Minority Business Development Agency looking for guest bloggers

This from the Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA’s Minority Business Blog is looking for Guest Bloggers.  We would like to invite you to write a guest post on the MBDA Minority Biz Blog. The topic should be relevant and something that provides information or tools to minority businesses to help them grow and be competitive.  It also serves as communication outreach with the business community, and we also like to highlight stories about successful minority-owned businesses.   Currently, we are looking for a few guest bloggers to create a series of articles.  To start we ask that you submit at least one article for publication on the MBDA Minority Business Blog

Together we can build the next generation of $100 million dollar minority businesses.  Please add your voice to the minority business community.
Some guidelines for submitting guest blogs:
* The article content must fit within the vision and mission of MBDA and add value to MBEs.

* The article should be original content that has not been previously published on any site.

* The article should be between 400 and 600 words in length.

* We can add images, but if you have an image to accompany yourarticle – it would be appreciated.  If necessary, include appropriate photo credit or copyright information.

* OLEIA reserves the right to edit or not use any articles we feel are inappropriate in anyway.
Please submit blog articles to Public_Affairs@mbda.gov

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Senator Olympia Snowe comments on SCORE

Senator Olympia Snowe comments on SCORE.   Highlights SCORE’s contribution to small business.

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Karen Mills – SBA Head Lauds SCORE

Here is a short video by Karen Mills, head of the SBA, talking about SCORE.  Remarks at at the SCORE Awards, September, 2009

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Workshop attendee from Peoria says thanks

Mark Hutchinson, of Peoria Awning Company came to our Selling Like the Pro’s workshop on December 8th.   Mark wrote a note to our workshop presenter Read Bradford ” Just a note to say thank you for the book and your time at the SCORE session on Tuesday.  I really appreciated the opportunity to hear your comments.”

Furthermore, in a follow up note, Mark wrote  “I commend you and SCORE for such good sessions with good speakers.  I have attended your sessions for a number of years and have found each one to be of benefit.”

We reach small business owners throughout Illinois.  For information on our workshop programs, see our website at:  www.scorechicago.org

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Segment your marketing and sales efforts to be successful

Sharon Aby says there is no such thing as a universal market.  Sharon discusses a client situation where that client wanted expand from the consumer marketplace to the commercial market.

She highlights that your sales and marketing process for one market is different than another market.

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City of Chicago deserves recognition for First Annual TechExpo

Despite the Olympic disappointment of last Friday, the city deserves kudos for Thursday’s TechExpo at the UIC Forum .

The official line on the Tech Expo was…

The Chicago TechExpo introduces and connects small business owners to technology solutions to grow and evolve their businesses. The one–day conference and exposition provides relevant, training and education, to allow business owners to learn how technology can improve operations, minimize time spent on administrative tasks, market their business and increase sales by using a very powerful tool: technology.

The training and education provided at the conference will empower business owners to ask questions and gain a better understanding of what technology to implement and when the best time to do so.

In today’s highly competitive environment businesses thrive by having the right technology at the right time.

The theme for this first annual conference is Positioning your business for the future. Now more than ever it is critical for businesses to position themselves for growth and technology is a powerful tool.

The city gets an A for effort.  There was a set of sponsors and exhibitors ranging from Microsoft, Harris Bank and Best Buy, through such companies as SurePayroll and Openhill, to small IT consulting and web development companies.

Attendees got a great exposure to a wide rage of IT related solutions.  While this is a start, we need to go forward..  Chicago of the 20th Century was a wonderful invention driven city.  While service is important, next year, it would be great to see a bit more on invention.

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4 Tips for Dealing with Tech Support

  1. Make sure that you write down your ticket number and document who you talked to
  2. Understand that they may know about their product, but not how their product works with other products
  3. Recognize that it will take much longer than you expect
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, you will likely have to try again

See my experience below.

Last week, I had three tech support experiences.  I worked with AT&T, my small web company, and Apple.  I was not really sure what to expect.  With AT&T, since it is basically the combination of SW Bell and Bell South,   was skeptical.  My small web site company, I had dealt with in the past.  They are normally pretty responsive.  Apple, I had heard was very good.

First, I had AT&T.  I was trying to get a high speed modem installed.  I pulled out the CD, and within about 10 minutes, it was clear that self install, was not going to be without help.   I called the number and got India.  Rarely a good thing.  However, my tech support guy Sam (wonder what his real name is) was very good.  He walked me through setting up the modem and then setting up the router.  When the call was dropped, he actually called back.   Wow, I was impressed.  It took an hour and half, but it worked.

Then, I called my local website person.  Now this is a company that I am paying $27 per month for web hosting.  I do it because their support is normally first rate.  I wanted to really understand the choices and options between Pop email and iMap.   I had gone to the adin area and seen the options.  However, with an iPhone, I didn’t know which one would serve me best.  After some reasonable discussion, neither did the tech support person.   I had stretched her beyond her level of knowledge.  I came to the conclusion that just because they offer it, it does not mean they understand it.

Lastly, I came upon Apple support.  I had downloaded a user manual for the iPhone and had found it hard to find anything.  I had a question that seemed simple to me. “ How to put videos on to the iPhone.”  The Apple experience was pretty strange.  First, the tech support person explained to me that the iTunes icon on my iPhone, had nothing to do with iTunes on my computer.    If I wanted to put videos on my iPhone, I had to use the iPod feature.  Then, I was asking how to put things into iTunes on my PC.  I was getting an error message.  When the tech support person researched the error, it seemed like all he did was go into Google and try to find and answer..  After a while, I think he gave up and just disconnected me.

Then, I had to go back through Apple support, get escalated to a product specialist, and had to spend at least an hour with her.  While she was available, we worked really hard to discover that iTunes took certain formats, and if you can’t get to those formats, then it won’t work.  The tech support person suggested some ideas, but had no solutions.

In conclusion, to my surprise,  AT&T ranked best, then my local website company, then Apple.  That being said, they all tried, but my recommendation, to anyone when using tech support is… use the rule of 3.  Everything will take 3 times longer, and be 3 times more complex.

P.S.  I am surprised for as long as the iPhone has been around, for the most part tech support, even Apple is pretty ignorant.

P.P.S.  I had another run with AT&T since the network when down 3 days later.  The support was very good, but it was too bad it happened.  This time I went from Nevada to Texas to Chicago.

This Season’s CANTV 21 Hotline show listing

Our CANT21 Hotline season is coming to an end.  We have one more show left.  Here is a listing of shows so far.  Special thanks to the CANTV staff.    Next week, we will interview Arthur Kitlas,  a construction entrepreneur about building a business as an immigrant

Here are the shows so far this season.

Why attend a Trade Show-Small Business help  – Matt Heinze: GES Exhibition Services http://blip.tv/file/2635449 —  September 22

Obama Stimulus Plan (ARRA) – How can you participate –  Kevin Ferguson: Kwame Building Group http://blip.tv/file/2610567 — September 15

Help with Email Marketing –   Steve Robinson: Constant Contact http://blip.tv/file/2622599—  September 8

How an Online Internet Services Company doing Payroll Works – Michael Alter: Surepayroll, Inc http://blip.tv/file/2546364 — September 1

Help Developing your Business Plan – Carlos Bastidas http://blip.tv/file/2519453 — August 25

How a Business Started – Kathryn Kerrigan : Kathryn Kerrigan Footwear http://blip.tv/file/2491231 — August 18

Help with Sales & Marketing – A Process for Success– Sharon Aby : Beyond Ideas http://blip.tv/file/2465442 — August 11

Get Loan Help from a Banker – Meghan Kearns : Harris Bank. http://blip.tv/file/2497513 — August 4

How Social Media helps Small Business – Jacob Cynamon http://blip.tv/file/2416632/ — July 28

Buying a Business & Internet Use Policy Development Domenic Rinaldi : Chicagoland Suncoast and Dahlia Saper: Saper Law http://blip.tv/file/2416283— July 21

Networking Help from a Chamber of Commerce Bernadette Shanahan Haas : Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce http://blip.tv/file/2388822 — July 14

Help with Trademarks & Copyright- Brian Fons: Corporate Creations http://blip.tv/file/2380479 — July 7

Understanding Media from Marshall McLuhan:Thoughts for Small Business

Marshall McLuhan was one of the foremost writers about media in the 20th Century.  He created  “the media is the message”.  Recently, I have been rereading Understanding Media.  The book is packed full of ideas.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of these ideas.

My goal is to put these ideas into the context of the internet, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.   Also, draw some parallels between McLuhan’s innovative look at media in the middle of the 20th Century, and today’s new media.

The first part of this comes from the editor’s introduction by W. Terrance Gordon.  Gordon notes that  We think of media principally as a media of communication; press, radio and television.  McLuhan thought of a medium as an extension of the human body or mind; clothing extends the skin….A medium, or a technology can be an extension of the human being.

Media comes in pair, one “containing” the other.  So the telegraph contained the printed word. …. The contained medium is the message of the containing one, but the effects of the latter are obscured for the user who focuses on the former. Because those effects are so powerful, any message in the ordinary sense of “content” or “information”  has far less impact than the medium itself.  Thus  “the medium is the message”

What does this mean for a business person?  Increasingly, the internet is allowing for a large scale conversation done electronically with each individual.  What we could call an e-conversation.  When you create content, think about how is that content an extension of you and your business.

Also, when you create content, you must create the content a subset of the medium.   A 60 minute presentation works in person, but putting the video up on YouTube can be problematic.  Looking at Web 1.0 (the internet in the 1990’s) as a medium:  for many businesses, the response was putting their brochures up on the internet. But over time, the internet developed its own set of protocols.  Your brochure was no longer enough.

These two points are a good start.  More to follow

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2 Special SCORE Chicago Workshops in September that can help your business

In September, SCORE Chicago is offering two special programs that can help your business.

On September 14th, Sharon Aby will be presenting STEPPING UP TO 21ST CENTURY SELLING:  Creating a Virtual Cycle of Innovation, Markets and Customers for Life.” Revenues are down and profits are sinking,” is becoming a familiar lament coming from many businesses today. Faced with greater competition and a tighter economy, companies are spending more money on sales and marketing with no return on their investment. Chances are they are doing the same things that they’ve always done expecting to have different results. If this sounds familiar, this workshop is for you. The workshop explains the dynamics of the 21st century marketplace and will teach you how to sell and market your company differently in order to be successful today.  To register for the workshop, http://bit.ly/21CenturySelling

Sharon was a guest on our CANTV 21 Hotline Show.  This week her video  “What Behaviors make a Good Sales Person” is most popular video on our channel.  You can see this video below.

On  September 30th, Becky Davis and Patrick  Elward will be presenting DESIGNING YOUR WEBSITE:  Things Every Business Owner Needs to Know. This website design workshop is geared toward business owners who are either getting started with their first website or have an existing website that they would like to improve.  During this workshop, we will walk participants through the standard graphic design process for a website and show them how to make design decisions themselves or find and work with a graphic design professional to take their website to the next level of quality and customer satisfaction.   To Register for this program,  http://bit.ly/DesignWebsite

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