Category Archives: SBDC

Best options for Job Seekers in Los Angeles County

Unemployment rate grows in LA CountyHi Again,

For the 11% of unemployed or under-employed people living in Los Angeles County, I’ve shared below a few options to help you increase your income and perhaps have a life-changing experience, too!

Become a Freelancer:

Most companies are now outsourcing many of their services to vendors instead of hiring people internally. Take your resume and re—write it for a business marketing piece. Ask your local SBDC counselor to write a simple professional profile, and then post it on the freelance job sites. An SBDC counselor will help at no charge. Simply visit http://lasbdcnet.lbcc.edu/locations.html to locate an SBDC near you.

Once you have a final draft of a professional profile, and a professional head and shoulder picture, with various resolutions (as each site will have their photo size requirements), post your photo and profile on the following sites: www.guru.com, www.elance.com, www.allfreelance.com, and www.freelancejobresource.com. These are the largest sites for freelancers, with thousands of projects on which to bid in nearly any area in which you might have an expertise. Projects can be local or from employers in another country.

These sites both make it easy for potential people to hire you, plus, they make it easy to get paid. You can be guaranteed to be paid for your work by using an escrow account. The employers (people who will hire you for temporary contracts) will post a job request, and you’ll submit a bid (along with a few others). If they pick your bid, then you’ll ask them to put their money in an escrow account. And, only then do you begin working on their project. You are guaranteed to get paid so long as you fulfill your end of the agreement.

Go Back to School:

If you feel like you have enough time outside of work (and the energy), and are willing to take on some student loans, now is the time when literally hundreds of thousands of out of work people are returning back to school. They are motivated either by being forced to switch careers or realize that in order to compete in this tougher economy, another degree can make the difference between getting the job or getting turned down.

Numerous community colleges (http://www.laccd.edu) and state and private colleges (http://www.laalmanac.com/education/ed36.htm) in the Los Angeles region are packed with new students of all ages, but, if you act quickly, you could get a spot in a reasonably-priced university, making your future job prospecting a good bit more hopeful.

If you don’t have the time, energy, or are not willing to be burdened by large student loans, the below option of teaching English abroad could be a better choice.

Teach English Overseas:

There are fewer job openings in Los Angeles county than there have been since the Great Depression and many people are looking overseas for both a change in career and lifestyle. Teaching English in another country is a great option for those who don’t have children under 18, who have always wanted to travel, are ready for a change, and don’t have other employment options.

Recent college graduates with no other job prospects or people in their 40s, 50s, or even 60s who are ready for a career change can, within a few weeks, find themselves happily employed in an exotic country, making good money, and yet still have enough time off to travel.

For Los Angeles County residents, visit www.TESOLTrainingCenter.com to learn about the opportunities for single people (and couples without young kids) to get paid to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in hundreds of other countries. A TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate is required, and courses range from 80 to 100 hours in length, usually on the weekends.

It’s best to receive your training from a teacher trainer with a Masters in TESOL. Be sure to ask. Many of the programs who offer a TESOL Certificate don’t hire teachers with a Master in TESOL.

In-class tuition ranges from $800 to $1,200. Online certificates are not recommended, simply because teaching is a skill that requires practice. Typically a BA degree is also required by oversea employers.

Most ESL/EFL job boards say that there are more teaching positions than there are teachers to fill them in most countries. Once you have your TESOL Certificate, you can visit the following job boards to apply to get a job teaching English in the country of your choice: www.eslemployment.com, www.eslcafe.com/jobs, www.esljobs.com, www.esljob.org, www.eslteachersboard.com.

Join the Peace Corps:

You may have thought to yourself: “Some day I’ll join the Peace Corps and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.” Well, perhaps that day has come if you’re one of the 11% in Los Angeles County who are unemployed.

Visit www.PeaceCorps.gov to learn more about the benefits of joining the Peace Corps. You won’t return home with any savings, as this gig is a volunteer assignment., but, there are big benefits attached making it an attractive option.

In addition to a significant life-changing experience in a foreign country, with all of your travel, living expenses, and health insurance covered, you’ll return home after 2 years with additional educational benefits. Over 40 universities will give you a discount on their tuition for Masters level degrees as part of the Peace Corps Fellows program. You can even earn your MBA at a fraction of the cost! Then, you can start a business, perhaps at first part time, as described below.

With the addition of a tour of duty in the Peace Corps, your resume will be given a significant boost. Plus, after 2 or 3 years, our US economy could be significantly on the rebound, making landing the job of your choice perhaps a bit more probable.

Develop a Weekend Business:

If you can’t get another part-time job on the weekends, you can start a simple cash business, requiring little investment, simple inventory, and easy accounting. Be sure to take advantage of the free business counseling offered by local non-profits like the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) at www.score.org and the Los Angeles Network of Small Business Development Centers at http://lasbdcnet.lbcc.edu/locations.html. You can also sign up at www.TrainingInLA.org to be notified of either free or low-cost small business training provided by the Los Angeles Economic Development Institute (LAEDI).

The counselors at both your local SCORE chapter and your local SBDC can help you do all your research, legal requirements, and successfully launch your first business. Keep in mind that, like any non-profit, you may be assigned to a person who fits your needs perfectly or who doesn’t quite make the best impression. So, if you don’t get paired up with someone you’d rate as “5 Star,” don’t give up. Simply ask for a reassignment and keep trying until you find someone who you feel is best suited to help you.

Start with a simple business model. Buy products at wholesale and sell them at a profit. Or make something fast enough to produce a substantial profit when you sell it. Simple, right? Now you just need to know where to sell your product to make the most for your investment of time and money in inventory.

Consider high-traffic areas, whether permanent or temporary. Around Los Angeles County, there are numerous swap meets, farmer’s markets, carnivals, and festivals nearly every month, where you pay a small fee to gain entrance. (See the below links to local events). Some of the best areas for small operations are considered “tourist traps” – these are essentially where you can sell low-cost items at a premium. A goofy tee-shirt that you paid $3 for can go for $14.95 all day long to tourists who are not as cost-conscious while on vacation.

Sell something that you know is in demand, for example, a food item you made the day before, or on the spot if possible, and in which there is a substantial profit margin. Consider something as simple as a popcorn maker on a cart, as the cost is low and the smell percolates the surrounding, bringing in customers.

Get access to several events for a small daily fee. Arrive early and leave late. Stand in front of your booth and engage passer buys with free samples or special offers. Most people need to be persuaded to buy.

Learn how to sell: learn what to say and what not to say, and when to just listen.
Most people don’t know how to sell and end up annoying their prospects by sounding pushy or desperate. Take a course at your local Small Business Development Center on sales techniques. Take the time to learn sales techniques that don’t come off as techniques. Usually, a sale is made after a conversation, not a monologue. First ask questions about their needs and then only later make a pitch of how your products can solve their problem. This process is called “consultative sales.”

An extra few hundred dollars every Saturday or Sunday can go a long way to help pay your household bills. You may have to test the market to see what sells. Once you find a niche product, see if the event producers will guarantee that they won’t let another similar product seller in the event.

LA Farmer’s Markets:
http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-farmersmarketlist,1,5715921.htmlstory

LA Swap Meets:
http://www.insiderpages.com/s/CA/LosAngeles/FleaMarketsSwapMeets

LA Festivals:
http://www.at-la.com/@la-fest.htm

Finally, be sure to develop a professional profile (more than a resume) on LinkedIn.com. You’ll want to start developing a large network quickly. Feel free to invite me to connect with you and I’ll give you access to my network of 5,700 and growing direct connections: http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewbarden.

Keep up hope! May good fortune, gainful employment, and increased income quickly shine down upon you!

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Intro to Web 2.0 – Entrepreneurs are Obtaining More Clients Marketing Online for their Offiline Business


The wave of the future is here… and it is Web 2.0. If you haven’t heard already, there is a new two-way communication required online.  As they say, “out with the old, in with the new,” and the internet is constantly evolving.  So, your internet marketing strategies must keep up, too.

If you are not leveraging the new ways clients are researching and finding out about you, you’re leaving money on the table. In “times of old” people relied on the Internet as a one-way tool for communicating with others. Most business entrepreneurs will set up a website, then offer their opinions, advice and more to anyone willing to listen, pay attention or chime in.

That has all changed. Now people are relying on a relatively old concept to change the way they do business on the Web. Instead of using the Internet as a one-way tool for communicating, people are now realizing the Web’s potential for creating an interactive, dynamic environment. In this environment, individuals, consumers and businesses can collaborate and communicate in new and simpler ways.

When we think of the term “next generation”, we automatically think of something new and innovative.

The way se use the Web is new, but the technology supporting what people do with the Web has existed for decades.

While 2.0 isn’t exactly new, the next generation user or modern web users are using the technology supporting it in new ways. Long gone are the days of old where reading information on the Web was much like reading a book. Today people use the web for various purposes, including sharing information with others and to collaborate and communicate with others. To understand this, you must understand 2.0.

What Is It?

First popularized in 2004 and coined by O’Reilly Media, Web 2.0 is the “next generation” Web…

Web 2.0 is a broad term describing many different kinds of websites, websites that provide a platform where end-users have control over the content of sites. Web 2.0 includes social networking sites, wikis, sites like Squidoo.com and MySpace.com, folk-sonomies, Blogs, RSS Feeds and other sites that emphasize collaboration and sharing among users.

Web 2.0 is The NEW Internet. It’s a new way of communicating using the World Wide Web. It focuses on building communities where people come together to share their ideas, passions and interests. Some people used collaborative and community-based sites since the dawn of the Web. Only recently have people other than consumers begun realizing the true potential of collaborative networking.

The “old” way of doing things focused on individual users creating applications from which they presented visitors information. For example, a person sat at their computer, created a website and provided information to visitors. They sold product to visitors. They allowed feedback, usually in the form of a one-way email communication, web form or other application.

The “new” way: Web 2.0 encourages an approach to the Web where people form communities and collaborate to provide information on the Web. Instead of one person sitting at the end of a computer terminal, there are multiple people at many terminals all capable of accessing the same information, like a list of your favorites you bookmark on the Web.

Consider for example, Wikipedia.org. This is an ideal example of how the Web is transforming. This modern-day encyclopedia of information is a collection of insights and information gathered from people across the world. There is no one “editor” or author, rather people share and collaborate to create a resource that includes insights from all walks of life. The technology supporting this site allows users to collaborate and edit information using some formal and informal guidelines. The community works to approve or disprove new information, but overall, just about anyone can place information on the site.

To understand Web 2.0, it will help to explore some of the common sites and terms used in conjunction with this new web platform. In the next section, we will spend some time exploring the different sites that make up Web 2.0, and how you can use them to your benefit.

Web 2.0 Websites

Web 2.0 websites are not built using the traditional computer “platform” even though many people refer to the technology supporting Web 2.0 as a platform in its own right. Web 2.0 sites are noted by their ability to enhance and promote open communication among users. They operate in a much-decentralized manner than traditional sites do.

To get a better idea of how Web 2.0 works, let’s use the analogy of a corporation. Typically, in a traditional hierarchical corporation, information is passed from the top down. You have the CEO of the company, who may pass information to the controller, who may pass information to accounting managers, who may pass information to line workers. If the company were operating like Web 2.0, everyone would disseminate information horizontally, through shared systems. Meaning, the person on the bottom of the chain of command would have instant access to the same information the person at the top of the organization might.

One marked difference distinguishing Web 2.0 from the web of old is the philosophy that supports it. Web 2.0 encourages freedom of use, and sharing among all users. It supports the disintegration of hierarchical models of use, and instead promotes a horizontal or collaborative approach to knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is after all, a collective effort that includes the information and expertise of multiple members within an organization, community or other forum.

Whether sharing photographs, personal journals or data, Web 2.0 allows users to create communities from scratch, using many promising new technologies. Some examples of Web 2.0 sites include: Craiglist, Skype, del.icio.us. Technorati, Squidoo, Flickr and more. We will talk more about some of these sites later. Now that you have a better idea of “what” Web 2.0 is, let’s look at some of the different platforms used by users. Remember, not all Web 2.0 sites are alike.

Web 2.0 and Business

Web 2.0 is not popular among consumers only. Businesses are now realizing the potential benefits Web 2.0 has to offer. While many consumers think of popular applications like MySpace when they ponder Web 2.0, many fail to connect this technology with its potential for business.

Corporations can reduce much of the expense associated with installing and configuring essential software and applications on individual computers when they take advantage of the blogs available.

Web 2.0 Key Features

Most sites, regardless of their platform, share key features if they are 2.0 sites. Here are some of the key features and benefits associated with this new wave in technology.

1. Web 2.0 encourages greater collaboration among webmasters and visitors, so that interactive communities are created on the Web.

2. Web 2.0 approaches the Web as a platform for building conversation and communities.

3. The “new” Web focuses more on social networking and sharing, through various means including through blogs, wikis and more.

Rather than have an IT manager set up, configure and maintain a company’s applications and software on corporate servers, a company can now access a vendor’s server to acquire the information they need for their company.

Companies can now also share information and collaborate with one another in new and interesting ways. This will require business managers to start thinking more horizontally, moving away from a hierarchical model of communicating to one where knowledge is shared freely among employees, suppliers, vendors and even competitors.

Some company’s are even encouraging their customers to take advantage of social networks to help them advertise. GM for example allowed consumers to create commercials for some of their popular vehicles a while back. While many of these left much room for improvement, such integration allows for greater innovation and shared interest among key agents – consumers.

A company can also help businesses make working more practical and simpler. Rather than have individuals use stand-alone systems only, company’s can now encourage the joint use of software and computers among multiple users. Data can easily be shared from one person to next, meetings can be held online, and problem solving can take place from a much broader perspective.

As with anything, there are drawbacks to using this technology, even in the world of business. Business entrepreneurs have to ensure they fully understand the implications and utility of using Web 2.0 before they adopt the technology. Many must also realize that this technology has existed for some time, but offers an interactive approach to marketing and everyday business operations. A company should examine how they can integrate Web 2.0 into daily operations while still hedging risks.

What We Learned

We 2.0 is a community-based platform or network, one encouraging shared participation and community effort. Web applications common to this new platform include both Web and non-web applications (like instant messaging). Using this new platform, end-users throughout the globe can share data, information, photographs, personal insights and more.

A great example of community-based site that you can literally have set-up and running in 30-minutes is Ning.com. Their base product is free so you can set-up your an online social community in minutes. More and more businesses are also realizing the potential benefits of using a collaborative application and software such as that provided through Web 2.0 technologies. The entire way we do business is changing. Now that your interest is peaking, let us look at some of these applications, and the technology supporting Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 Sites

How do you know if you have landed on a Web 2.0 platform? Chances are, if you are asked to contribute to the content or body of knowledge contained on the site, you’ve hit the lottery. Most sites are those that encourage visitors to add their insights to a page, whether through ongoing commentary, through editing or by any other means available. Web 2.0 sites differ in their mission and purpose from traditional web pages. Some provide users the opportunity to share personal biographies, pictures and journals.

Examples include sites like MySpace.com. This fast and growing site is popular among the young and old. Even celebrities use the site to post pictures, update their fans and promote their latest shows or movies. One of the advantages of Web 2.0 is users can use it to express their opinions or passions, but also passively promote their products or services in the process. Here are some other common sites characteristic of this new trend.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites are sites that allow Internet users to classify and share their Internet bookmarks or favorites with others. They are similar to social networking sites, where users share content, personal photographs and other information. Social networking and social bookmarking sites alike both work to promote a community-type look and feel.

While the intent of social networking sites is more to create communities of like-minded people, social bookmarking sites concentrate more on increasing the popularity of common Internet bookmarks or favorites. You can tell the whole world what your passions are, and increase the page rank to your favorite sites, by placing tags on them and listing them in social bookmarking networks.

Social networks are nothing new, they have existed for decades on the Internet. Only recently however, have people taken a keen interest in their potential, especially from a marketing perspective. Think about it; you put bookmarks to all your blogs, sites and lists in a public forum. Others can link to your sites and click through to visit your sites through the social networking site you list with. You increase knowledge and awareness of your sites and also get free advertising and targeted traffic.

If the quality of information you provide is worthwhile, chances are you benefit tremendously from this new technology.

There is little difference between the two technologies, many use them as one in the same. If you do plan to use social networking or bookmarking sites to publicize your content, just be sure you do it in a non-threatening, non-confrontational and legitimate manner. No one likes a spammer, and you can spam social sites.

Remember, people join these sites and post information because they want quality links and information from real people. If you use the sites as a general “bulletin board” or classified ad, you diminish the value and might even get booted off.

In fact, one of the more commonly cited “drawbacks” of these sites is they do not rely on a standard set of tagging or keywords, so people can often set up unclear tags or fill the site with misspelled tags in the name of driving more traffic to their sites. Many sites are more likely to corrode as people use them more as a page rank boosting or search engine tool than to provide valuable information. Don’t book the same site repeatedly or you will get into trouble.

Weblogs

You’ve probably heard the term “blog.” This is short for web log or weblog. This is a site that allows users to create journal or diary-like entries in a chronological way. Users often post blogs or short entries and articles on information they are passionate about or have an interest in. Still others focus on providing content about news, entertainment or political commentary.

Many use these as online journals and diaries to communicate the latest and greatest events with their friends. Most bloggers now include photos and other graphic elements in their web pages, along with basic text. You can even use MP3 or videos to enhance the quality of content provided in blogs.

Most bloggers allow visitors to post feedback or comments about their blog entries, so in some ways web logs serve as a mini community or forum. Popular blogs may receive hundreds of visitors every month. There are search engines whose sole purpose involve tracking blogs and related sites, including Technorati.com for example.

One of the reasons web logs are popular for marketing is they allow users to provide content that is updated frequently. You can post daily, weekly or monthly. The more frequently you post information to blogs, the more likely you are to maintain your page ranking.

Like social bookmarking sites, blogs are not anything new, but are now gaining more attention and popularity among individuals, communities and online entrepreneurs and marketers. People are using them in many ways, even politically, to announce their passions, beliefs, purpose or to pitch their products and services while providing visitors with valuable content and information.

Like social networking sites, blogs are targets for spammers, who frequently post spam and links to junk sites in the comments section of blogs, so most webmasters will have to monitor this to avoid clogging their blog with unnecessary spam.

Everyone these days, from celebrities again to political commentators use blogs to deliver information and news to people throughout the globe. There are private and public blogs, blogs focusing on entertainment, those focusing on politics, the media and people. Even corporations are starting their own blog campaigns to encourage people to investigate their company.

Of course, as with anything there are problems with blogs and potential concerns. For example, many people do not realize the consequences of posting potentially negative or defamatory information on their blogs. Yes, free speech is important. But bloggers beware, there are many instances where bloggers have been cited for liability or defamation. Make sure if you communicate you do so wisely and with good intent.

Folksonomies

An interesting name for an interesting concept. These are sites that allow users to categorize and classify information on the Web, including websites or pages, photographs and other information like links. Users can classify information using tags, or special labels containing brief information about each categorized piece of information. An example of a popular “foksonomy” site is Flickr, where users can classify and organize and share photographs. Yet another isdel.icio.us that allows users to tag and classify information ranging

from web pages to links to blogs and more. As with anything, once information is tagged and categorized, it becomes more easily and readily available to the public. Think of tagging as a unique way of creating navigation bars, bars that reside throughout the Web or that are easily accessed through multiple portals on the Web, rather than through a single web page.

Tagged sites are more likely to be picked up by search engines, though some people will refer to popular folksonomy sites to find information they are looking for rather than rely on popular search engines including Google.

There are some disadvantages of using categorical sites as these. For one, the tagging “system” isn’t really well defined. Because there are no exact rules or regulations defining how tags should be implemented or inserted, many are inserted inconsistently. This can make navigating these sites a bit tricky.

However, if used wisely, folksonomy sites and tagged pages are an excellent way to provide information to the public in an easily navigable format. As with anything, entrepreneurs and other small business owners can use these sites to help promote their products, services or link to their web pages or affiliate marketing sites on the Web.

Wikis

Another example of Web 2.0 in full force is the wiki. These are websites that allow individuals to add, edit and even remove content. Many act like an encyclopedia, like where users can add content creating a global online dictionary or encyclopedia of sorts. The problem with such sites is the information provided in the sites may not always be accurate. Remember, anyone can log into the site and edit, remove or add information, so most “wikis” need some form of monitoring.

This usually comes in the form of community collaboration, where a group or wiki community work together to make sure any and all users are engaging in reasonable and acceptable practices when adding information.

As a benefit, these sites may include more information than traditional strict “book” type or “knowledge based” learning centers. Most of these sites work on the premise that communities will band together to provide honest and positive information, rather than work in a malicious or malevolent way.

Wikis are less of a tool for self-promotion than some other common Web 2.0 interfaces like social bookmarking sites and blogs. There primary foundation is a content based site and community of people gathered together to learn and grow. Many are globally based.

To find information in a wiki, one can often rely on an internal search engine that will look for data using key search terms, much like one might look for information on Google or any other mainstream Web application.

Other Applications

Of course, there are many other types of Web applications that quality as Web 2.0 interfaces or platforms for users. Consider for example,YouTube, which allows users from all walks of life to create streamlined video clips to the world at large. Once again, this site is one that commoners and celebutants alike have attached to. Users can post any type of video clip they like using a simple web cam. Many provide parodies of political figures and celebrities, while others do nothing more than film ordinary events. Not surprisingly however, YouTube and sites like it are among the fastest growing on the Web, because face it… people like to see other people in action.

What We Learned

There are many types of sites one can categorize as part of the growing Web 2.0 base. These sites are user-friendly sites that promote socialization, collaboration and community building. These sites are also frequently used as a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services to the public without blatantly advertising them.

Many Web 2.0 sites, including social bookmarking sites, have existed for centuries. They are only now gaining popularity as people begin to realize the potential for boosting business and page ranks. These sties are also idea for individuals that just want an opportunity to communicate with a global community. Of critical importance in the future will be finding ways to help keep these sites “spam” free and user friendly. As with any technology, Web 2.0 has its criticisms, including the likelihood that the sites will become corrupted by malicious individuals whose sole purpose for posting is “spamming.” Now that you have a better handle on what Web 2.0 is and how people use it, let’s review some frequently asked questions.

Web 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know a little more about Web 2.0 and how you can benefit, let’s explore some less commonly understood questions surrounding this incredible technology.

Q. What is the Semantic Web?

A. Semantic technologies often promote Web 2.0 sites. The Semantic Web enables users to create files explaining relationships between data sets. This technology allows for greater data integration and helps users classify and categorize information. Many also use the term “digital library” to identify these types of sites and this technology. It is the platform from which social bookmarking and other taxonomy type or categorical sites are created from.

Q. What is tagging (or tags)?

A. Tagging is a way users can classify or organize and categorize data, and is common on many sites including social bookmarking sites and folksonomies. How it works is users attach tags to data items like web pages, their blog entries or even photographs they want classified and categorized. Tagging is not the same as the Semantic system, which allows users to categorize information using unique identifiers rather than common tags. Relationships in a Semantic environment are more specific than in a tagging environment. For example, when one tags a blog page, they may tag it with terms like,

internet marketing” or “summer picnic” whereas when one classifies information semantically, they will tag the information using a unique identifier. If someone classifies a web blog entry for example, they may identify it using the blog author’s name, the date of creation and the source of content used to create the blog entry.

Q. I still do not fully understand Web 2.0. Can you expand?

A. Web 2.0 is a client-sided application, meaning end-users, people sitting at their computer, can categorize, tag and store data on the Web and share it with others. For example, let’s say you bookmark 3 of your favorite sites. Usually, when you visit another computer, your bookmarks will not show up when you log in. When you use Web 2.0 technologies however, you bookmark your favorite sites to public forums, so you can access them from anywhere. At the same time, anyone else can access your favorites from any computer anywhere in the world. Some call this “intelligent” sharing of data. It is certainly a new way to classify and navigate information provided on the Web.

Q. How can I learn more about this exciting new technology?

Enroll in the SBDCnetwork.com eLearning course to learn how to build your own Web 2.0 business system the right way! We show you with video, podcasts and easy-to-read workbooks the right tools and techniques to start building massive traffic to your web site and turnmore visitors into customers or prospects.

Q. How do I use a weblog? Isn’t it dangerous?

To use a blog or web log, all you have to do is set up an account. Anyone can set up a blog these days. Most people uses blogs as online journals or commentaries. You can share photographs of family members; you can share personal insights about political subjects or subjects you feel passionate about. The danger comes when someone uses blogs in a slanderous or malicious way. You should note that their may be some repercussions to posting your opinions on the Web. In some countries, people have been arrested for information they placed on a private blog. You should also know that when you post information to the Web, you are placing your personal information for the entire world to see. So if you do not want something public, do not post it on a blog, or keep your blog private.

Many people, including media moguls now use blogs to deliver news information on the Web in a consistent and timely fashion. As more and more people turn to the Web for information and advice, it makes sense to put information on the Web for others to access. People can comment on your Blog entries if you set up your blog in a way that allows them to do so, but this isn’t always a necessity. Some people prefer others do not comment on their blog, because this may result in spamming.

Q. What is RSS?

This is another technology rapidly gaining popularity. RSS technology, or “Really Simple Syndication” is a tool anyone can use to tell the world at large about new blog entries or web entries. What you do is set up your site content using RSS tools or content aggregators. What happens is any time you post new information to your page, that information is fed to people that are linked to your feed.

Q. If Web 2.0 isn’t new, who cares?

Web 2.0 isn’t new, but people are finding new and innovative ways to use it. If strategic, you can use Web 2.0 to market your products and services and promote your business or site to millions of people around the world. You do have to do this in a politically correct and decent way. Many applications allow readers to interact with the Web pages they browse. These applications are all part of Web 2.0 technology, and include SOAP, XML, JAVASCRIPT and AJAX. These interesting technologies allow you to interact with a web page that is live in much the same way you would interact with a page from your own computer, a page you created.

Web 2.0 isn’t new, but people are now taking an active interest in becoming members of a global community. Thus, Web 2.0 is becoming a lot more popular than it has been in the past. Sites including Gmail, Flickr and Digg are all the rage among collaborative types interested in link and information sharing on the Web

Conclusions

Web 2.0 is a popular term used to describe an old system but new way of thinking about and using the Internet. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you will find 2.0 is a great tool for promoting your business and establishing your credibility on the Web.

If you are someone interested in sharing information and forming collective communities on the Internet, you will also find 2.0 technology something new, exciting and innovative to explore.

No matter your intent or purpose, it’s worth a little time and effort. So take your time and explore 2.0 for all it is worth. Have fun, and share!



Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Hi again! Since, according to the SBA, more small businesses fail after 4 years than succeed, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the kind of qualities that you’ll want to either already have or dedicate yourself to developing if you are thinking about starting your business or you are within that dangerous 4 year period!

Entrepreneurship in today’s constantly changing business environment requires an understanding of cutting edge small business technology and the ability to harness it to generate enterprise growth and profitability. You’ll want to take advantage of all the free help you can get, both from the government (http://www.SBDCnetwork.com), non profits like SCORE (http://www.SCORE.org), and local community colleges and universities that offer free or low cost training events.

I’m part of the Los Angeles Regional Network of SBDC, consulting and training people in how to write business plans, develop effective marketing and sales strategies, and general business diagnostics and turn arounds. I’m proud to say that our District Office lead all 68 SBA offices nationwide in providing $1.23 billion in capital to more than 5,100 entrepreneurs and furthered economic development through approximately 30,000 jobs that were either created or retained as a direct result of our help. We also led in financing 3,065 minority-owned businesses in the ammount of $617 million and 1,275 women-owned businesses for $200 million. Additionally, we assisted 64,000 individuals in 2006 with business training and procurement services.

So, what does all of this mean for you? If you’re not working with your local SBDC (http://www.SBDCnetwork.com), you’re missing out on A LOT of help!

And, if you are not sure if you have what it takes, a thoughtful SBDC counselor can help you do a self-assessment as part of your ongoing counseling they provide, FREE OF CHARGE! You’ve already paid for the program through your tax dollars, you might as well use our services!

A largely untapped resource to help small business owners

Hi there. If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or just thinking about starting a business, you’ll want to see what the Small Business Administration of our government has to offer you, often at no charge, that will help you start or grow your business. What a pitch! Basically, the government is saying “We’ll help you make more money and never charge you a dime!” Can you beat that? And yet, I’m amazed at how many small business owners DON’T use the services of their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC)!

For 54 years, the US Small Business Administration has been a key resource for small businesses across our nation, funding local SBDCs and providing an amazing amount of helpful online and printed content. I urge you to take advantage of the many products and services your local SBDC provides. If you are looking for financing, business counseling, federal procurement opportunities (where the federal government buys from you), or you need help attaining the certifications necessary to compete in today’s marketplace, then you’ll want to stop by your local Center. You can locate yours by visiting http://www.SBDCnetwork.com

Like most any non-profit or government organization, when you work with an individual in that group they may be great or they may be less than great. It is hit-or-miss. But, just know that it is worth finding that “diamond in the rough,” that person whose talent and sincere interest in your success actually makes the difference. So, don’t be disheartened like I was many years ago when I made my first appointment with an SBDC counselor in Pennsylvania who turned out to be a dud. Since then, I’ve not only had amazing counselors but have become one myself, so I know that these positions do attract very effective business counselors.

It is easy to get excited about serving the small business community. People walk into our offices with such energy and hope and talent that you know they will do whatever it takes to succeed! And it usually requires that kind of attitude and persistence in order to make any new business work or to begin to dominate the market and grow your existing business.

Small businesses like yours are the lifeblood of our economy. Did you know that? Small business owners create between 60 to 80 percent of the new jobs in America. It isn’t the big businesses that make up most of the GDP, it is the work of small business owners. They help drive our economy, transform communities, create jobs, and e3nable people to realize their dreams. What dream businesses do you want to start?

At the SBDCs, our goal is to help small businesses by giving the mthe tools they need to succeed. Curious about what we can do? Visit:  http://www.SBDCnetwork.com to learn more. Whether you are starting or expanding a small businesses and need help developing a business plan, targeting clients that make you more money for your time, or establishing a budget or need additional training (don’t you just LOVE to do bookkeeping!) (tee-hee), or you need technical or financial assistance, the SBDCs are here to help.

You see, the role of government is to create an environment in which the entrepreneur can flourish, in which minds can expand, in which technologies can reach new frontiers. Serious, hard-working and successful small business owners create wealth for themselves, their investors, and their employees. Their creativity, hard work, and productivity have combined to produce the most vibrant economy in the world (it’s only the banks that have made it unstable lately).

Your local SBDC (Small Business Development Center), one of over 1,000 offices nationwide, are accessible via one of America’s largest resource vaults for supporting small business owners at  http://www.SBDCnetwork.com Register for free, watch some training videos, write a business plan, apply for a loan, and a whole lot more. We’re here to help.