and more traction. The wide user base combined with growing industry acceptance should continue to provide exciting options for entrepreneurs in the coming years.

The Green Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: 100 Networking Resources, Guides, and Links

Monday, August 27, 2007 at 2:27pm by Site Administrator

Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth in our series highlighting tools specifically targeted to individual groups within the broader umbrella of entrepreneurship. Check out the other articles in the series here: Black Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs, Hispanic Entrepreneurs.

 

Whether you’re looking for funding, news, or networking, there are lots of resources out there dedicated to green entrepreneurs. We’ve hand picked some of the best. Check out these resources that can give you the boost you need to be green and successful at the same time.

Blogs & Publications

In the ever-changing world of environmental innovation, it’s important to stay up to date on news and developments. These blogs and other publications serve up the latest in green news for business.

  1. GreenBiz: GreenBiz discusses issues that relate to environmental responsibility in business. They have resources ranging from daily news to workshops.
  2. Environmental News Network: The Environmental News Network highlights top stories in environmental news.
  3. Environment Business: Environment Business covers issues that are important to businesses and other organizations, highlighting information that will help others to implement responsible business practices.
  4. Environmental Leader: Evironmental Leader covers issues relating to corporate sustainability.
  5. Green Wombat: The Green Wombat is all about the intersection of environment, technology, business and policy.
  6. CSR Wire: The CSR Wire provides news on corporate social responsibility.
  7. Green Counsel: Stephen Filler discusses how he uses the law to promote renewable energy, environmental business and sustainability.
  8. Conscious Business: Conscious Business is about learning how to conduct a business while staying sustainable.
  9. Environmental Science & Technology: This publication offers news on environmentalism as it relates to business and education.
  10. Greener Buildings: Builders and developers who would like to make their businesses more environmentally friendly can find lots of news and resources on the Greener Buildings blog.
  11. BusinessGreen: Read BusinessGreen for insights on marketing, printing, the workplace, and legislation as they relate to sustainable business.
  12. Joel Makower: Two Steps Forward: Joel Makower discusses business practices, green marketing and trend watching.

Success Stories

If you’re not doing as well in your venture as you might have hoped, it’s easy to get discouraged. These stories offer a glimmer of hope.

  1. Patagonia: Patagonia, a 35-year-old outdoor clothing and equipment company has taken off, while promising to stay responsible. The company refuses to release toxins or create disposable, useless items that people don’t need. They use only responsible materials and aim to use recycled materials to make products that themselves can be recycled.
  2. Atlantic Gardens: This roadside garden center has implemented lots of water reduction and recovery practices that help them use every possible drop and keep their need for outside water sources to a minimum.
  3. Baile Langan Log Cottages: These cottages were built using simple, sustainable techniques. They are operated in an efficient manner as well, with employees providing guests with guidelines for environmental practices maintained in the cottages.
  4. Nu-Air Ventilation Systems: Nu-Air products efficiently ventilate, cool and heat residential buildings while conserving energy.
  5. Royal & Sun Alliance Canada: R&SA used 25% recycled content and 20% locally sourced materials to build a LEED constructed building. Inside, the building is full of refurbished and recycled furniture.
  6. APC Coatings: APC Coatings is in the metal finishing industry, a sector of business that generally creates lots of hazardous waste and consumes excessive water and energy. APC created new technologies to make improvements and operate more efficiently.
  7. Acadian Seaplants: This seaweed product manufacturer implemented a "blueprint for environmental success" to ensure long-term sustainability of seaweed resources and protection of seaweed ecology.
  8. Maritime Paper Products: Maritime Paper created a new starch mixing and storage system that has allowed them to save millions of liters of water per year.
  9. Nautel Limited: Nautel implemented a water conservation program as well as a recycling initiative.
  10. Petit Passage Whale Watch: Petit Passage has sustainable business practices that help contribute to eco-tourism and minimize waste.
  11. Atlas Cold Storage: This cold storage warehousing company has implemented several energy retrofits to make their equipment more efficient.
  12. C-Vision: This electronics design and manufacturing services company has an active waste reduction program and is working to eliminate lead from their manufacturing processes.
  13. Precision Powder Coating: Precision Powder Coating runs on a "waste not, want not" philosophy, reusing salvaged materials and reusing surplus materials.

Tools

If you’re working green, you probably want to make your office paperless. Check out these tools that make it possible to do most of your work on your computer or even online.

  1. Backpack: Instead of using lots of paper for to-do lists, ideas, and notes, put them all online with Backpack.
  2. FreshBooks: Fresh Books makes it easy to do all of your billing online, even offering the option to email bills to your customers.
  3. Breeze: Forget about sending out bulk snail mail. Send out a top-notch email campaign using Breeze.
  4. Project Stat.us: Keep your customers informed about where you are on their project. Project Stat.us makes it easy to get everyone in the loop online.
  5. Spongecell: Instead of mailing out save the date cards for your event, let everyone know what’s going on using Spongecell.
  6. Spamato: Dealing with spam takes time; time that could be better spent on your business, or even better, with your power sucking computer turned off. Check out Spamato to zap spam away.
  7. Harvest: Get your bookkeeping out of books and into Harvest.
  8. Highrise: Keep track of your customers and other contacts online using Highrise.
  9. Remember the Milk: Get your to-do list off paper and online with Remember the Milk.
  10. VStore: With VStore, you can create your own online storefront to sell your products.
  11. WordPress: Put your customer newsletter online in blog form. WordPress offers a fun and easy way to do it.
  12. Box: Forget about sending huge paper files to clients through the mail. Let them access everything online using Box.
  13. Zoho Office Suite: The Zoho Office Suite has lots of great tools, but the greenest one is Zoho Meeting. You can use this tool to share desktops, hold online meetings and more, reducing the need to travel for collaboration.

Guides and Education

For help in learning how to become green or to brush up on guidelines and standards, check out these resources for guides and education.

  1. Green Business Program Guidelines: The Bay Area Green Business Program has a list of business standards that businesses must meet to be certified as green by their organization. This is a good resource for taking stock in how well your own organization rates.
  2. Conservation International: Conservation International offers information on what businesses can do to save biodiversity.
  3. MBA in Sustainable Business: If you’re thinking about getting an MBA, why not get one that specializes in Sustainable Business? The Bainbridge Graduate Institute offers training in creating businesses that are both successful and environmentally responsible.
  4. The 3 "Rs" – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Understand the Waste Reduction Hierarchy: This article from Earth 911 details the ways in which businesses can minimize waste.
  5. Green Purchasing: Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP): Find out how to purchase environmentally friendly products using this guide.
  6. Fuel Economy: This government website is packed with advice for purchasing green fleet cars and lots of other ways to conserve energy in transportation.
  7. Sustainability Leadership Academy: For specialized seminars in sustainability, consider taking a course at the University of Oregon. They have programs designed for all levels, from senior executives to line staff.
  8. Wastes: Understanding the Hazardous Waste Rules: This guide from the Environmental Protection Agency helps small businesses understand how to comply with federal hazardous waste regulations.
  9. Green Growth Areas for Entrepreneurs: Check out this article for information on sectors that you should be watching.
  10. EPA Small Business Training: For industry-specific telecasts, manuals and more, check out this training resource.
  11. US Green Building Council: Green developers should be sure to take a look at these highly informative online courses from the USGBC.
  12. Start a Green Business: Check out this article from Entrepreneur that details how you can launch an earth-friendly business.
  13. Office Recycling Program Guidelines: Follow these guidelines for starting a recycling program in your office.
  14. EPA Watershed Academy: The Watershed Academy helps businesses understand watershed management.
  15. Find Your Path to Sustainability: Green Your Small Business: If you’re in the Toronto area, check out this ongoing workshop that aims to teach business leaders how to build a more sustainable business.
  16. How to Go Organic: This website holds a wealth of resources for businesses that want to transition into organics.
  17. Creating a Waste Reduction Program: This guide details how to implement a program for waste reduction in your business.

Networking & Organizations

Get together with like-minded business owners and individuals that can help you develop your green business and become more connected to the community.

  1. Green Business: Green Business is a community of entrepreneurs and professionals that work in green business. The group engages in networking, mentorship, and discusses best practices.
  2. World Business Council for Sustainable Development: The WBCSD hosts regular events concerning sustainable development.
  3. TreeHugger: Check out the TreeHugger forums to interact with others who are concerned about the environment.
  4. Organic Trade Association: Join the Organic Trade Association to help promote organic trade and protect the environment.
  5. Better Living Show: Showcase your environmentally sustainable product or service at this event or just learn about what others are doing.
  6. Social Edge: Many Green entrepreneurs are social entrepreneurs, too. Connect with them on Social Edge.
  7. The Nature Conservacy: Join The Nature Conservacy to get involved in conservation and get access to lots of great resources.
  8. Environmental Defense: Environmental Defense works to create lasting environmental solutions for businesses.
  9. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: The ACEEE promotes energy efficiency as a means of contributing to economic prosperity as well as environmental protection.
  10. Global Recycling Network: The Global Recycling Network is an information exchange as well as a marketplace for eco-friendly products.
  11. Green Business Conference: At the Green Business Conference, entrepreneurs can meet with other like-minded businesspeople, network and learn strategies for success.
  12. Green Seal: Joining Green Seal and getting your product or service certified as green can help increase your profit and recognition.
  13. The Sierra Club: Join the Sierra Club for resources, outings and more.
  14. ReDo: ReDo can help you locate in-kind material donations, advice, community networking and more.
  15. Ceres: The Ceres network of investors and environmentalists can help you locate investment for your company, provided it addresses a sustainability challenge.
  16. National Green Pages: If you need to hire others for a service, check out the National Green Pages to find businesses that are screened and approved as green businesses. Likewise, you can have you own company listed and attract business through the pages.
  17. Greenbuild: The Greenbuild Expo brings together professionals who specialize in green building, offering educational sessions, special events, and a large exhibit hall. You’ll have opportunities to connect with other green professionals, leaders and experts.
  18. Water Quality Association: The Water Quality Association offers certifications, education, a gold seal program and directory of water professionals.
  19. Green Business Network: The Green Business Network supports businesses with environmental advice and recycling projects.
  20. Environmental Business Council of New England: The EBC is an organization founded to help businesses in New England exchange ideas and support the development of the environmental industry.
  21. Port of Entry: Port of Entry is an online bilingual business network for the environmental sector. They offer professional exchange, trade, and collaboration.
  22. Environmental Excellence Business Network: The EEBN is a community of businesses in Kansas City that interact through events and workshops.
  23. EcoTuesday: On the 4th Tuesday of each month, environmental and socially responsible business leaders meet in San Francisco. Meetings include dialogue with a speaker as well as an opportunity to discuss and network with other attendees.
  24. US Green Building Council: Green builders and designers should join the USGBC to network with and learn from other sustainable industry leaders. As a member, you’ll also have access to lots of exclusive benefits and resources.

Assistance

There are many groups and programs that want you to succeed in green enterprise. Check out these resources for assistance, financial and otherwise.

  1. EPA Grant Information: Use this resource to find out how to get grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. Design for the Environment (DfE) Program: This program helps businesses design and redesign processes, products, and more with the environment in mind.
  3. The Frank Stanley Beveridge Foundation: This foundation considers grants that go towards environmental quality, protection and beautification.
  4. Arthur Blank Family Foundation: The Arthur Blank Family Foundation supports causes that foster positive change, especially healthy and green development.
  5. Environmental Grantmaking: This resource has a list of foundations that support environmental activities.
  6. Enterprise’s Green Communities: This program provides financial help to developers who create green low-income housing.
  7. Blandin Foundation: This group has a commitment to environmental education and has partnered with several organizations in the past.
  8. Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program: This program from the Department of Defense seeks solutions to the Department’s environmental problems.
  9. Energy Star: Energy Star offers small businesses resources to help specific facilities reduce their energy usage. You’ll also find information on the benefits of Energy Star and a calculator for savings.
  10. The Brainerd Foundation: This organization is committed to protecting the environment of the Northwest. They provide grants, guidance, leverage funding and more.
  11. Energy Star Small Business Financial Resources Directory: This directory has resources for loans, credit, consulting and more.
  12. Verde Ventures: Verde Ventures invests in small businesses who have a primary goal of conserving biodiversity.
  13. EPA Small Business Innovation Research: The EPA’s SBIR program gives awards to small high-tech firms for environmentally friendly innovations.
  14. Onion Grassroots Network: This network supports grassroots organizations that are bringing about change for the better.

Books

For more in-depth guides on green business, check out these informative books.

  1. Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots: This book is a collection of essays about activists that have worked to champion their environmental causes. It provides readers with success stories as well as resources and strategies for businesses who want to be green.
  2. The Green Baron: A Business Parable on Ecolution: The Green Baron is a story about a CEO of a manufacturing firm who changed his thinking about the sustainability of his business and was able to increase his profitability by being more environmentally conscious.
  3. Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation: Jacquelyn Ottoman describes how businesses should create and promote products that cater to customers who are environmentally conscious.
  4. Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage: This primer guides entrepreneurs through facts, lists and resources for running a green business. You’ll find stories on the successes and failures of companies who have worked to become sustainable and be able to learn from their experience, understanding what works and what doesn’t.
  5. Green Business: A Five-part Model for Creating an Environmentally Responsible Company: If you’re looking for a how-to guide for building a green business, be sure to check out this book. It covers details on how to make various aspects of your business more sustainable, ranging from your employees to your products.
  6. The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social, and Environmental Success: The Triple Bottom Line discusses how successful companies are working to build responsible businesses through social and environmental consciousness. You’ll find guidance on how other businesses achieve this as well as advice on how you can find the same success in your own company.
  7. Lean and Green: Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment: If you have a hard time grasping the concept that you can be profitable and environmentally responsible at the same time, check out this book. It’s full of examples of methods that are both environmentally and fiscally wise.

11 Web-based Project Management, Collaboration and Communication Tools

Monday, August 27, 2007 at 12:17am by Site Administrator

Entrepreneurs and business owners of today are so much more likely to be on the go and/or have remote team members. Thus, there’s a greater reliance on technology to stay connected. These so called digital entrepreneurs have a need for project management, collaboration, brainstorming and communication tools. Here’s a small sampling of some web applications that fit the bill. Some are free, some paid, and many have free trials, typically for 30 days.

Selections

Here are eleven applications selected for this article – most of which I’ve used or am leaning towards.

  1. 8apps.

    8apps collaboration tools

    Normally, I don’t like recommending applications that are in private beta, but Freelance Folder’s review of 8apps made it look so interesting that I had to mention it. [Thanks to Jon Phillips of Freelance Folder and Smart Wealthy Rich for the invite.]

    There are currently 4 apps (with 4 more to come): social networking, brainstorming + mindmapping, meetings management, and task management. Task lists and projects can be private or shared with another 8apps member.

    The Blueprint project management app needs a bit of work. As it is currently set up, it’s awkward to add new itesm. For a more indepth review, read Jon’s article, linked above.

    Drawback: you can only join if you get invited by a current member. As soon as I have invites to give, I’ll announce them.

  2. Basecamp.
    Basecamp collaboration tools

    Basecamp is 37Signals collaboration tool. It really is as simple to use as they say. You can manage your own projects or outside client projects, adding members as necessary depending on which monthly plan you’ve selected.

    Features include but are not limited to messaging, to-do lists, file sharing, time tracking, and milestone scheduling. You can customize the dashboard with color selections and use your own logo, which is ideal for client projects.

    The six plans range from free (1 active project, no storage for file sharing) to US$149/mth for unlimited projects and 50Gb of file space. All plans have a 30-day trial.

    Someone wrote [via PC World] that there were no Gantt charts in Basecamp. That’s a problem with most web-based project management applications. There is an API, in case you want to integrate Basecamp within your applications.

  3. Campfire.
    Campfire real-time web chat

    Campfire is 37Signals group chat application, and can be integrated with Basecamp. In addition to text chat and file sharing, you can discuss live image previews.

    If you are working with different teams on various (Basecamp) projects, you can create a different chat room for each. Chat history is stored, so you review previous conversations.

    Campfire can be used to add a chat room to your blog, or offer tech support to your customers. Use the API for building custom features. Plans run from free for 4 simultaneous chatters and 10 Mb of space, to $49/mth for up to 60 people at once and 2 Gb of space.

  4. Goplan.
    Goplan project management and collaboration

    Goplan offers a combination of online project management, collaboration and browser-based text chat. Features include task management, calendars, note sharing and issue tracking. RSS feeds can be used to sync the Goplan calendar to iCal or Outlook. When project changes occur, notifications can currently be sent by email, with instant messaging soon to come.

    In essence, Goplan is similar in interface and features to a combination of Basecamp and Campfire, but with some additional features.

    The developer API allows customization. Plans range from free for 2 active projects with 4 users and 5 Mb of storage space, up to $100/mth for unlimited projects and users and 8 Gb of storage.

  5. Google Calendar.
    Google Calendar

    Fine for organizing your tasks and appointments, and can be coordinated with other calendars as well as integrated with other applications.

    Google Calendar qualifies here since work calendars can be created which are sharable with one or more team mates. This application also integrates well with other 3rd party task management applications, including Remember the Milk.

  6. GTalk.
    GMail GTalk chat client

    GTalk is the chat client built into the GMail (Google Mail) Internet email client. It’s simple and requires no download. As long as you are signed into GMail, you can communicate with other GMail users that are in your contact list. Or you can turn off GTalk if you don’t want to be disturbed. The drawback is that it’s a very minimalist, almost constrictive interface and forces you to stay in your GMail browser tab. Instead, you can pop out the GTalk client, thus allow you to simultaneously use other parts of your browser (that is, if it’s multi-tabbed). If you don’t use GMail, you can also try Meebo, which is a browser-based bridge for several of the most popular text IM chat clients, including Google Talk, the downloaded version of GTalk.

  7. Ikordo.
    Ikordo meeting scheduler

    Ikordo is a meeting scheduler that works via email. Given available time slots and contact details of participants, Ikordo negotiates the best meeting time by checking with all parties. Partcipants are then notified of the final time via email, which contains an attachment that you can drag into a calendar. (It’s not clear whether this will work for Google Calendar or a desktop app such as Outlook.)

    Meeting reminders can be sent by email or text message, and their timing can be configured. E.g., send email reminders a day before, and a text message an hour before.

    Once you’ve invited someone, their contact information is stored in your Ikordo account, for easy retrieval. Invitees do not have have to  have an Ikordo account, unless they want to add their availibility through the web interface.

    The sytem itself uses NLP (Natural Language Processing), but currently only supports English. There are no user fees at present.

  8. Mindmeister.
    Mindmeister web-based mindmapping

    Mindmeister is a web-based mindmapping application. It does not have as many mindmapping features as Mindomo (below) but it does have real-time collaboration. In addition to being able share maps, two or more team members can open a map simultaneously and brainstorm. Any changes to a map are color-coded by person. If further communication is necessary, a Skype conversation (text chat or VoIP) can be launched by clicking on a team member’s name from within Mindmeister.

    Mindmeister supports the import of mindmaps from Freemind and Mindjet MindManager. So you can create maps in these applications and share them with team members via Mindmeister. Export to RTF, PDF, Freemind, MindManager or as an image.

    There are three plans: basic (free), premium ($4.16/mth), and team ($2.83/mth per person, discount for multiples of 5 members).

  9. Mindomo.
    Mindomo web-based mindmapping

    Mindomo already has an interface that comes close to rivalling desktop mindmapping applications. Now that’s even more true with new features (some only in Premium) such as node boundary types, relationship types, and hyperlink types.

    Additionally, you can open multiple maps and copy branches. The spell checker supports 11 Roman letter-based languages, including English. While it does have the real-time collaborative feature of Mindmeister, you can share maps, and lock a map to prevent simultaneous editing.

    Mindomo has four plans: free, premium, business, education. Former two are over the Internet; latter two are installed on local servers.

  10. onStage.
    OnStage project management and collaboration

    OnStage is much like Goplan and Basecamp (both above) in terms of interface and functionality. OnStage allows document sharing, change tracking, messages, conversation history, task assignment and monitoring. Each member’s calendar can be sync’d, and tasks and milestones managed from the calendar interface.

    The application runs in a variety of browsers (IE6.0, IE7.0, FF, Safari 2.0+) and is supposedly compatible with some handheld devices – though it’s not clear how. There are six plans: free (20 projects, 750 Mb, no encryption, ad supported) plus Basic ($10/mth – Ultimate ($135 /mth). The drawback is that you can only pay through Google Checkout. Yikes. Way to kill your potential sales.

  11. Wrike.
    Wrike project management

    PC World suggests that Wrike is a beefier project management tool than Basecamp (above). Wrike does go beyond in features, and emphasizes managment through email.

    The application incorporates a TimeLine view that shows Gantt charts – a rarity amongst web-based PM tools. The TimeLine can be configured for different views based on days, weeks, months, etc.

    Tasks can be assigned – including to yourself – by email, which will contain the due date. Configure email alerts based on task triggers. Tag tasks to organize them hierarchically.

    Wrike allows management of teams up to 100. The free single-user plan allows 20 tasks and offers 10 Mb of storage space. The Power user account is $5/mth, and professional/ team plans of 15-100 users go for $49 – $249/mth. There’s a 30-day free trial on all of these plans. Note that the free plan does allow sharing with other members. [Thanks to reader Cherry for the tipoff about Wrike.]

Other Applications

Items in this short list are web-based but either are not yet available, do not have full collaborative features, or are not typically associated with project management and related functionality.

  1. ActionThis. Team management solution. Coming soon.
  2. Bubbl.us. Mind mapping application, good for brainstorming.
  3. Google Docs + Spreadsheets. You can put together a basic task list in Google Spreadsheets and share it with other team members. You can even create a semblance of Gantt Charts in a spreadsheet.
  4. Workspace. Workspace is an online code development environment.


The Black Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: 100 Networking Resources, Guides, and Links

Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 2:24pm by Site Administrator

Starting out is difficult for any entrepreneur. Acquiring funds, generating publicity, fighting the competition and getting established are only a few obstacles that make the transition from amateur to professional a rocky one.

For many black Americans, the entrepreneurial adventure is doubly challenging. Simple tasks like gathering support in the community can sometimes be a problem because of archaic but still existing stereotypes or biases. To help you start your business with as few unnecessary race-related barriers as possible, we’ve formulated this list of networking tools, guides and links for you to consider. Armed with a new set of ideas, your business will be back on track to shared successes.

Blogs

Rather than trying to constantly reinvent the wheel when it comes to business strategy and ideas, its smart to rely on the advice and lessons of others. In this section we’ve compiled the best links and blogger resources to help you learn from others as well as some to help you grow your audience through technology.

  1. BlackBusinessBlog.com

    BlackBusinessBlog.com has been on the Web for a little over a year, posting brief articles about business news, tips for creating and maintaing your business, and inspirational stories that will keep you motivated. This blog also lists links to the National Black Business Trade Association and the Black Business Directory.

  2. BlackEdition.com

    BlackEdition.com is a directory of black Web sites from entertainment to business to money to religion. Keep informed about your target market and competition by checking out the sites frequently.

  3. BlackEntrepreneursHallofFame.com.

    This blog features the history of black business owners, articles about current business trends, profiles on successful black men and women, and more.

  4. CTHerd blog

    ctherd.blogspot.com gives tips on applying to colleges and internships, as well as giving advice and providing links about taking college prep tests and getting scholarships.

  5. Dr. Wright’s blog

    Dr. Wright addresses the challenges and concerns faced by today’s women entrepreneurs.

  6. Power Networking Business News blog

    The Power Networking Business News blog will keep you in the know about business conventions and events around the country. It also includes articles that give tips on helping your business grow.

  7. UrbanBOE blog The author of the Black Online Entrepreneurs Web site, LHenry, has numerous blogs on the Internet, but the UrbanBOE blog is designed to help black enterpreneurs support each other’s ventures, goals, and businesses.
  8. BlackBusinessProfessionals.com

    This Web site is devoted to training, encouraging, and developing the black entrepreneurial spirit. Become a member and gain access to resources, links, and exclusive information on how to make your business a success.

  9. Entrepreneur.com

    Entrepreneur.com isn’t exclusively about black entrepreneurs, but it provides a full arsenal of marketing tools, fundraising advice, managerial advice and human resources articles that you just can’t afford to miss.

  10. BlackBusinessSpace.com

    This Web site is perfect for anyone wanting to increase their networking contacts. Browse through lists of other black business owners and post your thoughts and questions on the site’s forums.

  11. National Black Business Trade Association

    The NBBTA Web site helps black entrepreneurs keep in contact by posting a member directory and encouraging the support of member business.

  12. NationalBlackBusinessCouncil.org The NBBC provides resources for making your business grow. Check the Web site daily for listings of events, news updates, and insider tips.
  13. Sistapreneursrock

    Another blog from LHenry, the black woman who’s generous enough to share her success stories so that others can develop their businesses beyond their wildest dreams.

  14. Einfonews.com

    Find tips on getting small business loans and building up your credit.

  15. EntrepreneurCapitalVenture.com

    Learn more about what it means to be an African American entrepreneur today.

  16. Black Buzz News

    Get your daily dose of information about black teen entrepreneurs and black women entrepreneurs, as well as links to bookstores, college information, entertainment and style

  17. BlackNews.com

    Called "The Daily News for Black Professionals," this Web site will keep you informed on everything you need to know to be a successful black businessman or woman.

  18. GoBigNetwork.com

    GoBigNetwork.com offers information on starting up your business, providing resources that deal with raising money, networking, and developing ideas.

  19. OpportunityConference.gov

    Get information on how to attend the premier conference for the leaders in minority business and economics.

Literature

There are literally hundreds of books, magazines and other literature available to help guide black entrepreneurs. In this section we’ve highlighted a few of the best of the best.

  1. The History of Black Business in America

    This book chronicles the history of all types of black business as it developed in America from the dawn of the nation to the present day.

  2. A Black Online Entrepreneur’s Web Guide: Build Your Business Online

    Find out how to successfully network by using the internet, connect with your target market, and take advantage of publicity by reading LaShanda Henry’s guidebook.

  3. Encyclopedia of African American Business History Another take on understanding black business history, this book is a resourceful tool in understanding the background where you, as a black business owner, come from.
  4. Black Enterprise

    This magazine contains articles and support for small businesses, types of careers, business news, and more.

  5. The Black EOE Journal The Black EOE Journal will introduce you to their motto "Strength in Diversity," as well as helping you advance your career and connect with other smart, successful African Americans.
  6. Turning Point Magazine

    Aimed at the black business owners’ community, Turning Point Magazine helps new entrepreneurs find their way among the obstacles and rewards of beginning a new business.

  7. How to Succeed in Business Without Being White:Straight Talk on Making it in America.

    Earl Graves’ book encourages black business owners despite the unique obstacles they face against American business culture.

  8. Success Runs in our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Netowrking in the Black Community

    This book by George Fraser encourages black entrepreneurs to network in both the business worlds and personal worlds, never ignoring the possibility of meeting a new contact.

  9. Sister CEO: The Black Woman’s Guide to Starting Her Own Business

    Being a successful black woman is not as difficult as you might think, argues Cheryl Broussard. In her book, Broussard walks black women through the step-by-step process of opening your own business.

  10. Black Entrepreneurs in America: Stories of Struggle and Success

    Michael D. Woodard’s collection of interviews and stories responds to the stereotype that making it big in the business world is impossible if you’re black.

  11. Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire

    Read the inspirational, true story of A.G. Gaston, the first African American millionaire.

  12. The Startup Journal, published by the Wall Street Journal, is an excellent source for entrepreneurs. The site includes articles and regular advice columns, an idea bank, marketing strategies, brokerage directories, and lots more information that you’ll need to start up your new company.

Business Tools

Leveraging technology and the information of others to accelerate your business’ growth is what being a bootstrapper is all about. In this section we include links to some of the most essential tools for entrepreneurs on the net.

  1. Business cards

    Never leave home without your business cards. Pass them out to people so they’ll remember your name, business, and have your contact information. You don’t have to be talking business to hand someone a card. Slip it to someone as a way the two of you can keep in touch socially. Design your own on the VistaPrint Web site.

  2. Beef up your Web site with Build-Website.com

    Become a master at web design. You want visitors to get information on you, your company’s background, and the products and services you provide. Make your site clear and inviting, and you’ll receive positive feedback.

  3. Urban Dynamics

    Become a member of this Web site and enjoy access to all sorts of business tools which cater to the black entrepreneur. You’ll be linked up to other members and learn valuable marketing tips, read advice on how to make "sense of Google AdSense," and more.

  4. QuickBooks

    If you’re starting your own company, chances are you don’t have to funds to hire someone to supervise all of your business’s accounts. With QuickBooks, you can quickly manage payroll, taxes, and other sales and expenses you acquire.

  5. Planzo.com

    Become a member of Planzo.com, and you’ll never have to keep all your calendars or planners floating around your office, home, or briefcase. Update your lists of meetings, holidays, and deadlines on the online event calendar, and your life will become a whole lot more organized.

  6. FreeMind mind mapping software

    FreeMind is a free mind mapping software designed to help you better organize your business, from your day to day priorities to long term goals. Use the above link to download the software and learn about how it can increase your productivity and keep you organized.

  7. WordPress

    Now that you’ve read about the stories of other entrepreneurs on their blogs, it’s time for you to start your own. Use WordPress to create a blog for free. Include information on fundraising goals and upcoming events and promotions to attract new readers and potential customers.

  8. Breeze

    Creating and sending out regular e-newsletters and updates will help you maintain close relationships with clients. Use Breeze to help you create, manage, and send e-mail campaigns.

  9. Nolo

    Nolo is an online resource that provides readers with information on law, patents, copyright information, and other legal information you need to know.

  10. Moo

    The folks at Moo "love to print," as it boasts on their Web site. Visit their Web site if you’re thinking of printing promotional materials like flyers, bumper stickers, or mailers.

  11. Vstore

    If you don’t have a brick and mortar in which to sell your products, start selling online with the help of Vstore. This free software helps set up your Web site with online shopping carts, logo design, and more.

  12. Box

    Organize your business files more easily with Box, which allows you to send and share documents quickly and easily.

  13. Zoho

    Zoho is an almost entirely free office suite service that features word processing, presentation tools, spreadsheets, planners, and more.

  14. MySpace.com

    Create a MySpace page for networking purposes. Your contacts list will grow immensely as you meet new "friends" online and share with them news about your budding business.

  15. SimpleBusinessTools.com

    Browse this Web site to find software aimed to help your business succeed. Marketing strategies, meeting plans, and other great ideas are just a click away.

  16. Facebook

    Facebook is another online networking tool that proves beneficial to spreading the word about you and your entrepreneurial vision.

Guides and How-tos

In case you need a little extra direction when you design your Web site or start organizing the administrative aspect of your new business, these guides will walk you through the process.

  1. Business Resource Software

    Invest in Business Resource Software, and watch your business plan evolve from bright idea to profitable reality. The computer program comes with tutorials on marketing, planning, and sales strategies, as well as a directory of consultants waiting to help walk you through the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

  2. The Small Business Sourcebook

    The Small Business Sourcebook contains listings of conventions, guides, and other information about every type of business industry in the country. Refer to this book often to learn more about upcoming events in your industry, find out about your competition, and research high-profile leaders in the business world.

  3. Inc.com

    Inc.com claims to be "the daily resource for entrepreneurs," and with its articles and advice columns dealing with everything from operating your company on a global scale, client relations, sales, and acquiring capital, it proves to be a valuable source worth referring to.

  4. Host a fundraiser with the help of Party411.com.

    Plan a party for your business and ask each guest to make whatever donation they can. The fundraiser can be held in a fancy ballroom with lots of press, or you can make it fun and casual in your backyard. Just make sure your guests are comfortable and don’t feel pressured to give more than they can…otherwise they might resent you and your new business.

  5. Free Management Library

    The Free Management Library serves as an online database of business tools and resources to help you organize your new company.

  6. Work.com

    Search this Web site for helpful tips on how to manage all aspects of your business.

  7. AllBusiness.com

    AllBusiness.com gives readers expert advice on entrepreneurial matters, from mapping out your career goals to marketing your new company to budgeting employees.

  8. FindLaw

    FindLaw puts new business owners in contact with the legal advice experts that help answer questions about contracts, property rights, and other legal issues.

  9. U.S. State Department Travel Web site

    On this site, the U.S. State Department outlines travel information and security alerts, as well as currency, trading, and customs information for the business traveler.

  10. BizWeb

    This directory of online businesses with help you stay abreast of the competition.

  11. Internal Revenue Service homepage.

    It’s probably not your favorite time of year, but when your taxes are due, you’d better make sure they’re in order. This site gives information to small business owners so you can keep track of the right forms, expenses, and employee tax information.

  12. American Red Cross Business and Industry Guide

    This how-to prepares "your business for the unthinkable" by helping you determine plans for all types of emergencies.

  13. Entrepreneur.com How-To section

    This database from entrepreneur.com features titles like "25 Ways to Simplify Your Business" and "Top Tips for Dealing With Biz Disasters."

  14. International Business Center

    This Web site gives readers access to all types of information and advice for doing business globally.

  15. The Closet Entrepreneur

    The Closet Entrepreneur is a blog full of advice on how to expand your business without spending excessive amounts of time or money. Browse through titles like "5 Steps to PowerPoint Enlightenment" or Business Backwards 101."

Nonprofit and Government Resources

Just because your business if for-profit, doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some assistance from non-profits and governmental organizations. In this section we highlight some of the most useful groups to help you get your busienss off the ground.

  1. NAACP

    The mother of all social and minority organizations, the NAACP is a powerful resource. Contact your local chapter and find out what kinds of opportunities they have for you, whether it’s volunteering, sitting on a board of advisors, or supporting your business.

  2. Minority Business Development Agency

    The Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and according to its Web site, is the only "federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America." The agency has several centers across the country, or you can just refer to the Web site to gain access to tools on how to better your entrepreneurial ambition.

  3. The Encyclopedia of Associations

    There are several different volumes of this encyclopedia, ranging from international to national directories of nonprofit organizations.

  4. U.S. Small Business Administration

    The SBA, as it is most commonly referred to, was created to protect and nurture the small business owners of America. Visit the Web site to access tools on formulating a business plan, developing sales, and maximizing profits. You’ll also find information on your basic rights as an entrepreneur in the United States.

  5. USA.gov

    Visiting this Web site will answer all the questions you have regarding your rights, opportunities, and restrictions when dealing with the U.S. government. For instance, if you wish to sell products or form a partnership with any government group, you will have to research all the rules, regulations, and documents you’re required to adhere to.

  6. Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress’ Business Reference Services is a comprehensive resource for any entrepreneur who wants to learn more about his or her own industry, learn more about starting up a new company, or stay abreast of general business and economic news.

Sources of Capital

It takes money to make money. And whether your business is big or small, coming up with business capital is an important way to accelerate your companies growth. In this section we highlight some important ways to get the cash you need to make it.

  1. Prosper

    Prosper is like an online social networking community, but its purpose is to encourage the borrowing and lending of capital.

  2. Online grassroots campaign with Startupnation.com

    Visit StartupNation.com to find out how you can get to the top through grassroots marketing.

  3. The Black Capital Network

    The Black Capital Network is devoted to "promoting African American businesses and the black community" by helping black entrepreneurs form relationships and assist each other financially.

  4. Harvard Capital Group

    The Harvard Capital Group aids entrepreneurs in their pursuit to raise capital and start running a profitable business. Click on the link above to read tips for the president of Harvard Capital Group to get an idea on how you can work to find the right kind of investors.

  5. vFinance, Inc.

    This Web site boasts of large directory of capital firms and investors, allowing you to search through their lists on the basis of amount, industry, and location.

  6. BusinessFinance.com

    Another online directory of loan and business capital firms, BusinessFinance.com also walks visitors through the process of applying for and securing loans, approaching potential investors, and more.

  7. UPS

    Though they may seem like an unlikely resource for securing startup capital, the boys in brown have an entire system devoted to helping entrepreneurs finance their new companies. Visit capital.ups.com for more information.

  8. GoBIGNetwork

    This online network helps you find the right investors who are most willing to back your enterprise.

  9. How to Raise Money for Your Business

    Read this article from Entrepreneur.com to find ways to effectively raise capital.

  10. PowerHomeBiz.com

    In this article, Isabel M. Isidro explores the many tools and resources you need to raise money for your business.

  11. BusinessKnowhow.com

    Janet Attard from BusinessKnowHow.com helps visitors to the Web site find investors and raise money for new businesses.

  12. How corporations Raise Capital

    This tutorial explains how big corporations raise capital and how you can learn from their success stories.

  13. VentureWorthy.com

    VentureWorthy.com helps entrepreneurs and investors recover from the dot-com hysteria and prepare them for doing business in a new economic climate.

  14. The Capital Raising Program

    Follow this 5-step program to reach your fundraising goal.

  15. SurePayroll.com

    Take notes from the folks at SurePayroll.com, who give readers plenty of advice on all the aspects of raising capital.

  16. Direct Public Offering

    Read this article at GoPublicToday.com to find out about a new form of acquiring capital through the stock market: direct public offering.

  17. FundingPost

    FundingPost is another online brings entrepreneurs and investors together on the Web and by scheduling events for them to meet face to face.

  18. RaiseCapital.com

    This site is "where entrepreneurs and investors meet," according to the Web site. Log in and start searching to find your company’s match.

Profiles of Successful Black Entrepreneurs

Rather than forging ahead relying entirely on your own wits, why not take a page from the lessons learned by other black entrepreneurs. This section will highlight some of the most inspirational african american entrepreneurs which will help inspire and guide you on your path.

  1. Andrew Jackson Beard

    Though this former slave came from humble beginnings in 19th-century Alabama, he is most known for his patented invention of the plow. With the money he earned, Beard started his own real-estate business.

  2. George Washington Carver

    Also a former slave, George Washington Carver was born in Missouri, where he became known as "the Peanut Doctor" because of his unusual gift for nurturing plants and food crops. Eventually the Director of Research and Experiment at Tuskegee University in Alabama, Carver invented new trends in agriculture, including crop-rotations and developing uses for the peanut plant.

  3. Elijah McCoy

    After escaping North America to avoid racial discrimination, Elijah McCoy was educated as an engineer in Europe. He eventually made his way to the United States, where he began inventing valuable tools for the Michigan Central Railroad, including various kinds of lubricators.

  4. Madame C.J. Walker

    After growing up as a sharecropper in the Reconstruction-era South and as a domestic servant in St. Louis, Madame C.J. Walker (who was known at the time as Sarah Breedlove), developed an original line of hair care products for African American men and women, including straightening serums. Eventually, Walker began selling her hair care and beauty products, opened a beauty school, and moved to New York City, where she became one of the first black women millionaires.

  5. John Merrick

    As the founder of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company, John Merrick is widely regarded as one of the more important black entrepreneurs. Raised by a single mother, Merrick went on to found other insurance companies and banks during the turn of the twentieth century.

  6. Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore

    A sometime partner of John Merrick, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore also founded many insurance companies, especially health-related organizations, in Durham, North Carolina.

  7. Daymond John

    As founder and CEO of the iconic clothing line FUBU, Daymond John assisted in creating the image of African American youth in the last decade.

  8. Kenneth I. Chenault

    According to CNN.com, Kenneth I. Chenault is "one of the most powerful and influential people on Wall Street. As Chairman and CEO of the American Express Company, he is also "one of only three African-American CEOs of a Fortune 500 company."

  9. S.B. Fuller

    Originally a door-to-door salesman in Louisiana, S.B. Fuller eventually started his own lucrative cosmetics business before buying out many other large corporations, including the Courier newspaper chain.

  10. Jay-Z

    One of the most popular and influential entertainers around today, Jay-Z is also responsible for launching a wildly successful enterprise including his famed Def-Jam and Roc-A-Fella Records, as well as his clothing line Roccawear, co-founded with partner Damon Dash. Jay-Z is also the co-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and is worth a reported $340 million.

  11. Oprah

    One of the most recognizable faces on the planet, Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest, most successful public figures ever, let alone a notable Africna American entrepreneur. Widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the world, Oprah overcame poverty and molestation during her upbringing in the Deep South. Now the president of Harpo Productions, Oprah is also an actress, philanthropist, and the publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine, and O at Home Magazine.

  12. Catherine L. Hughes

    Catherine L. Hughes is the founder of Radio One, the largest African American run broadcast company. Her son, whom she had when she was just 17 years old, now runs the Washington D.C.-based company.

  13. Arnold W. Donald

    As the President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Arnold W. Donald continues to enjoy his prominent career as a leader in the business world. In 2000, Donald founded the Merisant Company, which is devoted to discovering foods and sweeteners — such as Equal– that are healthy and nutritious.

  14. Emma C. Chapell

    Emma C. Chappel’s struggle to found the United Bank of Philadelphia proved successful in 1992 when she opened the first black-owned Philadelphia bank in several decades. A champion of the black entrepreneurial spirit, Chappell is also an authority when it comes to networking and developing relationships with investors.

Armed with these networking and business tools and a healthy dose of much-deserved self-confidence, you’re ready to take your business to the next level. Rely on the support of your family and community, and be proud of your success.

Productivity Pointers – Thur Aug 23, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 11:45am by Site Administrator

Need to set a fire under your productivity? Entrepreneurs always have many things going on simultaneously, and sometimes the sheer volume can overwhelm. And that reduces productivity. Well, whether you need a productivity boost for research or work, you’re in luck. Here are a few articles recently appearing in the blogosphere that should help. [Updated: with an additional 2 entries whose references I'd misplaced earlier.]

  1. Mobile productivity tools. If you’re on the go, you might be suffering a few pangs of non-productivity. But there are tools out there that might help. Mashable lists over 45 mobile productivity resources.
  2. Research productivity tools. College Degree has a list of 99 mindmapping resources, tools, and tips. Of course, it isn’t just for students. I’ve been using mind mapping for a very long time for both study and work.
  3. Managing your to-do list. Web Worker Daily provides a secret to managing to-do lists – keep them small – and an explanation of why this works.
  4. Turn off instant messaging. Xfep suggests turning off text chat to increase productivity. I can’t emphasise how effective this is. Text chat might be more convenient than email or phone in some ways. However, if you’re carrying on one of those chats where you talk for a few minutes, do something else, then chat some more, it’ll be hard to concentrate. I use this tip regularly, but sometimes not enough.
  5. A plethora of productivity tips. Instigator Blog asked readers to submit their best productivity tips, which resulted in an index of great tips. This is a must-check resource.

 

Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs #6

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 11:00pm by Site Administrator

[updated] Welcome to the sixth Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs (CoBE #6). Critieria for inclusion: relevant to bootstrapping, entrepreneuring, startup/ small businesses.

To be fair to everyone, entries are selected approximately in order of submission. Please support this carnival by linking back to this post. Because of the volume of entries, I’m reducing the number of summaries and present 1-3 picks of the week.

Picks of the Week

This week’s picks:

  1. Planning an Business Trip by Mike Harmon.
  2. Quiz: What Kind of Entrepreneur Are You? by Skip Shuda [updated].
  3. A Motivation Secret of Top Performing Managers by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler.
  4. Evaluation is Critical for Success. How to Measure Your Progress by Millionaire Mommy.

Other Entries

These are the remaining entries for this edition.

  1. Are You A Good Facilitator? by Louise Manning.
  2. If You Really Want Something Done, Find a Busy Person To Do It by Adam.
  3. Want to Waste Some More Time Before You Start Your Business? by Stefan Töpfer.
  4. Going to the Top Too Fast by Wilson Ng.
  5. Business Productivity With New Media: 10 Questions by Noric Dilanchian.
  6. The Money Series – Why Didn’t I Think of That Billionaires by Edith Yeung.
  7. Watch For Upwarding Leaping Monkeys by Jack Yoest.
  8. From iPhone to YouTube – The Viral Marketing Method by Eric Hudin.
  9. Do You Really Want to Buy a Franchise? by Tom Stanley.
  10. Learn Good Customer Service by Jason Rakowski.
  11. Leveling the Playing Fields by Stacey Derbinshire.

That ends this second edition of the Carnival of Bootstrapping Entrepreneurs. Any articles submitted on or after Aug 13th that meet the criteria but not appearing here will likely appear in the next edition.

Please use the submission form for future editions. Limit one entry per week per person. If you find you are not getting into this blog carnival, please read 11 tips for being included. I’ll particularly point out a few reoccurring problems:

  1. Submitting the same article twice. Always send something fresh. It’s not that hard to keep a spreadsheet of your submissions to all carnivals.
  2. Submitting 2+ articles within 5 minutes of each other. Do not send more than one entry per week or ALL of them will be deleted. Don’t make me do your work for you – choose your recent best and send that.
  3. Don’t make paragraphs too long or backgrounds colored. Anything that makes it hard to read your article reduces the chances that it’ll be read and accepted.
  4. Way off topic or simply not targeted at bootstrapping entrepreneurs, or even entrepreneurs in general. If you’re talking only about wealth, career, blogging, etc., in your article, if you do not tie the topic in to business or entrepreneuring, then I might not accept it. If it’s selected for a Pick of the Week, then I’ll summarize it and do the tie in. But if it’s not picked, then I won’t put it in the rest of the carnival edition.


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