Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LeBron James and Your Business

It was amazing to see all of the buzz that the recent free agency of LeBron James has created in the sporting world, but it is also interesting to evaluate the corollaries between the Lebronathon and the marketing small businesses try to engage in.  Here are two takeaways your business can learn from the LeBron James decision:

1) Let Your Excellence Demand Attention-

LeBron James was able to do something that most small business owners wish they could do, command the attention of the world.   It is amazing that one player was able to get the number 1 sports media outlet to change their scheduling and allow him to make his announcement on their station.  Now it is highly unlikely for you to be able to get your product on CNN, Fox Business or other major media outlet today, but there is a lesson to be learned from LeBron.  Be excellent and your excellence will put you in a position to get the attention that you need.  LeBron had measurables (key statistical figures) in his field that put him as arguably the best available player in this year’s free agent class.  Because of that he was able to demand and get attention.  Make sure that as you develop your product or service, you have a way to demand attention because you have the “stats” to back up your excellence.  Something that will allow people to see why they need you.

2) Improve Your Management and Retain Key Employees-

LeBron James leaving Cleveland was a great blow to the fans of Cleveland and to the Cavaliers organization.  Almost instantly, LeBron James was converted from a hero to public enemy number one.  But much of the blame for LeBron’s departure has to be placed squarely on the feet of management.   Dan Gilbert and his management team simply did not put a team around LeBron James that put him in a position to win a championship and it did not appear that they had the capacity to do so.  Furthermore, following LeBron’s very public departure, Mr. Gilbert wrote a letter that appeared more apt for a bitter 13-year-old ex-girlfriend or boyfriend than a high profile company owner.  That letter could significantly impact how future star player perceive his management style, role as an owner and how he treats players.  What are you doing in your business to ensure that you indispensible employees stay with the organization?  What are their opportunities to meet their goals?  What ARE their goals?  Also, if someone does leave, what signal are you allowing to be sent to current and future employees?  Make sure that your properly and respectfully manage your organization.

The business of sports can provide many examples of general business principles… What examples do your see?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Running an Effective Facebook Promotion?

It is always interesting to watch and see which social media promotions seem to work and which seem to not generate as much interest as the promoter would like.  What are some of the keys that a company or individual should keep in mind when starting  a promotion and how can they increase the odds of effectiveness?  Let me use a promotion that I currently am taking part in to demonstrate some key principles:

1) Keep it simple

I decided that I would enter in a promotion that the Sofitel Miami Hotel is sponsoring in an attempt to win a weekend getaway.  I am getting married soon and thought that it would be a fun promotion to try to win.  The rules of the promotion were fairly simple.  They requested that all the interested parties email a picture of Miami to them.  That picture would then be displayed on their website and the picture that is “liked” the most would be the winner of the weekend getaway.  The.benefit to going this route is that it allows Sofitel Miami Hotel to have the contestants recruit followers to the site and then increase it social media base organically.

2) Be engaging

The second critical element to an effective social media campaign is that it needs to be something that is engaging.  People have to become and remain interested in what you have offered to them.  In the Sofitel Miami Hotel campaign, it has been interesting to following how engaged its participants have been.  There really has not been a high level of promotion of the contest by the participants so far.  They did have a two week window for “liking” the photographs, so a lot can still happen, but you need to make sure that if you want the promotion to work, that the “promoters” that you have are fully engaged in the process.

3) Offer a reward

In this instance of the Sofitel Miami Hotel campaign, the reward is a weekend getaway at the hotel.  What the reward does, is that it gives individuals further incentive to promote your product.  The reward could be discounts, free merchandise, or other contests.  The reward is what helps people to become more engaged in the process and feel more committed to the promotion process.


I recognize that this is a bit self interested, but here is my photo for the contest: Robert Rogers Photo Link.  If you feel so incline, I would love the vote.  Also, feel free to leave a comment about what you think are good techniques for a Facebook promotion.

Friday, May 14, 2010

South Florida Small Business Spotlight: Legens Publishing

This week, the spotlight is on local publishing company, Legens Publishing.  Enjoy getting to know this Miami small business.  If you or someone you know should be spotlight, feel free to send me a message at:

What is your business name?

Legens Publishing

How long have you been in business?

One year

What industries do you serve?

Bookstores and Internet-Interactive children’s website

What motivated you to start your own business?

Business development is a talent that I have always possessed. The lack of employment opportunities in the present  economy served to remind me of how much I have enjoyed entrepreneurship in the past, and it propelled me to take on another business endeavor.

If there is one aspect of your business that sets you apart, what would it be?

Involving and nurturing needy children. Guiding them to believe in themselves and to pursue their dreams. Grooming them for their future careers.

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

I enjoy growing a business; it offers me an opportunity to provide others with the chance to expand their talents and develop their dreams. I enjoy mentoring others and seeing them excel.

Who is your ideal client/customer?

Children age five to twelve, their parents, and grandparents

What is something that you have learned as a small business owner that could assist other small businesses?

Entrepreneurship affords one opportunities to serve the community outside of the boundaries and limitations that large organizations implement.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your business? 

Legens’ vision is to establish a not-for-profit foundation for needy children in which the children will have a hand in the operation of the business. The hands-on opportunity for learning, by having children earn a seat on the “Chalk Board of Directors” of the company, will give children the opportunity to learn the basics of marketing and promotion, business skills, and virtual teamwork as they strategize and communicate with each other via the internet.

Legens is planning to create a repertory acting/performing company designed to entertain as well as to educate children. We will offer youth a wholesome outlet for their imaginations while simultaneously grooming them for their future careers as they deal with the challenges of growing up.


Additional Information:


 Legens Publishing was just awarded a $5,000. government grant. The funds will be used for current and future promotional and marketing plans, to make the website more educational and interactive, to offer children a club membership and an opportunity to learn the basics of marketing and promotion by earning a seat on the “Chalk Board of Directors” of the company. The grant was offered by Miami Dade Community Action Agency as a Micro Enterprise Grant and it was my first attempt at grant writing!

Over its lifetime, Legens Publishing hopes to accomplish the establishment of a foundation for needy children in which the children will have a hand in the operation. I aspire to create a repertory acting/performing company to entertain as well as to educate children to pursue spiritual and personal growth as they deal with the challenges of growing up.

We have held two book signings at Borders Books at the Dolphin Mall (picture above) and already have a long list of future regional events planned. Barnes & Noble has purchased the book for their New York store and I expect it will be available in all the Barnes & Noble and Borders' stores very soon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Entrepreneur Profile: Robert Rogers

I was recently profiled on, a local site about Coral Gables businesses and events.  I had a great discussion about entrepreneurs and small businesses and ways to improve their impact on the city.  Here is a link to the article:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Small Business Work Week More

I think all of us would like to get a little more enjoyment out of the sometimes more mundane things that we face on a daily base.  All too often work moves to the top of the list of things that people dislike.  Here are 5 ways that you can enjoy your business week more.

1) Incorporate One Passion Into the Work you Do-

Everyone has things that they love to do or information/ideas that they love to follow.  Our workload becomes far more interesting when we can find a way to bring that passion in to the things that we are doing in our jobs.  Take some time to make a list of the things that are most interesting to you.  Then make a list of some of your responsibilities or tasks at work.  Compare the two lists to see if there are some things from the first list that you can merge with the things that you are doing on the second list.  You would be surprise to see how you attitude about those tasks changes when you incorporate things you are passionate about.

2) Find a Way to Serve-

Service has an amazing way of invigorating the mind and motivating us to become more engaged in the work that we are doing.  Don’t discount the impact that it can have in making the work that we do become more meaningful.  Service can happen in a couple different ways: 1) plan projects with co-workers to build up  your community or 2) find ways to do something extra for clients, neighbors, co-workers or friends.  Set aside some time each week to do something entirely focused on someone else.  It will enrich your work week.

3) Cut Out the Unnecessary-

Take careful stock of all the tasks that you have on your to-do list.  What items are necessary?  What can be cut out or delegate?  When we do a better job of managing our time and our responsibilities, it can go a long way to giving us peace of mind and more enjoyment because we are doing more of what we enjoy and less of the mundane.  Now, unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to cut out all the mundane tasks that we have on our plates, but better time management will allow us to minimize the time wasters that we so often engage in.

4) Make a Friend-

People are really social creatures and it is critical for peace of mind to develop meaningful relationships.  This is especially true in business.  Your week will become more enjoyable as you find clients, customers and co-workers with whom you can have interesting conversations.  Be engaging with those around you and take some time to learn more about others.  Invite someone new to lunch this week.  Ask a client about their family.  Have a conversation that you wouldn’t normally have.

5) Stay Focused-

Finally, do your best to stay on task.  Work is most meaningful when it is done properly and with full energy.  Remove the things that normally distract you and focus on achieve all that you desire from your workday.  Be persistent and actively engaged in your tasks and they will become more enjoyable as time moves along.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Power of ‘Us’ in Business

One of my least favorite business phrases is: “What’s in it for me?”  Business… real business… is about establishing and maintaining relationships, not just unilaterally deriving a benefit from another party.  Too many business owners get too focused on a winner take all mentality that they lose sight of the power of collaboration with business and the benefits that come with it.  When business owners change the question to: “What’s in it for us?”, business becomes more meaningful.  Here are three reasons why “us” is a more powerful form of business:

1) “Us” focuses on the relationship-

The best kind of business is one that persists.  When you are able to retain a client and do work for them year after year, it maximizes the initial investment that was made to secure the business.  Also, if you have development a good relationship with a client/customer, that will more often than not translated into additional business in the form of referrals.  Also, it will allow you to generate a better reputation, especially if that individual or company provides a positive review or testimonial.

2) “Us” leads to negotiation-

When you are focused on consensus and collaboration, it is far easier to negotiate a beneficial deal for all involved.  It also makes it more likely for parties to be able to openly and frankly discuss current and future opportunities without fearing that information would be “used against them.”  This type of disclosure would leave to more meaningful and informed business decisions and allow for business owners to create more effective and profitable business ventures over the long term.

3) “Us” minimizes conflict-

If both parties are focused on us instead of acting self-interestedly, they are more apt to seek resolution of their problems in collaborative ways instead of through litigation.  Parties will be more flexible and make reasonable adjustments because they know that it is better for all involved.  People are more willing to create payment plans or alternative requirements when they are committed to a collectively beneficial agreement.


What are some of the pro’s and con’s that you see to a more “us” focused business?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5 Ways to Minimize Litigation in Your Small Business

No business wants to have to deal with litigation, especially not a small business.  The cost of initiating or defending a lawsuit can be crippling to a business owner.  While not all litigation is avoidable, here are 5 ways you can seek to minimize litigation risks for your small business.

1) Do you homework

Doing your necessary due diligence before entering in to a deal is a great way to minimize litigation risks to your small business.  What is the nature of the other party?  Have they been involved in litigation in the past?  What is their capacity to do this deal?  What is your capacity to do this deal?  How are they structured?  When you take the necessary time to properly evaluate the deal before you, you are more likely to make an educated decision which in turn often minimizes risk.  This helps weed out the bad parties or individuals that are most likely not going to perform adequately.

2) Clearly define relationships

A well-drafted contract or agreement can go a long way in protecting all parties to a business deal.  Critical to this is using clarity in defining what the duties and responsibilities are of all involved.  When each party knows and understands their duties and those of the other party, it is less likely that there will be confusion down the road about what should or should not be happening in a business deal.  It also helps to clearly outline what the penalty is for failure to perform under a given deal.  When you have done your homework as outlined above, it allows you to better be able to define duties and responsibilities of each business party.

3) Be flexible

Especially in an economy such as this, once you are engaged in a business relationship, it is critical to have a necessary level of flexibility.  Sometimes unforeseen things happen and people are going to need to make adjustments to the original agreement or payment schedules.  Be willing to engage in reasonable changes to the agreement and be clear about what those changes do and do not entail.  People are going to be more likely to work with you now and in the future if you are flexible and understanding in how you deal with them.  If your due diligence has sufficiently removed bad actors from the pool of clients or customers, it is less likely that you flexibility will be inappropriately taken advantage of.

4) Stay level headed

Also, it is critical that you as a business owner keep a level head and resist the temptation to make things personal and become excessively confrontational.  It can be frustrating when a deal falls through or other individuals fail to perform as they had agreed.  If you are level-headed and solution-oriented in your approach to the situation, you can more often than not come up with an amicable settlement and a new plan going forward.  Ultimately, this route is also just better for your peace of mind.

5) Seek alternative resolution methods

Businesses also have access to alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration.  You can set these up through formal mechanisms and via contract or you can also create a more informal structure with each individual party.  Setting up a day when both parties can re-evaluate their position and communicate about concerns can go a long way to diffusing a difficult situation.

Although, not all litigation is avoidable, doing the above with help to minimize litigation risk for your small business.

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