About Business Owners Idea Cafe and Francie Marks Ward

As founder of Business Owners Idea Cafe®, I know what small business owners have to go through because I’ve been there/done that and am still doing it today. For over twenty years I've started, built, then sold small businesses in different types and sizes in two states. And I’ve made tons of expensive mistakes I wish I could have known enough in advance to avoid.

Here at Idea Cafe, since 1995, we've put our professional expertise and our small biz street smarts to use to create a robust online information mecca and community that has benefited hundreds of thousands of small business owners.

We're proud that the media has repeatedly featured Idea Cafe's unique "Fun Approach to Serious Business"™ and has noted our longevity as a prime small business destination. In fact, we receive so much great press we can't keep up with it. But here's a partial taste of what the media has been saying about Idea Cafe through the years.

Wall Street Journal features Idea Cafe as a
best-of-breed Site Catering to Small Business

The Journal quoted Idea Cafe CEO Francie Ward regarding why Idea Cafe has been so successful in creating its bond with small business. "'So many companies trying to reach small business don't have a clue,' Ms. Ward says. 'That's our language. We know what kinds of problems (small business owners) are dealing with.'"-- WSJ Breakaway-Focus on Small Business, Full Service Sites 09/25/00
PBS-TV Internet Cafe
"Some of the SOHO sites on the web are deadly, but here's one that's fun," noted award-winning host Stewart Chiefet, "and there's good solid information at Idea Cafe."

As Idea Cafe founder Francie Ward explains on the broadcast, 'Owning a business is a really stressful thing, but you've got to lighten up to handle that stress.'"

BusinessWeek Online

"Idea Cafe... the most-visited forum for small business on the Web"
"Since the drop in the Nasdaq Stock Market, some of the biggest names in small business internet sites have closed, consolidated with competitors or scaled back... But don't fret... this 6-year old site, (Idea Cafe, online since 1995), which describes itself as 'a fun place for serious business'... has plenty to offer for serious entrepreneurs... Its 'CyberSchmooz' discussion boards have very lively chats in different categories.
   Despite no advertising, the site gets traffic -- ranking No. 9 among the top 10 online small business centers, according to market research firm, Cahners In-Stat.
   'Many rival sites are run by people who've never owned a business and don't really understand the market,' Ward (Francie Ward, Idea Cafe CEO) said. 'We're like 'The Tortise and the Hare'. Idea Cafe just keeps moving ahead and growing.'"

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Report TV

Francie Ward on Kiplingers Personal Finance Television
Kiplinger's TV quotes Francie Ward, founder: "'At Idea Cafe, people can get some help with what they're trying to do right now to make their dreams happen.'"
USA Today
"Tap Idea Cafe. Get your creative juices flowing with help from Idea Cafe. ...Who says you can't mix business with pleasure?"
Even the government likes Idea Cafe -- here's one of the many government agency recommendations Idea Cafe is proud to have:

Idea Cafe Tops SCORE'S List of 35 Hot Small Biz Sites!
For SCORE's 35th Anniversary, they selected 35 Web Sites for small businesses to bookmark. Idea Cafe heads the list.
Another Wall Street Journal Feature:
Technology and Small Business...
"Five Web sites that are worth a click"

IDEA CAFE http://www.IdeaCafe.com
Francie Marks Ward has a good feel for the challenges facing small-business owners. Her description of how the site picks its offerings indicates she has spent enough time talking to entrepreneurs to know what issues matter to them." 
We've received many, many more write-ups, awards and recommendations, but you have other things to do than read our press all day. I think you can clearly see from the comments above that -- when it comes to small business -- I know what I'm talking about.

A few scenes from my entrepreneurial path...

Envisioning the future 'before' my third office for my first company, Francie Marks Associates. We converted industrial space near what later became the upscale Levi Plaza area of San Francisco

A few years later, here's The Marks Group pioneering in one of the first South of Market creative business destinations in San Francisco.

Yet another SOMA renovation for our marketing/design group. (Yes, I like the challenge of moving into an old space and giving it a new life!)

The first office building we built from the ground up was when we relocated Oasis Press/PSI Research from Silicon Valley to Oregon.

As soon as the building was finished, we grew -- fast.

As co-owner, I was responsible for publishing over 100 small business book and software titles -- many of them still long-time small business best-sellers.

The Successful Business Plan Secrets and Strategies Starting and Operating a Business 50 state series
Complete Book of Business Forms Financial Management Techniques for Small Business book and software package

Although our books were quite popular, I personally started to feel that all small business resources, including ours, were missing some of the most important aspects of small business: no one was speaking to the exhilaration and fun of developing a business idea; or to the compelling need entrepreneurs feel to connect with others who share what they are experiencing. So I named my vision 'Idea Cafe' and started a new company to embody it. Here's the view from my then spare-bedroom office window. The cups were preliminary research for the first Idea Cafe logo!

Now in this segment from Kiplingers Personal Finance TV, part of Idea Cafe's team is shown brewing up new ideas for small business. In the background you can see a few of the many awards Idea Cafe has received for helping small business owners.

Today we're sharing our hard-learned knowledge with you in The Small Business EzGuide to Government Regulations.

Give yourself the advantages I wish I'd had... order your own copy now.