Serial entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors — Adam Toren and his brother, Matthew, have spent the last 20 years instructing people in management concepts, marketing, and finance. Together, they own and operate several online properties and print publications, including the award-winning books Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas! and Small Business, Big Vision. As founders of the large entrepreneur communities Blogtrepreneur.com and YoungEntrepreneur.com, they know a thing or two about startups and small businesses. We spoke with Adam about the importance of incorporating an online marketing strategy for successful company growth.
Your book, Kidpreneurs, teaches elementary school children the basic principles of entrepreneurship. Where did the vision for the book and site come from?
My brother and I were very fortunate to have been guided and encouraged by our grandfather to become entrepreneurs. Without his encouragement, and that of our mother and grandmother, we might not have ever been drawn to entrepreneurship. A lot of kids don’t have someone well-versed in business ownership to show them the way. We’ve found that many parents — even those who are entrepreneurs themselves — want to guide their children in the direction of business ownership but simply don’t know how. We wrote Kidpreneurs to help parents, teachers, and kids work together to bring kids to entrepreneurship.
The days of working for a company for 30 years and retiring with a nice pension are long gone. Kids entering the adult world need to be ready for a new paradigm — one that comes with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. We strongly believe that entrepreneurship, and the skills that go along with it, are what will best prepare our children for the future. Sharpening a child’s entrepreneurial skills equips them with the skills necessary to tackle a limitless future. There is no reason it cannot start at an earlier age. Kidpreneurs puts the power in the hands of the future.
“Knowing how to start a business and being able to effectively teach the concepts to kids doesn’t always go hand-in-hand,” says Adam Toren, whose Kidpreneurs books and site aim to bridge that gap. Books available here.
What’s your favorite success story stemming from the creation of Young Entrepreneur and Blogtrepreneur.com?
I’d have to say that the biggest success story for us is the thousands of emails, letters, and thank you’s we’ve received throughout the years from people who have benefited from what we were able to create. We started Young Entrepreneur and Blogtrepreneur.com to specifically help fellow entrepreneurs start, manage, and grow successful business ventures. It’s always an amazing and humbling feeling to hear from people who say, If it wasn’t for your posts about entrepreneurship on Blogtrepreneur and the vibrant community that you created on YE, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.
What online content/trends are you excited about right now? What’s your favorite type of content to write about and why?
Social media marketing is a big topic for us lately. For small businesses, entrepreneurs, and international corporations alike, social media platforms have become an essential part of all of our daily marketing strategies. It’s relatively inexpensive and a great way to reach out to new customers and give existing customers a platform to discuss things they may like or dislike about you, your brand, your product, or your business. Social media sites exist primarily as an avenue for community interaction. To attract attention to your business, you really need to utilize plenty of creativity, prepare a precise plan, maintain consistency in your interactions, and find a way to gauge success.
Social media marketing, in my opinion, is not about speaking at potential consumers or clients. It’s about speaking with them. It’s fairly easy to get users to “like” your post, or even repost it. But the goal should always be more than that. Try to initiate a conversation. If people are acknowledging your posts, acknowledge them right back. Ask open-ended questions, and don’t be afraid to be provocative. Remember, the more that people actively engage with you and your business, the more they become invested in what it is you have to offer.
The Torens’ book helps entrepreneurs clearly identify and implement their business goals. Get more information here.
What do you see as the future of online content? What do people love reading about most from you?
Our readers seem to enjoy reading about promoting their websites through online marketing, social media, and creating quality content that will generate results. One of the main reasons that online marketing has proven to be such a successful endeavor for so many people is the fact that the information flows at unparalleled volumes. Thinking back to the fundamental idea of consumer behavior, so many experts have agreed that a consumer’s propensity to purchase something increases when there is more information about the product or service they’re deciding on. In short, the more information available to the consumer the better.
In a macroeconomic era where people are more wary and do more research on their purchases, it is a big difference now for consumer sales-based businesses. In some other situations, content isn’t just a motivator for product purchase, it is the product itself. The recent popularity of pay-wall protected websites are another definitive example of content itself as a legitimate and thriving business model on the Web. For most companies and brands, content creation is made with the former utility in mind. Their chief aim is to drive those interested toward an offering with a sense of security and confidence. It is here that the idea of a “thought leader” comes into play. The fastest-growing and most effective businesses are unique and innovative. They differentiate themselves by establishing the notion that they’re leading the way in their industries. Content is the most important tool at all of our disposal and, unlike link-building, it actually contains and presents your valuable thoughts — which can and will be shared.
What’s it been like working with your brother?
My brother and I have been business partners literally since we were young kids. That being said, it took us many years to realize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re fortunate in our business partnership that each of us now knows exactly what the other is best at, and we stick to those things. This point goes back to communication; it’s vital that each of our expectations regarding our role is communicated clearly. Assumptions are a killer. Its been important to our success that we clearly laid out what each of our roles would be in the business before starting.
I love that my brother and I are best friends, brothers, and business partners (and co-authors!). It hasn’t always been perfect, but we’re very fortunate to have employed the right principles from the start, which has made all the difference.