A weekly look at the latest products and services designed to help you run a better business.
Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? A new board game released this month by DreamLife Games lets you roll the dice and try your hand at building your net worth as a business owner.
Created by Loral Langemeier, a corporate coach and wealth strategist, The Millionaire Maker Game is designed to simulate the opportunities and challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. The object of the game is to achieve financial freedom by acquiring assets and making strategic business decisions; the player with the highest net worth at the end of 60 minutes is the winner.
In order to build their wealth portfolio, players roll the dice and pick up cards that present different opportunities or challenges. Players have the option to purchase real estate assets or shares of an oil well, for example. They might also have to deal with challenges such as being sued by an employee or having to give up assets.
The game can be purchased for an introductory price of $74.95 at select Barnes and Noble stores, or online at www.TheMillionaireMakerGame.com. If you aren't ready to take the plunge, you can watch a live game-playing session at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, starting Sept 29.
How to Hire a Hero
More and more business owners are turning to social networking sites to recruit their top employees. Hire A Hero, a new site launched earlier this year, is designed to connect employers with an extensive and largely untapped network of job seekers: U.S. military members returning from service.
Dan Caulfield, a Gulf War veteran and entrepreneur, started the Hire A Hero network to provide veterans with a forum to reach out to military-friendly employers in their local communities. The site, which is free to anyone who signs up, is funded by donations, corporate sponsorships, and government grants.
Hire A Hero, which Caulfield bills as a "MySpace meets Craigslist," gives members a chance to market their skills and qualifications through an online profile that they can outfit with their resume, as well as pictures, videos, and even podcasts. Interested employers also have profiles, which they can use to post job descriptions.
There are several ways for members to build their community and connect with the right people. Veterans and employers can enter their ZIP codes and see all members in their area. Results show up on a Google map distinguished by different-colored dog tags for job-seekers, employers, or volunteers. Employers can also search for candidates by a certain skill set.
According to Caulfield, more than 10,000 employers have joined the site to date, creating several hundred thousand job listings. "Hire A Hero is a place not just for people who want to put a yellow ribbon on their car, it is a place for people to interact with the military community," Caulfield said. "And as an employer, not only can you interact, but you can post your jobs for free and connect with a pipeline of high-quality candidates."
Along with a growing business often comes a growing list of contacts. A new product launched this week by San Diego-based BatchBlue Software, was designed to give entrepreneurs a program for managing all their contacts, communications, and tasks in one place.
The BatchBook is an online content management system that is customized by the user, allowing business owners to control the way their information is organized. First, users import their contacts, which can be done from a PDA, a program such as Microsoft Outlook, or can be entered manually. BatchBook aggregates all listed information for the contacts along with any previous communications, such as an e-mail exchange.
Business owners can organize their database by creating custom fields for their contacts, or tagging data sets. This allows the user to quickly track a past conversation, or create targeted e-mail lists based on contact records. BatchBook plans start at $9.95 a month.