Recent Posts

21 Businesses You Can Start in a Refugee Camp

March 31, 2010 - Posted by Shama Kabani

On my drive back home yesterday, I was listening to a fabulous segment on NPR about how the people in Haiti refugee camps have taken to starting businesses in their tents. Astonishing, isn’t it? That business can thrive, and often does, in the direst of circumstances. It got my brain going – and I made a list of 21 businesses someone can start in a refugee camp. 1) Food & Water – Back to the basics. Food and clean water are rare in camps, and FAIR PRICED vendors who can provide fundamental supplies win. 2) Fortune Telling –Read palms or tarot cards for fun? No matter the time or place –people are always eager to know their fortunes. 3) Entertainment – Rescued a Television set? Or put together some hand puppets? Diversion is a valuable commodity during tough times. 4) Beauty Salon – Men still need haircuts and many women… read more

Why Good Trumps Great: The Evolution of Business

March 10, 2010 - Posted by Shama Kabani

If I could call this post a manifesto, I would. And, perhaps it is just that. This mini manifesto is written for all business owners and at-heart entrepreneurs. This past weekend, I attended a dinner hosted by good friend and colleague Suzanne Falter Barns. Tim Kelley spoke at the dinner about the old vs. new paradigm of business, and the thirty of us present chimed in. The main message: Greed is Out. Purpose is In. The businesses of the past focused solely on growth. But, today’s landscape is different. Growth is a small percent of what makes a company truly great. A small company can rule supreme (in terms of profits and brand loyalty). Bigger is no longer better. Better is. Umair Haque, blogger for the Harvard Business Review (and my recent professional crush!) wrote this: “Hypercompetition — and hypercollaboration — is accelerating. The people formerly known as consumers are… read more

7 Ways to Make an Event More Memorable

March 5, 2010 - Posted by Shama Kabani

Just got back yesterday from speaking at the Social Business Bootcamp in Dallas. See me smiling in the picture? It was a great event, and it got me thinking about what makes an event truly memorable. Event planners and conference hosts, take note. 1) Don’t overlook a great MC. A Master of Ceremonies is often an afterthought for many events, but the MC sets the mood. And, a good one makes the whole event better. Couch surfing Ori was the MC yesterday and his humor really helped the audience relax. A good MC will make the speaker’s job easier. 2) Loan out video (point and shoot) and digital cameras to the participants. At the end, collect them back and put the content online. It is a great way to engage the crowd and see the event from many perspectives. 3) Choose a Twitter hashtag beforehand. Make sure all the participants… read more

Why No One Will Fan Your Facebook Fan Page

March 4, 2010 - Posted by Shama Kabani

Let’s face it. Your fan page is the equivalent of the party in college that no one wanted to attend.  Sure, your mom and best friend may be your fans. They may fan your auto shop or financial services consulting page on Facebook. But, for the most part – no one else will. People Fan Pages Based on Their OWN Identities. I learned this lesson in graduate school while researching for my thesis. People don’t join groups or fan pages because of you or what you offer. They join because of them. Facebook is the ultimate mirror. We create profiles that reflect who we are as human beings. We fan pages based on how they fit into our image of ourselves. See yourself as a neighborhood proud soccer mom? You will probably fan the local farmer’s market page. See yourself as a technology and book lover? You will probably fan… read more

How to Build Offline Relationships with Bloggers

March 1, 2010 - Posted by Shama Kabani

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to a dinner party hosted by Bing – yes, the search engine. Bing invited 13 Dallas bloggers to a great Dallas restaurant to demonstrate their search engine. I’ve attended a few events where companies strive to connect with bloggers. Tres Generaciones did a good job, and so did Bing. In fact, we (at the Marketing Zen group) have also hosted events on behalf of clients who want to connect with key local influencers. I find that all these events have five key elements. 1) FOOD. Is there anything more universally pleasing? Food is a great incentive to attract people. Good food gets people talking. And really good food makes them want to stay. What can I say? If you want bloggers to take time out of their busy schedule and attend your event, be sure to have food. (I hate eating in… read more