Tag Archives: Small Business

Moon Light Verses Moon Lighting

Ms. Annie Sells is curious if you have ever seen what 20 pounds of hamber patties looks like in a resturant kitchen.

Just in case you have not, then feast your eyes on this. Instead of enjoying the moon light of a beautiful Sunday night, this is the sight I beheld tonight.

No one ever said that reaching your dreams and goals was easy. No one ever said that embracing your true self and fighting the good fight would be moonlight and fairies.

Be blessed, work your ass off, and if you have to moonlight then do it and be proud of the hard work that you put in. I know I am.

Ms. Annie Sells has worn many hats and among them in 20 years of experience in the restaurant, hospitality, and service induatry. So when I got a call asking if I could fill in a few shifts here and there I thanked my Abba father and said sure.

What are you doing to reach your goals and dreams? Are you going the extra mile to be your true self? Are you putting in the hard work?

Be Blessed,

Ms. Annie Sells

The Grid’s Great: Where’s Your Radio?

Today is a new day, one that everyone who is honest would gladly admit that they are proud to experience. On any given day, I would likely write to you about my beloved home of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

I might talk to you about reaching out and connecting to your friends, family and potential clients via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress. I might even talk to you about marketing and adversiting solutions for your business and the various ways that you can utilize social media to save yourself and your business time and money.

All of these forms of technology and ways of connecting on the grid are relevant to our way of life. But let’s suppose for a moment that you were to become disconnected from the grid or the grid were to go down for any one of a million reasons. Then what?

My last article on this site was Social Media: Now What? and included a picture of an old computer. It’s no secret that ever day people across the globe are struggling to provide a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, are fighting against horrible diseases, and for their safety. War has become a part of everyday life, so much so that Generation X hardly blinks an eye lash at its ever-present danger!

So you ask “why has the theme of my written gift to you changed?” How did we get from Social Media: Now What? to The Grid’s Great: Where’s Your Radio? Ask me. I would be happy to explain.

Be Blessed,

Ms. Annie Sells

Now What: Connect Authentically

Watermelons
Image via Wikipedia

What can I say? At home in Fort Smith, Arkansas it has hardly rained in two months. Even the watermelons are in short supply and they can grow in road ditches, given that they get enough water. Where I normally have a beautiful flower garden and vegetable garden, I now have a lot of brown and dying vegetation. The 100+ temps day in and day out are exhausting, horrible for the economy and well – depressing.

But on a much happier and lighter note the pool has been oh so inviting. Here is where my confession comes in:

I have spent as much time playing with my monkeys, as I call them, as possible, teaching my son how to swim, getting way too much sun and swimming, swimming, swimming. When it is too hot to breath and everyone I know is closeted in their homes under their inefficient air conditioning, I have had friends over for BBQs and playing in my much-loved swimming pool.

No I am not making excuses, just stating the facts.

Today, I, Annie Sells had the privilege of talking to some really incredible people, one such person was Sherese. She and I where in the back seat of a car, being driven to dinner and I confessed to her that I haven’t been writing of late and have neglected my online friends and fans. She wanted to know why. I told her the truth. I have spent my time connecting as authentically as possible with the people in my life. For if you cannot connect authentically with the people who you can see and reach out and touch, how can you possibly connect authentically with people in your virtual world?

I say you cannot.

Now that I have a clean conscience, let’s get back to work.

I want to send a special thanks to Ms. Sherese Duncan of Efficio Inc. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with, speaking with and getting to know her both professionally and personally over the last 8 months.

Sherese you have reminded me of several things:
1. There is no box, only our core.
2. We must believe in ourselves.
3. We must be active and take ownership.
4. Only we can push ourselves to excellence.

I say thank you and pray that you like all the small business owners and entrepreneurs that I know experience true success, fulfillment and happiness in your work and in your personal life!

Cheers,

Ms. Annie Sells

Running water, toilets, electricity, frozen ice cream, tillers, jeeps and Social Media

Do you now or would you like to own a small business? Have you ever worked for a small business? I can answer these questions with conviction and odds are that you can also. In my opinion, small businesses are where it’s at and they are the back-bone of America. (Non-profits aren’t too bad either.) Seriously, home based businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurs are the United  States’ greatest source of innovation.

I make no bones about my passion for my home, the Greater Fort Smith Region, or about my passion for entrepreneurship.  So why would someone like me utilize much of my free time studying, getting to know and interacting with small businesses, their employers and entrepreneurs? Why would I advocate the use of social media and/or teach others how to utilize these tools for their own personal use and/or for their businesses.

Let’s look at this from a different view.

Have you ever drawn your water from a well? Or had it gravity feed from a pond, stream or lake? Have you ever used a chamber pot or an outhouse?  Have you ever gone without electricity and used candles, lanterns, and/or fire?  Have you ever made hand crank ice cream?  Have you ever tilled a garden by pulling a plow and/or by hand with a hoe?  Have you ever ridden a bicycle to school or work?

I have done each of these things and would do them again tomorrow if I had to.  But now I have running water and electricity in my home.  I also have  two toilets and I like ice cream that is already made that I can scoop, spoon, and swallow.  I also like tilling with a tiller and I really love driving my jeep.

There is always more than one way to skin an animal  and there are always many different ways to get to our destinations in life and in business. I do not advocate the use of Social Media because it is some magic bullet.  I advocate the use of social media because anyone that is willing to learn new things, utilize new tools, put themself out there and to possibly fail can and will benefit from it.

We all have to generate exposure for our products, services and businesses.

We all want to generate more traffic, because then odds are in our favor instead of against us.

If we are online, we all want to increase our search rankings.  People look for things online and they find them.  Whether they find them from you or someone else is within your control.

We are always in the market for new colleagues and new business opportunities and increasing the likelihood of these is in our favor.

We are all in the lead generating business and anything that helps in that department is a step in the right direction.

We all want to get the most bang for our buck and there isn’t any better way to do that than to decrease our marketing expenses.

Improving sales is the name of the game.

So with the benefits who needs a magic bullet? I don’t. I have running water, toilets, electricity, frozen ice cream, tillers, jeeps and Social Media.

Connect: Touch the Worlds and Lives of Others

An advocate by definition has nothing to gain from the advancement of a cause, practice and/or belief. However, when your job and/or lively-hood and reputation is on the line then it is not as easy to be a consultant, coach, thought leader and/or innovator. Or is it?

I assert that indeed one is no different than the other, because we never know for sure how one action will lead to another or cause a demand. Never mind the fact that when you are passionate about something, it drives you and you want to share it with anyone and everyone that might listen. Some may call you crazy, tell you it’s a bunch of fanciful ideas and some will never understand. But do you allow that to stop you?

No.

Today, May 4, 2011 I sat in on the SKC Webinar: AVAYA Social Media Manager. Molly Denton, mollydenton@avaya.com and Jeff Holton, jeff.holton@skccom.com where the co-hosts and the information that they offered was both accurate and useful. They talked about Social Media and Customer Service, Supporting Customers using Social Media, Creating the Business Case, gave Reporting and Administrative Examples and offered a Social Media Management Demo. They addressed the questions of which channels of social media to utilize, how to measure social media success, how to leverage social media, how to integrate contacts and how to improve outbound performance.

Of course, the ultimate objective is to Engage Continuously. But the real question is HOW?

We all know that you have to Listen, Share and Engage, but HOW?

The answer that Molly and Jeff offered is to determine your reach and interaction within the framework of a strategy.

But again HOW?

Let me get back to that.

Molly and Jeff talked about blogs, microblogs, media sharing, video streaming, social networks, forums, virtual worlds and multi-player games as the different types of social media. Molly said that if Facebook where a country it would be the fourth largest in the world. She went on to compare traditional media to social media.

Then Molly and Jeff got to the HOW: Do a social assessment, form a social strategy, construct your social roadmap and then adopt and collaborate.

Molly and Jeff, I enjoyed your presentation and the information that you shared. The AVAYA Social Media Manager seems like it would be a GREAT product for a medium-to-large company that seeks to have someone else manage their social media.

All that being said I, Annie Sells, am going to continue to do what I am passionate about and that is to teach the little ladies and gentlemen (small business owners and individuals alike) how to utilize social media tools and applications to connect authentically with the people within their world. Because once we know where we are, know where we want to go, form a plan for how to get there, begin the work and work together authentically connected, we may fail, but we might just get there.

Either way we will touch the worlds and lives of others and that is what it is all about!

“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level” on April 7th – 8th, 2011

Map of Arkansas highlighting Greene County
Image via Wikipedia

Press Release

Paragould, AR: Entrepreneurs, economic development leaders, and entrepreneurship educators from across  the state of Arkansas will have the opportunity to hear from experts at a two day conference on April 7th and 8th, 2011.

“Entrepreneurship at the Next Level,” hosted by the Arkansas Association of Two-Year College’s Entrepreneurship Training Consortium and Black River Technical College, Paragould Campus in partnership with Winrock International and Innovate Arkansas, will be held at the Greene County Industrial Training Center located on Black River Technical College’s campus in Paragould.

This two-day entrepreneurship conference features Sherese Duncan, President and CEO of Effició Inc., an accomplished entrepreneur who received a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She is involved in a variety of industry-related organizations including becoming a SCORE Counselor in 2006, implementing Training Programs for Community Colleges and Universities, and is active in various associations, groups, and trade organizations.  Duncan’s signature company programs include SWIFT™, GROWTH™, and the proven system Getting to the CORE of Business®, which provides the tools small businesses need to create perpetual profitable businesses. Duncan will present a sampling of Effició Inc.’s modular Non-Credit or For-Credit curriculum in an effort to allow colleges, chambers of commerce,  and area economic development leaders to consider offering the program(s) to local small businesses ready to take their business to the next level.

Other guest speakers include Matt Hampton of MH Marketing in Little Rock, a successful serial entrepreneur since his youth, who will speak on youth entrepreneurship and innovation programs, Dr. Tim Cornelius of NorthWest Arkansas Community College, who will share his Denmark Entrepreneurship benchmarking tour, Michael Marshall who will present a Delta Regional Authority Grant opportunity, Steve Sparks and Pat Nunn Brown of the AEDC Small and Minority Business Development Division, Dr. Ed Franklin, Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, Charles Fullen of alt.Consulting and Vicki Malpass of Innovate Arkansas and Winrock International.

The  Speaker of the House, the Honorable Robert Moore, has also been invited to speak on Thursday April 7th, 2011, about his support for rural and statewide entrepreneurial development.

The AATYC Entrepreneurship Training Consortium combines the efforts of two-year colleges to foster economic development through entrepreneurship education.  Ten of the AATYC Entrepreneurship Consortium colleges have collaborated to deliver the same seven courses with common curriculum, textbooks and faculty over the past 2.5 years. Each course counts towards a Technical Certificate in Business and/or a two-year Business AA Degree.  The 10 partnered two-year colleges are Arkansas State University-Beebe, East Arkansas Community College, North Arkansas College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Ouachita Technical College, Pulaski Technical College, Southern Arkansas University Tech, South Arkansas Community College, Southeast Arkansas College, and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. At least 4-6 other colleges including BRTC offer Non-Credit training, Cossatot CC of the UA has embedded entrepreneurship skills into all of the technical skills Career Pathways programs, and others at this event will all report-out on their current status and needs to progress. We predict that members of the AATYC/Arkansas Chamber of Commerce/AIA statewide Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee will also be in attendance to participate.

The registration fee for this two day event is $60.00 and includes donuts, fruit and coffee for breakfast, beverages, with hot buffet lunches both days and many networking opportunities. Registration for this event is required by March 25th , 2011 . Please email annie.aatyc@cox-internet.com for a registration form. For more information please call (479) 424-0071.

Rock Star – Am I Complaining? No Way.

May 9 – 16, 2010 was a whirlwind. No sooner than I take an awesome day-time job, things in my personal career and life take off! Go figure. Take the leap of faith to do what is best for my family and my career takes off. Am I complaining? No way.

This week I have finished off a contract with one clients and launched another contract, which looks to be promising. I was interviewed by Aric Mitchell a freelancer who also writes for The City Wire about River Valley Business Networkers, fondly called Team RVBN, which I have been managing the social media extensions and public relations for.

Those alone made for a great week, but add in the fact that my Twitter account has gone nuts, Michelle Stockman recommended me calling me a Social Media Guru on LinkedIn and Susan Davis asked me to contribute to her newest mission and invited me on as a contributing writer to www.rivervalleyspotlight.com, only to turn around and call me a social media rock star that she knew she could count on!

What makes me happiest is knowing that I am helping a least a handful of small business owners in my community.