Consumer or Consumed – Economic Insights

The Nielsen Company looked at how today’s uncertain economy is shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors and how marketers can navigate this new landscape to uncover growth opportunities:

“People have come to accept the reality of the economic crisis. What’s really important is how they are changing their priorities and decisions. Consumers are really focusing on the basics. Instead of eating out, they are eating in. They are finding many more ways to save that are different than traditional methods.

“Consumers may be pulling back luxury purchases but they’re not pulling back on the media. They watch more TV than ever. And they are very connected with the media via the Internet and other cool technologies.

“How do you actually achieve clarity in the face of uncertainty. You can’t forget the big trends. They never went away. Consumers are still aging, for example. Since all your competitors can also see those trends, you have to keep innovating.”

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Inspiring Michael Jordan “Failure” Nike Commercial

A little inspiration for you entrepreneurs who are struggling to survive. The message of this commercial is consistent with Robert Kiyosaki’s message: Fail young. Fail fast. And learn from your failures. This has significant implications for entrepreneurs that are managing the uncertainty of the current economic climate.

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Americans Say the Government Frustrates Entrepreneurship

Americans think the government does little to encourage entrepreneurship. The Kauffman Foundation recently published the results of its study: Entrepreneurship and Economic Recovery, which evaluated “America’s views on the best ways to stimulate growth”. Here are the key findings–very interesting.

  • By a margin of three to one (63% to 22%) Americans favor business creation policies as opposed to government creating new public and private sector jobs.
  • While Americans narrowly support the stimulus package, 51% to 44%, only 33% of entrepreneurs support it.
  • Only 21% of all survey respondents say that the stimulus package supports entrepreneurial activity and 33% believe it will retard entrepreneurship.
  • 53% of Americans say that a better stimulus package that creates more jobs could be crafted, while 25% say the current stimulus will create sustainable jobs.
  • While 78% of survey respondents say innovation is important to the health of our economy, only 3% say they believe the stimulus package will encourage innovation.
  • Americans think the government does little to encourage entrepreneurship, despite its importance; 72% of respondents say the government should do more to encourage individuals to start businesses. Almost half of
    respondents think the laws in America make it more difficult to start a business.
  • When asked what would jump-start the recovery and end the recession, 37% of respondents say cutting payroll taxes, 19% say to first pass the stimulus package, and 16% want to rescue the financial system through bank bailouts.
  • Two thirds of survey respondents favor less-costly alternatives to the stimulus package, such as reducing legal barriers and red tape for new business development.
  • Despite the collapse of Wall Street, 89% of Americans say that capitalism is still the best economic system for our country.

Guest Post: Young Entrepreneurs and the Economy by Cristian Dorobantescu

Crisitan manages entrepreneur-interviews.com. Here is his guest post:

It’s difficult to believe the economic crisis might be an opportunity for entrepreneurs. I’ve written articles on this subject and after a while I realized it’s a concept that is hard to swallow, especially for people that have been hit by unemployment or for entrepreneurs that struggle to survive. Still there is one thing that gives me hope: young entrepreneurs.

My position as a blogger puts me in a fortunate position to do a lot of interviews with young entrepreneurs. And guess what? Not only are NOT afraid of the crisis, but they are excited about the prospect of growing while everyone else is complaining or not doing anything at all. What also becomes evident from the interviews I post on entrepeneur-interviews.com is that young entrepreneurs have a unique set of advantages:

  • Young entrepreneurs are fearless as compared to their more experienced counterparts. They take the current situation as being the “de facto” environment for doing business and don’t just wait for things to become “better”.
  • They’ve got family support. As the “opposites” of older entrepreneurs that have to be themselves a pillar for their families, young entrepreneurs get plenty of support from family, school, coaches.
  • They don’t have a history of failure or debts. They start fresh and the crisis makes them pay more attention to their business environment. This helps them develop more efficient business models.

I’ve recently had to overcome something you could call an “entrepreneurship failure”. I’ve sold my shares in the company I founded 4 years ago. This year I will be 32. I’m almost double the age of the entrepreneurs I interview. Of course if you got the entrepreneurship bug then you will start a new business in no time. Only God knows how much I envy these young entrepreneurs that start early and have more time to fail and learn. And I’m also missing the innocence to dive headfirst into the crisis. And that’s my confession.

The Mixed Advice for Overcoming the Economy

Check out the posted entry at: http://www.energybyte.com/blog/overcoming-the-economy-draws-mixed-advice.

Blow: The New York Blow Dry Bar

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more about “Blow: The New York Blow Dry Bar“, posted with vodpod

Columbia University recently published a spotlight about Blow, a New York-based beauty shop. Ignore the lifestyle shots and R&B music in the intro (I cracked up when I saw the blond woman gently tossing her hair). And frankly, all that talk about getting a “blow out” was a little disturbing; I always thought a blow out is what happens an hour after a toddler consumes his first quart of cherries for the season!

Despite that, Julie Flakstad has proven that the economic climate is not too prohibitive for entrepreneurs. As she explains, “The market is always right for a new idea.” This quote could easily be the title of this post! Julie’s business model is based on continuous innovation, yes, but her success has more to do with her aggressiveness, will and understanding of fundamental principles of entrepreneurship:

1. Identify your niche market and focus all of your energy on that point of attack.

2. Secure (strategic) advisors and accept that you will have to rely on external council.

Need Capital? Look to Credit Unions for Funding.

Finally, some good news! I just read an article in the WSJ about how small businesses are finding new sources of funding in credit unions. Jillian Mincer writes about how credit unions were not invovled in the sub-prime mortgage mess and, therefore, are not suffering from exobitant losses like their bank counterparts. So they are more willing and able to loan money to small businesses.

Mincer writes, “About 27% of the 8,147 credit unions in the US offer business loans…The amount of business loans was up 18% las year to almost $33 billion from nearly $28 billion in 2007. The average loan size is about $215,000.”