Saturday, June 26, 2010

Personality and Business

Businesses are owned and operated by people. These owners and operators also have personalities just like the clients and referral sources do. Some personalities mesh well together and others do not.

That is the way things are and that can not be altered much. However if you wish for you business to grow and receive referrals it is a very good idea to incorporate some of your personality in to your marketing.

I am making the assumption that your personality is not an abrasive one in which people in general do not like you. If it is the case that you are not likable then perhaps you should consider an Internet marketing or some other on line business to avoid the face to face interactions.

People enjoy doing business with others that they know like and trust. By sharing bits of your personality you are interacting on a more personal basis and others like that much better.

We have all had the experience of calling a utility company and having to go through the automated phone system with the voice recordings. I have never met anyone who enjoys dealing with these automated systems.

We prefer human interaction. When a business is very automated the human to human connection is lost and as a result customer and client loyalty is greatly reduced.

Certain businesses such as home inspections, plumbers, coffee shops, small bakeries are better able to inject personality in to the business and the marketing better than large companies.This is especially true for businesses in which there is a lot of one to one interaction.

Larger companies that have lots of employees are seen as more impersonal. They are seen as impersonal largely because you may not speak to the same person when you make repeated contacts with them. You rarely get a chance to get familiar with someone.

A smaller company has the advantage of being able to provide clients with consistent contact with only one or a few workers. This of course increases the clients familiarity with the company workers and this boosts knowing, liking, trusting and then increased loyalty.

Do not be afraid to talk a little about your self when it comes to interaction with business clients. It make you less automated and more likable. Being likable and having a distinct personality will make you more memorable and this leads to increased referrals for you and your business.

Be careful though, as your business increases you may be tempted to automate part of your business. If you do inject some of your personality in there also.

By : Jim_Troth

Common Myths About Marketing Your Compounding Pharmacy - Advertising to Get Your Name Out There

Two years ago, two women opened a compounding pharmacy in a large metropolitan city. They spent tens of thousands of dollars on building the pharmacy, training, and equipment. They painstakingly made sure that every detail was perfect when they opened their doors.

But a year after they opened, they were still barely doing 5 compounds per day. One of the partners went back to work at a retail chain to help keep the doors open. They didn't understand why the business wasn't doing better.

They ran ads in the local paper, had their delivery car wrapped with their logo, they even had a billboard on the highway. Unfortunately, they weren't bringing in any business and spending a ton of money on marketing that didn't work. The next year they had to close their doors.

Many new compounders confuse advertising with marketing. Advertising is a part of marketing but it is not the only thing that you should be doing. In fact it may be one of the last things you should be doing in your pharmacy.

But many use it first. And when you think about it, it makes sense, it's the newspaper and journals and print publications that usually show up right after you put down the last coat of paint on the wall.

They tell you all about the tens of thousands of people you'll be in front of if you advertise with them, You commit to a contract and then...NO Sales! And even if you do have sales you are not sure if they came from the ad or referrals. You never the ad go because you are under the belief that you have to get your name out there.

Myth 1- I have to advertise to get my name out there

This is one the most common myths about marketing a compounding pharmacy that I see. Owners are spending thousands of dollars sometimes per month to keep their name out there. They think that having a generic ad about their quality and service is enough to make people come running in with a prescription.

Unfortunately it just doesn't work that way. Now let me say this- there is nothing inherently wrong with advertising. In some cases it can be very effective if it is done correctly. Correctly means:

1. It has a great attention grabbing headline that meets your target audience's problem
2. It promises that you can solve the problem your audience has
3. There is a direct call to action
4. You direct them to something like a web page on your site where they can do something and you can collect information about the reader.

Doing this means that you can effectively track how well your ad is doing in the marketplace. Let go of the idea that advertising is about getting your name out there. Advertising is not about getting your name out there. It is about bringing in cash so you can pay your bills, employees and ultimately yourself.

Have you ever run an ad that did well? Share what you did that made it work well for your pharmacy.

Happy Marketing!

By : Renee_Moore

Friday, June 25, 2010

Disruptive Innovation - Six Steps to Creating a Profitable Disruptive Innovation

What is a disruptive innovation? Is it the spectacular fireworks type of change? Some are, but they are the minority. Most are small evolutionary changes that will include one or more of the following: cheaper, faster, more efficient, better quality or longer lasting. In other words something that is perceived as being of a better value than what was there before.

If the new innovative product or service is in demand, then a corollary of Gresham's Law will have effect. The better product or service will be purchased and the old product or service will decline in sales. This will often take place very rapidly.

Apple is an example of a very innovative company. They have one disruptive innovation after another. The iPod was a revolutionary product. However, it was not that different from other products available at the time. People bought and used portable tape players and then portable CD players.

The iPod used newer memory technology to make its iPod smaller and litter that any of the previous products. An added bonus was that it could hold many times the amount of music. This same kind of innovation is evident in their newer products, the iPhone and the iPad.

Six Steps To a Disruptive Innovation:

1. Find a product or service that is in high demand.

2. Make a list of ways that you can make it cheaper, faster, more efficient, better quality, and/or longer lasting.

3. Under each of the items on your list, state what the impediment is to making the required change to your product or service.

4. Pick a problem or impediment that you can solve. Expend as much time and resources as necessary to solve it.

5. Secure the rewards of your innovation by getting a patent or establishing a trade secret.

6. Implement it by negotiating with the competitors of the pre-innovated product. Alternatively you can start your own company, but that is much harder.


The steps shown are a simple methodology to achieve a disruptive innovation. The rewards can be very great, though the steps may be difficult to fully implement. Consider Google. They came up with a better way to search the internet.

There were probably a dozen search engines already. Their approach gave better results more efficiently. They overcame their impediments by using many Phds from different fields. They are now a multi-billion dollar company.

By : Dee_Reavis

I've Got a Great Idea!

Tuesday is "Boys Day." It's the day that I spend with my kids every week that is full of exploration, craziness and father/son bonding. It's been that way since they were born almost 8 years ago and is the best day of my week.

Lately I've noticed that I don't have to do all of the planning for the events of the day. Routinely one of the guys will now suggest options of places to go, things we should do, where we should eat, all with a total disregard of time, space or geography.

A recent case in point, "Daddy, I've got a great idea. Let's go back to Battleship Cove..." (Fall River, MA which is 1.5 hours from home), "...have lunch with Nana and Grampy..." (Scituate, MA which is an hour from Battleship Cove) "...and then we can meet Mommy for dinner at Rainforest Cafe." (West Hartford, CT which is 2.5 hours back from Scituate).

As I was explaining the logistics of their plan to them, including the amount of time in the car, they were able to recalculate, for themselves, that the plan wasn't something they were really committed to. It was quickly amended to a visit to the Aquarium and "Let's pick up dinner at Mommy's favorite pasta place." We implemented that one. [Total drive time: 1.5 hours.]

It struck me that many of us in management quickly discourage the generation of new ideas from our team members and in the process lose a great opportunity for team learning and growth. Why? Because it's easier than taking the time to explain the ramifications of their suggestions and working through to a better more workable solution as a group.

Are you leading a team that is willing to offer suggestions, explore options, try things that are a little 'out there' as a way to improve? Or are you responsible for killing the suggestion machine by allowing comments like, "We already tried that", "We've always done it the other way", "That'll never work" to infiltrate your workplace?

Think about all of the things that have become part of everyday life because someone said, "Hey, I've got an idea." Here's a few examples: flight, electricity, indoor plumbing, frozen foods, the microwave, eBay and Google.

The next time someone says "Hey, I've got an idea!" to you, I encourage you to take the time to listen, give feedback, help them think through the suggestion, add ideas to the recipe and see what you can come up with that might launch a new or revised product, save money or even invent a new industry.

Do it because it's fun, productive and because you're helping your teammates grow, develop, and help you become a better team leader. After all, somebody let you grow and develop the knowledge and skills that enabled you to rise to your current position, didn't they?

By : Bob_Holdsworth

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do You Hate Networking? A Small Business Tip to Turn You Around

I did and I don't anymore. I'll tell you why. Back in the day when I was first building my business - networking, networking was all I heard. Everyone from my coach to my husband, to the receptionist at the local Chamber of Commerce office told me the same thing. If I wanted to be successful in business I had to get myself out there and network.

Why was it that every time I heard the advice, I bristled and wanted to run back to the safety of my home office? For some reason, the idea of networking utterly turned me off. It made me wonder - if networking was the key to business success then perhaps I should consider throwing in the entrepreneurial towel.

I suspect I'm not alone here. Many clients I work with express the same distaste and resistance to what seems like a simple mission. See if you can relate to the following common reasons smart business people (me included) come up with to avoid networking.

I don't like putting myself "out there".

I'm too busy.

My associates will think I have an ulterior motive when I approach them.

I'm not comfortable in groups of people.

Everyone I know knows the same people so why bother?

These no-networking-for-me-thank-you-very-much universal laments do seem like valid excuses. After all, why would anyone want to put them self in a deliberately uncomfortable position? Here's a good reason - these excuses are all based on one critical misconception: That networking is about YOU.

Yes, you heard me right. Excuses and resistance comes up when you're only thinking about you. In truth, the fun begins when you see that networking is NOT about you, it's about other people and building relationships with them. Anytime you enter an opportunity to network primarily concerned with, "What's in it for me?" then you're bound to feel less than exuberant.

Here are five tips to transforming networking into an enjoyable relationship building activity.

1. First and foremost, adopt the perspective that networking is an opportunity to get out, make new connections and build relationships. Entrepreneurs tend to be isolated, perhaps even work alone. Opportunities to be with other entrepreneurs can be supportive in many ways. Remember you're not alone. The person on the other side of the room is most likely feeling what you're feeling and would probably benefit from the connection as well.

2. Be prepared. Have a well-developed "elevator speech" ready to go. 80% of what makes new entrepreneurs anxious at public events is lack of confidence speaking about their business. Once you have that part of the conversation nailed, you can then focus on listening.

3. Share knowledge. Be an information aggregator and disseminator. Offer what you know. It's both attractive and offers value. Why not let others profit from your knowledge as much as you do? It helps you stand out from the pack and feels darn good when you can genuinely add value to someone's life.

4. Adopt the philosophy, "What goes around, comes around". Focus on what you can do for others rather than what they can do for you. Perhaps you can solve a problem or you know someone who can assist. Don't go in with an ulterior motive to "sell". Instead remember these simple four words, How can I help?" It feels great to help, and if business in generated, all the better.

5. Keep you word. Can you remember a time where someone promised you something and then didn't deliver? It certainly doesn't feel good. Don't do that to others. If you make a connection at a networking event and promise to send someone literature about your product, do it quickly. If you tell a new contact your associate will call them make sure to follow up.

What will your next step be? Are you ready to join me as a former networking resistor and begin building your powerful business relationships one person at a time?

It's YOUR life...imagine the possibilities!

By : Helaine_Iris

What's Your Reason?

I received a call from someone that I worked with many years ago. I haven't heard from him in years. We were both consultants that took a slightly different direction. I was so surprised to get a call.

Hi Pat, This is Tony. How are you?

Wow! Tony, great to hear from you. It's been forever. I'm fin, (and without being able to finish the word fine or the sentence, Tony interrupted to continue his purpose for the call).

You know Pat. In this economy we need to help each other. We need to support people we know. You see top executives and I'm sure you hear about opportunities for potential consultants. You know Pat, we have to support each other.

When you hear of an opportunity, you could mention my company. You can give me the first chance to bid. If my candidate is accepted, I'll pay you a referral. I'm sure you have some great contacts and hear of many opportunities. In this economy, we really do have to help each other.

The conversation went on for a bit longer.

Did I get to say what I would need? No!

Did I get a chance to explain my new direction? Ever so briefly.

Do you think that the "referral" incentive would encourage me to suggest Tony's firm first? What do you think?

First rule of business success is to be sincere. If you really care about how the other person is doing, give them time and talk about it for a little bit, about 5 to 10 minutes. If possible, don't add your wants to the first conversation.

Second rule of business is to state your purpose or premise for the call or visit in the first 30 seconds. So, if Tony was up front, he wouldn't have asked how I was. He would have acknowledged that he needed something without asking how I was. Executives, especially very busy ones, know you are calling for a reason.

Respect their time and get to the point immediately. You can end the conversation by saying, "I know you are busy but I really would like to catch up. What date works for you for lunch/breakfast/coffee/meeting?" Then, make that meeting all about THEM and nothing about YOU! At least you are being honest.

Tony's mistake was that he illustrated his insincerity right off the bat. He really didn't care what I was up to or how he could help me. He was selling himself on what is of interest to him and his perception of what would be important to me, a referral fee.

He only cared what I did as it affected him and what he needs. If Tony had gotten to know me further, he would have had one or two referrals ready to present to me that would help my ventures.

Tony assumed that we "have" a relationship because we worked together many years ago. Relationships take work. It takes continual reaching out to "check in" to find out more about the other person, not you.

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, describes it best:

There is a great deal of wisdom in the old saw, "If you want friends, be a friend." Friendship means giving without expecting anything in return. Busy, successful people are not searching for new friends. If you want to be their friend, you must make the effort to befriend them. Let them know that you are interested in them as people, not in what they can do for you, and you may find that you have made a true and loyal friend.

When you are in a position of needing help, it is important that everyone and his/her brother know that you are looking for work, sales, and opportunities of many types. Timing, of course, is just as important. If Tony had allowed me the opportunity to finish my sentence AND describe what I'm currently working on, he would have heard about something that could trigger an idea that would have been helpful.

"Gee Pat, you might want to talk to Mr. X. Here is his email/telephone number. Would you like me to make an introduction?"

Boy, would I have been grateful. So grateful that I would have replied:

"Thanks, Tony. That would be great? Now let me ask you, How can I help you?"

That turn of the conversation, in about the same amount of time as the original discussion, would have given Tony permission to explain his new venture. Instead, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, one that probably will lead me to NOT take another one of his calls. If Tony had given value FIRST and been SINCERE, I would continue to think of him any time an opportunity that matched his requirements.

If you want business or help, you must be giving of yourself FIRST. Not offer a reward (referral) for helping you only. Any time you offer perceived value or help first, 95% of the people will turn the table around to you next.

The Reverse Approach:

If your reason for calling is about you, you can reverse the above situation. Steve, another person I worked with years ago gave me a call to let me know that he was in need of opportunities.

"Hi Pat. I'm not sure if you remember but we worked together at xyz company. I wanted to let you know that I've been laid off and looking for opportunities in networking."

"I do remember you,Steve. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Send me your resume and I'll see who I know."

"That would be GREAT. I see on your website that you are now doing abc. Can you explain a little further so if I hear of opportunities I can pass them your way?"

This conversation was the reverse: stating his need first. I respect that only because he acknowledges our lack of contact AND he did some research (via LinkedIn) AND he was genuinely interested in how he could help me. You heard the sincerity in his words, tone, and listening skills. Steve showed me respect and accomplished his goal of stating his need.

Napoleon Hill is right! Friendship is built over time by thinking of what you can do for them.

By : Pat_Ferdinandi

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Promotional Stress Balls - Stress Buster Way to Promote Your Business

Stress is something that everyone faces in their life at one point or another. There are virtually thousands of ways that claim to alleviate stress, but the reality of it is, only one solution is the universal answer. When your stress level rises, it can cause long term effects that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

There are quick answers to stress relief, however, and even the smallest thing can help. Since it is a main factor in everyone's life, it's quite possible that your consumers experience it as well. Having customized balls is a way to show your clients that you identify with the trials and tribulations put on us by going through things in our everyday life.

It's important as a company that provides a service to appear as one of the crowd and not alienate your business from your consumer. Custom balls allow your company to show your clients that you understand they might need a little something to deal with tough times.

Promotional balls are best used alone, but when used in conjunction with other promotional products you have a bomb in your advertising repertoire that most companies fail to think about. Identifying with your clients is an important aspect of advertising; without thinking about your clientele you're not really speaking to the people that keep you in business.

Stress balls are great for marketing specifically because they aren't really thought about anymore. Simply because they are no longer used, however, doesn't mean that they've passed their prime. Stress balls are a combination of traditional and modern advertising.

Traditional advertising includes local newspaper ads, magazines, and even throwing flyers. In most cases, the logo of a company is the marker that identifies the company; not a slogan or a motto. Personalized balls show that your company is a traditional business that will stand by its clients.

As a modern means of marketing, the stress ball has a subtle message to each consumer that picks up your logo. A customized stress ball will keep your clients interested in your business for years through excellent and quality construction. Many stress balls are created with quality in mind, which will speak to clients that you have a high standard when it comes to treating your clientele right.

Promotional balls help to further the marketing of your company. With the ability to have personalized balls, a company can easily benefit from a small logo imprinting, a color choice, or a shape choice.

Customized balls give your company an edge over the regular businesses that only advertise through word of mouth or by throwing flyers or handing out business cards because it shows your clientele that you think beyond normal means.

The ability to use stress balls is a way to tell your client that you know about the daily stress that builds up and your company is there so they don't have to stress out - no matter the reason they need you.

By : Rajkumar_Jonnala

How to Get Customers to Buy Your Product - Sales Tips to Sell More Now

Regardless of economic conditions, when you are an entrepreneur or sales professional you likely want to increase your sales. Most people are willing to invest in their businesses to sell more, but how do you get more out of your existing customers? How can you give your current prospects the confidence to invest in what you are offering?

There isn't a magic bullet that will get your customers to open up their wallets and start buying more from you. Even if you are selling to businesses there isn't a magic phrase that will get your clients issuing rushing over to accounting to make sure you get paid.

Getting customers to buy your product doesn't mean taking out a fancy billboard or launching a television ad campaign. Increasing your bottom line rarely has anything to do with advertising (marketing, yes, but not advertising).

I would invite you to consider that there are three elements to increasing sales. Even when you improve just one element you will be on the right path to getting more customers to invest in your product or service.

1. Pique Interest - Most marketing is dull, boring, and you forget about it 5 seconds after you looked at it. When you have interest piquing marketing your prospects will feel compelled to want to find out more. They may go home and look up your website to find more information.

They will search far and wide across the internet to find out how there could be such a great opportunity. Piquing a prospects interest can be done with powerful marketing messages. Put a marketing message that saves people time and money on your website, blog, postcards, magazine ads, etc and watch more customers chase you.

2. Conversion - When most business owners think of conversion they think of "closing". I would invite you to think differently. Conversion is about finding a match between what you are offering and your prospects needs. By asking questions that dig deep to find what is important to a customer your conversion rate will skyrocket. If you should fall into the habits of selling or asking questions customers will quickly run.

3. Make it a system - Getting customers to invest in your product or service consistently means making it a system. Create marketing systems that can run whether you are having a good day or bad day. This could mean putting a pay per click into action, an email follow up system, a regular magazine ad, etc. It doesn't matter what your system is, it simply means creating marketing that runs without your involvement.

When you can pique a prospects interest, focus on conversion and create marketing that runs like a system you will have more customers buying your products or services daily. Just small changes in your daily actions will have your sales numbers growing immediately.

By : Todd_T_Bates

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Christian Entrepreneur Should Pray For Wisdom and Not Money

This may sound strange that a Christian entrepreneur needs wisdom first and not money. Wisdom is from God. The source for Intuition, smartness, intelligence and common sense are human and earthly. There is nothing wrong with and we do so much with our innate capabilities.

But wisdom is from above. This godly wisdom is the ability to know the right from wrong. It is the ability to make decisions based on godly principles. It is the ability to be bold and courageous in the face of danger and adversaries.

The wisdom from the world comes out bitter envy and strife in our hearts. It glories itself and lies against truth. Most sales pitches and advertisement tend to lie more than tell the truth about their products. That is the nature of greed for money.

What is the motive for advertisement? It is to sell and why do a Christian entrepreneur want to sell? Most want to sell to make what we call as a 'quick buck'. Very few are concerned about the customer who buys.

But wisdom that God gives us is first pure and unadulterated. It is then peaceful. It is also gentle in all its dealings. It is full of good works and mercy. It never shows partiality in all his decisions and is not hypocritical.

As a Christian entrepreneur our primary goal is to do the right thing every time. God is not against business but against wrong and sinful ways of doing business. The bible talks about balances. In the olden days most everything was measured or weighed in a trade deal. The business men can easily fix those balances and measures to show more than what it showed.

When you sell 1 pound God wants you sell 1 pound in your balance and not ¾ of a pound. This selling short is a common evil practice among evil businessmen that is admired and praised. God is not pleased with such a person. God expects a Christian entrepreneur to be honest and truthful in all his dealings.

God invites us to come to him if we need wisdom. The wisdom God gives from above will take us through life pleasing God in all that we do. The Bible encourages us to ask for wisdom if we lack it. Go ahead and ask him and he will give you wisdom with all other things. Seek God and his wisdom and all these things will be given to as well.

By : Robert_R_Fenn

Wholesale Books For Great Savings

If you're planning to open a bookstore, finding suppliers that can give you wholesaling prices of books should be one of your topmost priorities. This can help you save on costs when you buy in bulk.

When you buy per piece, the price per book will end up higher than if you bought wholesale. Most businessmen usually buy in bulk because it allows them to have greater potential for more profit.

If you're going to buy books from wholesalers, you should get to know them to understand how their services make a difference. Though there are two kinds of companies selling wholesale books in the industry.

One sells books for educational and mass distribution purposes. The other sells books for those who are fond of collecting them. Either way, when you buy books in bulk, you get the same cost-savings benefits.

The first thing you can do is to contact the publishers and ask them for titles of specific books you're looking for. For these companies to entertain you, you must present your license as a business owner to attest that you are legally selling books. This way, they can allow you to buy stocks at wholesale prices.

Book distributors, in particular, transact with both public and private educational institutions like high schools, colleges and universities. They cater to businesses and private and government agencies.

However, they also support needs of faculties ordering more than fifty books. When you buy books in bulk, you need to ensure the legitimacy of the company you're buying from. Books are regulated to meet certain standards, especially for educational purposes.

When looking for a distributor, you need to find out about their order process. It should be fair on both sides and hassle-free. For example, they should provide samples of a wide range of choices.

They should be able to provide these books for you to inspect in a place where there is no distraction and you are able to scrutinize each one without missing anything. Upon purchase, they should provide low-cost shipment or free delivery.

As a client, you deserve to be comfortable in every way. Even while you're still considering which supplier or distributor to choose, be sensitive about the way they treat you while you haven't officially wrapped up any deal with them.

They should be friendly and accommodating when you have to ask questions or seek clarifications. Remember, a company that doesn't listen to you now will probably not listen to you later when you have signed a contract with them and they begin think the success of your business depends on them.

By : Greg_Pierce

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Most Important Question to Ask in Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning has become a ritual in many organizations these days. Once the planning process is over and a nicely bound copy of plan delivered to the board, everyone forgets about it. Companies usually do this once every year, and in the non-profit sector, I have seen this done usually every 3-5 years, though some still do every ten years.

Ask any senior director or manager as what were the key elements of the strategic plan, well, you will get no more than a pie-in-the-sky narration of the dream, or a waffle for as long as you have patience to listen. Either way, as a consultant, you are still left wondering what all these mean.

Walking into an organization, whether you are reading their strategic plan, or listening to the bosses explain their take on it, you wonder where have you heard all this before. I read so many of these plans that now a days they all look very similar. You would hardly recognize if you are in organization X, or Y.

What passes for strategic is often a matter of operational plan or simply a rehash of the left-overs from the previous plans. When you talk to the frontline staff or the middle managers, not many of them even would have seen the plan, at least not when they are meant to be implementing it.

This reminds me of a great Indian economist who once said, speaking of India's national development plans, that the plans had two parts. The first part was the poetry part which had all the great sounding words which rhymed with everybody and which leaders loved for their powerful sound bytes.

The second part gets down to details - having got the poetry part out of the way, planners then embark on the serious business of sabotaging everything the poetry said, and making sure that the poetry remained on paper.

Pretty much the same thing can be said of strategic planning in organizations.

Some months ago, I was doing a review for an European organization. I read their strategic plan which had, as any good strategic plan ought to have, an account of their mission, vision and values. When I met the senior management and CEO, they all had a consistent understanding of what were already stated in the plan.

However, about half an hour into our discussion, something interesting happened as I asked a silly question. The CEO had articulated his vision and how the mission and values were being brought to bear on their day-to-day work in the organization, and I asked, ''what will all these do for your organization?''

The CEO again repeated the vision in more or less the way he had articulated earlier, with some minor changes to his language.

I asked again, "okay, if you achieved this, what will this do for your organization?" The answer was again slightly different, but the language was becoming more 'practical' - what I would call 'real and measurable'.

We continued this for another ten minutes while I kept slightly changing the last part of the question - instead of, 'what will it do for your organization', I asked, 'what will it do for your customers?' - as the CEO was definitely enjoying this 'repeat' question, and his directors were now intently listening to what he was saying.

At the end of fifteen minutes when I summarized what I had heard the strategic aims were, there was not just strong nods from the group, but also an acknowledgment that this will help them articulate the strategic aims for staff lower down the line.

By : Abhijit_Bhattacharjee

Planning and Scheduling Software - A Useful Tool Especially in Achieving an Organized Schedule

Organizing your stuff at home is as tiring, time-consuming, and nerve-wracking as organizing your schedule in the office. Don't worry. You're not alone. The average American CEO wastes six weeks a year organizing and looking for things.

You can save precious time, however, with the planning and organizing software. When you are a businessman or planning to set up a business, you should consider this your priority.

With this amazing software, you will be able to keep track of and organize your schedules, activities, projects, and tasks to optimize working hours and therefore improve productivity. Don't waste time. Get everything done with the planning and organizing software.

What is a Planning and scheduling software? It is an application used to trace down your business costs as well as controlling the transactions made for the moving costs in the manufacturing of your products.

It primarily takes action in balancing and allotting of your supplied goods according to demand that is why this can be a big help for business owners in putting their transactions and schedules organized.

Worry not for scheduling shifting times since this software is much schematized, it is not necessary to check on it from time to time. In addition, this software assures you a nearly error free service.

As indicated earlier, the planning and scheduling software could be one very useful tool especially in achieving an organized and neat schedule.

However, with this approach comes the problem of implementation, on whether all the plans are implemented because oftentimes, not all plans are executed.

Some attempts to rectify this problem were done, but most are unsuccessful usually because in the process, these attempts can lead to a new discovery of a new system that poses the same problem.

It, therefore, works in a cycle. But when viewed at another angle, for instance, in the size of the manufacturing tasks, the planning and schedule software can be used.

By : James_Hawk

Friday, June 18, 2010

Position Your Offer For Clients Needs

When selling you must offer must be for clients needs. It is not good pushing and forcing a sell on your terms if your prospect has little understand or requirement for you services.

This just irritates and alienates prospects from talking to you. And if you are not talking to anyone, if no one is listening, then you cannot sell anything.

For example, let me tell you about selling an umbrella.

Most business owners, if asked to sell and umbrella, would pick it up, stare blankly for a moment at it then proceed to tell you about how the umbrella opens and that it has an action button, or a wrist strap.

This is the wrong approach. This is selling the features. If you try to sell this way you will not have much luck as no one will care about the wrist strap or the pop up action button.

This is where you must focus on the benefits to how an umbrella fixes a problem for your specific market.

Let me continue the umbrella example to show you want I mean.

Imagine it was raining outside and you are in an area where there are lots of business people walking passed each day. This people might be men in expensive suits or women how spend a lot of money on their hair.

The suits and hair could get ruined in the rain but you have the solution to this problem with your umbrella as it protects suits and hair from being damaged in wet weather.

So if you position your offer for clients as the solution to this problem, you are fulfilling the needs of that market. Do not just describe the physical product or service, tell your prospects how it will help them.

Will it make or save them money? Will it help them work less? Will it save them time? If so how much, give actual figures of what your service can do for your prospect if they buy from you.

By : Jon_James_Daniels

Are You a Sales Phobic Business Owner?

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire" Arnold H. Glasgow

If you're like me, and most business owners I work with, you started your business because you have a particular talent, skill, or passion; not because you like, or want to sell. Although some sales people do start companies (I believe it's the exception), most business owners have no experience or training in sales.

From this perspective, it's easy to see why resistance to selling quickly becomes a stumbling block to success and more immediately, the cause of much day-to-day stress and worry.

I hate to speak the obvious but; sales ARE the backbone of every businesses success. If you're in the marketplace to make a living, you have to be out there selling - unless of course you have a sales force, and even THEN you still need to be able to sell your own product.

I can't think of a single exception to the rule. It's kind of like what's inevitable about life itself - nobody gets out alive. In business - no body has a successful business without having to sell.

Did you think about having to sell when you first started your business? Commonly, most business owners in the start up stage don't. And if you did think about having to sell, I bet it brought up fear and resistance, and you didn't deal with it.

Am I right? You were primarily focused on developing your business, providing products or services, and creating a marketing strategy, but I bet you really didn't think about training to become a sales person. Why is this?

That's what I'm going to invite you to explore - my assumption that every small business owner is to SOME degree sales phobic. Where does sales phobia come from? Better question yet, what specifically is YOUR sales phobia? What are you afraid of when you think about selling?

Here are some common fears and resistances about selling: Can you find yours here?

• Fear of rejection. Let's face it, no-one likes hearing the word no.

• Negative images of the used car salesman, "what can I do to put you in this car today?" Or, bait and switch tactics often associated with sales.

• High pressure, any pressure. No integrity, talking someone into something they don't want or need, just to get money from them.

• A possible problem with your product - you're afraid something negative might surfacing during the selling process.

• Selling's not spiritual - enough said.

• Lack of confidence, in yourself or, in your product.

Can you relate to one or more of these? No wonder you resist selling! A critical step to understanding and overcoming your resistance to sales is to first pinpoint what it is that you're afraid of. What you're resisting.

What I know about human behavior is -we resist things that we don't want to feel. It makes good sense; we develop this as a self preservation strategy.

But, if you just allow that strategy to keep operating, you have no chance of moving beyond your fears and into meaningful action. In truth, it's not selling per se that you're afraid of; it's what you associate with it. If you look for the reasons behind your fear, you can then come up with solutions and deal with it

Here's a scenario to further illustrate my point. I will demonstrate how sales phobia often plays out. See if you can find yourself in this scene:

You're sitting at your desk with the intention of making sales calls. You know it's a crucial activity to generate business. Your phone is ready; your call list is ready. You're just about to pick up the phone and then it occurs to you.

You left dishes in the sink. You go do the dishes. You get back - then you check email, then you have to get a snack, the phone rings....on and on until you get to the end of the day and have made zero calls.

Unfortunately, this common scenario will go on day after day until you finally conclude that you are just TOO busy to make sales calls. When you find yourself here you need to STOP and get suspicious about what's really going on with you. This is where you will find your fear operating beneath the surface. Let's explore what's going on inside you.

Say for example you discover you have a fear of rejection. Think about where that fear came from. When were you rejected in the past? Find an example. Maybe you'll find you weren't picked for the basketball team.

In that moment when you felt rejected you promised your self never to put yourself in a position to be rejected again. Voile! That's where it starts. Now, fast forward back to the present.

There you are - about to make a sales call and run the likely risk of getting a NO - being rejected. Are you surprised you'd rather go do the dishes than make the call? Here's your old strategy rearing up to protect you to honor a promise you made to yourself long ago.

Where's the way out? Go back in time and reconsider the original rejection. It hurt; you were a little person with a limited capacity to process experience. Perhaps you even made conclusions about life or yourself with not enough information.

In any event, you understandably registered the event as painful. Now, come back to the present and remind yourself that you are an adult. You have a much larger capacity to feel, deal with and process information. Ask yourself, what does it mean for someone to say no to you now -without any of the false meaning attached?

Can you pick up the phone now and make the call knowing if you DO get a no, you're going to be OK?

This is the way out of sales phobia and into sales action. After you face and demythologize your fear, you may discover that you need some sales training in addition to shore up your skill and confidence. That's easy to access. You also may discover the need to solve problems with your product so you can more easily sell with confidence -also do-able.

Decide to face your sales phobia and solve it. Honestly, it's the only way you are going to be successful generating much needed revenue for your business. Turn your sales phobia around. Start today. Go sell.

It's YOUR life...imagine the possibilities!

By : Helaine_Iris

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Top Seven Questions to Ask Your Customers

When you want to find out any information from your customers make sure that you don't assume anything. Assumptions can make you bankrupt. Most of the time you never have to assume all you have to do is ask. You can ask in so many different ways. You can ask in day-to-day contact.

You can ask through surveys. You can ask through focus groups. Whatever we you want to know, you can ask. And customers will tell you exactly what they want. However, you have to listen and be receptive to their answers. Are you willing to listen?

Justify Full* How well do we keep our promises? This is a very important question because the answer will implicitly tell you how much they trust you. The more the customer trusts you, the more they will buy and the better your relationships will be.

* How flexible are we in meeting your special requirements? Every customer has special requirements, either large ones or small ones. No matter what the size, they are important to the customer. Whether or not you meet them will have an affect on your relationship with that customer.

* How well do we make an effort to understand your business operations and needs? It is very important that the customer knows how much effort you make especially for them. In their eyes, they are your only customer and expect to be treated that way. In your real world, they are one of many customers but they still require you to understand their business operation and their needs.

* How would you rate our service on a scale of 1 to 5? What we think about our service is important but what the customer thinks of our service is vital. It's very hard to find out what they think unless we ask. How important is service? Excellent service will save you money because you will retain customers. If you have customers you are in the service business.

* Would you recommend us to your friends, relatives and business associates? Getting business through referrals is vital to the lifeblood of your organization. It is the cheapest and most effective way of getting new customers. If there are any barriers to people referring business to you, then you need to know what they are so you can remove them.

* On a scale of 1 to 5, how well do we help you to provide you with solutions? This is another important question because it will demonstrate how your customers perceive your business. The answers will also show you how to improve.

* What are the three changes that would make it easier for you to do business with us? You can really profit from the answer to this question because your customers will tell you where they think you can improve.

By : Peter_L_Mitchell

Top 7 Reasons to Employ a Coach

Many of the most successful business executives have a coach. It has helped them get to the top and it helps to keep them there. You will have your opinion on coaching and are for or against. Here are ten reasons to have a coach to help you fulfil your potential. I hope they either reinforce a positive view you already have or make you question some of the assumptions you currently hold.

A good coach will;

1. open your eyes to what you are not seeing. You will have your own theories of the world that help you make sense of the world and come up with your solutions. A coach will intervene to bring other theories in to play and help you create other realities that will improve the solutions you have.

2. improve your working relationship with other people. You have good and bad impacts on people around you. A coach will be able to show you the impact you are having and help you change your behaviours to achieve the intent of your relationships.

3. get other people to do more for you. You focus on performance, task completion and results. The coach focusses on the way you behave and interact with the system of people around you. Behaviour and relationships shape performance and results.

4. help you be better at what you do. You are just like any professional sports star. You are at whatever level of performance you are. Like a sports star you can be better with training. Your coach will work on the way you are to get more out of your potential than you can alone.

5. be a sounding board. There are some ideas you don't feel comfortable sharing with colleagues but you want to test them. The coach is your sanctuary where you can try out these ideas. You can vent and rage in comfort and be guided back to your true intents behind these displays so you get the best results in the workplace.

6. make you clarify what you want. Knowing what you want is one of the biggest challenges for any manager. A coach can have the direct conversation with you that makes you be clear ans specific about what you want and start to see what you need to overcome to get it. It is tough to look directly at what you avoid because you are working so hard at avoiding it. Confront it with a coach and you will progress in leaps and bounds.

7. help you overcome resistance. Resistance consumes so much energy at work and is often very stressful. A good coach will help you understand any resistance you are experiencing and develop strategies for dealing with it effectively.

If you have a coach I hope this is what they are dong for you. If you do not then think about how much more powerful you could be with this sort of assistance with your career.

By : Len_Williamson

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Occupational Health and Safety - Seven Key Elements Your Policy Statement Should Contain

The occupational health and safety policy statement provides your company and everyone concerned with it from directors to the office cleaner, to third part auditors and inspectors with concise details of the companies objectives and means of achieving, monitoring and maintain them.

To ensure this is the case there are seven key elements that ought to be covered in the policy, which are:

1. To identify any hazards to employees and any third party that may be affected by the work your business is involved in carrying out.

2. To maintain at all times safe and healthy working conditions; including all plant and equipment.

3. To work towards continuous improvements to prevent accidents and any work related illnesses.

4. To give all employees appropriate and adequate training to ensure that they are competent to carry out their tasks safely.

5. To ensure the safe and secure transportation, storage, handling and use of all hazardous substances.

6. To consult with employees on occupational health and safety matters that may affect their well-being and to give them all necessary information, training and supervision.

7. To review and revise the health and safety policy at regular intervals or whenever new procedures or equipment are introduced into the workplace.

It is important also that this policy statement is read and understood by all members of staff and I recommend that it becomes a part of your new employees' induction training and that they are notified via the company line management of any amendments and revisions.

The amount of information to be included in these seven key elements will depend on the size and type of company you operate; obviously a building contractor will need a far more detailed policy statement and additional documentation than a small office based company.

Finally, the statement should be signed and dated by the highest ranking member of the management team responsible for occupational health and safety which is normally the Managing Director, so that it becomes a powerful document to be held in high regard and authority by everyone within the company.

By : Steve_Tallamy

Fire Safety Lessons From 1980 SAS Iranian Embassy Siege

On the 5th of May 1980 the British SAS carried out a raid on the Iranian Embassy in London that has gone down in history. After a siege that had lasted for five days after gunman entered the building and took the occupants hostage the SAS commandos carried out what can only be described as a dramatic rescue operation as the world looked on in amazement.

Five of the six terrorist gunmen were killed during the raid and one was taken prisoner after being identified by the rescued hostages.

Millions of people got to see the SAS in action live on TV as the drama unfolded and the iconic images of that day will never be forgotten as the world saw what the best special forces unit on the planet was capable of achieving. It sent a message out that terrorism on British soil would not be dealt with lightly.

Grenades were thrown through windows as thirty SAS troops stormed the embassy from the front and rear. Screams were heard echoing from the building in Kensington as machine gun fire erupted and fifteen minutes later the hostages emerged safe. In the end one hostage was killed and two other injured.

The then Home Secretary William Whitelaw gave the order to attack after Iranian press attaché Abbas Lavasani was shot dead by the terrorists and his body dumped on the street outside.

After the raid the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited the SAS troops to congratulate them on a job well done and the success of the mission.

During the rescue mission the building caught alight as stun grenades were detonated in the rooms of the embassy and explosive charges used to break through the armoured windows on entry. By the end of the assault the building was well alight and was completely gutted inside by the ravaging fire that ensued.

The fire spread quickly as curtains burst into flames and the fire spread without anyone able to fight it due to the battle that was raging inside. The SAS managed to evacuate everyone from the building and it was then left to burn as it was unsafe for fire fighters to enter.

It is an acceptable after effect of such a military action that a building will often catch alight. A good fire alarm system would most likely be in place now and a sprinkler or water mist system would operate to quench and extinguish the flames automatically.

In the event of an accidental fire in a work premises staff could use fire extinguishers such as foam and CO2 models to combat the flames quickly and prevent further spread. Of course this would be impossibility in an event such as the 1980 siege but thankfully it 8is pretty rare to witness such an action.

A foreign embassy actually falls outside of UK and EU fire regulations as it is a piece of land that belongs to the sovereign state that owns it, Iran in this case. It is therefore not subject to having fire safety systems in place that a UK work place would require by law as it is exempt under diplomatic rules. Because of this many embassies in the UK actually have systems that would not pass stringent UK regulations and as such can pose an increased risk of fire spreading.

It's a little realised fact that this is the case but should be taken into account if you are ever present in an embassy and a fire starts.

By : Jake_Langwith

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Business Cracks Will Break Your Business' Back

Do you remember what we used to say as kids, "step on a crack, and break your mamas' back!"? Well, now that we are all grown up, the old adage still rings true - to an extent. As adults in the business world, we are discovering that actually stepping on your business cracks without repairing them can really break its back.

Are there cracks in your business? Not just your foundation, but in other areas, as well?

Business cracks come from errors. Errors come from a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and a lack of cash. In all honestly though, errors can result from a variety of things.

The problem occurs when we focus on quick fixing the crack. Quick fixes happen when we fail to determine the true cause of the crack (error, problem, challenge, etc.). It all boils down to re-learning the simple equation of cause and effect related to your business.

We spend so much time on fixating on the error rather than actually eliminating the cause of the error that our businesses begin failing.

Try to imagine it this way. Imagine your business is the earth and you are out in space orbiting your "business earth," looking for rough areas, soft areas and smooth areas. The smooth areas are good to go but the rough and soft areas need work.

Taking a birds-eye view of your business is ok but taking the "business earth" view of your business is taking how you operate your business to a completely strategic level.

For example, a rough area indicates a bumpy path or a bumpy area of your Small Business System.™ So, maybe the way you are going about managing your daily administrative tasks takes up all your time and you never get a chance to actually do what you planned to do on any given day.

You answer phone calls, you check emails, you create your to do lists, and so on. All these administrative tasks are getting done but they are the only things getting done. The marketing, selling, planning, managing and other strategic work is being pushed to the side.

As a result, goals are not being met, existing customers are not being serviced, new customers are not being acquired, important deadlines are being pushed back, and before you know it, it is the end of the year and your cash flow is still in the red.

This is a business crack that needs fixing. But do not begin repairing this crack by changing your hours or turning off your email. Rather, begin repairing the crack by determining the root cause of the crack.

Attack the cause first - not the effect of the cause.

Begin repairing the cause of your business cracks with these four steps:

1. Determine if it is the rough areas that need to be worked on first or if it is the soft areas that are ready to cave in and that need the attention immediately. How do you know which crack need your immediate attention?

It is based on your culture and strategic goals. Are you meeting your own expectations? Are your strategic goals set and are you on track to meet them? Only you can decide what needs immediate attention first; think long-term versus short-term fixes.

2. Begin breaking down the soft and rough areas within the key functions of your business and rank accordingly, based on what you need to work on first. Compare these to the goals you have already set; are you doing what you say you are going to do or do you keep doing the same things over and over again and getting less than stellar results? Are you the main cause of the cracks in your business?

3. Make a list of your top five business cracks and prioritize them. Take your list and put your business cracks in order of importance and emergency. There may be some cracks that need fixing in order for you to stay in business! Put those at the top of your list.

4. Take on each crack one at a time. Determine the cause of these cracks and create a strategy to alleviate them. This will take a little time but not too much. The best way to do this is to list out the action steps that need to happen to fix the cause of the cracks - put them in order and determine a schedule of completion.

Stop quick fixing your business errors and start with correcting the root cause of the error. Your business backbone will thank you with consistent cash flow and profits!

Remember, business cracks can break you business' back!

A Sensitive Conscience Keeps a Christian Entrepreneur True to God and People

A Christian entrepreneur must never forget that he is a man of God first and business man second. In order to maintain his status as a man of God he must follow simple principles. One of those is to maintain the sensitivity of his conscience.

Conscience is a funny thing. No one will deny they have a conscience. Some thing from inside tells you this is wrong and this is right. Animals may not have the exact thing. This is a spiritual inheritance from the image of God that we bear.

You can completely try to shut the conscience out from your senses and mind. But as far as history goes I do not think any one has ever successfully shut the conscience out. You will know if you are going to attempt something wrong even before you try it.

When your conscience troubles you, you have two ways to deal with it. You can go ahead and do that you feel is wrong and shut the conscience from bothering you. Yes, you can blunt the conscience from bothering you after you committed the act. But you cannot shut the conscience from telling you before the act.

You can get used to shutting the conscience down, knowing what it is going to say, so we get used to shutting it, but the fact remains it is still there. It is like a knife which is blunt from use and if you never sharpen it, it will become blunter. Your conscience can become so blunt that you can hardly hear it after some time.

When a man of God reaches that stage he is of no use to people or God. God cannot and does not talk to people who shut their conscience out. Their antenna for right and wrong goes away over time. Evil begin to take control and eventually live in the heart. Goodness and righteousness slowly die and the devil has a great command over his life.

How can you avoid reaching such a stage? You need to make sure that you do three things to stay alert and sensitive to God. 1. Read your bible everyday. 2. Pray in the spirit each day and 3. Be a part of the gathering of fellow believers at least once a week.

God is faithful but we are accountable. So if you do not take proper steps to keep your conscience and your walk with God sharp and alert, you will fall by the way side and be burned. Fruitfulness is the result of faithfulness to God and your conscience.

By : Robert_R_Fenn

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cost-Of-Goods-Sold Decline is the Goal When Running a Dollar Store

Those running a dollar store are continually faced with a growing list of priorities. These priorities are all competing for the little available time a new owner has available. After all, there is a steady stream of shoppers throughout the day.

There are established vendors as well as new vendors there to sell their latest and greatest products. Dollar store merchandise is arriving and then waiting to go through the receiving and stocking process. The seemingly endless list of daily operational tasks just keeps growing.

With all the operational demands associated with owning and operating a dollar store staring a store owner squarely in the eyes, how can there be any time to deal with strategic actions?

For some the answer is there just does not seem to be any time. Yet some strategic actions must be handled if your store is to survive. Some make the difference between achieving profitability, or just staying in the red.

With so much riding on these most critical strategic actions, there is no excuse not to go to work on them.

One of these is cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) for the merchandise you sell. The impact associated with even a small reduction in COGS for the merchandise you sell can end up saving you thousands of dollars over a year.

With so much to gain, COGS reduction must be on every dollar store owner's agenda. But where can you find dollar store merchandise for less? There are several easy tactics to locate lower cost.

For example:

· Attend trade shows. Most vendors offer trade show specials. Save up and then take advantage of the best sales prices. Get there early and be ready to quickly make your buying decisions as the best items go fast.

· Become a sale shopper. Many of the better general dollar store merchandise distributors offer monthly sales. Sign up with several and take advantage of sale pricing on the core products your shoppers always purchase.

· Negotiate shipping costs. Look for vendors that offer all or part of the freight prepaid for minimum orders. Weigh the freight cost savings against the pricing to make sure this is the right decision. In other cases companies just seem to be able to negotiate better freight pricing. Include freight costs in your final buying decisions.

· Schedule your own freight. Make a few calls and see what you can do to reduce freight costs. It takes time and effort, but when you finally locate that special hauler who is most reasonable the savings will start to mount.

Those running a dollar store must never accept the status quo when it comes to the cost-of-goods-sold in their store. Look for new, creative tactics to shave even a few more cents off the prices associated with the products you sell. Over time those savings can make a huge difference in your business profits.

To your success when running a dollar store!

By : Bob_Hamilton

Cleaning Business Office Location - Renting an Office Space

Okay, so now you already have your cleaning business nearly set up and finalized and what you now need is an office location. Although some people use their own place of residence for their office, you might not want to consider you house; cleaning business after all is a business and should not be taken home.

Making a Choice

Although in the cleaning business, opportunities that come are not determined by the location of your office, it is still important that you are comfortable with the location of your office. So basically, the choice as to whether or not to rent an office space or simply just work from home, all depends on you and your personality.

If you like not having a fixed time in going in the office, or you like it that in the middle of doing office work you can take a break and whip something up in the kitchen, then perhaps you are the type who wants to have his or her office at home.

However, if you are the type who wants to have a fixed time in logging in the office and really do things as you do in an office, then you can work at home, since all you need is discipline - and you can also rent an office space if you want to; although this would be an extra expense for your business.

However, in the cleaning business, tips like stay neat, organized, and tidy as a cleaner really does go a long way if you follow it. So if your house doesn't have the luxury of space, you may not want to have your office there.

It could end up crowded and/or disorganized and messy. And this isn't how a home should be like. A home should be a place that you retreat to after a long day at work.

Renting an Office Space

One more of the cleaning business tips you ought to learn: always try to minimize expenses. So when looking for an office space, look for one that is located somewhere that is convenient for you to get to from your home.

You need to be able to get there with the least expenses possible. If the office is in the house, cleaning business clients may be dropping in and your privacy may be "intruded".

However, if it is in a rented space, it is more convenient for both parties, plus the cleaning business opportunities might actually increase.

Hence, most clients find business with separate spaces for their offices more professional and credible. That's what you want them to see you as.

By : Janice_Fowler

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Look to the Future With a Strategic Business

Strategic business intelligence involves a lot of thinking that brings about the design, plans and use of big scale projects or operations in your business. It refers to disciplines and skills that need to be mastered if you want to your business to rise above the rest, as well.

Although there are a ton of tips out there on the analytical tools and skills needed to effectively turn your business into a strategic one, learning how to improve the habit of orientation of your business would be absolutely vital. Here are several rules that can help you truly understand how a strategic business comes about.

You need to intentionally gather up ideas.

You need to gather up examples, stories and case studies with which to mix and match effective insights and ideas. This happens to be a great way to make sure that the generation of innovative and brand new ideas is consistent, regardless of their overall relation to your business.

You need to set time aside to see the big picture of your business.

Think about it: Bill Gates has his own slogan while masterminds like Thomas Edison and various other titans in his industry gathered regularly to bring about creative retreats and mastermind sessions. This just proves that you really need to set some time aside if you want to make proper plans that involve sharing strategic business intelligence revolving around your overall business directions.

You need to create a system on information organisation.

If you want to collect ideas properly, you need to organize information properly, as well. Fortunately, this is easy to do with the available technology in today's day and age, wherein you can create blogs or websites to store information in and develop personal frameworks and thoughts in at the same time.

In fact, you can even put free services to use to make private sites for information storage, if you wish. Naturally, if you are more of an old-fashioned person, you can stick to home libraries, drawers and shelves for file and book storage, as well - whatever suits your fancy.

You need to develop a teaching platform to express ideas in.

Studies show that real learning only comes about when you interact with the information that you obtain. One great way to do so would be by teaching it. Try teaching about brand new information to help you analyze and contend with brand new concepts in a personal manner.

The least you could do is develop broadcasting platforms such as blogs, talks, websites, articles and books to do so. If you want to look at the higher part of the scale, you can consider consulting, getting into formal sectors of education and establishing brand new businesses.

You need to work with others.

Even though the more popular view of strategic business intelligence brings about thoughts of lone businessmen, a lot of analytical and creative breakthroughs actually occur in a group.

Bring about an informal advisory board for your business or informal or formal mastermind groups to tackle important subjects as they come; just see what works and stick with it and you will succeed in no time.

By : Harry_Worthington

How to Implement a Business Strategy in Your Organization

Ask any successful business owner and they will tell you their success was not based on luck. The success - and failure - of a business is dependent upon the strength of their business strategy.

A successful strategic plan employs cost reduction, development, and sustainability techniques to ensure a bright future. You need to know your business inside and out in order to create a comprehensive and realistic plan.

Your strategy should help you achieve the objectives of your business. A business strategy is the driving force behind any organization, and takes the form of an official report.

Businesses are self-sustainable systems, when you change one thing in the system; it has a positive or negative chain reaction. Like an organism, businesses learn how to adapt to the change if it is positive, and rectify the situation if it is negative.

Organizations have several phases of development, including creativity, direction, delegation, and consolidation. A company may start out with lenient rules and regulations, but as time progresses management adopts more efficient policies that hinder creative thinking.

Companies mature and lose sight of their goals and mission statements, with more of an emphasis placed on individual projects or initiatives. As a business enters maturity processes, departments, and policies are refined to reunite the organization.

Ways to Conduct Business Strategy

Historically there are two ways to develop a business strategy, using the "bottom up" and "top down" models. The bottom up method is when employees generate ideas on the floor and the best results are passed onto management.

The top down strategy is when business owners create the strategy and implement the changes without seeking employee feedback. Unfortunately, both models fail to include all of the employee feedback.

The new method of developing a business strategy uses a collaborative process, which is when managers and employees exchange information and work together to create a sustainable solution. It is a team-oriented process that bridges the gap that exists between managers and workers.

Before you create a business strategy ensure you have the additional resources to carry out the task without interfering with normal operation. Assign tasks and delegate responsibilities while keeping to a defined chain of command.

Functional versus Operational Business Strategies

There are two types of business strategies: functional and operational. The functional strategy focuses on general ideas and a variety of tasks for different departments. The generality is a major disadvantage, however; areas of concentration include marketing, new product launches, human resources, financial assets, and legal issues. Functional strategies provide a nice overview of the business but do not tackle the important issues employees encounter day-to-day.

Operational strategies are ideal for businesses that want to reduce costs and streamline processes because it is much narrower in scope and requires accountability on all levels.

The detail oriented plan encompasses everyone and everything, from the number of cashiers on duty to how much inventory is carried at a given time. A strategy is unique to each business and reflects the needs and requirements of the company's management.

Implementing a Business Plan

A business plan is the textual version of a strategy, as it includes pertinent information regarding the company, including: vision and mission statements, measurable objectives supporting the vision, actionable tactics meeting the objective, resources, milestones and timeframes, accountability and role designations, as well as internal and external risks.

The business strategy is not evergreen and should be evaluated routinely to ensure the company still has the competitive edge.

A business plan includes the primary and secondary objectives of your organization, an analysis of current policies and procedures, and the development of new policies or procedures to correct weaknesses within the organization.

Before beginning a strategy, it is helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis, which helps identify weaknesses and loopholes within the organization. Your competition capitalizes on your weaknesses, thus it is essential to continuously evaluate your business.

Developing a Competitive Strategy

Brainstorming and collaboration are essential to the development of a successful business strategy. Begin the process by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Without erasing responses, continue to identify current opportunities that help your business succeed.

Finish the SWOT analysis by identifying threats or risks that place your business in danger. Identify how your company beats the competition, outlining the various strategies already in place.

Identify your current target audience and list potential audiences in the form of demographics. Assess current market conditions and how your company can defeat the competition. Reevaluate how you are reaching current and potential customers and consider your overall marketing plan.

Think positively and develop solutions to overcome any weaknesses that you have discovered thus far. Admitting your weaknesses is the hardest part of drafting a business plan, as most companies want to appear strong and mighty. Research why you have these weaknesses and find realistic solutions to the problems.

Business owners often become so caught up with their work that they fail to concentrate on their business strategy, which is a significant source of cost reduction. Achieve your goals by dedicating time each month or week to address issues surrounding the operation of your business.

Make the process a tradition, ensuring operations are aligned with current goals and future forecasts. Make your business stand out from the competition by utilizing different techniques to attract the most people.

A successful strategy overcomes organizational hurdles by understanding customer needs and predicting the unpredictable. The formation of a business strategy is a science that combines current circumstances with a variety of internal and external variables, addressing immediate and long-term goals of the organization.

The implementation of the strategy is rolled out slowly, starting with management. The plan encompasses everyone; however, customers are indicative of the final result.

By : Thayne_Carper

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pareto's Law

Everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule and it was our Italian friend Pareto who put together the first economic installment when, after extensive research observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied.

We casually use the rule when describing our business life referring to all sorts of examples that fit into that paradigm. Useful, profitable, successful, all denoted some way by the 80/20 rule. Yet if we hone in on the 20% for all categories, we could turn our business and personal life around. The biggest hurdle to the above, making the hard decision.

A decision based on your clients, accounts and even colleagues, friends and family. It's all very well to talk about the 20% of clients that make you 80% of your profit but what do you do with the 80% of clients that hardly make you any money?

By all accounts you should get rid of as many of the 80% as possible and concentrate on the 20%. All part of the "Captain Obvious" plan but so often neglected as we strive for numbers, no matter what their return.

Have you really asked yourself the hard questions on how that would affect you? You could be just as successful and have more time for more important things in life. There goes "Captain Obvious" flying by again.

If you concentrate on the 20% sector, you have to ask about the good and the bad issues and then take action from there. The "Most" question could be used across business as well as your personal life to target the areas of, I really need to concentrate on that and I'm cutting cousin Louey from the will.

Ask yourself about -

The most profitable clients and accounts.
The most dependable and trustworthy clients and accounts.
The most stressful and time wasting clients and accounts.
The most negative and soul destroying clients and accounts.
The most inspiring and credible colleagues, friends and family.
The most fashionable and good looking people to hang around. Sorry that just came out of a Who Magazine but it probably describes some people you should be avoiding anyway.

So the above is the easy part. Coming up with the answers can be confronting but actually making the decision to surround yourself with only the best in business and personal life is the toughie.

When was the last time your company or you made a conscious decision to cut a client or account because they fit into the 80% of not producing or providing you with suitable reward or success on the money and integrity side?

When was the last time you decided to not attend a function or meeting because they were of no benefit in the end? Companies today work on acquisition and accumulated numbers to show how powerful they can become and then try and use that bulk to overpower others.

By : Oliver_Tams

Get Ready For Speaking to Generate New Leads Fast

Don't panic! If you would rather stick pins in your eyes (I know - a horrible visual) than get up in front of people to speak, you can still use this same approach to generate leads from referrals and writing articles. What you need to do to get public speaking opportunities can be used for other marketing activities as well.

Referrals and public speaking are the fastest and most direct ways to generate new leads, because it fast-tracks the time it takes for people to know you, like you and trust you.

Here's the list:

Put together your Speaker's Kit

This information needs to promote you as a great speaker who has something of interest and benefit to say to the targetted audience. It is of course a marketing document.

It needs to contain, in either physical or digital format:

- Your professional bio

It's worth having someone with a skill for copywriting look this over for you. We often 'ease back' if we have to write our own bio, but let the accoldaes fly if someone else writes it for us. Don't be shy - powerful bios beat boring bios any time!

- Your photo - professional shots - two different ones will do.

- Contact details (make it easy for people to contact you)

- Examples of audiences you've addressed before, associations or groups you've spoken to, and make sure they are of a similar caliber to the types of audiences or groups you want to target with your speaker kit. If you've only ever spoken at a low key, small network group you need to work up to very large groups.

- Testimonials from people who enjoyed your talk - full names, titles and organization are best if possible

- If you've written any books on the same topics as you plan to speak, include the details

- An overview of your top/most popular signature talks (refer below)

Signature Talks

- These are the talks that present your core messages.

- For example, my signature talks are around growing service businesses, creating the right structure for growth, and marketing strategies.

- If you were facing a room full of people, what could you tell them that they would find helpful and useful, and that would add value to their business or life in some way?

- What are the key messages/objectives of your talk for the audience

- In what subject matter are you strongest?

- Do some research into what other speakers talk about, what titles they give their signature talks, and how they position themselves.

- Now, for those of you who hate public speaking, your core messages can be used in everything you do (except speaking engagements!). Core messages can be crafted to:

* Present a keynote talk
* Present a 30-60 minute talk
* Run a workshop
* Write a feature article
* Use on your blog
* Run an introductory seminar
* Use on your website
* Turn into a teleclass

- It can also be useful to specify where you would be available to speak - eg: Regional areas, interstate, your city only

Find Your Audiences

Again, you'll need to do some research, but there are many organizations and groups that are always looking and in need of speakers. Think of:

- Professional associations
- Local business groups
- Networking groups
- Special interest groups
- Alumni groups
- Schools
- Informal groups - ask around

Make Your Approach

- Use referrals where possible to get you to the decision makers - usually a committee or group head

- Be aware of the group you are targeting, the type of members they have (eg: young female marketers in their twenties; retired male lawyers in their sixties) and the sort of information that would be of interest and relevance to that group.

- If you are already a member of the group it may help you to be invited as a guest speaker

- Ideally, it is preferable to have attended some of the target audience's events so you have first-hand experience of how they work

- Depending on the group you're approaching, and the referrals and contacts you have, you may elect to call first and speak to the appropriate person, and then send through your Speaker's Kit. Many organizations have guidelines for submitting your credentials and your approach.

At the Event - Give Away Something of Value

Congratulations! You got the gig!

Make sure you have plenty of business cards, but also have something of value and relevance to give to your audience. You can request their business cards if they wish to be sent your giveaway, or take you up on your special offer, which enables you to collect their details.

Get them on your list, make time to talk to interested audience members after your talk (and try not to let people hijack you), and follow through on the special offer.

By : Jenny_Stilwell

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Different Types of Team Building

All outdoor team building events will enhance your team's ability to work within a group and can help them build much stronger working relationships. They are also a great way to thank your staff for working hard and will ultimately encourage them to continue this hard work.

By providing teams with outdoor activity days, you are also strengthening the relationship they have with the company which can help in securing them for the future.

There are three main categories in which outdoor team building activities fall into.

These are:

Outdoor Games - These come in a variety of forms from laser clay target shooting to orienteering and the most popular treasure hunts. Some of the more simple games are purely to build up relationships within a team and help 'break the ice' for newcomers.

The treasure hunts are highly popular and unlike treasure hunts you had as a child, they are far more sophisticated and require logical thinking and teamwork in order to complete.

They can make use of several different locations and settings and work with groups of all sizes. They usually require some detailed planning and it is recommended to have an outdoor event team organise it for you, in order to get the most out of the day.

Water based events - This can include any type of activity carried out on the water. These events will be very similar to those you may have experienced on an adventure holiday as a child. They can include a whole range of activities such as sailing, power boating, canoeing and raft building.

Groups are usually put into teams for such events and under a time limit of working against each other in order to achieve the goal. For example when raft building, teams will be divided into groups and given a few pieces of equipment to make their own raft.

They will then be asked to race each other on the rafts. This type of activity will not only provide great entertainment for all involved, but will assist them in thinking outside the box in order to make the raft and teach them to work together to achieve it.

Adventure based events - This includes everything from abseiling to high rope challenges. These events are designed to push employees slightly out of their comfort zone in order to help them realise their potential.

They can be more difficult but also far more rewarding. For some, this may mean overcoming a fear of something such as a fear of heights, however once this is achieved it helps to build a huge sense of achievement.

For example if a team were to take part in abseiling and one member had a fear of heights, other team players will be able to encourage them to achieve and help them realise they can do it. If this is then transferred to an office situation, the participant may come into contact with a challenge and will feel more confident they can succeed.

It is usually a good idea to have an outdoor team building company organise your events for you as they will have access to all the necessary equipment, materials and safety procedures needed in order to make this a successful day. The specialist companies will also be able to provide bespoke days suited to your individual needs and suitable experiences for the outcome you wish to achieve.

By : Mischa_Weston-Green

Tips on Team Building Activities

Conferences and other such corporate events are an ideal time to hold team building activities. Since you are away from your usual routine you will find it easier to unwind and interact with your colleagues.

To be effective, team building activities must be enjoyable. They could be either physical or cerebral in nature. Here are a few ideas that you can use for team building activities.

You can divide the employees into teams and ask them to make their way through a particular route. Along the way you can set up pit stops where teams will have to solve given clues in order to be allowed to carry on with the race. This activity is great for building teamwork and forging team spirit.

You can ask teams to navigate through an obstacles course while they are blindfolded. This activity would help employees trust each other and also hone their communication skills.

Teams can be asked to answer trivia questions based on general topics like history, music, movies, geography etc. This kind of activity helps employees to interact with each other and builds up team coordination.

A treasure hunt is a great team building exercise where teams need to visit various locations on the basis of clues. Teams will need to decipher clues and may also be asked to collect certain articles as part of the activity. Employees learn to be competitive and to tackle challenges.

As part of team building activities you can host a series of corporate sports such as soccer, hockey, swimming, kayaking, sailing etc. These activities can be used to build leadership and teamwork skills. Instead of individual sports, you should stress on team sports.

Indoor rock climbing is a great physical activity for teams to participate in. This exercise helps in building teamwork and develops strategizing skills.

Golf can be used as a team building activity by dividing the total number of employees into teams that compete against each other.

Getting teams to solve a murder mystery is a great cerebral activity. It fosters strategic thinking and is entertaining at the same time.

Extreme sports may not work for all employees. However if the employees in your organization are game, you could organize team building activities such as white water rafting etc that test a team's endurance and ability to meet a challenge.

Which ever activity you decide to use as a team building exercise, follow safety precautions and make sure the participants are comfortable with what they are doing.

By : Gabriel_Stiller