Cartoon Woman on LaptopOne of the best ways for small business owners to get information, ideas and insights to help grow their businesses is to read blogs. No matter what field you’re in, no matter which niche market you serve, chances are you can learn something new, everyday, for free, by reading blogs.

One of my favorite small business marketing bloggers is the best-selling author Seth Godin. Recommending Seth Godin is kind of like recommending U2:

they’re so popular that if you haven’t heard of them yet, maybe you’re not part of the intended audience. But if you’re running a small business and haven’t heard of Seth’s blog, you really should read it. Now. Every small business owner can benefit from the ideas on Seth’s blog.

Of course, Seth Godin doesn’t write exclusively about “small” businesses, per se, but his advice, ideas and thought-provoking questions are useful especially for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs.

Seth writes about creativity, productivity, and how ideas spread. He offers optimism, self-motivation, self-improvement, and situational awareness for all the little moments that contribute to a successful work day and a meaningful career. He repeatedly writes about examples of how people can harness a spirit of generosity, curiosity and energetic, purposeful effort to make a difference in the world.

Maybe this sounds sappy, but it’s true: Seth Godin’s blog is like an angel on my shoulder. Whenever I’m feeling morose, unmotivated, aimless, anxious or negative, I can almost always check in on Seth’s blog and come away feeling better about my day and more energized to tackle the challenges in front of me.

Here are some of my all-time favorite blog posts from Seth Godin:

  • The bad table: “You need to figure out how to improve your lesser offerings. Maybe the table in the worst location comes with a special menu or a special wine list or even a visit from the chef. Maybe the worst table, for some people, becomes the best table because of the way you treat people when they sit there…Treat different people differently. But don’t treat anyone worse.”
  • Small is the new big: “Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change the business model when your competition changes theirs. Small means you can tell the truth on your blog. Small means that you can answer email from your customers… A small restaurant has an owner who greets you by name. A small venture fund doesn’t have to fund big bad ideas in order to get capital doing work. They can make small investments in tiny companies with good (big) ideas. A small church has a minister with the time to visit you in the hospital when you’re sick. Is it better to be the head of Craigslist or the head of UPS? Don’t wait. Get small. Think big.”
  • “Make something happen today, before you go home, before the end of the week. Launch that idea, post that post, run that ad, call that customer. Go the edge, that edge you’ve been holding back from… and do it today. Without waiting for the committee or your boss or the market. Just go.”
  • Set the alarm clock the night before. “Don’t set the clock when you’re tired, set it when you are planning your day. Don’t whittle away at your sales goals right after a serious rejection, set them when you’re on a roll.”
  • Delivering on Never: “I will never miss a deadline…I will never leave a typo…I will never violate a confidence…I will never let you down. There are lots of sorts of never you can deliver to a customer. You can’t deliver all of them, of course. Picking your never and sticking with it is a fabulous way to position yourself.”
  • Time to start a newspaper: “What should not-so-busy real estate brokers do? Why not start a local newspaper? Own your Zip code. The next frontier is local, and this is a great way to start.”

My hope as a blogger is that someday, some of the ideas and stories I share through my blog writing can be as influential for someone else as Seth Godin has been for me. Thanks for reading. And as Seth Godin says, “Go, make something happen!”