Think You’re Too Old to be an Entrepreneur?

You hear all the time about the young, innovative entrepreneurs who are creating giant tech based enterprises and becoming multimillionaires before they’re 25. Could make someone who’s 40 think he/she is over the hill, too old to create a successful business; missed the boat.

Fortunately for you, that’s not really the case. Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod when he was 44; discovered electricity at 46; and helped draft the Declaration of Independence at 70. Henry Ford was 45 when he introduced the Model T. Sam Walton opened his very first Walmart when he was 44. Ray Kroc was in his 50s when he started building McDonald’s.

Vivek Wadhwa and his team researched the backgrounds of 549 successful entrepreneurs and found that the average age of male founders in this group was 40, and the average age of female founders was 41. Other researchers discovered the average age of U.S. entrepreneurs is increasing, with the 55–64 age group as the most active. See the rest of his article from yesterday’s Washington Post here.

So now you don’t have that excuse any more.

Starting a Food Business

I’m (just a little) surprised at how many people either have or know someone who’s been thinking about starting a food business from a recipe. Seems the big thing holding them back is not knowing what to do first or where to turn for advice.

That’s where the You Should Sell That workshop comes in! You may have heard my story, how over the years I’ve been building Zen Rabbit I’ve gotten lots of calls from people asking if I could share how I got started and help them do the same. I would tell them what I could in a 15-minute conversation, but really, there’s so much more I wanted to say to save them the time and money I spent in learning.

Now, with cohort Tim Lymberopoulos, co-founder of Fooducopia.com, I’ve created a 2-day, completely comprehensive road map for the Start Up Food Entrepreneur. The southeast regional workshop is  April 30-May 1 in West Palm Beach, FL.

If…
* Anyone has ever tasted something you made in the kitchen and said to you, “OMG! This is so good – you should sell it!”
* You have an idea for a food product that doesn’t currently exist in the marketplace.
* You believe you can create a twist and improve on an existing gourmet product.

Then it’s time to say “YES” to discovering the steps to creating a wildly successful business in the food industry!

Believe it or not, NOW is the BEST time to jump into this. Editors from FoodChannel.com recently ranked artisan foods as one of the top trends of the decade, so demand is growing for a variety of specialty food products.

Can you afford to NOT do this? You have a choice. You can simply do things the way you’ve have always done things and see no change…or you can do things differently and see HUGE changes.

There’s a saying “you either have the results or all the excuses why not.” I have found that what has brought me the most success is when I’ve put my excuses aside and made the decision to do it.  And, it starts when you’re willing to say “YES!”

Click here to sign up  http://www.tinyurl.com/SellThat1

Why Smaller is Better

My friend works at an executive level for a very large financial institution, one that just merged with (okay, acquired – they’re very sensitive about how that’s worded) another very large financial institution. I was recently listening to her talk about their efforts to integrate systems and I came away thinking I totally do not see how this benefits customers in the least.

Click here to see this survey I came across the same day I was writing this.

There’s certainly no shortage of big companies in our landscape. And traditionally the philosophy has been “the bigger the better.” Bigger allows for economies of scale and greater efficiencies. I don’t agree. Maybe it’s better for shareholders, but customers and employees rarely win here.

The good news is the inability of these big companies to serve customers properly creates a fantastic opportunity for smaller companies to come in and shine. Without the bureaucracy, you can implement systems and programs quickly to meet customers’ needs as you see necessary. There’s no figuring out how to get different computer systems to “talk” to each other so one department can get paid for referrals made to another department. You can be flexible and make decisions based on creating the highest good or best outcome for your client.

Sure you may not have the marketing budget a giant corporation has, but you also don’t need it. They need to keep recruiting new clients because they continually piss off the ones they have. You can deliver outstanding customer service and maintain a high level of client loyalty. Plus, I bet you can make the whole experience of working with your company a lot more fun (think Southwest Airlines vs. any of the other, bigger airlines).

Update on Shine A Light

Sad news, at least for me. Zen Rabbit was not chosen by the judges as a Shine A Light finalist. There were thousands of entries and I have no idea how the judges waded through them all to get to their final decisions.

While I am a bit disappointed, because YES, I truly did believe Zen Rabbit had as good or better a chance at becoming a finalist as anyone else, I am honored to have been nominated and to have such an amazing and supportive network of people who endorsed my nomination! This is just one step in the continual process of building a business.

Thanks to everyone who partipated. Stay tuned, I’m sure something else is just over the horizon.

PS: If you want to see the companies that were chosen as finalists, visit http://shinealight.ivillage.com/nominees/

Shine A Light: Inspiring Small Business

So exciting! Zen Rabbit has been nominated for an opportunity to win $100,000 in grant and marketing support from American Express, in partnership with NBC Universal.
Endorse Zen Rabbit's nomination for Shine A Light contest
In order for Zen Rabbit to be eligible to become a Shine a Light finalist, we need your help in the form of an endorsement by September 13, 2009.

If you are so inclined, and you haven’t already, here’s what you need to do to endorse:

Go to this page: http://tinyurl.com/nyfnef

First you have to REGISTER at top right corner of the page. (Remember to scroll down/read the Program Rules & click on “I Accept Terms”.)

After you click SUBMIT, come BACK to Zen Rabbit’s page either through this link http://tinyurl.com/nyfnef or by going to the NOMINEES page and putting Zen Rabbit in the search/go box at top of page there. Click on ENDORSE NOW and you’re done!

Yes, I know it’s somewhat involved and not so user-friendly. So I REALLY appreciate your time and effort to support me! Once we win, celebrations will include Cookies & Crunch for all!

Also, if you’re so inclined, tweet and post on Facebook & LinkedIn to help spread the word and garner more endorsements.

THANK YOU!!!

Guilty For Not Giving

That’s what two-thirds of small business owners said they would feel if they didn’t show appreciation for their clients during the upcoming holiday season. BUT, the newly released survey taken by OPEN from American Express, also found only 59% of those business owners plan to take action and actually give client gifts. Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that the gift-giving people are “growth-minded, customer-focused and generous with staff.”

Alice Bredin, OPEN from American Express small business advisor, says “small business owners who are giving holiday gifts to clients seem to have mastered an important life lesson – you get back what you give.” That’s what I’ve been saying too! Thanks for the reinforcement, Alice. She went on to say that the smart business people are using client gift-giving as an effective marketing tool, on top of providing exceptional client service and developing relationships.What is the most popular choice for holiday giving? It’s cards and calendars! Ewww! How much more mundane can you get?“The stakes are high for making a lasting impression with your gift, especially when competing against larger companies with substantial marketing budgets,” Bredin says. If you really want to make an impression and stand out from everyone else, send one of the very distinctive Zen Rabbit gift packages you can find at the Zen Rabbit website.