Elance Blog

Three Great Ideas for Your Small Business


Jane Applegate is one of America’s most respected small business management experts. A popular keynote speaker and commentator, she is the author of four books on small business success, including 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business and The Entrepreneur’s Desk Reference. To celebrate the success of the latest revision of 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business, Jane shares excerpts from three great tips in her book, just for the Elance community!

Great Idea #6:
Say Goodbye to Corporate Life
People leave their corporate jobs to start small businesses for all sorts of reasons, financial and emotional.

Dairl Johnson, was at the peak of his career and managing a product line with $1.5 billion in sales at IBM, when he “suddenly realized I was taking just as big a risk staying in my corporate job as I would if I left.”

In the early 1990s, IBM was cutting staff. “The whole idea of the company being there forever was no longer true,” said Johnson. “It rocks your whole perspective, and you suddenly say, ‘there’s no such thing as job security. I would rather trust my own skills and abilities.’”

Great Idea #76:
Run Your Business in the Cloud

Emily Borders, co-founder of Borders + Gratehouse, a San Francisco-based public relations firm practices what she preaches. “We work with technology companies across a number of industries that are providing technology solutions for small businesses,” said Borders, who left a big PR agency to start her own business in 2007. Borders works with six people in San Francisco. Four others professionals work from home in Chicago.

She uses her clients’ services so she really knows how they work. For example, she’s hired freelance talent through Elance.com and relies on a cloud-based phone system from RingCentral.com. She also obtains legal services from RocketLawyer.com, another client.

“When we started the company, we were faced with a lot of questions about how to set up the infrastructure of the business,” she said.

“It can be daunting to put a business structure together, but these cloud-based services have helped us establish our business,” said Borders.

Great Idea #165:
Five Quick Time-Management Tips
Time management expert, Peter Gordon, offered me five tips to share with you:

  1. Start with the big picture. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish, where you are trying to go, and what the most important things are for you to do. “This type of clear thinking will give you a solid foundation for goal setting, prioritizing, and establishing a clear sense of direction,” said Gordon.
  2. Use one planning and organizing system. “Consolidate your various calendars, schedules, and to-do lists into a single electronic or paper organizing system. Eliminate those floating notes and scraps of paper,” said Gordon. “Add phone numbers to your contact list for quick access.”
  3. Invest the time to plan each day. “Review and prioritize your to-do list, blocking out time for the most important tasks,” said Gordon.
  4. Make appointments with yourself. Schedule time to do certain mundane tasks, especially ones you don’t like to do. Gordon says this is a great way to avoid procrastination and just get them out of the way.
  5. Batch the little things. “For maximum efficiency, batch tasks together and handle them all at once, whenever possible.”

Copyright © 2011 by Jane Applegate. All rights reserved.


Thank you for your post,

For me, the tip#165 is the most useful. My own experience is to spend some time every morning to brainstorm what I will do for the day, identify my target, set time and schedule. I do it on mindmap to clarify the task. I also find that use Reminder on Google Calendar is very useful :)

Giao Nguyen

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