Greg Hoffman



Entrepreneur's Guide Names Just For Small Business To Top 10 Blogs

Just for Small Business is "Full of thought-provoking tips for small business owners. The topics are often unexpected - not your usual small business fare," said Scott Allen, Entrepreneur's Guide at

(PRWEB) October 27, 2005 -- Blogs aren't just for news anymore. They've become a critical communication tool for small business owners. That's the approach Small Business Expert Denise O'Berry took when she launched her small business tips blog "Just for Small Business" -- -- a year ago. This week, "Just for Small Business" was named as one of the Top 10 Most Practical Blogs for Entrepreneurs.

Just for Small Business is "Full of thought-provoking tips for small business owners. The topics are often unexpected - not your usual small business fare," said Scott Allen, Entrepreneur's Guide at agrees that the blog is an invaluable resource for small business owners:

"The 'Just for Small Business' blog contains great information for those in small business. Anyone running a business of any size could benefit from the wisdom and examples in this blog. It takes just a few minutes to read a month of entries. The information could potentially make a major different in the success, or failure of one's business. Each entry has some tidbit of useful information to share to help business owners in various areas such as staffing, planning, proposals, marketing, taxes, etc. The writing is straightforward and accessible for all readers; even those outside of business may find some benefit to reading this blog. The solid content in 'Just for Small Business' makes it an impressive resource for anyone interested in improving their bottom line. Even the casual non-business reader may enjoy some of the examples O'Berry provides. Bottom line: An accessible, easy to read resource that should be mandatory reading for every small business owner. The sheer volume of links to resource material makes it an invaluable tool for anyone who owns or will possibly own a small business. If you follow the advice O'Berry gives, perhaps your small business will not fail. Spread the word to your small business friends to check out this blog. I honestly don't believe you'll find a more comprehensive site out there on this subject."

"I'm honored to have my blog included in the Top 10 Most Practical Blogs for Entrepreneurs," says O'Berry. "My objective is to help other small business owners succeed. I know they have only a short amount of time each day to add one more thing to their list of things to do. Just for Small Business provides meaty tips that can help them improve without taking forever to digest."

For a complete look at the Top 10 Most Practical Blogs for Entrepreneurs list, visit

About Denise O'Berry:
With more than two decades of operational and management experience, Denise O'Berry has developed a sharp eye for how businesses get bloated with inefficiencies, cross-purposes and miscommunication -- and how they can retool for a sleeker, smoother, strategically focused organization. An entrepreneur who quickly built her own successful consulting business, she helps other small business owners set priorities, take action to grow their business and create the balance they want between life and work. Her clients have ranged from telecommunications giants like Verizon to Mom-and-Pop retail shops with a primary focus on those having 10 or fewer employees and up to $2.5 million in annual sales. Denise frequently speaks to professional organizations, is the author of three booklets, and several "how-to" manuals. She writes a weekly small business column, hosts an online small business owner’s forum and is called upon regularly by publications such as Entrepreneur, Bank Rate Small Business, Florida Trend, Inc., various newspapers, radio and television to provide expert comments on small business issues.

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What are your Competitive Goals?

Answer these questions: Have you gone bowling lately and been disappointed with your score? Do you know who your main business competitors are? When was the last time you were named employee of the month? If you played Scrabble with a group of friends tonight, who would win?

In my opinion, its good to be competitive, to a point. I think one can become too competitive and alienate family, friends and coworkers. (Newspaper reporters are the worst, I should know, the Marietta Daily Journal almost killed me)

For the last few years, I've been great at identifying competitive companies and attacking their weaknesses for the benefit of "our" sales goals. But, I also noticed I've neglected the rest of my competitive nature. The drive to do better in all areas of my life is about to kick into high gear. I'm sure I'll be humbled on a minute-to-minute basis at the new job. That's to be expected, so I'm not worried about internal competition, yet.

I am worried that my Scrabble game has deteriorated. I've concentrated on high tech articles and news items too much. Now, I'm reading the Wall Street Journal and several Word Power books to improve my game. Playing online every once in while helps. So watch out friends - you know who you are.

I'm also going to work on the self-image, sitting in small/home office for the last 6 years hasn't helped.

Finally, when doing competitive business analysis, it's easy to choose a resident evil. Find your anti-thesis at another company and do everything you can to beat them to the punch. In the past, I've made sure to make contact with this person at least once at a trade show or conference. Kind of the smug James Bond tipping your hand introduction. They'll get it one day.

Setting competitive goals is just one of the things this Marketing Gorilla is doing to prepare for a new journey: Learn as much about the company culture, it's products and the job processes as fast as possible - all while staying well-rounded and well-grounded.

What about you?

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Hoffman Joins Thompson Group as E-Commerce Marketing Manager

My month-long journey to find the next greatest job came to a soft and smooth landing this morning when The Thompson Group made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I am joining their team on Monday as E-Commerce Marketing Manager. I'll report to Michael Masse, Director of E-Commerce and Web Technology.

The Thompson Group includes Thompson & Co. (Cigars), Casual Living U.S.A. (Gift Items), The Linen Source Inc. (Linens), and Cafe Belmondo LLC (Coffee).

I've been very successful up until now in Marketing Communications and Public Relations, but I've always said I wouldn't know what I could do if I worked for a company with a real budget. Now is my chance.

My family and friends have given me great support. I thank them for that. I also want to thank Denise O'Berry for her sage wisdom and guidance.

Ahhhh. (Sigh of Relief)

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eCommerce Analytics and SEO

I found several well-prepared white papers on search engine optimization and ecommerce analytics at Sign up for their newsletter and you can download the whole suite of pdfs.

Here's the one I'm reading tonight. The 10 Reports Every Online Retailer Lives For.

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Wilma follow-up

Seminole Florida is a paradise today. 59 degrees, minimal wind damage from Wilma. I guess my letter to mother nature the other day worked. I lost my big banana tree and several cactus branches but all is well.

Tampa Catholic High School won its first HOME game last Friday night. Read this story in the St. Pete Times.

It was a good weekend.



LinkedIn Bloggers and LinkedIn Power Forum

I found two new Yahoo Groups today and for most of you that know me, I don't join, I create groups. Well, these made too much sense to not join.

The first is a combination of LinkedIn and Bloggers and from the names on the messages, it's a pretty good list to be part of. I sent out my introductory message, talking about the LinkedIn Lessons post from last week.

I also joined MyLinkedInPowerForum. It's considerably bigger in members and messages, but since I'm going through email withdrawal, that's a good thing.

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The Good and the Bad of SEO - From Google's Mouth!

Here's a good article by Rob Sullivan at SEO News. Google Page Rank update is on its way. If you care about where your blogs or sites rank, it's time to pay attention. The article answers the following questions:

Is Pagerank Still Important?
Are Dynamic URLs Bad?
Is URL Rewriting OK in Google's Eyes?
Do You Need to Use the Google Sitemap Tool?
Does Clean Code Make That Much of a Difference?
Do Keywords in the Domain Name Harm or Help You?
How Many Links Should You Have on Your Sitemap?
Can Googlebot Follow Links in Flash or JavaScript?

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Dear Wilma,

We have plans to attend my high school's first home football game ever on Friday night. My son has a little league baseball game on Saturday afternoon. My daughter wants to see her cousin cheer at the middle school football game.

We have yardwork to do. We just fixed our roof. Our banana trees are very healthy and tall.

Most of our bills are paid for. I'm still unemployed.

Please stay away from my house this weekend.

Thank you,
Greg Hoffman and family.

CC: God and Mother Nature

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Top Ten Blog Design Mistakes

Blog design is a paramount to success. I'm slowly trying to improve the design here at Guerrilla Marketing Gorilla but I've got most of the basics covered.

Read this post over at Darren Rowse's and then check out different blog designs. Make sure your business blog not only looks good but is functional.

Here's my quicklist of must haves:
  • Easy to find RSS button
  • Contact Information
  • Descriptive Post Titles

Here's what I need to improve:
  • Categories instead of Calendar
  • Domain Name
  • Frequency of Posting

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Why do I advocate Business Blogs?

Before a business blog can become an effective tool, it needs to fill a void in a company's niche industry. Blogger admins have to find the company culture and the company voice, or just allow the executives to be the subject matter experts and let their personalities comment on the state of the industry. The strategy is long-term and it reflects branding more than analytical marketing at this point, but I'm a firm believer that this tool works.

My view of business blogs is equal to that of traditional websites. Every business should have one. Not every business blog will be successful, but the rewards are certainly worth trying for.

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Customer Interaction
  3. Online Presence
Let's start with search engine optimization. It's about two things - Links and Content. The more links from diverse sites to your business blog, the better. Many search engines and bloglists rank other blogs by the amount of incoming links to them. Simple enough. You have to earn, beg, barter or steal links to your business blog.

The best way to earn links is to publish the best content possible. Post what your target audience wants to read, not what your company wants to push. The ratio should be at least 10 to 1 when it comes to helpful information versus blatant sales pitches. It's ok in my book to promote your business every once in a while, but you'll never build an audience if that's all you do. Give the readers something they want on a daily basis. The combination of your keywords will eventually be indexed enough that google will become your site meter's best friend.

Customer interaction is a golden promise of business blogs but it's rare. You could have thousands of unique visitors everyday but your comment section will be empty unless you hit a hot button. It's like a lightning strike. But when it does happen, the comments are outstanding. It's great that the blogosphere allows correction and differing opinions within minutes or hours.

What a business blog can do is allow you expand your customer base at minimal cost. Once your keywords and link strategy starts to pay off, customers will find you. Your business could be running adwords at an optimal level, your banner and affiliate programs are working great, but if you want to increase your traffic beyond the paid programs, let a business blog create a buzz. Watch your traffic come from places you never expected. Promote your products and services in subtle ways on the business blog but make sure your outgoing links go to the right sales sites, where you can see the direct impact from those incremental sales.

I'd love to see some cost per click stats from business blogs and compare them to adword and affiliate programs. I think the difference would be amazing.

Active Business Blogs create more customers, improve your online image and eventually drive qualified traffic to your existing websites. That's why I advocate business blogs.

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Tampa Catholic High School's First HOME Football Game

We hope you are making plans to join us for TC¹s inaugural homecoming varsity football game under the lights, in our own home field sports stadium.

Where: TC¹s new Stadium complex! First time in TC¹s history we play at Home! TC vs Adm. Farragut Academy

When: October 21
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Alumni/Homecoming BBQ ($3 & $5 tickets)

7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Exciting Pre-game Festivities, Sports Stadium Blessing and Dedication

7:30 p.m. Kick off ($6 game ticket includes parking)

9:30 p.m. - till Post-game Alumni Mixer in TC¹s Cafeteria ($5 ticket) (must be 21years or older with ID to enter)

Dress: Casual ­ Green and White

Due to the historic nature of this evening, an overflow crowd of enthusiastic TC supporters and fans is expected. Get your tickets in advance at the TC front office. For more information, call the Development Office at (813) 870-0860, #229

(Editor's Note: TC Alumni Class of 1988)

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LinkedIn Lessons

According to Marc Freedman, I had a chance to make a substantial impact by using LinkedIn's email update service, but I failed. I agree with him. I should have maximized the impact of notifying my 90+ connections what the changes were on my profile in the email, not just counting on them to read the profile and notice the difference.

Here is the message from Marc, reprinted with permission:

re: Your LinkedIn Profile Update Notification

I know this probably isn't an issue for many of your other contacts. But it is for me. I receive dozens of such updates from my contacts each week. Your email notice contains no information other than the fact that it is changed. You had a chance to tell me what is new in the email. Instead you said nothing.

Profiles contain lots of information. You're asking me to review your profile and guess what's new, or perhaps I should somehow magically know what is different? That doesn't work. Just tell me what's been updated.

There's yet one more reason for avoiding the empty LinkedIn update - my spam filter thought it was spam and put it in that folder.

Now I know LinkedIn doesn't provide a lot of information or support on using the update. In fact they make it quite easy to send the meaningless default update. Please allow me to make a few suggestions so you can improve on this in the future.

Make sure you customize the default profile update email message. The other items on the list below are for general advice only. Thank you!

*** BASIC ***

> RESPECT YOUR NETWORK. Many of us are executives and professionals and receive hundreds of emails a day. Send LinkedIn notifications only when you have significant news and only when it is of interest to most of your contacts.

> CUSTOMIZE THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL. You can edit the email subject and body at LinkedIn before you send it. Please do so.

> THE EMAIL IS THE MESSAGE. LinkedIn would have you drive your contacts back to the web site. That's understandable as that's their business. But your contacts have already seen your profile. The only real reason to get them back to the profile again is if you completely rewrote it. 99.9% of update notifications can be handled much more directly. You have a new job, a new professional interest, you moved, you solved world hunger, whatever. Just cut and paste the new copy from your profile into your update email.

*** ADVANCED ***

> SELL: HAVE AN OBJECTIVE. LinkedIn is a business network. It aint Friendster, which is going down the tubes anyway. You don't use LinkedIn to say 'hey'. Be sure to have a Call to Action. Reading your updated profile does not count. Ask your contacts to call, write, or refer as appropriate.

> MARKET: DON'T WASTE THE OPPORTUNITY. Every contact, especially a broadcast like this that reaches millions, or at least dozens, is an opportunity to present yourself. Don't just tell us about the great news. Tell us why it's significant. Anchor it into your personal story. Build your brand.

> NETWORK: REMEMBER, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. While it's nice to share your good news, what your contacts want to know is what's in it for them.

EXAMPLE. You could say "I'm excited to announce I have a new job as Director of Business Development for RazorPop." ... But wouldn't it better to say "I'm excited to announce I have a new job as Director of Business Development for RazorPop. It's an ideal position. I can continue to make great music. And RazorPop will help me promote it! Plus I can leverage my tech contacts in the Bay Area. RazorPop is a fast-growing cutting-edge company at the convergence of consumer technology and entertainment. Our customers are consumer marketers, electronic and computer manufacturers, content producers and distributors, and artists. We build powerful consumer communities. Our unique software, networks, and marketing programs extend your brand, attract and retain customers, and save you money unlike anything else available today. Are you involved with digital media or consumer technology? Can I help you or your company? Please call or write me to learn more."

Who's your daddy?

Best Regards,

Marc Freedman
> Profile at Who's Your
> Be a with select LinkedIn and Networking Resources
Ok. I agree with everything but I think his "I am your LinkedIn Daddy" tagline is a bit overkill. Granted, he has more than 5,000 connections, but it's a little strange. Don't you think?

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Why is Corporate Communications Viewed as Fluffy?

by Gerry McGovern
October 11, 2005

In many organizations, corporate communications doesn't get a lot of respect. The intranet gives a rare opportunity for corporate communications to get the respect it deserves.

Intranets often struggle because they are not seen as strategic. They are not seen as delivering real value. Senior managers often see them as a peripheral function—a cost that needs to be borne.

Read the rest of this story at



Marketing on a tight budget requires focus, creativity

RALEIGH - For business owners stumped over how to get the most mileage from a limited marketing budget, local experts suggest first knowing your target audience.

Read the rest of this story from the October 10, 2005 print edition at the Triangle Business Journal.



Good Luck Security Awareness Blog

Since I started my journey for the ultimate dream job this week "full-time", I wanted to take a moment and thank the supporters of the Security Awareness Blog. Winn Schwartau did a great job crafting the tagline "Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless" and when we decided to experiment with a business blog in the summer of 2004, I had to fight to use that name. Several employees thought it was too offensive, but it's use as a blog name was proven perfect for the strategy to build an online community.

Read this interview at for more info on how and why we started the blog.

Our first big hit was to be named a USA Today Hot Site. That sent the traffic screaming to us in January. We were also reviewed by several sites that brought more traffic and legitimacy to our plan: The Weblog Review; Anita Campbell's PowerBlog Reviews; and

The next big thing was winning the 2005 Business Blogging Awards. The Security Awareness Blog took Best Overall and Best Tech Company. We picked up some good press from that news release: Read in the St. Pete Times and The Tampa Bay Business Journal.

In May, everything changed for the Security Awareness Blog when Winn decided to switch from PC's to Mac. We had a strategy but our goals weren't this big. When we blogged his first rant about the switch, our blog site meter registered more than 60,00 unique visitors in three days. By last week, when the final installments of the switch rants were published, we had more than 250,000 hits since the end of May. Read the stories at: St. Pete Times; Washington Post; The Mug Center; and The Mac Observer.

Getting back to the supporters...We started in 2004 with about 20 regulars and then we expanded into our weekly and monthly newsletters, which grew by the thousands recently. The RSS subscribers went from about 10 to more than 600 today. They say the blogosphere corrects itself instantly. I can attest to that. If we published something that was open to debate or correction, our readers were on it, within minutes, and then the debates began.

It was fun creating and maintaining the Security Awareness Blog. I hope the quality and attention to detail remains in the future. Now, I can't wait to start the next great business blog, wherever I land.

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New Book on my Shelf

This is the newest book I'm reading, thanks to I've been a little busy this week sending out resume's and networking locally and nationally. I'll let you know what I think of it asap.



Looking for Dream Job

The following is who I am and what I do. Any ideas or thoughts or leads are very welcome. I am truly looking for an in-house Marketing and PR manager position somewhere in the Tampa Bay area, or as a virtual consultant. I know they exist. I just need to find the right match.

Greg Hoffman
Seminole, Fla.

Marketing Communications and Public Relations Manager with expertise in maximizing corporate image online and offline. Seeking pivotal role within an organization to implement and manage multiple programs that directly impact short and long-term business plans, sales revenue and profitability objectives.

Marketing Communications and Public Relations
Interpact, Inc. Seminole, Fla. August 2003 – October 2005
* Marketing Manager – Responsible for all Marketing, Public Relations and Enterprise-Level Partnerships for both corporate entities: The Security Awareness Company and Trusted Learning Corporation. Marketing Strategy included: search engine optimization and online community building through award-winning business blog, opt-in email newsletters, trade show coordination, copywriting, news release writing and distribution, collateral material and print ad management, media buying, contests, surveys, competitive research, web content for multiple sites and publicity for company CEO.

The Tarpon Agency Seminole, Fla. August 99 – August 2003
* Owner – Marketing Communications and Public Relations management for accounts in Information Technology, Recycling, Boating, Health Care and Education industries. Programs designed and implemented included: local and national PR efforts, trade show promotions, newsletter writing and distribution, government affairs consulting, website, ads, and collateral material design management, media buying and executive image coaching. Goals reached included enhanced public image and sales of each client through customized plans, all while maximizing budgets.

RP Communications Atlanta, Ga. April 97 – August 99
* Account Executive – Client management included press release and case study writing, distribution, follow-up, trade show promotions, newsletter writing and distribution and government affairs consulting.

Newspaper Reporting
Fla., Ga. Oct. 94 – April 97
* Staff Writer The Tampa Tribune, Rome News-Tribune, Marietta Daily Journal, Atlanta Journal & Constitution - Newspaper reporting focused on education, politics and health care issues with emphasis on in-depth feature and investigative stories. Highlights include coverage of congressional races in Georgia and reporting as an accredited journalist at the 1996 Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Radio Promotions
Tampa, Fla. Jan. 91 – Oct. 94
* Assistant Promotions Director WRBQ AM/FM - Responsible for coordinating remote station events with Sales, Engineering and On-Air Talent. Related work includes community relations projects and charity event

* University of South Florida – BA, Journalism 1993

* 2005 CNET’s Top 100 Blogs
* 2005 Business Blogging Awards – Best Overall Blog and Best Tech Company Blog
* 1998 PRSA Atlanta – Phoenix Certificate of Recognition, Small Business PR Campaigns