Archive | April, 2010

The Business Case for PR

21 Apr

“Public relations is more important than ever before, given the explosion of consumer engagement through new and social media,
the collapse of reputation and trust in major institutions and the evolving needs and concerns of corporate CEOs.”
– Michael Cherenson

Save the date to join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Idaho Chapter and Michael Cherenson, 2009 National PRSA chair and CEO, for a discussion on: The Business Case for Public Relations. Michael Cherenson has been at the helm of a national movement to better inform of public relations’ roles and strategic value. He will be in Boise to teach communications professionals how to best present a business case for public relations to the company and/or clients they represent. Cherenson will focus on useful tools and tactics to create better understanding of the practice, application and value of PR.

When: Thursday, May 6, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Beside Bardenay, 612 Grove St., Boise, ID
Cost: $15 for members and guests / $8 for students (includes lunch)
Payable by cash or check
RSVP:     RSVP to or by phone to PRSA president Sydney Sallabanks at (208) 388-0766

Innovation Overload! (in a good way)

15 Apr

In the next month there are a slew (the official word!) of events, workshops, seminars and speakers set to inspire, motivate and support the growth and success of our entrepreneurial community.

Some of the events to Save the Date and plan to attend:

TechStars in Boise
When: Wednesday, April 21@ 6pm
Where: The Watercooler
What:  David Cohen, Founder and Executive Director of TechStars – a mentorship-driven, seed-stage fund based in Boulder, Colorado – comes to Boise along with Andy Sack, Executive Director of the newly formed TechStars Seattle. Each year, TechStars Boulder funds and mentors ten new companies over an intense three months, resulting in some finely tuned, ready to roll start-ups.  David and Andy will share their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, the benefits of the TechStars program, its successes, the application process and tell you why you should apply for TechStars Seattle (FALL 2010). This event is presented by Highway 12 and sponsored by TechBoise and the Idaho Technology Council.
Cost: FREE
More information on Highway 12’s blog & TechBoise’s blog

Ignite Boise
When: Thursday, April 22 (Doors open @ 6:30pm, starts @ 7)
Where: Egyptian Theater
What: Ignite Boise 4 brings together an inspiring and unexpected blend of thinkers from business, art, technology, government and academia. All with ideas. And all willing to share them. 5 minutes, 20 slides, what would you say? Find out.
Cost: FREE
Early admission tickets are gone, but show up & get in line for open admission which starts @ 6:30pm
More Information

Startup Lessons Learned
When:  Friday April 23 9:30am – 7pm
Where: 8th Street Marketplace @ BoDo
What: In San Francisco, the first Startup Lessons Learned all-day conference is being held – dedicated to helping with your new idea or making your current business kick more butt. But it will cost you a hefty $750. However, local tech heroes Balihoo and 8th Street Marketplace @ BoDo are bringing you a live simulcast of Startup Lessons Learned right here in Boise. Seize this great opportunity to be part of a truly world-wide start-up event, and hear some cutting edge thinking on how to get started with your business idea or make better traction with one you are already working on. If you are a start-up founder, an employee engaged in customer or product development role at a company of any stage, or someone at a large company looking to bring the lean startup methodology to your company, this is your event. Here’s the stellar lineup.
Cost: FREE – but please register!
More information via  Kevin Donaldson’s blog post (

When:  May 19-20
Where: Boise Red Lion Downtowner
What: TechLaunch is an annual event that provides training and education to companies seeking financing.  Companies have the chance to practice and hone their pitch in front of potential investors. The event is organized by Idaho TechConnect, the Idaho National Lab, the Idaho Economic Development Association, as well as private and public organizations throughout the state.
Apply to present
Cost: Early registration $40 until May 12
More information

Startup Weekend
When: May 21-23
Where: The Watercooler
What: What can you accomplish in 54 hours? Startup Weekend brings together a highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more at a 54 hour event that builds projects, communities and companies.
Cost: $75
More Information

When: Thursday, May 26 7:30am – 7pm
Where: Boise Centre
What: Kickstand’s annual conference to inspire innovation in Idaho. Keynote by corporate innovation specialist Mitch Ditkoff of Idea Champions. Additional details, schedules and panelists from Idaho’s entrepreneurial community still being finalized. Keep an eye on Kickstand’s blog for the latest information.
Cost: $69 for Kickstand members / $89 regular price

A moment to breathe and reflect

4 Apr

Our agency, Red Sky PR, just celebrated our 2nd anniversary. And it brought home one of the many things on my list to personally improve on –  breathing (stick with me on this tangent :-)) Finding those moments in our non-stop days to stop, breathe in, reflect, appreciate, refocus and move forward. In this case, it took a room full of those we love – colleagues, partners, clients and community members – to bring home what we have accomplished. As a small business owner it’s often hard to find those moments to reflect positively. We’re often so focused on putting out the daily fires and juggling everything from needing new toner to pursuing new contracts or new employees. So the art of appreciating what we have, what we’ve accomplished and the opportunity that still awaits often passes us by.

Along the way these past two years we’ve had our fair share of downs to go with the ups. The constant ‘Gumby Effect’ of small business growth – expanding and contracting as the market opportunities arise and you stretch to pursue them, then contract as you batten down the hatches to survive a dip or an opportunity that didn’t come to fruition. It comes with the territory and is one of the experiences not exclusive to the industry in which I practice. While there may be some overlap in my list with the ‘Giving Thanks’ post of a few months back, here are my lessons learned at this point in the business owner journey:

  • Never underestimate the power of the personal in business. The phrase ‘it’s just business’ is all well and good, but at the end of the day emotions and personalities run through the veins of every aspect of business. Ignoring that takes the soul out of what you do.
  • Always keep your eye out for sherpas and mentors. There is a wealth of knowledge among your peers and colleagues – steal it (well, borrow it with thanks!). Never ever think you know it all – and be secure enough to admit it and seek advice.
  • Be confident, but know when to check your ego (and your mouth). [see above] Finding the balance on this one is hard but it segues with knowing when to look and listen and keep your oh-so-wonderful ideas to yourself…. if just for that moment to consider another point. 
  • Make mistakes – often. They will happen, they will suck and they will be your fault. Own up to them, make amends, and promise never to make the same one twice. Perfect people really don’t improve.
  • Moving forward doesn’t mean you can’t go back. Business plans are meant to be living documents. The world changes, so will you, and so will your business. Going backward down the path to restart in a different direction or with a different gait will happen.
  • Surround yourself with people you’d bring to your family dinner table. Whether it’s employees, partners or clients – work amongst those you respect, admire, enjoy and genuinely like. Whose opinions and insights keep you on your toes. Who can make you think – and make you smile.

And along the lines of ‘All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten…, ‘live a balanced life – learn some and think some’ and always remember to say thank you.

– Jess