Warning: Parameter 1 to ace_where() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/mikelitman1234/thehomebasedbusinessreport/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 247

Warning: Parameter 1 to ace_join() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/mikelitman1234/thehomebasedbusinessreport/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 247
mind-of-the-entrepreneur | The Home Based Business Report

mind-of-the-entrepreneur

mind-of-the-entrepreneur

Free

3 Entrepreneurial Business Rules

Comments

 By Ken Sundheim

There are certain business rules in existence that young, up-and-coming business professionals and entrepreneurs should do their best to abide by. Paying attention to and following these rules will inevitably make your career and business run more smoothly and successfully.

Taking A Genuine Interest In People…

One of the strongest assets a young business professional (or any business professional) can acquire is a good set of listening skills. People love to speak about themselves and, this becomes… (more . . .)


8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

Comments

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new… (more . . .)


The Human Touch and Sales

Comments

By Mel Robbins

I was having dinner with my mom when something strange happened. I couldn’t read the menu. I squinted. I furrowed. I moved the menu back and forth. I moved the candle closer for more light. Finally my mom handed me her glasses. The words came into focus as did the realization that for the first time in my life, I needed glasses. I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted or where to buy them, so I went online.… (more . . .)


Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

Comments

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new… (more . . .)

Free

3 Entrepreneurial Business Rules

Comments

 By Ken Sundheim

There are certain business rules in existence that young, up-and-coming business professionals and entrepreneurs should do their best to abide by. Paying attention to and following these rules will inevitably make your career and business run more smoothly and successfully.

Taking A Genuine Interest In People…

One of the strongest assets a young business professional (or any business professional) can acquire is a good set of listening skills. People love to speak about themselves and, this becomes… (more . . .)


8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

Comments

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new… (more . . .)


The Human Touch and Sales

Comments

By Mel Robbins

I was having dinner with my mom when something strange happened. I couldn’t read the menu. I squinted. I furrowed. I moved the menu back and forth. I moved the candle closer for more light. Finally my mom handed me her glasses. The words came into focus as did the realization that for the first time in my life, I needed glasses. I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted or where to buy them, so I went online.… (more . . .)


Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

Comments

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new… (more . . .)

Free

3 Entrepreneurial Business Rules

Comments

 By Ken Sundheim

There are certain business rules in existence that young, up-and-coming business professionals and entrepreneurs should do their best to abide by. Paying attention to and following these rules will inevitably make your career and business run more smoothly and successfully.

Taking A Genuine Interest In People…

One of the strongest assets a young business professional (or any business professional) can acquire is a good set of listening skills. People love to speak about themselves and, this becomes… (more . . .)


8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

Comments

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new… (more . . .)


The Human Touch and Sales

Comments

By Mel Robbins

I was having dinner with my mom when something strange happened. I couldn’t read the menu. I squinted. I furrowed. I moved the menu back and forth. I moved the candle closer for more light. Finally my mom handed me her glasses. The words came into focus as did the realization that for the first time in my life, I needed glasses. I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted or where to buy them, so I went online.… (more . . .)


Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

Comments

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new… (more . . .)

Page 1 of 141234510Last »

Free

Free

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting thehomebasedbusinessreport.com website located at www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com (the “Website”, “we”, “us”). We provide this notice in an effort to explain our online information practices and the choices available to you concerning the way that we use the information collected online at this Website. January 15, 2012

We collect your personally identifiable information when you sign up to receive products and/or services at the Website. We may also collect your personally identifiable information when you otherwise agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy at this Website, but do not complete the full registration process. The types of personally identifiable information that we may collect at this Website, during registration and when you make a purchase include, without limitation, your name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number. In addition, we may request information about your use of, or interest in, the types of products and services offered by the third-party advertisers with whom we have partnered to offer you the products and services available at this Website.

Any personal information that you submit at the Website remains your property. However, by submitting that information to us, you grant to us the right to use your personal information for any legal purpose including, without limitation:

a. effectuating a purchase from us that you make at the Website;

b. transferring your personal information to a third party to effectuate a purchase from a third party advertiser at the Website;

c. marketing purposes such as sharing your information with third party advertisers;

d. providing promotional offers to you by means of e-mail advertising, telemarketing, direct mail marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and/or online banner advertising;

e. tracking compliance with our Terms and Conditions;

f. for validation, suppression, content improvement and feedback purposes.

You agree that we may contact you at any time with updates and/or any other information that we may deem appropriate for you to receive in connection with your continued use of the Website. We also reserve the right to release current or past member information in the event that we believe that this Website is being or has been used to commit unlawful acts, if the information is subpoenaed, if we are sold or acquired or when we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate in our sole discretion.

In addition, you agree that by submitting your personal information at the Website, such act constitutes a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application for purposes of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR §310 et seq. (the “ATSR”). Notwithstanding that your telephone number may be listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call List, we retain the right to contact you via telemarketing in accordance with the ATSR. Moreover, by registering with, making a purchase from, or requesting information from, a third party advertiser at or through the Website, such action shall constitute a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application with the respective third party advertiser for purposes of the ATSR and you may be contacted via e-mail, direct mail and/or telephone by such third party advertiser in accordance with the ATSR.

We may share with third party advertisers certain Website usage information of individuals that have received targeted promotional campaigns for the purpose of formatting future campaigns and upgrading visitor information used in reporting statistics. For this purpose, we may track some of the pages that you visit on our Website through the use of pixel tags (also called clear gifs). By submitting information at and/or registering at this Website, you agree to allow us to share such Website usage information with third parties.

Third Party Links

We do not endorse, nor are we responsible for the accuracy of, the privacy policies and/or terms and conditions of each of the third party advertisers that may advertise at this Website. The entities that advertise and/or place banner ads at this Website including, but not limited to, these third party advertisers, are independent third parties and are not affiliated with us.

Your Choices

During registration and/or when you submit personally identifiable information to us at the Website, you have opted-in to request that we share your personal information with third parties to receive marketing communications. When contacted by any of these companies or third parties, you should notify them directly of your choices regarding their use and sharing of your information. To opt-out from receiving any additional email communications regarding this website, http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com /unsub.aspx

Some of the services that we provide will result in sending an SMS, wireless or other mobile offering to your cell phone. By signing up, you are agreeing to receive these mobile offerings. You understand that your wireless carrier’s standard rates apply to these messages. To unsubscribe or discontinue SMS messages, send “STOP”, “END”, “QUIT” to the SMS text message you have received. This process impacts only the future delivery of the particular SMS message offering, so you must send that message for each offering. This will not affect offerings sent on behalf of third parties. Notwithstanding anything else herein, we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customized ads, content or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. To opt-out of these cookies, please go to http://www.privacychoice.org/choose

Non-Personaly Identifiable Information

We may collect certain non-personally identifiable information about you when you visit many of the pages of this Website. This non-personally identifiable information includes, without limitation, the type of browser that you use (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer), your IP address, the type of operating system that you use (e.g., Windows or Mac OS) and the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink).

We use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our Website and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information to analyze Website usage, as well as to offer you products and services. We also reserve the right to use aggregate or group data about our visitors for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage and/or characteristics of our visitors as a group. By visiting and/or supplying your personal information at this Website, you agree to allow us to provide such data to third parties.

We also may use “cookies” to enhance your experience in using our Website. Cookies are text files that we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. We use cookies to understand Website usage, to personalize your experience, and to improve the content and offerings on our Website.

Minors

We do not knowingly collect information from minors under the age of 18. No information should be submitted to, or posted at, this Website by individuals under 18 years of age. We encourage parents and guardians to spend time online with their children and to participate and monitor the interactive activities of their children.

Security

We employ industry standard security measures designed to safeguard against unauthorized access to information that we collect online. However, we disclaim all liability for failures of our systems.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 enables California residents who have provided PII to US, and/or to a third party who has then shared such information with US, to request information regarding our disclosure of such PII information to third parties. Within thirty days of receipt of such a request, we will provide a list of the PII disclosed to third parties for the past calendar year, along with the names and addresses of such third parties. This request may not be made more than once per calendar year. Should you wish to exercise your rights under this Section, please use the postal address listed below. We reserve the right not to honor and/or respond to such requests that are not sent to the address below.

thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

info@thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Acceptance

By using the Website and/or agreeing to receive information via e-mail from us, you agree to this Privacy Policy. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add and/or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time. All Privacy Policy changes will take effect immediately upon their posting on the Website. Please check this page periodically for any changes. Your continued use of the Website and/or acceptance of our e-mail communications following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of any and all changes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding this statement, or would like more information on our privacy practices, please contact us at http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Copyright © 2012 thehomebasedbusinessreport.com – All Rights Reserved.

Home

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting thehomebasedbusinessreport.com website located at www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com (the “Website”, “we”, “us”). We provide this notice in an effort to explain our online information practices and the choices available to you concerning the way that we use the information collected online at this Website. January 15, 2012

We collect your personally identifiable information when you sign up to receive products and/or services at the Website. We may also collect your personally identifiable information when you otherwise agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy at this Website, but do not complete the full registration process. The types of personally identifiable information that we may collect at this Website, during registration and when you make a purchase include, without limitation, your name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number. In addition, we may request information about your use of, or interest in, the types of products and services offered by the third-party advertisers with whom we have partnered to offer you the products and services available at this Website.

Any personal information that you submit at the Website remains your property. However, by submitting that information to us, you grant to us the right to use your personal information for any legal purpose including, without limitation:

a. effectuating a purchase from us that you make at the Website;

b. transferring your personal information to a third party to effectuate a purchase from a third party advertiser at the Website;

c. marketing purposes such as sharing your information with third party advertisers;

d. providing promotional offers to you by means of e-mail advertising, telemarketing, direct mail marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and/or online banner advertising;

e. tracking compliance with our Terms and Conditions;

f. for validation, suppression, content improvement and feedback purposes.

You agree that we may contact you at any time with updates and/or any other information that we may deem appropriate for you to receive in connection with your continued use of the Website. We also reserve the right to release current or past member information in the event that we believe that this Website is being or has been used to commit unlawful acts, if the information is subpoenaed, if we are sold or acquired or when we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate in our sole discretion.

In addition, you agree that by submitting your personal information at the Website, such act constitutes a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application for purposes of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR §310 et seq. (the “ATSR”). Notwithstanding that your telephone number may be listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call List, we retain the right to contact you via telemarketing in accordance with the ATSR. Moreover, by registering with, making a purchase from, or requesting information from, a third party advertiser at or through the Website, such action shall constitute a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application with the respective third party advertiser for purposes of the ATSR and you may be contacted via e-mail, direct mail and/or telephone by such third party advertiser in accordance with the ATSR.

We may share with third party advertisers certain Website usage information of individuals that have received targeted promotional campaigns for the purpose of formatting future campaigns and upgrading visitor information used in reporting statistics. For this purpose, we may track some of the pages that you visit on our Website through the use of pixel tags (also called clear gifs). By submitting information at and/or registering at this Website, you agree to allow us to share such Website usage information with third parties.

Third Party Links

We do not endorse, nor are we responsible for the accuracy of, the privacy policies and/or terms and conditions of each of the third party advertisers that may advertise at this Website. The entities that advertise and/or place banner ads at this Website including, but not limited to, these third party advertisers, are independent third parties and are not affiliated with us.

Your Choices

During registration and/or when you submit personally identifiable information to us at the Website, you have opted-in to request that we share your personal information with third parties to receive marketing communications. When contacted by any of these companies or third parties, you should notify them directly of your choices regarding their use and sharing of your information. To opt-out from receiving any additional email communications regarding this website, http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com /unsub.aspx

Some of the services that we provide will result in sending an SMS, wireless or other mobile offering to your cell phone. By signing up, you are agreeing to receive these mobile offerings. You understand that your wireless carrier’s standard rates apply to these messages. To unsubscribe or discontinue SMS messages, send “STOP”, “END”, “QUIT” to the SMS text message you have received. This process impacts only the future delivery of the particular SMS message offering, so you must send that message for each offering. This will not affect offerings sent on behalf of third parties. Notwithstanding anything else herein, we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customized ads, content or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. To opt-out of these cookies, please go to http://www.privacychoice.org/choose

Non-Personaly Identifiable Information

We may collect certain non-personally identifiable information about you when you visit many of the pages of this Website. This non-personally identifiable information includes, without limitation, the type of browser that you use (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer), your IP address, the type of operating system that you use (e.g., Windows or Mac OS) and the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink).

We use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our Website and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information to analyze Website usage, as well as to offer you products and services. We also reserve the right to use aggregate or group data about our visitors for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage and/or characteristics of our visitors as a group. By visiting and/or supplying your personal information at this Website, you agree to allow us to provide such data to third parties.

We also may use “cookies” to enhance your experience in using our Website. Cookies are text files that we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. We use cookies to understand Website usage, to personalize your experience, and to improve the content and offerings on our Website.

Minors

We do not knowingly collect information from minors under the age of 18. No information should be submitted to, or posted at, this Website by individuals under 18 years of age. We encourage parents and guardians to spend time online with their children and to participate and monitor the interactive activities of their children.

Security

We employ industry standard security measures designed to safeguard against unauthorized access to information that we collect online. However, we disclaim all liability for failures of our systems.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 enables California residents who have provided PII to US, and/or to a third party who has then shared such information with US, to request information regarding our disclosure of such PII information to third parties. Within thirty days of receipt of such a request, we will provide a list of the PII disclosed to third parties for the past calendar year, along with the names and addresses of such third parties. This request may not be made more than once per calendar year. Should you wish to exercise your rights under this Section, please use the postal address listed below. We reserve the right not to honor and/or respond to such requests that are not sent to the address below.

thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

info@thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Acceptance

By using the Website and/or agreeing to receive information via e-mail from us, you agree to this Privacy Policy. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add and/or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time. All Privacy Policy changes will take effect immediately upon their posting on the Website. Please check this page periodically for any changes. Your continued use of the Website and/or acceptance of our e-mail communications following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of any and all changes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding this statement, or would like more information on our privacy practices, please contact us at http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Copyright © 2012 thehomebasedbusinessreport.com – All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting thehomebasedbusinessreport.com website located at www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com (the “Website”, “we”, “us”). We provide this notice in an effort to explain our online information practices and the choices available to you concerning the way that we use the information collected online at this Website. January 15, 2012

We collect your personally identifiable information when you sign up to receive products and/or services at the Website. We may also collect your personally identifiable information when you otherwise agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy at this Website, but do not complete the full registration process. The types of personally identifiable information that we may collect at this Website, during registration and when you make a purchase include, without limitation, your name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number. In addition, we may request information about your use of, or interest in, the types of products and services offered by the third-party advertisers with whom we have partnered to offer you the products and services available at this Website.

Any personal information that you submit at the Website remains your property. However, by submitting that information to us, you grant to us the right to use your personal information for any legal purpose including, without limitation:

a. effectuating a purchase from us that you make at the Website;

b. transferring your personal information to a third party to effectuate a purchase from a third party advertiser at the Website;

c. marketing purposes such as sharing your information with third party advertisers;

d. providing promotional offers to you by means of e-mail advertising, telemarketing, direct mail marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and/or online banner advertising;

e. tracking compliance with our Terms and Conditions;

f. for validation, suppression, content improvement and feedback purposes.

You agree that we may contact you at any time with updates and/or any other information that we may deem appropriate for you to receive in connection with your continued use of the Website. We also reserve the right to release current or past member information in the event that we believe that this Website is being or has been used to commit unlawful acts, if the information is subpoenaed, if we are sold or acquired or when we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate in our sole discretion.

In addition, you agree that by submitting your personal information at the Website, such act constitutes a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application for purposes of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR §310 et seq. (the “ATSR”). Notwithstanding that your telephone number may be listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call List, we retain the right to contact you via telemarketing in accordance with the ATSR. Moreover, by registering with, making a purchase from, or requesting information from, a third party advertiser at or through the Website, such action shall constitute a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application with the respective third party advertiser for purposes of the ATSR and you may be contacted via e-mail, direct mail and/or telephone by such third party advertiser in accordance with the ATSR.

We may share with third party advertisers certain Website usage information of individuals that have received targeted promotional campaigns for the purpose of formatting future campaigns and upgrading visitor information used in reporting statistics. For this purpose, we may track some of the pages that you visit on our Website through the use of pixel tags (also called clear gifs). By submitting information at and/or registering at this Website, you agree to allow us to share such Website usage information with third parties.

Third Party Links

We do not endorse, nor are we responsible for the accuracy of, the privacy policies and/or terms and conditions of each of the third party advertisers that may advertise at this Website. The entities that advertise and/or place banner ads at this Website including, but not limited to, these third party advertisers, are independent third parties and are not affiliated with us.

Your Choices

During registration and/or when you submit personally identifiable information to us at the Website, you have opted-in to request that we share your personal information with third parties to receive marketing communications. When contacted by any of these companies or third parties, you should notify them directly of your choices regarding their use and sharing of your information. To opt-out from receiving any additional email communications regarding this website, http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com /unsub.aspx

Some of the services that we provide will result in sending an SMS, wireless or other mobile offering to your cell phone. By signing up, you are agreeing to receive these mobile offerings. You understand that your wireless carrier’s standard rates apply to these messages. To unsubscribe or discontinue SMS messages, send “STOP”, “END”, “QUIT” to the SMS text message you have received. This process impacts only the future delivery of the particular SMS message offering, so you must send that message for each offering. This will not affect offerings sent on behalf of third parties. Notwithstanding anything else herein, we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customized ads, content or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. To opt-out of these cookies, please go to http://www.privacychoice.org/choose

Non-Personaly Identifiable Information

We may collect certain non-personally identifiable information about you when you visit many of the pages of this Website. This non-personally identifiable information includes, without limitation, the type of browser that you use (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer), your IP address, the type of operating system that you use (e.g., Windows or Mac OS) and the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink).

We use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our Website and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information to analyze Website usage, as well as to offer you products and services. We also reserve the right to use aggregate or group data about our visitors for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage and/or characteristics of our visitors as a group. By visiting and/or supplying your personal information at this Website, you agree to allow us to provide such data to third parties.

We also may use “cookies” to enhance your experience in using our Website. Cookies are text files that we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. We use cookies to understand Website usage, to personalize your experience, and to improve the content and offerings on our Website.

Minors

We do not knowingly collect information from minors under the age of 18. No information should be submitted to, or posted at, this Website by individuals under 18 years of age. We encourage parents and guardians to spend time online with their children and to participate and monitor the interactive activities of their children.

Security

We employ industry standard security measures designed to safeguard against unauthorized access to information that we collect online. However, we disclaim all liability for failures of our systems.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 enables California residents who have provided PII to US, and/or to a third party who has then shared such information with US, to request information regarding our disclosure of such PII information to third parties. Within thirty days of receipt of such a request, we will provide a list of the PII disclosed to third parties for the past calendar year, along with the names and addresses of such third parties. This request may not be made more than once per calendar year. Should you wish to exercise your rights under this Section, please use the postal address listed below. We reserve the right not to honor and/or respond to such requests that are not sent to the address below.

thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

info@thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Acceptance

By using the Website and/or agreeing to receive information via e-mail from us, you agree to this Privacy Policy. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add and/or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time. All Privacy Policy changes will take effect immediately upon their posting on the Website. Please check this page periodically for any changes. Your continued use of the Website and/or acceptance of our e-mail communications following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of any and all changes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding this statement, or would like more information on our privacy practices, please contact us at http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Copyright © 2012 thehomebasedbusinessreport.com – All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Thank you for visiting thehomebasedbusinessreport.com website located at www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com (the “Website”, “we”, “us”). We provide this notice in an effort to explain our online information practices and the choices available to you concerning the way that we use the information collected online at this Website. January 15, 2012

We collect your personally identifiable information when you sign up to receive products and/or services at the Website. We may also collect your personally identifiable information when you otherwise agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy at this Website, but do not complete the full registration process. The types of personally identifiable information that we may collect at this Website, during registration and when you make a purchase include, without limitation, your name, street address, e-mail address and telephone number. In addition, we may request information about your use of, or interest in, the types of products and services offered by the third-party advertisers with whom we have partnered to offer you the products and services available at this Website.

Any personal information that you submit at the Website remains your property. However, by submitting that information to us, you grant to us the right to use your personal information for any legal purpose including, without limitation:

a. effectuating a purchase from us that you make at the Website;

b. transferring your personal information to a third party to effectuate a purchase from a third party advertiser at the Website;

c. marketing purposes such as sharing your information with third party advertisers;

d. providing promotional offers to you by means of e-mail advertising, telemarketing, direct mail marketing, pop-ups, pop-unders and/or online banner advertising;

e. tracking compliance with our Terms and Conditions;

f. for validation, suppression, content improvement and feedback purposes.

You agree that we may contact you at any time with updates and/or any other information that we may deem appropriate for you to receive in connection with your continued use of the Website. We also reserve the right to release current or past member information in the event that we believe that this Website is being or has been used to commit unlawful acts, if the information is subpoenaed, if we are sold or acquired or when we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate in our sole discretion.

In addition, you agree that by submitting your personal information at the Website, such act constitutes a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application for purposes of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR §310 et seq. (the “ATSR”). Notwithstanding that your telephone number may be listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call List, we retain the right to contact you via telemarketing in accordance with the ATSR. Moreover, by registering with, making a purchase from, or requesting information from, a third party advertiser at or through the Website, such action shall constitute a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application with the respective third party advertiser for purposes of the ATSR and you may be contacted via e-mail, direct mail and/or telephone by such third party advertiser in accordance with the ATSR.

We may share with third party advertisers certain Website usage information of individuals that have received targeted promotional campaigns for the purpose of formatting future campaigns and upgrading visitor information used in reporting statistics. For this purpose, we may track some of the pages that you visit on our Website through the use of pixel tags (also called clear gifs). By submitting information at and/or registering at this Website, you agree to allow us to share such Website usage information with third parties.

Third Party Links

We do not endorse, nor are we responsible for the accuracy of, the privacy policies and/or terms and conditions of each of the third party advertisers that may advertise at this Website. The entities that advertise and/or place banner ads at this Website including, but not limited to, these third party advertisers, are independent third parties and are not affiliated with us.

Your Choices

During registration and/or when you submit personally identifiable information to us at the Website, you have opted-in to request that we share your personal information with third parties to receive marketing communications. When contacted by any of these companies or third parties, you should notify them directly of your choices regarding their use and sharing of your information. To opt-out from receiving any additional email communications regarding this website, http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com /unsub.aspx

Some of the services that we provide will result in sending an SMS, wireless or other mobile offering to your cell phone. By signing up, you are agreeing to receive these mobile offerings. You understand that your wireless carrier’s standard rates apply to these messages. To unsubscribe or discontinue SMS messages, send “STOP”, “END”, “QUIT” to the SMS text message you have received. This process impacts only the future delivery of the particular SMS message offering, so you must send that message for each offering. This will not affect offerings sent on behalf of third parties. Notwithstanding anything else herein, we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customized ads, content or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. To opt-out of these cookies, please go to http://www.privacychoice.org/choose

Non-Personaly Identifiable Information

We may collect certain non-personally identifiable information about you when you visit many of the pages of this Website. This non-personally identifiable information includes, without limitation, the type of browser that you use (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer), your IP address, the type of operating system that you use (e.g., Windows or Mac OS) and the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink).

We use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our Website and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information to analyze Website usage, as well as to offer you products and services. We also reserve the right to use aggregate or group data about our visitors for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage and/or characteristics of our visitors as a group. By visiting and/or supplying your personal information at this Website, you agree to allow us to provide such data to third parties.

We also may use “cookies” to enhance your experience in using our Website. Cookies are text files that we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. We use cookies to understand Website usage, to personalize your experience, and to improve the content and offerings on our Website.

Minors

We do not knowingly collect information from minors under the age of 18. No information should be submitted to, or posted at, this Website by individuals under 18 years of age. We encourage parents and guardians to spend time online with their children and to participate and monitor the interactive activities of their children.

Security

We employ industry standard security measures designed to safeguard against unauthorized access to information that we collect online. However, we disclaim all liability for failures of our systems.

California Civil Code Section 1798.83 enables California residents who have provided PII to US, and/or to a third party who has then shared such information with US, to request information regarding our disclosure of such PII information to third parties. Within thirty days of receipt of such a request, we will provide a list of the PII disclosed to third parties for the past calendar year, along with the names and addresses of such third parties. This request may not be made more than once per calendar year. Should you wish to exercise your rights under this Section, please use the postal address listed below. We reserve the right not to honor and/or respond to such requests that are not sent to the address below.

thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

info@thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Acceptance

By using the Website and/or agreeing to receive information via e-mail from us, you agree to this Privacy Policy. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to change, modify, add and/or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time. All Privacy Policy changes will take effect immediately upon their posting on the Website. Please check this page periodically for any changes. Your continued use of the Website and/or acceptance of our e-mail communications following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of any and all changes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding this statement, or would like more information on our privacy practices, please contact us at http://www.thehomebasedbusinessreport.com

Copyright © 2012 thehomebasedbusinessreport.com – All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

newsletterBg

newsletterBg

ebook-2

ebook-2

3 Entrepreneurial Business Rules

 By Ken Sundheim

There are certain business rules in existence that young, up-and-coming business professionals and entrepreneurs should do their best to abide by. Paying attention to and following these rules will inevitably make your career and business run more smoothly and successfully.

Taking A Genuine Interest In People…

One of the strongest assets a young business professional (or any business professional) can acquire is a good set of listening skills. People love to speak about themselves and, this becomes problematic to the business professional when they do just so.

Always ask questions about the other individual. It makes meetings a lot easier because you don’t have to “pitch” yourself the entire time. Instead, all you have to do is sit back and listen.

To give you a good example. I went to meet with a client a few days ago and because I make it a point to learn about my clients, I asked him about a youth football photo plaque he had on his wall.

A very nice man, he smiled and proceeded to tell me all about his son who is 10 years old, his passion for coaching the sport, as well as his Giants season tickets that got priced out a few years back.

Following the inquiry, I immediately knew he had two main drivers in both business and in life. First, this gentlemen wanted a better, more fruitful life for his children and he was willing to work for it. The second driver was uncertainty about the choice of colleges his children would have.

Taking an interest in people not only helps you learn, but it furthers your business career to an extent that you could not imagine. People do business with those they like because it is easy. When you listen, people like you.

Don’t Let Anybody Tell You That You Can’t…

Throughout your career, every step of the way, you are going to meet skeptics, negative minded individuals that, if you allow them, can deter you from meeting your goals.

Remember, just because somebody thinks achieving a particular goal that you’re reaching for is difficult, it has no bearing as to whether you can achieve the aforementioned.

Pride and Vanity…

It is sometimes hard to discuss persuasion tips to the public because most don’t know the subject as, if they did, their articles would be a lot different. Being presentable is one of the strongest forms of persuasion you could have.

When it comes to the importance of looks, the United States ranks a mere 15 or so in the world. Most people whom I ask assume that we’re #1.

Most would not guess, but the top countries to place importance on looks are disease- and famine-ridden nations. This is because good looks show the other individuals that you are healthy.

It gets worse, but need not be discussed. You don’t have to look like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, but you do need to look your best at all times.

Changing yourself is hard only if you think it is. Start by investing in a nice suit, keeping and looking fit and transferring positive energy when speaking or meeting with clients.

It’s not pretty, but it’s life.
_______________
Ken Ken Sundheim runs KAS Sales, Marketing, and Media Recruitment. You can visit him at www.kasplacement.com

3 Entrepreneurial Business Rules

 By Ken Sundheim

There are certain business rules in existence that young, up-and-coming business professionals and entrepreneurs should do their best to abide by. Paying attention to and following these rules will inevitably make your career and business run more smoothly and successfully.

Taking A Genuine Interest In People…

One of the strongest assets a young business professional (or any business professional) can acquire is a good set of listening skills. People love to speak about themselves and, this becomes problematic to the business professional when they do just so.

Always ask questions about the other individual. It makes meetings a lot easier because you don’t have to “pitch” yourself the entire time. Instead, all you have to do is sit back and listen.

To give you a good example. I went to meet with a client a few days ago and because I make it a point to learn about my clients, I asked him about a youth football photo plaque he had on his wall.

A very nice man, he smiled and proceeded to tell me all about his son who is 10 years old, his passion for coaching the sport, as well as his Giants season tickets that got priced out a few years back.

Following the inquiry, I immediately knew he had two main drivers in both business and in life. First, this gentlemen wanted a better, more fruitful life for his children and he was willing to work for it. The second driver was uncertainty about the choice of colleges his children would have.

Taking an interest in people not only helps you learn, but it furthers your business career to an extent that you could not imagine. People do business with those they like because it is easy. When you listen, people like you.

Don’t Let Anybody Tell You That You Can’t…

Throughout your career, every step of the way, you are going to meet skeptics, negative minded individuals that, if you allow them, can deter you from meeting your goals.

Remember, just because somebody thinks achieving a particular goal that you’re reaching for is difficult, it has no bearing as to whether you can achieve the aforementioned.

Pride and Vanity…

It is sometimes hard to discuss persuasion tips to the public because most don’t know the subject as, if they did, their articles would be a lot different. Being presentable is one of the strongest forms of persuasion you could have.

When it comes to the importance of looks, the United States ranks a mere 15 or so in the world. Most people whom I ask assume that we’re #1.

Most would not guess, but the top countries to place importance on looks are disease- and famine-ridden nations. This is because good looks show the other individuals that you are healthy.

It gets worse, but need not be discussed. You don’t have to look like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, but you do need to look your best at all times.

Changing yourself is hard only if you think it is. Start by investing in a nice suit, keeping and looking fit and transferring positive energy when speaking or meeting with clients.

It’s not pretty, but it’s life.
_______________
Ken Ken Sundheim runs KAS Sales, Marketing, and Media Recruitment. You can visit him at www.kasplacement.com

8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to retain an old one, customer reward programs are a lower-cost alternative to acquisition marketing. Create and actively promote a loyalty program that rewards on enrollment and then provides graduated incentives to your best customers. To keep customers coming back, provide in-kind rewards rather than gifts from other vendors.

2. Opt-in e-mail: E-mail is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. E-mail campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the cost of other tactics and can be executed in weeks, not months. The key is to e-mail as often as twice monthly, but only to an in-house list of members who have agreed to receive e-mail from you. Keep the content extremely relevant, and you’ll see response rates climb.

3. Local paid search: The vast majority of American shoppers do research online before making a purchase. They already know what they want to buy-they’re just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and Yahoo!, among others, offer services for local advertisers, and Yahoo!’s Local Sponsored Search program provides a locator page that will drive traffic to your store even if you don’t have your own website. Visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com and click on “Market Your Business Online” to find out more.

4. Marriage mail: Trying to reach consumer households in specific market areas? Your own direct-mail campaign could cost a small fortune. Instead, use “marriage mail”–send your ad or coupon in a joint mailing with other advertisers. A leading provider is Valpak, which designs, prints and mails more than 20 billion ads each year, providing an affordable alternative to stand-alone direct mail.

5. Media relations: Do-it-yourself PR is a lower-cost alternative to advertising, but it requires know-how and time. For best results, tailor your stories to the needs of the individual media outlets on your list. Then send a release or pitch letter, and follow up by phone. These initial contacts should lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships with key members of the press.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.com!

 

8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to retain an old one, customer reward programs are a lower-cost alternative to acquisition marketing. Create and actively promote a loyalty program that rewards on enrollment and then provides graduated incentives to your best customers. To keep customers coming back, provide in-kind rewards rather than gifts from other vendors.

2. Opt-in e-mail: E-mail is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. E-mail campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the cost of other tactics and can be executed in weeks, not months. The key is to e-mail as often as twice monthly, but only to an in-house list of members who have agreed to receive e-mail from you. Keep the content extremely relevant, and you’ll see response rates climb.

3. Local paid search: The vast majority of American shoppers do research online before making a purchase. They already know what they want to buy-they’re just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and Yahoo!, among others, offer services for local advertisers, and Yahoo!’s Local Sponsored Search program provides a locator page that will drive traffic to your store even if you don’t have your own website. Visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com and click on “Market Your Business Online” to find out more.

4. Marriage mail: Trying to reach consumer households in specific market areas? Your own direct-mail campaign could cost a small fortune. Instead, use “marriage mail”–send your ad or coupon in a joint mailing with other advertisers. A leading provider is Valpak, which designs, prints and mails more than 20 billion ads each year, providing an affordable alternative to stand-alone direct mail.

5. Media relations: Do-it-yourself PR is a lower-cost alternative to advertising, but it requires know-how and time. For best results, tailor your stories to the needs of the individual media outlets on your list. Then send a release or pitch letter, and follow up by phone. These initial contacts should lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships with key members of the press.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.com!

 

8 Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to retain an old one, customer reward programs are a lower-cost alternative to acquisition marketing. Create and actively promote a loyalty program that rewards on enrollment and then provides graduated incentives to your best customers. To keep customers coming back, provide in-kind rewards rather than gifts from other vendors.

2. Opt-in e-mail: E-mail is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. E-mail campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the cost of other tactics and can be executed in weeks, not months. The key is to e-mail as often as twice monthly, but only to an in-house list of members who have agreed to receive e-mail from you. Keep the content extremely relevant, and you’ll see response rates climb.

3. Local paid search: The vast majority of American shoppers do research online before making a purchase. They already know what they want to buy-they’re just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and Yahoo!, among others, offer services for local advertisers, and Yahoo!’s Local Sponsored Search program provides a locator page that will drive traffic to your store even if you don’t have your own website. Visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com and click on “Market Your Business Online” to find out more.

4. Marriage mail: Trying to reach consumer households in specific market areas? Your own direct-mail campaign could cost a small fortune. Instead, use “marriage mail”–send your ad or coupon in a joint mailing with other advertisers. A leading provider is Valpak, which designs, prints and mails more than 20 billion ads each year, providing an affordable alternative to stand-alone direct mail.

5. Media relations: Do-it-yourself PR is a lower-cost alternative to advertising, but it requires know-how and time. For best results, tailor your stories to the needs of the individual media outlets on your list. Then send a release or pitch letter, and follow up by phone. These initial contacts should lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships with key members of the press.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.com!

 

8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

 

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to retain an old one, customer reward programs are a lower-cost alternative to acquisition marketing. Create and actively promote a loyalty program that rewards on enrollment and then provides graduated incentives to your best customers. To keep customers coming back, provide in-kind rewards rather than gifts from other vendors.

2. Opt-in e-mail: E-mail is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. E-mail campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the cost of other tactics and can be executed in weeks, not months. The key is to e-mail as often as twice monthly, but only to an in-house list of members who have agreed to receive e-mail from you. Keep the content extremely relevant, and you’ll see response rates climb.

3. Local paid search: The vast majority of American shoppers do research online before making a purchase. They already know what they want to buy-they’re just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and Yahoo!, among others, offer services for local advertisers, and Yahoo!’s Local Sponsored Search program provides a locator page that will drive traffic to your store even if you don’t have your own website. Visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com and click on “Market Your Business Online” to find out more.

4. Marriage mail: Trying to reach consumer households in specific market areas? Your own direct-mail campaign could cost a small fortune. Instead, use “marriage mail”–send your ad or coupon in a joint mailing with other advertisers. A leading provider is Valpak, which designs, prints and mails more than 20 billion ads each year, providing an affordable alternative to stand-alone direct mail.

5. Media relations: Do-it-yourself PR is a lower-cost alternative to advertising, but it requires know-how and time. For best results, tailor your stories to the needs of the individual media outlets on your list. Then send a release or pitch letter, and follow up by phone. These initial contacts should lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships with key members of the press.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.com!

 

8 Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Visibility

 

BY Kim T. Gordon

Do you have ambitious growth plans for your company, but a limited marketing budget? There’s no need to compromise your goals. There are lots of great, budget-smart tactics that will put your business on the fast track–even if you don’t have deep pockets. Here’s a list of eight proven marketing tools and tactics specially created for the budget-conscious entrepreneur.

1. Customer rewards: Since it may cost as much as five times more to win a new customer than to retain an old one, customer reward programs are a lower-cost alternative to acquisition marketing. Create and actively promote a loyalty program that rewards on enrollment and then provides graduated incentives to your best customers. To keep customers coming back, provide in-kind rewards rather than gifts from other vendors.

2. Opt-in e-mail: E-mail is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. E-mail campaigns can be conducted for a fraction of the cost of other tactics and can be executed in weeks, not months. The key is to e-mail as often as twice monthly, but only to an in-house list of members who have agreed to receive e-mail from you. Keep the content extremely relevant, and you’ll see response rates climb.

3. Local paid search: The vast majority of American shoppers do research online before making a purchase. They already know what they want to buy-they’re just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and Yahoo!, among others, offer services for local advertisers, and Yahoo!’s Local Sponsored Search program provides a locator page that will drive traffic to your store even if you don’t have your own website. Visit http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com and click on “Market Your Business Online” to find out more.

4. Marriage mail: Trying to reach consumer households in specific market areas? Your own direct-mail campaign could cost a small fortune. Instead, use “marriage mail”–send your ad or coupon in a joint mailing with other advertisers. A leading provider is Valpak, which designs, prints and mails more than 20 billion ads each year, providing an affordable alternative to stand-alone direct mail.

5. Media relations: Do-it-yourself PR is a lower-cost alternative to advertising, but it requires know-how and time. For best results, tailor your stories to the needs of the individual media outlets on your list. Then send a release or pitch letter, and follow up by phone. These initial contacts should lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships with key members of the press.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur.com!

 

The Human Touch and Sales

By Mel Robbins

I was having dinner with my mom when something strange happened. I couldn’t read the menu. I squinted. I furrowed. I moved the menu back and forth. I moved the candle closer for more light. Finally my mom handed me her glasses. The words came into focus as did the realization that for the first time in my life, I needed glasses. I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted or where to buy them, so I went online.

I did Internet searches for the “best eyeglasses for oval face” and “best eyeglass design for women 2012.” I searched “eyeglasses” on Pinterest. I printed out my favorites and checked manufacturer websites for retail locations in Boston. Yelp reviews narrowed my shopping destinations.

I went to Vizio Optic first because it had numerous “Best of” awards online and because my global positioning system told me the address was fairly close. But what I saw when I entered Vizio Optic made me a customer.

Owner-optometrist Galina Rabkin was hugging an 11-year-old named Molly. The staff and customers smiled at the embrace. Post-hug, Molly stepped back and exclaimed, “Thank you, Dr. Rabkin!” Then, facing a mirror, she flashed a huge smile and announced, “I LOVE them! I look SO great!”

Rabkin hugged Molly’s mom, too, and turned to greet me with a smile. “Hi, I’m Galina. Welcome to Vizio Optic. Try anything on, open the drawers, have fun and let me know if you see anything you like.”

As we chatted, she explained her passion for eyewear. “Your glasses should make you feel like a million dollars. You spend so much time thinking about what shoes to wear—what about the glasses you put on your face?” I trusted her immediately.

We talked about her business, being a working mom, and what it was like fresh out of graduate school to take a risk, get a loan and open her own store. I asked about her business philosophy, and she said it was to make every customer feel like an old friend.

I was reminded of important, often-forgotten distinctions between sales, marketing and technology: In this era of computer search engines, blog reviews and Yelp directories, technology and marketing get people in the door. But human beings, not computers, decide to buy.

Read the complete article at Success.com!

 

The Human Touch and Sales

By Mel Robbins

I was having dinner with my mom when something strange happened. I couldn’t read the menu. I squinted. I furrowed. I moved the menu back and forth. I moved the candle closer for more light. Finally my mom handed me her glasses. The words came into focus as did the realization that for the first time in my life, I needed glasses. I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted or where to buy them, so I went online.

I did Internet searches for the “best eyeglasses for oval face” and “best eyeglass design for women 2012.” I searched “eyeglasses” on Pinterest. I printed out my favorites and checked manufacturer websites for retail locations in Boston. Yelp reviews narrowed my shopping destinations.

I went to Vizio Optic first because it had numerous “Best of” awards online and because my global positioning system told me the address was fairly close. But what I saw when I entered Vizio Optic made me a customer.

Owner-optometrist Galina Rabkin was hugging an 11-year-old named Molly. The staff and customers smiled at the embrace. Post-hug, Molly stepped back and exclaimed, “Thank you, Dr. Rabkin!” Then, facing a mirror, she flashed a huge smile and announced, “I LOVE them! I look SO great!”

Rabkin hugged Molly’s mom, too, and turned to greet me with a smile. “Hi, I’m Galina. Welcome to Vizio Optic. Try anything on, open the drawers, have fun and let me know if you see anything you like.”

As we chatted, she explained her passion for eyewear. “Your glasses should make you feel like a million dollars. You spend so much time thinking about what shoes to wear—what about the glasses you put on your face?” I trusted her immediately.

We talked about her business, being a working mom, and what it was like fresh out of graduate school to take a risk, get a loan and open her own store. I asked about her business philosophy, and she said it was to make every customer feel like an old friend.

I was reminded of important, often-forgotten distinctions between sales, marketing and technology: In this era of computer search engines, blog reviews and Yelp directories, technology and marketing get people in the door. But human beings, not computers, decide to buy.

Read the complete article at Success.com!

 

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Grow a Home Business

BY Carol Tice

Home-based businesses with a sole owner can only grow so much, right? Wrong.

With a little creativity you can keep expanding your home business, without hiring employees or renting an office. Here are seven tips for increasing revenue at your home business while keeping it a one-person show:

1. Use technology. From scheduling newsletters and social-media dispatches to issuing blog-post notifications via email, automate as much as possible. Collaboration tools such as Citrix Systems software can also help you readily pass off or work in the same document with colleagues and consultants without having to send giant email attachments or deal with a courier service. Additionally, video conferencing or call forwarding technology can do wonders for helping your little company appear much bigger — and more professional.

2. Outsource. These days, freelance marketplaces such as Elance and vWorker.com make it easy — and relatively inexpensive — to find contractors for a wide variety of roles, from accountants to virtual secretaries. There’s no law that says you have to make official, full-time hires to grow. Increasingly, I’m encountering high-revenue, fast-growing companies that have few, if any, official staffers and are driving growth entirely through contract labor.

3. Watch for opportunities. Entrepreneurs’ prime advantage over big companies is the ability to be nimble and shift gears quickly if a new opportunity emerges that might lead to more business. That’s what home-based franchisor Patricia Beckman did when she saw a need for a standardized virtual-assistant chain. Now her VA business, Cybertary, has 25 franchisees and is growing.

4. Treat your business like a business. Don’t neglect the back-office end of your business. For instance, consider using an online invoice system such as FreshBooks or Intuit’s Bill Manager. Being able to systematically track your payments and expenses will not only save you time, it’s also more professional in the eyes of customers or clients. Keep regular business hours so clients can rely on you.

Read the rest of this article at Entrepreneur!

Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new customers to have a healthy business. It can also mean that you get swamped with work for a time and then nothing, so you need to attract more customers.

Sure there will be times when customers just want you do a one off project. However if you change the way you think about your services and how you offer them you could be surprised at the additional solutions you can actually offer your customers.

How to Use The Mind Maps

Type in one of your services and then just think of the different ways you can extend this service with your current customers.

One way is to think of what is the next stage for your customer’s business.

Read the full article at Small Business Briefs!

Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new customers to have a healthy business. It can also mean that you get swamped with work for a time and then nothing, so you need to attract more customers.

Sure there will be times when customers just want you do a one off project. However if you change the way you think about your services and how you offer them you could be surprised at the additional solutions you can actually offer your customers.

How to Use The Mind Maps

Type in one of your services and then just think of the different ways you can extend this service with your current customers.

One way is to think of what is the next stage for your customer’s business.

Read the full article at Small Business Briefs!

Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new customers to have a healthy business. It can also mean that you get swamped with work for a time and then nothing, so you need to attract more customers.

Sure there will be times when customers just want you do a one off project. However if you change the way you think about your services and how you offer them you could be surprised at the additional solutions you can actually offer your customers.

How to Use The Mind Maps

Type in one of your services and then just think of the different ways you can extend this service with your current customers.

One way is to think of what is the next stage for your customer’s business.

Read the full article at Small Business Briefs!

Short Term Thinking Can Harm Your Business

By Susan Oakes

Looking at a number of websites over the last week many, even the ones that get healthy traffic, seem to have a short term project focus.

There was nothing on the websites that provided a reader with any hint that they want to do business with their customers over a longer period of time. Or that their services extend beyond one offs.

The Problem with Project Thinking

It leads you into the trap of continually needing new customers to have a healthy business. It can also mean that you get swamped with work for a time and then nothing, so you need to attract more customers.

Sure there will be times when customers just want you do a one off project. However if you change the way you think about your services and how you offer them you could be surprised at the additional solutions you can actually offer your customers.

How to Use The Mind Maps

Type in one of your services and then just think of the different ways you can extend this service with your current customers.

One way is to think of what is the next stage for your customer’s business.

Read the full article at Small Business Briefs!

How to Sell – Value, Benefits, or Features?

By Geoffrey James

The smartest way to close the deal focuses on the bottom-line impact for the customer. Here’s how.

Most businesspeople (including many who sell for a living) define “value” as “the most product for the least amount of money.”  Wrong, wrong, wrong!

While that’s how the term “value” is used in supermarket ads, it’s not what “value” means when you’re selling in the business world.

Probably the best way to understand “value selling ” is to compare it with the two other primary B2B sales concepts: selling by feature and selling by benefit.  (Note: I picked up this important distinction from Nancy Martini, CEO of PI Worldwide.)

Feature Selling…

When you “sell a feature,” you describe some element of your offering, in the hope that the customer will be suitably impressed. Example: “Our widgets have dual-plug potzeebies!”

Feature selling is generally ineffective, because except for the occasional gearhead, customers usually can’t figure out why a particular feature or function is meaningful to them.

Benefit Selling…

When you “sell a benefit,” you are still essentially describing a product feature–but you tie it to some way that it improves the customer’s situation. Example: “Our widgets are manufactured locally, so you can be assured of an immediate supply.”

Read the complete article at Inc.

How to Sell – Value, Benefits, or Features?

By Geoffrey James

The smartest way to close the deal focuses on the bottom-line impact for the customer. Here’s how.

Most businesspeople (including many who sell for a living) define “value” as “the most product for the least amount of money.”  Wrong, wrong, wrong!

While that’s how the term “value” is used in supermarket ads, it’s not what “value” means when you’re selling in the business world.

Probably the best way to understand “value selling ” is to compare it with the two other primary B2B sales concepts: selling by feature and selling by benefit.  (Note: I picked up this important distinction from Nancy Martini, CEO of PI Worldwide.)

Feature Selling…

When you “sell a feature,” you describe some element of your offering, in the hope that the customer will be suitably impressed. Example: “Our widgets have dual-plug potzeebies!”

Feature selling is generally ineffective, because except for the occasional gearhead, customers usually can’t figure out why a particular feature or function is meaningful to them.

Benefit Selling…

When you “sell a benefit,” you are still essentially describing a product feature–but you tie it to some way that it improves the customer’s situation. Example: “Our widgets are manufactured locally, so you can be assured of an immediate supply.”

Read the complete article at Inc.

How to Sell – Value, Benefits, or Features?

By Geoffrey James

The smartest way to close the deal focuses on the bottom-line impact for the customer. Here’s how.

Most businesspeople (including many who sell for a living) define “value” as “the most product for the least amount of money.”  Wrong, wrong, wrong!

While that’s how the term “value” is used in supermarket ads, it’s not what “value” means when you’re selling in the business world.

Probably the best way to understand “value selling ” is to compare it with the two other primary B2B sales concepts: selling by feature and selling by benefit.  (Note: I picked up this important distinction from Nancy Martini, CEO of PI Worldwide.)

Feature Selling…

When you “sell a feature,” you describe some element of your offering, in the hope that the customer will be suitably impressed. Example: “Our widgets have dual-plug potzeebies!”

Feature selling is generally ineffective, because except for the occasional gearhead, customers usually can’t figure out why a particular feature or function is meaningful to them.

Benefit Selling…

When you “sell a benefit,” you are still essentially describing a product feature–but you tie it to some way that it improves the customer’s situation. Example: “Our widgets are manufactured locally, so you can be assured of an immediate supply.”

Read the complete article at Inc.

7 Critical Steps to Ignite Your Company’s Cash Flow

Starting a business is a cake walk compared to running a sustainable, profitable business. In the initial stages of getting your company up and running, you are on an adrenalin high.

Your passion and the excitement of doing something you had dreamed about for months or years, seeing that dream become a reality, can be intoxicating!

Sooner than later, however, the challenges of running a successful business hit and you find yourself struggling to balance all the demands a growing business requires.

Too many business owners direct their attention to driving sales into their business without a plan on how to manage the cash when it hits their bank account.

The frenzy of getting that next sale, managing the expectations of delivering the product or service, hiring the necessary staff to keep ahead of demand and putting in place the processes to create efficiencies are all consuming.

The reality is this. Managing your cash is your #1 job as a business owner.

A cash-strapped business will not grow. You as the owner will burn out. The company will go away. If you are worried about getting enough cash to run your business, here are 7 steps to consider early on in starting and running a business.

1. Improve sales – you have to spend money to make money

I’m amazed at how many small business owners find little difference in marketing and sales. Or while they may understand the fundamental difference, they make no plan to actually land sales. They believe that their passion for their product or service will carry the day. I’ve had many business owners tell me ‘if I can get in front of someone, I can sell them my product.” They rely on their personality not on an intentional sales plan. To ignite cash flow, a sales plan is critical. And selling everyday becomes a priority. If selling is not your strength, hire a sales coach. Do this before your cash becomes depleted to a point where you don’t have the resources to apply to your business.

2. Have a plan – don’t shoot from the hip

When did planning become a bad word in business? I’ve heard more than one expert negate the impact of planning. Certainly making a plan you can implement is a challenge. Too many business plans are filled with dreams of grandeur but have no chance of becoming reality. A plan has to be based on facts and the more facts you have as you build a business the better decisions you make. And business owners who make good decisions succeed. I want business owners to make a plan based on where they are financially. If you have no cash today, then your plan goes out 2 weeks and includes how you are going to generate sales. If you have cash then your planning period could span 6 months. Create a plan based on your world today and make it real.

3. Increase prices – you have to establish value

What is your pricing strategy? It starts with an understanding of what it costs to produce your product or service, includes understanding what your competitors are charging and has to include your ability to show value. Too often prices are set based on what the business owner ‘thinks’ the prospect will accept. They often devalue their service or product and that happens when they don’t know what that value is. Take the time to really understand the value of your product or service and be confident in the problem it solves for your audience.

4. Aggressively manage receivables – do you have payment terms

Do your customers and clients know your payment terms? Are they listed in the small print that no one ever reads? Do you get frustrated when you don’t get paid on time? After sending an invoice it’s always a good idea to call to make sure the invoice was received and that the customer or client doesn’t have any questions. Making assumptions in this area can really squeeze your cash flow. Be aggressive when it comes to collecting what you are owed.

5. Create milestones – alert the client on the value delivered

Want to avoid that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you send an invoice to a client and you aren’t sure they will pay it? At critical points in the delivery of your product or service you should check in with your customer or client to show them the value you have delivered. Don’t expect or assume they see it. If you do this regularly, you’ll never have an issue with payment.

6. Managing vendors – maximize terms

If you are cash strapped, you have to protect your cash for as long as possible. That means maximizing terms for people you owe money to. If terms for payment are 30 days and you are sitting on cash and can pay it in advance, don’t. Always pay your bills, just don’t pay them before they are due.

7. Establish a credit line – do this when receivables are strong

While credit lines are harder to establish today than they were even 6 years ago, that doesn’t mean they aren’t available. Every business owner should establish a strong relationship with their banker. If you are new at a bank, introduce yourself to the President. Think you are small potatoes? You aren’t and you need to establish relationships with key people at your bank. Your plan is to grow your business. They want to provide you with services where they earn interest. Be confident that your money is just as important as anyone else’s.

__________________
The goal of every business is to make a profit. Is your business leaking profits? Are you working harder but not seeing the results on your bottom line at the end of each month? Visit www.destination-greatness.com and turn your growing business into a great business.

7 Critical Steps to Ignite Your Company’s Cash Flow

Starting a business is a cake walk compared to running a sustainable, profitable business. In the initial stages of getting your company up and running, you are on an adrenalin high.

Your passion and the excitement of doing something you had dreamed about for months or years, seeing that dream become a reality, can be intoxicating!

Sooner than later, however, the challenges of running a successful business hit and you find yourself struggling to balance all the demands a growing business requires.

Too many business owners direct their attention to driving sales into their business without a plan on how to manage the cash when it hits their bank account.

The frenzy of getting that next sale, managing the expectations of delivering the product or service, hiring the necessary staff to keep ahead of demand and putting in place the processes to create efficiencies are all consuming.

The reality is this. Managing your cash is your #1 job as a business owner.

A cash-strapped business will not grow. You as the owner will burn out. The company will go away. If you are worried about getting enough cash to run your business, here are 7 steps to consider early on in starting and running a business.

1. Improve sales – you have to spend money to make money

I’m amazed at how many small business owners find little difference in marketing and sales. Or while they may understand the fundamental difference, they make no plan to actually land sales. They believe that their passion for their product or service will carry the day. I’ve had many business owners tell me ‘if I can get in front of someone, I can sell them my product.” They rely on their personality not on an intentional sales plan. To ignite cash flow, a sales plan is critical. And selling everyday becomes a priority. If selling is not your strength, hire a sales coach. Do this before your cash becomes depleted to a point where you don’t have the resources to apply to your business.

2. Have a plan – don’t shoot from the hip

When did planning become a bad word in business? I’ve heard more than one expert negate the impact of planning. Certainly making a plan you can implement is a challenge. Too many business plans are filled with dreams of grandeur but have no chance of becoming reality. A plan has to be based on facts and the more facts you have as you build a business the better decisions you make. And business owners who make good decisions succeed. I want business owners to make a plan based on where they are financially. If you have no cash today, then your plan goes out 2 weeks and includes how you are going to generate sales. If you have cash then your planning period could span 6 months. Create a plan based on your world today and make it real.

3. Increase prices – you have to establish value

What is your pricing strategy? It starts with an understanding of what it costs to produce your product or service, includes understanding what your competitors are charging and has to include your ability to show value. Too often prices are set based on what the business owner ‘thinks’ the prospect will accept. They often devalue their service or product and that happens when they don’t know what that value is. Take the time to really understand the value of your product or service and be confident in the problem it solves for your audience.

4. Aggressively manage receivables – do you have payment terms

Do your customers and clients know your payment terms? Are they listed in the small print that no one ever reads? Do you get frustrated when you don’t get paid on time? After sending an invoice it’s always a good idea to call to make sure the invoice was received and that the customer or client doesn’t have any questions. Making assumptions in this area can really squeeze your cash flow. Be aggressive when it comes to collecting what you are owed.

5. Create milestones – alert the client on the value delivered

Want to avoid that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you send an invoice to a client and you aren’t sure they will pay it? At critical points in the delivery of your product or service you should check in with your customer or client to show them the value you have delivered. Don’t expect or assume they see it. If you do this regularly, you’ll never have an issue with payment.

6. Managing vendors – maximize terms

If you are cash strapped, you have to protect your cash for as long as possible. That means maximizing terms for people you owe money to. If terms for payment are 30 days and you are sitting on cash and can pay it in advance, don’t. Always pay your bills, just don’t pay them before they are due.

7. Establish a credit line – do this when receivables are strong

While credit lines are harder to establish today than they were even 6 years ago, that doesn’t mean they aren’t available. Every business owner should establish a strong relationship with their banker. If you are new at a bank, introduce yourself to the President. Think you are small potatoes? You aren’t and you need to establish relationships with key people at your bank. Your plan is to grow your business. They want to provide you with services where they earn interest. Be confident that your money is just as important as anyone else’s.

__________________
The goal of every business is to make a profit. Is your business leaking profits? Are you working harder but not seeing the results on your bottom line at the end of each month? Visit www.destination-greatness.com and turn your growing business into a great business.

7 Critical Steps to Ignite Your Company’s Cash Flow

Starting a business is a cake walk compared to running a sustainable, profitable business. In the initial stages of getting your company up and running, you are on an adrenalin high.

Your passion and the excitement of doing something you had dreamed about for months or years, seeing that dream become a reality, can be intoxicating!

Sooner than later, however, the challenges of running a successful business hit and you find yourself struggling to balance all the demands a growing business requires.

Too many business owners direct their attention to driving sales into their business without a plan on how to manage the cash when it hits their bank account.

The frenzy of getting that next sale, managing the expectations of delivering the product or service, hiring the necessary staff to keep ahead of demand and putting in place the processes to create efficiencies are all consuming.

The reality is this. Managing your cash is your #1 job as a business owner.

A cash-strapped business will not grow. You as the owner will burn out. The company will go away. If you are worried about getting enough cash to run your business, here are 7 steps to consider early on in starting and running a business.

1. Improve sales – you have to spend money to make money

I’m amazed at how many small business owners find little difference in marketing and sales. Or while they may understand the fundamental difference, they make no plan to actually land sales. They believe that their passion for their product or service will carry the day. I’ve had many business owners tell me ‘if I can get in front of someone, I can sell them my product.” They rely on their personality not on an intentional sales plan. To ignite cash flow, a sales plan is critical. And selling everyday becomes a priority. If selling is not your strength, hire a sales coach. Do this before your cash becomes depleted to a point where you don’t have the resources to apply to your business.

2. Have a plan – don’t shoot from the hip

When did planning become a bad word in business? I’ve heard more than one expert negate the impact of planning. Certainly making a plan you can implement is a challenge. Too many business plans are filled with dreams of grandeur but have no chance of becoming reality. A plan has to be based on facts and the more facts you have as you build a business the better decisions you make. And business owners who make good decisions succeed. I want business owners to make a plan based on where they are financially. If you have no cash today, then your plan goes out 2 weeks and includes how you are going to generate sales. If you have cash then your planning period could span 6 months. Create a plan based on your world today and make it real.

3. Increase prices – you have to establish value

What is your pricing strategy? It starts with an understanding of what it costs to produce your product or service, includes understanding what your competitors are charging and has to include your ability to show value. Too often prices are set based on what the business owner ‘thinks’ the prospect will accept. They often devalue their service or product and that happens when they don’t know what that value is. Take the time to really understand the value of your product or service and be confident in the problem it solves for your audience.

4. Aggressively manage receivables – do you have payment terms

Do your customers and clients know your payment terms? Are they listed in the small print that no one ever reads? Do you get frustrated when you don’t get paid on time? After sending an invoice it’s always a good idea to call to make sure the invoice was received and that the customer or client doesn’t have any questions. Making assumptions in this area can really squeeze your cash flow. Be aggressive when it comes to collecting what you are owed.

5. Create milestones – alert the client on the value delivered

Want to avoid that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you send an invoice to a client and you aren’t sure they will pay it? At critical points in the delivery of your product or service you should check in with your customer or client to show them the value you have delivered. Don’t expect or assume they see it. If you do this regularly, you’ll never have an issue with payment.

6. Managing vendors – maximize terms

If you are cash strapped, you have to protect your cash for as long as possible. That means maximizing terms for people you owe money to. If terms for payment are 30 days and you are sitting on cash and can pay it in advance, don’t. Always pay your bills, just don’t pay them before they are due.

7. Establish a credit line – do this when receivables are strong

While credit lines are harder to establish today than they were even 6 years ago, that doesn’t mean they aren’t available. Every business owner should establish a strong relationship with their banker. If you are new at a bank, introduce yourself to the President. Think you are small potatoes? You aren’t and you need to establish relationships with key people at your bank. Your plan is to grow your business. They want to provide you with services where they earn interest. Be confident that your money is just as important as anyone else’s.

__________________
The goal of every business is to make a profit. Is your business leaking profits? Are you working harder but not seeing the results on your bottom line at the end of each month? Visit www.destination-greatness.com and turn your growing business into a great business.

Advertising VS. Marketing Strategy: A Common Misconception

By Marshall Waters II

There is a common misconception among small business owners that advertising is what drives sales, and that one need only find the right slogan, radio jingle, or newspaper ad to be successful. Unfortunately, advertising in the absence of strategy is akin to throwing dollar bills into the wind. Both are expensive, showy, and ultimately pointless. Yet far too many business owners make the mistake of focusing on advertising, not strategy. If you are a business owner, chances are, sales reps bombard you on a daily basis with advertising packages for everything from cable television to radio to sports water bottles to announcements at high school football games.

Amidst this sea of possibilities will be metrics such as Time Spent Listening, Number of Impressions, Eyeballs, Click-Throughs, Repetitions, and a host of demographic information from AC Nielson, Arbitron, and other data compilers. The newest jingle, the hottest buzzwords, the steepest discounts, the zaniest deals, all suggested as the solution to light a fire under your stagnant sales. Light a fire, they certainly will, but probably only to your company’s checking account.

Advertising is all of the aforementioned. It is the banners, jingles, television ads, radio spots, coupons, brochures, flyers, door hangers, newspaper ads, magazine ads, business cards, letterhead, t-shirts, sports bottles, and yellow page listings that your company might engage in. The purpose of this advertising is to act as the media through which you convey your company’s message (or messages). Imagine someone standing out in front of your business with a giant bullhorn, shouting at all who pass by. Depending on the actual message, this could be very good, or very, very bad for your company.

Marketing Strategy, however, is the planning that goes into what message comes out of that bullhorn. Not only that, but whom the bull horn is directed at, where it is used, what time of day it is used, and even if it is to be used at all. Marketing strategy (the message) involves defining your company’s products, competition, and customer segments by answering questions such as:

–What products do you make?

–How do your products differ from those of your competitors?

–Who are your customers, and why do they buy your products?

Each of these questions needs to be answered before you can even consider spending money on advertising. Let’s walk through an example addressing the third bullet point.

A local restaurant wants to attract more customers. The restaurant is predominantly an Irish pub, but offers are relatively large menu. The business is open seven days a week during lunch and dinner hours, and offers live bands on the weekends. The business is situated on the outskirts of a large metropolitan area, and has a few large office buildings near it, as well as several large duplex developments and apartment buildings nearby. Based on this information alone, it might seem obvious to jump into a yellow page ad, call a local radio station for rates, and place an ad in the major newspaper. All of these ideas are wrong, however.

Who are your customers?

There are actually three main groups of customers for this business. During lunch hours, most of the customers are employees at nearby businesses on their lunch breaks. The weekday dinner crowd, in contrast, is predominantly comprised of people who live in the apartments nearby. Weekend traffic is different altogether. People from other parts of the city travel come here with friends either: 1) to hear live music because they like the pub; or 2) to hear their favorite band play, which happens to be at the Irish pub that particular weekend. While there certainly is some overlap amongst these three groups, the majority of each group (80% or more) does represent a distinct, unique type of customer.

Why do they buy your products?

Continuing with our Irish pub example, members of the afternoon lunch crowd are looking for moderately-priced, slightly healthy, convenient food that doesn’t require much of their time. These customers want to be in and out in under an hour, but are not necessarily looking for fast food. Offering healthy entrees (as healthy as is reasonable for an Irish pub), quick service, and high value (great taste at reasonable prices) will appeal this crowd.

The weekday evening crowd includes young adults and families; a little bit of research, or perhaps even a conversation with a local realtor, will tell you that many of these people are “middle-class,” white collar individuals who commute into the city to work each day, but don’t have the incomes for downtown penthouse apartments or old-neighborhood brownstones. Again, this group is looking for high value (great taste at reasonable prices), great service, and a relaxing atmosphere. Perhaps this is where people who are new to the neighborhood come to meet other people. Quick turnaround is not really an issue for this group, but quality of food, service, and overall value are critical. Atmosphere will also be important. The pub must maintain a safe, family-friendly atmosphere or risk alienating these customers.

The weekend crowd is here for the food, the drinks, and the bands. This group wants good food, great drinks, live music, and like Stu from the movie “The Hangover,” a chance to unleash the demon within.

Putting it all together

So how does this information shape the pub’s advertising strategy? Assuming the pub is able to deliver on the food, turnaround times, bands, service, and overall value sought by each group, we can develop a targeted advertising strategy. Absent other factors, if each of these groups represents 1/3 of the pub’s business, 1/3 of the advertising budget should be allocated to each of these segments.

For the lunch crowd, direct mailers to the local businesses, loyalty cards, and possibly offering a delivery option will generate the greatest response. If the weather is particularly bad one day, the pub could call local businesses around 11am to let them know it is open, and can even take orders for lunch time delivery. The message to be conveyed is: great, healthy food (an alternative to fast food); large menu; in and out in an hour; and highly convenient (we even come to you).

For the weekday evening crowd, direct mailers to the nearby apartment buildings, as well as listings in any “welcome” packets distributed to new tenants would be effective. Furthermore, a yellow page listing might make sense, if the phone book is distributed freely to all tenants and is local to the neighborhood (as opposed to covering the entire metropolitan area). Even things as gimmicky as door hangers and flyers on windshields, advertising a “meet the neighbors” block party at the pub some evening could prove effective. The message to be conveyed is: great food and drinks; meet the neighbors and strike up a conversation; unwind after a long commute from work; and if you are new to the area, come meet new people and form new friendships.

For the weekend band crowd, develop a customer newsletter and/or loyalty program, keeping existing customers informed of what’s happening each weekend at the pub. If at all possible, drink prices should be higher on band nights, and consider a cover charge. Make people dig deep into their wallets to bask in your trendiness; after all, you can’t spell “cachet” without cash. Furthermore, advertise in trendy, artsy, entertainment magazines – you know the kind I’m talking about: the ones that tell you about every no-name band, aspiring musical group, and hole-in-the-wall place within a 20 mile radius. In these publications, the more obscure you are, the better, otherwise, you’re viewed as a “corporate sellout,” whatever that means (you will never see an Applebee’s advertised in these publications, even if they tried).

As you can see from our example, identifying the primary customer groups and their needs first enables the development of an advertising plan that will effectively reach these specific groups. The above plan is clear, precise, and cost-effective. Without the initial planning, however, huge amounts of money easily could be spent, yet yield almost no results. All of the advertising methods suggested for our hypothetical Irish pub are relatively low-cost, but because they target specific people (bullhorn aimed in the right direction) with a clear message that is relevant to those individuals (bullhorn blasting the right message), the advertising will be successful.

Advertising should only be done once a marketing strategy is in place, for it is marketing strategy, not advertising, that drives a business’ sales. If you do nothing else this year for your business, consider refining your marketing strategy and then designing your advertising programs to fit that strategy. This one change alone will bring you more success this year than any seminars, sales trainings, corporate retreats, new manufacturing processes, or equipment purchases could ever provide.
______________
Marshall Waters, a management consultant and former small business owner himself, has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, advising over 70 small and mid-sized businesses on topics such as sales and management training, strategic planning, marketing strategy, and turnaround management. You can reach him at www.altonconsultinggroup.com

Advertising VS. Marketing Strategy: A Common Misconception

By Marshall Waters II

There is a common misconception among small business owners that advertising is what drives sales, and that one need only find the right slogan, radio jingle, or newspaper ad to be successful. Unfortunately, advertising in the absence of strategy is akin to throwing dollar bills into the wind. Both are expensive, showy, and ultimately pointless. Yet far too many business owners make the mistake of focusing on advertising, not strategy. If you are a business owner, chances are, sales reps bombard you on a daily basis with advertising packages for everything from cable television to radio to sports water bottles to announcements at high school football games.

Amidst this sea of possibilities will be metrics such as Time Spent Listening, Number of Impressions, Eyeballs, Click-Throughs, Repetitions, and a host of demographic information from AC Nielson, Arbitron, and other data compilers. The newest jingle, the hottest buzzwords, the steepest discounts, the zaniest deals, all suggested as the solution to light a fire under your stagnant sales. Light a fire, they certainly will, but probably only to your company’s checking account.

Advertising is all of the aforementioned. It is the banners, jingles, television ads, radio spots, coupons, brochures, flyers, door hangers, newspaper ads, magazine ads, business cards, letterhead, t-shirts, sports bottles, and yellow page listings that your company might engage in. The purpose of this advertising is to act as the media through which you convey your company’s message (or messages). Imagine someone standing out in front of your business with a giant bullhorn, shouting at all who pass by. Depending on the actual message, this could be very good, or very, very bad for your company.

Marketing Strategy, however, is the planning that goes into what message comes out of that bullhorn. Not only that, but whom the bull horn is directed at, where it is used, what time of day it is used, and even if it is to be used at all. Marketing strategy (the message) involves defining your company’s products, competition, and customer segments by answering questions such as:

–What products do you make?

–How do your products differ from those of your competitors?

–Who are your customers, and why do they buy your products?

Each of these questions needs to be answered before you can even consider spending money on advertising. Let’s walk through an example addressing the third bullet point.

A local restaurant wants to attract more customers. The restaurant is predominantly an Irish pub, but offers are relatively large menu. The business is open seven days a week during lunch and dinner hours, and offers live bands on the weekends. The business is situated on the outskirts of a large metropolitan area, and has a few large office buildings near it, as well as several large duplex developments and apartment buildings nearby. Based on this information alone, it might seem obvious to jump into a yellow page ad, call a local radio station for rates, and place an ad in the major newspaper. All of these ideas are wrong, however.

Who are your customers?

There are actually three main groups of customers for this business. During lunch hours, most of the customers are employees at nearby businesses on their lunch breaks. The weekday dinner crowd, in contrast, is predominantly comprised of people who live in the apartments nearby. Weekend traffic is different altogether. People from other parts of the city travel come here with friends either: 1) to hear live music because they like the pub; or 2) to hear their favorite band play, which happens to be at the Irish pub that particular weekend. While there certainly is some overlap amongst these three groups, the majority of each group (80% or more) does represent a distinct, unique type of customer.

Why do they buy your products?

Continuing with our Irish pub example, members of the afternoon lunch crowd are looking for moderately-priced, slightly healthy, convenient food that doesn’t require much of their time. These customers want to be in and out in under an hour, but are not necessarily looking for fast food. Offering healthy entrees (as healthy as is reasonable for an Irish pub), quick service, and high value (great taste at reasonable prices) will appeal this crowd.

The weekday evening crowd includes young adults and families; a little bit of research, or perhaps even a conversation with a local realtor, will tell you that many of these people are “middle-class,” white collar individuals who commute into the city to work each day, but don’t have the incomes for downtown penthouse apartments or old-neighborhood brownstones. Again, this group is looking for high value (great taste at reasonable prices), great service, and a relaxing atmosphere. Perhaps this is where people who are new to the neighborhood come to meet other people. Quick turnaround is not really an issue for this group, but quality of food, service, and overall value are critical. Atmosphere will also be important. The pub must maintain a safe, family-friendly atmosphere or risk alienating these customers.

The weekend crowd is here for the food, the drinks, and the bands. This group wants good food, great drinks, live music, and like Stu from the movie “The Hangover,” a chance to unleash the demon within.

Putting it all together

So how does this information shape the pub’s advertising strategy? Assuming the pub is able to deliver on the food, turnaround times, bands, service, and overall value sought by each group, we can develop a targeted advertising strategy. Absent other factors, if each of these groups represents 1/3 of the pub’s business, 1/3 of the advertising budget should be allocated to each of these segments.

For the lunch crowd, direct mailers to the local businesses, loyalty cards, and possibly offering a delivery option will generate the greatest response. If the weather is particularly bad one day, the pub could call local businesses around 11am to let them know it is open, and can even take orders for lunch time delivery. The message to be conveyed is: great, healthy food (an alternative to fast food); large menu; in and out in an hour; and highly convenient (we even come to you).

For the weekday evening crowd, direct mailers to the nearby apartment buildings, as well as listings in any “welcome” packets distributed to new tenants would be effective. Furthermore, a yellow page listing might make sense, if the phone book is distributed freely to all tenants and is local to the neighborhood (as opposed to covering the entire metropolitan area). Even things as gimmicky as door hangers and flyers on windshields, advertising a “meet the neighbors” block party at the pub some evening could prove effective. The message to be conveyed is: great food and drinks; meet the neighbors and strike up a conversation; unwind after a long commute from work; and if you are new to the area, come meet new people and form new friendships.

For the weekend band crowd, develop a customer newsletter and/or loyalty program, keeping existing customers informed of what’s happening each weekend at the pub. If at all possible, drink prices should be higher on band nights, and consider a cover charge. Make people dig deep into their wallets to bask in your trendiness; after all, you can’t spell “cachet” without cash. Furthermore, advertise in trendy, artsy, entertainment magazines – you know the kind I’m talking about: the ones that tell you about every no-name band, aspiring musical group, and hole-in-the-wall place within a 20 mile radius. In these publications, the more obscure you are, the better, otherwise, you’re viewed as a “corporate sellout,” whatever that means (you will never see an Applebee’s advertised in these publications, even if they tried).

As you can see from our example, identifying the primary customer groups and their needs first enables the development of an advertising plan that will effectively reach these specific groups. The above plan is clear, precise, and cost-effective. Without the initial planning, however, huge amounts of money easily could be spent, yet yield almost no results. All of the advertising methods suggested for our hypothetical Irish pub are relatively low-cost, but because they target specific people (bullhorn aimed in the right direction) with a clear message that is relevant to those individuals (bullhorn blasting the right message), the advertising will be successful.

Advertising should only be done once a marketing strategy is in place, for it is marketing strategy, not advertising, that drives a business’ sales. If you do nothing else this year for your business, consider refining your marketing strategy and then designing your advertising programs to fit that strategy. This one change alone will bring you more success this year than any seminars, sales trainings, corporate retreats, new manufacturing processes, or equipment purchases could ever provide.
______________
Marshall Waters, a management consultant and former small business owner himself, has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, advising over 70 small and mid-sized businesses on topics such as sales and management training, strategic planning, marketing strategy, and turnaround management. You can reach him at www.altonconsultinggroup.com

Advertising VS. Marketing Strategy: A Common Misconception

By Marshall Waters II

There is a common misconception among small business owners that advertising is what drives sales, and that one need only find the right slogan, radio jingle, or newspaper ad to be successful. Unfortunately, advertising in the absence of strategy is akin to throwing dollar bills into the wind. Both are expensive, showy, and ultimately pointless. Yet far too many business owners make the mistake of focusing on advertising, not strategy. If you are a business owner, chances are, sales reps bombard you on a daily basis with advertising packages for everything from cable television to radio to sports water bottles to announcements at high school football games.

Amidst this sea of possibilities will be metrics such as Time Spent Listening, Number of Impressions, Eyeballs, Click-Throughs, Repetitions, and a host of demographic information from AC Nielson, Arbitron, and other data compilers. The newest jingle, the hottest buzzwords, the steepest discounts, the zaniest deals, all suggested as the solution to light a fire under your stagnant sales. Light a fire, they certainly will, but probably only to your company’s checking account.

Advertising is all of the aforementioned. It is the banners, jingles, television ads, radio spots, coupons, brochures, flyers, door hangers, newspaper ads, magazine ads, business cards, letterhead, t-shirts, sports bottles, and yellow page listings that your company might engage in. The purpose of this advertising is to act as the media through which you convey your company’s message (or messages). Imagine someone standing out in front of your business with a giant bullhorn, shouting at all who pass by. Depending on the actual message, this could be very good, or very, very bad for your company.

Marketing Strategy, however, is the planning that goes into what message comes out of that bullhorn. Not only that, but whom the bull horn is directed at, where it is used, what time of day it is used, and even if it is to be used at all. Marketing strategy (the message) involves defining your company’s products, competition, and customer segments by answering questions such as:

–What products do you make?

–How do your products differ from those of your competitors?

–Who are your customers, and why do they buy your products?

Each of these questions needs to be answered before you can even consider spending money on advertising. Let’s walk through an example addressing the third bullet point.

A local restaurant wants to attract more customers. The restaurant is predominantly an Irish pub, but offers are relatively large menu. The business is open seven days a week during lunch and dinner hours, and offers live bands on the weekends. The business is situated on the outskirts of a large metropolitan area, and has a few large office buildings near it, as well as several large duplex developments and apartment buildings nearby. Based on this information alone, it might seem obvious to jump into a yellow page ad, call a local radio station for rates, and place an ad in the major newspaper. All of these ideas are wrong, however.

Who are your customers?

There are actually three main groups of customers for this business. During lunch hours, most of the customers are employees at nearby businesses on their lunch breaks. The weekday dinner crowd, in contrast, is predominantly comprised of people who live in the apartments nearby. Weekend traffic is different altogether. People from other parts of the city travel come here with friends either: 1) to hear live music because they like the pub; or 2) to hear their favorite band play, which happens to be at the Irish pub that particular weekend. While there certainly is some overlap amongst these three groups, the majority of each group (80% or more) does represent a distinct, unique type of customer.

Why do they buy your products?

Continuing with our Irish pub example, members of the afternoon lunch crowd are looking for moderately-priced, slightly healthy, convenient food that doesn’t require much of their time. These customers want to be in and out in under an hour, but are not necessarily looking for fast food. Offering healthy entrees (as healthy as is reasonable for an Irish pub), quick service, and high value (great taste at reasonable prices) will appeal this crowd.

The weekday evening crowd includes young adults and families; a little bit of research, or perhaps even a conversation with a local realtor, will tell you that many of these people are “middle-class,” white collar individuals who commute into the city to work each day, but don’t have the incomes for downtown penthouse apartments or old-neighborhood brownstones. Again, this group is looking for high value (great taste at reasonable prices), great service, and a relaxing atmosphere. Perhaps this is where people who are new to the neighborhood come to meet other people. Quick turnaround is not really an issue for this group, but quality of food, service, and overall value are critical. Atmosphere will also be important. The pub must maintain a safe, family-friendly atmosphere or risk alienating these customers.

The weekend crowd is here for the food, the drinks, and the bands. This group wants good food, great drinks, live music, and like Stu from the movie “The Hangover,” a chance to unleash the demon within.

Putting it all together

So how does this information shape the pub’s advertising strategy? Assuming the pub is able to deliver on the food, turnaround times, bands, service, and overall value sought by each group, we can develop a targeted advertising strategy. Absent other factors, if each of these groups represents 1/3 of the pub’s business, 1/3 of the advertising budget should be allocated to each of these segments.

For the lunch crowd, direct mailers to the local businesses, loyalty cards, and possibly offering a delivery option will generate the greatest response. If the weather is particularly bad one day, the pub could call local businesses around 11am to let them know it is open, and can even take orders for lunch time delivery. The message to be conveyed is: great, healthy food (an alternative to fast food); large menu; in and out in an hour; and highly convenient (we even come to you).

For the weekday evening crowd, direct mailers to the nearby apartment buildings, as well as listings in any “welcome” packets distributed to new tenants would be effective. Furthermore, a yellow page listing might make sense, if the phone book is distributed freely to all tenants and is local to the neighborhood (as opposed to covering the entire metropolitan area). Even things as gimmicky as door hangers and flyers on windshields, advertising a “meet the neighbors” block party at the pub some evening could prove effective. The message to be conveyed is: great food and drinks; meet the neighbors and strike up a conversation; unwind after a long commute from work; and if you are new to the area, come meet new people and form new friendships.

For the weekend band crowd, develop a customer newsletter and/or loyalty program, keeping existing customers informed of what’s happening each weekend at the pub. If at all possible, drink prices should be higher on band nights, and consider a cover charge. Make people dig deep into their wallets to bask in your trendiness; after all, you can’t spell “cachet” without cash. Furthermore, advertise in trendy, artsy, entertainment magazines – you know the kind I’m talking about: the ones that tell you about every no-name band, aspiring musical group, and hole-in-the-wall place within a 20 mile radius. In these publications, the more obscure you are, the better, otherwise, you’re viewed as a “corporate sellout,” whatever that means (you will never see an Applebee’s advertised in these publications, even if they tried).

As you can see from our example, identifying the primary customer groups and their needs first enables the development of an advertising plan that will effectively reach these specific groups. The above plan is clear, precise, and cost-effective. Without the initial planning, however, huge amounts of money easily could be spent, yet yield almost no results. All of the advertising methods suggested for our hypothetical Irish pub are relatively low-cost, but because they target specific people (bullhorn aimed in the right direction) with a clear message that is relevant to those individuals (bullhorn blasting the right message), the advertising will be successful.

Advertising should only be done once a marketing strategy is in place, for it is marketing strategy, not advertising, that drives a business’ sales. If you do nothing else this year for your business, consider refining your marketing strategy and then designing your advertising programs to fit that strategy. This one change alone will bring you more success this year than any seminars, sales trainings, corporate retreats, new manufacturing processes, or equipment purchases could ever provide.
______________
Marshall Waters, a management consultant and former small business owner himself, has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, advising over 70 small and mid-sized businesses on topics such as sales and management training, strategic planning, marketing strategy, and turnaround management. You can reach him at www.altonconsultinggroup.com

Working Backwards to Create a Great Customer Experience

By John Jantsch

Marketing is pretty logical, really. It’s simply the process of getting someone with a particular business need to know, like, and trust you. Of course, then you must turn that know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat, and refer. It’s like leading someone down a path.

To make this way of thinking work you must look at each of the seven stages listed above (know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer). You must intentionally plan products, services, processes, and touches that logically move prospects along each step in the chain.

Ultimately, you move them to the point where they become customers — and then receive such a remarkable experience that they become repeat customers and referral advocates.

The goal is to turn your customers into committed partners. The best way to accomplish this end is to think about the process completely in reverse or even take a new look at your existing products from a reverse-engineering point of view.

Think of it as walking the path you want your customers to follow — except you’re walking it backwards.

Many times when a business creates a product they develop the product and then work only on promotional efforts.

Walking the Path to Success — Backwards

If you work backwards, the first thing to ask is: “What is the customer feeling about our product or service 180 days or so after they make the purchase?” From there, you should work all the way back to the initial contact where they become interested in making the purchase in the first place.

The most important element in this followup sequence is to thrill your customer. Don’t rush through the followup steps in the aftermath of creating a new product. If you start with a great customer experience as your number one priority, as opposed to an afterthought, you can ensure your customers will be ready to refer you at the drop of a hat.

So, a reverse-process example for a training course you’re promoting might look something like this:

180 days after purchase: Customer receives free course updates and an offer to meet with a select group of other course participants in an invitation only, peer-to-peer group accountability program.

90 days after purchase: Customer receives email offering them 30 percent off any other product or service of their choice as a current-customer courtesy.

60 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon offering a free evaluation of their progress with the training course and the opportunity to engage a consultant to help them if they are stuck working on their own.

30 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon for a free 60 minute coaching session to help keep them on track.

Read the entire article at AllBusiness.com!

Working Backwards to Create a Great Customer Experience

By John Jantsch

Marketing is pretty logical, really. It’s simply the process of getting someone with a particular business need to know, like, and trust you. Of course, then you must turn that know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat, and refer. It’s like leading someone down a path.

To make this way of thinking work you must look at each of the seven stages listed above (know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer). You must intentionally plan products, services, processes, and touches that logically move prospects along each step in the chain.

Ultimately, you move them to the point where they become customers — and then receive such a remarkable experience that they become repeat customers and referral advocates.

The goal is to turn your customers into committed partners. The best way to accomplish this end is to think about the process completely in reverse or even take a new look at your existing products from a reverse-engineering point of view.

Think of it as walking the path you want your customers to follow — except you’re walking it backwards.

Many times when a business creates a product they develop the product and then work only on promotional efforts.

Walking the Path to Success — Backwards

If you work backwards, the first thing to ask is: “What is the customer feeling about our product or service 180 days or so after they make the purchase?” From there, you should work all the way back to the initial contact where they become interested in making the purchase in the first place.

The most important element in this followup sequence is to thrill your customer. Don’t rush through the followup steps in the aftermath of creating a new product. If you start with a great customer experience as your number one priority, as opposed to an afterthought, you can ensure your customers will be ready to refer you at the drop of a hat.

So, a reverse-process example for a training course you’re promoting might look something like this:

180 days after purchase: Customer receives free course updates and an offer to meet with a select group of other course participants in an invitation only, peer-to-peer group accountability program.

90 days after purchase: Customer receives email offering them 30 percent off any other product or service of their choice as a current-customer courtesy.

60 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon offering a free evaluation of their progress with the training course and the opportunity to engage a consultant to help them if they are stuck working on their own.

30 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon for a free 60 minute coaching session to help keep them on track.

Read the entire article at AllBusiness.com!

Working Backwards to Create a Great Customer Experience

By John Jantsch

Marketing is pretty logical, really. It’s simply the process of getting someone with a particular business need to know, like, and trust you. Of course, then you must turn that know, like, and trust into try, buy, repeat, and refer. It’s like leading someone down a path.

To make this way of thinking work you must look at each of the seven stages listed above (know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer). You must intentionally plan products, services, processes, and touches that logically move prospects along each step in the chain.

Ultimately, you move them to the point where they become customers — and then receive such a remarkable experience that they become repeat customers and referral advocates.

The goal is to turn your customers into committed partners. The best way to accomplish this end is to think about the process completely in reverse or even take a new look at your existing products from a reverse-engineering point of view.

Think of it as walking the path you want your customers to follow — except you’re walking it backwards.

Many times when a business creates a product they develop the product and then work only on promotional efforts.

Walking the Path to Success — Backwards

If you work backwards, the first thing to ask is: “What is the customer feeling about our product or service 180 days or so after they make the purchase?” From there, you should work all the way back to the initial contact where they become interested in making the purchase in the first place.

The most important element in this followup sequence is to thrill your customer. Don’t rush through the followup steps in the aftermath of creating a new product. If you start with a great customer experience as your number one priority, as opposed to an afterthought, you can ensure your customers will be ready to refer you at the drop of a hat.

So, a reverse-process example for a training course you’re promoting might look something like this:

180 days after purchase: Customer receives free course updates and an offer to meet with a select group of other course participants in an invitation only, peer-to-peer group accountability program.

90 days after purchase: Customer receives email offering them 30 percent off any other product or service of their choice as a current-customer courtesy.

60 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon offering a free evaluation of their progress with the training course and the opportunity to engage a consultant to help them if they are stuck working on their own.

30 days after purchase: Customer receives a coupon for a free 60 minute coaching session to help keep them on track.

Read the entire article at AllBusiness.com!

3 Ways to Improve your Business Cash Flow

By Stewart Bradley

An old proverb says, “Cash is the king”. Free flow of cash is the life blood of your business and without adequate supply of cash, your business endeavor may end up in failure. The difference in the time on which you, the business owner, pay to your employees & the suppliers and the time on which you collect cash from the customers, leads to cash crisis.

Many profitable business establishments had to file bankruptcy because, at a particular point of time, the amount of cash flowing in was far less than the amount of cash flowing out. Given this, it is essential that you should have a proper cash flow management strategy in place. If you do not have proper cash flow management in place, you will fall short of money to make necessary investments required to compete with other market players. Otherwise, you may have to borrow money to run your business smoothly but at the cost of interest payments.

Though proper cash flow is the fuel to run your business smoothly, but majority of the business owners do not have control over cash flow. Poor cash flow management can be attributed to increasing number of business failures. Various studies by different credible agencies have, time and again, proved that capital inadequacy is the prime reason behind failures of small business. Given these, having proper cash management strategies are highly essential for successful business. Here we discuss some strategies on how to improve cash flow.

Improve Receivables…

If you receive payments for the products immediately at the time of sale, then there will not be any cash flow problem. But, in actual practice that does not happen. There is a time lag between the products delivered and payments received. You can lower down this time lag by following some smart strategies. You can start offering discounts to the customers who make immediate payments. You can also set up post office boxes so that even the customers residing in far away areas can mail payments and the authorized banks can process the amount quickly. It would be a smart strategy to centralize your business banking activities at one bank. You can also request your clients to transfer the amount through depository transfer checks.

Read the complete article at Small Business Branding!

3 Ways to Improve your Business Cash Flow

By Stewart Bradley

An old proverb says, “Cash is the king”. Free flow of cash is the life blood of your business and without adequate supply of cash, your business endeavor may end up in failure. The difference in the time on which you, the business owner, pay to your employees & the suppliers and the time on which you collect cash from the customers, leads to cash crisis.

Many profitable business establishments had to file bankruptcy because, at a particular point of time, the amount of cash flowing in was far less than the amount of cash flowing out. Given this, it is essential that you should have a proper cash flow management strategy in place. If you do not have proper cash flow management in place, you will fall short of money to make necessary investments required to compete with other market players. Otherwise, you may have to borrow money to run your business smoothly but at the cost of interest payments.

Though proper cash flow is the fuel to run your business smoothly, but majority of the business owners do not have control over cash flow. Poor cash flow management can be attributed to increasing number of business failures. Various studies by different credible agencies have, time and again, proved that capital inadequacy is the prime reason behind failures of small business. Given these, having proper cash management strategies are highly essential for successful business. Here we discuss some strategies on how to improve cash flow.

Improve Receivables…

If you receive payments for the products immediately at the time of sale, then there will not be any cash flow problem. But, in actual practice that does not happen. There is a time lag between the products delivered and payments received. You can lower down this time lag by following some smart strategies. You can start offering discounts to the customers who make immediate payments. You can also set up post office boxes so that even the customers residing in far away areas can mail payments and the authorized banks can process the amount quickly. It would be a smart strategy to centralize your business banking activities at one bank. You can also request your clients to transfer the amount through depository transfer checks.

Read the complete article at Small Business Branding!

3 Ways to Improve your Business Cash Flow

By Stewart Bradley

An old proverb says, “Cash is the king”. Free flow of cash is the life blood of your business and without adequate supply of cash, your business endeavor may end up in failure. The difference in the time on which you, the business owner, pay to your employees & the suppliers and the time on which you collect cash from the customers, leads to cash crisis.

Many profitable business establishments had to file bankruptcy because, at a particular point of time, the amount of cash flowing in was far less than the amount of cash flowing out. Given this, it is essential that you should have a proper cash flow management strategy in place. If you do not have proper cash flow management in place, you will fall short of money to make necessary investments required to compete with other market players. Otherwise, you may have to borrow money to run your business smoothly but at the cost of interest payments.

Though proper cash flow is the fuel to run your business smoothly, but majority of the business owners do not have control over cash flow. Poor cash flow management can be attributed to increasing number of business failures. Various studies by different credible agencies have, time and again, proved that capital inadequacy is the prime reason behind failures of small business. Given these, having proper cash management strategies are highly essential for successful business. Here we discuss some strategies on how to improve cash flow.

Improve Receivables

If you receive payments for the products immediately at the time of sale, then there will not be any cash flow problem. But, in actual practice that does not happen. There is a time lag between the products delivered and payments received. You can lower down this time lag by following some smart strategies. You can start offering discounts to the customers who make immediate payments. You can also set up post office boxes so that even the customers residing in far away areas can mail payments and the authorized banks can process the amount quickly. It would be a smart strategy to centralize your business banking activities at one bank. You can also request your clients to transfer the amount through depository transfer checks.

Read the complete article at Small Business Branding!

Give Back to Your Community While Gaining New Business

By Kathy Chin Leong

Everyone knows that putting up an “Open” sign or hanging a shingle is no longer enough to make yourself known to potential customers. And even traditional and social media marketing efforts may not be enough to do the trick. More small businesses are recognizing that to make an impression, you also need to get out of your comfort zone and connect with your business’s local community.

That community connection is essential not just for offering moral support, but also for helping your small business stand out and compete against the volume pricing and billion-dollar marketing campaigns of giant corporations. Community involvement changes the game, asking customers to chose where they shop based not solely on pricing or selection, but also on personal relationships and the impact of corporate behavior on friends and neighbors.

If you want to get involved but don’t really know how, why not get started with these five suggestions? Let’s face it, you can’t afford to be shy.

1. Participate in the chamber of commerce as well as in local government, service organizations, and compatible nonprofits and industry organizations. Even look to your kids’ Parent Teacher Associations to make contacts. Start by attending meetings, and gradually move into leadership roles. This will raise awareness of who you are, and you can later talk about what you do. As you become more comfortable, you can garner the support of influential officials, reach out to larger companies, and connect with celebrities to expand your reach. It really does work — through reaching out to the PTA and being involved in her local chamber, Dana Rankin, owner of Exhale to Excel Jewelry in Kansas City, Mo., found more than 20 new customers.

2. Make yourself visible. Go on the lecture circuit. Offer to speak on your areas of expertise in university settings and public venues. Take advantage of television and media opportunities that let you be a spokesperson for your industry when a related news event strikes. Public relations consultant Sam Yates, head of Yates and Associates in Jensen Beach, Fla., volunteered with the American Red Cross and soon became the local chapter’s TV and radio spokesperson. When Yates appeared on behalf of the Red Cross for a TV interview, a shopping mall manager contacted him and later offered him a contract to handle general publicity and crisis PR efforts. Eventually, more than 20 other malls did the same.

3. Be generous. Donate your goods or services. Owner Guy Somers of Somers Guitar in Atlantic, Iowa, for example, offered to play short gigs at local churches, holiday concerts, and school career days and wound up quadrupling his clientele. But when he switched to regular advertising, his client base dropped. Similarly, Loveland, Colo.-based M & E Painting commits to painting six houses every year for underprivileged families, asking the community to nominate those most deserving in the region. The company subsequently landed on a variety of preferred business lists and has gained significant media attention.

Read the complete article at AllBusines!

Give Back to Your Community While Gaining New Business

By Kathy Chin Leong

Everyone knows that putting up an “Open” sign or hanging a shingle is no longer enough to make yourself known to potential customers. And even traditional and social media marketing efforts may not be enough to do the trick. More small businesses are recognizing that to make an impression, you also need to get out of your comfort zone and connect with your business’s local community.

That community connection is essential not just for offering moral support, but also for helping your small business stand out and compete against the volume pricing and billion-dollar marketing campaigns of giant corporations. Community involvement changes the game, asking customers to chose where they shop based not solely on pricing or selection, but also on personal relationships and the impact of corporate behavior on friends and neighbors.

If you want to get involved but don’t really know how, why not get started with these five suggestions? Let’s face it, you can’t afford to be shy.

1. Participate in the chamber of commerce as well as in local government, service organizations, and compatible nonprofits and industry organizations. Even look to your kids’ Parent Teacher Associations to make contacts. Start by attending meetings, and gradually move into leadership roles. This will raise awareness of who you are, and you can later talk about what you do. As you become more comfortable, you can garner the support of influential officials, reach out to larger companies, and connect with celebrities to expand your reach. It really does work — through reaching out to the PTA and being involved in her local chamber, Dana Rankin, owner of Exhale to Excel Jewelry in Kansas City, Mo., found more than 20 new customers.

2. Make yourself visible. Go on the lecture circuit. Offer to speak on your areas of expertise in university settings and public venues. Take advantage of television and media opportunities that let you be a spokesperson for your industry when a related news event strikes. Public relations consultant Sam Yates, head of Yates and Associates in Jensen Beach, Fla., volunteered with the American Red Cross and soon became the local chapter’s TV and radio spokesperson. When Yates appeared on behalf of the Red Cross for a TV interview, a shopping mall manager contacted him and later offered him a contract to handle general publicity and crisis PR efforts. Eventually, more than 20 other malls did the same.

3. Be generous. Donate your goods or services. Owner Guy Somers of Somers Guitar in Atlantic, Iowa, for example, offered to play short gigs at local churches, holiday concerts, and school career days and wound up quadrupling his clientele. But when he switched to regular advertising, his client base dropped. Similarly, Loveland, Colo.-based M & E Painting commits to painting six houses every year for underprivileged families, asking the community to nominate those most deserving in the region. The company subsequently landed on a variety of preferred business lists and has gained significant media attention.

Read the complete article at AllBusines!

4 Powerful Marketing Lessons From a Voyage Around The World

By Susan Oakes

If you do not live in Australia you may not have seen the news that a 16 year old girl named Jessica Watson successfully sailed around the world unassisted.

Apart from the feat itself which was pretty astounding, what caught my attention was the planning and execution by the team responsible for the marketing of the whole journey.

From the start, this was well planned from before she took off, throughout the voyage to the big event of her arrival in Sydney Harbour.

Apart from the tactics used prior, during and for the arrival into Sydney Harbour they have also lined up events and deals to capitalise on the feat.

Sure they would have made changes to the plan throughout the voyage and probably will do in the future. What they achieved however, is a good example of how to make sure all the important elements are thought through and actioned well to get results.

The 4 Marketing lessons I would like to share are:

Planning is Essential…

This is obvious but can you imagine if they just tried to wing it and tried to get the publicity and deals at the last moment.

Ignore Criticism…

There have been critics as to the way the whole arrival was orchestrated. You can’t please everyone and the team had a number of people it had to satisfy from sponsors to the fans.

Action the Plan…

Planning is essential, however unless it is actioned well it is a waste of time and money. Although she was 3 hours late arriving, the way they had set up the arrival meant people waited for her to arrive and be part of the event.

Read this entire article at Small Business Brief!

4 Powerful Marketing Lessons From a Voyage Around The World

By Susan Oakes

If you do not live in Australia you may not have seen the news that a 16 year old girl named Jessica Watson successfully sailed around the world unassisted.

Apart from the feat itself which was pretty astounding, what caught my attention was the planning and execution by the team responsible for the marketing of the whole journey.

From the start, this was well planned from before she took off, throughout the voyage to the big event of her arrival in Sydney Harbour.

Apart from the tactics used prior, during and for the arrival into Sydney Harbour they have also lined up events and deals to capitalise on the feat.

Sure they would have made changes to the plan throughout the voyage and probably will do in the future. What they achieved however, is a good example of how to make sure all the important elements are thought through and actioned well to get results.

The 4 Marketing lessons I would like to share are:

Planning is Essential…

This is obvious but can you imagine if they just tried to wing it and tried to get the publicity and deals at the last moment.

Ignore Criticism…

There have been critics as to the way the whole arrival was orchestrated. You can’t please everyone and the team had a number of people it had to satisfy from sponsors to the fans.

Action the Plan…

Planning is essential, however unless it is actioned well it is a waste of time and money. Although she was 3 hours late arriving, the way they had set up the arrival meant people waited for her to arrive and be part of the event.

Read this entire article at Small Business Brief!

4 Powerful Marketing Lessons From a Voyage Around The World

By Susan Oakes

If you do not live in Australia you may not have seen the news that a 16 year old girl named Jessica Watson successfully sailed around the world unassisted.

Apart from the feat itself which was pretty astounding, what caught my attention was the planning and execution by the team responsible for the marketing of the whole journey.

From the start, this was well planned from before she took off, throughout the voyage to the big event of her arrival in Sydney Harbour.

Apart from the tactics used prior, during and for the arrival into Sydney Harbour they have also lined up events and deals to capitalise on the feat.

Sure they would have made changes to the plan throughout the voyage and probably will do in the future. What they achieved however, is a good example of how to make sure all the important elements are thought through and actioned well to get results.

The 4 Marketing lessons I would like to share are:

Planning is Essential…

This is obvious but can you imagine if they just tried to wing it and tried to get the publicity and deals at the last moment.

Ignore Criticism…

There have been critics as to the way the whole arrival was orchestrated. You can’t please everyone and the team had a number of people it had to satisfy from sponsors to the fans.

Action the Plan…

Planning is essential, however unless it is actioned well it is a waste of time and money. Although she was 3 hours late arriving, the way they had set up the arrival meant people waited for her to arrive and be part of the event.

Read this entire article at Small Business Brief!

How to Build a Brilliant Team

By Katherine Duncan

An innovative idea may inspire a new business, but it takes brilliant people to make that business a success. Michael Crom, executive vice president and chief learning officer of Dale Carnegie Training and co-author of The Leader in You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World, discusses the first step to startup success: assembling your team. Read on for Crom’s advice on finding the best people and filling leadership roles–while still saving some cash.

What’s the most important position to fill at the outset?
No. 1, you need to assess your own competencies. As the founder, you really should have a very strong vision and clear goals for the company. If you’re not able to meet that need, that may be the very first thing you have to fill in terms of leadership roles.

You need to look at creating a competency map of what you need for your own company: Very often for startups, fundraising and relationship-building are going to be key. Selling skills, project and management skills–those are ones that come to my mind instantly.

What personality traits should entrepreneurs look for?
It’s important to look for people who are real go-getters and are passionate about the goals you have for the company. Also, look for people who have past work experience that’s relevant to what you’re doing, particularly people who have worked in small companies, because they aren’t used to having to worry about other people doing things for them.

They’re not used to worrying about corporate rules and regulations, which you may not have in a startup, so they can be more independent in their ability to do things, and they don’t mind crossing over barriers and doing multiple tasks. Experience in a large company can be valuable, but save those hires for when you’re beyond the initial startup phase.

Read the complete article at Entrepreneur.com!

How to Build a Brilliant Team

By Katherine Duncan

An innovative idea may inspire a new business, but it takes brilliant people to make that business a success. Michael Crom, executive vice president and chief learning officer of Dale Carnegie Training and co-author of The Leader in You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World, discusses the first step to startup success: assembling your team. Read on for Crom’s advice on finding the best people and filling leadership roles–while still saving some cash.

What’s the most important position to fill at the outset?
No. 1, you need to assess your own competencies. As the founder, you really should have a very strong vision and clear goals for the company. If you’re not able to meet that need, that may be the very first thing you have to fill in terms of leadership roles.

You need to look at creating a competency map of what you need for your own company: Very often for startups, fundraising and relationship-building are going to be key. Selling skills, project and management skills–those are ones that come to my mind instantly.

What personality traits should entrepreneurs look for?
It’s important to look for people who are real go-getters and are passionate about the goals you have for the company. Also, look for people who have past work experience that’s relevant to what you’re doing, particularly people who have worked in small companies, because they aren’t used to having to worry about other people doing things for them.

They’re not used to worrying about corporate rules and regulations, which you may not have in a startup, so they can be more independent in their ability to do things, and they don’t mind crossing over barriers and doing multiple tasks. Experience in a large company can be valuable, but save those hires for when you’re beyond the initial startup phase.

Read the complete article at Entrepreneur.com!

How to Build a Brilliant Team

By Katherine Duncan

An innovative idea may inspire a new business, but it takes brilliant people to make that business a success. Michael Crom, executive vice president and chief learning officer of Dale Carnegie Training and co-author of The Leader in You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World, discusses the first step to startup success: assembling your team. Read on for Crom’s advice on finding the best people and filling leadership roles–while still saving some cash.

What’s the most important position to fill at the outset?
No. 1, you need to assess your own competencies. As the founder, you really should have a very strong vision and clear goals for the company. If you’re not able to meet that need, that may be the very first thing you have to fill in terms of leadership roles. You need to look at creating a competency map of what you need for your own company: Very often for startups, fundraising and relationship-building are going to be key. Selling skills, project and management skills–those are ones that come to my mind instantly.

What personality traits should entrepreneurs look for?
It’s important to look for people who are real go-getters and are passionate about the goals you have for the company. Also, look for people who have past work experience that’s relevant to what you’re doing, particularly people who have worked in small companies, because they aren’t used to having to worry about other people doing things for them. They’re not used to worrying about corporate rules and regulations, which you may not have in a startup, so they can be more independent in their ability to do things, and they don’t mind crossing over barriers and doing multiple tasks. Experience in a large company can be valuable, but save those hires for when you’re beyond the initial startup phase.

Read the complete article at Entrepreneur.com!

How to Build a Brilliant Team

By Katherine Duncan

An innovative idea may inspire a new business, but it takes brilliant people to make that business a success. Michael Crom, executive vice president and chief learning officer of Dale Carnegie Training and co-author of The Leader in You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World, discusses the first step to startup success: assembling your team. Read on for Crom’s advice on finding the best people and filling leadership roles–while still saving some cash.

What’s the most important position to fill at the outset?
No. 1, you need to assess your own competencies. As the founder, you really should have a very strong vision and clear goals for the company. If you’re not able to meet that need, that may be the very first thing you have to fill in terms of leadership roles. You need to look at creating a competency map of what you need for your own company: Very often for startups, fundraising and relationship-building are going to be key. Selling skills, project and management skills–those are ones that come to my mind instantly.

What personality traits should entrepreneurs look for?
It’s important to look for people who are real go-getters and are passionate about the goals you have for the company. Also, look for people who have past work experience that’s relevant to what you’re doing, particularly people who have worked in small companies, because they aren’t used to having to worry about other people doing things for them. They’re not used to worrying about corporate rules and regulations, which you may not have in a startup, so they can be more independent in their ability to do things, and they don’t mind crossing over barriers and doing multiple tasks. Experience in a large company can be valuable, but save those hires for when you’re beyond the initial startup phase.

Read the complete article at Entrepreneur.com!

Blog Branding 101 – Five Tips for Solopreneurs

BY Carol Tice

Strong branding is critical in our ad-cluttered world. After all, you want to ensure that you’re the first provider in your niche that comes to customers’ minds.

But what if your brand is, well, just you? How can you be memorable and stand out?

Never fear — solopreneurs can have snappy branding, too. Here’s a quick guide and some examples of one-person businesses that have great, memorable brands:

Make it visual. Simple branding is best, especially if you can make an association in people’s minds that helps them remember you. Two of my local realtors are Ed Aro and Penny McLaughlin. You guessed it — Ed’s logo is an arrow, and Penny’s is a one-cent piece with her face on it in profile instead of Lincoln. Penny has had so much success with her brand that she grew into a real-estate empire with eight brokers, a.k.a. “Penny’s Team.” Their trucks are often seen around town, with that familiar penny logo on the side.

Be sure it’s tweetable. Social media is increasingly important in coming up with your brand concept. Look what happened to Netflix when they didn’t check if their chosen spinoff brand name, Qwikster, was available on Twitter. It turned out to be already taken by someone who wanted to post about their drug use. When you’re choosing a brand name, consider how and whether it would work in social media.

Have fun. Some of my favorite solopreneur brands have humorous or whimsical elements. For instance, a proofreader and writing-consultant friend of mine, Stefanie Flaxman, is the Revision Fairy — check out her cool cartoon. And franchise expert Joel Libava is the Franchise King, down to posing with a red-velvet-and-gold crown (once again, great visual). What better way to instantly communicate that he’s the top expert in his field?

Read the full article at Entrepreneur!

Blog Branding 101 – Five Tips for Solopreneurs

BY Carol Tice

Strong branding is critical in our ad-cluttered world. After all, you want to ensure that you’re the first provider in your niche that comes to customers’ minds.

But what if your brand is, well, just you? How can you be memorable and stand out?

Never fear — solopreneurs can have snappy branding, too. Here’s a quick guide and some examples of one-person businesses that have great, memorable brands:

Make it visual. Simple branding is best, especially if you can make an association in people’s minds that helps them remember you. Two of my local realtors are Ed Aro and Penny McLaughlin. You guessed it — Ed’s logo is an arrow, and Penny’s is a one-cent piece with her face on it in profile instead of Lincoln. Penny has had so much success with her brand that she grew into a real-estate empire with eight brokers, a.k.a. “Penny’s Team.” Their trucks are often seen around town, with that familiar penny logo on the side.

Be sure it’s tweetable. Social media is increasingly important in coming up with your brand concept. Look what happened to Netflix when they didn’t check if their chosen spinoff brand name, Qwikster, was available on Twitter. It turned out to be already taken by someone who wanted to post about their drug use. When you’re choosing a brand name, consider how and whether it would work in social media.

Have fun. Some of my favorite solopreneur brands have humorous or whimsical elements. For instance, a proofreader and writing-consultant friend of mine, Stefanie Flaxman, is the Revision Fairy — check out her cool cartoon. And franchise expert Joel Libava is the Franchise King, down to posing with a red-velvet-and-gold crown (once again, great visual). What better way to instantly communicate that he’s the top expert in his field?

Read the full article at Entrepreneur!

Blog Branding 101 – Five Tips for Solopreneurs

BY Carol Tice

Strong branding is critical in our ad-cluttered world. After all, you want to ensure that you’re the first provider in your niche that comes to customers’ minds.

But what if your brand is, well, just you? How can you be memorable and stand out?

Never fear — solopreneurs can have snappy branding, too. Here’s a quick guide and some examples of one-person businesses that have great, memorable brands:

Make it visual. Simple branding is best, especially if you can make an association in people’s minds that helps them remember you. Two of my local realtors are Ed Aro and Penny McLaughlin. You guessed it — Ed’s logo is an arrow, and Penny’s is a one-cent piece with her face on it in profile instead of Lincoln. Penny has had so much success with her brand that she grew into a real-estate empire with eight brokers, a.k.a. “Penny’s Team.” Their trucks are often seen around town, with that familiar penny logo on the side.

Be sure it’s tweetable. Social media is increasingly important in coming up with your brand concept. Look what happened to Netflix when they didn’t check if their chosen spinoff brand name, Qwikster, was available on Twitter. It turned out to be already taken by someone who wanted to post about their drug use. When you’re choosing a brand name, consider how and whether it would work in social media.

Read the full article at Entrepreneur!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority: 5 Tips To Help

By Lauren Perkins

I’m sure you know the feeling of getting up for work in the morning with the feeling of having so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Oftentimes, everything that you have to do seems like a priority, which makes it tough to figure out where to begin.

First things first! In order to move the ball forward you need to start somewhere. Here are some planning tactics that I’ve found helpful when you need to set your mind on immediate execution. Although long-term prioritization and planning is also essential, these techniques help me to make progress on the micro-level, day-to-day basis.

1. Make a List: First thing in the morning, write down everything that needs to get done that day. Once you have everything down, separate the items into urgent vs. non-urgent to determine the top priorities for that day.

2. Assess the Value: Completing certain tasks will offer more benefit than others. For example, I have a rule that client work comes before internal work. Because client work not getting done has bigger ramifications more often than internal work. 

3. Be Honest: When creating your list of priorities, be realistic about your bandwidth. Setting unattainable goals will only cause disappointment down the road.

Read the rest of this article at inc.com!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority: 5 Tips To Help

By Lauren Perkins

I’m sure you know the feeling of getting up for work in the morning with the feeling of having so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Oftentimes, everything that you have to do seems like a priority, which makes it tough to figure out where to begin.

First things first! In order to move the ball forward you need to start somewhere. Here are some planning tactics that I’ve found helpful when you need to set your mind on immediate execution. Although long-term prioritization and planning is also essential, these techniques help me to make progress on the micro-level, day-to-day basis.

1. Make a List: First thing in the morning, write down everything that needs to get done that day. Once you have everything down, separate the items into urgent vs. non-urgent to determine the top priorities for that day.

2. Assess the Value: Completing certain tasks will offer more benefit than others. For example, I have a rule that client work comes before internal work. Because client work not getting done has bigger ramifications more often than internal work. 

3. Be Honest: When creating your list of priorities, be realistic about your bandwidth. Setting unattainable goals will only cause disappointment down the road.

Read the rest of this article at inc.com!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority: 5 Tips To Help

By Lauren Perkins

I’m sure you know the feeling of getting up for work in the morning with the feeling of having so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Oftentimes, everything that you have to do seems like a priority, which makes it tough to figure out where to begin.

First things first! In order to move the ball forward you need to start somewhere. Here are some planning tactics that I’ve found helpful when you need to set your mind on immediate execution. Although long-term prioritization and planning is also essential, these techniques help me to make progress on the micro-level, day-to-day basis.

1. Make a List: First thing in the morning, write down everything that needs to get done that day. Once you have everything down, separate the items into urgent vs. non-urgent to determine the top priorities for that day.

2. Assess the Value: Completing certain tasks will offer more benefit than others. For example, I have a rule that client work comes before internal work. Because client work not getting done has bigger ramifications more often than internal work. 

3. Be Honest: When creating your list of priorities, be realistic about your bandwidth. Setting unattainable goals will only cause disappointment down the road.

Read the rest of this article at inc.com!

3 Traits of a Successful Salesmen

Selling is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of running a business. You can have your books in perfect order, happy current clients around you and impressive quality of your work but if you do not keep bringing new business in, your company will ultimately fail, fact.

Most small business owners are not naturally born to sell. This is an another business fact. Their reasons for running a business are usually much different from the ones that drive an average sales person. A freelancer usually does what she does simply because it is her passion. The very same applies to many owners of small companies. They simply work on their passion, profit often comes next.

However, if you want to be good at selling and growing your business, you need to learn to act like a salesmen. You need to put your company and its income first and yourself second. And, you need to learn the three traits of a successful salesmen.

1. The ability to listen…

One of the common mistakes small business owners make during sales calls is talking all the time. A good salesmen however rarely speak. Instead they ask questions and listen to the prospects answers. In most of the time, their role is to spark new monologue from the prospect.

Why? Because that’s the best way to find out all the info you need to progress the sale further. No prospect will reveal why they want to change their current supplier, or what is their budget on their own accord. However, if you let them talk, they will eventually surrender that information.

2. Asking the right questions…

If you want your prospects to talk and tell you everything you want to know, you need to learn to ask the right questions.

Questions are critical to engage your prospect. And, they are used not only to extract information but also to build your image in their eyes. If you ask smart questions, they will think you are smart. And let me tell you this, people buy only from smart sales people. Simply.

3. The ability to build rapport with a prospect…

Rapport is a key aspect of your sales meetings. If you do not manage to build it, your sale will most likely not happen. Only if there is something you share, and you manage to point that out to your prospect, the sale will be much easier to make.

How do you build rapport with a prospect? Firstly research the person you are meeting. Do you have anything in common? Did you go to the same school, or live in the same region of the town, play the same sport? This could be anything, you may even simply belong to the same business organization, that is enough.

Once you have your research, use it during your sales call. Ideally, you should try to build rapport as early in your sales call as possible. Ask your prospect about something you have in common, or inform them that you have been in the same school or whatever else it was that you have found. This will help breaking the ice and progress the meeting further on a more relaxed note.

Making sales is a difficult task, especially for someone who is not a naturally born salesmen. The good news though is that anyone can learn how to be successful at selling and I hope this article has provided you with a good starting point to achieve this.
____________
Derek Jones is a business writer and sales expert. He shares the wealth of his knowledge through his blog ‘Just Plain Business’ at JustPlainBusiness.com

3 Traits of a Successful Salesmen

Selling is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of running a business. You can have your books in perfect order, happy current clients around you and impressive quality of your work but if you do not keep bringing new business in, your company will ultimately fail, fact.

Most small business owners are not naturally born to sell. This is an another business fact. Their reasons for running a business are usually much different from the ones that drive an average sales person. A freelancer usually does what she does simply because it is her passion. The very same applies to many owners of small companies. They simply work on their passion, profit often comes next.

However, if you want to be good at selling and growing your business, you need to learn to act like a salesmen. You need to put your company and its income first and yourself second. And, you need to learn the three traits of a successful salesmen.

1. The ability to listen…

One of the common mistakes small business owners make during sales calls is talking all the time. A good salesmen however rarely speak. Instead they ask questions and listen to the prospects answers. In most of the time, their role is to spark new monologue from the prospect.

Why? Because that’s the best way to find out all the info you need to progress the sale further. No prospect will reveal why they want to change their current supplier, or what is their budget on their own accord. However, if you let them talk, they will eventually surrender that information.

2. Asking the right questions…

If you want your prospects to talk and tell you everything you want to know, you need to learn to ask the right questions.

Questions are critical to engage your prospect. And, they are used not only to extract information but also to build your image in their eyes. If you ask smart questions, they will think you are smart. And let me tell you this, people buy only from smart sales people. Simply.

3. The ability to build rapport with a prospect…

Rapport is a key aspect of your sales meetings. If you do not manage to build it, your sale will most likely not happen. Only if there is something you share, and you manage to point that out to your prospect, the sale will be much easier to make.

How do you build rapport with a prospect? Firstly research the person you are meeting. Do you have anything in common? Did you go to the same school, or live in the same region of the town, play the same sport? This could be anything, you may even simply belong to the same business organization, that is enough.

Once you have your research, use it during your sales call. Ideally, you should try to build rapport as early in your sales call as possible. Ask your prospect about something you have in common, or inform them that you have been in the same school or whatever else it was that you have found. This will help breaking the ice and progress the meeting further on a more relaxed note.

Making sales is a difficult task, especially for someone who is not a naturally born salesmen. The good news though is that anyone can learn how to be successful at selling and I hope this article has provided you with a good starting point to achieve this.
____________
Derek Jones is a business writer and sales expert. He shares the wealth of his knowledge through his blog ‘Just Plain Business’ at JustPlainBusiness.com

3 Traits of a Successful Salesmen

Selling is without a doubt one of the most important aspects of running a business. You can have your books in perfect order, happy current clients around you and impressive quality of your work but if you do not keep bringing new business in, your company will ultimately fail, fact.

Most small business owners are not naturally born to sell. This is an another business fact. Their reasons for running a business are usually much different from the ones that drive an average sales person. A freelancer usually does what she does simply because it is her passion. The very same applies to many owners of small companies. They simply work on their passion, profit often comes next.

However, if you want to be good at selling and growing your business, you need to learn to act like a salesmen. You need to put your company and its income first and yourself second. And, you need to learn the three traits of a successful salesmen.

1. The ability to listen…

One of the common mistakes small business owners make during sales calls is talking all the time. A good salesmen however rarely speak. Instead they ask questions and listen to the prospects answers. In most of the time, their role is to spark new monologue from the prospect.

Why? Because that’s the best way to find out all the info you need to progress the sale further. No prospect will reveal why they want to change their current supplier, or what is their budget on their own accord. However, if you let them talk, they will eventually surrender that information.

2. Asking the right questions…

If you want your prospects to talk and tell you everything you want to know, you need to learn to ask the right questions.

Questions are critical to engage your prospect. And, they are used not only to extract information but also to build your image in their eyes. If you ask smart questions, they will think you are smart. And let me tell you this, people buy only from smart sales people. Simply.

3. The ability to build rapport with a prospect…

Rapport is a key aspect of your sales meetings. If you do not manage to build it, your sale will most likely not happen. Only if there is something you share, and you manage to point that out to your prospect, the sale will be much easier to make.

How do you build rapport with a prospect? Firstly research the person you are meeting. Do you have anything in common? Did you go to the same school, or live in the same region of the town, play the same sport? This could be anything, you may even simply belong to the same business organization, that is enough.

Once you have your research, use it during your sales call. Ideally, you should try to build rapport as early in your sales call as possible. Ask your prospect about something you have in common, or inform them that you have been in the same school or whatever else it was that you have found. This will help breaking the ice and progress the meeting further on a more relaxed note.

Making sales is a difficult task, especially for someone who is not a naturally born salesmen. The good news though is that anyone can learn how to be successful at selling and I hope this article has provided you with a good starting point to achieve this.
____________
Derek Jones is a business writer and sales expert. He shares the wealth of his knowledge through his blog ‘Just Plain Business’ at JustPlainBusiness.com

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Grow a Home Business

BY Carol Tice

Home-based businesses with a sole owner can only grow so much, right? Wrong.

With a little creativity you can keep expanding your home business, without hiring employees or renting an office. Here are seven tips for increasing revenue at your home business while keeping it a one-person show:

1. Use technology. From scheduling newsletters and social-media dispatches to issuing blog-post notifications via email, automate as much as possible. Collaboration tools such as Citrix Systems software can also help you readily pass off or work in the same document with colleagues and consultants without having to send giant email attachments or deal with a courier service. Additionally, video conferencing or call forwarding technology can do wonders for helping your little company appear much bigger — and more professional.

2. Outsource. These days, freelance marketplaces such as Elance and vWorker.com make it easy — and relatively inexpensive — to find contractors for a wide variety of roles, from accountants to virtual secretaries. There’s no law that says you have to make official, full-time hires to grow. Increasingly, I’m encountering high-revenue, fast-growing companies that have few, if any, official staffers and are driving growth entirely through contract labor.

3. Watch for opportunities. Entrepreneurs’ prime advantage over big companies is the ability to be nimble and shift gears quickly if a new opportunity emerges that might lead to more business. That’s what home-based franchisor Patricia Beckman did when she saw a need for a standardized virtual-assistant chain. Now her VA business, Cybertary, has 25 franchisees and is growing.

4. Treat your business like a business. Don’t neglect the back-office end of your business. For instance, consider using an online invoice system such as FreshBooks or Intuit’s Bill Manager. Being able to systematically track your payments and expenses will not only save you time, it’s also more professional in the eyes of customers or clients. Keep regular business hours so clients can rely on you.

Read the rest of this article at Entrepreneur!

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Grow a Home Business

BY Carol Tice

Home-based businesses with a sole owner can only grow so much, right? Wrong.

With a little creativity you can keep expanding your home business, without hiring employees or renting an office. Here are seven tips for increasing revenue at your home business while keeping it a one-person show:

1. Use technology. From scheduling newsletters and social-media dispatches to issuing blog-post notifications via email, automate as much as possible. Collaboration tools such as Citrix Systems software can also help you readily pass off or work in the same document with colleagues and consultants without having to send giant email attachments or deal with a courier service. Additionally, video conferencing or call forwarding technology can do wonders for helping your little company appear much bigger — and more professional.

2. Outsource. These days, freelance marketplaces such as Elance and vWorker.com make it easy — and relatively inexpensive — to find contractors for a wide variety of roles, from accountants to virtual secretaries. There’s no law that says you have to make official, full-time hires to grow. Increasingly, I’m encountering high-revenue, fast-growing companies that have few, if any, official staffers and are driving growth entirely through contract labor.

3. Watch for opportunities. Entrepreneurs’ prime advantage over big companies is the ability to be nimble and shift gears quickly if a new opportunity emerges that might lead to more business. That’s what home-based franchisor Patricia Beckman did when she saw a need for a standardized virtual-assistant chain. Now her VA business, Cybertary, has 25 franchisees and is growing.

4. Treat your business like a business. Don’t neglect the back-office end of your business. For instance, consider using an online invoice system such as FreshBooks or Intuit’s Bill Manager. Being able to systematically track your payments and expenses will not only save you time, it’s also more professional in the eyes of customers or clients. Keep regular business hours so clients can rely on you.

Read the rest of this article at Entrepreneur!

6 Tips For Keeping The Momentum

By Rebecca H Matias

If you’re going to keep your business running efficiently and effectively, as well as keep it growing, keeping the momentum is imperative. Sometimes this is easier said than done so here are a few tips to help you:

1. Plan & Hold The Vision. Nearly everything requires a plan. You have to know where you want to go in order to get there. Be sure that you map out yearly, monthly (and even weekly) goals so that you always know what your plan is, what your destination is and how you’re going to get there. Never worry too much about perfection. Things can be tweaked and updated as necessary. We recently talked about creating a Vision Board, keeps yours nearby to help you stay focused on the prize! Keeping your eye on the prize can help you maintain the focus and motivation you need.

2. Revisit The Beginning. Go back to the beginning and remember what started you off on the path you’re on. You were probably quite excited to get moving? Bring that feeling back by remembering your passion and re-energizing what it was that fueled you to begin with.

3. Continue to learn new things. Most successful business owners read and invest in new information and training that will catapult them forward. If you are desiring success, yet not continually investing in that growth then you will never reach the success you are wanting. Getting mentoring, accountability and continued expert training is critical to your growth and the growth of your clients! Meeting new people will expand your perspective and your network. In addition, exploring new avenues and feeding your brain prevents boredom, keeps the wheels turning, and allows you to expand on ideas and possibilities, keeping your business fresh and energized.

4. Utilize Your Network. You probably have friends, business associates or circles in social networks – utilize them when necessary. If you’re stuck on something, reach out! Most likely someone will have an answer or an idea for you to get the answer, and you probably have people more than willing to support and encourage you in those ‘stuck’ moments. Never be afraid to ask for help, opinions/feedback, or just a little push of encouragement.

5. Reward Yourself & Your Team. Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a reward for goals accomplished and steps made forward! When you were a kid, in school, or working for someone else didn’t it always feel good to get that pat on the back or that reward? You can still have that, give it to yourself. Rewards help keep us feeling good about the steps we’re making…a reward can be as small as a favorite magazine with a comforting cup of tea. It could also be a mani/pedi, a spa day, a half day off to relax in the park or anything else you enjoy. When you’re indulging in your reward, just be sure to remember ‘why’ you’re rewarding yourself.

6. Maintain Balance. It’s important to maintain balance between your business life and your home life. Failing to do so can cause burnout and contribute to losing momentum. Try to avoid neglecting your home life or “you” time just because you think you’ll get farther faster; it could actually slow you down if you hit burnout mode and set you back. Sometimes we have to work a bit of “overtime” but try to keep it to a minimum and make time for you so that you’re energized and ready to dive in again tomorrow. Most important, make sure you are delegating all of the tasks you can so you can focus on what you are uniquely Great at. As your business grows, the amount that you delegate should be greater too.
______________
As an Intuitive Business Coach Rebecca Matias is committed at a very deep level to helping small business owners, authors and leading pioneers leverage their passions and their purpose to have the most impact, leading to a better world and a life they love. Visit her website at www.rebeccamatias.com

6 Tips For Keeping The Momentum

By Rebecca H Matias

If you’re going to keep your business running efficiently and effectively, as well as keep it growing, keeping the momentum is imperative. Sometimes this is easier said than done so here are a few tips to help you:

1. Plan & Hold The Vision. Nearly everything requires a plan. You have to know where you want to go in order to get there. Be sure that you map out yearly, monthly (and even weekly) goals so that you always know what your plan is, what your destination is and how you’re going to get there. Never worry too much about perfection. Things can be tweaked and updated as necessary. We recently talked about creating a Vision Board, keeps yours nearby to help you stay focused on the prize! Keeping your eye on the prize can help you maintain the focus and motivation you need.

2. Revisit The Beginning. Go back to the beginning and remember what started you off on the path you’re on. You were probably quite excited to get moving? Bring that feeling back by remembering your passion and re-energizing what it was that fueled you to begin with.

3. Continue to learn new things. Most successful business owners read and invest in new information and training that will catapult them forward. If you are desiring success, yet not continually investing in that growth then you will never reach the success you are wanting. Getting mentoring, accountability and continued expert training is critical to your growth and the growth of your clients! Meeting new people will expand your perspective and your network. In addition, exploring new avenues and feeding your brain prevents boredom, keeps the wheels turning, and allows you to expand on ideas and possibilities, keeping your business fresh and energized.

4. Utilize Your Network. You probably have friends, business associates or circles in social networks – utilize them when necessary. If you’re stuck on something, reach out! Most likely someone will have an answer or an idea for you to get the answer, and you probably have people more than willing to support and encourage you in those ‘stuck’ moments. Never be afraid to ask for help, opinions/feedback, or just a little push of encouragement.

5. Reward Yourself & Your Team. Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a reward for goals accomplished and steps made forward! When you were a kid, in school, or working for someone else didn’t it always feel good to get that pat on the back or that reward? You can still have that, give it to yourself. Rewards help keep us feeling good about the steps we’re making…a reward can be as small as a favorite magazine with a comforting cup of tea. It could also be a mani/pedi, a spa day, a half day off to relax in the park or anything else you enjoy. When you’re indulging in your reward, just be sure to remember ‘why’ you’re rewarding yourself.

6. Maintain Balance. It’s important to maintain balance between your business life and your home life. Failing to do so can cause burnout and contribute to losing momentum. Try to avoid neglecting your home life or “you” time just because you think you’ll get farther faster; it could actually slow you down if you hit burnout mode and set you back. Sometimes we have to work a bit of “overtime” but try to keep it to a minimum and make time for you so that you’re energized and ready to dive in again tomorrow. Most important, make sure you are delegating all of the tasks you can so you can focus on what you are uniquely Great at. As your business grows, the amount that you delegate should be greater too.
______________
As an Intuitive Business Coach Rebecca Matias is committed at a very deep level to helping small business owners, authors and leading pioneers leverage their passions and their purpose to have the most impact, leading to a better world and a life they love. Visit her website at www.rebeccamatias.com

5 Tips for Embracing Change to Up Your Business Game This Year

By Jean L. Serio

The beginning of a new calendar, or fiscal year, usually prompts business owners – large, small and entrepreneurial alike – to think about changes. Whether it’s necessary changes, suggestions clients and customers have made which deserve consideration, or prompted by competition and the business market. Whatever the reason, there comes a point at which a business owner should make changes to keep the business thriving and growing.

Change: The thing most people love to hate

It’s a fact. The competitive marketplace requires a business owner to make changes. Or more savvy competitors, who wholeheartedly accept them, eventually force the unwilling out of business or into downsizing mode.

A perfect recent example of that, say business strategists, is Borders Books. They continuously overlooked the emergence of electronic book delivery. Though fierce competitors like Amazon and Barnes and Noble embraced it. Developing the popular Kindle and Nook. Ignoring this huge market is believed to have helped bring about Borders demise.

Though change is what makes businesses competitive, there are still many owners who resist it. This happens when there’s a failure to see or understand the change, as Borders apparently did. Or the blatant ignorance of what’s becoming a permanent alteration of business, in general. Such as social networking and social media marketing. On the other hand there are also companies who seemingly understand it all, but falter when it comes to acting upon it.

Change happens all the time. But, for many, it’s difficult to accept.

Here’s 5 Tips to Help You Deal With or Initiate Change:

1. Since change is a natural part of life, expect to find things changing often, especially when you’re in business. Teach yourself to be flexible and open. And when it arrives you’re prepared. Not agitated, angry and caught off-guard.

2. View change as a positive not a negative – a penalty for something you believe you’ve done wrong. When change is forced upon us, it takes time to accept it; and that won’t happen over night. Psychologists say people typically move through 4 phases before accepting it. First they deny it, then resist it. Next they explore the possibilities of accepting it. And finally determine to accept and commit to it.

3. Be willing to make the best of changes you can do nothing about. Instead empower yourself by taking measures to control what you can. Don’t waste valuable time and energy ‘fighting city hall’ as they say. Take action which allows you to leverage the situation and you’ll discover you have more control over the outcome.

4. Positively channeling and directing your energy allows you to encourage those who work for you to accept it. Since most feel comfortable with familiar people and usual work scenarios, when changes develop suddenly things can seem unstable; employees no longer feel secure. Show them you’ve embraced it, and they’ll follow your lead. Making it far easier to move forward.

5. Consider change as another opportunity to grow personally and grow your business. It’s clear growth can’t take place without making changes. So welcome them as opportunities to gain strength, advance, regenerate. Adopt them and make them your own.

While change can be difficult, it should not be avoided. Even simple changes can improve your business in a variety of ways. Help you develop a more competitive edge. Provide info which leads to upgrading processes which bring new customers, increases sales and profitability. Perhaps gives you the ability to enter new markets.

Positively accept change and you’ll likely emerge stronger and more confident. Not to mention wiser and much more experienced.
_______________
Jean L. Serio specializes in creating greater business visibility using social media marketing and search engine optimization strategies for long-term profitability. Visit www.womensmarketingandbusinessnetwork.com

5 Tips for Embracing Change to Up Your Business Game This Year

By Jean L. Serio

The beginning of a new calendar, or fiscal year, usually prompts business owners – large, small and entrepreneurial alike – to think about changes. Whether it’s necessary changes, suggestions clients and customers have made which deserve consideration, or prompted by competition and the business market. Whatever the reason, there comes a point at which a business owner should make changes to keep the business thriving and growing.

Change: The thing most people love to hate

It’s a fact. The competitive marketplace requires a business owner to make changes. Or more savvy competitors, who wholeheartedly accept them, eventually force the unwilling out of business or into downsizing mode.

A perfect recent example of that, say business strategists, is Borders Books. They continuously overlooked the emergence of electronic book delivery. Though fierce competitors like Amazon and Barnes and Noble embraced it. Developing the popular Kindle and Nook. Ignoring this huge market is believed to have helped bring about Borders demise.

Though change is what makes businesses competitive, there are still many owners who resist it. This happens when there’s a failure to see or understand the change, as Borders apparently did. Or the blatant ignorance of what’s becoming a permanent alteration of business, in general. Such as social networking and social media marketing. On the other hand there are also companies who seemingly understand it all, but falter when it comes to acting upon it.

Change happens all the time. But, for many, it’s difficult to accept.

Here’s 5 Tips to Help You Deal With or Initiate Change:

1. Since change is a natural part of life, expect to find things changing often, especially when you’re in business. Teach yourself to be flexible and open. And when it arrives you’re prepared. Not agitated, angry and caught off-guard.

2. View change as a positive not a negative – a penalty for something you believe you’ve done wrong. When change is forced upon us, it takes time to accept it; and that won’t happen over night. Psychologists say people typically move through 4 phases before accepting it. First they deny it, then resist it. Next they explore the possibilities of accepting it. And finally determine to accept and commit to it.

3. Be willing to make the best of changes you can do nothing about. Instead empower yourself by taking measures to control what you can. Don’t waste valuable time and energy ‘fighting city hall’ as they say. Take action which allows you to leverage the situation and you’ll discover you have more control over the outcome.

4. Positively channeling and directing your energy allows you to encourage those who work for you to accept it. Since most feel comfortable with familiar people and usual work scenarios, when changes develop suddenly things can seem unstable; employees no longer feel secure. Show them you’ve embraced it, and they’ll follow your lead. Making it far easier to move forward.

5. Consider change as another opportunity to grow personally and grow your business. It’s clear growth can’t take place without making changes. So welcome them as opportunities to gain strength, advance, regenerate. Adopt them and make them your own.

While change can be difficult, it should not be avoided. Even simple changes can improve your business in a variety of ways. Help you develop a more competitive edge. Provide info which leads to upgrading processes which bring new customers, increases sales and profitability. Perhaps gives you the ability to enter new markets.

Positively accept change and you’ll likely emerge stronger and more confident. Not to mention wiser and much more experienced.
_______________
Jean L. Serio specializes in creating greater business visibility using social media marketing and search engine optimization strategies for long-term profitability. Visit www.womensmarketingandbusinessnetwork.com

Plan for Your Business Success

By Sue Canfield

Each year we start the new year thinking about what we will do different to succeed in business. It’s a good time to create and review a business plan and marketing plan.

A business plan doesn’t have to be an elaborate tome of work. It can be a simple and concise plan of just one or two pages. It should be your plan of attack for the year to succeed in business with your goals defined.

Your business plan should include:

* Mission Statement: a brief description of what your business is all about
* Vision Statement: your vision for your business
* Goals: write down detailed, specific goals you want to attain for your business this year. Are you hoping for a specific amount of revenue? Write that amount down as well as the specific number of clients you’d like to have and specific time frames for reaching your specific goals
* Strategies: what specific strategies will you use to accomplish your goals? Blogging, website, social media, postcards, etc.
* Actions: what detailed, daily actions will you to take fulfill your strategies and goals?

Keep your business plan handy and refer to it at least monthly. It won’t do you much good stuffed away on a shelf or in a drawer. It’s a plan. So use it. Each month note the actions you’re taking and whether you’re staying on track and accomplishing what you planned for. If you’re not, perhaps it’s time to revisit that business plan and update it.

In addition to a business plan, create a marketing plan. This too can be just one or two pages in length. It should identify specific strategies and actions to market your business.

There are four basic sections to your marketing plan:

* Goals
* Target market
* Marketing strategies
* Budget

Again, be very specific. Your goals may include something like getting four new clients by April 1st or having monthly revenue of $2000 by March 31st. Review the calendar monthly. Post it where you can glance at it; hang it above your desk. Focus on one marketing strategy each month. At the end of the month, see what worked, what didn’t, and what you need to do to change things to be more effective.

Taking some time at the beginning of the year and the beginning of each month and each week to review your business plan and marketing plan will help you plan to succeed in business.
________________
For over 25 years Sue Canfield, Chief Virtual Officer, has helped small business owners with administrative tasks. Learn more about their coaching services at chiefvirtualofficer.com

Plan for Your Business Success

By Sue Canfield

Each year we start the new year thinking about what we will do different to succeed in business. It’s a good time to create and review a business plan and marketing plan.

A business plan doesn’t have to be an elaborate tome of work. It can be a simple and concise plan of just one or two pages. It should be your plan of attack for the year to succeed in business with your goals defined.

Your business plan should include:

* Mission Statement: a brief description of what your business is all about
* Vision Statement: your vision for your business
* Goals: write down detailed, specific goals you want to attain for your business this year. Are you hoping for a specific amount of revenue? Write that amount down as well as the specific number of clients you’d like to have and specific time frames for reaching your specific goals
* Strategies: what specific strategies will you use to accomplish your goals? Blogging, website, social media, postcards, etc.
* Actions: what detailed, daily actions will you to take fulfill your strategies and goals?

Keep your business plan handy and refer to it at least monthly. It won’t do you much good stuffed away on a shelf or in a drawer. It’s a plan. So use it. Each month note the actions you’re taking and whether you’re staying on track and accomplishing what you planned for. If you’re not, perhaps it’s time to revisit that business plan and update it.

In addition to a business plan, create a marketing plan. This too can be just one or two pages in length. It should identify specific strategies and actions to market your business.

There are four basic sections to your marketing plan:

* Goals
* Target market
* Marketing strategies
* Budget

Again, be very specific. Your goals may include something like getting four new clients by April 1st or having monthly revenue of $2000 by March 31st. Review the calendar monthly. Post it where you can glance at it; hang it above your desk. Focus on one marketing strategy each month. At the end of the month, see what worked, what didn’t, and what you need to do to change things to be more effective.

Taking some time at the beginning of the year and the beginning of each month and each week to review your business plan and marketing plan will help you plan to succeed in business.
________________
For over 25 years Sue Canfield, Chief Virtual Officer, has helped small business owners with administrative tasks. Learn more about their coaching services at chiefvirtualofficer.com

Business Disappointments and Business Success – Two Lessons Along the Journey

By Marc De Bruin

A client I currently work with is a high energy, high achieving entrepreneur, who stepped away from her previous career to pursue her lifelong passion (I won’t go into details, as this is still unfolding). From a Pull Principle/Law of Attraction point of view she is going great guns. She has definite clarity, puts in effortless effort, and is attracting people, situations, circumstances and events that will make her move within her target market, rapidly.

One thing tripped her up a couple of times recently, and the exact thing happens to all of us. It could throw a real spanner in the works, if you let it.

She has an affiliate partner who communicates with high level companies, which could become major business partners of her. This would be the booster rocket to her business, so when her friend/business partner announced he was going to put her in front of a couple of MAJOR players in the corporate world, she nearly burst with excitement and anticipation. This was going to be So Amazing!

Cut a long story short: three times in a row (as far as I know) the meeting with these high profile corporate players was blown off, for all sorts of reasons. Three times in a row the client saw her expectations and excitement squashed, and three times in a row she felt a pit in her stomach, and internally experienced massive disappointment. She described it as being on an emotional roller coaster, and it didn’t feel great.

Two Pull Principle/Law of Attraction lessons can be taken from this experience. Both will enable the client to become even more successful in an even shorter amount of time.

1. The three events are major pieces of Contrast. Sure, they don’t feel great, but that’s the whole idea of contrast: it shows you how far off you are from what you ideally would like to happen. The emotion you feel is “the gap” between your current reality, and your desired reality. In the client’s case, the rough version of her ideal reality was twofold: not only does she want an affiliate partner who delivers high profile companies to her, she also wants those high profile companies to work with her! The disappointment she felt three times was that gap between the “current reality” (no connection), and the “future reality” (profitable connections).

The only real lesson that needs to be taken from this contrast-experience? Get even clearer about what it is you truly want! Obviously it is not: more disappointments; so what is it? Well, in this case it could be: affiliate partners with more successful appointment setting techniques. Or: more personal control over communication with high profile partners, so I don’t have to go through intermediaries. Or anything else that is “better feeling” than the current reality experience. My client immediately grasped what she wanted: more personal control and -obviously- profitable relationships.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming it is said this way: there is never failure, only feedback. And it is exactly so. The feedback you are given each time you experience “contrast” allows you to modify your desire and game plan, so next time around you will have an improved experience (which will provide new contrast, more clarity, improved experiences, etc).

2.Positive expectations CAN be deadly, in the sense that they can completely stifle your enthusiasm and drive for what you are doing when they are not met.

Expectations are what they are: thoughts about something happening in the future, or not. When you like your expectations, you’re all buzzed (a great business deal happening; a great holiday coming up); when you don’t like them, you’re anxious (a business venture going wrong; a massive bill for a car repair). When good expectations turn into reality, you feel great. If they don’t come about, you are on the emotional roller coaster.

The lesson is this: stay away from getting too attached to the outcome of your expectations. Be goal driven, but not goal addicted.

That sounds paradoxical, but it isn’t. Having positive expectations (as in: expecting your desires and goals to turn to reality) is a good thing, and should be part of your “thought tool box”. The seeming paradox lies in the fact that the expectations have nothing to do with the actual materialisation of your desires, but more with the FEELING you will experience on the journey towards and after their materialisation. It’s ultimately the good feeling you are after, not the outcome of your goals themselves, or the way you are going to get there.

Okay, I hear your neurons firing in confusion….. Here’s a personal example to clarify.

One of my goals for the coming years is to grow my online business presence and exposure, in order to -obviously- grow my business. I have, in the process, attracted a web-person into my life who will help me do that, while I help him grow HIS business.

Now, if I get attached to the outcome too much (being: business growth), I may well end up really disappointed if -say- my joint venture with this fellow doesn’t work out. I may lose sight of my goal, and lose my positive expectation.

If, on the other hand, I don’t get attached to the outcome of my goal (more exposure, more growth), but keep focussing on the positive thoughts and feelings on the journey TOWARDS it, then losing a business partner would not be too big an issue. Another will pop up soon, as I am focussing on feeling excited about business growth during the process. Does that make sense?

In other words: you set your outcome/goal, as that is where you would ideally like to end up. You are feeling good about that outcome. You are NOT focussed on the outcome too much (as in: being emotionally attached to it), though, but MORE focussed on mainly feeling good during the process (as in: enjoying the process of growing your business, and enjoying the thoughts of how you will feel after your goals have been achieved). In that case, not only will you feel good pretty much all the time; your goals will be achieved as well. You have taken away your focus FROM the destination and put it ON the journey towards it.

In the extreme case that your goals do not come true the way (or in the time frame) you had envisioned, you will have at least felt good along the way, and will now also be in a place where revised goals can be set, without you getting all worked up over not achieving the initial ones.

To bring it back to my client. She needs to learn to stay away from being too focused on each individual piece of contrast and each individual piece of positive expectation towards her outcome. She definitely needs to stay focused on that outcome, and work towards it. The whole idea for her is to feel that she IS working towards it, regardless of whatever happens in the interim. THAT will make her feel good (= positive expectation) along the way, which will improve the quality of her network and thus the quality of her results.

If you can live this way, and work your business this way, life becomes effortless, and an enjoyable ride. Each destination is merely a “transit stop” towards the next journey. There often is talk about “enjoying the journey” in personal and professional development; often, it sounds very cheesy. Applied the right way, it is THE WAY to feelings of success, happiness and achievement. There is never a final destination; each destination opens up more contrast and desires, and therefore more journeys; just think about your last new car: as soon as you have it, you start thinking about the NEXT one -at least I do. That means that you’d better start enjoying the journey, as there is nothing BUT the journey. As I have heard it said: you can never “get there” and you can never “get it done”. Might as well enjoy the ride.

If you have any questions regarding the above, I am more than happy to clarify!
________________
Visit www.landmarc.com.au to arrange a complimentary face-to-face or phone mentoring session and learn more about the work he does.

Business Disappointments and Business Success – Two Lessons Along the Journey

By Marc De Bruin

A client I currently work with is a high energy, high achieving entrepreneur, who stepped away from her previous career to pursue her lifelong passion (I won’t go into details, as this is still unfolding). From a Pull Principle/Law of Attraction point of view she is going great guns. She has definite clarity, puts in effortless effort, and is attracting people, situations, circumstances and events that will make her move within her target market, rapidly.

One thing tripped her up a couple of times recently, and the exact thing happens to all of us. It could throw a real spanner in the works, if you let it.

She has an affiliate partner who communicates with high level companies, which could become major business partners of her. This would be the booster rocket to her business, so when her friend/business partner announced he was going to put her in front of a couple of MAJOR players in the corporate world, she nearly burst with excitement and anticipation. This was going to be So Amazing!

Cut a long story short: three times in a row (as far as I know) the meeting with these high profile corporate players was blown off, for all sorts of reasons. Three times in a row the client saw her expectations and excitement squashed, and three times in a row she felt a pit in her stomach, and internally experienced massive disappointment. She described it as being on an emotional roller coaster, and it didn’t feel great.

Two Pull Principle/Law of Attraction lessons can be taken from this experience. Both will enable the client to become even more successful in an even shorter amount of time.

1. The three events are major pieces of Contrast. Sure, they don’t feel great, but that’s the whole idea of contrast: it shows you how far off you are from what you ideally would like to happen. The emotion you feel is “the gap” between your current reality, and your desired reality. In the client’s case, the rough version of her ideal reality was twofold: not only does she want an affiliate partner who delivers high profile companies to her, she also wants those high profile companies to work with her! The disappointment she felt three times was that gap between the “current reality” (no connection), and the “future reality” (profitable connections).

The only real lesson that needs to be taken from this contrast-experience? Get even clearer about what it is you truly want! Obviously it is not: more disappointments; so what is it? Well, in this case it could be: affiliate partners with more successful appointment setting techniques. Or: more personal control over communication with high profile partners, so I don’t have to go through intermediaries. Or anything else that is “better feeling” than the current reality experience. My client immediately grasped what she wanted: more personal control and -obviously- profitable relationships.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming it is said this way: there is never failure, only feedback. And it is exactly so. The feedback you are given each time you experience “contrast” allows you to modify your desire and game plan, so next time around you will have an improved experience (which will provide new contrast, more clarity, improved experiences, etc).

2.Positive expectations CAN be deadly, in the sense that they can completely stifle your enthusiasm and drive for what you are doing when they are not met.

Expectations are what they are: thoughts about something happening in the future, or not. When you like your expectations, you’re all buzzed (a great business deal happening; a great holiday coming up); when you don’t like them, you’re anxious (a business venture going wrong; a massive bill for a car repair). When good expectations turn into reality, you feel great. If they don’t come about, you are on the emotional roller coaster.

The lesson is this: stay away from getting too attached to the outcome of your expectations. Be goal driven, but not goal addicted.

That sounds paradoxical, but it isn’t. Having positive expectations (as in: expecting your desires and goals to turn to reality) is a good thing, and should be part of your “thought tool box”. The seeming paradox lies in the fact that the expectations have nothing to do with the actual materialisation of your desires, but more with the FEELING you will experience on the journey towards and after their materialisation. It’s ultimately the good feeling you are after, not the outcome of your goals themselves, or the way you are going to get there.

Okay, I hear your neurons firing in confusion….. Here’s a personal example to clarify.

One of my goals for the coming years is to grow my online business presence and exposure, in order to -obviously- grow my business. I have, in the process, attracted a web-person into my life who will help me do that, while I help him grow HIS business.

Now, if I get attached to the outcome too much (being: business growth), I may well end up really disappointed if -say- my joint venture with this fellow doesn’t work out. I may lose sight of my goal, and lose my positive expectation.

If, on the other hand, I don’t get attached to the outcome of my goal (more exposure, more growth), but keep focussing on the positive thoughts and feelings on the journey TOWARDS it, then losing a business partner would not be too big an issue. Another will pop up soon, as I am focussing on feeling excited about business growth during the process. Does that make sense?

In other words: you set your outcome/goal, as that is where you would ideally like to end up. You are feeling good about that outcome. You are NOT focussed on the outcome too much (as in: being emotionally attached to it), though, but MORE focussed on mainly feeling good during the process (as in: enjoying the process of growing your business, and enjoying the thoughts of how you will feel after your goals have been achieved). In that case, not only will you feel good pretty much all the time; your goals will be achieved as well. You have taken away your focus FROM the destination and put it ON the journey towards it.

In the extreme case that your goals do not come true the way (or in the time frame) you had envisioned, you will have at least felt good along the way, and will now also be in a place where revised goals can be set, without you getting all worked up over not achieving the initial ones.

To bring it back to my client. She needs to learn to stay away from being too focused on each individual piece of contrast and each individual piece of positive expectation towards her outcome. She definitely needs to stay focused on that outcome, and work towards it. The whole idea for her is to feel that she IS working towards it, regardless of whatever happens in the interim. THAT will make her feel good (= positive expectation) along the way, which will improve the quality of her network and thus the quality of her results.

If you can live this way, and work your business this way, life becomes effortless, and an enjoyable ride. Each destination is merely a “transit stop” towards the next journey. There often is talk about “enjoying the journey” in personal and professional development; often, it sounds very cheesy. Applied the right way, it is THE WAY to feelings of success, happiness and achievement. There is never a final destination; each destination opens up more contrast and desires, and therefore more journeys; just think about your last new car: as soon as you have it, you start thinking about the NEXT one -at least I do. That means that you’d better start enjoying the journey, as there is nothing BUT the journey. As I have heard it said: you can never “get there” and you can never “get it done”. Might as well enjoy the ride.

If you have any questions regarding the above, I am more than happy to clarify!
________________
Visit www.landmarc.com.au to arrange a complimentary face-to-face or phone mentoring session and learn more about the work he does.

success-arrow-grn

success-arrow-grn

Business Disappointments and Business Success – Two Lessons Along the Journey

By Marc De Bruin

A client I currently work with is a high energy, high achieving entrepreneur, who stepped away from her previous career to pursue her lifelong passion (I won’t go into details, as this is still unfolding). From a Pull Principle/Law of Attraction point of view she is going great guns. She has definite clarity, puts in effortless effort, and is attracting people, situations, circumstances and events that will make her move within her target market, rapidly.

One thing tripped her up a couple of times recently, and the exact thing happens to all of us. It could throw a real spanner in the works, if you let it.

She has an affiliate partner who communicates with high level companies, which could become major business partners of her. This would be the booster rocket to her business, so when her friend/business partner announced he was going to put her in front of a couple of MAJOR players in the corporate world, she nearly burst with excitement and anticipation. This was going to be So Amazing!

Cut a long story short: three times in a row (as far as I know) the meeting with these high profile corporate players was blown off, for all sorts of reasons. Three times in a row the client saw her expectations and excitement squashed, and three times in a row she felt a pit in her stomach, and internally experienced massive disappointment. She described it as being on an emotional roller coaster, and it didn’t feel great.

Two Pull Principle/Law of Attraction lessons can be taken from this experience. Both will enable the client to become even more successful in an even shorter amount of time.

1. The three events are major pieces of Contrast. Sure, they don’t feel great, but that’s the whole idea of contrast: it shows you how far off you are from what you ideally would like to happen. The emotion you feel is “the gap” between your current reality, and your desired reality. In the client’s case, the rough version of her ideal reality was twofold: not only does she want an affiliate partner who delivers high profile companies to her, she also wants those high profile companies to work with her! The disappointment she felt three times was that gap between the “current reality” (no connection), and the “future reality” (profitable connections).

The only real lesson that needs to be taken from this contrast-experience? Get even clearer about what it is you truly want! Obviously it is not: more disappointments; so what is it? Well, in this case it could be: affiliate partners with more successful appointment setting techniques. Or: more personal control over communication with high profile partners, so I don’t have to go through intermediaries. Or anything else that is “better feeling” than the current reality experience. My client immediately grasped what she wanted: more personal control and -obviously- profitable relationships.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming it is said this way: there is never failure, only feedback. And it is exactly so. The feedback you are given each time you experience “contrast” allows you to modify your desire and game plan, so next time around you will have an improved experience (which will provide new contrast, more clarity, improved experiences, etc).

2.Positive expectations CAN be deadly, in the sense that they can completely stifle your enthusiasm and drive for what you are doing when they are not met.

Expectations are what they are: thoughts about something happening in the future, or not. When you like your expectations, you’re all buzzed (a great business deal happening; a great holiday coming up); when you don’t like them, you’re anxious (a business venture going wrong; a massive bill for a car repair). When good expectations turn into reality, you feel great. If they don’t come about, you are on the emotional roller coaster.

The lesson is this: stay away from getting too attached to the outcome of your expectations. Be goal driven, but not goal addicted.

That sounds paradoxical, but it isn’t. Having positive expectations (as in: expecting your desires and goals to turn to reality) is a good thing, and should be part of your “thought tool box”. The seeming paradox lies in the fact that the expectations have nothing to do with the actual materialisation of your desires, but more with the FEELING you will experience on the journey towards and after their materialisation. It’s ultimately the good feeling you are after, not the outcome of your goals themselves, or the way you are going to get there.

Okay, I hear your neurons firing in confusion….. Here’s a personal example to clarify.

One of my goals for the coming years is to grow my online business presence and exposure, in order to -obviously- grow my business. I have, in the process, attracted a web-person into my life who will help me do that, while I help him grow HIS business.

Now, if I get attached to the outcome too much (being: business growth), I may well end up really disappointed if -say- my joint venture with this fellow doesn’t work out. I may lose sight of my goal, and lose my positive expectation.

If, on the other hand, I don’t get attached to the outcome of my goal (more exposure, more growth), but keep focussing on the positive thoughts and feelings on the journey TOWARDS it, then losing a business partner would not be too big an issue. Another will pop up soon, as I am focussing on feeling excited about business growth during the process. Does that make sense?

In other words: you set your outcome/goal, as that is where you would ideally like to end up. You are feeling good about that outcome. You are NOT focussed on the outcome too much (as in: being emotionally attached to it), though, but MORE focussed on mainly feeling good during the process (as in: enjoying the process of growing your business, and enjoying the thoughts of how you will feel after your goals have been achieved). In that case, not only will you feel good pretty much all the time; your goals will be achieved as well. You have taken away your focus FROM the destination and put it ON the journey towards it.

In the extreme case that your goals do not come true the way (or in the time frame) you had envisioned, you will have at least felt good along the way, and will now also be in a place where revised goals can be set, without you getting all worked up over not achieving the initial ones.

To bring it back to my client. She needs to learn to stay away from being too focused on each individual piece of contrast and each individual piece of positive expectation towards her outcome. She definitely needs to stay focused on that outcome, and work towards it. The whole idea for her is to feel that she IS working towards it, regardless of whatever happens in the interim. THAT will make her feel good (= positive expectation) along the way, which will improve the quality of her network and thus the quality of her results.

If you can live this way, and work your business this way, life becomes effortless, and an enjoyable ride. Each destination is merely a “transit stop” towards the next journey. There often is talk about “enjoying the journey” in personal and professional development; often, it sounds very cheesy. Applied the right way, it is THE WAY to feelings of success, happiness and achievement. There is never a final destination; each destination opens up more contrast and desires, and therefore more journeys; just think about your last new car: as soon as you have it, you start thinking about the NEXT one -at least I do. That means that you’d better start enjoying the journey, as there is nothing BUT the journey. As I have heard it said: you can never “get there” and you can never “get it done”. Might as well enjoy the ride.

If you have any questions regarding the above, I am more than happy to clarify!
________________
Visit www.landmarc.com.au to arrange a complimentary face-to-face or phone mentoring session and learn more about the work he does.

Modern Marketing: Think Differently

By Marc Ostrofsky

Faster, smarter and cheaper. You want the stuff you buy to be all those things, and so do your customers. It’s the reality of the world we live in today. Technology and the Internet are now an integral part of the way we buy, sell, learn, work, play and communicate. To survive and thrive, you need to find ways to embrace and leverage the power of technology at every level of your business.

Here are five great ideas you’ll want to work into your marketing plans.

1. Get into database marketing. Do you know the difference between income and equity? Income is the money you take home at the end of the day. Equity is what you build… and hopefully sell for plenty of money in the years to come. Let’s call it your business “savings account.” As a publisher myself, I learned long ago that the inherent value of a magazine like SUCCESS is the amazing list of readers it reaches. It’s their database! Your business is no different. When Borders Books went under this past season, the first asset that Barnes & Noble bought was Borders’ customer database. In the old world, staying competitive was simply a matter of having a mailing list of past customers. Not anymore. These days, the competitive advantage goes to the firm with the most information and data points about its customers. We’re not talking about simply knowing their names and addresses. We’re talking about who bought, what they bought, when they bought it, where, why, how and even how much time and money they spend with you. You want to be able to drill down to the point where you even know what words your customers clicked on in your emails so you can better target them in the future. Luckily, there are powerful software packages to support these efforts, so that database marketing can become an incredibly powerful tool for you. For most small businesses, and especially for the tens of thousands that consider themselves “Internet marketers,” any of three popular packages—ConstantContact (find it at ConstantContact.com), aWeber (aWeber.com) and Infusionsoft (Infusionsoft.com)—will work.

The No. 1 most important part of any company in today’s competitive business climate is its database. Create it, build it and protect it. How do you protect it? Well, imagine if your No. 1 salesperson was hired away and left with your most valuable asset—your list of customers and everything you know about their buying habits and preferences. I’m sorry to tell you, but this happens every day. Talk to your lawyer about creating legal and binding contracts with anyone who has access to the database. Don’t ever print it out and hand it to someone to use for a mailing. Even if you are renting your database out on a limited basis, as some firms do, don’t hand out that list. Instead, you mail to the people in your database on behalf of those you’re renting it to or give the list to a bonded, third-party mailing house where you are guaranteed legal protection against theft.

2. Outsource! The successful startups in Silicon Valley have found the key piece to the puzzle of having a successful business in this day and age. Small, fast, lean and mean is the name of the game. These gazelles have smaller offices, less overhead and far fewer staffers than startups of the past. How do they function with so much less help, especially when speed to market is so important now? It’s simple: They outsource an incredible number of daily tasks and functions: executive assistants in India, logo creation from firms like 99designs, even photos or videos needed for marketing campaigns are bought as needed from a host of websites that make these tasks only a click away. To find tens of thousands of freelancers or outsource partners, try looking at these three websites: Guru.com, ELance.com or oDesk.com. Also, go to Success.com if you haven’t seen the November issue’s story on how to run a virtual office (“Beam Me Up, Scotty” by John H. Ostdick). There, young entrepreneurs from around the globe recommend the outsourcing resources that have helped them the most.

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

Modern Marketing: Think Differently

By Marc Ostrofsky

Faster, smarter and cheaper. You want the stuff you buy to be all those things, and so do your customers. It’s the reality of the world we live in today. Technology and the Internet are now an integral part of the way we buy, sell, learn, work, play and communicate. To survive and thrive, you need to find ways to embrace and leverage the power of technology at every level of your business.

Here are five great ideas you’ll want to work into your marketing plans.

1. Get into database marketing. Do you know the difference between income and equity? Income is the money you take home at the end of the day. Equity is what you build… and hopefully sell for plenty of money in the years to come. Let’s call it your business “savings account.” As a publisher myself, I learned long ago that the inherent value of a magazine like SUCCESS is the amazing list of readers it reaches. It’s their database! Your business is no different. When Borders Books went under this past season, the first asset that Barnes & Noble bought was Borders’ customer database. In the old world, staying competitive was simply a matter of having a mailing list of past customers. Not anymore. These days, the competitive advantage goes to the firm with the most information and data points about its customers. We’re not talking about simply knowing their names and addresses. We’re talking about who bought, what they bought, when they bought it, where, why, how and even how much time and money they spend with you. You want to be able to drill down to the point where you even know what words your customers clicked on in your emails so you can better target them in the future. Luckily, there are powerful software packages to support these efforts, so that database marketing can become an incredibly powerful tool for you. For most small businesses, and especially for the tens of thousands that consider themselves “Internet marketers,” any of three popular packages—ConstantContact (find it at ConstantContact.com), aWeber (aWeber.com) and Infusionsoft (Infusionsoft.com)—will work.

The No. 1 most important part of any company in today’s competitive business climate is its database. Create it, build it and protect it. How do you protect it? Well, imagine if your No. 1 salesperson was hired away and left with your most valuable asset—your list of customers and everything you know about their buying habits and preferences. I’m sorry to tell you, but this happens every day. Talk to your lawyer about creating legal and binding contracts with anyone who has access to the database. Don’t ever print it out and hand it to someone to use for a mailing. Even if you are renting your database out on a limited basis, as some firms do, don’t hand out that list. Instead, you mail to the people in your database on behalf of those you’re renting it to or give the list to a bonded, third-party mailing house where you are guaranteed legal protection against theft.

2. Outsource! The successful startups in Silicon Valley have found the key piece to the puzzle of having a successful business in this day and age. Small, fast, lean and mean is the name of the game. These gazelles have smaller offices, less overhead and far fewer staffers than startups of the past. How do they function with so much less help, especially when speed to market is so important now? It’s simple: They outsource an incredible number of daily tasks and functions: executive assistants in India, logo creation from firms like 99designs, even photos or videos needed for marketing campaigns are bought as needed from a host of websites that make these tasks only a click away. To find tens of thousands of freelancers or outsource partners, try looking at these three websites: Guru.com, ELance.com or oDesk.com. Also, go to Success.com if you haven’t seen the November issue’s story on how to run a virtual office (“Beam Me Up, Scotty” by John H. Ostdick). There, young entrepreneurs from around the globe recommend the outsourcing resources that have helped them the most.

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

How to Not Fail as an Entrepreneur

By Nickolay Lamm

Why do most entrepreneurs fail? Businesses fail everyday for a variety of reasons. They may have run out of money, may have underestimated the competition, may have not known how to operate efficiently, or may have had trouble keeping track of their accounting information. Most of these problems can be avoided if an entrepreneur does one thing before investing in a new venture: marketing.

If you have a good product or service…before signing a lease, hiring a graphic designer to make a fancy logo, or hiring anybody, you can gauge the future success of your business by prospecting, the process of obtaining leads for your product or service. So many people get caught up in the non-essentials of business because it’s fun. Prospecting, however, is not so fun, but it will determine whether or not you succeed as an entrepreneur. Customers disappear because they move to another place, switch to a competitor, or decide to make do without you for a variety of other reasons, which is why a steady stream of new customers is your life line.

Before you use one of the prospecting tools below you have to make sure that the leads you are pursuing actually want your service, can be contacted, have the power or authority to buy, are able to buy, and can buy in a way that makes them a valuable, profitable customer…

Network…

You likely already have a network of people. Business partners, university professors, friends in the same field of business as you, etc. Use LinkedIn to help people with power and influence introduce you to new leads and/or other people of influence. Of course, in order to be introduced in a favorable way, you have to provide them first with value. At the very least, keep in touch with them through a phone call or email so that they have something invested in you.

Contact Current and Past Customers…

If you have a database of satisfied customers stay in touch with them through email, social networks, or friendly birthday cards in the mail. You can also ask satisfied customers if they know of anyone else who may want to use your services. Satisfied customers are more likely to buy from you again because they’ve already had positive experiences with you. Furthermore, their praise can be used as testimonials in your promotional material.

Read the rest of the article at Blogtrepreneur!

How to Not Fail as an Entrepreneur

By Nickolay Lamm

Why do most entrepreneurs fail? Businesses fail everyday for a variety of reasons. They may have run out of money, may have underestimated the competition, may have not known how to operate efficiently, or may have had trouble keeping track of their accounting information. Most of these problems can be avoided if an entrepreneur does one thing before investing in a new venture: marketing.

If you have a good product or service…before signing a lease, hiring a graphic designer to make a fancy logo, or hiring anybody, you can gauge the future success of your business by prospecting, the process of obtaining leads for your product or service. So many people get caught up in the non-essentials of business because it’s fun. Prospecting, however, is not so fun, but it will determine whether or not you succeed as an entrepreneur. Customers disappear because they move to another place, switch to a competitor, or decide to make do without you for a variety of other reasons, which is why a steady stream of new customers is your life line.

Before you use one of the prospecting tools below you have to make sure that the leads you are pursuing actually want your service, can be contacted, have the power or authority to buy, are able to buy, and can buy in a way that makes them a valuable, profitable customer…

Network…

You likely already have a network of people. Business partners, university professors, friends in the same field of business as you, etc. Use LinkedIn to help people with power and influence introduce you to new leads and/or other people of influence. Of course, in order to be introduced in a favorable way, you have to provide them first with value. At the very least, keep in touch with them through a phone call or email so that they have something invested in you.

Contact Current and Past Customers…

If you have a database of satisfied customers stay in touch with them through email, social networks, or friendly birthday cards in the mail. You can also ask satisfied customers if they know of anyone else who may want to use your services. Satisfied customers are more likely to buy from you again because they’ve already had positive experiences with you. Furthermore, their praise can be used as testimonials in your promotional material.

Read the rest of the article at Blogtrepreneur!

5 Tips For Writing Your 2012 Marketing Plan

By Wendy Kenney

2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

For small business owners, your marketing plan can make all of the difference in your success. As you get ready to leap into the New Year, taking the time to develop a marketing plan will help keep you on track, ensure you are spending your marketing dollars effectively, and give you the focus you need to succeed.

I asked other small businesses for their thoughts on how to build a successful small business marketing plan for 2012 and received many responses. Small businesses are taking a hard look at what worked and what did not work in 2011 so that they can focus their marketing dollars in the most profitable places. Others are looking for creative and innovative ways to expand their reach without expanding their marketing budget. To help you build the best marketing plan for your business, I pulled together the most consistent themes, sprinkled them with a bit of my own experience, and let the small businesses speak for themselves.

1. Begin at the End
In order to ensure you pick the best tactics and strategies to meet your marketing goals for 2012, you need to be clear about your goals. What do you need marketing to do for you in 2012? Are you looking to expand your market presence, bring in more customers, generate more leads, or break into a new market?

Beth Walsh from Clearpoint Agency, Inc. explained how they develop their marketing plan for the coming year.

We have several methods that we use to plan our marketing tactics, including a news release schedule and blog schedule, both of which are set-up as Excel spreadsheets. However, first, we are having a planning meeting with our staff of five where we will do a workshop on our key messages for the upcoming year. We plan our key messages based on what is true about our company culture and the services we deliver for clients and then we look for ways to differentiate from the competitors. We review competitors, look at their websites, marketing activities and press-pickup, and then we review our own in comparison.

2. Learn from Last Year
Look at your marketing plans for 2011 and compare them to actual results. Where were your marketing dollars most effective? Where were you unsuccessful in achieving the results you expected? What lessons can you learn from last year that will help increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend next year?

Catherine B. Ahles from Premier Aircraft Sales explained how experience dictates their marketing strategy.

Today, most aircraft purchasers do the bulk of their “hunting” online, rather than at their local airports. In 2012, we will be doing even more online advertising as well as creating more landing pages and other web-based tools. Incentives have become more important too. We will be offering things like free fuel for a year with purchase of a new aircraft. Also, we are still figuring out how to use Facebook to aid our customers in keeping up with new developments of interest. Our print advertising will go to bare minimum, and we will cease doing open houses and any trade shows except the very largest.

3. Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work
Understanding what worked and what didn’t is the first step, but in order to use that information effectively, you must also stop doing those things that aren’t working. For some small businesses, this can be difficult, especially when what isn’t working is one of those “marketing things” that every business is supposed to do.

Chris Tobias from School Skills shared this with me.

In 2012, we will no longer pay for advertising that does not directly drive sales. We will only pay for results. This means affiliate programs and partnering with publications to pay them based on the sales an ad produces rather than just paying for ad space. It means no more pay per click or pay for space. After spending a year and a half attempting to optimize click through conversion rates, design high quality marketing communications and locate appropriate advertising vehicles we have discovered that we are not advertising experts. We have also discovered that the risk for advertising success lies entirely with us. If we buy media space in a publication that does not produce results we lose both time and money.

4. Be Specific
It is always easier to hit the bull’s-eye on a target if you can see what the bull’s-eye looks like. Imagine you are shooting an arrow at a target that only has the giant red circle around the outside. It would be pretty hard to hit the center of the bull’s-eye without any other point of reference. Now think of that target as your 2012 marketing plan. If your marketing goal is to expand your social media presence, you only have a giant red circle to aim at. By planning out specific activities and actions as part of your marketing plan, you are effectively adding the other circles to the target that enable you to zero in on the bull’s-eye.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith from Increase Sales Coach talked me through the specific actions she included in her marketing plan for 2012.

Read the rest of the tips at Startup Nation!

5 Tips For Writing Your 2012 Marketing Plan

By Wendy Kenney

2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

For small business owners, your marketing plan can make all of the difference in your success. As you get ready to leap into the New Year, taking the time to develop a marketing plan will help keep you on track, ensure you are spending your marketing dollars effectively, and give you the focus you need to succeed.

I asked other small businesses for their thoughts on how to build a successful small business marketing plan for 2012 and received many responses. Small businesses are taking a hard look at what worked and what did not work in 2011 so that they can focus their marketing dollars in the most profitable places. Others are looking for creative and innovative ways to expand their reach without expanding their marketing budget. To help you build the best marketing plan for your business, I pulled together the most consistent themes, sprinkled them with a bit of my own experience, and let the small businesses speak for themselves.

1. Begin at the End
In order to ensure you pick the best tactics and strategies to meet your marketing goals for 2012, you need to be clear about your goals. What do you need marketing to do for you in 2012? Are you looking to expand your market presence, bring in more customers, generate more leads, or break into a new market?

Beth Walsh from Clearpoint Agency, Inc. explained how they develop their marketing plan for the coming year.

We have several methods that we use to plan our marketing tactics, including a news release schedule and blog schedule, both of which are set-up as Excel spreadsheets. However, first, we are having a planning meeting with our staff of five where we will do a workshop on our key messages for the upcoming year. We plan our key messages based on what is true about our company culture and the services we deliver for clients and then we look for ways to differentiate from the competitors. We review competitors, look at their websites, marketing activities and press-pickup, and then we review our own in comparison.

2. Learn from Last Year
Look at your marketing plans for 2011 and compare them to actual results. Where were your marketing dollars most effective? Where were you unsuccessful in achieving the results you expected? What lessons can you learn from last year that will help increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend next year?

Catherine B. Ahles from Premier Aircraft Sales explained how experience dictates their marketing strategy.

Today, most aircraft purchasers do the bulk of their “hunting” online, rather than at their local airports. In 2012, we will be doing even more online advertising as well as creating more landing pages and other web-based tools. Incentives have become more important too. We will be offering things like free fuel for a year with purchase of a new aircraft. Also, we are still figuring out how to use Facebook to aid our customers in keeping up with new developments of interest. Our print advertising will go to bare minimum, and we will cease doing open houses and any trade shows except the very largest.

3. Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work
Understanding what worked and what didn’t is the first step, but in order to use that information effectively, you must also stop doing those things that aren’t working. For some small businesses, this can be difficult, especially when what isn’t working is one of those “marketing things” that every business is supposed to do.

Chris Tobias from School Skills shared this with me.

In 2012, we will no longer pay for advertising that does not directly drive sales. We will only pay for results. This means affiliate programs and partnering with publications to pay them based on the sales an ad produces rather than just paying for ad space. It means no more pay per click or pay for space. After spending a year and a half attempting to optimize click through conversion rates, design high quality marketing communications and locate appropriate advertising vehicles we have discovered that we are not advertising experts. We have also discovered that the risk for advertising success lies entirely with us. If we buy media space in a publication that does not produce results we lose both time and money.

4. Be Specific
It is always easier to hit the bull’s-eye on a target if you can see what the bull’s-eye looks like. Imagine you are shooting an arrow at a target that only has the giant red circle around the outside. It would be pretty hard to hit the center of the bull’s-eye without any other point of reference. Now think of that target as your 2012 marketing plan. If your marketing goal is to expand your social media presence, you only have a giant red circle to aim at. By planning out specific activities and actions as part of your marketing plan, you are effectively adding the other circles to the target that enable you to zero in on the bull’s-eye.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith from Increase Sales Coach talked me through the specific actions she included in her marketing plan for 2012.

Read the rest of the tips at Startup Nation!

How to Mind Read Your Sales Prospects

By Nickolay Lamm

Have you ever been put off by a salesman who was too pushy, too animated, too boring, or too much of anything? What if that salesperson mirrored your own personality?  Wouldn’t you be much more at ease with him and much more receptive to his messages? That is the goal of adaptive selling, in which salespeople mirror the personalities of their potential buyers.  Before you meet with a prospect, try to learn as much about their personality as possible by talking to coworkers, clients, friends, and/or other professional contacts.

When you actually meet the buyer, take a look at their body language, tone, and the general way they handle themselves. Look around their room and see if they have achievements placed on their walls, how their furniture is organized, and how they are dressed. Look on their online profiles to see what their educational background is. You’ll find that people fit into one of 4 categories…

Drivers

Usually study things like engineering, science, or other technical field. Dress conservative and have awards prominently displayed on their office walls.

This is a no-nonsense results-oriented individual that takes charge and has no time for small talk. They make their decisions fast and tend to care a lot more about current results than results that may have appeared in the past or may appear in the future. They are willing to take risks based on hardcore facts and don’t spend much time going over every single detail.

When selling to drivers, get straight to the point in regards to how your product or service can solve their current needs.

Analytics

Also come from a technical background and have a very organized office.

Analyticals share the same “stiff” nature of drivers. However, rather than taking risks with a take-charge type attitude, they carefully think about their decisions before taking action. Furthermore, they are “stiff” not because they are dominating like drivers, they are emotionally distant because they think logic and analysis trump any competing form (small talk, relationships) of getting things done.

When selling to analyticals, make use of any numbers at your disposal. For example, tell them about the payback period, the ROI, the Net Present Value (NPV) of their investment. You want to give the impression that you do your homework before coming to them.

Read the rest of this article at Blogtrepreneur!

How to Mind Read Your Sales Prospects

By Nickolay Lamm

Have you ever been put off by a salesman who was too pushy, too animated, too boring, or too much of anything? What if that salesperson mirrored your own personality?  Wouldn’t you be much more at ease with him and much more receptive to his messages? That is the goal of adaptive selling, in which salespeople mirror the personalities of their potential buyers.  Before you meet with a prospect, try to learn as much about their personality as possible by talking to coworkers, clients, friends, and/or other professional contacts.

When you actually meet the buyer, take a look at their body language, tone, and the general way they handle themselves. Look around their room and see if they have achievements placed on their walls, how their furniture is organized, and how they are dressed. Look on their online profiles to see what their educational background is. You’ll find that people fit into one of 4 categories…

Drivers

Usually study things like engineering, science, or other technical field. Dress conservative and have awards prominently displayed on their office walls.

This is a no-nonsense results-oriented individual that takes charge and has no time for small talk. They make their decisions fast and tend to care a lot more about current results than results that may have appeared in the past or may appear in the future. They are willing to take risks based on hardcore facts and don’t spend much time going over every single detail.

When selling to drivers, get straight to the point in regards to how your product or service can solve their current needs.

Analytics

Also come from a technical background and have a very organized office.

Analyticals share the same “stiff” nature of drivers. However, rather than taking risks with a take-charge type attitude, they carefully think about their decisions before taking action. Furthermore, they are “stiff” not because they are dominating like drivers, they are emotionally distant because they think logic and analysis trump any competing form (small talk, relationships) of getting things done.

When selling to analyticals, make use of any numbers at your disposal. For example, tell them about the payback period, the ROI, the Net Present Value (NPV) of their investment. You want to give the impression that you do your homework before coming to them.

Read the rest of this article at Blogtrepreneur!

How to Mind Read Your Sales Prospects

By Nickolay Lamm

Have you ever been put off by a salesman who was too pushy, too animated, too boring, or too much of anything? What if that salesperson mirrored your own personality?  Wouldn’t you be much more at ease with him and much more receptive to his messages? That is the goal of adaptive selling, in which salespeople mirror the personalities of their potential buyers.  Before you meet with a prospect, try to learn as much about their personality as possible by talking to coworkers, clients, friends, and/or other professional contacts.

When you actually meet the buyer, take a look at their body language, tone, and the general way they handle themselves. Look around their room and see if they have achievements placed on their walls, how their furniture is organized, and how they are dressed. Look on their online profiles to see what their educational background is. You’ll find that people fit into one of 4 categories…

Drivers

Usually study things like engineering, science, or other technical field. Dress conservative and have awards prominently displayed on their office walls.

This is a no-nonsense results-oriented individual that takes charge and has no time for small talk. They make their decisions fast and tend to care a lot more about current results than results that may have appeared in the past or may appear in the future. They are willing to take risks based on hardcore facts and don’t spend much time going over every single detail.

When selling to drivers, get straight to the point in regards to how your product or service can solve their current needs.

Analytics

Also come from a technical background and have a very organized office.

Analyticals share the same “stiff” nature of drivers. However, rather than taking risks with a take-charge type attitude, they carefully think about their decisions before taking action. Furthermore, they are “stiff” not because they are dominating like drivers, they are emotionally distant because they think logic and analysis trump any competing form (small talk, relationships) of getting things done.

When selling to analyticals, make use of any numbers at your disposal. For example, tell them about the payback period, the ROI, the Net Present Value (NPV) of their investment. You want to give the impression that you do your homework before coming to them.

Read the rest of this article at Blogtrepreneur!

Is There Ever a Bad Time To Start a Business?

Do you dream about starting a business, but don’t know if it is the right time? Are you concerned that the economic recovery still has a long way to go, so now might not be the right moment? Are you letting fear stop you from following your dream of owning a business?

Starting a business is something that can be done, no matter the economic climate. You may have to adjust your plan, but if you are savvy enough, you can find the customers your new business needs.

You cannot wait for the perfect time, or you will always be making an excuse as to why now is not the right time. The fear will always be there, so embrace it instead of running from it. Harness your fear and direct it in a positive way to ensure you are making smart decisions and thinking before acting.

The Right Frame Of Mind

The one thing that you need to have before starting a new business is the right frame of mind – the right attitude. If you are not mentally in the game, then don’t even bother. Conceptualizing, forming, growing, and running, a business takes a lot of time and energy, and creates a lot of stress and uncertainty. If your head is not in the game, then your business is doomed to fail from the start.

A great mental attitude can trump your lack of business knowledge. You can always gain knowledge, or hire someone smarter than you, but without passion, you lack the drive to be able to have a successful business. Having the right mindset is something you need before becoming an entrepreneur. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot while you build your company.

The Right Idea

However, the right frame of mind will only get you so far. You also need to have a great concept for a business. This doesn’t mean that your idea for the perfect business has to be something that nobody has heard of before – it just needs to be unique.

While there are probably plenty of unique businesses that have yet to be thought of, you don’t have to be a pioneer in order to be a successful business owner. What you do need is to bring something original to the table. If you are going to compete with existing companies in the marketplace, you have to have your own unique selling point. What makes you different from the other guys? Why would consumers (or businesses) choose you over your competition?

Read the full article at SmallBizBee!

Is There Ever a Bad Time To Start a Business?

Do you dream about starting a business, but don’t know if it is the right time? Are you concerned that the economic recovery still has a long way to go, so now might not be the right moment? Are you letting fear stop you from following your dream of owning a business?

Starting a business is something that can be done, no matter the economic climate. You may have to adjust your plan, but if you are savvy enough, you can find the customers your new business needs.

You cannot wait for the perfect time, or you will always be making an excuse as to why now is not the right time. The fear will always be there, so embrace it instead of running from it. Harness your fear and direct it in a positive way to ensure you are making smart decisions and thinking before acting.

The Right Frame Of Mind

The one thing that you need to have before starting a new business is the right frame of mind – the right attitude. If you are not mentally in the game, then don’t even bother. Conceptualizing, forming, growing, and running, a business takes a lot of time and energy, and creates a lot of stress and uncertainty. If your head is not in the game, then your business is doomed to fail from the start.

A great mental attitude can trump your lack of business knowledge. You can always gain knowledge, or hire someone smarter than you, but without passion, you lack the drive to be able to have a successful business. Having the right mindset is something you need before becoming an entrepreneur. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot while you build your company.

The Right Idea

However, the right frame of mind will only get you so far. You also need to have a great concept for a business. This doesn’t mean that your idea for the perfect business has to be something that nobody has heard of before – it just needs to be unique.

While there are probably plenty of unique businesses that have yet to be thought of, you don’t have to be a pioneer in order to be a successful business owner. What you do need is to bring something original to the table. If you are going to compete with existing companies in the marketplace, you have to have your own unique selling point. What makes you different from the other guys? Why would consumers (or businesses) choose you over your competition?

Read the full article at SmallBizBee!

Is There Ever a Bad Time To Start a Business?

Do you dream about starting a business, but don’t know if it is the right time? Are you concerned that the economic recovery still has a long way to go, so now might not be the right moment? Are you letting fear stop you from following your dream of owning a business?

Starting a business is something that can be done, no matter the economic climate. You may have to adjust your plan, but if you are savvy enough, you can find the customers your new business needs.

You cannot wait for the perfect time, or you will always be making an excuse as to why now is not the right time. The fear will always be there, so embrace it instead of running from it. Harness your fear and direct it in a positive way to ensure you are making smart decisions and thinking before acting.

The Right Frame Of Mind

The one thing that you need to have before starting a new business is the right frame of mind – the right attitude. If you are not mentally in the game, then don’t even bother. Conceptualizing, forming, growing, and running, a business takes a lot of time and energy, and creates a lot of stress and uncertainty. If your head is not in the game, then your business is doomed to fail from the start.

A great mental attitude can trump your lack of business knowledge. You can always gain knowledge, or hire someone smarter than you, but without passion, you lack the drive to be able to have a successful business. Having the right mindset is something you need before becoming an entrepreneur. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot while you build your company.

The Right Idea

However, the right frame of mind will only get you so far. You also need to have a great concept for a business. This doesn’t mean that your idea for the perfect business has to be something that nobody has heard of before – it just needs to be unique.

While there are probably plenty of unique businesses that have yet to be thought of, you don’t have to be a pioneer in order to be a successful business owner. What you do need is to bring something original to the table. If you are going to compete with existing companies in the marketplace, you have to have your own unique selling point. What makes you different from the other guys? Why would consumers (or businesses) choose you over your competition?

Read the full article at SmallBizBee!

Fearing Forward

By Paula J Sykora

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

We enter into business for a variety of reasons, such as the need for a flexible schedule, time with family and friends, to be our own boss, etc. It’s scary, but we plunge in anyway. Does your fear just stop at that point?

Hardly.

Waves of fear keep coming, and will continue to come. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, even fear of growth. The waves just keep coming.

A friend of mine, who started his own business a couple of years ago, related his experience as a graduate student. He said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out or learn how to deal with the heat. The heat will not stop.”

Imagine, does the heat prevent you from taking your carefully prepared secret chocolate chip cookie recipe out of the oven at just the right moment? No, of course not. You grab a couple of hot pads and face the heat with confidence.

What is it that you need to face the heat with confidence?

Understanding that this is a new frame of mind is important. Fearing forward is not a one time event at the start of your business. It is a process that will become refined more and more over time. Indeed, it is a philosophy that can enhance your life in general. Giving up is so easy, but fearing forward forces you to expand as a human being.

Yes, these days and times are uncertain. Yes, there would be obstacles anyway. Yes, it is frightening. Still, we can succeed with the right frame of mind. Others have learned this, overcome great obstacles, and are now household names.

Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Pursuing an endeavor without thought and planning is foolhardy, yet thinking and planning without ever getting started will produce no results except regret and more fear.

It has been said that ninety percent of what we worry about will never happen anyway.

Helen Keller reinforced this when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Did she allow the heat to prevent her from living her life? No, she learned the value of fearing forward.

So, are you afraid? Are you allowing your fears and the fears of those around you to stop you? Don’t let the cookies burn. Discover what your hot pad is and fear forward.
__________________
Paula Sykora is an experienced artist and graphic designer living near Boulder, Colorado, USA. To learn more, please visit www.realworldartstudio.com

Fearing Forward

By Paula J Sykora

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

We enter into business for a variety of reasons, such as the need for a flexible schedule, time with family and friends, to be our own boss, etc. It’s scary, but we plunge in anyway. Does your fear just stop at that point?

Hardly.

Waves of fear keep coming, and will continue to come. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, even fear of growth. The waves just keep coming.

A friend of mine, who started his own business a couple of years ago, related his experience as a graduate student. He said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out or learn how to deal with the heat. The heat will not stop.”

Imagine, does the heat prevent you from taking your carefully prepared secret chocolate chip cookie recipe out of the oven at just the right moment? No, of course not. You grab a couple of hot pads and face the heat with confidence.

What is it that you need to face the heat with confidence?

Understanding that this is a new frame of mind is important. Fearing forward is not a one time event at the start of your business. It is a process that will become refined more and more over time. Indeed, it is a philosophy that can enhance your life in general. Giving up is so easy, but fearing forward forces you to expand as a human being.

Yes, these days and times are uncertain. Yes, there would be obstacles anyway. Yes, it is frightening. Still, we can succeed with the right frame of mind. Others have learned this, overcome great obstacles, and are now household names.

Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Pursuing an endeavor without thought and planning is foolhardy, yet thinking and planning without ever getting started will produce no results except regret and more fear.

It has been said that ninety percent of what we worry about will never happen anyway.

Helen Keller reinforced this when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Did she allow the heat to prevent her from living her life? No, she learned the value of fearing forward.

So, are you afraid? Are you allowing your fears and the fears of those around you to stop you? Don’t let the cookies burn. Discover what your hot pad is and fear forward.
__________________
Paula Sykora is an experienced artist and graphic designer living near Boulder, Colorado, USA. To learn more, please visit www.realworldartstudio.com

Fearing Forward

By Paula J Sykora

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

We enter into business for a variety of reasons, such as the need for a flexible schedule, time with family and friends, to be our own boss, etc. It’s scary, but we plunge in anyway. Does your fear just stop at that point?

Hardly.

Waves of fear keep coming, and will continue to come. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, even fear of growth. The waves just keep coming.

A friend of mine, who started his own business a couple of years ago, related his experience as a graduate student. He said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out or learn how to deal with the heat. The heat will not stop.”

Imagine, does the heat prevent you from taking your carefully prepared secret chocolate chip cookie recipe out of the oven at just the right moment? No, of course not. You grab a couple of hot pads and face the heat with confidence.

What is it that you need to face the heat with confidence?

Understanding that this is a new frame of mind is important. Fearing forward is not a one time event at the start of your business. It is a process that will become refined more and more over time. Indeed, it is a philosophy that can enhance your life in general. Giving up is so easy, but fearing forward forces you to expand as a human being.

Yes, these days and times are uncertain. Yes, there would be obstacles anyway. Yes, it is frightening. Still, we can succeed with the right frame of mind. Others have learned this, overcome great obstacles, and are now household names.

Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Pursuing an endeavor without thought and planning is foolhardy, yet thinking and planning without ever getting started will produce no results except regret and more fear.

It has been said that ninety percent of what we worry about will never happen anyway.

Helen Keller reinforced this when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Did she allow the heat to prevent her from living her life? No, she learned the value of fearing forward.

So, are you afraid? Are you allowing your fears and the fears of those around you to stop you? Don’t let the cookies burn. Discover what your hot pad is and fear forward.
__________________
Paula Sykora is an experienced artist and graphic designer living near Boulder, Colorado, USA. To learn more, please visit www.realworldartstudio.com

Fearing Forward

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

We enter into business for a variety of reasons, such as the need for a flexible schedule, time with family and friends, to be our own boss, etc. It’s scary, but we plunge in anyway. Does your fear just stop at that point?

Hardly.

Waves of fear keep coming, and will continue to come. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, even fear of growth. The waves just keep coming.

A friend of mine, who started his own business a couple of years ago, related his experience as a graduate student. He said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out or learn how to deal with the heat. The heat will not stop.”

Imagine, does the heat prevent you from taking your carefully prepared secret chocolate chip cookie recipe out of the oven at just the right moment? No, of course not. You grab a couple of hot pads and face the heat with confidence.

What is it that you need to face the heat with confidence?

Understanding that this is a new frame of mind is important. Fearing forward is not a one time event at the start of your business. It is a process that will become refined more and more over time. Indeed, it is a philosophy

By Paula J Sykora

that can enhance your life in general. Giving up is so easy, but fearing forward forces you to expand as a human being.

Yes, these days and times are uncertain. Yes, there would be obstacles anyway. Yes, it is frightening. Still, we can succeed with the right frame of mind. Others have learned this, overcome great obstacles, and are now household names.

Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Pursuing an endeavor without thought and planning is foolhardy, yet thinking and planning without ever getting started will produce no results except regret and more fear.

It has been said that ninety percent of what we worry about will never happen anyway.

Helen Keller reinforced this when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Did she allow the heat to prevent her from living her life? No, she learned the value of fearing forward.

So, are you afraid? Are you allowing your fears and the fears of those around you to stop you? Don’t let the cookies burn. Discover what your hot pad is and fear forward.
__________________
Paula Sykora is an experienced artist and graphic designer living near Boulder, Colorado, USA. To learn more, please visit www.realworldartstudio.com

Fearing Forward

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

We enter into business for a variety of reasons, such as the need for a flexible schedule, time with family and friends, to be our own boss, etc. It’s scary, but we plunge in anyway. Does your fear just stop at that point?

Hardly.

Waves of fear keep coming, and will continue to come. Fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, even fear of growth. The waves just keep coming.

A friend of mine, who started his own business a couple of years ago, related his experience as a graduate student. He said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out or learn how to deal with the heat. The heat will not stop.”

Imagine, does the heat prevent you from taking your carefully prepared secret chocolate chip cookie recipe out of the oven at just the right moment? No, of course not. You grab a couple of hot pads and face the heat with confidence.

What is it that you need to face the heat with confidence?

Understanding that this is a new frame of mind is important. Fearing forward is not a one time event at the start of your business. It is a process that will become refined more and more over time. Indeed, it is a philosophy

By Paula J Sykora

that can enhance your life in general. Giving up is so easy, but fearing forward forces you to expand as a human being.

Yes, these days and times are uncertain. Yes, there would be obstacles anyway. Yes, it is frightening. Still, we can succeed with the right frame of mind. Others have learned this, overcome great obstacles, and are now household names.

Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Pursuing an endeavor without thought and planning is foolhardy, yet thinking and planning without ever getting started will produce no results except regret and more fear.

It has been said that ninety percent of what we worry about will never happen anyway.

Helen Keller reinforced this when she said, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Did she allow the heat to prevent her from living her life? No, she learned the value of fearing forward.

So, are you afraid? Are you allowing your fears and the fears of those around you to stop you? Don’t let the cookies burn. Discover what your hot pad is and fear forward.
__________________
Paula Sykora is an experienced artist and graphic designer living near Boulder, Colorado, USA. To learn more, please visit www.realworldartstudio.com

10 Tips for Using Testimonials To Attract New Customers

by Wendy Kenney

Has this ever happened to you?  You decided to go to a new restaurant to eat dinner, but when you arrived at the establishment there were no cars (or very few cars) in the parking lot and so you changed your mind about going there.  I know I have done this many times figuring that if there weren’t very many customers at the restaurant; it must not be a very good place to eat.      I didn’t want to take a chance and have a bad experience.

The same is true with our potential customers.  Dr. Robert Cialdini is his book, Influence: Science and Practice, calls this phenomenon the “Power of Social Proof” which basically says that people will follow the actions of other people because if others are doing it, it must be good, right, or true.

Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing strategies a small business owner can tap into.  And one great example of social proof is testimonials from previous or current customers.

Here are some statistics:

  • 92% of consumers are more confident in online reviews that information from a salesclerk.
  • 70% of consumers check online reviews or ratings before making a buying decision
  • 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends or family
  • 29% more consumers prefer a businesses that has over 50 reviews over a business that has 6-10 reviews
  • 20% more people will buy from a business that has testimonials on their website.

Source: 12 Statistics on Consumer Reviews

So how can a business owner tap into the power of social proof and use testimonials to attract new customers?  Here are ten tips.

1. Ask for testimonials consistently.

One of the hardest things for many business owners to do is to ask for anything, let alone ask for testimonials.  But if you don’t ask, most likely you won’t receive.  Some business owners will even reward customers for giving testimonials by giving them an added bonus in return, such as a free dessert, or an added discount.  Make it a habit to ask every customer to give you a testimonial and you will soon find you have a slew of them to choose from.  You can never have too many testimonials.

2. Make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.

Even though you’ve asked, you’ve also got to make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.    Post a form on your website, put links to review sites in your email newsletter, on your invoice or receipts.  Ask for reviews on your business cards, stationary, or on social media.  Make it even easier by suggesting what they should say by giving them a template to fill out.  For example, your template could say:

“In the past, my experience with other companies has been _____________.  But then I found __________ and all that changed.  I’ve been doing business with this company for over ____ years because _________.  What I love about working with them is  ___________________.  I’ve had the following results: ______________________________________.   I would highly recommend them because_______________.”

3. Use real names as much as possible.

A testimonial is more credible when it shows the full name of the person giving the testimonial as well as their company, city or other affiliation.  If you are not able to get a full name, get at least a first name and a last initial as in “Frank R.”  If you can’t give the name of the company they are with, give their position and industry.  For example, “Frank R. Marketing Director, Major US. Pharmaceutical Company.

4. Tell customers what kind of testimonials you want.

The more specific a review is, the more credible it is.  For example, Marie Osmond said, “I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.”  When you read it, you know in your mind what an extra 50 pounds looks like.  Her testimonial would be far less powerful if it said “I lost weight on Nutrisystem.”  When asking for testimonials, give your customers clear instructions to make them as specific as possible.

5. Timing is everything.

The best time to ask for a testimonial is immediately after you have done business with them while the experience is still fresh in their minds.  It’s also the time that they are most likely to give a testimonial.

Read the rest of the tips at StartUp Nation!

10 Tips for Using Testimonials To Attract New Customers

by Wendy Kenney

Has this ever happened to you?  You decided to go to a new restaurant to eat dinner, but when you arrived at the establishment there were no cars (or very few cars) in the parking lot and so you changed your mind about going there.  I know I have done this many times figuring that if there weren’t very many customers at the restaurant; it must not be a very good place to eat.      I didn’t want to take a chance and have a bad experience.

The same is true with our potential customers.  Dr. Robert Cialdini is his book, Influence: Science and Practice, calls this phenomenon the “Power of Social Proof” which basically says that people will follow the actions of other people because if others are doing it, it must be good, right, or true.

Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing strategies a small business owner can tap into.  And one great example of social proof is testimonials from previous or current customers.

Here are some statistics:

  • 92% of consumers are more confident in online reviews that information from a salesclerk.
  • 70% of consumers check online reviews or ratings before making a buying decision
  • 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends or family
  • 29% more consumers prefer a businesses that has over 50 reviews over a business that has 6-10 reviews
  • 20% more people will buy from a business that has testimonials on their website.

Source: 12 Statistics on Consumer Reviews

So how can a business owner tap into the power of social proof and use testimonials to attract new customers?  Here are ten tips.

1. Ask for testimonials consistently.

One of the hardest things for many business owners to do is to ask for anything, let alone ask for testimonials.  But if you don’t ask, most likely you won’t receive.  Some business owners will even reward customers for giving testimonials by giving them an added bonus in return, such as a free dessert, or an added discount.  Make it a habit to ask every customer to give you a testimonial and you will soon find you have a slew of them to choose from.  You can never have too many testimonials.

2. Make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.

Even though you’ve asked, you’ve also got to make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.    Post a form on your website, put links to review sites in your email newsletter, on your invoice or receipts.  Ask for reviews on your business cards, stationary, or on social media.  Make it even easier by suggesting what they should say by giving them a template to fill out.  For example, your template could say:

“In the past, my experience with other companies has been _____________.  But then I found __________ and all that changed.  I’ve been doing business with this company for over ____ years because _________.  What I love about working with them is  ___________________.  I’ve had the following results: ______________________________________.   I would highly recommend them because_______________.”

3. Use real names as much as possible.

A testimonial is more credible when it shows the full name of the person giving the testimonial as well as their company, city or other affiliation.  If you are not able to get a full name, get at least a first name and a last initial as in “Frank R.”  If you can’t give the name of the company they are with, give their position and industry.  For example, “Frank R. Marketing Director, Major US. Pharmaceutical Company.

4. Tell customers what kind of testimonials you want.

The more specific a review is, the more credible it is.  For example, Marie Osmond said, “I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.”  When you read it, you know in your mind what an extra 50 pounds looks like.  Her testimonial would be far less powerful if it said “I lost weight on Nutrisystem.”  When asking for testimonials, give your customers clear instructions to make them as specific as possible.

5. Timing is everything.

The best time to ask for a testimonial is immediately after you have done business with them while the experience is still fresh in their minds.  It’s also the time that they are most likely to give a testimonial.

Read the rest of the tips at StartUp Nation!

10 Tips for Using Testimonials To Attract New Customers

by Wendy Kenney

Has this ever happened to you?  You decided to go to a new restaurant to eat dinner, but when you arrived at the establishment there were no cars (or very few cars) in the parking lot and so you changed your mind about going there.  I know I have done this many times figuring that if there weren’t very many customers at the restaurant; it must not be a very good place to eat.      I didn’t want to take a chance and have a bad experience.

The same is true with our potential customers.  Dr. Robert Cialdini is his book, Influence: Science and Practice, calls this phenomenon the “Power of Social Proof” which basically says that people will follow the actions of other people because if others are doing it, it must be good, right, or true.

Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing strategies a small business owner can tap into.  And one great example of social proof is testimonials from previous or current customers.

Here are some statistics:

  • 92% of consumers are more confident in online reviews that information from a salesclerk.
  • 70% of consumers check online reviews or ratings before making a buying decision
  • 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends or family
  • 29% more consumers prefer a businesses that has over 50 reviews over a business that has 6-10 reviews
  • 20% more people will buy from a business that has testimonials on their website.

Source: 12 Statistics on Consumer Reviews

So how can a business owner tap into the power of social proof and use testimonials to attract new customers?  Here are ten tips.

1. Ask for testimonials consistently.

One of the hardest things for many business owners to do is to ask for anything, let alone ask for testimonials.  But if you don’t ask, most likely you won’t receive.  Some business owners will even reward customers for giving testimonials by giving them an added bonus in return, such as a free dessert, or an added discount.  Make it a habit to ask every customer to give you a testimonial and you will soon find you have a slew of them to choose from.  You can never have too many testimonials.

2. Make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.

Even though you’ve asked, you’ve also got to make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.    Post a form on your website, put links to review sites in your email newsletter, on your invoice or receipts.  Ask for reviews on your business cards, stationary, or on social media.  Make it even easier by suggesting what they should say by giving them a template to fill out.  For example, your template could say:

“In the past, my experience with other companies has been _____________.  But then I found __________ and all that changed.  I’ve been doing business with this company for over ____ years because _________.  What I love about working with them is  ___________________.  I’ve had the following results: ______________________________________.   I would highly recommend them because_______________.”

3. Use real names as much as possible.

A testimonial is more credible when it shows the full name of the person giving the testimonial as well as their company, city or other affiliation.  If you are not able to get a full name, get at least a first name and a last initial as in “Frank R.”  If you can’t give the name of the company they are with, give their position and industry.  For example, “Frank R. Marketing Director, Major US. Pharmaceutical Company.

4. Tell customers what kind of testimonials you want.

The more specific a review is, the more credible it is.  For example, Marie Osmond said, “I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.”  When you read it, you know in your mind what an extra 50 pounds looks like.  Her testimonial would be far less powerful if it said “I lost weight on Nutrisystem.”  When asking for testimonials, give your customers clear instructions to make them as specific as possible.

5. Timing is everything.

The best time to ask for a testimonial is immediately after you have done business with them while the experience is still fresh in their minds.  It’s also the time that they are most likely to give a testimonial.

Read the rest of the tips at StartUp Nation!

testimonialscheckmark

testimonialscheckmark

10 Tips for Using Testimonials To Attract New Customers

by Wendy Kenney

Has this ever happened to you?  You decided to go to a new restaurant to eat dinner, but when you arrived at the establishment there were no cars (or very few cars) in the parking lot and so you changed your mind about going there.  I know I have done this many times figuring that if there weren’t very many customers at the restaurant; it must not be a very good place to eat.      I didn’t want to take a chance and have a bad experience.

The same is true with our potential customers.  Dr. Robert Cialdini is his book, Influence: Science and Practice, calls this phenomenon the “Power of Social Proof” which basically says that people will follow the actions of other people because if others are doing it, it must be good, right, or true.

Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing strategies a small business owner can tap into.  And one great example of social proof is testimonials from previous or current customers.

Here are some statistics:

  • 92% of consumers are more confident in online reviews that information from a salesclerk.
  • 70% of consumers check online reviews or ratings before making a buying decision
  • 69% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends or family
  • 29% more consumers prefer a businesses that has over 50 reviews over a business that has 6-10 reviews
  • 20% more people will buy from a business that has testimonials on their website.

Source: 12 Statistics on Consumer Reviews

So how can a business owner tap into the power of social proof and use testimonials to attract new customers?  Here are ten tips.

1. Ask for testimonials consistently.

One of the hardest things for many business owners to do is to ask for anything, let alone ask for testimonials.  But if you don’t ask, most likely you won’t receive.  Some business owners will even reward customers for giving testimonials by giving them an added bonus in return, such as a free dessert, or an added discount.  Make it a habit to ask every customer to give you a testimonial and you will soon find you have a slew of them to choose from.  You can never have too many testimonials.

2. Make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.

Even though you’ve asked, you’ve also got to make it easy for customers to give you testimonials.    Post a form on your website, put links to review sites in your email newsletter, on your invoice or receipts.  Ask for reviews on your business cards, stationary, or on social media.  Make it even easier by suggesting what they should say by giving them a template to fill out.  For example, your template could say:

“In the past, my experience with other companies has been _____________.  But then I found __________ and all that changed.  I’ve been doing business with this company for over ____ years because _________.  What I love about working with them is  ___________________.  I’ve had the following results: ______________________________________.   I would highly recommend them because_______________.”

3. Use real names as much as possible.

A testimonial is more credible when it shows the full name of the person giving the testimonial as well as their company, city or other affiliation.  If you are not able to get a full name, get at least a first name and a last initial as in “Frank R.”  If you can’t give the name of the company they are with, give their position and industry.  For example, “Frank R. Marketing Director, Major US. Pharmaceutical Company.

4. Tell customers what kind of testimonials you want.

The more specific a review is, the more credible it is.  For example, Marie Osmond said, “I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.”  When you read it, you know in your mind what an extra 50 pounds looks like.  Her testimonial would be far less powerful if it said “I lost weight on Nutrisystem.”  When asking for testimonials, give your customers clear instructions to make them as specific as possible.

5. Timing is everything.

The best time to ask for a testimonial is immediately after you have done business with them while the experience is still fresh in their minds.  It’s also the time that they are most likely to give a testimonial.

Read the rest of the tips at StartUp Nation!

3 No Brainer Leadership Tips for Small Businesses

Strong leadership is important for all business owners, regardless of the size of business. However, since small business owners often have many responsibilities, effective leadership is especially important. While leadership may come easy for some, many individuals have to work hard to develop into a good leader.

Fortunately, leadership can be improved upon with some hard work. Below are some tips to help you are become the best leader possible while growing a successful business.

1. Make Specific Plans
Drop your ego at the door and get to work. Don’t assume that you know everything. Having an organized plan is a smart first move. Unless a plan is in place, how can you truly budget your time effectively? Laying out procedures and identifying specific roles for each person in the business provides clarity and increased productivity for everyone involved. Since small businesses often have their employee’s working on multiple things at a time, it is important to delegate properly.

You should have both short and long-term goals that address daily, monthly and yearly aspects of running the business. Also, remember that as you business grows and changes, so too should your plans. If you’re taking a “one size fits all” approach to your business, you’re doomed to fail.

It should go without saying, but if you’re putting all this work into developing your plans, make sure you follow through with them. Too often, plans get laid out and then filed away, only to be discovered a few years later as a failed business is cleaning out its offices.

2. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
Thinking forward is a key characteristic of good leaders. While the day-to-day operations of the business will often consume the majority of your time, you shouldn’t lose sight of the plans you’ve outlined. The future may seem far away, but ignoring it will certainly hinder your growth. Forward-thinking can help small businesses develop longevity.

Consider creating a mission statement for the business. Such a statement is a quick reference and reminder to you and your employees of why you’re working so hard. If employees have a reason to believe in the company they work for, they’ll put out a better product with a focus on good customer relations. And speaking of customers – they’ll continue to value your business as they notice your commitment to the future. Customers want to support businesses that have a passion for what they do. Your passion is directly related to thinking forward.

Read the full article at Small Biz Bee!

3 No Brainer Leadership Tips for Small Businesses

Strong leadership is important for all business owners, regardless of the size of business. However, since small business owners often have many responsibilities, effective leadership is especially important. While leadership may come easy for some, many individuals have to work hard to develop into a good leader.

Fortunately, leadership can be improved upon with some hard work. Below are some tips to help you are become the best leader possible while growing a successful business.

1. Make Specific Plans
Drop your ego at the door and get to work. Don’t assume that you know everything. Having an organized plan is a smart first move. Unless a plan is in place, how can you truly budget your time effectively? Laying out procedures and identifying specific roles for each person in the business provides clarity and increased productivity for everyone involved. Since small businesses often have their employee’s working on multiple things at a time, it is important to delegate properly.

You should have both short and long-term goals that address daily, monthly and yearly aspects of running the business. Also, remember that as you business grows and changes, so too should your plans. If you’re taking a “one size fits all” approach to your business, you’re doomed to fail.

It should go without saying, but if you’re putting all this work into developing your plans, make sure you follow through with them. Too often, plans get laid out and then filed away, only to be discovered a few years later as a failed business is cleaning out its offices.

2. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
Thinking forward is a key characteristic of good leaders. While the day-to-day operations of the business will often consume the majority of your time, you shouldn’t lose sight of the plans you’ve outlined. The future may seem far away, but ignoring it will certainly hinder your growth. Forward-thinking can help small businesses develop longevity.

Consider creating a mission statement for the business. Such a statement is a quick reference and reminder to you and your employees of why you’re working so hard. If employees have a reason to believe in the company they work for, they’ll put out a better product with a focus on good customer relations. And speaking of customers – they’ll continue to value your business as they notice your commitment to the future. Customers want to support businesses that have a passion for what they do. Your passion is directly related to thinking forward.

Read the full article at Small Biz Bee!

leadershiparrowbiz

leadershiparrowbiz

3 No Brainer Leadership Tips for Small Businesses

Strong leadership is important for all business owners, regardless of the size of business. However, since small business owners often have many responsibilities, effective leadership is especially important. While leadership may come easy for some, many individuals have to work hard to develop into a good leader.

Fortunately, leadership can be improved upon with some hard work. Below are some tips to help you are become the best leader possible while growing a successful business.

1. Make Specific Plans
Drop your ego at the door and get to work. Don’t assume that you know everything. Having an organized plan is a smart first move. Unless a plan is in place, how can you truly budget your time effectively? Laying out procedures and identifying specific roles for each person in the business provides clarity and increased productivity for everyone involved. Since small businesses often have their employee’s working on multiple things at a time, it is important to delegate properly.

You should have both short and long-term goals that address daily, monthly and yearly aspects of running the business. Also, remember that as you business grows and changes, so too should your plans. If you’re taking a “one size fits all” approach to your business, you’re doomed to fail.

It should go without saying, but if you’re putting all this work into developing your plans, make sure you follow through with them. Too often, plans get laid out and then filed away, only to be discovered a few years later as a failed business is cleaning out its offices.

2. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon
Thinking forward is a key characteristic of good leaders. While the day-to-day operations of the business will often consume the majority of your time, you shouldn’t lose sight of the plans you’ve outlined. The future may seem far away, but ignoring it will certainly hinder your growth. Forward-thinking can help small businesses develop longevity.

Consider creating a mission statement for the business. Such a statement is a quick reference and reminder to you and your employees of why you’re working so hard. If employees have a reason to believe in the company they work for, they’ll put out a better product with a focus on good customer relations. And speaking of customers – they’ll continue to value your business as they notice your commitment to the future. Customers want to support businesses that have a passion for what they do. Your passion is directly related to thinking forward.

Read the full article at Small Biz Bee!

Gain Their Trust, Win Their Sale

By Todd  Duncan

In a recent Gallup poll on professions that people trust, sales ranked in the lower 10 percent. Clearly, the profession of selling doesn’t get high marks, but therein lies the opportunity for sales professionals who understand the importance of trust.

Most sales interactions begin with high tension and low levels of trust. Moving your prospects and clients from a low-trust, high-tension level to a high-trust, low-tension state is crucial. When you reach a level of high trust and low tension, your customers stop resisting and objecting. Even better, they start accepting and confirming your offerings. Maintain that trust and they may become buyers for life. Here are three core principles for accelerating trust.

First, who do you know who knows who you need to know? Most of us used this technique without realizing it when we were budding sales professionals selling Girl Scout cookies or candy for Little League. My dad told me if I wanted to sell a lot, I should go to the people I knew and the people they knew. I sold out in two days, weeks ahead of schedule.

The big question that should be part of all of your prospecting initiatives is, Who do I know who knows who I need to know? Those connections will give you confidence when making initial calls and move your prospects from high tension to high trust because of the “social proof” of the referral.

Second, the more you know about the people you serve, the better you can serve the people you know. Selling is about relating, not persuading. Selling is providing meaningful solutions based on a dialogue. Give up trying to impose an agenda. A far more potent way to build trust and reduce tension is to genuinely listen to your prospects’ needs.

And finally, advice is more important than price. Price is usually the first thing to come up: “How much will it cost me?” We often dodge the price question to avoid running prospects off before we have a chance to explain the value of the offering. But an abundance mindset responds with, “Here are your options. I’ll advise you on which one is the best fit for your needs—even if that means introducing you to another company.”

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

Gain Their Trust, Win Their Sale

By Todd  Duncan

In a recent Gallup poll on professions that people trust, sales ranked in the lower 10 percent. Clearly, the profession of selling doesn’t get high marks, but therein lies the opportunity for sales professionals who understand the importance of trust.

Most sales interactions begin with high tension and low levels of trust. Moving your prospects and clients from a low-trust, high-tension level to a high-trust, low-tension state is crucial. When you reach a level of high trust and low tension, your customers stop resisting and objecting. Even better, they start accepting and confirming your offerings. Maintain that trust and they may become buyers for life. Here are three core principles for accelerating trust.

First, who do you know who knows who you need to know? Most of us used this technique without realizing it when we were budding sales professionals selling Girl Scout cookies or candy for Little League. My dad told me if I wanted to sell a lot, I should go to the people I knew and the people they knew. I sold out in two days, weeks ahead of schedule.

The big question that should be part of all of your prospecting initiatives is, Who do I know who knows who I need to know? Those connections will give you confidence when making initial calls and move your prospects from high tension to high trust because of the “social proof” of the referral.

Second, the more you know about the people you serve, the better you can serve the people you know. Selling is about relating, not persuading. Selling is providing meaningful solutions based on a dialogue. Give up trying to impose an agenda. A far more potent way to build trust and reduce tension is to genuinely listen to your prospects’ needs.

And finally, advice is more important than price. Price is usually the first thing to come up: “How much will it cost me?” We often dodge the price question to avoid running prospects off before we have a chance to explain the value of the offering. But an abundance mindset responds with, “Here are your options. I’ll advise you on which one is the best fit for your needs—even if that means introducing you to another company.”

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

Gain Their Trust, Win Their Sale

By Todd  Duncan

In a recent Gallup poll on professions that people trust, sales ranked in the lower 10 percent. Clearly, the profession of selling doesn’t get high marks, but therein lies the opportunity for sales professionals who understand the importance of trust.

Most sales interactions begin with high tension and low levels of trust. Moving your prospects and clients from a low-trust, high-tension level to a high-trust, low-tension state is crucial. When you reach a level of high trust and low tension, your customers stop resisting and objecting. Even better, they start accepting and confirming your offerings. Maintain that trust and they may become buyers for life. Here are three core principles for accelerating trust.

First, who do you know who knows who you need to know? Most of us used this technique without realizing it when we were budding sales professionals selling Girl Scout cookies or candy for Little League. My dad told me if I wanted to sell a lot, I should go to the people I knew and the people they knew. I sold out in two days, weeks ahead of schedule.

The big question that should be part of all of your prospecting initiatives is, Who do I know who knows who I need to know? Those connections will give you confidence when making initial calls and move your prospects from high tension to high trust because of the “social proof” of the referral.

Second, the more you know about the people you serve, the better you can serve the people you know. Selling is about relating, not persuading. Selling is providing meaningful solutions based on a dialogue. Give up trying to impose an agenda. A far more potent way to build trust and reduce tension is to genuinely listen to your prospects’ needs.

And finally, advice is more important than price. Price is usually the first thing to come up: “How much will it cost me?” We often dodge the price question to avoid running prospects off before we have a chance to explain the value of the offering. But an abundance mindset responds with, “Here are your options. I’ll advise you on which one is the best fit for your needs—even if that means introducing you to another company.”

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

3 Quick Ways To Boost Awareness Now

by Melanie Rembrandt

Are you a new business owner struggling to increase sales, handle public relations and get new customers to come to your site?

Well, here are three, free tips to help you get noticed by the media and the search engines… fast.

1. Write An Article…

Want to share some valuable information with potential customers?

Write an article about a hot topic that offers tips and resources without being sales-oriented. Then, figure out which media venue would like to post your information on their site.

Today, media venues are hungry for free content. And if you can provide interesting and current information to their readers, they may want to print your article.

Simply call the managing editor at your chosen publication, and see what he or she needs. You may be surprised to see your article on their site the next day!

2. Post a Blog…

What? You can’t find a media venue interested in your article? No worries.

Turn your article into a blog entry, and post it on your site. And don’t forget to add search engine optimization keywords to it so that the search engines, and potential customers, can find your entry online.

3. Make a Call…

Got a great story to tell about a customer success, industry trend or current news?

Call the reporters at your favorite media venues that handle your industry, or “beat,” and tell them!

Many times, reporters like to talk directly to business owners and experts to get the inside scoop instead of sifting through hundreds of press releases from publicists.

Just practice your pitch in advance. Make sure it is succinct and provides value to the media member’s audience. (You may want to start with a local, media venue first.)

And if the reporter doesn’t care about what you have to say this time, at least he or she knows who you are and that you can be a resource for future stories.

Read the full article at StartupNation!

3 Quick Ways To Boost Awareness Now

by Melanie Rembrandt

Are you a new business owner struggling to increase sales, handle public relations and get new customers to come to your site?

Well, here are three, free tips to help you get noticed by the media and the search engines… fast.

1. Write An Article…

Want to share some valuable information with potential customers?

Write an article about a hot topic that offers tips and resources without being sales-oriented. Then, figure out which media venue would like to post your information on their site.

Today, media venues are hungry for free content. And if you can provide interesting and current information to their readers, they may want to print your article.

Simply call the managing editor at your chosen publication, and see what he or she needs. You may be surprised to see your article on their site the next day!

2. Post a Blog…

What? You can’t find a media venue interested in your article? No worries.

Turn your article into a blog entry, and post it on your site. And don’t forget to add search engine optimization keywords to it so that the search engines, and potential customers, can find your entry online.

3. Make a Call…

Got a great story to tell about a customer success, industry trend or current news?

Call the reporters at your favorite media venues that handle your industry, or “beat,” and tell them!

Many times, reporters like to talk directly to business owners and experts to get the inside scoop instead of sifting through hundreds of press releases from publicists.

Just practice your pitch in advance. Make sure it is succinct and provides value to the media member’s audience. (You may want to start with a local, media venue first.)

And if the reporter doesn’t care about what you have to say this time, at least he or she knows who you are and that you can be a resource for future stories.

Read the full article at StartupNation!

bizboostuparrow

bizboostuparrow

3 Quick Ways To Boost Awareness Now

by Melanie Rembrandt

Are you a new business owner struggling to increase sales, handle public relations and get new customers to come to your site?

Well, here are three, free tips to help you get noticed by the media and the search engines… fast.

1. Write An Article…

Want to share some valuable information with potential customers?

Write an article about a hot topic that offers tips and resources without being sales-oriented. Then, figure out which media venue would like to post your information on their site.

Today, media venues are hungry for free content. And if you can provide interesting and current information to their readers, they may want to print your article.

Simply call the managing editor at your chosen publication, and see what he or she needs. You may be surprised to see your article on their site the next day!

2. Post a Blog…

What? You can’t find a media venue interested in your article? No worries.

Turn your article into a blog entry, and post it on your site. And don’t forget to add search engine optimization keywords to it so that the search engines, and potential customers, can find your entry online.

3. Make a Call…

Got a great story to tell about a customer success, industry trend or current news?

Call the reporters at your favorite media venues that handle your industry, or “beat,” and tell them!

Many times, reporters like to talk directly to business owners and experts to get the inside scoop instead of sifting through hundreds of press releases from publicists.

Just practice your pitch in advance. Make sure it is succinct and provides value to the media member’s audience. (You may want to start with a local, media venue first.)

And if the reporter doesn’t care about what you have to say this time, at least he or she knows who you are and that you can be a resource for future stories.

Read the full article at StartupNation!

5 Things You Must Do To Sell To a Small Business Owner

by John Jantsch

Small business owners are an odd lot. I can say this without judgment because I am one.

Cracking the small business code is something that routinely perplexes large organizations. I see it every day, and I’ve been asked numerous times to consult on that very puzzle.

The thing is, however, a lot of small businesses want to sell to other small businesses too. Many times I find that they miss the subtleties of attracting small business even though they need look no further than their own buying habits for keys to the sale.

So, today I’m going to share how I, one long-time small business owner, think and make purchases in an effort to create what might become your cheat sheet for how to think about selling to small business.

I suspect there are Fortune 500 consultants that would charge tens of thousands of dollars for what I’m about to reveal below, but you get it for free!

1) Realize I don’t plan that far out

Small business owners would love to have a three-year and five-year plan, but the reality is we often have a one-week plan and it’s a rough draft. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m just saying it’s the reality of the time and resource sparse business.

We don’t respond well to future ROI messages or value received over time because mostly we’re usually looking to fix something right now. Talk to me about the pain I have today, fix the problem that will get me immediate relief and then we can talk about the future.

2) Help me buy value over price

I actually don’t want to buy on price, but I will. If you don’t give me a way to see how your solution makes better sense to me right now , I’ll choose the lower price. But if you can demonstrate that you’re going to be here whenever and however I need you, that switching to your solution isn’t going to be painful and that this time it’s going to be different, I’ll pay a premium.

The problem is, I don’t believe your brochure. In fact, the greater problem is I don’t fully trust myself to implement what you’ve suggested either. So, demonstrate by building a relationship, don’t sell, educate. Prove to me that you really understand my business by using my language – if you use the terms synergy or value proposition it will hard for me to hear anything else you say.

3) Make the service as sexy as the sale

Good marketing makes you hungry for how your world is about to change for the better. Good marketing paints a picture of your new shiny world once you’ve bought the product or engaged the service. That’s the job of marketing – to build know, like and trust.

The problem is that once I say I want to buy, good marketing seems to come to a crashing end.

Good marketing also understands that I need to be oriented to what I just bought, I need to know what to do next, I need to know who to contact with questions, I need to know how I pay, how I get more, how I add features and I need to know it all as part of your sales and service process.

In fact, good marketing doesn’t ever end. It also wants to measure the results I got and it wants to make sure I’m thrilled.

Read the rest of the tips at Duct Tape Marketing!

5 Things You Must Do To Sell To a Small Business Owner

by John Jantsch

Small business owners are an odd lot. I can say this without judgment because I am one.

Cracking the small business code is something that routinely perplexes large organizations. I see it every day, and I’ve been asked numerous times to consult on that very puzzle.

The thing is, however, a lot of small businesses want to sell to other small businesses too. Many times I find that they miss the subtleties of attracting small business even though they need look no further than their own buying habits for keys to the sale.

So, today I’m going to share how I, one long-time small business owner, think and make purchases in an effort to create what might become your cheat sheet for how to think about selling to small business.

I suspect there are Fortune 500 consultants that would charge tens of thousands of dollars for what I’m about to reveal below, but you get it for free!

1) Realize I don’t plan that far out

Small business owners would love to have a three-year and five-year plan, but the reality is we often have a one-week plan and it’s a rough draft. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m just saying it’s the reality of the time and resource sparse business.

We don’t respond well to future ROI messages or value received over time because mostly we’re usually looking to fix something right now. Talk to me about the pain I have today, fix the problem that will get me immediate relief and then we can talk about the future.

2) Help me buy value over price

I actually don’t want to buy on price, but I will. If you don’t give me a way to see how your solution makes better sense to me right now , I’ll choose the lower price. But if you can demonstrate that you’re going to be here whenever and however I need you, that switching to your solution isn’t going to be painful and that this time it’s going to be different, I’ll pay a premium.

The problem is, I don’t believe your brochure. In fact, the greater problem is I don’t fully trust myself to implement what you’ve suggested either. So, demonstrate by building a relationship, don’t sell, educate. Prove to me that you really understand my business by using my language – if you use the terms synergy or value proposition it will hard for me to hear anything else you say.

3) Make the service as sexy as the sale

Good marketing makes you hungry for how your world is about to change for the better. Good marketing paints a picture of your new shiny world once you’ve bought the product or engaged the service. That’s the job of marketing – to build know, like and trust.

The problem is that once I say I want to buy, good marketing seems to come to a crashing end.

Good marketing also understands that I need to be oriented to what I just bought, I need to know what to do next, I need to know who to contact with questions, I need to know how I pay, how I get more, how I add features and I need to know it all as part of your sales and service process.

In fact, good marketing doesn’t ever end. It also wants to measure the results I got and it wants to make sure I’m thrilled.

Read the rest of the tips at Duct Tape Marketing!

sellshakehands

sellshakehands

5 Things You Must Do To Sell To a Small Business Owner

by John Jantsch

Small business owners are an odd lot. I can say this without judgment because I am one.

Cracking the small business code is something that routinely perplexes large organizations. I see it every day, and I’ve been asked numerous times to consult on that very puzzle.

The thing is, however, a lot of small businesses want to sell to other small businesses too. Many times I find that they miss the subtleties of attracting small business even though they need look no further than their own buying habits for keys to the sale.

So, today I’m going to share how I, one long-time small business owner, think and make purchases in an effort to create what might become your cheat sheet for how to think about selling to small business.

I suspect there are Fortune 500 consultants that would charge tens of thousands of dollars for what I’m about to reveal below, but you get it for free!

1) Realize I don’t plan that far out

Small business owners would love to have a three-year and five-year plan, but the reality is we often have a one-week plan and it’s a rough draft. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m just saying it’s the reality of the time and resource sparse business.

We don’t respond well to future ROI messages or value received over time because mostly we’re usually looking to fix something right now. Talk to me about the pain I have today, fix the problem that will get me immediate relief and then we can talk about the future.

2) Help me buy value over price

I actually don’t want to buy on price, but I will. If you don’t give me a way to see how your solution makes better sense to me right now , I’ll choose the lower price. But if you can demonstrate that you’re going to be here whenever and however I need you, that switching to your solution isn’t going to be painful and that this time it’s going to be different, I’ll pay a premium.

The problem is, I don’t believe your brochure. In fact, the greater problem is I don’t fully trust myself to implement what you’ve suggested either. So, demonstrate by building a relationship, don’t sell, educate. Prove to me that you really understand my business by using my language – if you use the terms synergy or value proposition it will hard for me to hear anything else you say.

3) Make the service as sexy as the sale

Good marketing makes you hungry for how your world is about to change for the better. Good marketing paints a picture of your new shiny world once you’ve bought the product or engaged the service. That’s the job of marketing – to build know, like and trust.

The problem is that once I say I want to buy, good marketing seems to come to a crashing end.

Good marketing also understands that I need to be oriented to what I just bought, I need to know what to do next, I need to know who to contact with questions, I need to know how I pay, how I get more, how I add features and I need to know it all as part of your sales and service process.

In fact, good marketing doesn’t ever end. It also wants to measure the results I got and it wants to make sure I’m thrilled.

Read the rest of the tips at Duct Tape Marketing!

6 ‘Easy Breezy’ Ways to Boost Client Retention

By Susan Tomlinson

Whether it’s beauty products, clothes or food, the organizations that continue to thrive are those that work hard not only to attract new customers but also to retain them.

As you probably know the cost of acquiring new clients can far outweigh the cost of keeping existing clients or those who have expressed an interest in working with you. The trick is to balance the need to be continually filling your marketing pipeline with new prospects and working to retaining your existing customers for the long term.

Not matter what industry sector you are working in, or the size of your organization, all businesses and corporations face this challenge. The most successful ones don’t focus solely on the ‘one off’ sale, they recognize the potential life time value of the client, not only in the additional services they may buy but also the referrals and recommendations they make.

This isn’t a new concept as I’m sure most of you will have heard parents, friends or relatives say something along the lines of ‘well I always shop there or I always buy that particular brand’ But today with SO much choice businesses have to work much harder at customer loyalty. VIP shopping cards, points systems and discounts all help but when you are a small business owner you need to get really savvy and creative about retaining clients (preferably the ideal ones).

To get you started think of your favorite retailers, restaurants or on line service providers – what is it that they offer or do that keeps you returning? Is it speed of response, unexpected gifts, personalized service, exclusive offers, customer service? Then, imagine how you could incorporate this experience or essence into your own business, so that you are truly coming from a place of serving and supporting your clients.

Here are 6 simple but highly effective ways to help you develop your own client retention strategy that will demonstrate how much you value and appreciate them:

  1. Send thank you notes or cards with an order. This was very effective when I purchased on line recently. My order arrived beautifully wrapped with a handwritten note – that personal touch made a big difference!
  2. Forward books or articles that are relevant to your clients or invite them to attend interesting events or seminars.
  3. Offer your existing clients special discounts on additional purchases or provide surprise bonuses.
  4. Mark special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or contract wins by sending a congratulatory card.
  5. Ask for feedback from your customers and if possible implement any suggestions on how to improve what you do for them.
  6. Mark any referral by sending a gift, flowers or taking them out for a thank you lunch.

Making small but carefully thought through gestures like these can have an immediate and positive impact on your clients’ experience of you and your business. All of us want to buy the best the product or service, but we also want to be acknowledged and treated as individuals when we spend our hard earned money. And by doing so you will create a wonderful community of delighted customers.
________________
Susan Tomlinson provides bespoke solutions to help coaches, consultants and solo entrepreneurs attract clients and grow their business. Get her latest report ‘Boost Your Business Success’ by going here.

6 ‘Easy Breezy’ Ways to Boost Client Retention By Susan Tomlinson

Whether it’s beauty products, clothes or food, the organizations that continue to thrive are those that work hard not only to attract new customers but also to retain them.

As you probably know the cost of acquiring new clients can far outweigh the cost of keeping existing clients or those who have expressed an interest in working with you. The trick is to balance the need to be continually filling your marketing pipeline with new prospects and working to retaining your existing customers for the long term.

Not matter what industry sector you are working in, or the size of your organization, all businesses and corporations face this challenge. The most successful ones don’t focus solely on the ‘one off’ sale, they recognize the potential life time value of the client, not only in the additional services they may buy but also the referrals and recommendations they make.

This isn’t a new concept as I’m sure most of you will have heard parents, friends or relatives say something along the lines of ‘well I always shop there or I always buy that particular brand’ But today with SO much choice businesses have to work much harder at customer loyalty. VIP shopping cards, points systems and discounts all help but when you are a small business owner you need to get really savvy and creative about retaining clients (preferably the ideal ones).

To get you started think of your favorite retailers, restaurants or on line service providers – what is it that they offer or do that keeps you returning? Is it speed of response, unexpected gifts, personalized service, exclusive offers, customer service? Then, imagine how you could incorporate this experience or essence into your own business, so that you are truly coming from a place of serving and supporting your clients.

Here are 6 simple but highly effective ways to help you develop your own client retention strategy that will demonstrate how much you value and appreciate them:

  1. Send thank you notes or cards with an order. This was very effective when I purchased on line recently. My order arrived beautifully wrapped with a handwritten note – that personal touch made a big difference!
  2. Forward books or articles that are relevant to your clients or invite them to attend interesting events or seminars.
  3. Offer your existing clients special discounts on additional purchases or provide surprise bonuses.
  4. Mark special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or contract wins by sending a congratulatory card.
  5. Ask for feedback from your customers and if possible implement any suggestions on how to improve what you do for them.
  6. Mark any referral by sending a gift, flowers or taking them out for a thank you lunch.

Making small but carefully thought through gestures like these can have an immediate and positive impact on your clients’ experience of you and your business. All of us want to buy the best the product or service, but we also want to be acknowledged and treated as individuals when we spend our hard earned money. And by doing so you will create a wonderful community of delighted customers.
________________
Susan Tomlinson provides bespoke solutions to help coaches, consultants and solo entrepreneurs attract clients and grow their business. Get her latest report ‘Boost Your Business Success’ by going here.

6 ‘Easy Breezy’ Ways to Boost Client Retention

By Susan Tomlinson

Whether it’s beauty products, clothes or food, the organizations that continue to thrive are those that work hard not only to attract new customers but also to retain them.

As you probably know the cost of acquiring new clients can far outweigh the cost of keeping existing clients or those who have expressed an interest in working with you. The trick is to balance the need to be continually filling your marketing pipeline with new prospects and working to retaining your existing customers for the long term.

Not matter what industry sector you are working in, or the size of your organization, all businesses and corporations face this challenge. The most successful ones don’t focus solely on the ‘one off’ sale, they recognize the potential life time value of the client, not only in the additional services they may buy but also the referrals and recommendations they make.

This isn’t a new concept as I’m sure most of you will have heard parents, friends or relatives say something along the lines of ‘well I always shop there or I always buy that particular brand’ But today with SO much choice businesses have to work much harder at customer loyalty. VIP shopping cards, points systems and discounts all help but when you are a small business owner you need to get really savvy and creative about retaining clients (preferably the ideal ones).

To get you started think of your favorite retailers, restaurants or on line service providers – what is it that they offer or do that keeps you returning? Is it speed of response, unexpected gifts, personalized service, exclusive offers, customer service? Then, imagine how you could incorporate this experience or essence into your own business, so that you are truly coming from a place of serving and supporting your clients.

Here are 6 simple but highly effective ways to help you develop your own client retention strategy that will demonstrate how much you value and appreciate them:

  1. Send thank you notes or cards with an order. This was very effective when I purchased on line recently. My order arrived beautifully wrapped with a handwritten note – that personal touch made a big difference!
  2. Forward books or articles that are relevant to your clients or invite them to attend interesting events or seminars.
  3. Offer your existing clients special discounts on additional purchases or provide surprise bonuses.
  4. Mark special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or contract wins by sending a congratulatory card.
  5. Ask for feedback from your customers and if possible implement any suggestions on how to improve what you do for them.
  6. Mark any referral by sending a gift, flowers or taking them out for a thank you lunch.

Making small but carefully thought through gestures like these can have an immediate and positive impact on your clients’ experience of you and your business. All of us want to buy the best the product or service, but we also want to be acknowledged and treated as individuals when we spend our hard earned money. And by doing so you will create a wonderful community of delighted customers.
________________
Susan Tomlinson provides bespoke solutions to help coaches, consultants and solo entrepreneurs attract clients and grow their business. Get her latest report ‘Boost Your Business Success’ by going here.

globehandshake

globehandshake

6 ‘Easy Breezy’ Ways to Boost Client Retention By Susan Tomlinson

Whether it’s beauty products, clothes or food, the organisations that continue to thrive are those that work hard not only to attract new customers but also to retain them.

As you probably know the cost of acquiring new clients can far outweigh the cost of keeping existing clients or those who have expressed an interest in working with you. The trick is to balance the need to be continually filling your marketing pipeline with new prospects and working to retaining your existing customers for the long term.

Not matter what industry sector you are working in, or the size of your organisation, all businesses and corporations face this challenge. The most successful ones don’t focus solely on the ‘one off’ sale, they recognise the potential life time value of the client, not only in the additional services they may buy but also the referrals and recommendations they make.

This isn’t a new concept as I’m sure most of you will have heard parents, friends or relatives say something along the lines of ‘well I always shop there or I always buy that particular brand’ But today with SO much choice businesses have to work much harder at customer loyalty. VIP shopping cards, points systems and discounts all help but when you are a small business owner you need to get really savvy and creative about retaining clients (preferably the ideal ones).

To get you started think of your favourite retailers, restaurants or on line service providers – what is it that they offer or do that keeps you returning? Is it speed of response, unexpected gifts, personalised service, exclusive offers, customer service? Then, imagine how you could incorporate this experience or essence into your own business, so that you are truly coming from a place of serving and supporting your clients.

Here are 6 simple but highly effective ways to help you develop your own client retention strategy that will demonstrate how much you value and appreciate them:

  1. Send thank you notes or cards with an order. This was very effective when I purchased on line recently. My order arrived beautifully wrapped with a handwritten note – that personal touch made a big difference!
  2. Forward books or articles that are relevant to your clients or invite them to attend interesting events or seminars.
  3. Offer your existing clients special discounts on additional purchases or provide surprise bonuses.
  4. Mark special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, or contract wins by sending a congratulatory card.
  5. Ask for feedback from your customers and if possible implement any suggestions on how to improve what you do for them.
  6. Mark any referral by sending a gift, flowers or taking them out for a thank you lunch.

Making small but carefully thought through gestures like these can have an immediate and positive impact on your clients’ experience of you and your business. All of us want to buy the best the product or service, but we also want to be acknowledged and treated as individuals when we spend our hard earned money. And by doing so you will create a wonderful community of delighted customers.
________________
Susan Tomlinson provides bepoke solutions to help coaches, consultants and solo entrepreneurs attract clients and grow their business. Get her latest report ‘Boost Your Business Success’ by going here.

Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success

By Carmine Gallo

Steve Jobs’ impact on your life cannot be underestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect — computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs’ greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.

Over the years, I’ve become a student of sorts of Jobs’ career and life. Here’s my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our “inner Steve Jobs.”

1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.

3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?

Read the rest of the article at Entrepreneur!

Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success

By Carmine Gallo

Steve Jobs’ impact on your life cannot be underestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect — computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs’ greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.

Over the years, I’ve become a student of sorts of Jobs’ career and life. Here’s my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our “inner Steve Jobs.”

1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.

3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?

Read the rest of the article at Entrepreneur!

steve-jobs

steve-jobs

Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success

By Carmine Gallo

Steve Jobs’ impact on your life cannot be underestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect — computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs’ greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.

Over the years, I’ve become a student of sorts of Jobs’ career and life. Here’s my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our “inner Steve Jobs.”

1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.

3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?

Read the rest of the article at Entrepreneur!

feedback

feedback

The Ultimate Sales Approach

By Chet  Holmes

The concept you are about to learn was borne out of the desire to not be treated like a salesperson. That was the seed of the idea. But now this concept has gone on to spur a best-selling book, revolutionize sales methods for multibillion-dollar conglomerates, as well as catapult one-person army companies to double-digit sales in a single year. It’s called education-based selling.

In a sentence: If you teach people something of value, they will meet with you far faster than they would ever meet with you to be sold something.

B2B example: As a young man selling advertising, all my competitors would call up the client and say, “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and I’d love to come and talk to you about your advertising needs.” That’s tactical selling.

When I was a sales rep, I’d call up and say (paraphrasing for brevity): “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and we’ve done some studies and found out that in your industry, there are five things that make companies fail and five that make them succeed. I’m going to be sharing this information with [name their competitors here], and I wondered if you were interested in seeing this same data.”

I not only got more appointments than any of my competitors, but I also got them with higher-level executives. I call this strategic selling.

A strategist knows that if you begin all sales interactions by teaching things of value to your prospects, you’ll see that the power shifts in the meeting, giving the advantage to the one doing the teaching. I don’t care what you sell; you’ll find much more receptive and motivated prospects if you are an expert on not just your product or service, but also the market or industry you serve.

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

The Ultimate Sales Approach

By Chet  Holmes

The concept you are about to learn was borne out of the desire to not be treated like a salesperson. That was the seed of the idea. But now this concept has gone on to spur a best-selling book, revolutionize sales methods for multibillion-dollar conglomerates, as well as catapult one-person army companies to double-digit sales in a single year. It’s called education-based selling.

In a sentence: If you teach people something of value, they will meet with you far faster than they would ever meet with you to be sold something.

B2B example: As a young man selling advertising, all my competitors would call up the client and say, “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and I’d love to come and talk to you about your advertising needs.” That’s tactical selling.

When I was a sales rep, I’d call up and say (paraphrasing for brevity): “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and we’ve done some studies and found out that in your industry, there are five things that make companies fail and five that make them succeed. I’m going to be sharing this information with [name their competitors here], and I wondered if you were interested in seeing this same data.”

I not only got more appointments than any of my competitors, but I also got them with higher-level executives. I call this strategic selling.

A strategist knows that if you begin all sales interactions by teaching things of value to your prospects, you’ll see that the power shifts in the meeting, giving the advantage to the one doing the teaching. I don’t care what you sell; you’ll find much more receptive and motivated prospects if you are an expert on not just your product or service, but also the market or industry you serve.

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

salesuparrow

salesuparrow

The Ultimate Sales Approach

By Chet  Holmes

The concept you are about to learn was borne out of the desire to not be treated like a salesperson. That was the seed of the idea. But now this concept has gone on to spur a best-selling book, revolutionize sales methods for multibillion-dollar conglomerates, as well as catapult one-person army companies to double-digit sales in a single year. It’s called education-based selling.

In a sentence: If you teach people something of value, they will meet with you far faster than they would ever meet with you to be sold something.

B2B example: As a young man selling advertising, all my competitors would call up the client and say, “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and I’d love to come and talk to you about your advertising needs.” That’s tactical selling.

When I was a sales rep, I’d call up and say (paraphrasing for brevity): “Hello, I’m with XYZ magazine, and we’ve done some studies and found out that in your industry, there are five things that make companies fail and five that make them succeed. I’m going to be sharing this information with [name their competitors here], and I wondered if you were interested in seeing this same data.”

I not only got more appointments than any of my competitors, but I also got them with higher-level executives. I call this strategic selling.

A strategist knows that if you begin all sales interactions by teaching things of value to your prospects, you’ll see that the power shifts in the meeting, giving the advantage to the one doing the teaching. I don’t care what you sell; you’ll find much more receptive and motivated prospects if you are an expert on not just your product or service, but also the market or industry you serve.

Read the full article at Success Magazine!

Segment Your Customers for Higher Profits

If you’re like most business owners, a long list of customers makes you happy. But as a business owner, you should also beware: A lot of profitability problems can lurk in a lengthy account list.

Not all customers are created equal. They are not all equally profitable, and thus your business can’t afford to treat them all the same.

In almost every business, the “Pareto principle” applies to customer accounts. Also called the “80-20 rule,” it maintains that just 20 percent of your customers account for about 80 percent of your profits. Many businesses would be better off if they simply did not have to serve the bottom 80 percent at all.

But before you go out and fire four of every five customers, take a closer look. By understanding the profitability of each customer segment and adjusting your operations accordingly, you can keep the customers and maximize profits.

Sort the Wheat from the Chaff
Start by creating a list of all your customers, noting the total money each one spent with you this year. You can add other more complex indicators, such as gross margin; but to start, annual sales are a good indicator of the customer’s importance.

Rank order the list by sales. How much variance is there between the top-spending customer and the bottom feeders? If you are like most companies, the difference between top and bottom is large, but you probably have customers across the entire spectrum.

To make a big list of customers easier to work with, divide your customers into five groups, called quintiles. In the top group are those that spend 81 percent to 100 percent of the biggest spender’s total sales. Don’t worry about how many companies are in each quintile, just how much they spend. When you are done, you’ll have five groups.

At the bottom are those that spend zero to 20 percent of the maximum. Group 2 spends 21 percent to 40 percent of the maximum. Group 3 spends 41 percent to 60 percent. Group 4 spends 61 percent to 80 percent, and then you have your top group.

Read the full story at AllBusiness!

Segment Your Customers for Higher Profits

If you’re like most business owners, a long list of customers makes you happy. But as a business owner, you should also beware: A lot of profitability problems can lurk in a lengthy account list.

Not all customers are created equal. They are not all equally profitable, and thus your business can’t afford to treat them all the same.

In almost every business, the “Pareto principle” applies to customer accounts. Also called the “80-20 rule,” it maintains that just 20 percent of your customers account for about 80 percent of your profits. Many businesses would be better off if they simply did not have to serve the bottom 80 percent at all.

But before you go out and fire four of every five customers, take a closer look. By understanding the profitability of each customer segment and adjusting your operations accordingly, you can keep the customers and maximize profits.

Sort the Wheat from the Chaff
Start by creating a list of all your customers, noting the total money each one spent with you this year. You can add other more complex indicators, such as gross margin; but to start, annual sales are a good indicator of the customer’s importance.

Rank order the list by sales. How much variance is there between the top-spending customer and the bottom feeders? If you are like most companies, the difference between top and bottom is large, but you probably have customers across the entire spectrum.

To make a big list of customers easier to work with, divide your customers into five groups, called quintiles. In the top group are those that spend 81 percent to 100 percent of the biggest spender’s total sales. Don’t worry about how many companies are in each quintile, just how much they spend. When you are done, you’ll have five groups.

At the bottom are those that spend zero to 20 percent of the maximum. Group 2 spends 21 percent to 40 percent of the maximum. Group 3 spends 41 percent to 60 percent. Group 4 spends 61 percent to 80 percent, and then you have your top group.

Read the full story at AllBusiness!

Segment Your Customers for Higher Profits

If you’re like most business owners, a long list of customers makes you happy. But as a business owner, you should also beware: A lot of profitability problems can lurk in a lengthy account list.

Not all customers are created equal. They are not all equally profitable, and thus your business can’t afford to treat them all the same.

In almost every business, the “Pareto principle” applies to customer accounts. Also called the “80-20 rule,” it maintains that just 20 percent of your customers account for about 80 percent of your profits. Many businesses would be better off if they simply did not have to serve the bottom 80 percent at all.

But before you go out and fire four of every five customers, take a closer look. By understanding the profitability of each customer segment and adjusting your operations accordingly, you can keep the customers and maximize profits.

Sort the Wheat from the Chaff
Start by creating a list of all your customers, noting the total money each one spent with you this year. You can add other more complex indicators, such as gross margin; but to start, annual sales are a good indicator of the customer’s importance.

Rank order the list by sales. How much variance is there between the top-spending customer and the bottom feeders? If you are like most companies, the difference between top and bottom is large, but you probably have customers across the entire spectrum.

To make a big list of customers easier to work with, divide your customers into five groups, called quintiles. In the top group are those that spend 81 percent to 100 percent of the biggest spender’s total sales. Don’t worry about how many companies are in each quintile, just how much they spend. When you are done, you’ll have five groups.

At the bottom are those that spend zero to 20 percent of the maximum. Group 2 spends 21 percent to 40 percent of the maximum. Group 3 spends 41 percent to 60 percent. Group 4 spends 61 percent to 80 percent, and then you have your top group.

Read the full story at AllBusiness!

segmentcustomers

segmentcustomers

Segment Your Customers for Higher Profits

If you’re like most business owners, a long list of customers makes you happy. But as a business owner, you should also beware: A lot of profitability problems can lurk in a lengthy account list.

Not all customers are created equal. They are not all equally profitable, and thus your business can’t afford to treat them all the same.

In almost every business, the “Pareto principle” applies to customer accounts. Also called the “80-20 rule,” it maintains that just 20 percent of your customers account for about 80 percent of your profits. Many businesses would be better off if they simply did not have to serve the bottom 80 percent at all.

But before you go out and fire four of every five customers, take a closer look. By understanding the profitability of each customer segment and adjusting your operations accordingly, you can keep the customers and maximize profits.

Sort the Wheat from the Chaff
Start by creating a list of all your customers, noting the total money each one spent with you this year. You can add other more complex indicators, such as gross margin; but to start, annual sales are a good indicator of the customer’s importance.

Rank order the list by sales. How much variance is there between the top-spending customer and the bottom feeders? If you are like most companies, the difference between top and bottom is large, but you probably have customers across the entire spectrum.

To make a big list of customers easier to work with, divide your customers into five groups, called quintiles. In the top group are those that spend 81 percent to 100 percent of the biggest spender’s total sales. Don’t worry about how many companies are in each quintile, just how much they spend. When you are done, you’ll have five groups.

At the bottom are those that spend zero to 20 percent of the maximum. Group 2 spends 21 percent to 40 percent of the maximum. Group 3 spends 41 percent to 60 percent. Group 4 spends 61 percent to 80 percent, and then you have your top group.

Read the full story at AllBusiness!

7 Reasons Why Your Business Is Stuck

By John Jantsch

Ever feel like you’re in a rut. Or worse, that you keep pushing that boulder up the hill, all Sisyphus like, only to watch it roll back down, feeling that you are destined to repeat this throughout eternity.

Okay, citing Greek and Roman mythology may be a bit dramatic, but I see it every day and work with small business owners every day that tell me they desperately want to take their business to the next level, but can’t seem to get unstuck.

In working through this same phenomenon in my own business I offer these seven reasons why we struggle to move past where we are and hopefully some advice on breaking free.

You don’t have a compelling enough vision

The thing that moves people to act beyond what they are currently doing is a vision to do something so compelling that it forces them to change their behaviors in ways that would make it so.

The problem with most business owners is that they are only looking towards next week or next month. What if you looked at making your business and your life multiple times bigger and better than it is right now?

What would that force you to change? What would that force you to stop doing? Where would that compel you to take massive action first?

Your habits aren’t serving you

The fact is that most humans are simply the sum of their habits, good and bad. In order to create change, you don’t need to work harder or try to be more productive; you simply need to replace some of your habits with ones that better serve your vision.

That may mean adding exercise to your daily routine, learning how to say no once in a while, creating workflow that doesn’t include so much time checking email and conversing on Facebook. Maybe you need to start reading and writing. Maybe you need to learn programming or how to present to a large group of prospects from a stage.

Pick one habit that you know isn’t serving your vision and replace it with one that your know will move your forward and commit to practicing that new habit for at least a month. Then, do it again every month for the next twelve and you’ll transform your life.

Your relationships are Twitter thin

The age of friend, follow and fan has changed the dynamics of relationships. I’m not saying those tools are bad things, they have lots to offer, but I am saying it’s easy to sit back and conclude that since you’re chatting with someone on Twitter that you’re building the kinds of relationships you need in order to take your business to higher levels.

We can only manage so many relationships with any amount of depth. That number may vary from person to person to person, but I guarantee you it’s not 500 or 1000.

Pick three people this year that you believe could help you drastically improve your business and your life and focus on building a deep relationship with them. Here’s the catch however, do it by focusing all your attention on how you can help them.

You’re not focused on value

What if the stuff you gave away as part of your marketing was better than most people’s paid product or service? What if you spent as much time measuring the results your clients received as you did on trying to sell more stuff?

Your clients don’t really want your stuff; they want what they or you have convinced them they will get from your stuff. Simply look for ways to be a greater opportunity for them to get what they want and you’ll represent value in the best sense.

Read the rest of this article at Duct Tape Marketing!

7 Reasons Why Your Business Is Stuck

By John Jantsch

Ever feel like you’re in a rut. Or worse, that you keep pushing that boulder up the hill, all Sisyphus like, only to watch it roll back down, feeling that you are destined to repeat this throughout eternity.

Okay, citing Greek and Roman mythology may be a bit dramatic, but I see it every day and work with small business owners every day that tell me they desperately want to take their business to the next level, but can’t seem to get unstuck.

In working through this same phenomenon in my own business I offer these seven reasons why we struggle to move past where we are and hopefully some advice on breaking free.

You don’t have a compelling enough vision

The thing that moves people to act beyond what they are currently doing is a vision to do something so compelling that it forces them to change their behaviors in ways that would make it so.

The problem with most business owners is that they are only looking towards next week or next month. What if you looked at making your business and your life multiple times bigger and better than it is right now?

What would that force you to change? What would that force you to stop doing? Where would that compel you to take massive action first?

Your habits aren’t serving you

The fact is that most humans are simply the sum of their habits, good and bad. In order to create change, you don’t need to work harder or try to be more productive; you simply need to replace some of your habits with ones that better serve your vision.

That may mean adding exercise to your daily routine, learning how to say no once in a while, creating workflow that doesn’t include so much time checking email and conversing on Facebook. Maybe you need to start reading and writing. Maybe you need to learn programming or how to present to a large group of prospects from a stage.

Pick one habit that you know isn’t serving your vision and replace it with one that your know will move your forward and commit to practicing that new habit for at least a month. Then, do it again every month for the next twelve and you’ll transform your life.

Your relationships are Twitter thin

The age of friend, follow and fan has changed the dynamics of relationships. I’m not saying those tools are bad things, they have lots to offer, but I am saying it’s easy to sit back and conclude that since you’re chatting with someone on Twitter that you’re building the kinds of relationships you need in order to take your business to higher levels.

We can only manage so many relationships with any amount of depth. That number may vary from person to person to person, but I guarantee you it’s not 500 or 1000.

Pick three people this year that you believe could help you drastically improve your business and your life and focus on building a deep relationship with them. Here’s the catch however, do it by focusing all your attention on how you can help them.

You’re not focused on value

What if the stuff you gave away as part of your marketing was better than most people’s paid product or service? What if you spent as much time measuring the results your clients received as you did on trying to sell more stuff?

Your clients don’t really want your stuff; they want what they or you have convinced them they will get from your stuff. Simply look for ways to be a greater opportunity for them to get what they want and you’ll represent value in the best sense.

Read the rest of this article at Duct Tape Marketing!

7 Reasons Why Your Business Is Stuck

By John Jantsch

Ever feel like you’re in a rut. Or worse, that you keep pushing that boulder up the hill, all Sisyphus like, only to watch it roll back down, feeling that you are destined to repeat this throughout eternity.

Okay, citing Greek and Roman mythology may be a bit dramatic, but I see it every day and work with small business owners every day that tell me they desperately want to take their business to the next level, but can’t seem to get unstuck.

In working through this same phenomenon in my own business I offer these seven reasons why we struggle to move past where we are and hopefully some advice on breaking free.

You don’t have a compelling enough vision

The thing that moves people to act beyond what they are currently doing is a vision to do something so compelling that it forces them to change their behaviors in ways that would make it so.

The problem with most business owners is that they are only looking towards next week or next month. What if you looked at making your business and your life multiple times bigger and better than it is right now?

What would that force you to change? What would that force you to stop doing? Where would that compel you to take massive action first?

Your habits aren’t serving you

The fact is that most humans are simply the sum of their habits, good and bad. In order to create change, you don’t need to work harder or try to be more productive; you simply need to replace some of your habits with ones that better serve your vision.

That may mean adding exercise to your daily routine, learning how to say no once in a while, creating workflow that doesn’t include so much time checking email and conversing on Facebook. Maybe you need to start reading and writing. Maybe you need to learn programming or how to present to a large group of prospects from a stage.

Pick one habit that you know isn’t serving your vision and replace it with one that your know will move your forward and commit to practicing that new habit for at least a month. Then, do it again every month for the next twelve and you’ll transform your life.

Your relationships are Twitter thin

The age of friend, follow and fan has changed the dynamics of relationships. I’m not saying those tools are bad things, they have lots to offer, but I am saying it’s easy to sit back and conclude that since you’re chatting with someone on Twitter that you’re building the kinds of relationships you need in order to take your business to higher levels.

We can only manage so many relationships with any amount of depth. That number may vary from person to person to person, but I guarantee you it’s not 500 or 1000.

Pick three people this year that you believe could help you drastically improve your business and your life and focus on building a deep relationship with them. Here’s the catch however, do it by focusing all your attention on how you can help them.

You’re not focused on value

What if the stuff you gave away as part of your marketing was better than most people’s paid product or service? What if you spent as much time measuring the results your clients received as you did on trying to sell more stuff?

Your clients don’t really want your stuff; they want what they or you have convinced them they will get from your stuff. Simply look for ways to be a greater opportunity for them to get what they want and you’ll represent value in the best sense.

Read the rest of this article at Duct Tape Marketing!

Three Ways to Make It Easy for Clients to Reach You

By Kelly Galea

Are you making it difficult for clients to contact you? “Of course not!” you exclaim. “I have phone and fax numbers, a mailing address, email and a web site!”

Are you missing any of those things? Here’s the first way you can make it easy for clients to reach you: Cover all the bases, realizing your prospects and clients favor different communication methods. Some will be inclined to call you, others to email, and still others would rather connect through social media.

I recently called our vet to request their email address (as it wasn’t on their business card) so I could send information they had requested. The conversation went something like this.

“We don’t have email.”

“You have a website but no email address?”

“We have no way to get it. Fax it over or put the form in the mail to us.”

I was instantly jettisoned to the early 1990′s and considered finding another vet because they were making it difficult for me to provide them with information they had requested. Your clients may feel the same if you aren’t providing several ways for them to reach you.

Ask clients how they prefer to communicate and receive updates from you. You may be surprised at their answer.

The second way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to include your contact information on all your client touch points. After a recent meeting with a colleague, I sat down to write her a thank you note. When it came time to address it, I reached for the business card she had provided. No mailing address. So I went to her web site. No mailing address. So I Googled both her name and her company name. I found a mailing address, assumed it was for her home and that it was current, and sent the card. Is this how you’re ‘encouraging’ clients to contact you?

Make sure every client touch point – business card, postcards, website, blog, etc. – provides your name, your business name, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, email address and web address.

The third way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to confirm they have in fact reached you or your office when you aren’t available to reply. Take this one step further and let them know when they can expect a response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called an individual or a business, reached a generic outbound message, and hoped I was calling the right number. Customize your voice mail message, provide your name and/or company name, let them know when you’ll respond, and even share the other ways they can contact you. The same goes for email and the black hole that consumes so many messages sent. Set up an automated reply with the same sort of contact and response information for your customer support account.

How many times have you ended up hiring someone simply because you could reach them and they followed through? When a client decides it’s time to engage your services, make it easy for them to reach you. It seems like such a simple thing, and the good news is… it is!
____________
Kelly Galea, The Design Biz Coach, is a design industry expert and business strategist dedicated to helping interior designers, decorators & home stagers grow their business and become more profitable. Visit DesignBizCoach.com

Three Ways to Make It Easy for Clients to Reach You

By Kelly Galea

Are you making it difficult for clients to contact you? “Of course not!” you exclaim. “I have phone and fax numbers, a mailing address, email and a web site!”

Are you missing any of those things? Here’s the first way you can make it easy for clients to reach you: Cover all the bases, realizing your prospects and clients favor different communication methods. Some will be inclined to call you, others to email, and still others would rather connect through social media.

I recently called our vet to request their email address (as it wasn’t on their business card) so I could send information they had requested. The conversation went something like this.

“We don’t have email.”

“You have a website but no email address?”

“We have no way to get it. Fax it over or put the form in the mail to us.”

I was instantly jettisoned to the early 1990′s and considered finding another vet because they were making it difficult for me to provide them with information they had requested. Your clients may feel the same if you aren’t providing several ways for them to reach you.

Ask clients how they prefer to communicate and receive updates from you. You may be surprised at their answer.

The second way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to include your contact information on all your client touch points. After a recent meeting with a colleague, I sat down to write her a thank you note. When it came time to address it, I reached for the business card she had provided. No mailing address. So I went to her web site. No mailing address. So I Googled both her name and her company name. I found a mailing address, assumed it was for her home and that it was current, and sent the card. Is this how you’re ‘encouraging’ clients to contact you?

Make sure every client touch point – business card, postcards, website, blog, etc. – provides your name, your business name, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, email address and web address.

The third way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to confirm they have in fact reached you or your office when you aren’t available to reply. Take this one step further and let them know when they can expect a response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called an individual or a business, reached a generic outbound message, and hoped I was calling the right number. Customize your voice mail message, provide your name and/or company name, let them know when you’ll respond, and even share the other ways they can contact you. The same goes for email and the black hole that consumes so many messages sent. Set up an automated reply with the same sort of contact and response information for your customer support account.

How many times have you ended up hiring someone simply because you could reach them and they followed through? When a client decides it’s time to engage your services, make it easy for them to reach you. It seems like such a simple thing, and the good news is… it is!
____________
Kelly Galea, The Design Biz Coach, is a design industry expert and business strategist dedicated to helping interior designers, decorators & home stagers grow their business and become more profitable. Visit DesignBizCoach.com

Three Ways to Make It Easy for Clients to Reach You

By Kelly Galea

Are you making it difficult for clients to contact you? “Of course not!” you exclaim. “I have phone and fax numbers, a mailing address, email and a web site!”

Are you missing any of those things? Here’s the first way you can make it easy for clients to reach you: Cover all the bases, realizing your prospects and clients favor different communication methods. Some will be inclined to call you, others to email, and still others would rather connect through social media.

I recently called our vet to request their email address (as it wasn’t on their business card) so I could send information they had requested. The conversation went something like this.

“We don’t have email.”

“You have a website but no email address?”

“We have no way to get it. Fax it over or put the form in the mail to us.”

I was instantly jettisoned to the early 1990′s and considered finding another vet because they were making it difficult for me to provide them with information they had requested. Your clients may feel the same if you aren’t providing several ways for them to reach you.

Ask clients how they prefer to communicate and receive updates from you. You may be surprised at their answer.

The second way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to include your contact information on all your client touch points. After a recent meeting with a colleague, I sat down to write her a thank you note. When it came time to address it, I reached for the business card she had provided. No mailing address. So I went to her web site. No mailing address. So I Googled both her name and her company name. I found a mailing address, assumed it was for her home and that it was current, and sent the card. Is this how you’re ‘encouraging’ clients to contact you?

Make sure every client touch point – business card, postcards, website, blog, etc. – provides your name, your business name, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, email address and web address.

The third way to make it easy for clients to reach you is to confirm they have in fact reached you or your office when you aren’t available to reply. Take this one step further and let them know when they can expect a response. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called an individual or a business, reached a generic outbound message, and hoped I was calling the right number. Customize your voice mail message, provide your name and/or company name, let them know when you’ll respond, and even share the other ways they can contact you. The same goes for email and the black hole that consumes so many messages sent. Set up an automated reply with the same sort of contact and response information for your customer support account.

How many times have you ended up hiring someone simply because you could reach them and they followed through? When a client decides it’s time to engage your services, make it easy for them to reach you. It seems like such a simple thing, and the good news is… it is!
____________
Kelly Galea, The Design Biz Coach, is a design industry expert and business strategist dedicated to helping interior designers, decorators & home stagers grow their business and become more profitable. Visit DesignBizCoach.com

Business Card Design by the Numbers

By John Williams

Your business card and logo design are important elements of your overall brand development and communication strategy. Therefore, it’s essential that you create an effective business card that gets noticed and communicates who you are and what your brand promises in a very small space.

Keep the following numbers in mind as you design your business card, and the final result will be far more memorable and powerful.

100% Brand Consistency…
Your business card should accurately reflect your brand promise and position. It should support consumer perceptions of your brand and make sense to them based on their experiences with your brand and expectations for it (or it should effectively set expectations for your brand).

50% or Less Space for Your Logo…
Your logo is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your business card nor should it completely overpower your business card. Instead, use a smaller logo that allows for more white space on your business card. This is a much more powerful design technique than crowding your business card with a big logo and text.

110lb or Higher Card Stock…
Don’t skimp on paper in an effort to reduce printing costs for your business cards. A cheap paper stock communicates a cheap brand and business. Unless that’s the perception you want consumers, business partners, investors, and so on to have of your brand and business, make sure you print your business cards on at least a 100lb card stock.

Read the full story at Startup Nation!

Alternatives to eBay for Small Businesses

By Nisha Sandhu

Many businesses would love to sell products online, but for one reason or another, do not wish to use eBay. Fortunately, there are many alternatives out there that can ensure rapid sales and are easy to use. The diversity of function and variety of options of these sites far exceed eBay, and they allow you to sell products in ways that are much cheaper than eBay, and can ensure more rapid payments than the auction giant.

Craigslist – This popular site is a preferred way to get your products noticed by the general population, especially if you live in an internet-savvy community. It’s free to post classifieds on here, and you’ll be able to deal directly with customers, which can be a real plus in some industries. Craigslist is well-known by Internet shoppers as a site that allows them to find just about everything, so even if your products have a very specific market, chances are your customers will be looking for them on this site.

Amazon – Traditionally identified with books, Amazon actually offers a wide variety of products. Of course, most people visit this site in order to purchase media products, so keep that in mind when considering your options. Unlike eBay, which forces you to deal with PayPal, Amazon allows sales to instantly be deposited into your bank account, which means that you won’t have to wait days to receive your money and ship your product out.

Read the rest of the tips at Small Business Branding!

soldsignonkeyboard

soldsignonkeyboard

Alternatives to eBay for Small Businesses

By Nisha Sandhu

Many businesses would love to sell products online, but for one reason or another, do not wish to use eBay. Fortunately, there are many alternatives out there that can ensure rapid sales and are easy to use. The diversity of function and variety of options of these sites far exceed eBay, and they allow you to sell products in ways that are much cheaper than eBay, and can ensure more rapid payments than the auction giant.

Craigslist – This popular site is a preferred way to get your products noticed by the general population, especially if you live in an internet-savvy community. It’s free to post classifieds on here, and you’ll be able to deal directly with customers, which can be a real plus in some industries. Craigslist is well-known by Internet shoppers as a site that allows them to find just about everything, so even if your products have a very specific market, chances are your customers will be looking for them on this site.

Amazon – Traditionally identified with books, Amazon actually offers a wide variety of products. Of course, most people visit this site in order to purchase media products, so keep that in mind when considering your options. Unlike eBay, which forces you to deal with PayPal, Amazon allows sales to instantly be deposited into your bank account, which means that you won’t have to wait days to receive your money and ship your product out.

Read the rest of the tips at Small Business Branding!

How’s Your Sales Pitch Going?

By Melanie Rembrandt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked to many, small business owners who are really watching their budgets closely and saving as much money as possible.

With this in mind, it can be more difficult to get to customers  to use your products and services.

Yes, competition may be tough, but if you know how to sell your services accordingly, you can stand out and win new business.

Here are three questions to ask in order to prepare for your sales pitch:

1. What can you offer no one else can?

Before contacting a potential customer, you need to figure out what makes you unique.

How can you specifically help this person solve his or her problems with your products or services? What do you offer the competition can’t?

To discover what makes you unique, review your skills and get a clear picture of everything you have to offer. You’ll probably find what makes you different by looking at your experiences, skills and background.

2. What does this customer need?

When you prepare to talk to potential customers, find out as much as possible about them in advance.

What are their problems?
Who is their competition?
What kind of products and services are they using now?

Take notes, and when you give your sales pitch, use this information. The potential client will appreciate the fact that you did your homework and understand their business needs.

Read the full article at Startup Nation!

How’s Your Sales Pitch Going?

By Melanie Rembrandt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked to many, small business owners who are really watching their budgets closely and saving as much money as possible.

With this in mind, it can be more difficult to get to customers  to use your products and services.

Yes, competition may be tough, but if you know how to sell your services accordingly, you can stand out and win new business.

Here are three questions to ask in order to prepare for your sales pitch:

1. What can you offer no one else can?

Before contacting a potential customer, you need to figure out what makes you unique.

How can you specifically help this person solve his or her problems with your products or services? What do you offer the competition can’t?

To discover what makes you unique, review your skills and get a clear picture of everything you have to offer. You’ll probably find what makes you different by looking at your experiences, skills and background.

2. What does this customer need?

When you prepare to talk to potential customers, find out as much as possible about them in advance.

What are their problems?
Who is their competition?
What kind of products and services are they using now?

Take notes, and when you give your sales pitch, use this information. The potential client will appreciate the fact that you did your homework and understand their business needs.

Read the full article at Startup Nation!

How’s Your Sales Pitch Going?

By Melanie Rembrandt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked to many, small business owners who are really watching their budgets closely and saving as much money as possible.

With this in mind, it can be more difficult to get to customers  to use your products and services.

Yes, competition may be tough, but if you know how to sell your services accordingly, you can stand out and win new business.

Here are three questions to ask in order to prepare for your sales pitch:

1. What can you offer no one else can?

Before contacting a potential customer, you need to figure out what makes you unique.

How can you specifically help this person solve his or her problems with your products or services? What do you offer the competition can’t?

To discover what makes you unique, review your skills and get a clear picture of everything you have to offer. You’ll probably find what makes you different by looking at your experiences, skills and background.

2. What does this customer need?

When you prepare to talk to potential customers, find out as much as possible about them in advance.

What are their problems?
Who is their competition?
What kind of products and services are they using now?

Take notes, and when you give your sales pitch, use this information. The potential client will appreciate the fact that you did your homework and understand their business needs.

Read the full article at Startup Nation!

How’s Your Sales Pitch Going?

By Melanie Rembrandt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked to many, small business owners who are really watching their budgets closely and saving as much money as possible.

With this in mind, it can be more difficult to get to customers  to use your products and services.

Yes, competition may be tough, but if you know how to sell your services accordingly, you can stand out and win new business.

Here are three questions to ask in order to prepare for your sales pitch:

1. What can you offer no one else can?

Before contacting a potential customer, you need to figure out what makes you unique.

How can you specifically help this person solve his or her problems with your products or services? What do you offer the competition can’t?

To discover what makes you unique, review your skills and get a clear picture of everything you have to offer. You’ll probably find what makes you different by looking at your experiences, skills and background.

2. What does this customer need?

When you prepare to talk to potential customers, find out as much as possible about them in advance.

What are their problems?
Who is their competition?
What kind of products and services are they using now?

Take notes, and when you give your sales pitch, use this information. The potential client will appreciate the fact that you did your homework and understand their business needs.

Read the full article at Startup Nation!

salespitchguy

salespitchguy

How’s Your Sales Pitch Going?

By Melanie Rembrandt

I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked to many, small business owners who are really watching their budgets closely and saving as much money as possible.

With this in mind, it can be more difficult to get to customers  to use your products and services.

Yes, competition may be tough, but if you know how to sell your services accordingly, you can stand out and win new business.

Here are three questions to ask in order to prepare for your sales pitch:

1. What can you offer no one else can?

Before contacting a potential customer, you need to figure out what makes you unique.

How can you specifically help this person solve his or her problems with your products or services? What do you offer the competition can’t?

To discover what makes you unique, review your skills and get a clear picture of everything you have to offer. You’ll probably find what makes you different by looking at your experiences, skills and background.

2. What does this customer need?

When you prepare to talk to potential customers, find out as much as possible about them in advance.

What are their problems?
Who is their competition?
What kind of products and services are they using now?

Take notes, and when you give your sales pitch, use this information. The potential client will appreciate the fact that you did your homework and understand their business needs.

Read the full article at Startup Nation!

Business Card Design by the Numbers

By John Williams

Your business card and logo design are important elements of your overall brand development and communication strategy. Therefore, it’s essential that you create an effective business card that gets noticed and communicates who you are and what your brand promises in a very small space.

Keep the following numbers in mind as you design your business card, and the final result will be far more memorable and powerful.

100% Brand Consistency…
Your business card should accurately reflect your brand promise and position. It should support consumer perceptions of your brand and make sense to them based on their experiences with your brand and expectations for it (or it should effectively set expectations for your brand).

50% or Less Space for Your Logo…
Your logo is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your business card nor should it completely overpower your business card. Instead, use a smaller logo that allows for more white space on your business card. This is a much more powerful design technique than crowding your business card with a big logo and text.

110lb or Higher Card Stock…
Don’t skimp on paper in an effort to reduce printing costs for your business cards. A cheap paper stock communicates a cheap brand and business. Unless that’s the perception you want consumers, business partners, investors, and so on to have of your brand and business, make sure you print your business cards on at least a 100lb card stock.

Read the full story at Startup Nation!

Business Card Design by the Numbers

By John Williams

Your business card and logo design are important elements of your overall brand development and communication strategy. Therefore, it’s essential that you create an effective business card that gets noticed and communicates who you are and what your brand promises in a very small space.

Keep the following numbers in mind as you design your business card, and the final result will be far more memorable and powerful.

100% Brand Consistency…
Your business card should accurately reflect your brand promise and position. It should support consumer perceptions of your brand and make sense to them based on their experiences with your brand and expectations for it (or it should effectively set expectations for your brand).

50% or Less Space for Your Logo…
Your logo is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your business card nor should it completely overpower your business card. Instead, use a smaller logo that allows for more white space on your business card. This is a much more powerful design technique than crowding your business card with a big logo and text.

110lb or Higher Card Stock…
Don’t skimp on paper in an effort to reduce printing costs for your business cards. A cheap paper stock communicates a cheap brand and business. Unless that’s the perception you want consumers, business partners, investors, and so on to have of your brand and business, make sure you print your business cards on at least a 100lb card stock.

Read the full story at Startup Nation!

Business Card Design by the Numbers

Your business card and logo design are important elements of your overall brand development and communication strategy. Therefore, it’s essential that you create an effective business card that gets noticed and communicates who you are and what your brand promises in a very small space.

Keep the following numbers in mind as you design your business card, and the final result will be far more memorable and powerful.

100% Brand Consistency…
Your business card should accurately reflect your brand promise and position. It should support consumer perceptions of your brand and make sense to them based on their experiences with your brand and expectations for it (or it should effectively set expectations for your brand).

50% or Less Space for Your Logo…
Your logo is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your business card nor should it completely overpower your business card. Instead, use a smaller logo that allows for more white space on your business card. This is a much more powerful design technique than crowding your business card with a big logo and text.

110lb or Higher Card Stock…
Don’t skimp on paper in an effort to reduce printing costs for your business cards. A cheap paper stock communicates a cheap brand and business. Unless that’s the perception you want consumers, business partners, investors, and so on to have of your brand and business, make sure you print your business cards on at least a 100lb card stock.

Read the full story at Startup Nation!

bizcardhandoff

bizcardhandoff

Business Card Design by the Numbers

Your business card and logo design are important elements of your overall brand development and communication strategy. Therefore, it’s essential that you create an effective business card that gets noticed and communicates who you are and what your brand promises in a very small space.

Keep the following numbers in mind as you design your business card, and the final result will be far more memorable and powerful.

100% Brand Consistency…
Your business card should accurately reflect your brand promise and position. It should support consumer perceptions of your brand and make sense to them based on their experiences with your brand and expectations for it (or it should effectively set expectations for your brand).

50% or Less Space for Your Logo…
Your logo is important but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your business card nor should it completely overpower your business card. Instead, use a smaller logo that allows for more white space on your business card. This is a much more powerful design technique than crowding your business card with a big logo and text.

110lb or Higher Card Stock…
Don’t skimp on paper in an effort to reduce printing costs for your business cards. A cheap paper stock communicates a cheap brand and business. Unless that’s the perception you want consumers, business partners, investors, and so on to have of your brand and business, make sure you print your business cards on at least a 100lb card stock.

Read the full story at Startup Nation!

Your Entrepreneurial Checklist

By Yura Bryant

Embarking on the journey towards entrepreneurship is exciting when envisioned in your mind but can be very daunting and demanding when actually materializing your ideas. Let me clearly state that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart or those who are mentally weak. This career path will highlight your strengths and your weaknesses and will force you to focus intently on bettering yourself to find success. Are you tough enough mentally and emotionally?

Are you prepared to work unbelievably hard and constantly keep a competitive mindset on how to better enhance yourself for success? This is what entrepreneurship demands of you on a continual basis. Make sure you are completely prepared and mindful of what awaits you as a hopeful entrepreneur.

Here are 6 personal tools needed to help assist you along your entrepreneurial journey:

Ambition…

Just generating ideas in your mind about your success is not going to produce the desired results. You have to be willing to put in the necessary work and a little extra to get in the position you are seeking. When you speak to people about your business they should be able to feel the passion you have to see your ideas prosper. This demonstrates your ability to keep pushing towards your goals without hesitation until they are finally achieved.

Commitment…

If you want to be an entrepreneur then prepare to be in it for the long haul. Frustrations and setbacks will arise continually and you must have the ability to maneuver past them time after time. Maybe your business has not taken off like you had envisioned it would. Are you going to call it quits for entrepreneurship? Many of the greatest business visionaries have failed time and time again but they were unwaveringly committed to seeing their visions come into existence.

Courage…

You must be determined to conquer your fear of risk and failure no matter how difficult it may seem. Those who are afraid of the unknown remain in a dependent position, while those who produce answers in the unknown create freedom. Use your fears of failure and rejection as motivation to push harder towards success.

Perseverance…

Many people will doubt your ability to be an entrepreneur and produce a successful business. Are you going to let their discouraging and pessimistic talk kill your aspirations? If the distractions of outside influences negatively interfere with developing your business then you are destined to fail. You must be your biggest and loudest cheerleader when things seem the most impossible to accomplish.

Resolve…

In entrepreneurship there are no easy answers to finding solutions for problems. Developing a business along with finding customers for that business is truly complexing. You must have the persistence to make yourself visible and valuable within the marketplace to attract the much needed attention to your business. This means developing the right ingredient of effective business ideas and business operations that lead to consumer satisfaction. No matter how difficult it may be, you must find solutions to consumer needs and wants in order to gain success.

Will-Power…

You have decided to be an entrepreneur so do everything in your capacity to make this decision a reality. This will require the strength and desire to persist through any setbacks and discouraging circumstances. You will have to be your strongest advocate and loudest motivational coach. Only those who truly want to succeed and be the best have the determination to push forward and come through standing tall. You must have the undeterred drive and ability to do the same.

Becoming an entrepreneur is an intriguing, competitive and demanding journey. Only those who are most determined and focused will succeed. Make sure you are included in that exceptional group of people.
___________
Yura Bryant is the Business Development Manager at Sherry Bryant & Associates, a consulting company in Atlanta, GA. Yura’s thoughts and insights can be found on www.entrepreneurialambitions.com a site dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Your Entrepreneurial Checklist

By Yura Bryant

Embarking on the journey towards entrepreneurship is exciting when envisioned in your mind but can be very daunting and demanding when actually materializing your ideas. Let me clearly state that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart or those who are mentally weak. This career path will highlight your strengths and your weaknesses and will force you to focus intently on bettering yourself to find success. Are you tough enough mentally and emotionally?

Are you prepared to work unbelievably hard and constantly keep a competitive mindset on how to better enhance yourself for success? This is what entrepreneurship demands of you on a continual basis. Make sure you are completely prepared and mindful of what awaits you as a hopeful entrepreneur.

Here are 6 personal tools needed to help assist you along your entrepreneurial journey:

Ambition…

Just generating ideas in your mind about your success is not going to produce the desired results. You have to be willing to put in the necessary work and a little extra to get in the position you are seeking. When you speak to people about your business they should be able to feel the passion you have to see your ideas prosper. This demonstrates your ability to keep pushing towards your goals without hesitation until they are finally achieved.

Commitment…

If you want to be an entrepreneur then prepare to be in it for the long haul. Frustrations and setbacks will arise continually and you must have the ability to maneuver past them time after time. Maybe your business has not taken off like you had envisioned it would. Are you going to call it quits for entrepreneurship? Many of the greatest business visionaries have failed time and time again but they were unwaveringly committed to seeing their visions come into existence.

Courage…

You must be determined to conquer your fear of risk and failure no matter how difficult it may seem. Those who are afraid of the unknown remain in a dependent position, while those who produce answers in the unknown create freedom. Use your fears of failure and rejection as motivation to push harder towards success.

Perseverance…

Many people will doubt your ability to be an entrepreneur and produce a successful business. Are you going to let their discouraging and pessimistic talk kill your aspirations? If the distractions of outside influences negatively interfere with developing your business then you are destined to fail. You must be your biggest and loudest cheerleader when things seem the most impossible to accomplish.

Resolve…

In entrepreneurship there are no easy answers to finding solutions for problems. Developing a business along with finding customers for that business is truly complexing. You must have the persistence to make yourself visible and valuable within the marketplace to attract the much needed attention to your business. This means developing the right ingredient of effective business ideas and business operations that lead to consumer satisfaction. No matter how difficult it may be, you must find solutions to consumer needs and wants in order to gain success.

Will-Power…

You have decided to be an entrepreneur so do everything in your capacity to make this decision a reality. This will require the strength and desire to persist through any setbacks and discouraging circumstances. You will have to be your strongest advocate and loudest motivational coach. Only those who truly want to succeed and be the best have the determination to push forward and come through standing tall. You must have the undeterred drive and ability to do the same.

Becoming an entrepreneur is an intriguing, competitive and demanding journey. Only those who are most determined and focused will succeed. Make sure you are included in that exceptional group of people.
___________
Yura Bryant is the Business Development Manager at Sherry Bryant & Associates, a consulting company in Atlanta, GA. Yura’s thoughts and insights can be found on www.entrepreneurialambitions.com a site dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and small business owners.

checklistblue

checklistblue

Your Entrepreneurial Checklist

By Yura Bryant

Embarking on the journey towards entrepreneurship is exciting when envisioned in your mind but can be very daunting and demanding when actually materializing your ideas. Let me clearly state that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart or those who are mentally weak. This career path will highlight your strengths and your weaknesses and will force you to focus intently on bettering yourself to find success. Are you tough enough mentally and emotionally?

Are you prepared to work unbelievably hard and constantly keep a competitive mindset on how to better enhance yourself for success? This is what entrepreneurship demands of you on a continual basis. Make sure you are completely prepared and mindful of what awaits you as a hopeful entrepreneur.

Here are 6 personal tools needed to help assist you along your entrepreneurial journey:

Ambition…

Just generating ideas in your mind about your success is not going to produce the desired results. You have to be willing to put in the necessary work and a little extra to get in the position you are seeking. When you speak to people about your business they should be able to feel the passion you have to see your ideas prosper. This demonstrates your ability to keep pushing towards your goals without hesitation until they are finally achieved.

Commitment…

If you want to be an entrepreneur then prepare to be in it for the long haul. Frustrations and setbacks will arise continually and you must have the ability to maneuver past them time after time. Maybe your business has not taken off like you had envisioned it would. Are you going to call it quits for entrepreneurship? Many of the greatest business visionaries have failed time and time again but they were unwaveringly committed to seeing their visions come into existence.

Courage…

You must be determined to conquer your fear of risk and failure no matter how difficult it may seem. Those who are afraid of the unknown remain in a dependent position, while those who produce answers in the unknown create freedom. Use your fears of failure and rejection as motivation to push harder towards success.

Perseverance…

Many people will doubt your ability to be an entrepreneur and produce a successful business. Are you going to let their discouraging and pessimistic talk kill your aspirations? If the distractions of outside influences negatively interfere with developing your business then you are destined to fail. You must be your biggest and loudest cheerleader when things seem the most impossible to accomplish.

Resolve…

In entrepreneurship there are no easy answers to finding solutions for problems. Developing a business along with finding customers for that business is truly complexing. You must have the persistence to make yourself visible and valuable within the marketplace to attract the much needed attention to your business. This means developing the right ingredient of effective business ideas and business operations that lead to consumer satisfaction. No matter how difficult it may be, you must find solutions to consumer needs and wants in order to gain success.

Will-Power…

You have decided to be an entrepreneur so do everything in your capacity to make this decision a reality. This will require the strength and desire to persist through any setbacks and discouraging circumstances. You will have to be your strongest advocate and loudest motivational coach. Only those who truly want to succeed and be the best have the determination to push forward and come through standing tall. You must have the undeterred drive and ability to do the same.

Becoming an entrepreneur is an intriguing, competitive and demanding journey. Only those who are most determined and focused will succeed. Make sure you are included in that exceptional group of people.
___________
Yura Bryant is the Business Development Manager at Sherry Bryant & Associates, a consulting company in Atlanta, GA. Yura’s thoughts and insights can be found on www.entrepreneurialambitions.com a site dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and small business owners.

10 Rules For Entrepreneurs To Live By

My mind is buzzing with thoughts of a book I just finished reading: The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy, Jr. The author follows the inspiring stories of three entrepreneurs who turn their backs on traditional careers after business school, launch businesses, and make millions.

Murphy offers 10 rules to follow if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. As much for me to remember as for you to get the goods quickly, here are the rules with my interpretations.

1) Make the commitment. You need to decide to be an entrepreneur and leave the traditional path behind. A good friend of mine, who has built a $400M company, once told me that choosing to be an entrepreneur, deciding to give up the seemingly safe employer-employee world, is like disengaging from the matrix. Once you have experienced reality, you never want to go back.

2) Find a problem, then solve it. There are two types of businesses –“pain” and “pleasure.” “Pain” businesses have a higher success rate because they address more urgent problems. Venture out to address a problem that is personal, that you care about, that you would love to solve.

3) Think big. You can never build what you cannot imagine, so to build a business that has big impact, you have to believe you can do it from the start. You come at the problem with a calm confidence. There is no reason to scream “We can do it!” because you just know it; it’s inevitable. Whatever is stopping you for really believing you can do what your business plan says you can do, dissect it, extract it, and throw it away.

Read the full article at Fast Company!

10 Rules For Entrepreneurs To Live By

My mind is buzzing with thoughts of a book I just finished reading: The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy, Jr. The author follows the inspiring stories of three entrepreneurs who turn their backs on traditional careers after business school, launch businesses, and make millions.

Murphy offers 10 rules to follow if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. As much for me to remember as for you to get the goods quickly, here are the rules with my interpretations.

1) Make the commitment. You need to decide to be an entrepreneur and leave the traditional path behind. A good friend of mine, who has built a $400M company, once told me that choosing to be an entrepreneur, deciding to give up the seemingly safe employer-employee world, is like disengaging from the matrix. Once you have experienced reality, you never want to go back.

2) Find a problem, then solve it. There are two types of businesses –“pain” and “pleasure.” “Pain” businesses have a higher success rate because they address more urgent problems. Venture out to address a problem that is personal, that you care about, that you would love to solve.

3) Think big. You can never build what you cannot imagine, so to build a business that has big impact, you have to believe you can do it from the start. You come at the problem with a calm confidence. There is no reason to scream “We can do it!” because you just know it; it’s inevitable. Whatever is stopping you for really believing you can do what your business plan says you can do, dissect it, extract it, and throw it away.

Read the full article at Fast Company!

10 Rules For Entrepreneurs To Live By

My mind is buzzing with thoughts of a book I just finished reading: The Intelligent Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy, Jr. The author follows the inspiring stories of three entrepreneurs who turn their backs on traditional careers after business school, launch businesses, and make millions.

Murphy offers 10 rules to follow if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. As much for me to remember as for you to get the goods quickly, here are the rules with my interpretations.

1) Make the commitment. You need to decide to be an entrepreneur and leave the traditional path behind. A good friend of mine, who has built a $400M company, once told me that choosing to be an entrepreneur, deciding to give up the seemingly safe employer-employee world, is like disengaging from the matrix. Once you have experienced reality, you never want to go back.

2) Find a problem, then solve it. There are two types of businesses –“pain” and “pleasure.” “Pain” businesses have a higher success rate because they address more urgent problems. Venture out to address a problem that is personal, that you care about, that you would love to solve.

3) Think big. You can never build what you cannot imagine, so to build a business that has big impact, you have to believe you can do it from the start. You come at the problem with a calm confidence. There is no reason to scream “We can do it!” because you just know it; it’s inevitable. Whatever is stopping you for really believing you can do what your business plan says you can do, dissect it, extract it, and throw it away.

Read the full article at Fast Company!

bizsucess2

bizsucess2

Attention Entrepreneurs: Why Delegating Isn’t Working For You

By Chuck Boyce

As small business owners we are constantly told that we need to be delegating and outsourcing in order to maximize our time, results, income and business growth. So why does it often seem so hard to successfully delegate tasks in your business and to find competent help that can really get things done to your standard?

It is this struggle that has small business owners believing that the only solution is to do everything themselves until we can successfully clone ourselves so that everything is done to our standards. However, while you may be able to make quite a good living this way you know that you will never be able to take your venture to its full potential or actually create a real business that can operate without your daily involvement and really begin to build tangible value.

We are told that providing we can find team members who can do things at least 80% as well as we can that we have to delegate, but sometimes that missing 20% can seem like a big difference and simply just doesn’t cut it. This leads to frustration, often ultimately just giving up on hiring altogether and just giving up on the big dreams that were once such an inspiration. Though it doesn’t have to be this way.

The root problem is really that many entrepreneurs are not effectively delegating. Simply handing off your responsibilities and tasks and expecting things to be accomplished the way you would do them is abdication, not delegation. In contrast, if you take the time to create systems for everything in your business you are able to easily, effectively delegate while maintaining the quality and speed that your business demands to remain a competitive force in your industry.

Systematizing your business brings many benefits. One of the most important to point out when it comes to delegation is that with solid systems you no longer have to worry about hiring extremely expensive experts or risk putting your organization in the hands of only a few key staff members who control your company’s future and could hold you ransom or abdicate and leave your operation in chaos at any time. Instead, you are able to focus on hiring more cost effectively and putting motivated and trainable individuals to work with your systems.

Taking the extra minutes to document processes and create systems for everything you do in your business the first time around means that next time something needs to be done you already have a system for it and it can immediately delegated. You will find that this works for absolutely everything that needs to be done in the course of your business and that you can even create systems for those things that you believe makes you unique, in effect enabling you to mold those clones you have been dreaming of.
_______________
Chuck Boyce is known as the Independent Executive. After achieving success quickly in the corporate world he decided to step off of the corporate ladder and make his business work for him. He is now dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and business owners. You can visit his site at BreakingFreeBlog.com.

Attention Entrepreneurs: Why Delegating Isn’t Working For You

By Chuck Boyce

As small business owners we are constantly told that we need to be delegating and outsourcing in order to maximize our time, results, income and business growth. So why does it often seem so hard to successfully delegate tasks in your business and to find competent help that can really get things done to your standard?

It is this struggle that has small business owners believing that the only solution is to do everything themselves until we can successfully clone ourselves so that everything is done to our standards. However, while you may be able to make quite a good living this way you know that you will never be able to take your venture to its full potential or actually create a real business that can operate without your daily involvement and really begin to build tangible value.

We are told that providing we can find team members who can do things at least 80% as well as we can that we have to delegate, but sometimes that missing 20% can seem like a big difference and simply just doesn’t cut it. This leads to frustration, often ultimately just giving up on hiring altogether and just giving up on the big dreams that were once such an inspiration. Though it doesn’t have to be this way.

The root problem is really that many entrepreneurs are not effectively delegating. Simply handing off your responsibilities and tasks and expecting things to be accomplished the way you would do them is abdication, not delegation. In contrast, if you take the time to create systems for everything in your business you are able to easily, effectively delegate while maintaining the quality and speed that your business demands to remain a competitive force in your industry.

Systematizing your business brings many benefits. One of the most important to point out when it comes to delegation is that with solid systems you no longer have to worry about hiring extremely expensive experts or risk putting your organization in the hands of only a few key staff members who control your company’s future and could hold you ransom or abdicate and leave your operation in chaos at any time. Instead, you are able to focus on hiring more cost effectively and putting motivated and trainable individuals to work with your systems.

Taking the extra minutes to document processes and create systems for everything you do in your business the first time around means that next time something needs to be done you already have a system for it and it can immediately delegated. You will find that this works for absolutely everything that needs to be done in the course of your business and that you can even create systems for those things that you believe makes you unique, in effect enabling you to mold those clones you have been dreaming of.
_______________
Chuck Boyce is known as the Independent Executive. After achieving success quickly in the corporate world he decided to step off of the corporate ladder and make his business work for him. He is now dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and business owners. You can visit his site at BreakingFreeBlog.com.

bizstrategy

bizstrategy

Newsletter Form

Contact Page Form

8 Ways to Lose in Business

By John Maxwell

What’s holding you back in your business or career? It may be something you are doing now and don’t even realize it.

The seed of this lesson comes from the former president of Coca-Cola, Don Keough. He wrote a satirical article about ways people lose in business. A few of the points that I will share with you today come from that article.

So let’s get started. Here are some rules and attitudes to follow if you want to lose in business.

1. Quit taking risks…

“A ship in the harbor is safe… but that is not what ships are for.” Isn’t that a great saying? Anybody who has been in business realizes that risk is a big part of it. The moment you decide not to take a risk is when your competitors will pass you by.

It isn’t the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who have achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up.

2. Rely totally on experts and research to make decisions for you…

Charles F. Kettering said, “Research is an organized method of trying to find out what you are going to do after you cannot do what you are doing now.” There are some wonderful consultants out there who add value to our businesses. The key word above is totally. When one allows what the experts say to totally govern decisions, that’s when trouble arises.

3. Always ask yourself, “What would the founder have done?” …

The simple fact is that no one knows what a great leader would do in a new set of circumstances—except that he would not lose. There simply is no eternal formula for success handed down through generations.

4. Concentrate on your competitor instead of your customer…

I’ve read everything that has been written by the late John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins. Not only was he an incredible coach, but he was also an incredible teacher to his players and others who knew him.

In an interview he was asked how he prepared his team for the next game. It was widely known in the basketball coaching circles that Coach Wooden wasn’t one to send his staff out to scout teams that were coming up on their schedule. He said, “The way to build a team isn’t to worry about your competitor; the way to build a team is to play to your strengths. If we play our game right, they will be playing our game. We won’t play their game.”

Coach Wooden realized it’s much better to spend time making your team better than trying to anticipate what the other team was going to do.

Remember that the customer is king. The following customer service truths are the results of research conducted at the Tyler International Research Institute Inc., as well as that of the Technical Research Assistance Institute and other supporting research organizations.

* Poor service is the No. 1 reason American companies lose business.

* The average dissatisfied customer tells nine others of their dissatisfaction.

* Conversely, the average satisfied customer tells only five people.

* It costs between five and 10 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.

* Customers pay more for better service.

Read the complete article at SUCCESS Magazine!

johnmaxwell

johnmaxwell

8 Ways to Lose in Business

By John Maxwell

What’s holding you back in your business or career? It may be something you are doing now and don’t even realize it.

The seed of this lesson comes from the former president of Coca-Cola, Don Keough. He wrote a satirical article about ways people lose in business. A few of the points that I will share with you today come from that article.

So let’s get started. Here are some rules and attitudes to follow if you want to lose in business.

1. Quit taking risks…

“A ship in the harbor is safe… but that is not what ships are for.” Isn’t that a great saying? Anybody who has been in business realizes that risk is a big part of it. The moment you decide not to take a risk is when your competitors will pass you by.

It isn’t the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who have achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up.

2. Rely totally on experts and research to make decisions for you…

Charles F. Kettering said, “Research is an organized method of trying to find out what you are going to do after you cannot do what you are doing now.” There are some wonderful consultants out there who add value to our businesses. The key word above is totally. When one allows what the experts say to totally govern decisions, that’s when trouble arises.

3. Always ask yourself, “What would the founder have done?” …

The simple fact is that no one knows what a great leader would do in a new set of circumstances—except that he would not lose. There simply is no eternal formula for success handed down through generations.

4. Concentrate on your competitor instead of your customer…

I’ve read everything that has been written by the late John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins. Not only was he an incredible coach, but he was also an incredible teacher to his players and others who knew him.

In an interview he was asked how he prepared his team for the next game. It was widely known in the basketball coaching circles that Coach Wooden wasn’t one to send his staff out to scout teams that were coming up on their schedule. He said, “The way to build a team isn’t to worry about your competitor; the way to build a team is to play to your strengths. If we play our game right, they will be playing our game. We won’t play their game.”

Coach Wooden realized it’s much better to spend time making your team better than trying to anticipate what the other team was going to do.

Remember that the customer is king. The following customer service truths are the results of research conducted at the Tyler International Research Institute Inc., as well as that of the Technical Research Assistance Institute and other supporting research organizations.

* Poor service is the No. 1 reason American companies lose business.

* The average dissatisfied customer tells nine others of their dissatisfaction.

* Conversely, the average satisfied customer tells only five people.

* It costs between five and 10 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.

* Customers pay more for better service.

Read the complete article at SUCCESS Magazine!

The Importance Of Setting Business Goals

 By Pam Lawhorne

When you come up with your business idea, the purpose is to expand and grow it over time but one of the main reasons why businesses fail, both on and offline, is the lack of focus.

This focus can be found through the process of setting business goals, which is a marker of sorts.

It is a milestone that you strive to reach and once reached, it can lead to other ones further down the road in your business.

Plus, these markers can also map out a path for you to follow which is very important.

For example – Have you heard of desires as they pertain to business?

They are often the visions that we see when we think about our business idea.

Let’s say that your business idea is to sell your homemade crafts.

The vision could be seeing yourself making money and buying a new home or car.

What makes this different from a goal for the business is that it is not specific enough.

You see, you can actually have a 9-to-5 job and make enough money to buy a new home or car.

Your goals have to contain some specific attributes in order for them to work as goals that can help your business now and in the future. S.M.A.R.T. Attributes Let’s name these attributes.

First: Specificity

Your goals need to be specific.

If you want to have yearly revenue starting with $50,000 the first year, then you can outline steps to reach that dollar amount.

Saying that you want to make money is too easy to ignore in the grand scheme of day-to-day business trials.

Second: Measurements

Is your goal measurable? Shooting for $50,000 in revenue is a measurable goal. If you exceed or fail to meet it, you can see how far under or over you were and take steps to set new goals. It is easier to come up with a plan when you can see your goal in the distance.

Third: Attainability

Is yearly revenue of $50,000 attainable for a crafting business?

When you are the only employee, during the first year, maybe not. But, it is better to know this at the beginning when setting up your goals then at the end of the first year when it could break your confidence.

Fourth: Realism

Every goal may be workable in time but can that be the case right now?

Still using our dollar amount of $50,000, selling one type of craft at the outset will not likely give you $50,000 in revenue by the end of the first year without a lot of work.

Would it be better to set a new goal for a lower amount or increase your product line?

Fifth: Time

Set a deadline for your goals because open-ended goals are really easy to ignore.

In addition, they create excuses that can ruin your business!

So set a reasonable time limit that will motivate and not demoralize you.

Business goals set a tone for your business and keep you focused on the end results you want to achieve. I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Have an amazing day!
Pam Lawhorne
______________
Pam Lawhorne teaches entrepreneurs and business owners how to use social marketing to increase their income while building their brand and their business. Visit her at www.pamlawhorne.com

The Importance Of Setting Business Goals

 By Pam Lawhorne

When you come up with your business idea, the purpose is to expand and grow it over time but one of the main reasons why businesses fail, both on and offline, is the lack of focus.

This focus can be found through the process of setting business goals, which is a marker of sorts.

It is a milestone that you strive to reach and once reached, it can lead to other ones further down the road in your business.

Plus, these markers can also map out a path for you to follow which is very important.

For example – Have you heard of desires as they pertain to business?

They are often the visions that we see when we think about our business idea.

Let’s say that your business idea is to sell your homemade crafts.

The vision could be seeing yourself making money and buying a new home or car.

What makes this different from a goal for the business is that it is not specific enough.

You see, you can actually have a 9-to-5 job and make enough money to buy a new home or car.

Your goals have to contain some specific attributes in order for them to work as goals that can help your business now and in the future. S.M.A.R.T. Attributes Let’s name these attributes.

First: Specificity

Your goals need to be specific.

If you want to have yearly revenue starting with $50,000 the first year, then you can outline steps to reach that dollar amount.

Saying that you want to make money is too easy to ignore in the grand scheme of day-to-day business trials.

Second: Measurements

Is your goal measurable? Shooting for $50,000 in revenue is a measurable goal. If you exceed or fail to meet it, you can see how far under or over you were and take steps to set new goals. It is easier to come up with a plan when you can see your goal in the distance.

Third: Attainability

Is yearly revenue of $50,000 attainable for a crafting business?

When you are the only employee, during the first year, maybe not. But, it is better to know this at the beginning when setting up your goals then at the end of the first year when it could break your confidence.

Fourth: Realism

Every goal may be workable in time but can that be the case right now?

Still using our dollar amount of $50,000, selling one type of craft at the outset will not likely give you $50,000 in revenue by the end of the first year without a lot of work.

Would it be better to set a new goal for a lower amount or increase your product line?

Fifth: Time

Set a deadline for your goals because open-ended goals are really easy to ignore.

In addition, they create excuses that can ruin your business!

So set a reasonable time limit that will motivate and not demoralize you.

Business goals set a tone for your business and keep you focused on the end results you want to achieve. I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Have an amazing day!
Pam Lawhorne
______________
Pam Lawhorne teaches entrepreneurs and business owners how to use social marketing to increase their income while building their brand and their business. Visit her at www.pamlawhorne.com

setgoals

setgoals

The 4Ps of a Fully Alive Business

By John Jantsch

Back in the early 1960’s the American Marketing Association coined the term the “Four ‘P’s” as a way to describe the essential elements of the marketing mix. Since that time every first year marketing student has been taught to think in terms of product, price, place and promotion as they analyze case studies of companies real and imagined.

Much has changed in the last 50 years, including what product really is, what place entails, how package plays a role and well, pretty much everything about what promotion looks like.

In fact, the very definition of marketing has changed dramatically enough to render the original Four P’s somewhat useless as a foundational marketing and business strategy concept.

Today’s most important business and marketing directive is one of building trust. Engagement, connection and story are the new forms of promotional art. Price is a function of value and place has become bytes and ether more often than a shelf or an office.

There is a home for the Four P’s in today’s business but it’s in the very mortar of the business and the story of its people rather than in a department on an org chart.

That Four P’s are now more about how a business is experienced than what it sells. They reside in the expression of human characteristics that turn commitment into culture and culture into customer.

The following elements make up a redefinition of the Four P’s for the fully alive business and further make the case that marketing is everything you do and every business is really a marketing business.

Passion

The first element of the Four P’s in a fully alive business is the passion for living that the owner of the business brings. When the founder of a business can serve their own personal passion and purpose by growing the business good things can evolve.

The leader of a business must have a great sense of passion for the business, but they also must be able to connect that passion with purpose in order to bring out the desire to commit in others. Leading with passion is how you put yourself out there and do what you were meant to do.

“A ship in port is safe but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Grace Murray Hopper

Purpose

Purpose is how a business defines why it does what it does. It is the reason people are drawn to work in a business, it’s the reason they come to life inside the business and it’s the reason customers voluntarily become loyal ambassadors of the brand.

Purpose builds trust because it allows people to see their own values in action in support of something they strongly believe. A regular paycheck, important sounding title, or great deal on a cool product, probably doesn’t invoke much in the way of purpose.

Joining a business that is on an epic journey to create joy, change an age old industry, innovate under the nose of a Goliath, or just do a great deal more of the right thing – that’s purpose, that’s not simply a business it’s a cause and people will do some remarkable things inside and around the support of their cause.

Continue reading the full article at Duct Tape Marketing

Raising Your Prices In Today’s Economy

By Ken Sundheim

In the current economy, the entrepreneur or sales representative should follow a few rules which should mitigate the odds of business failure.

Aim for dollars per account rather than selling bulk:

In a poor economy, getting your brand known, respected and producing revenue is exceedingly tough. You must make the most of each and every incoming lead. However, it is no longer 1997 and incoming leads are sometimes few and far between (especially at start up). Starting a company that has the ability to charge premium rates is going to be a better proposition than a firm that does hourly rates and relies upon bulk purchases from numerous accounts.

If at this moment your small business charges by the hour, start switching to a purchase plan in which the client has to pay multiple hours upfront. You’d be surprised how many clients are willing to do this if and only if you provide a sound, reputable service that has a direct impact on your clients’ return on investment.

There is an indirect relationship between amount charged per service and closing ratio (a.k.a. conversion ratio), but despite this it is still advantageous for even new companies to continue with the aforementioned business plan. The rewards heavily out weigh the risks.

At first, the change in the business plan is going to seem awkward and is not going to be embraced by as many as the cheaper solution was. During the stressful beginning period, it bears remembering that raising prices weeds out one-time customers. The fiscally strong companies are not going to have as much of a problem paying in bulk as those looking for a one-time purchase.

As an entrepreneur or sales rep, what is the best way to break this pricing change to current customers?

The answer is simple and can be summed up in one word: empathetically. Listen to the customers’ concerns. I can guarantee they will raise some the moment you switch your pricing to front-load payments. Recognize their concern, but implement a basic negotiation tactic by only recognizing rather than agreeing.

Only go on the offense after you have listened to the client and feel that the client is comfortable moving forward, and then in moving forward only following vetting the price increase.

If you are a small to mid-sized company, it is a fair bet than many of your customers are also small to mid-sized businesses. With that in mind, you know what it would take for you, as a business owner, to sign up for a front-loaded payment or a premium-priced service.
____________
Ken Sundheim is the Founder and President of KAS Placement Marketing Recruiters Chicago Sales Headhunters a sales and marketing staffing agency. Visit kasplacement.com

Raising Your Prices In Today’s Economy

By Ken Sundheim

In the current economy, the entrepreneur or sales representative should follow a few rules which should mitigate the odds of business failure.

Aim for dollars per account rather than selling bulk:

In a poor economy, getting your brand known, respected and producing revenue is exceedingly tough. You must make the most of each and every incoming lead. However, it is no longer 1997 and incoming leads are sometimes few and far between (especially at start up). Starting a company that has the ability to charge premium rates is going to be a better proposition than a firm that does hourly rates and relies upon bulk purchases from numerous accounts.

If at this moment your small business charges by the hour, start switching to a purchase plan in which the client has to pay multiple hours upfront. You’d be surprised how many clients are willing to do this if and only if you provide a sound, reputable service that has a direct impact on your clients’ return on investment.

There is an indirect relationship between amount charged per service and closing ratio (a.k.a. conversion ratio), but despite this it is still advantageous for even new companies to continue with the aforementioned business plan. The rewards heavily out weigh the risks.

At first, the change in the business plan is going to seem awkward and is not going to be embraced by as many as the cheaper solution was. During the stressful beginning period, it bears remembering that raising prices weeds out one-time customers. The fiscally strong companies are not going to have as much of a problem paying in bulk as those looking for a one-time purchase.

As an entrepreneur or sales rep, what is the best way to break this pricing change to current customers?

The answer is simple and can be summed up in one word: empathetically. Listen to the customers’ concerns. I can guarantee they will raise some the moment you switch your pricing to front-load payments. Recognize their concern, but implement a basic negotiation tactic by only recognizing rather than agreeing.

Only go on the offense after you have listened to the client and feel that the client is comfortable moving forward, and then in moving forward only following vetting the price increase.

If you are a small to mid-sized company, it is a fair bet than many of your customers are also small to mid-sized businesses. With that in mind, you know what it would take for you, as a business owner, to sign up for a front-loaded payment or a premium-priced service.
____________
Ken Sundheim is the Founder and President of KAS Placement Marketing Recruiters Chicago Sales Headhunters a sales and marketing staffing agency. Visit kasplacement.com

Raising Your Prices In Today’s Economy

By Ken Sundheim

In the current economy, the entrepreneur or sales representative should follow a few rules which should mitigate the odds of business failure.

Aim for dollars per account rather than selling bulk:

In a poor economy, getting your brand known, respected and producing revenue is exceedingly tough. You must make the most of each and every incoming lead. However, it is no longer 1997 and incoming leads are sometimes few and far between (especially at start up). Starting a company that has the ability to charge premium rates is going to be a better proposition than a firm that does hourly rates and relies upon bulk purchases from numerous accounts.

If at this moment your small business charges by the hour, start switching to a purchase plan in which the client has to pay multiple hours upfront. You’d be surprised how many clients are willing to do this if and only if you provide a sound, reputable service that has a direct impact on your clients’ return on investment.

There is an indirect relationship between amount charged per service and closing ratio (a.k.a. conversion ratio), but despite this it is still advantageous for even new companies to continue with the aforementioned business plan. The rewards heavily out weigh the risks.

At first, the change in the business plan is going to seem awkward and is not going to be embraced by as many as the cheaper solution was. During the stressful beginning period, it bears remembering that raising prices weeds out one-time customers. The fiscally strong companies are not going to have as much of a problem paying in bulk as those looking for a one-time purchase.

As an entrepreneur or sales rep, what is the best way to break this pricing change to current customers?

The answer is simple and can be summed up in one word: empathetically. Listen to the customers’ concerns. I can guarantee they will raise some the moment you switch your pricing to front-load payments. Recognize their concern, but implement a basic negotiation tactic by only recognizing rather than agreeing.

Only go on the offense after you have listened to the client and feel that the client is comfortable moving forward, and then in moving forward only following vetting the price increase.

If you are a small to mid-sized company, it is a fair bet than many of your customers are also small to mid-sized businesses. With that in mind, you know what it would take for you, as a business owner, to sign up for a front-loaded payment or a premium-priced service.
____________
Ken Sundheim is the Founder and President of KAS Placement Marketing Recruiters Chicago Sales Headhunters a sales and marketing staffing agency. Visit kasplacement.com

raisingprices

raisingprices

10 Tips for Home-Based Businesses

Starting a home-based business is never easy. From advertising to zoning, there is always something that will require your attention. Here are ten tips to keep you focused on your quest to make your home-based business a success.

1. Set a schedule and stick to it. The allure of working from home is powerful — but so is the appeal of spending more time with your family or of taking a nap in the middle of the day. Setting and maintaining a schedule for your workday is critical.

2. Set up a dedicated office area. You can’t run a business from your kitchen table. A successful business requires a fully equipped home office. If you have an extra bedroom, consider converting it into office space. If you do not have an extra room in your home, try setting up a partition to create an office area.

3. Be professional. One of the perks of running a business from home is having the option of working in your pajamas, but your customers should not be able to tell that you just rolled out of bed. Maintain normal office hours and a professional demeanor when answering your phone or dealing with customers.

4. Advertise. Just because you build it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. To succeed, you will need to advertise your new business. Advertising and marketing don’t have to be expensive, but they have to be done.

5. Familiarize yourself with the applicable tax laws. You are about to enter a whole new world of taxation. To avoid ending up frazzled on April 15th, take the time now to discuss your options with your accountant or with another qualified professional who can advise you about your tax situation.

Read the rest of the tips at AllBusiness!

10 Tips for Home-Based Businesses

Starting a home-based business is never easy. From advertising to zoning, there is always something that will require your attention. Here are ten tips to keep you focused on your quest to make your home-based business a success.

1. Set a schedule and stick to it. The allure of working from home is powerful — but so is the appeal of spending more time with your family or of taking a nap in the middle of the day. Setting and maintaining a schedule for your workday is critical.

2. Set up a dedicated office area. You can’t run a business from your kitchen table. A successful business requires a fully equipped home office. If you have an extra bedroom, consider converting it into office space. If you do not have an extra room in your home, try setting up a partition to create an office area.

3. Be professional. One of the perks of running a business from home is having the option of working in your pajamas, but your customers should not be able to tell that you just rolled out of bed. Maintain normal office hours and a professional demeanor when answering your phone or dealing with customers.

4. Advertise. Just because you build it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. To succeed, you will need to advertise your new business. Advertising and marketing don’t have to be expensive, but they have to be done.

5. Familiarize yourself with the applicable tax laws. You are about to enter a whole new world of taxation. To avoid ending up frazzled on April 15th, take the time now to discuss your options with your accountant or with another qualified professional who can advise you about your tax situation.

Read the rest of the tips at AllBusiness!

brightidearedbulb

brightidearedbulb

10 Tips for Home-Based Businesses

Starting a home-based business is never easy. From advertising to zoning, there is always something that will require your attention. Here are ten tips to keep you focused on your quest to make your home-based business a success.

1. Set a schedule and stick to it. The allure of working from home is powerful — but so is the appeal of spending more time with your family or of taking a nap in the middle of the day. Setting and maintaining a schedule for your workday is critical.

2. Set up a dedicated office area. You can’t run a business from your kitchen table. A successful business requires a fully equipped home office. If you have an extra bedroom, consider converting it into office space. If you do not have an extra room in your home, try setting up a partition to create an office area.

3. Be professional. One of the perks of running a business from home is having the option of working in your pajamas, but your customers should not be able to tell that you just rolled out of bed. Maintain normal office hours and a professional demeanor when answering your phone or dealing with customers.

4. Advertise. Just because you build it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. To succeed, you will need to advertise your new business. Advertising and marketing don’t have to be expensive, but they have to be done.

5. Familiarize yourself with the applicable tax laws. You are about to enter a whole new world of taxation. To avoid ending up frazzled on April 15th, take the time now to discuss your options with your accountant or with another qualified professional who can advise you about your tax situation.

Read the rest of the tips at AllBusiness!

The 4Ps of a Fully Alive Business

By John Jantsch

Back in the early 1960’s the American Marketing Association coined the term the “Four ‘P’s” as a way to describe the essential elements of the marketing mix. Since that time every first year marketing student has been taught to think in terms of product, price, place and promotion as they analyze case studies of companies real and imagined.

Much has changed in the last 50 years, including what product really is, what place entails, how package plays a role and well, pretty much everything about what promotion looks like.

In fact, the very definition of marketing has changed dramatically enough to render the original Four P’s somewhat useless as a foundational marketing and business strategy concept.

Today’s most important business and marketing directive is one of building trust. Engagement, connection and story are the new forms of promotional art. Price is a function of value and place has become bytes and ether more often than a shelf or an office.

There is a home for the Four P’s in today’s business but it’s in the very mortar of the business and the story of its people rather than in a department on an org chart.

That Four P’s are now more about how a business is experienced than what it sells. They reside in the expression of human characteristics that turn commitment into culture and culture into customer.

The following elements make up a redefinition of the Four P’s for the fully alive business and further make the case that marketing is everything you do and every business is really a marketing business.

Passion

The first element of the Four P’s in a fully alive business is the passion for living that the owner of the business brings. When the founder of a business can serve their own personal passion and purpose by growing the business good things can evolve.

The leader of a business must have a great sense of passion for the business, but they also must be able to connect that passion with purpose in order to bring out the desire to commit in others. Leading with passion is how you put yourself out there and do what you were meant to do.

“A ship in port is safe but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Grace Murray Hopper

Purpose

Purpose is how a business defines why it does what it does. It is the reason people are drawn to work in a business, it’s the reason they come to life inside the business and it’s the reason customers voluntarily become loyal ambassadors of the brand.

Purpose builds trust because it allows people to see their own values in action in support of something they strongly believe. A regular paycheck, important sounding title, or great deal on a cool product, probably doesn’t invoke much in the way of purpose.

Joining a business that is on an epic journey to create joy, change an age old industry, innovate under the nose of a Goliath, or just do a great deal more of the right thing – that’s purpose, that’s not simply a business it’s a cause and people will do some remarkable things inside and around the support of their cause.

Continue reading the full article at Duct Tape Marketing

The 4Ps of a Fully Alive Business

By John Jantsch

Back in the early 1960’s the American Marketing Association coined the term the “Four ‘P’s” as a way to describe the essential elements of the marketing mix. Since that time every first year marketing student has been taught to think in terms of product, price, place and promotion as they analyze case studies of companies real and imagined.

Much has changed in the last 50 years, including what product really is, what place entails, how package plays a role and well, pretty much everything about what promotion looks like.

In fact, the very definition of marketing has changed dramatically enough to render the original Four P’s somewhat useless as a foundational marketing and business strategy concept.

Today’s most important business and marketing directive is one of building trust. Engagement, connection and story are the new forms of promotional art. Price is a function of value and place has become bytes and ether more often than a shelf or an office.

There is a home for the Four P’s in today’s business but it’s in the very mortar of the business and the story of its people rather than in a department on an org chart.

That Four P’s are now more about how a business is experienced than what it sells. They reside in the expression of human characteristics that turn commitment into culture and culture into customer.

The following elements make up a redefinition of the Four P’s for the fully alive business and further make the case that marketing is everything you do and every business is really a marketing business.

Passion

The first element of the Four P’s in a fully alive business is the passion for living that the owner of the business brings. When the founder of a business can serve their own personal passion and purpose by growing the business good things can evolve.

The leader of a business must have a great sense of passion for the business, but they also must be able to connect that passion with purpose in order to bring out the desire to commit in others. Leading with passion is how you put yourself out there and do what you were meant to do.

“A ship in port is safe but that’s not what ships are built for.” – Grace Murray Hopper

Purpose

Purpose is how a business defines why it does what it does. It is the reason people are drawn to work in a business, it’s the reason they come to life inside the business and it’s the reason customers voluntarily become loyal ambassadors of the brand.

Purpose builds trust because it allows people to see their own values in action in support of something they strongly believe. A regular paycheck, important sounding title, or great deal on a cool product, probably doesn’t invoke much in the way of purpose.

Joining a business that is on an epic journey to create joy, change an age old industry, innovate under the nose of a Goliath, or just do a great deal more of the right thing – that’s purpose, that’s not simply a business it’s a cause and people will do some remarkable things inside and around the support of their cause.

Continue reading at Duct Tape Marketing

4Ps

4Ps

strangestsecretad

strangestsecretad

amyabrams

amyabrams

Opportunities

We are always open to hearing about your products and services and if we believe our subscribers can benefit from them.

Please submit your opportunities to editor @ thehomebasedbusinessreport.com and we will let you know if we approve!

If we approve we will highlight your company on our website.

About Us

The Home Based Business Report is a daily newsletter dedicated to helping you find the perfect home based  business to fit your wants, needs and desires.

We scour the internet to find the latest and greatest best opportunities and content to help improve your chances to fire your boss!

We are 100% dedicated to you and helping you live the life of your dreams!

The Home Based Business Report Team

About Us

The Home Based Business Report is a daily newsletter dedicated to helping you find the perfect home based  business to fit your wants, needs and desires.
We scour the internet to find the latest and greatest best opportunities and content to help improve your chances to fire your boss!
We are 100% dedicated to you and helping you live the life of your dreams!
The Home Based Business Report Team

About Us

The Home Based Business Report is a daily newsletter dedicated to helping you find the perfect home based  business to fit your wants, needs and desires.
We scour the internet to find the latest and greatest best opportunities and content to help improve your chances to fire your boss!
We are 100% dedicated to you and helping you live the life of your dreams!
The Home Based Business Report Team

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

People are motivated by their own interests, not your company’s. Meet their demands and pay attention to their opinions—discerningly, putting your own needs first.

I get a kick out of business buzzwords. Reengineering. Rightsizing. Repurposing. One of the latest you may have heard bandied about is “Voice of the Customer.” It’s a phrase that, in fairness, recognizes that companies can go astray by making decisions without fully understanding their effect on those they serve. But I’ve also heard the term invoked as a way to trump (or delay) an idea born of inspiration or imagination—as if by magically incorporating “the voice of the customer” a company can somehow eliminate risk.

Regardless of whether it’s used as an offensive or defensive weapon, the voice of the customer is a double-edged sword. It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to customers or place special emphasis on understanding their wants and needs, concerns and complaints. It’s that we must do so with discernment: Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.

We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories of disgruntled customers whose anger turns to abuse. It’s a good idea to be willing to walk as far as possible down the Via Mea Culpa with these customers, so long as you draw the line, politely but firmly, when their behavior offends other customers or threatens your staff. The very nature of such interactions makes them easy to recognize. Here are a few further, more subtle instances in which you might want to think twice about how you interpret the voice of the customer.

When they can’t know. One way to understand why people purchase products or services is that somebody knows how to make or do something they can’t achieve on their own. Your customers know less about the science behind your offering than you do. That means their perceptions of what they want are firmly grounded in what they think is possible, rather than what is truly possible.

A century ago, nobody who drove a horse-drawn carriage thought to ask for a Model-T. A generation ago, nobody who used a pay phone had any idea how soon they would become obsolete. A year ago, nobody knew that they would be redeeming a Groupon this weekend. I certainly think teleportation would beat wedging my way into a crowded airplane seat; as far as I know, that’s still in the realm of science fiction and I wouldn’t even think to suggest it to an airline during a telephone survey.

When they won’t say. Sometimes customers believe they can gain the upper hand in a transaction by being coy. For instance, a good salesperson can walk a prospect through a series of questions designed to lead them to purchase; handled with subtlety, this is an effective way to move someone along. Handled clumsily, however, it raises suspicions and can cause prospects to provide misinformation, from the wrong Zip Code to a phony phone number. Seeking the voice of the customer on advertising can be even more misleading. As my colleague Daniel Andreani quipped: “Asking a consumer about his opinion of your advertising is like asking a deer about the best way to hunt it.”

Customers can unintentionally lead us astray as well, such as when we ask them to predict their future behavior (see The Perils of Market Research). Research subjects have been wrong on many things, from New Coke (they gave it a thumbs up) to the Sony Walkman (they gave it a thumbs down). These days, study after study shows that people are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly product options. Real-world analysis of their behavior demonstrates that few put their money where their mouths are.

Read the full story at Businessweek

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

People are motivated by their own interests, not your company’s. Meet their demands and pay attention to their opinions—discerningly, putting your own needs first.

I get a kick out of business buzzwords. Reengineering. Rightsizing. Repurposing. One of the latest you may have heard bandied about is “Voice of the Customer.” It’s a phrase that, in fairness, recognizes that companies can go astray by making decisions without fully understanding their effect on those they serve. But I’ve also heard the term invoked as a way to trump (or delay) an idea born of inspiration or imagination—as if by magically incorporating “the voice of the customer” a company can somehow eliminate risk.

Regardless of whether it’s used as an offensive or defensive weapon, the voice of the customer is a double-edged sword. It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to customers or place special emphasis on understanding their wants and needs, concerns and complaints. It’s that we must do so with discernment: Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.

We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories of disgruntled customers whose anger turns to abuse. It’s a good idea to be willing to walk as far as possible down the Via Mea Culpa with these customers, so long as you draw the line, politely but firmly, when their behavior offends other customers or threatens your staff. The very nature of such interactions makes them easy to recognize. Here are a few further, more subtle instances in which you might want to think twice about how you interpret the voice of the customer.

When they can’t know. One way to understand why people purchase products or services is that somebody knows how to make or do something they can’t achieve on their own. Your customers know less about the science behind your offering than you do. That means their perceptions of what they want are firmly grounded in what they think is possible, rather than what is truly possible.

A century ago, nobody who drove a horse-drawn carriage thought to ask for a Model-T. A generation ago, nobody who used a pay phone had any idea how soon they would become obsolete. A year ago, nobody knew that they would be redeeming a Groupon this weekend. I certainly think teleportation would beat wedging my way into a crowded airplane seat; as far as I know, that’s still in the realm of science fiction and I wouldn’t even think to suggest it to an airline during a telephone survey.

When they won’t say. Sometimes customers believe they can gain the upper hand in a transaction by being coy. For instance, a good salesperson can walk a prospect through a series of questions designed to lead them to purchase; handled with subtlety, this is an effective way to move someone along. Handled clumsily, however, it raises suspicions and can cause prospects to provide misinformation, from the wrong Zip Code to a phony phone number. Seeking the voice of the customer on advertising can be even more misleading. As my colleague Daniel Andreani quipped: “Asking a consumer about his opinion of your advertising is like asking a deer about the best way to hunt it.”

Customers can unintentionally lead us astray as well, such as when we ask them to predict their future behavior (see The Perils of Market Research). Research subjects have been wrong on many things, from New Coke (they gave it a thumbs up) to the Sony Walkman (they gave it a thumbs down). These days, study after study shows that people are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly product options. Real-world analysis of their behavior demonstrates that few put their money where their mouths are.

Read the full story at Businessweek

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

People are motivated by their own interests, not your company’s. Meet their demands and pay attention to their opinions—discerningly, putting your own needs first.

I get a kick out of business buzzwords. Reengineering. Rightsizing. Repurposing. One of the latest you may have heard bandied about is “Voice of the Customer.” It’s a phrase that, in fairness, recognizes that companies can go astray by making decisions without fully understanding their effect on those they serve. But I’ve also heard the term invoked as a way to trump (or delay) an idea born of inspiration or imagination—as if by magically incorporating “the voice of the customer” a company can somehow eliminate risk.

Regardless of whether it’s used as an offensive or defensive weapon, the voice of the customer is a double-edged sword. It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to customers or place special emphasis on understanding their wants and needs, concerns and complaints. It’s that we must do so with discernment: Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.

We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories of disgruntled customers whose anger turns to abuse. It’s a good idea to be willing to walk as far as possible down the Via Mea Culpa with these customers, so long as you draw the line, politely but firmly, when their behavior offends other customers or threatens your staff. The very nature of such interactions makes them easy to recognize. Here are a few further, more subtle instances in which you might want to think twice about how you interpret the voice of the customer.

When they can’t know. One way to understand why people purchase products or services is that somebody knows how to make or do something they can’t achieve on their own. Your customers know less about the science behind your offering than you do. That means their perceptions of what they want are firmly grounded in what they think is possible, rather than what is truly possible.

A century ago, nobody who drove a horse-drawn carriage thought to ask for a Model-T. A generation ago, nobody who used a pay phone had any idea how soon they would become obsolete. A year ago, nobody knew that they would be redeeming a Groupon this weekend. I certainly think teleportation would beat wedging my way into a crowded airplane seat; as far as I know, that’s still in the realm of science fiction and I wouldn’t even think to suggest it to an airline during a telephone survey.

When they won’t say. Sometimes customers believe they can gain the upper hand in a transaction by being coy. For instance, a good salesperson can walk a prospect through a series of questions designed to lead them to purchase; handled with subtlety, this is an effective way to move someone along. Handled clumsily, however, it raises suspicions and can cause prospects to provide misinformation, from the wrong Zip Code to a phony phone number. Seeking the voice of the customer on advertising can be even more misleading. As my colleague Daniel Andreani quipped: “Asking a consumer about his opinion of your advertising is like asking a deer about the best way to hunt it.”

Customers can unintentionally lead us astray as well, such as when we ask them to predict their future behavior (see The Perils of Market Research). Research subjects have been wrong on many things, from New Coke (they gave it a thumbs up) to the Sony Walkman (they gave it a thumbs down). These days, study after study shows that people are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly product options. Real-world analysis of their behavior demonstrates that few put their money where their mouths are.

Read the full story at Businessweek

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

People are motivated by their own interests, not your company’s. Meet their demands and pay attention to their opinions—discerningly, putting your own needs first.

I get a kick out of business buzzwords. Reengineering. Rightsizing. Repurposing. One of the latest you may have heard bandied about is “Voice of the Customer.” It’s a phrase that, in fairness, recognizes that companies can go astray by making decisions without fully understanding their effect on those they serve. But I’ve also heard the term invoked as a way to trump (or delay) an idea born of inspiration or imagination—as if by magically incorporating “the voice of the customer” a company can somehow eliminate risk.

Regardless of whether it’s used as an offensive or defensive weapon, the voice of the customer is a double-edged sword. It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to customers or place special emphasis on understanding their wants and needs, concerns and complaints. It’s that we must do so with discernment: Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.

We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories of disgruntled customers whose anger turns to abuse. It’s a good idea to be willing to walk as far as possible down the Via Mea Culpa with these customers, so long as you draw the line, politely but firmly, when their behavior offends other customers or threatens your staff. The very nature of such interactions makes them easy to recognize. Here are a few further, more subtle instances in which you might want to think twice about how you interpret the voice of the customer.

When they can’t know. One way to understand why people purchase products or services is that somebody knows how to make or do something they can’t achieve on their own. Your customers know less about the science behind your offering than you do. That means their perceptions of what they want are firmly grounded in what they think is possible, rather than what is truly possible.

A century ago, nobody who drove a horse-drawn carriage thought to ask for a Model-T. A generation ago, nobody who used a pay phone had any idea how soon they would become obsolete. A year ago, nobody knew that they would be redeeming a Groupon this weekend. I certainly think teleportation would beat wedging my way into a crowded airplane seat; as far as I know, that’s still in the realm of science fiction and I wouldn’t even think to suggest it to an airline during a telephone survey.

When they won’t say. Sometimes customers believe they can gain the upper hand in a transaction by being coy. For instance, a good salesperson can walk a prospect through a series of questions designed to lead them to purchase; handled with subtlety, this is an effective way to move someone along. Handled clumsily, however, it raises suspicions and can cause prospects to provide misinformation, from the wrong Zip Code to a phony phone number. Seeking the voice of the customer on advertising can be even more misleading. As my colleague Daniel Andreani quipped: “Asking a consumer about his opinion of your advertising is like asking a deer about the best way to hunt it.”

Customers can unintentionally lead us astray as well, such as when we ask them to predict their future behavior (see The Perils of Market Research). Research subjects have been wrong on many things, from New Coke (they gave it a thumbs up) to the Sony Walkman (they gave it a thumbs down). These days, study after study shows that people are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly product options. Real-world analysis of their behavior demonstrates that few put their money where their mouths are.

Read the full story at Businessweek

customerservicecheck

customerservicecheck

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

People are motivated by their own interests, not your company’s. Meet their demands and pay attention to their opinions—discerningly, putting your own needs first.

I get a kick out of business buzzwords. Reengineering. Rightsizing. Repurposing. One of the latest you may have heard bandied about is “Voice of the Customer.” It’s a phrase that, in fairness, recognizes that companies can go astray by making decisions without fully understanding their effect on those they serve. But I’ve also heard the term invoked as a way to trump (or delay) an idea born of inspiration or imagination—as if by magically incorporating “the voice of the customer” a company can somehow eliminate risk.

Regardless of whether it’s used as an offensive or defensive weapon, the voice of the customer is a double-edged sword. It’s not that we shouldn’t listen to customers or place special emphasis on understanding their wants and needs, concerns and complaints. It’s that we must do so with discernment: Sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.

We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories of disgruntled customers whose anger turns to abuse. It’s a good idea to be willing to walk as far as possible down the Via Mea Culpa with these customers, so long as you draw the line, politely but firmly, when their behavior offends other customers or threatens your staff. The very nature of such interactions makes them easy to recognize. Here are a few further, more subtle instances in which you might want to think twice about how you interpret the voice of the customer.

When they can’t know. One way to understand why people purchase products or services is that somebody knows how to make or do something they can’t achieve on their own. Your customers know less about the science behind your offering than you do. That means their perceptions of what they want are firmly grounded in what they think is possible, rather than what is truly possible.

A century ago, nobody who drove a horse-drawn carriage thought to ask for a Model-T. A generation ago, nobody who used a pay phone had any idea how soon they would become obsolete. A year ago, nobody knew that they would be redeeming a Groupon this weekend. I certainly think teleportation would beat wedging my way into a crowded airplane seat; as far as I know, that’s still in the realm of science fiction and I wouldn’t even think to suggest it to an airline during a telephone survey.

When they won’t say. Sometimes customers believe they can gain the upper hand in a transaction by being coy. For instance, a good salesperson can walk a prospect through a series of questions designed to lead them to purchase; handled with subtlety, this is an effective way to move someone along. Handled clumsily, however, it raises suspicions and can cause prospects to provide misinformation, from the wrong Zip Code to a phony phone number. Seeking the voice of the customer on advertising can be even more misleading. As my colleague Daniel Andreani quipped: “Asking a consumer about his opinion of your advertising is like asking a deer about the best way to hunt it.”

Customers can unintentionally lead us astray as well, such as when we ask them to predict their future behavior (see The Perils of Market Research). Research subjects have been wrong on many things, from New Coke (they gave it a thumbs up) to the Sony Walkman (they gave it a thumbs down). These days, study after study shows that people are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly product options. Real-world analysis of their behavior demonstrates that few put their money where their mouths are.

Read the full story at Businessweek

Five Tips for Making Better Decisions

Being able to pull the trigger is one of the benefits of being your own boss, but some entrepreneurs are still gun shy.

Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are squeamish about it.

Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it’s typically a cop-out — and doesn’t exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

To avoid pining over what to do and what to skip, it can help to learn how to make better decisions. You’ll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:

1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

2. Be independent. Good decision makers are “collaboratively independent.” They tend to surround themselves with the best and brightest and ask pointed questions. For instance, in a discussion with subject-matter experts, they don’t ask: “What should I do?” Rather, their query is: “What’s your thinking on this?” Waiting for committees or an expansive chain of command to make decisions could take longer. Get your information from credible sources and then act, swiftly.

3. Turn your brain off. Insight comes when you least expect it. Similar to suddenly remembering the name of an actor that you think you’d just plumb forgotten. The same happens when you’re trying to make a decision. By simply turning your mind off for a while or even switching to a different dilemma, you’ll give your brain the opportunity to scan its data bank for information that is already stored and waiting to be retrieved.

Read all the tips at Entrepreneur

Five Tips for Making Better Decisions

Being able to pull the trigger is one of the benefits of being your own boss, but some entrepreneurs are still gun shy.

Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are squeamish about it.

Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it’s typically a cop-out — and doesn’t exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

To avoid pining over what to do and what to skip, it can help to learn how to make better decisions. You’ll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:

1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

2. Be independent. Good decision makers are “collaboratively independent.” They tend to surround themselves with the best and brightest and ask pointed questions. For instance, in a discussion with subject-matter experts, they don’t ask: “What should I do?” Rather, their query is: “What’s your thinking on this?” Waiting for committees or an expansive chain of command to make decisions could take longer. Get your information from credible sources and then act, swiftly.

3. Turn your brain off. Insight comes when you least expect it. Similar to suddenly remembering the name of an actor that you think you’d just plumb forgotten. The same happens when you’re trying to make a decision. By simply turning your mind off for a while or even switching to a different dilemma, you’ll give your brain the opportunity to scan its data bank for information that is already stored and waiting to be retrieved.

Read all the tips at Entrepreneur

bizdecisionlightbulb

bizdecisionlightbulb

Five Tips for Making Better Decisions

Being able to pull the trigger is one of the benefits of being your own boss, but some entrepreneurs are still gun shy.

Making a decision is one of the most powerful acts for inspiring confidence in leaders and managers. Yet many bosses are squeamish about it.

Some decide not to decide, while others simply procrastinate. Either way, it’s typically a cop-out — and doesn’t exactly encourage inspiration in the ranks.

To avoid pining over what to do and what to skip, it can help to learn how to make better decisions. You’ll be viewed as a better leader and get better results overall. Here are five tips for making quicker, more calculated decisions:

1. Stop seeking perfection. Many great leaders would prefer a project or report be delivered only 80% complete a few hours early than 100% complete five minutes late. Moral of the story: Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

2. Be independent. Good decision makers are “collaboratively independent.” They tend to surround themselves with the best and brightest and ask pointed questions. For instance, in a discussion with subject-matter experts, they don’t ask: “What should I do?” Rather, their query is: “What’s your thinking on this?” Waiting for committees or an expansive chain of command to make decisions could take longer. Get your information from credible sources and then act, swiftly.

3. Turn your brain off. Insight comes when you least expect it. Similar to suddenly remembering the name of an actor that you think you’d just plumb forgotten. The same happens when you’re trying to make a decision. By simply turning your mind off for a while or even switching to a different dilemma, you’ll give your brain the opportunity to scan its data bank for information that is already stored and waiting to be retrieved.

Read all the tips at Entrepreneur

Seven Money Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make

When Hagan Major, 26, started his online-ad buying business more than a decade ago, he didn’t know the first thing about finances.

“We were funneling all of our money into the business and not taking anything out. . . the company was buying us lunch,” says Major, co-founder of YellowHammer Media Group in New York. Further, blurring the line between his personal and business finances wasn’t just an organizational headache. “It made taxes really complicated,” he says. After accidentally using his Social Security number instead of his company’s tax ID number to purchase online ads in 2007, Major received a big bill from the Internal Revenue Service: He owed Uncle Sam back-taxes on $60,000 of the company’s revenues. “I ended up having to eat the taxes,” he says.

Major is hardly the only young business owner to make personal-finance mistakes. “Many successful entrepreneurs become so consumed by the business of the day that some of their personal finance priorities get dropped,” says Eric Johnson, a senior client strategist at Signature, a wealth-management firm based in Norfolk, Va.

Here are seven common personal-finance mistakes that young entrepreneurs make – and how to avoid them.

1. Overinvesting in the business
To look more professional, young entrepreneurs may spend their savings too freely. Maybe they lease ritzy offices or purchase high-dollar equipment. Overspending on business expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary can quickly erode your personal finances, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, an online personal-finance resource for women. It can be easy to burn through your savings before you even have a product or service to sell, she says. That’s when young entrepreneurs dig themselves deeper in the hole personally.

Instead, “spend every dollar you have on building a really good product and get it in front of users,” von Tobel says. “If your product isn’t good, there’s no hope for making any progress.”

2. Cutting corners on formalities Tips for Business Owners on Retirement Planning
All too often, young entrepreneurs will cut corners on legal and accounting advice, notes Johnson. Maybe they know an attorney or a finance guy so they ask if they might help them get licensed or take a look at their books. But those moves can backfire. “Hire someone who is an expert in the specific field that you need,” he says.

One accounting mistake, for instance, can lead to paying far more in personal income taxes than you should. And when personal finances are in disarray, it can scare off potential investors and force you to sink even more of your own money into the business.

3. Not paying yourself
Like Major, young business owners tend to live off ramen noodles and plow all of their resources into their business without removing a dime. While this can help keep cash flowing into a business — not to mention it can be necessary to fund expansion — it gets tricky when the business is paying your rent and buying you meals. What to do instead? Pay yourself at least a modest salary to keep your personal finances straight — and separate — from the business. And don’t go overboard by giving yourself a six-figure salary right away. “You need to leave enough money in the business, so it can operate in lean times.”

4. Failing to plan for the worst
“Young people often think they’re 14 feet tall and bullet proof,” Johnson says. But since they’re not, they need to plan for the worst. Create a succession plan and some form of insurance to support the business if you can’t run it. Johnson recommends setting up a “revocable trust” — which, unlike a standard will, helps a company bypass the potentially costly court procedure known as “probate” and establish whom should run the business in your stead.

If you have a partnership and a business that can’t easily be sold, Johnson suggests establishing a “buy-sell agreement.” This binding agreement governs what happens if a co-owner dies and typically includes an insurance component that provides funding should something happen to either owner.

Read the full story at Entrepreneur

Seven Money Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make

When Hagan Major, 26, started his online-ad buying business more than a decade ago, he didn’t know the first thing about finances.

“We were funneling all of our money into the business and not taking anything out. . . the company was buying us lunch,” says Major, co-founder of YellowHammer Media Group in New York. Further, blurring the line between his personal and business finances wasn’t just an organizational headache. “It made taxes really complicated,” he says. After accidentally using his Social Security number instead of his company’s tax ID number to purchase online ads in 2007, Major received a big bill from the Internal Revenue Service: He owed Uncle Sam back-taxes on $60,000 of the company’s revenues. “I ended up having to eat the taxes,” he says.

Major is hardly the only young business owner to make personal-finance mistakes. “Many successful entrepreneurs become so consumed by the business of the day that some of their personal finance priorities get dropped,” says Eric Johnson, a senior client strategist at Signature, a wealth-management firm based in Norfolk, Va.

Here are seven common personal-finance mistakes that young entrepreneurs make – and how to avoid them.

1. Overinvesting in the business
To look more professional, young entrepreneurs may spend their savings too freely. Maybe they lease ritzy offices or purchase high-dollar equipment. Overspending on business expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary can quickly erode your personal finances, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, an online personal-finance resource for women. It can be easy to burn through your savings before you even have a product or service to sell, she says. That’s when young entrepreneurs dig themselves deeper in the hole personally.

Instead, “spend every dollar you have on building a really good product and get it in front of users,” von Tobel says. “If your product isn’t good, there’s no hope for making any progress.”

2. Cutting corners on formalities Tips for Business Owners on Retirement Planning
All too often, young entrepreneurs will cut corners on legal and accounting advice, notes Johnson. Maybe they know an attorney or a finance guy so they ask if they might help them get licensed or take a look at their books. But those moves can backfire. “Hire someone who is an expert in the specific field that you need,” he says.

One accounting mistake, for instance, can lead to paying far more in personal income taxes than you should. And when personal finances are in disarray, it can scare off potential investors and force you to sink even more of your own money into the business.

3. Not paying yourself
Like Major, young business owners tend to live off ramen noodles and plow all of their resources into their business without removing a dime. While this can help keep cash flowing into a business — not to mention it can be necessary to fund expansion — it gets tricky when the business is paying your rent and buying you meals. What to do instead? Pay yourself at least a modest salary to keep your personal finances straight — and separate — from the business. And don’t go overboard by giving yourself a six-figure salary right away. “You need to leave enough money in the business, so it can operate in lean times.”

4. Failing to plan for the worst
“Young people often think they’re 14 feet tall and bullet proof,” Johnson says. But since they’re not, they need to plan for the worst. Create a succession plan and some form of insurance to support the business if you can’t run it. Johnson recommends setting up a “revocable trust” — which, unlike a standard will, helps a company bypass the potentially costly court procedure known as “probate” and establish whom should run the business in your stead.

If you have a partnership and a business that can’t easily be sold, Johnson suggests establishing a “buy-sell agreement.” This binding agreement governs what happens if a co-owner dies and typically includes an insurance component that provides funding should something happen to either owner.

Read the full story at Entrepreneur

moneyguyhbbr91411

moneyguyhbbr91411

Seven Money Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make

When Hagan Major, 26, started his online-ad buying business more than a decade ago, he didn’t know the first thing about finances.

“We were funneling all of our money into the business and not taking anything out. . . the company was buying us lunch,” says Major, co-founder of YellowHammer Media Group in New York. Further, blurring the line between his personal and business finances wasn’t just an organizational headache. “It made taxes really complicated,” he says. After accidentally using his Social Security number instead of his company’s tax ID number to purchase online ads in 2007, Major received a big bill from the Internal Revenue Service: He owed Uncle Sam back-taxes on $60,000 of the company’s revenues. “I ended up having to eat the taxes,” he says.

Major is hardly the only young business owner to make personal-finance mistakes. “Many successful entrepreneurs become so consumed by the business of the day that some of their personal finance priorities get dropped,” says Eric Johnson, a senior client strategist at Signature, a wealth-management firm based in Norfolk, Va.

Here are seven common personal-finance mistakes that young entrepreneurs make – and how to avoid them.

1. Overinvesting in the business
To look more professional, young entrepreneurs may spend their savings too freely. Maybe they lease ritzy offices or purchase high-dollar equipment. Overspending on business expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary can quickly erode your personal finances, says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, an online personal-finance resource for women. It can be easy to burn through your savings before you even have a product or service to sell, she says. That’s when young entrepreneurs dig themselves deeper in the hole personally.

Instead, “spend every dollar you have on building a really good product and get it in front of users,” von Tobel says. “If your product isn’t good, there’s no hope for making any progress.”

2. Cutting corners on formalities Tips for Business Owners on Retirement Planning
All too often, young entrepreneurs will cut corners on legal and accounting advice, notes Johnson. Maybe they know an attorney or a finance guy so they ask if they might help them get licensed or take a look at their books. But those moves can backfire. “Hire someone who is an expert in the specific field that you need,” he says.

One accounting mistake, for instance, can lead to paying far more in personal income taxes than you should. And when personal finances are in disarray, it can scare off potential investors and force you to sink even more of your own money into the business.

3. Not paying yourself
Like Major, young business owners tend to live off ramen noodles and plow all of their resources into their business without removing a dime. While this can help keep cash flowing into a business — not to mention it can be necessary to fund expansion — it gets tricky when the business is paying your rent and buying you meals. What to do instead? Pay yourself at least a modest salary to keep your personal finances straight — and separate — from the business. And don’t go overboard by giving yourself a six-figure salary right away. “You need to leave enough money in the business, so it can operate in lean times.”

4. Failing to plan for the worst
“Young people often think they’re 14 feet tall and bullet proof,” Johnson says. But since they’re not, they need to plan for the worst. Create a succession plan and some form of insurance to support the business if you can’t run it. Johnson recommends setting up a “revocable trust” — which, unlike a standard will, helps a company bypass the potentially costly court procedure known as “probate” and establish whom should run the business in your stead.

If you have a partnership and a business that can’t easily be sold, Johnson suggests establishing a “buy-sell agreement.” This binding agreement governs what happens if a co-owner dies and typically includes an insurance component that provides funding should something happen to either owner.

Read the full story at Entrepreneur

No Plan, No Direction, No Success

By Diane Conklin

Many entrepreneurs think of themselves as spontaneous people. Get an idea, act on it, and it will automatically become an overnight success. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way. And, it probably won’t happen that way for you.

Despite what you may have heard, most “overnight successes” took a lot of hard work and planning. As a matter of fact, most of the “overnight successes” you and I hear about are only overnight to you and me. The marketer/entrepreneur/business person knows their success was anything but overnight.

It takes planning, implementing, execution, working, re-working, revising plans, and a lot more, to get to the point of massive success. These are not traits most of us entrepreneurial types are particularly good at.

As the business owner and leader, you either have to get better at these skills, if you aren’t already good at them; or, you need to surround yourself with people who excel in these areas, who understand your type of business and who are willing to work with you to continue to grow your business.

A mentor of mine says that most entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of trying to strengthen their weaknesses when they should be strengthening their strengths. It’s really true. Most of the time, it makes more sense to hire the skills we don’t like to do and aren’t good at than it does to frustrate ourselves and work really hard at something we aren’t naturally good at. It’s cheaper, and healthier, in the end to surround ourselves with good people rather than trying to get good at every skill in our business.

If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do this year in your business, how will you get there? And if you don’t have the plan and the vision, who will?

You may have the vision, but have you shared it with your key people? If you haven’t (and I bet you haven’t) then how can they utilize their skills and talents to help you grow? The answer is they can’t, because they have no destination. They’re simply doing the day-to-day, getting by, until you sit down with them and at least go over your plan.

Almost every day, I hear marketers say one of their main problems is getting things executed in their businesses. They have all the ideas and they know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it all executed. Part of the reason this happens is there aren’t plans and business systems in place so everyone knows what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how they are supposed to do it.

Most of us don’t recognize it, but planning is how you get prepared to execute more. With a plan and systems in place, the execution of your business and projects in your business happen more easily, you make more money in the process, and everybody has more fun.
__________
Diane Conklin is one of the co-founders of Complete Marketing Systems whereas a marketing and business strategist she specializes in showing entrepreneurs and small business owners how to use direct response marketing to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies.

No Plan, No Direction, No Success

By Diane Conklin

Many entrepreneurs think of themselves as spontaneous people. Get an idea, act on it, and it will automatically become an overnight success. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way. And, it probably won’t happen that way for you.

Despite what you may have heard, most “overnight successes” took a lot of hard work and planning. As a matter of fact, most of the “overnight successes” you and I hear about are only overnight to you and me. The marketer/entrepreneur/business person knows their success was anything but overnight.

It takes planning, implementing, execution, working, re-working, revising plans, and a lot more, to get to the point of massive success. These are not traits most of us entrepreneurial types are particularly good at.

As the business owner and leader, you either have to get better at these skills, if you aren’t already good at them; or, you need to surround yourself with people who excel in these areas, who understand your type of business and who are willing to work with you to continue to grow your business.

A mentor of mine says that most entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of trying to strengthen their weaknesses when they should be strengthening their strengths. It’s really true. Most of the time, it makes more sense to hire the skills we don’t like to do and aren’t good at than it does to frustrate ourselves and work really hard at something we aren’t naturally good at. It’s cheaper, and healthier, in the end to surround ourselves with good people rather than trying to get good at every skill in our business.

If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do this year in your business, how will you get there? And if you don’t have the plan and the vision, who will?

You may have the vision, but have you shared it with your key people? If you haven’t (and I bet you haven’t) then how can they utilize their skills and talents to help you grow? The answer is they can’t, because they have no destination. They’re simply doing the day-to-day, getting by, until you sit down with them and at least go over your plan.

Almost every day, I hear marketers say one of their main problems is getting things executed in their businesses. They have all the ideas and they know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it all executed. Part of the reason this happens is there aren’t plans and business systems in place so everyone knows what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how they are supposed to do it.

Most of us don’t recognize it, but planning is how you get prepared to execute more. With a plan and systems in place, the execution of your business and projects in your business happen more easily, you make more money in the process, and everybody has more fun.
__________
Diane Conklin is one of the co-founders of Complete Marketing Systems whereas a marketing and business strategist she specializes in showing entrepreneurs and small business owners how to use direct response marketing to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies.

successkey

successkey

No Plan, No Direction, No Success

By Diane Conklin

Many entrepreneurs think of themselves as spontaneous people. Get an idea, act on it, and it will automatically become an overnight success. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way. And, it probably won’t happen that way for you.

Despite what you may have heard, most “overnight successes” took a lot of hard work and planning. As a matter of fact, most of the “overnight successes” you and I hear about are only overnight to you and me. The marketer/entrepreneur/business person knows their success was anything but overnight.

It takes planning, implementing, execution, working, re-working, revising plans, and a lot more, to get to the point of massive success. These are not traits most of us entrepreneurial types are particularly good at.

As the business owner and leader, you either have to get better at these skills, if you aren’t already good at them; or, you need to surround yourself with people who excel in these areas, who understand your type of business and who are willing to work with you to continue to grow your business.

A mentor of mine says that most entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of trying to strengthen their weaknesses when they should be strengthening their strengths. It’s really true. Most of the time, it makes more sense to hire the skills we don’t like to do and aren’t good at than it does to frustrate ourselves and work really hard at something we aren’t naturally good at. It’s cheaper, and healthier, in the end to surround ourselves with good people rather than trying to get good at every skill in our business.

If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do this year in your business, how will you get there? And if you don’t have the plan and the vision, who will?

You may have the vision, but have you shared it with your key people? If you haven’t (and I bet you haven’t) then how can they utilize their skills and talents to help you grow? The answer is they can’t, because they have no destination. They’re simply doing the day-to-day, getting by, until you sit down with them and at least go over your plan.

Almost every day, I hear marketers say one of their main problems is getting things executed in their businesses. They have all the ideas and they know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it all executed. Part of the reason this happens is there aren’t plans and business systems in place so everyone knows what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how they are supposed to do it.

Most of us don’t recognize it, but planning is how you get prepared to execute more. With a plan and systems in place, the execution of your business and projects in your business happen more easily, you make more money in the process, and everybody has more fun.
__________
Diane Conklin is one of the co-founders of Complete Marketing Systems whereas a marketing and business strategist she specializes in showing entrepreneurs and small business owners how to use direct response marketing to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies.

No Plan, No Direction, No Success

By Diane Conklin

Many entrepreneurs think of themselves as spontaneous people. Get an idea, act on it, and it will automatically become an overnight success. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually happen that way. And, it probably won’t happen that way for you.

Despite what you may have heard, most “overnight successes” took a lot of hard work and planning. As a matter of fact, most of the “overnight successes” you and I hear about are only overnight to you and me. The marketer/entrepreneur/business person knows their success was anything but overnight.

It takes planning, implementing, execution, working, re-working, revising plans, and a lot more, to get to the point of massive success. These are not traits most of us entrepreneurial types are particularly good at.

As the business owner and leader, you either have to get better at these skills, if you aren’t already good at them; or, you need to surround yourself with people who excel in these areas, who understand your type of business and who are willing to work with you to continue to grow your business.

A mentor of mine says that most entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of trying to strengthen their weaknesses when they should be strengthening their strengths. It’s really true. Most of the time, it makes more sense to hire the skills we don’t like to do and aren’t good at than it does to frustrate ourselves and work really hard at something we aren’t naturally good at. It’s cheaper, and healthier, in the end to surround ourselves with good people rather than trying to get good at every skill in our business.

If you don’t have a plan for what you’re going to do this year in your business, how will you get there? And if you don’t have the plan and the vision, who will?

You may have the vision, but have you shared it with your key people? If you haven’t (and I bet you haven’t) then how can they utilize their skills and talents to help you grow? The answer is they can’t, because they have no destination. They’re simply doing the day-to-day, getting by, until you sit down with them and at least go over your plan.

Almost every day, I hear marketers say one of their main problems is getting things executed in their businesses. They have all the ideas and they know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it all executed. Part of the reason this happens is there aren’t plans and business systems in place so everyone knows what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it, and how they are supposed to do it.

Most of us don’t recognize it, but planning is how you get prepared to execute more. With a plan and systems in place, the execution of your business and projects in your business happen more easily, you make more money in the process, and everybody has more fun.
__________
Diane Conklin is one of the co-founders of Complete Marketing Systems whereas a marketing and business strategist she specializes in showing entrepreneurs and small business owners how to use direct response marketing to integrate their online and offline marketing strategies.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

Turning Customers Into Salespeople

How companies like Roku boost sales with referral marketing

Roku was one of the first companies to bring online movies to people’s living rooms. Three years ago, the Saratoga, California-based company started selling remote-controlled devices that can stream online media content, such as Netflix movies and Pandora radio, to TV sets. When competitors began to emerge, they were formidable: Microsoft, Apple, Google. Unlike those giants, Roku, which has about 100 employees, didn’t have deep pockets for advertising campaigns.

What Roku did have was fans. Through surveys, the company had learned that about a quarter of its one million customers were so smitten with their Roku players that they had encouraged friends to buy one. “We knew we had an engaged customer base that was passionate about the product, and we wanted to tap into that,” says Lomit Patel, Roku’s senior director of direct marketing.

Last year, Roku launched a refer-a-friend marketing campaign, which rewards customers for recommending the company’s video players to people they know.

Word-of-mouth marketers have long touted the power of customer referrals. Recommendations from friends are among the top influences of purchases, according to a recent study by ForeSee Results, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to tap one’s entire social circle, companies like Roku are experimenting with new tools and incentives to get customers chatting about their products.

To get the conversation started, Roku hired Extole, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in refer-a-friend marketing campaigns. Roku now sends an automated e-mail to customers 45 days after a purchase, offering them one free month of Netflix service if someone they refer purchases a Roku player. Each customer who participates gets a unique Web link, created by Extole, to share with friends via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. In the first three months, 15,000 customers recommended Roku to their friends using Extole’s system, and 1,500 customers bought Roku players after clicking on links sent to them by pals.

The refer-a-friend marketing campaign has already proved to be more effective than online banner ads or paid search ads, says Patel. People who were referred by friends were three times more likely to purchase than visitors who clicked on online ads. “It has that implied endorsement before they even come to the site,” he says.

Between the Netflix giveaway and Extole’s monthly fee of $1,500 (an introductory rate for being an early customer), Roku spends about $12 to acquire each customer, who, in turn, spends an average of $97.

Other companies aren’t waiting as long as 45 days to get customers talking to their friends. Abe’s Market, a Chicago-based online retailer of food, clothing, and other products made from natural materials, wants its shoppers to spread the word before they even make a purchase. Last year, Abe’s Market added a Share It feature to its website. The feature offers shoppers 10 percent off their orders if they agree to tell three friends about the products in their online shopping carts.

After a customer enters three e-mail addresses, her buddies get a message that she is “shopping for natural products on AbesMarket.com, and wants to share some great finds.” The e-mail includes photos of the products in the customer’s cart as well as a coupon code that lets the friends save 10 percent on any order, too. It took two of the company’s programmers just a few days to create the feature. Because the project was done in-house, Abe’s Market can easily make changes like tweaking the amount of the discount, says Jon Polin, the company’s co-founder.

So far, the strategy is paying off. About half of Abe’s Market customers use Share It, and those who use it spend about 30 percent more than those who don’t. Polin says Abe’s Market is on track to hit $1.5 million in sales this year, thanks in part to customers who found out about the site from their pals. Eventually, Polin wants customers to be able to share their purchases with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Continue reading on how to turn your customers into salespeople at Inc.

customer2salespeople

customer2salespeople

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

ideaguy

ideaguy

4 Ways to Turn Your Expertise Into a Product

John Warrillow explains how professionals-such as architects, accountants, doctors and dentists-can grow their business beyond themselves.

Dear John:

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. As much as I would like to, I don’t see how I could apply the Built To Sell philosophy to my practice. In my field, clients hire the lawyer to represent them individually in court and get mad if the lawyer they hire sends someone else. Even getting past that, how can I sell a product (vs. service) in the context of what I do, if I can’t guarantee a result? For example, someone get’s arrested for a DUI. I can’t promise what the result will be for obvious reasons. I wanted to make sure my analysis is correct. Is there a way to apply the Built To Sell philosophy to what I do?

—Steve,  Las Vegas

The ‘Built to Sell philosophy’ the lawyer is asking about is an approach to running a business so that it is less reliant on the owner, making it a valuable and sellable business.

Lawyering is arguably the hardest occupation to transform into a business because clients buy an individual lawyer’s expertise–and they are often deeply loyal to that particular lawyer–by the hour. As a professional, you can create a pyramid of associates underneath you to try and scale your time, but eventually clients want to talk to their lawyer, not an underling.

The same is true of many people who sell their expertise: e.g., architects, accountants, consultants, personal trainers, doctors and dentists. My suggestion to professionals who want to build a business that can thrive without them is to focus on building an information product which packages your expertise into something that can be sold on a one-to-many basis without a lot of customization. For example:

1. Could you turn your expertise into an online course?

Kaplan Bar Review offers an online training course for would-be lawyers to get ready for the Bar Exam. Kaplan is a valuable company not because they are lawyers but because they have packaged up their expertise and sold it like a product.

In the case of the criminal defense lawyer who wants to get out of defending individual suspects, could he develop an online course for defending a drunk driving case? Assuming this lawyer has some unique knowledge to share on the subject, I would imagine a lot of young defense attorneys with their first Driving Under The Influence (DUI) case to defend would be interested in taking his course.

2. Could you create a membership program?

Joe Polish is an expert marketer who got his start teaching cleaning companies how to market themselves. He got to a point where his time was so valuable he was selling it for $20,000 a day. Keen to find a way to scale up his expertise beyond peddling hours, Polish launched The Genius Network Mastermind Group, a program for information marketers to learn his marketing techniques. Polish charges $25,000 per year to be a member of the group, which meets for two days, three times per year. Instead of just learning from Polish, the members of the group report getting at least as much value from each other’s experiences as they do from Joe himself. Joe has gone from selling his time to selling access to a group of smart people who offer a lot of the value of the program.

3. Could you train a trainer?

Nancy Duarte had a special talent for building PowerPoint presentations (her firm created the presentation Al Gore used in the movie The Inconvenient Truth). Duarte reached a point where she no longer wanted to be the one designing presentations so she decided to document her knowledge and build a training company. Her methodology is called VisualStory and is taught through company and public workshops by one of the many Duarte-trained facilitators.

4. Could you license what you know?

Peter Hickey is an Australian who started training companies to run better businesses in 1990. Rather than sell his expertise on a one-to-one basis, Hickey decided to develop The MAUS Accredited Partner Program to license his expertise to other business coaches and consultants who pay an annual fee for the rights to use Hickey’s tools and techniques.

Selling time can be a soul-sucking way to make a living. You’re constantly having to decide between selling one more hour or doing something you love. When time is your inventory, everything becomes a trade off: should you see one more client or go to the gym? Should you sell one more hour or take your daughter to her soccer practice? To get yourself out of selling time, consider turning what you know into an information product others can benefit from without you having to be there.

Read more advice at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

Does Your Idea Have Potential?

Not sure if your new business idea is good enough to succeed? Here are six ways to test it.

The facts are sobering: the majority of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. While there are many reasons that businesses fail, including some that have nothing to do with an owner’s skills, it’s also possible that many of those same businesses collapsed simply because they couldn’t get enough customers to buy their product or service. In other words, the owners founded their business on a strategy of “build it and they will come” where, unfortunately, the customers never came. In fact, a recent study undertaken by the Blackbox seed accelerator found that many tech start-ups failed because they focused more on their product than on their potential customers.

The good news is that there are a variety of ways you, as an entrepreneur, can conduct some market research to assess the potential demand for your product or service without spending a lot of money or hiring an expensive market research team.

Ask the Right Questions

As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you want to focus on asking a couple of questions of yourself first, says Victor Kwegyir, a business consultant, business motivational speaker, and author of The Business You Can Start: Spotting the Greatest Opportunities in the Economic Downturn. Some of the questions you may want to begin with, Kwegyir says, include:

Is this product or service I have in mind going to satisfy a market need?

Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found?

What competition is out there? Is it direct or indirect, local, national, or international?

How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition?

Can the product stand the test of changing trends or take advantage of it before it dies out?

Does the law of the land allow for such a business to be established?

At what prices are consumers prepared to buy my product, and can I make any profit at any stage?

Google It

While it may seem obvious, using Google and other search engines can be an effective way to gauge the potential market for your idea and whether or not you’ll be facing competition. “Believe it or not, you can do a simple keyword search using either Google keywords or any reputable marketing software such as Market Samurai or Magic Bullet to see if your idea already has a demand,” says Jesue Walker, a serial entrepreneur and president of The Ultimate Emergence Company. Once you have the keyword results in front of you, click on them and pay attention to the right column of the search, which lists the paid advertising. “Click on each of these and see what they are offering,” says Walker. “This is your competition, if any at all. Going back to the search page or keyword results and [seeing] how many times a day and week this keyword is searched for…is the beginning of finding out if you can gain at least one percent to two percent of this market.”

Collect Feedback

Getting direct feedback via surveys or interviews can be another very effective way to gauge interest in your product or service. The easiest way to test a new business idea is by crowdsourcing your idea first,” says Ian Aronovich, CEO and president of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country. “Get the perspective of a large group that you already know is capable of giving you truthful and helpful advice. Crowdsourcing is quick, easy, and you will get an array of positive and negative criticism.”

To do this, you may want to draw on an increasing number of online tools that will allow you to tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices. Examples include: uSamp, UserTesting.com, UsabilityHub.com, CrazyEgg.com, GutCheckit.com, and Ask Your Target Market.

You can also consider creating a video, says David Ciccarelli, CEO of Voices.com, where you hire a professional to narrate the features and benefits of your product or service. “Then upload it to YouTube and see the response in the comments,” he says.

If your big idea is a new product, you might also consider pitching it to a product development company like Edison Nation, which, for a modest application fee, evaluates your idea based on the potential market for it.

What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family, says Lolo Siderman, the founder of Gypsywing Media, a virtual ad agency based in Los Angeles. It’s a mistake to ask people you already know, she says, because they cannot be objective. “Of course they’re going to tell you it’s a good idea,” she says.

Continue reading on how to assess your business idea at Inc.

fingerlight

fingerlight

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

The Key to a Successful Franchise

The CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice says franchising your business starts with finding the right partners.

Jim Rudolph, CEO of Rita’s Italian Ice, has been in the franchise business for over 30 years. He started out in the 1970’s by opening up a number of Wendy’s franchises with partners, which proved successful. His next venture, Rudolph became the CEO of an East Coast ice and custard shop called Rita’s Italian Ice founded in 1984 by firefighter Bob Tumolo. The company became a franchise in 1989 and has since opened 550 stores across the country. Inc.com reporter Matt Rist talked to Rudolph about what it takes to effectively franchise a business while keeping it profitable and bringing on the right partners.

How do you begin the process of preparing to franchise your company?
The key is having a business that is very successful to begin with—and not everybody understands that. You also need to be able to package the business and be able to sell it to somebody. Most importantly, it’s important to make sure that what you are selling can be transported and that somebody else can do it. There has to be a business model that works and is easily transferrable. Next, you’ll need to work up a franchise disclosure document.

What’s the most important part of the process?
Excluding what I just mentioned—the foundation of the business, the operations manual, the processes—absolutely by far the most important thing is picking the right partners, your franchisees. If you pick the best location and not the right partner you got a problem.

What do you look for in franchisees?
You have to do what’s necessary to qualify the franchisee. Ask, do they want an area that’s available. Are they financially capable? We, at Rita’s, have a model criteria of what we believe makes the right partner. Nothing is perfect, but this is as close as we can get to. We look at that and if that person doesn’t match up, it’s unlikely that we will go forward with them.

Why is it important to have franchise owners that match your companies’ vision?
If you don’t get the right people, you are not going to have a successful franchise. I think I can relate it best if I give an example: my brother, father, and I bought the Wendy’s franchise back in 1974 when there were only 23. We opened in 1976 with 100 stores. We were with Wendy’s for a long time and we were successful. Why? Because we were committed to Wendy’s and their brand and their people. When you step back, we were the right people to be the right franchisee.

What is the average investment for a business owner who wants to begin to franchise?
A person will need anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000. That’s not what I would be focused on though. It’s really about the commitment your making and the time and work it’s going to take. No. 1, it’s going to cost more than you think. No. 2, it’ll take you more time than you think. No. 3, it’s a very difficult question because it depends on what you are franchising and the work you do.

Continue reading at Inc.

italianice

italianice

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

Contact Us

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

post-img3

post-img3

post-img2

post-img2

post-img1

post-img1

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

post-img4

post-img4

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

The Rockstar Concert at School


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

Contact Us

Opportunities

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Opportunities

We are always open to hearing about your products and services — especially if we believe our subscribers can benefit from them.

Please submit your opportunities to editor @ thehomebasedbusinessreport.com and we will let you know if we approve!

If we approve we will highlight your company on our website.

Opportunities

Opportunities

advt-img

advt-img

video3

video3

video2

video2

video1

video1

Contact Us

About Us

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickies to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

thumbs

thumbs

thumbW

thumbW

The Rockstar Concert at School

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque sed felis. Aliquam sit amet felis. Mauris semper, velit semper laoreet dictum, quam diam dictum urna, nec placerat elit nisl in quam. Etiam augue pede, molestie eget, rhoncus at, convallis ut, eros. Aliquam pharetra. Nulla in tellus eget odio sagittis blandit. Maecenas at nisl. Nullam lorem mi, eleifend a, fringilla vel, semper at, ligula. Mauris eu wisi. Ut ante dui, aliquet nec, congue non, accumsan sit amet, lectus. Mauris et mauris. Duis sed massa id mauris pretium venenatis. Suspendisse cursus velit vel ligula. Mauris elit. Donec neque. Phasellus nec sapien quis pede facilisis suscipit. Aenean quis risus sit amet eros volutpat ullamcorper. Ut a mi. Etiam nulla. Mauris interdum.

thumbA

thumbA

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Auto Draft

About Us

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickies to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

article2

article2

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

phone

phone

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

Home Based Business

Streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

home based business

streak since October 2008. It’s down 858 points, or 6.7 percent.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75.37, or 2.7 percent, to 2,669.24. And the Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies that many investors look to as a sign of market optimism about growth, fell 3.3 percent. It is now down 2.1 percent for the year.

All 30 stocks in the Dow fell. General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Home Depot Inc. led the index lower with losses of 4 percent or more. All but 13 of the 500 companies in the S&P index fell.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. dropped 6 percent after the agricultural conglomerate said it missed Wall Street’s profit forecasts. High-end retailer Coach Inc. lost nearly 7 percent after the company said margins declined, cutting into profits.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a low for the year of 2.62 percent from 2.75 percent Monday. Investors bought Treasury securities, which are considered safe, because of the economic worries. That drove prices up and yields, which move the opposite way, down. Gold, another asset investors buy when they’re worried about the direction of the economy, gained 1.4 percent to $1,645 an ounce.

Even with the current streak of losses, the S&P and Dow are near where they were at the end of June. But some investors say that there’s a strong likelihood both indexes will decline further this year because the economy is not as strong as they thought it was in June.

Last year when the economy slowed sharply, the Federal Reserve began a bond-buying stimulus program, known as quantitative easing. That was credited with helping the U.S. economy avoid another recession.

Now, the Fed has indicated it does not have plans to implement another round of what is called monetary stimulus. And the new focus on deficit reduction in Washington makes it even less likely that Congress would approve what is called fiscal stimulus.

About Us

The Home Based Business Report is a daily newsletter dedicated to helping you find the perfect home based  business to fit your wants, needs and desires.

We scour the internet to find the latest and greatest best opportunities and content to help improve your chances to fire your boss!

We are 100% dedicated to you and helping you live the life of your dreams!

- The Home Based Business Report Team

Sample Page

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickies to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

  • norvasc medicine in uk http://tg.auf.org/?har=633006 buy piracetam locally more info about silagra tadacip novartis pharmaceuticals femara avanafil online http://mjz-57.fr/?her=270019 cost of femara fluconazole 150 aldactone 25mg generics of lipitor lowest cost simvastatin 20mg megalis 20mg for sale in mayami eriacta ranbaxy letrozole indi in new york generic gefitinib india where can i buy vasotec eriacta http://repid.com/?zd=748216 a-ret lowest price 150 bupropion sr prilosec pricing orlistat online without prescription enalapril bupropion online rx premarin tizan ranitidine 150mg tab in canada buy generic imatinib ranitidine 300mg in mayami info about exemestane cabergoline simvastatin online without prescription buy vardenafil aldactone online buy super kamagra online nuvigil armodafinil order flagyl online accutane prednisolone no prescription in india more flagyl price more info imatinib generic voltaren buy cheap in mayami azithromycin 250 mg tablet in france avanafil femara medicine stopping amlodipine besylate 5mg imatinib mesylate generic bactrim ds tabs bactrim onlnie in uk lipitor 10 mg norvasc mg buy finasteride 5mg info about avanafil for sale bupropion germany eriacta 100mg