Hi I'm Marina from Naples/Italy we use to peel the lemon superficially otherwise the limoncello, our fantastic liquor, will get bitter I'm joking but I would like to say that the elegance in everything is the right way to get the purpose Merry Christmas and happy New Year! from Naples/Italy
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5 Ways to Peel a Lemon
Are you someone who turns lemons into lemonade or do you build a lemon-inspired app for the iPhone that makes you millions? At the crux is the question: are you an independent business owner, or are you an entrepreneur?
Beyond a tired adage lies entrepreneurism. When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade? Or do you create a mobile app for the iPhone inspired by those lemons that earns you millions? At the crux is the question: are you an independent business owner, or are you an entrepreneur?
In the six years that I've been involved in building Biznik, this distinction has never been more relevant than right now. We're currently involved in developing a new service for this community that meets the unique needs of independent business owners. Inside our exploration was the question -- are you finding what you expected to find inside Biznik, and is your business networking here paying off?
The answer to that question comes down to expectation. What did you expect to find here? And how do you measure success?
Independent business owners and entrepreneurs approach their businesses differently and are motivated by different needs. While you may vacillate between the two identities, the better you get at understanding yourself, the more accurate you'll be at identifying your needs, and the more success you'll have at business networking with peers who can meet those needs.
What do you do with a lemon tree?
Let's say you acquire a new home on a piece of property that includes a grove of award-winning lemon trees. If you fall into the broad definition of "entrepreneurial", then there are a number of things you may do with those lemons. You could make lemonade and sell it at the end of your driveway -- retail. Better yet, mix your concoction in a blender with tequila and open a hip bar.
If you're not that adventurous, you may pick the lemons (or hire someone to pick them for you) and sell them to a chef at a local restaurant and be done with it -- wholesale. If you like working with people, you could used the lemons to develop a unique hair-coloring process and build out a salon in the detached garage, working one-on-one with clients -- a service. Each of those ventures is limited by the size of your crop and is likely dependent on you, the individual, being involved in the business on a daily basis. At least during the seasons when there are lemons.
But there's other ventures that could come out of that grove of trees. You could import additional lemons from Florida, create a version of the lemon hair prouct, and sell it to hair salons -- manufacturing. Or you could scrap the lemons all together, but take inspiration from them, and build a game for the mobile phone, where users can load lemons into slingshots and shoot them at pigs. -- technology startup. (O wait. Something like that's already been done.)
Is your primary motivation to earn a living, or impact change? Are you building a profit, or are you building equity in a company that you can sell? Have you created a job for yourself, or are you planning to achieve financial freedom? Did you invest your own money, or someone else's? Is this business going to satisfy you for the long haul, or are you a serial inventor who's going to start something new in a few years?
If you selected the former of each question, you fit the profile of an independent business owner. If you selected the later, the profile of an entrepreneur is a better fit.
Of course these are generalizations, and I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of both. Many aspire to impact change through the business that sprouted from their self-employment; and while you're comfortable with the repetitive tasks of running your business today, you know yourself to be a free spirit who's likely to reinvent yourself and your business a number of times over the course of your life.
But understanding how others view these distinctions, will result in more successful business networking. Business networking communities provide different services and meet needs that belongs to different kinds of businesses. Marketing is about fishing where the fish are. Networking is about finding like-minded fishermen and sharing your tools.
A brick & mortar business on a neighborhood high street can benefit from participation in a chamber of commerce. Chambers coordinate holiday decorations and contract out graffiti removal for their members' retail spaces. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, the chamber negotiated with the city to lessen the impact of the new public transportation on the local businesses. Other chambers rally members around a collective marketing campaign to draw customers to their neighborhood.
DO join and attend your local chamber meetings if you run a business with a physical shopfront that gets some foot traffic or simply want to get more involved in supporting your neighborhood business community. DON'T join a chamber expecting to convert the other members into new clients. If you offer a service or product that the other businesses are already purchasing from someone else, you'd have to offer a pretty compelling reason for them to dump their current relationship.
If you've got an idea for a technology startup, and need to meet like-minded developers, advisors, and potential investors, you should attend meetups hosted by local organizations that specifically cater to "entrepreneurs". Seattle's Northwest Entrepreneur Network and Seattle 2.0 communities hold workshops on how to pitch to a venture capitalist, and regularly invite investors, advisors, consultants and founders together at networking events.
DO attend an entrepreneurial meetup if you're growing a business nationally, or have ideas for incorporating some kind of new technology. If your client-base includes startups (e.g. you're a web developer, graphic or UI designer, business strategist), an entrepreneurial meetup could be a good use of your time. DON'T attend an entrepreneurial event expecting to find new customers to your bike repair shop, or new clients for your massage practice.
Freelancers & independent sales agents who work with large companies will find some use in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the best recruiting tool on the planet. It was designed for storing your professional graph so DO use LinkedIn as a massive address book for your professional contacts. Include fellow corporate alumni and corporate connections in your LinkedIn network. LinkedIn cannot help you manage your business graph, so DON'T expect to see a lot of reward from peer-to-peer business networking in the form of referrals, recommendations & introductions to new opportunities.
Some indie business people looking for new clients like referral marketing groups like BNI - where fellow real estate agents, photographers and massage practitioners meet once a week over breakfast to pass referrals inside their closed group. Other independent business owners prefer the organic nature of Biznik for meeting new peers to share referrals, resources, and introductions with.
Time is limited. Resources are finite. Don't default to where you believe everyone else is networking. Some entrepreneurs are making lemonade, others have opened a bar. Some are selling lemons wholesale, and others are providing a service. To get the most out of your business networking, know thyself. Know who you are, what you need, who you would benefit from networking with, and where you're likely to find them.
Learn more about the author, Lara Feltin.
Comment on this article
Posted by marina de martino, naples, italy Italy |
Dec 16, 2011
- business networking
- independent business
- small business