Step right up! Welcome to Carnival of Entrepreneurship #10

Step right up! Welcome to Carnival of Entrepreneurship #11: The rexblog and are proud to be hosting “Carnival of Entrepreneurship #11” — a weekly stop along the midway of the small business blogosphere. (Which I might add, is a really big tent and not some sideshow.) Here’s how Carnival of Entrepreneurship works: Each week, a different blogger hosts the traveling roadshow featuring some of the best tips and inspiration for starting and running your own business. (Hardest part if you’re the host: You have to limit to seven the number of posts to which you link.)

First, however, let me explain the photo accompanying this post. As those who work with me know, one of my favorite business-lesson movie moments takes place in a scene set on a carnival midway in the Steve Martin movie, The Jerk (sorry for my movie tastes). In this scene, Martin’s character, Navin R. Johnson, is taught the secret key to all entrepreneurial success: sell something for more than you pay for it. “Ahhhh!” says Johnson, when he discovers this secret from his mentor, “It’s a profit deal!”

So from strolling along the small business blogosphere midway this week (and receiving all those submissions of suggestions), here are some more lessons I have for Navin…and you:

Lesson #1: The way to overcome your fear of making big decisions is to (instead) make lots of tiny decisions. This simple but profound advice is from Jason Fried, the designer/entrepreneur/small-business-philosopher/author/all-round guru who created Basecamp and blogs at Signal vs. Noise. He delivers wisdom every time he speaks, so I decided to listen. It was a tiny — but big — decision.

Lesson #2: The name you pick for your new business should be short, sweet and memorable. J.D. Moore at Marketing Comet has some tips for coming up with one. Fortunately, he doesn’t recommend the latest cliché among tech companies: leave out vowels, ala Flickr.

Lesson #3: There really isn’t any formula for defining what makes a great entrepreneur — but that won’t stop folks from trying to come up with one. Blogging VC Fred Wilson has seen plenty of startups succeed and fail and while he still can’t define what makes one succeed, he has a great list of some of the characteristics he finds most commonly in great entrepreneurs.

Lesson #4: If you’re self-employed, don’t fudge on your taxes. OkieJ at Small Biz Survival wisely reminds you to do what is not only right, but smart. And that means you.

Lesson #5: When you set up an office at home, don’t forget the Feng Shui. And don’t forget to read over the tips from Jessica Duquette’s weblog, “It’s Not About Your Stuff.” (With a clever name like that, she also obviously is an expert at lesson #2.)

Lesson #6: Don’t wait until there’s a disaster to plan for it. And sometimes, growing quickly can be disastrous, says Ben Yoskovitz of the I Got News For You Blog. So be ready to scale.

Lesson #7: It’s the little things than can tip your team into a tailspin. David Daniels lists some signs that reveal a team is tottering.

Well, I could go on, but that’s it for this week’s Carnival of Entrepreneurship. Next stop: The Be Excellent Weblog. By the way, Carnival of Entrepreneurship is the brainchild of Scott Allen, the Entrepreneur’s Guide at

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