Welcome to the second edition of TrendTracking, a weekly feature that we hope will become a popular place for small businesses to see and be seen.
- Be Excellent, the blog of Six Disciplines Corporation, has a new format. Skip Reardon, the Marketing Director of Six Disciplines, writes the blog. Part of the blog’s purpose is to be a companion to the Six Disciplines book and methodology.
But Skip has broadened the subject matter. He is writing about a variety of small business topics culled from different sources, not just about the book. I especially like his “Bottomline” summary paragraph at the end of each post, in which he emphasizes his point. He is planning to move to a more robust blogging software, because Blogger does not support categories, which are absolutely essential for a business blog.
- News.smallbusiness.com (great domain name!) offers news aggregation channels just for small business news. News.smallbusiness.com pulls news stories and blog posts from many sources. It aggregates them into a single page, with six categories: economy, finance, management, marketing, policy and technology. Naturally there are RSS feeds for the main channel and for each category. The end result is a resource specifically designed around “small business” news, rather than the broader business news which would contain content not relevant to the small business market. News.smallbusiness.com is run by Hammock Publishing, whose CEO, Rex Hammock, happens to be a blogger, too.
- Catapult is the entrepreneur’s site of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This is a fun site with a fresh take on being an entrepreneur. At first glance it looks pretty standard. But when you delve into it, you realize someone there has a wickedly funny sense of humor. In fact, Rebecca Martin, a journalist with the site, tells me that treating business subjects with humor is one of their goals: “Aimed at under-35 entrepreneurial types, we like to keep things light-hearted and humorous.” Read the Smart Fabrics article and tell me if you don’t agree.
- Selling is Dead — did you know that? That’s the name of a new book by two authors from here in Northeast Ohio, USA, where I live and work. They have a blog as an online companion for the book, also called Selling is Dead. One of the posts caught my eye with these statistics: “50% of sales people do not meet their quotas”; and “3 out of 4 product launches fails to meet expectations.” Those are wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee numbers. I haven’t read this book yet, but just judging from some of the posts, I will probably recommend it to several early-stage, entrepreneur friends and colleagues. Sales is invariably the weakest part of any technology startup.
- Technorati Blog Finder: Ever since I wrote last week about the Small Business Blog Directory, readers have been sending me links to other directories. One of those is Technorati’s Blog Finder. I certainly appreciate and thank Technorati for all the free services it provides (and I appreciate the thoughtful email I got from Technorati Feedback — on a weekend, too!).Unfortunately Blog Finder falls short. The main problem is that if a blogger designates a blog as having posts under a certain keyword, then the blog gets listed for that keyword. Sounds logical, right? Except: that leads to the questionable situation where a pop culture or politics blog may devote very few of its posts to “business” but still ends up being categorized under business blogs. For instance, one of the top blogs listed as a business blog in Technorati’s Blog Finder has 1464 posts, of which a mere 23 posts over five years are categorized as “business.” Yet, it is listed under “business,” ahead of other blogs with far more business content. While Technorati’s Blog Finder may be useful for some purposes, you will not get a good picture of the business blog landscape from it.
- Google Blog Search: Speaking of blog search, just today Google introduced its own blog and RSS search engine. Search Engine Watch has a substantive post describing the features and how best to use it.