Stimulus, Great PR Pitches, and VC Strings

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Enter stimulus. The House passes the $825 billion stimulus plan, and no republicans voted for the bill as constituted reports the New York Times. The Senate has added spending to the bill, including $36 billion for highway construction. Reuters now reports the bill will clock in at close to $888 billion.

More on the stimulus package:

- Belmont University's Dr. Jeff Cornwall blogs about what the stimulus will mean for small business, and notes that the NFIB is getting nervous. Some advice from Cornwall: "If you are already an entrepreneur, put your head down and focus on what you can control. Be prudent, for cash is king, but find your place in this new economic reality. There is opportunity out there, but it may require changing your business model. Remember, successful entrepreneurs learn to dance with the market."

- The Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank, posits that Obama's stimulus plan is a return Keynesian economics: "The current stimulus plan would impose a large debt burden on young Americans, but would do little, if anything, to help the economy grow. Indeed,it could have similar effects as New Deal programs, which Milton Friedman concluded 'hampered recovery from the contraction, prolonged and added to unemployment, and set the stage for ever more intrusive and costly government." Here's the slightly wonky paper.

"Oh, about those strings we attached..." The New York Times warns against heedlessly making changes to your business model in exchange for VC money. Even in these trying times, it's important to remember investors don't always know what's best for your company. Winston J. Churchill, managing partner at a private equity firm, warns, "An entrepreneur has to be very careful from whom they take money, and what the person's experience is." Friendster's Jonathan Abrams would agree—see Max Chafkin's piece on the social networking site's flame-out. For more funding advice, check out Inc.'s 2009 guide to angel investors.

What to look for in a PR firm. Looking to hire a company to help curry favor with journalists? There's something more important that a solid "relationships" with media professionals, says PR David Mullen in his blog. Mullen writes: "Interesting, well-crafted pitches that are relevant to the reporter's beat and her readers are what reign supreme. I've single-handedly landed a couple thousand stories for my clients in the last few years and the vast majority of the reporters I worked with didn't know me from Adam the first time they got a phone call or an email from me. Create great pitches, make sure they're relevant by reading the reporter's last five articles and then share your news." (Via Storyassistant, Matt Batt's twitter feed).

Fighting the recession blues, one cupcake at a time. Bizbox features Teresa Velazquez, owner of Baked and Wired, a popular D.C.-area bakery. She talks about working with your spouse, their lack of an advertising strategy, their plan to get their cupcakes to Obama, and why they've been able to buck the downturn. "I think because of the price range we're in, it's not much to make someone's day better," she says.

Cyber scams are growing. Per the WSJ, Cyber scammers are taking advantage of the current "economic confusion and anxiety" and proliferating fake e-mails, websites or text messages. The National White Collar Crime Center has received more than 800 complaints so far this year from individuals who have noticed unauthorized transactions (from $10 - $40) on monthly statements, according to the WSJ. The article says that executives are frequent targets of these attacks and that they should be especially careful to avoid opening up or forwarding phony email messages to their staff.

In the shadow of Detroit. The 20,000 car dealerships across the country are in big trouble CBS reports in a video that an estimated 1,100 dealerships will close this year. In California, auto dealers have an epic strongman looking out for them, the L.A. Times reports today.

Last updated: Jan 29, 2009




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