"The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach," he said. "They exist in our laboratories and our universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth."
Built into this crisis, however, is an opportunity to change your company and make it run the way it should. This should be the warning bell to get streamlined and simplified, amp up customer service and fully engage your workforce. You can't do that if you're hunched over in fear. So say Bob Marcus and Bob Weiler, managing partners of Brimstone Consulting.
As President Barack Obama prepares to address Congress for the first time as commander-in-chief, the drumbeat of economic news continues to sound ominous. Car makers need more federal help, the Dow dipped to its lowest level in 12 years yesterday, foreclosure news gets worse, consumer confidence plummeted in February to record lows, fourth-quarter retail reports read like bad horror movie scripts, and the Fed chief just announced the U.S. is suffering a "severe contraction."
Add to all that the latest outlook from the National Association for Business Economists (PDF) and things, well, don't look good. At least for the next couple of quarters.
"While a few reports offer some glimmer of hope," says Chris Varvares, NABE president, "a meaningful recovery is not expected to take hold until next year. Further pronounced weakening in housing and deteriorating labor markets underscore the risks for 2009."
But I wasn't quite done with Kate Smith, founder of Sensational Color and active member of The Color Marketing Group.
The idea of being so in touch and observant with colors was still quite interesting to me. I was also still waiting for Kate Smith to tell me that she rides a rainbow to work.
Economic confidence among business owners surveyed in the monthly Discover Small Business Watch report was up slightly in February, and there was an uptick among those who felt conditions for their enterprises were improving.
The report's economic confidence index rose to nearly 72 percent, up from 71.4 in January. About 19 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed said they felt economic conditions improving for their operations, up from 17 percent in January.
There's even a part of you that thinks a color strategist just throws darts at brightly colored balloons and chooses the popped ones as market trends.
I mean, surely, you can wager a guess, you can speculate, you could probably give a vague description of what they may or may not do.
But I know.
Or at least I do now. I finally just asked a color strategist what their job was and how they did it.
Some are recipes for disaster. HowStuffWorks lists a few doozies topped by "Wordless Noise Games," where, in one variation, people are asked to make the sounds of a specific type of car or truck to find a partner or group doing the same. If used as an ice breaker, you can kiss a good first impression bye-bye.
But there's nary a penny explicitly set aside for startups and entrepreneurs. In fact, the closest you'll come to finding any such stimulus is the package's extension of an existing small-business deduction that allows owners to write off $250,000--double the amount set in 2007--worth of office equipment, manufacturing gear and vehicles.
After buying out Ben Bradley, his partner of five years, Pete Wiltjer is going solo at his Chicago-based boutique marketing and public relations firm. His first step will be a total rebrand of the business, and he's giving us a weekly front-row seat. First up: a new logo.
Last week, I blogged about Twestival, a first-of-its-kind event that brought people together from all across the globe to raise money for charity:water. While it was heartwarming and inspirational to see so many people gather for a single cause and know that the money was going to a most deserving non-profit whose mission is to bring clean, safe drinking water to developing nations, what makes it especially of interest to you as entrepreneurs is just how it was done.
The gargantuan task of coordinating events in nearly 200 cities worldwide, for each event to be wholly organized by volunteers, and to accomplish this all in only three weeks is a perfect illustration of the power of Twitter. Twitter is a social messenging utility that asks its members, in 140 characters or less, to respond to a simple question: What are you doing? It seems inutile. After all, what can you communicate in only 140 characters? But put such a tool into the hands of some and Twitter takes on a life of its own.
The Department of the Treasury released its first of promised monthly updates on the state of lending activities at the 20 banks that received the most federal dollars from the Capital Repurchase Program under TARP. The monthly survey is part of the Obama administration's stated commitment to greater transparency in its efforts to stabilize a wobbly financial system.
The survey reports "the median change in residential mortgage loan balances was a decrease of 1 percent, while the median change in corporate loan balances was a decrease of 1 percent. Meanwhile, the median percent change in loan balances for U.S. credit cards was an increase of 2 percent, reflecting greater reliance on existing credit lines by consumers."
Sure, things are dire out there, but true entrepreneurs always endure. Phoenix-based ModelWorks this week introduced its Smash-Me-Bernie doll, an effigy of alleged swindler Bernard Madoff, who allegedly defrauded investors out of $50 billion.
The red-suited doll comes with a devilish pitchfork and a hammer, which can be used to smash it. It was unveiled this week at the toy industry convention in New York. ModelWorks set the doll's retail price at $99.95.
Kogi Korean BBQ, an Asian-fusion taco truck, has created a sensation in Los Angeles in part by using Twitter to beam its latest location to fervent customers.
While other well-regarded taco trucks in the L.A. area have made their names by staking claims to well-trafficked intersections, Kogi is a roaming gastronomical party--adding an element of hide-and-seek to its already unique pairing of Asian-flavored elements (Korean barbecue beef, soy sauce, cabbage) to the palette of the Mexican taco.
Especially this weekend. Obviously.
And there are businesses out there that are in the business of romance. However, beyond See's Candies and 1-800 Flowers, I'm not sure what or where they are. There's an outstanding plethora of entrepreneurs out there dealing with love, romance, desire and ecstasy: the very essence of "wanting" someone.
Let's call them "wantrepreneurs."
Case in point: My dad is an entrepreneur (prefers to be called a mechanic) and loves children's literature. He and my mom are a funny pair. She is usually found wearing a bright-colored "librarian" jumper (She is going to hate me for writing that, but it's true.), and he's a 6'2" muscular guy with permanently oil-stained hands and fingernails.