Same Zach Heller, Better Place to Find Me

April 12, 2011
Zach Heller

Zach Heller

Though I may continue to update this blog on a less frequent basis, I wanted to alert all of you to check out my new blog over at

I’ve found a new home on the Squarespace platform which has allowed me to reinvigorate my passion for blogging and for marketing.  I’ll be updating the blog frequently with information about marketing, small business, etc., similar to the material that has brought you here.

I encourage you to check it out, “I” of the Consumer, and subscribe today!



Is it December Yet?

November 29, 2010

Don’t call it a comeback.  Innovation is never dead. And neither is this blog.

And now this, 50 Tips for Successful Innovation.

Blog Spotlight: Open Forum Offers Great Advice for Small Business Owners

July 29, 2009

logo_OPENSmall business owners are always looking for new ways to save money, market their products, talk to potential customers, find investors, etc.  Because the task of running a business is so vast, there are literally hundreds of things to take care of.  And if you can get some advice on how to handle just one of those things, it can be a great help.  And many businesses, consultancies, and experts have made a lot of money offering that type of advice for years.

When American Express decided to target small businesses, they created OPEN.  American Express Open offered new credit card services specifically designed to give small business owners what they were looking for from a credit card.  But they didn’t stop there.

More recently, American Express created the Open Forum, a blog of sorts to offer all types of information that entrepreneurs are looking for in one easy place.  The Open Forum brings together experts from many different fields, and gives straight to the point advice on such things as hiring, investing, marketing, innovation, and saving money.  Anything a business owner would want to learn is most likely sitting there waiting to be found.

They categorize their content into 7 main headings; innovation, technology, managing, marketing, lifestyle, money, the world.  It is easy to find the information that you are looking for, or just browse to see if you find anything interesting on that particular day.

This is a genius move by American Express, as it allows them to enter the social media space with a valuable offer that is perfect for their target market.  It also connects them with experts from across the business and financial world to give credibility and valuable content.

For any small business owner out there who has not checked out what the Open Forum has to offer, I recommend doing it now.  They have done a lot of work to the website recently, and they continue to produce even more valuable articles.

Book Review: Fortune and Freedom

April 3, 2009

476The basics to a happy life: define success, work towards it every single day, balance work and social life.  That is the basic philosophy behind the teachings of Jim Hirschfield, lifetime entrepreneur and author of the book, Fortune & Freedom: The Entrepreneurs Guide to Success.

Too many books on entrepreneurship have the same cliché advice and false promises.  This book challenges conventional wisdom about owning and operating your own business by approaching it from another direction.

Throughout the book, you are reminded that success is something that you have to define for yourself.  It is not something that can blindly seek and stumble upon.  It is about setting goals, and working each and every day to accomplish those goals.  In a sense, those people who are truly successful and happy in their success get to where they are on purpose, never by accident.

In addition to some fine business planning and strategic advice, the book ties in some personal advice for your life outside of business.  As Jim defined success for himself, it was a successful business alongside a balanced personal life, where family events were just as important as business meetings.  The happiness of his family and friends was held just as high as the success of his business.  With this philosophy, Jim preaches finding a steady balance in all your endeavors to attain true happiness.

As you read the book, you feel as if you are sitting down with an old friend and discussing the many joys of life.  You get a good sense of who Jim is, and what kind of life he lived.  As the reader, you can view a successful entrepreneur’s experiences up close and personal, and feel comfortable knowing that everything you read is attainable.

One of my favorite sections of the book focuses on the definition of success as freedom.

If you have your long term goals in mind and you are progressing toward them, then the other day-to-day stuff is an irritant with which you can deal.  Defining success is crucial in almost anything you do, including business deals, working with people, and the many day-to-day decisions involved in business.  How can you be free if you do not define what that means?

We are all working towards freedom.  Whether it’s the freedom to travel, the freedom to spend more time with our families, the freedom to work in whatever industry you want, or the freedom to just do nothing.  This book will help get you there by offering some real life advice on passion, commitment, and decision-making. By the end of this book you will feel like all your goals are that much more possible, and your eyes will be open to new opportunities to improve your life.

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Book Review: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

March 3, 2009

tpeLooking for a book that can help you jump start your business idea?  Well I’ve got one for you.  For the second time since its release, I just read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Michael Michalowicz.

Many of you may have noticed this book already on my Recommended Reading list, but after going back through it a second time, it was clear that I needed to expand on that recommendation.

Why is this book so valuable? It is rare that an author gives out such real, to the point advice in their first book, if ever.  What I mean by that is, instead of dishing out the usual dose of vague inspirational advice, Mike dives right into real businesses.  From his own experiences, and the experience of others he has worked with, Mike lays out the fundamental approaches to any small business strategy.

From financing to marketing, from organizational structure to idea generation, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is filled with real life stories and suggestions that will help you get a clear vision of how to run your company.  This works for those entrepreneurs in the idea stage as well as a small business owner running a successful company.

The book is written in the most basic conversational tone, which makes it a quick read, and drives home the various tips that the author makes.  It is easy to pick up on important points, and even easier to apply those points to your own business or idea.  And unlike the average business book which harps on the same point over and over, making it easy to lose interest or lose focus, this book continues to throw new ideas at you with every page turn.

I love a book that inspires you to take notes in the margins, stop in the middle of a page because you just had an idea, and can be used as a reference after the initial reading.  For me, this book did all three of those things.  I would recommend it to anyone with dreams or a vision of starting their own business, or anyone who is interested in the subject of startups and small business in general.

To order the book from Amazon, click here.  To find out more about the book and its author, Michael Michalowicz, check out his website at, or connect with him on Twitter at

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What Would Google Do? (Book Review)

February 11, 2009

9780061709715“It’s about seeing the world as Google sees it, finding your own new worldview, and seeing differently.  In that sense, this isn’t a book about Google.  It’s a book about you.”

The first thing that you notice when you start to read the new book from Jeff Jarvis, What Would Google Do, is that this book is going to open your eyes to many “hidden truths”.  By breaking down Google’s philosophy, beliefs, and culture, Jeff shows us everything that has changed in the world since the explosion of the online world.

In exposing everything that Google has done, we can finally start to look at the world through their eyes.  Whereas many media, marketing, internet companies are clinging to ideals and beliefs of the old economy, Google and a few others have redefined what companies can do, how they can behave, and how they can develop.

Page by page, Jeff breaks down the rules that Google has followed to continue to grow and be successful.  And in doing so, he relates how other companies can use the same ideals to take advantage of a new generation of consumers that talk and discuss products and services in an open forum.  And through personal stories, detailed explanations of online activity, and an overview of how the major internet services work, we can see just how important it is for companies to join in the conversation, find niches, create communities, and act to serve the customer.

This is a must read for anyone who wants to further understand the power of the network. As the world continues to change through an ever expansive and open online society, it is vital that you know the rules of the game.  Jeff Jarvis will show you what is changing, where we’re headed, and how you can adjust and prepare yourself.  It is a creative way of looking at the world and will inspire you to embrace it.

You’re turn, what are some other books that do a great job of looking at the world in an interesting way and explaining new ideas?  What inspires you?  Let us know in the comments area below.

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Steve Wozniak is an Innovator – Are You?

February 6, 2009

wozniak_steveThere are a lot of innovators out there.  If you listen to what people and companies say, everyone is an innovator.  People like to toss around the term innovation because it gets people’s attention.  It makes you think of something new and amazing.

Steve Wozniak just took a job with Fusion-io, a startup focused on Flash memory devices to speed up servers.  Steve, co-founder of Apple, is a true technology innovator.  If you need proof, read his book.  He is an idea man, and he gets things done.  His mind just works in ways that other people’s don’t.

Really, at its base, innovation is change.  It is taking something, usually something that most people take for granted, and improving on it (or creating something completely different in its place).  And, truthfully, we can all innovate.  Every company, from the smallest of small businesses to the biggest of corporations, can make innovative strategic decisions on a daily basis.  So why don’t we?

Well, innovation can be hard.  It must be built into your culture.  It feeds off of creativity and ideas.  You need the people with those ideas to spawn innovative discussions, and you need leaders who listen and see the value in new ideas.

But the point of this blog is to show you that you don’t need a mind like Steve Wozniak’s to innovate.  Read his book, its inspiring.  In fact, read as many business books as you can.  Read the top business blogs.  Take in information, news, suggestions, etc. on innovation and business practice.

Let your mind wander.  Think of possibilities that are far out of reach.  It doesn’t matter what you do on a daily basis, after a while, things get stale.  And for a company that relies on putting out consistently good products or delivering consistently good service, staleness will kill you.

Suggestions: Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, an employee, a small business owner, and inventor, or a CEO you can…

  1. Always be learning – read everything around you and find out what other people are thinking, doing, and saying.  Surrounding yourself with information leads to inspiration.
  2. Always be doing – don’t let yourself hesitate or put down certain ideas because you are afraid.  Don’t let a day go by where you are not experimenting with something physically or mentally.
  3. Always be talking – social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter have allowed for limitless conversation.  Seek out others in your field and communicate with them, this will bring new ideas to light.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Take advantage of the comment area below and add your own suggestions.  How can you foster innovation and creativity?

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