from pickett&associates … exploring PR, social media and entrepreneurship

Harvest of the Idea Garden July 28, 2010

Filed under: Charitable Endeavors,Entrepreneurial Tales,Social Media — pickettwrites @ 12:09 pm

Goods from the Garden

This blog reminds me of harvesting my garden … a little of this and a little of that … I have found the most interesting bunch of snippets for a blog during the course of the last 24 hours, that I’m just going to throw them all in one and call it the “Wednesday basket of goodies.”

Quote of the day from the Governor of New Jersey to Matt Lauer on this morning’s Today Show: “An $11 billion deficit, and I have to worry about Snooki and The Situation. There’s only so much a man can take.” This in reference to the “reality show” Jersey Shore … The Garden State is NOT amused evidently. And the governor is perfectly okay to find some other way to encourage tourism.

From NPR yesterday, “A Novel Approach: Free Books for Donations”  provided a fascinating concept from Concord Press. They print books, give them away for “free” with one caveat, according to Stona Fitch, founder:  “We just ask people, one, make a voluntary donation to a charity or person in need; two, chart your donation on our website,” Fitch says. “And three, pass the book along to someone else so that this project keeps going.” In the last two years, Fitch says readers have donated more than $142,000 to charity. A FASCINATING thought and an “out of the box” approach to fundraising.

FedEx has reached out to the Gulf Coast in a unique way. They have enlisted a convoy of their temperature controlled trucks and dubbed them the “Gulf Coast Turtle Rescue Team.” It is a GREAT example of how being a good community citizen FIRST fans the positive word-of-mouth effects of social media SECOND that ends up in the TRADITIONAL MEDIA (NBC Nightly News) THIRD. In that order. FedEx didn’t do it to “get in the news” … they did it for all the right reasons. Check out the links — good stuff!!

For those who do “sneaky reconnaissance” via Facebook, you are still safe: A new “app” was all the rage yesterday touting “See Who Viewed Your Facebook Profile!” As I suspected, it’s been taken off the Facebook apps by this a.m. and warnings abound. Do NOT download this …

And finally, apologies for a broken link on Pickett&Associates yesterday (btw, thanks to all who have “liked” me 😉 )that lent a big icing salute to CUPCAKES. I LOVE cupcakes (who doesn’t?) like millions of other Americans. They are all the rage and even the subject of a reality show on TLC. This post from DailyWorth (an awesome eNews re: women’s financial health) had GREAT advice about launching one’s own business.

Cupcake Empire on Fire

Lines around the block! A new tell-all TV series! Is Snooki dumping her poof? Did Lindsay make parole?

No, but Georgetown Cupcakes—the hot bake shop started by two sisters in Washington—just hit the big time with

DC Cupcakes“, a six-part series on TLC this month.

DailyWorth asked entrepreneurs Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis to share their thoughts on making sure your business has the right ingredients.

Flex your plans.
“Don’t start with some 30-page business plan—it’ll be extinct in the first year,” says Sophie. “Map out the critical stuff, like your financial model. But let accidents happen. We opened on Valentine’s Day 2008, with pink boxes. When we tried to switch to white boxes—which were a lot cheaper—our customers wanted the pink boxes back. So it became part of our signature.”

Start small, think big.
“We had a dream of opening a bake shop, but we started out with what we could afford, not this huge space,” says Katherine. “But we were also prepared to grow quickly, if we had to. I think you have to be conservative in your forecasting, but be able to scale up quickly and take advantage of momentum.”

Prepare to fail.
“We knew that half of all restaurants and food businesses fail in the first year. You have to ask yourself, Would you be OK starting over? You have to feel emotionally and financially secure with the level of risk you’re taking.”

Work it.
“Running your own business is 24-7, it’s nothing like the amount the work you do in a job. It’s always on your mind. Be prepared to work hard.”

Bottom line
“It’s worth it,” both sisters say. “If you have a dream of starting your own business, we say, Do it! You don’t want to spend your life wondering, What if…?”

Check out “DC Cupcakes” on TLC this Friday, July 30.

That’s all folks … stay shady today (in a “cool” way, not a “sinister” way!)


Entrepreneurial Inspiration July 19, 2010

Filed under: Entrepreneurial Tales,Uncategorized — pickettwrites @ 12:51 pm

Weekends provide a time to contemplate the future and review the past. Despite busy schedules with family and friends, it seems like my brain is more free to think “outside the box” about issues involving all aspects of my life. 

I let my mind wander back to the time when I first became infatuated with entrepreneurship. And I owe it all to a gal named  Jane.

Jane Applegate. Seriously, the most all-American name ever, right?  But Jane was a syndicated columnist that we ran in the Court & Commercial Record during my tenure as managing editor about 15 years ago. I would read the columns and be inspired by their stories and fascinated by their content. I related to Jane Applegate … she had been a reporter for a long while before penning a book and beginning to form a “brand.” Her columns and books were just a part of it; she was also an inspirational speaker and was retained for numerous corporate-sponsored speaking engagements. She had the gift for putting entrepreneurship into “sound bites” that were easy to digest but thought provoking.

I was able to interview Jane for the cover story for International Business Women’s Magazine. Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad – it lasted about three issues … tanking before my story could even run. Nonetheless, it afforded me the opportunity to chat with Jane and get to know her a little more.

So, this weekend, while mulling over my upcoming week of entrepreneurial fun, I felt the need for a little of Jane’s advice … and was pleased to find her still doling it out  at The Applegate Group.  She has forged a partnership with American Express and is a regular contributor to  their “OPEN Forum on Small Business.”  It’s a site that I would suggest for anyone thinking about or who has already launched a business.

Beyond the day-to-day worries of cash flow and business development, every entrepreneur needs a bit of inspiration. For me, it’s been reading (and writing) about other entrepreneurs and the trials and tribulations of “how they made it.” I’ll be sharing some of those stories in this blog along the way, so stay tuned.

Here’s to an inspirational week for all!