Monday, September 24, 2012

Night Market in the 626

Read about entrepreneur Jonny Hwang, the Alhambra man behind the 626 Night Market, in my column this week.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Latina Superstar

I've had the privilege and fun of interviewing Martha de la Torre several times over the years.

She and her husband founded and run El Clasificado, a Spanish-language classified advertising publication. They started the niche business in 1988 and have worked and worked building it up to the fantastic success it is today.

Before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was distracted last week by another story, he was in Los Angeles at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce conference and he called out Martha and Joe, highlighting their entrepreneurial success.

They have won numerous awards and tell me they've just reached weekly circulation of 500,000 and expanded outside of California in Yuma, Arizona.

You couldn't find nicer, more dedicated entrepreneurs - congrats!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Entrepreneur Moms

I was already self-employed when my second son was born. I remember calling an editor the next day, to work on a piece I had written for the Los Angeles Times.

After a few pleasantries and congratulations, he suddenly stopped and said, "Karen, are you calling from ... your hospital room!?" 

I sheepishly admitted that indeed, I was. He chastised me until I explained that I felt fine and this was as much down time as I was going to get for several weeks, with a newborn and a two-year-old at home. 

Heck, the hospital was pure refuge! Other moms at the time were advocating for quick returns home or even home births. I was like, "Hey, let me stay in the hospital for a week, like in the good old days! Meals brought in (okay, such as they were), a private room, help at the push of a button and an entire staff to provide expert care to my baby when I need a nap. What's wrong with that!?"

This week I write about entrepreneur moms, only to find out that they're doing the same thing I did: Staying in touch with work even from the hospital, grabbing a few hours a day to keep up with the office. It's not really avoidable when you work for yourself!  

Holiday Website Tips

I'm not thinking about holiday shopping yet - I wait until crunch time every year - but some of my Facebook friends already are.

That's why small business owners who sell online need to spruce up their sites for the holidays now instead of two months from now.

I write about 10 things entrepreneurs can do to improve holiday sales in my column this week. And I let you in on the reason that shopping season's going to start early this year. Think latkes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Free Web Tutorial

Get help identifying which government agencies your small business should target for contracts in this webinar on Sept. 26.

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is spreading their marketing message around haphazardly and wasting time and money on people who will never become customers.

The same goes for small business owners who want to sell to the government.

The webinar next Wednesday "will equip business owners with the tools and methodologies to determine the right agencies to pursue for business success. Mastering the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) will help participants understand what their top agencies buy, who they bought it from, when they bought it, and the procurement method used to buy it. This interactive session will leave participants with an understanding of who their top five federal agencies are."

Register at the link above. The web tutorial takes place at noon Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern time. Gotta love free stuff!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Home Is Where the Kitchen Is

For decades, most states have required food producers to whip up their concoctions in commercial kitchens.

The recession has changed that. Would-be entrepreneurs are pushing for changes that would allow them to make non-potentially hazardous food products at home and sell them to the public.

My column this week examines the "baker's bill" movement, with particular reference to recent legislation in California and South Carolina.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just Say No

This is why I never, ever, ever agree to anything proposed over an unsolicited phone call.

Thanks to the Do Not Call list, I rarely get those calls anymore, though I have gotten a couple just recently.

But I have no trouble giving them a resounding, "No," or a "Send me something in writing and I'll consider it," when I do. Not surprisingly, they never follow up.

Shame on these charities for using deceptive tactics, and rather shocking, given how well-known they are. Bravo to Bloomberg Markets for an excellent investigative piece. Glad journalism is still digging in to things like this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When You're Smiling

The whole world smiles with you - right?

But those in trouble, grieving, facing financial trouble and failing in business are often isolated and confused.

My column this week deals with the difficulties and contradictions of failure, something we don't understand or study enough.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Retail for the Non-Religious

Is there a market for small business to sell to the godless?

My column this week explores the opportunity - check it out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Length

I haven't written a book, but I'm lucky enough to know some talented people who have.

I am, however, what might be called an "avid" reader. My family sometimes calls me a fanatical reader.

So I enjoyed this discussion about book editing (which I do have some experience doing) and the optimal length for various kinds of books.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Negocios Hispanos

Hispanic entrepreneurs open twice as many businesses as the national average, but  lag behind in revenue and employees.

I write about what keeps Hispanic business owners from growing larger and becoming as successful as their non-Hispanic counterparts in this week's column.