Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Step by Step Guide to Starting a Business For Beginner Entrepreneurs

Who said that you do not need a guide for starting a business? Starting a business is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. It's definitely not impossible though. The key is knowing where and how to start. Hopefully this simple guide to starting a business will help you with just that.

Step 1:
Write a business plan. If you are building a business from scratch, you definitely need one of these. Not only will it keep you focused and organized, but it will also help with funding. Banks and private investors want to see that their money is going to be well spent and that your plan is solid enough that they're likely to get their money back.

Step 2:
Location, location, location. I know you've heard this one before. If your business is not home or internet based, you will need a physical commercial space. Do research and figure out what area would be best for the type of services or products you offer.

You will have to balance that with things like commute, likelihood of disaster (I.e., robbery, flood, etc), and surrounding commercial buildings. Once you've got a general area in mind, it is time to shop around a bit and compare prices. Be prepared for steep prices for small space in comparison to residential property.

Step 3.
Get some funding. Once you have a business plan ready, you can present it to banks and try to get a loan. Alternatively, you can try and find an investor or two to give you some funding in exchange for a percentage of your profits. Either way, prepare for a lot of negotiating and a bit of a wait. Getting a loan approved, no matter the source, takes time.

Step 4.
Take care of the legalities. Before you can legally open, you will need to register your business, apply for a tax I.D. number, and make sure any and all permits and/or licenses needed are at hand and up to date.

This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it is better than getting financially crippling fines, or even getting shut down. In addition, if you're not a sole proprietor, you'll need to learn the ins and out of hiring employees and related things like worker's comp, unemployment, and things like that.

Step 5.
Promote. Once you have everything set up, get the word out about your business so you can start making a profit. Hopefully you covered methods for doing this in your business plan. Even so, there are always new ways to let people know about your business so it's a good idea to continually revise your marketing plan.

By : Deborah_Pretty

Which Subcontractors to Choose For Your Cleaning Business?

Subcontractors play an important role in your house cleaning business. In fact, they can be very important in the growing of your cleaning company. How is this so? They can open cleaning business opportunities for you, and they can also boost your cleaning business' marketing as well. That is why choosing the right subcontractors for your cleaning business is a crucial aspect that you must give focus on.

Choose Who Can Promote

In choosing which subcontractors to work with, choose those who can help in the promotion of your business. But such, this means that they can open more cleaning business opportunities for you by being able to tell their other clients about you.

Of course, you should choose a subcontractor who doesn't offer the same services as you do. Otherwise, things can end up the other way around - you end up bringing customers to them and losing yours.

Remember that customers like to work with a single company that has everything they need; something like a one stop shop. So make sure that the subcontractor you hire can make your house cleaning business grow by allowing you to provide a service that your client requested for (but you don't have in your basic services list) and not the other way around.

Choose Who Can Do Things Like You Do

If you have standards on how your jobs should be done, then most clients will like you and in fact, they are most likely to refer you to their friends and relatives too. So when choosing a subcontractor for a certain service, choose one that can do things as well as you can.

That will maintain the standards that your company is known for, and that will also make things go smoothly with the client. See that decision of yours as a good cleaning business marketing consideration - you can't just choose anyone to do the job, especially when it's your name that is at stake.

Choose Who Are Pleasant

Another thing that you should be conscious of, when working with subcontractors, is to note if they are pleasant people - their crew, especially. When you send these people to your client's homes or offices, these people represent you.

And if they are rude or mean, that would be bad advertisement for your cleaning company. So always try to make sure that you can control the quality of people you send to your clients.

Hence, just like in hiring your own cleaning crew, be conscious of their background because they do the job in your client's place under your company's name. You can't afford having them mess things up.

By : Janice_Fowler

Friday, July 30, 2010

Increase Traffic to Your Trade Show Stall With Giveaways

A trade convention is an exposition of current merchandise and services by businesses under the similar industry. These happenings are commonly graced by countless number of people who are tremendously inclined about the merchandise and services of a particular business trade.

These people are not just hungry for merchandise knowledge and information. Most often, companies that join trade shows should attract possible buyers by edging against their rivals in their industry.

Every company aspires to construct a good name in the market. Trade shows serve as the battlefield where the greatest stands out. How can a company augment traffic in their trade show booths? An exceptional and edgy reward is the answer.

So before handing something yet, read further to know what types of promotional products can win the hearts of your prospective buyers.

Make sure to create something that will be far different from your opponents. It is a general depictions that two brands are distributing almost the same type of promotional incentive. Office supplies like pen is a common incentive because it is low-cost. So, for your pen to stand out, do not just imprint your name on it.

Exert effort to put a part of your firm on it. So every time they use this giveaway, it will establish swift recall. For example, if you are under the construction industry, try supplying a nail-shaped pen or a house-shaped stress ball.

Think of other gimmicks that transcend the conventional way of promoting a merchandise. Do not just hand them out. Instead amalgamate a little game on distributing your customized goodies like spin the wheel or color game.

Capitalizing on this leisurely way, people will not just enjoy achieving free promotional giveaways at the same time it will boost traffic in your trade show booth. In addition, it will also spark the interest level of these people on the product of service that your corporation presents.

Those are some helpful suggestion on how to amplify traffic on your trade show booths. So, if you have other ideas that would perk these up; go ahead and infuse it with yours. As what they said, two heads are better than one.

By : Beth_Loggins

Wines, Spirits and Hampers Are Not Always Good Value As Corporate Gifts

Corporate gifts of wines, spirits and hampers are different from many business and promotional gifts in that they are not usually personalized in the same overt way as corporate gifts for the office - sometimes just a tag from the sender is notification.

Other than this there is very little actual advertising associated with these products although some companies do use their own personalized wine labels. Their own labels are often affixed to standard wines and, to some eyes, may look a little tacky when the quality of a wine should be all-important.

Corporate gifts of wines, spirits and hampers include champagne, smoked salmon, succulent hams, Stilton and hand-made chocolates. All of which - and this is most important - are exquisitely presented in stylish presentation boxes and contemporary basket-ware.

Whether launching a product, holding a conference, giving a gift to your own staff, sales force, retired employees or your own valued clients, brand names on this prestigious gift are all-important to emphasize the high perceived value.

Here are some suggestions that may tempt you; however, remember once these gifts are gone, they are gone, and, unlike desktop corporate gifts, your logo and contact details are nowhere in sight.

If you decide on champagne then choose only the prestigious brands and do not forget they come in other sizes as well as bottles; you will certainly stand out from the crowd if you give a jeroboam or a Methuselah.

A two or three bottle presentation pack of selected themed wines is always acceptable; favorites being French wines but quality Californian, Australian, South African or New Zealand are acceptable. Alternatively, send a presentation case containing three wines from different countries.

Pursuing the themed idea, you can build a presentation box around a selection of port, sherry or whiskey.

Even though the perennial favorite, a presentation pack of quality port together with a half moon of finest Stilton, is not very original it is still a corporate gift to savor. Alternatively, ring the changes with the classic combination of caviar and vodka or perhaps a bottle of port together with a pack of the finest French truffles.

Traditional hampers filled with a choice selection of delicious food and wine are always popular whether in the original willow hamper basket or an attractive decorated carton giving scope for imaginative full-color personalization. Hampers are especially versatile in that you can choose a stock item or select the contents from a predetermined budget menu.

Favorite hamper contents are wines, cheeses, hams, smoked salmon, chocolates, oatcakes, jams, brandy snaps, shortcakes, mince pies, Christmas puddings, brandy butter, Christmas cakes, nuts and deluxe Belgian chocolates.

However, corporate gifts of wines, spirits and hampers are not the most economical and it is certainly questionable whether they give the same value for money as other corporate gifts and promotional items. Nonetheless, if the budget is flexible enough you will certainly have a bunch of satisfied customers; at least for a little while.

On the other hand, will they remember the provider of the magnificent gift of a luxury hamper later in the year? Perhaps not; so it is maybe yes or maybe no to corporate gifts of wines, spirits & hampers.

By : Jack_Ritchies

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top Tips on Motivating Others

Keeping you team motivated can sometimes be hard work. Here are a few suggestions of ways that you can get them motivated and keep them motivated.

1. Get Passionate!

When motivating others you need to think about what motivates you. Then you need to get passionate!

Is there something in our life that you feel passionate about. It might be a hobby or sport that you enjoy. In order for you to really enjoy it and feel part of the process, you need to get passionate. When you talk about it to someone else your face lights up and you become animated. This will often draw others into the passion and get them to contribute their opinions.

Passion comes from the heart and is manifest as optimism, excitement, determination. Enthusiasm is deeply rooted in the power of choice rather than circumstance.

To motivate others then, being passionate about a subject can rub off onto them so that they pick up on your enthusiasms. Adverts are passionate, sales language is frequently passionate. Now it's your turn. Enthusiasm is contagious.

2. Identify their Passion

Having got passionate yourself, what happens if your passion does not match that of your colleague, member of staff... If you are motivating others, sometimes you have to put things into a framework that works with their passions.

If you are not sure what they are, ask them. This is also true for goals. Your goals may well not be someone else's so you will need to find a way to align your goals so that you are all in a win/win situation.

Making the person part of the solution rather than part of the problem will help motivate both them and you.

3. Act with Integrity

If you want others to follow your lead, make sure that your integrity is intact. You will never be able to get people on board if not. Think about the MPs expenses saga last year. Integrity allows you to develop trust, and where there is low trust it is difficult to inspire followers.

So one of your tasks as a manager is to create a model of high trust and integrity by setting a good example. Integrity is something which is so important and so valuable. Never compromise it.

4. Give Feedback

Remember that employee motivation is an ongoing process, not a once off task. So any opportunity you have to strengthen this process should be used. Giving feedback (particularly negative feedback) can often be difficult. But people need feedback to grow and overcome their blind spots.

Using the time for feedback positively however, can be give you a great opportunity to find new ways to motivate people. Very often given the right encouragement, people will find their own way to motivate themselves. Using feedback maybe a good way to find out what these are.

5. Reward Positive Behaviour

When teaching killer whales to jump through hoops, it is not possible to criticise the whale if it gets it wrong. So the trainers use small pieces of fish to encourage the whale to swim through the hoop under the water. They gradually raise the hoop until it is out of the water and the whale jumps to get its piece of fish.

By continually rewarding positive behaviour and providing complements rather than criticism, others will react more positively to the behaviour you would like them to adopt. Why not try it for a week and see what response you get.

6. Celebrate small wins

Don't forget to celebrate small wins. It is so easy to be put off achieving things by forgetting to mark those occasions when something has gone well. Build small wins into the programme and make sure that they are celebrated.

Remember to say thank you. It sounds so easy, but it is frequently forgotten.

By : Berry_Winter

Reasons Business Teamwork is Important For Every Business

The nature of inter-business teams is evolving and changing every day; however, the underlying foundation of what teams can provide to a business is not. Teams provide an excellent leadership component for a business.

When all members of a team feel equal and they are all working toward the same goal, each person will give all of their efforts to do the best job they can. You can get the most productivity out of employees when they are a part of a team.

Effective communication comes from business teamwork. When a team of people exists, everyone will be able to provide feedback on issues and receive feedback.

This is a more effective solution to communication because when individuals work alone, feedback rarely exists. Teams allow for everyone to be a part of a solution. Feedback is important. A break in communication is rare as compared to people working alone on tasks.

Business teamwork allows people to establish their roles and it eliminates confusion about who is working on which part of a project. It is common for people who work individually to be confused about their role or what they should be working on, without a strong managerial leader.

When people work in a team, they have a project with specific tasks at hand to complete and they are delegated appropriately. In most cases in a team, people agree on which part of the project they will work on and there is no confusion.

Teams allow for a faster completion of a project. This means a company can benefit from both decreased cost and decreasing time it takes to complete the project. Clients are usually happier when they can see the end result more quickly than expected as well. Time is a big factor when implementing teams of people.

Business teamwork is vital for success. Keep in mind when building a team of people for a project that there must be one person appointed as a team leader.

This is because delegation must still take place, and there needs to be a person ensuring that each person in the team is working to achieve their goals. The team as an entity is working toward the same goal but the leader should provide support and guidance.

Business teamwork is beneficial to companies today. They allow for a higher productivity rate with a company because they create ownership and a level of motivation with employees because they see the importance of their role individually and how they can make a difference in their team. Teams can also save money by completing projects more quickly than by individuals working alone.

By : Tony_Jacowski

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 Things Every Manager Should Know

In working with clients over the years to develop programs for new supervisors/managers - there are some skills, knowledge and competencies that rise to the top of "must have's" for someone in a management role. These are in no particular order, but all are of equal importance to be successful in a management role.

* Finance 101: Understand the basics of finance; know how to read a balance sheet, understand how to create a budget.

* Feedback: Learn how to give constructive feedback; provide those who report to you with feedback on a regular basis about how they are doing.

* Influence: Effective managers can persuade others to accomplish the organizational goals; just telling someone what to do doesn't work - even if they report to you. The most successful managers are able to influence others to move in the direction they need them to go.

* Interpersonal understanding: Managers must understand those around them; not just their staff, but their managers and the other department heads/employees. The ability to understand how others think and what's important to them helps to ensure success in accomplishing your goals.

* Motivate: Learn how to motivate those around you - what's important to your staff? Not everyone is motivated by the same things and a good manager understands their staff and what motivates them to come to work each day and do a good job.

* Team leadership: Team leadership requires ensuring the team - whether your own staff or others - understand the mission, goals and objectives before them. A strong team leader builds effective teams that can accomplish the goals of the organization and enables the team to move toward a common goal.

* Planning: The ability to effectively plan projects is important for any manager. This requires sharing the vision with others, getting them on board, creating plans to implement the vision, and ensuring timelines are met and budgets are managed.

* Problem solving: Effective managers know how to understand a situation completely - they plan, they don't react. Understanding the root cause of a situation is necessary in order to effective problem solve the issue.

* Communication - written and verbal: Strong communication skills is required of everyone, and especially of managers. The ability to effective and efficiently communicate changes, plans, next steps, the direction of the organization, etc. is required to ensure that staff understands where they need to head and how to get there. Effective communication builds trust.

* Organizational awareness:
It's important to understand how things happen within the organization and how things get done. What are the informal paths involved in meeting goals. What is the culture of the organization? How do departments work with each other? This "insider knowledge" about the organization is key to the effectiveness of the manager and ensures the ability to get things accomplished.

In addition, no matter what your role - there are some core values that are of importance for everyone, including:

* Honesty and integrity
* Focus on the customer
* Respect for others
* Cultural awareness

So much more can be added to this list! What would you add? What's important for managers to ensure they are successful?

By : Gina_Abudi

Beginner Beekeeping - Seven Steps to Success

Beginner beekeeping is a worthwhile commitment for a person or group of people. This article looks at six steps which should be followed to create a successful beekeeping hobby or small business.

1. Take a Beekeeping Course

The most convenient way to do a beekeeping course is to do it online.This gives a basic knowledge that is needed to begin beekeeping. The course should be operated by an experienced beekeeper who can communicate his or her ideas well.

2. Join a Local Beekeepers' Association

If you are in the countryside it will be harder to upset your neighbors. For instance, if the bees swarm they will generally still be on your property. However, whether you are an urban, suburban, or countryside beekeeper you will benefit enormously from joining your local beekeeping association (if there is one). However, you can acquire the basic knowledge you need from an online or offline course.

3. Find a Place for the Hives

If you are wanting to keep bee hives in a city please check with the local authorities whether bees can be kept within the city limits and any rules or bylaws that apply. In the city the top of an apartment building is one option or perhaps a communal garden or backyard. If living or having access to a suburban backyard this would be an ideal place within a city. There is an amazingly high amount of forage for bees in most cities. There are many gardens and parks where flowers grow.

In the country there should be no problems keeping bees on your property.

4. Acquire Beekeeping Equipment

New bee hives and tools are recommended because you can be absolutely certain that your equipment is free of diseases. Although it is unlikely that second-hand beekeeping equipment has diseases on it, it is possible. You will also need good protective equipment especially if you are in any way allergic to bee stings. Beginner beekeeping equipment is available online or at your local beekeeping supplies company.

5. Acquire Bees

You can order a box of bees from quite a few different places that you can find on the internet. The bee box will include a queen who will be in a queen cage separated from the rest of the bees.

6. Manage the Bee Hives

You will firstly set up your hives and this requires some knowledge of bees. You will also need to know how to manage hives and a good beginner beekeeping course will show you how to do this on a regular and planned basis.

7. Harvest the Honey

The reward for your time and effort is your honey which will taste better than any honey you have eaten before because you (and your bees) made it! Getting the honey from the hive (extracting) to your, your friends', or customers' tables also requires some beginner beekeeping knowledge. Again find a good beekeeping course to do this last step.

By : Bill_Rutherfurd

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

3 Reasons You Should Generate Leads With Networking

Have you ever had the desire to generate leads with networking and make positive changes to your business life? Several people have already accomplished this. Unbelievably, dozens are still contemplating the idea and have yet to put it into gear.

All too many lacked the wherewithal to investigate, evaluate, and simply learn more. As a result they're still standing still.

Let's turn our attention away from these poor souls for second. Let's take a look at the positive possibilities and probe into 3 reasons why you should generate leads through networking.

First of all, you must firmly believe that there is no other type of connecting like that of in person, personal contact. Of course, many will attest that online networking is the new wave way to form affiliations. You can reach more people in less time because of the lack of the necessity to travel.

I won't argue with that point at all but I can't look into a person's eyes, gather a general vibe, and shake hands with a computer screen a mouse, or a keyboard likewise, neither can your potential leads.

Second up, you truly ought to consider that people skills are ever evolving area of self improvement. What better way to sharpen those skills then with one on one practice with a real person. And additionally, consider that if you hone your face to face skills, you will be doubly as effective on the phone or online.

Third and lastly, you will definitely get much deserved respect when you are recognized in various places as a familiar face. You would be known as someone who people have met personally. This, of course, takes time but it's well worth it. This will probably result in expanded, automatic credibility. And moreover, isn't that something very valuable when you are wanting to generate leads?

Within all of the above info lies a pretty good list of reasons in support of generating leads through networking. What is your opinion?

So now, consider that for a minute or two. This doesn't mean to completely quit anything else that you are currently doing to generate leads. However, a good case has been made in support of doing it. Maybe you really should.

By : J._H._Lee

Monday, July 26, 2010

How the Waves of Talent Intelligence Propel the Voyage of Business Innovation Forward

With information doubling at the speed of light (at least it seems that way when reading all the alerts and ezines that hit my email In Box each week), it does appear staying ahead of the flow is required for those engaged in business innovation.

Those who understand the words of Marcel Proust "The true voyage of discovery is not seeing new landscapes, but seeing the same landscapes with new eyes." are ahead of the game.

And the game is always changing. For the last decade, talent management has become a mantra for many. Terms within this area of performance improvement include human capital, business intelligence and employee retention.

This is why this recent article at ERE intrigued me. The discussion by author John Zappe examined this new term of Talent Intelligence.

For the last 20 plus years, I have observed how talent is misused. The wrong people in the wrong seats on the bus so to speak to paraphrase Jim Collins in Good to Great.

My observation and that of one of my colleagues, Jay Niblick president of Innermetrix and author of What's Your Genius, is that people focus far too much on what they do wrong and on their weaker talents than focus on what they do well that being their stronger talents. And in some cases, they will turn non-talents (not necessary for their current roles) into weaknesses.

Part of this is due to negative conditioning from early childhood. The other part is the focus on improving our weaknesses from our school education.

Just imagine what would happen if all this misdirected money, emotions and energies were redirected to knowing what we do well? Then we could choose exactly what talents could take us from where we are to where we want to be. Finally, we could create a plan of action to "Make it so" as Captain Picard from Star Trek Enterprise so often said. (I really miss that series.)

Where would business innovation be if these actions were taken?

Unfortunately, most people do not know their talents or lack talent intelligence. To correct this situation begins by assessing where individuals are now so they can know their talents and how those talents affect their decision making styles as well as their levels of optimism and pessimism. There are several instruments out there than can assist in what is really a performance appraisal of talent intelligence.

Possibly in the future, talent intelligence quotient (TIQ) will be more important than IQ or emotional intelligence (EQ). However right now, the first step is to identify the talent intelligence within your business and then use that information to propel your voyage of business innovation forward.

By : Leanne_Hoagland-Smith

Innovation and Creativity - Your Competition is Copying Your Best Ideas While You're Sleeping

If you've got a great product or service, you're going to be copied, challenged, reversed engineered or outright pirated, it's a fact of business life.

When I first entered the medical billing business back in 1989, there were no other companies in my niche (ambulance billing) in my state. Fast forward 23 years and there are now ten companies that are directly competing with my firm for some part of the ambulance billing business in my home state.

Now the interesting thing is that only one competitor has opted to match service levels and they are the latest entry into the game. This competitor only has 5 clients, and none of them are of substantial size or volume, should I be concerned?'s time to reinvent our service offerings again.

This poaching of clients, ideas or advertising offers and methods is simply part of business and it took me a while to both realize and to not to get angry about it. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but not when the flattery costs me money to get. Now all of this said, it doesn't mean you should simply accept this as a fact of live and take it lying down.

Your job, my job, is to continuously innovate, look for new services, new delivery methods, complimentary products or services that can be offered to clients. Let me tell you about one great, but relatively simple, example that some business owners might overlook. It comes from a small two person massage therapy center.

The center is located in a building with multiple other companies, a tax preparation firm, a hair salon, a tanning salon and a realtor. Do you see any potential complimentary service offerings in that list?

The obvious ones are the tanning salon and the hair salon. The three businesses did join together to create a SPA DAY event where, for a fixed price and fixed menus of services, a person could enjoy what all three had to offer and enjoy a complimentary lunch as well...a great idea but that's the easy one.

The massage center also structured Stress Reduction Sessions that were 30 minutes in length and at a reduced price during tax reason and for the buyers of property through the realtor. These are great complimentary offerings because, even with the great tax or realty services, each can still be a stressful event.

Both of these are great ways to increase business, especially the home buyers, since they are relocating into the area.

These are just a couple of quick, inexpensive, innovative and creative ways to fight competition and build strong alliances with other local business owners. What can you do in your local area?

In the words of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, "My attitude was that competition can try to steal my plans and copy my style. But they can't read my mind; so I'll leave them a mile and a half behind"

By : Bob_Holdsworth

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Make a Good Brochure

For people in various fields of work, it is important to know how to create a good pamphlet, whether it is only for co-workers or whether it is for the general public. This article has tips for writing the perfect pamphlet and how the reader can be affected the words and the formatting used for the pamphlet.

When making a pamphlet, it is important to keep in mind what the brochure holders will look like and what the brochure displays should be. These are both also very important elements to think about when it comes to creating a pamphlet.

Below are some tips on how to make a good pamphlet for both in-house and out-of-house information along with a brief explanation as to why each tip will work:

1. Keep the wording simple and straightforward.

Most the time, the reader is just glancing at the information anyway so you want to keep it brief. Be sure to make any words or phrases that are important stand out by putting them in bold print, italics, or highlighted. If you have too many words on a page, people will not even want to look at the page because it just looks like there is way too much information on the page than what they are looking for.

2. It is extremely important to know who your audience is and which thing about which they would want to know.

For example, if you are writing a pamphlet about your company's new health care plan for employees you would want to inform them about information that is important to them, like price of the plan, and maybe how it is different from the old plan.

3. Try to incorporate some pictures to fill in empty space that will be there from the lack of words.

It is important to be careful because pictures can a little tricky. You want to have only a few pictures to cover a little bit of the white space, so you should not have many pictures all cluttered together. You also want to make sure the picture is appropriate for the message and that is actually looks good.

Many times people or companies just simply stick any picture on the pamphlet without really thinking about it. If it is a picture of a person you are putting on the pamphlet, make sure it is flattering of them and that they are either doing something that involves what you are discussing in the pamphlet or that they are at their desk without any clutter in the photo. This makes the material much more professional looking.

4. Make the pamphlet really stand out by using some color.

This is another tip that needs to be taken into some consideration. If you choose to use color on your pamphlet, make sure it is not too offensive to look at, like a bright, neon color that might make someone turn away. If you are using colored paper to make the pamphlet, you may want to use an off-white color that might grab someone's attention because it is different than just white or use color that is not neon or very bright.

If these tips are followed, then the pamphlet is sure to be very good for any type of audience.

By : Connor_R_Sullivan

Real Estate Advertising Choices

In the Real Estate Market, advertising and marketing is essential to success. Realtors and Reality businesses are always in the position to market themselves and those who utilize the proper tools reap the rewards. Below you will find a list of effective real estate advertising choices that can turn invisibility into highly visible almost immediately.

Business Cards

Business cards are always a staple for any business but especially important to a real estate agent. This is a direct line of communication for the client or potential client and the realtor. Every real estate agent or realtor should have a professionally design business card.

Magnetic Sign

Magnetic signs have become a popular choice for realtors throughout the states and beyond. This is because magnetic signs are versatile, readily seen and eye-catching. A realtor can place a magnetic sign anywhere it will stick. The most common places for a magnetic realtor sign is on the car, file cabinets and boats.

Anywhere they will be highly visible to a high traffic area is a good option. Cars are one of the best options because they reach many people in a short amount of time. They also never stop working for you while they are stuck to the side of the car. When you are at a stoplight, parked in a parking lot getting groceries or doing anything else "off the clock", your magnetic sign is still working!

Another benefit of the magnetic advertising sign is that it is removable. This is especially handy for times when you do not want to advertise, or, you live in a deed restricted community.

Sidewalk Signs

For realtors who have a business location, sidewalk signs are a great option. Having pertinent information about the real estate industry and why it is a good time to buy or sell is always a draw for someone that is on the fence about either.

Having a sidewalk sign make your name known, even if most of the people passing by have no interest in real estate at that point in time. One thing you can count on for sure, is that they will either need realtor services in the future or know someone who needs realtor services. When that time comes, your name could be one they remember from your advertising.

Vinyl Banners

Although this may seem a bit on the extreme side, vinyl banners can actually offer great exposure in the right places. Have you ever thought of attending an event where you could purchase a booth to set up there? A vinyl banner is a perfect option for this scenario. If you do not like the idea about a hanging vinyl banner, opt for using a banner stand instead.

There are a myriad of advertising options available to realtors. If used appropriately and in conjunction with one another, they could prove to up business significantly with little investment out of pocket. All of these options are affordable and offer the biggest return on investment which makes it the perfect fit.

By : Ara_A_Abrahamian

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Custom Plush Toys - Having Payment Terms

One of the issues that you have to face as a plush toy manufacturer is payment terms. This is a reality that you have to face if you are going to offer your custom plush toys to retailers. It's a challenge at first if you don't know how to play the game. But in order to succeed, you may need to offer payment terms for your plush stuffed toys and there are some bumps that you may encounter along the way.

If you want to be in the driver seat, you can offer your custom plush toys to new retailers. They're on the lookout for products to fill shelf space. Now, they haven't proven yet that they can pay so it would be logical to accept cash, check or credit card upfront. You really can't offer them payment terms because they haven't proven yet their ability to pay.

As a starting plush toy manufacturer, you really can't have retailers not paying you on time. Sure, you can perform a credit check with their permission. But it will be a hassle for you. So for the first sale, accept upfront payments for your plush stuffed toys. You can then offer a more flexible payment term as you continue to build on your relationship.

But of course, you can't focus on new retailers only. To be a successful plush toy manufacturer, you also have to offer to the big boys. Now as a "big boy", a big retailer can demand payment terms for the plush stuffed toys. Now, you have to understand them.

They're not being greedy at all. As successful retailers, they have a lot of people like you competing for shelf space. So it would be a matter of "scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". They also became successful retailers because they have great relationships with their suppliers.

After all, they wouldn't have people competing for shelf space if they didn't pay on time. Also, they deal with a lot of suppliers and you can't really expect them to pay everyone in 15 days. So if you want to offer to them, be ready to offer payment terms of 60 days or even more.

Why should you be willing to offer flexible payment terms? These big stores can give your custom plush toys the exposure it needs for you to be a successful plush toy manufacturer. There's a reason why a lot of people are competing for shelf space. It's because you can easily sell your plush stuffed toys with the help of these big retailers.

You also don't need to do a credit check. They're well known and it's public information if they're having financial troubles or not. Being ready deal and compromise with them can save you a lot of hassles and be great for your product. Work hard, and be polite, and you can find a payment term that works for both parties.

As a plush toy manufacturer, choose who you deal with. Be conservative with the payment terms for your custom plush toys if you're dealing with an unproven retailer. If you're going to offer your plush stuffed toys with the big retailers, be ready because they'll try to dictate when they can pay. Be prepared and be flexible, because it will ultimately be beneficial for you.

By : Rob_E_Bishop

Sales Negotiations - How Do You Get From the Middle to the End?

How many times has this happened to you: there you are, you've jumped into a sales negotiation and started off with your initial negotiating position. The other side did exactly the same thing. You are miles apart and it seems like there is no way that you are ever going to bridge the gap. What do you do now?

Movement Is Good
Although it sure can feel mighty lonely when you are in the first half of a sales negotiation, take heart - this is exactly what needs to happen. Both sides always start far apart, have some conflict and stake out their positions. This is when things start to really get interesting.

Expert sales negotiators realize that after all of this posturing is done is when the real work of crafting a deal really beings. Yes, there is a lot of distance between where you and the other side of the table sit right now; however, it's up to you to find ways to narrow that gap.

Your job is to knuckle down and look for which issues you and the other side are closer together on. These are where you can initially spend your time trying to find ways to move closer to an agreement.

Your negotiating strategy and the other side's will be in flux at this time. You'll try different things and some will work, some won't. You will test the other side's commitment to some of their positions and they'll do the same with you.

Much of this stage of the negotiation is based on power. You will be working to find out just exactly what the other side really wants to get out of the negotiation. The goal of this phase is for both sides of the table to come away with the belief that a deal is possible.

Into The Fire
It takes a lot of guts to be a good sales negotiator. You'll have to prove yourself when you move to the next stage of a negotiation - this is when the hard bargaining starts.

Both sides realize that a deal is possible. However, you'll change your tactics. You want to end up with the best deal possible and that means that you need the other side of the table to make as many concessions to you as you can get. Unfortunately the other side of the table is thinking exactly the same thing.

This is where the bare-knuckle brawling really comes out. Different sides threaten to leave, do leave, come back, etc. Pretty much every negotiation tactic in the book gets whipped out and tried during this phase of the negotiation.

This is a very difficult part of the negotiation to make it through. However, professional sales negotiators do make it through by realizing two important things: where they currently are, and where they are close to being. They know that if they can stick with it, they're almost done.

Striking A Deal
You will never be able to negotiate the perfect deal. What will happen is that you'll push and push to get a better deal and eventually you'll hit the brick wall at the end of the tunnel - you're not going to get any more from the other side.

When this happens, you've reached the end of the negotiation. You need to take a moment and asses where you are. Can you live with the deal that is currently on the table?

You need to realize that if you can't, then you are going to have to start negotiations all over with another partner. However, if you can live with the deal, then you are very close to being done.

Assuming that the deal that gets written down accurately reflects what you think that you verbally agreed to (it doesn't always!), then you've successfully negotiated a deal.

What All Of This Means For You
Inexperienced sales negotiators can often get lost in the middle of a sales negotiation. They know how to start the negotiation; however, once it's under way and they realize just how much distance there is between their position and the other side's, they don't know what to do next.

The correct thing to do is to realize that you need to spend time working to close the gaps. Once this has been done, you will be in for some hard negotiating in order to move towards closure. A deal isn't done until both sides can agree on a written version of the agreement.

Professional sales negotiators have a secret weapon. They never give up hope no matter how difficult things get. That's what makes the deals that they reach feel so good for both sides of the table.

By : Dr._Jim_Anderson

Friday, July 23, 2010

People Buy People - A Sales Mantra

In recent years the sales persons mantra has been "people buy people" which in turn supports the belief that 'it's not about sales but about relationships'.

Clearly this shift from "customer service" to "customer relationship" has transformed selling and the sale process, particularly in business to business sales. But perhaps it is time we questioned some of the behaviours and attitudes that stem from these beliefs.

To some the 'relationship' aspect of the sales-customer relationship is still simply about the lunch-time meeting; dinners (perhaps on expenses) and all that goes with the notion of wooing a potential client or prospect.

In some senses it became a game that both parties knew they were playing... the subtext of the relationship being to make a sale by convincing, coercing and closing.

Today's sales professional plays the outer game of providing solutions and hence the dialogue comes from a different place.

The assumption can still be however that 'people buy people', and deals are closed on the basis of whether the client 'likes' or 'gets on with' the salesperson.

This is perhaps an erroneous assumption...

OF course people are more likely to meet and do business with someone they like BUT if that person cannot meet the values expectations of the client then there will be no deal.

The professional sales relationship is not only about being 'a nice guy' but about the qualities and values that can be promoted and delivered.

The current economic downturn creates some exciting possibilities for sales teams (there's loads of pain out there!) and these opportunities will come to those who can:-

Promote, build and develop relationships
Inspire trust and create meaningful dialogue
Promote and act upon the core values of their service and/or product
Enter into a solutions based discussion with a real intention to help and not necessarily to sell
Bring a value proposition to solve problems and move clients closer to their business goals

And the KEY SKILLS for effective sales people in these interesting times...

To be able to shut up and listen.

Far too many sales people forget that it should be the customer/client who needs to do most of the talking. How can you be open to what is being said if all you are doing is waiting for an opportunity to deliver your pre-prepared sales pitch.

To be able to ask questions.

Finding out about the prospects business, their needs and their aspirations is something many sales folk claim they are able to do. Maybe so, but "finding out" is about effective questioning and that is a skill which often needs to be honed and refined.

To be a source of information.

Sales people are experts in the fields they work within. They often have intelligence about market trends, challenges and developments which will effect their clients directly. Having this information makes them a valuable resource to their clients over and above any benefits their product or service may bring.

In other words...

Foreground the clients needs. dreams, goals and challenges whilst stopping yourself from launching into a feature-benefits pitch about the ready made solution you are wanting to sell.

There is an 'inner game' that needs to be mastered. That is the game of coming to a sales meeting with the genuine intention of understanding a clients business; questioning their needs; uncovering their challenges and providing solutions.

By : Alan_B_Jones

Six Strategies to Accelerate Business Banking Sales Now

Maybe it's true: If you stepped on the sales accelerator now, perhaps your bank's sales engine would cough or die. The market is bad. There's a lot of uncertainty. Maybe your bank still has credit quality challenges... or now you're INCREDIBLY PICKY about to whom you will lend. Competitors may have better products, perhaps at lower prices. Your salespeople may think the quality of the leads they're getting is poor, or that they're spread too thin.

But now is not the time for excuse making. Instead, implement these six strategies to retune and restore power to your bank's sales engine.

1. Target sales efforts

When times are slow, sales team standards go lower. Salespeople sell to "everybody" whether or not they are a good fit for the bank, saying, "If we don't sell to them, somebody else will," or "If I don't sell to them, I won't make quota." When bank credit standards are high, sales team members can freeze or give up, saying, "The Loan Center isn't approving anything, or they change their standards week by week, so why bother?"

Both statements may be true, but they aren't good guides to profitable sales growth. In many companies, the top 10-20 percent of customers generate 80 percent or more of profits and sales, while the bottom 20-40 percent may be marginally profitable or unprofitable.

Targeting your sales efforts is a better strategy, in both lean times and good. Ask yourself and your sales team:

* Do you know who your most profitable (and credit-worthy) accounts are and why they are profitable? What are the demographics of these accounts?
* What are the industries, situations, or companies that need the value you offer? What is your value proposition to them (and it may be different for specific industries)?
* What specific companies or buying centers within those industries and companies are you targeting? How are you applying your value proposition to them?

Then, ask your salespeople the really difficult question: May I see your plan for attacking these industries and companies? In our experience, most salespeople have not developed written plans for their businesses, and most do not have written plans of any length for their top five accounts. If 80 percent of your revenue per salesperson is coming from their top five accounts, your sales future is at risk.

Action steps:

* Define your value proposition clearly.
* Define the buyers who are "in" your sales and credit target zones and those who are "out" of it.
* Align yourself or your sales team members to deliver the best value to "in target zone" buyers and focus yourself on them through planning and active strategy coaching.
* Discourage or don't pay incentive compensation for sales that come from "out of target zone" buyers.

2. Position and differentiate value

Once your salespeople open conversations with your target customers and prospects, you must make sure they can articulate your value proposition and differentiate it from other banks' propositions. If your bank's credit standards are more stringent than other banks' standards, this is particularly important.

Value, in this context, means a change in your customers' business operations (revenue, costs, risks, time) or feelings about themselves or their businesses. A "features-advantages-values" assessment will help you and your salespeople understand and communicate your bank's value.

Action steps:

* Write statements describing what's different about your staff, products, and work methods and what value those differences create for your clients.
* Validate with your clients that they see it the same way and that they will pay for the value either through the fees they pay or the loyalty they afford you (e.g. by staying with the bank or by giving you first look and last look at any new opportunity).
* Make sure your salespeople can deliver short statements that describe your bank's value, distinguish that value from other banks' values, and demonstrate their own personal value to your clients and prospects.

3. Boost sales capacity

Notice this says "boost capacity," not "hire more salespeople." Particularly in lean times, sales managers want to reduce costs by reducing headcount, particularly administrative headcount. Inevitably, they ask salespeople to take on more and more administrative work, expecting somehow that sales efforts will continue unabated.

Our research indicates that the average business-to-business salesperson dedicates less than 30 percent of his or her time to conversations with prospects and customers. Meanwhile, they spend somewhere between 30-40 percent of their time on administrative tasks, and the balance on servicing and traveling to and from their accounts.

If this is true in your bank, you're paying your salespeople to be unproductive, and you're making it worse if you're firing $20-an-hour sales support staff. The numbers may suggest you might consider hiring more support staff.

Suppose one of your salespeople generates $450,000 of gross profit per year in 15 hours per week of selling time (30 percent of 50 hours). That's $600 gross profit per selling hour (assuming a 50-week year). If you increase the sales rep's effective selling time by two hours per week, you could generate $60,000 in additional gross profit, more than enough to pay for a full-time administrator for that sales rep.

Action steps:

* Determine time spent on specific tasks and gross profit per selling hour for all sales reps.
* If profit per selling hour is greater than cost of an administrator per hour, consider hiring administrative support.
* Design your fulfillment and account management processes to reduce demands on your sales peoples' time. Eliminate steps that do not add value to clients.

4. Increase activity discipline

Most sales managers manage most salespeople based on results. Salespeople love this: "Don't worry about how I do it, boss, just measure my results." There are several problems with this approach:

* You lose the opportunity to understand the relationships between activities and results that would help you understand your sales teams' efficiency and effectiveness.
* You lose opportunities to coach salespeople to higher levels of performance.
* You lose any hope of consistency in the market.
* You lose sales opportunities.

Why do you lose sales opportunities? Because salespeople, in general, look for low-hanging fruit and stop reaching out to buyers who aren't ready to buy now. For example, check to see how many attempts are needed to book an appointment with a prospect; we'd expect that the number would be between three and seven attempts. If your sales activity discipline is low, we'd also expect that your salespeople will stop calling for appointments after two or three attempts.

Action steps:

* Develop a success model that connects activities to results.
* Create benchmarks that define the path to success (activities, work in process and results).
* Coach and manage to the success path benchmarks.

5. Grab market mindshare

Many companies compete for less than 10 percent of the business available to them because their salespeople aren't aware of or haven't contacted the prospects and aren't engaged with them when they're ready to make a change. As a result, prospects feel no connection to your salespeople or your bank when they're ready to change.

Maintaining prospects' and customers' top-of-mind awareness of your bank requires a series of "touches" throughout the year. These may be phone calls, e-mails, encounters at networking or community events, letters, or face-to-face calls. Once you have identified your targets, touch them consistently and relentlessly. This includes the touches needed to obtain appointments and maintain top-of-mind awareness after initial contact.

To ensure that you and your salespeople are focusing your touches on the best targets, tier your prospects and customers and determine how many touches are appropriate for each tier. For example, you might determine:

* Six to eight touches per year for high potential/most profitable prospects, of which two or three should be face to face.
* Four to six touches for medium potential prospects and top tier clients.
* Two to four touches for low potential prospects and low and medium tier clients.

To maximize your sales team's efficiency, use automated software to generate letters or emails, and use support staff to manage the paperwork.

6. Pay for performance

The number one mistake in sales compensation is paying salespeople for not selling or for underperformance. Fixing this mistake is usually beyond the scope of team leaders, within the scope of line-of-business leaders or segment leaders, and so time-consuming (working with HR, handling all of the legal issues) that many sales leaders fiddle with the incentive compensation plan without making major changes.

That said: If salespeople can earn what they need without doing what you want them to, you won't get what you want. You can't make salespeople earn more than they want to earn. To fix this problem (these are the steps I recommend, but I'm not saying it's easy), think about compensation in three levels: need to survive (pay rent, etc.), want (important add-ons like fancier vacations, private lessons for the kids, etc.) and dream (the obscenely fast car, the BIG house, etc.). Then:

* Define the outcomes you want very clearly.
* Connect incentive compensation to outcomes you want.
* Set base and incentive compensation at goal to cover "need to survive" plus a little "want."
* Set additional compensation (performance above goal) to cover some portion of "want."
* For extraordinary performance (you define this), set incentive compensation to cover "want" and some percentage of "dream."

A frequently asked question is how much of "need to survive" should you put at risk? There's no right answer to this. However, if you want your salespeople to pay attention to client relationships, service and internal paperwork or activities, pay a base compensation and communicate and enforce expectations of activity and outcomes you expect for the base. Placing 15-25 percent at risk is fairly common in these settings.

By : Nicholas_T._Miller

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keeping an Eye on Baby Boomer Products

If you could imagine twenty years ago that we would have all of the technology that we do today, would you have believed it? HDTV, televisions that are half the size of football fields, cell phones with advanced technology, laptop computers, netbooks and hybrid cars are just a few of the mind boggling items that have come out over the last decade or two.

It does make one wonder that the technology of the future is going to be and what the baby boomers of the current time are going to be able to purchase and use in the years to come. There is one product that really caught me eye when I was looking into this further and what I found is the U3-X by Honda, which is a personal mobility device.

What this device does is something that no other personal mobility device has been able to do as of yet. The U3-X is able to move in 360 degree motion, just like a human can. It can go forwards, backwards, side to side and diagonally.

It is fascinating to see the U3-X in action because it looks like the riders of this machine would easily fall off if they tilt the wrong way, but the technology this device was built on has sensors that prevent that from happening.

The U3-X is just one device that the baby boomer crowd might be seeing on showroom floors over the next several years. With green energy rising in popularity and the advancements in computer technology, it is going to be interesting to see what is available to the next generation.

By : Vanessa_Sweeney

Innovate - Add Additional Revenue Streams to Your Direct Sales Business

Take your direct sales business out of the box!

Innovation has been a recurring theme for me this week. I keep hearing the word in movies, media, from friends, and it even came up on my Streamlined Success Radio interview with Caterina Rando.

You know when one of those words just keep sticking out to you and you start noticing how often you hear it? That is what this week has been like. My mind has been reeling with ideas for ways to innovate your direct sales business

Direct sales is often sold as a cookie cutter plan for success. You sign up and get your kit, you train, you call all of your friends and book parties, then parties off of those parties, and pretty soon you are recruiting and you're good to go!

We all know it isn't always like that, in fact when I start out I didn't have anyone I knew that would book a party, yet somehow I booked eight parties within my first week of business. Success is different for everyone.

Anyway, back to innovation. So I think that direct sales consultants need to get out of their direct sales mind set. There is more out there than doing parties. There are so many things you can do with the knowledge you have and your products.

You KNOW your products are awesome, you KNOW people should buy them, and want to sell them. You know this because you experience your products ever day and see results.

So other than doing a party. What are other ways that you can use your knowledge, passion, and your products to show the world what you have to offer?

Here are a few of my suggestions that I invite you to run with and let me know how it goes:

Offer private consultations to customers: For instance if you are a home interior consultant you could offer advice on how your customer may decorate a room in her house, or how she could maximize her space. Chances are you have experience and training from your direct sales business that your advice would be very valuable.

Do in person seminars: Not parties, but seminars or workshops. If you are a pampered chef consultant what if you did a quick 30 minute cooking class once a month. Or if you sell make up you could do a quick workshop on prom looks for the spring.

Sell a service: Instead of just offering consolations you could even offer a service to customers. Caterina mentioned this example on the Streamlined Success Radio show. If you are a tupperware consultant you don't just know how to organize kitchens. You could offer a package that includes a certain number of products and then you actually go and organize a room for a customer.

Those are just three ideas on ways that you could use your product knowledge and know how to take your business beyond parties. Sometimes it's nice to spice things up, especially if this is what you do full time. Plus you'll be adding additional revenue streams to your income.

Try out some of these ideas, or come up with your own! If you have any ideas you would like to share please post them in the comments, I bet you have some good ones!

By : Holly_Chantal

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leaping Into Solo Business With Elance As My Net

Some years ago, one month after moving to a new city for the job, I got laid off. Cost-saving strategies at the Fortune 500 firm I worked for had taken hold that pretty much axed any kind of marketing function in my business unit.

So there I was, new to town and with no network. The idea of going out on my own didn't seem workable, so I sent out resumes and started interviewing.

It took me nearly nine months to find a new job in a small software firm and one more year after that to realize once and for all that this wasn't the road for me anymore. Far from the autonomous life that I had had in the large corporation, I felt suffocated by the constraints placed upon me by my boss.

I had tried to make it work but had gotten more and more out of synch with myself. I no longer wanted someone else to control my destiny. I wanted to continue in my field, but I wanted to make my own rules.

The resistance to starting my own business faded in the light of what felt like indentured servitude. I needed to take the reins and steer my own business, even if I ended up making less money initially. Failure would be my failure, success would be my success. Either way I was willing to be accountable. I was determined to succeed.

I knew that my skills and attitude would spark business. I have talents that small and medium businesses need for successful marketing. The question was how I could structure a marketing consulting business that allowed me flexibility, mobility, and time for the rest of life while at the same time pulling in a 6-figure income?

I very deliberately thought through what to do to make my vision a reality. Financially speaking, I had an absolute minimum that must be made every month; I owned a new house, and the related expenses created a monthly nut that had to be met. Further, my nontraditional marriage required a high degree of mobility.

My retired husband lives aboard our boat, and I needed to have both the time and the money to travel back and forth between house and boat. I also needed work that didn't require a lot of client interaction, so that I could literally work on the road-have WiFi, will travel, in other words.

I pondered the issue for several days. Then I had a forehead smacking moment. During my unemployed days after the corporate layoff, I started a web site centering on my sailing knowledge as a way to stay productive.

I intended to generate income from it, so I studied up on how people were making money from the internet. A coach I signed on with suggested getting help through a site called Elance to buy the copy writing so necessary to an online business.

I hadn't really listened to that part of the advice; I am a writer, so I could do all that myself. Now, though, as I wrestled with the question of how to launch a business, I remembered Elance, and it hit me. Why not try selling my writing services there?

I checked out the site and found that writing wasn't the only service area that I could try. There was also a sales and marketing area that fit the type of marketing I do. I read through the details about how to set up as a service provider.

I knew from my first business that there would be stiff competition, with quite a few "bottom feeders" offering services as ridiculously low prices; I also knew that this trend would be even stronger on Elance, because it is a global web site attracting service providers from countries like India where hourly rates are far lower than mine.

Finally, there was a good chance that the kind of clients I wanted-owners and CEOs of small and medium businesses-might not be comfortable with buying services sight unseen off a web site, so Elance might not be a vehicle to my target market.

With a high probability that Elance would only be comprised of providers charging far less than I for projects that didn't hit my target market, I wasn't expecting a lot. Still, I thought, it's worth a try.

I could swing a six-month subscription for both the writing and marketing service areas, so I decided to make the investment and reevaluate at the end of the period to see if I wanted to continue.

At the very least, I figured, Elance would allow me to bridge between soul-sucking job and successful marketing consultancy, and that was great. In I went, then, and started posting bids for projects that seemed appropriate for me.

The results blew me away.

By the end of my first two months as an Elance provider, I had booked $20,000 in projects. And before I hit the six-month mark I was among the top five revenue-producing providers in the writing area-the other four being providers who had been around Elance far longer than I.

I found out very quickly that my target market has in fact discovered Elance, and those business owners and CEOs are very willing to buy services sight unseen when the deal works for them. And they are "value buyers" rather than "price buyers," so I had no problem competing successfully against the "I will work for nearly nothing" bottom feeders.

I quit my day job a month after I started bidding on Elance, and haven't looked back. The work I have been awarded there, along with referrals I've received from my Elance clients, has built 4-R Marketing into a 6-figure business. All projects are conducted via internet and telephone.

With my business number on my cell phone and my Wi-Fi enabled laptop, I can work anywhere that I can get a signal. I have worked at the marina where boat and husband live, in RV parks when we've gone van camping, and in Starbucks stores in London.

I work on my patio, at a local restaurant, and even spent St. Patrick's Day at a "free WiFi" Irish pub, working on projects while listening to live Irish music.

And remember the 60-40 split in my first business? In 4-R, the split is more like 80-20-eighty percent billable time and twenty percent business management! The internet has spawned so many tools and options for business owners to cut down on overhead tasks that I can stay on top of finances, marketing, and selling in a fraction of the time that it once took.

I get paid fast, through Elance or my own online shopping cart, and I don't miss the days of waiting for the check to arrive in the mail.

Oh, and my work day now averages eight hours, rather than the 12+ of my previous business.

None of my clients are in my own city, so I have no need to drive the highways to meetings or networking events. In fact, my car stays in the garage most of the time. My work clothes are shorts in the warm season and sweatpants when it's cold.

It's been so long since I took anything to the dry cleaners I can't remember where they are located. I have time to visit with friends, travel to the boat, take my dogs for long walks, read books, and do crossword puzzles.

What a deal!

By : Trish_Lambert

Someone is Going to Win! Will it Be You?

In this article we are talking about the art of selling your Chiropractic service. If you feel that as a chiropractor you are not selling that's okay for now. We will get back to that.

The truth is everyone has something to sell. As a doctor of chiropractics what are you and your office selling? You are selling the idea of health. That is getting healthier and feeling better.

In the 'sale' of this service or any service it is said that two things happen in ever sale: #1 the prospect buys what the seller is selling or #2 the seller buys the prospect. Thus the question, someone will win, will it be you or your prospect?

Understand that if you feel that your product or service is the best and can fulfill the needs of the client, you need to win him or her over to your side. In chiropractics you are doing him or her a huge dis-service if allow him to win and not see the side of the benefits of chiropractics.

This can be an easy game to win. First you must realize that you are the GURU when it comes to what you do. You must get as far as his or her attitude will permit you to. You need to ask questions and use those to build your foundation on.

what are his or her reasons for needing your service? One other way to question is, what are his or her reasons for not using your service? do they thing that you are only for backs or are they unfamiliar with chiropractics? If they are uninformed, this is wonderful. Tell them about the power of life and invite them to see you in the office.

Try to fit it into their conversation. That is the conversation they are having in their own mind. Is it, my back hurts? I wish i could feel better/ my health plan stinks? I don't agree with my medical doctor and want a second opinion?

Talk to them on their level of education. remember not to use terms that they can not relate to. Keep in mind, you went to the university and they may not have - so put it in their terms. Once the understand and they will, you have won the game. The thing is, you see...if they win, they lose and if you win, so do they.

By : Mark_T._Joseph

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 Ways to Safeguard Your Job

One man once said to me "it is easy to obtain but sometimes hard to maintain". I never read much into this statement until I observed how people behave in the workplace. They paint a certain picture during the interviews such that the panel "falls in love" at first sight.

Some people are only impressive while trying to sell themselves. Once "sold", once they obtain the job, they become very poor at ensuring they keep the job. I have a number of former workmates who are now either in management positions or in some cases they now own their businesses as Founder and CEO.

In my observations, listening to the cry of these managers, people neglect themselves and become comfortable too soon after getting the job. What they fail to realize is that the employee requires performance not merely someone who shows up for work with no tangible evidence of the reason the person is employed.

People get suspended, sacked and they receive warnings of poor performance. I also marvel at some older people I get to meet who mention that they have been with the company for forty years; some even get into retirement having worked for just one employer

How then does one keep their job?

1. Understand the scope of your job and the expectations - a job title sometimes does not communicate in total what you are responsible for you. Always insist on getting a job specification in writing. If expectations are reduced to ink, then you are better able to achieve them than when they are hazy. Be a master of your own discipline by asking for this kind of valuable information.

2. Adhere to set code of conduct - Every organization should have a set code of conduct which details how employees dress, what is done to them if they don't come to work on time and so on. A code of conduct governs your behavior in the work place.

3. Know when you are in or under authority - May people fail to realize that with each job comes authority. They however fail to realize how far their authority goes. At any given time you are either in charge or you are submitting to someone else. You are not always in charge.

4. Be honest and transparent - Honesty is one lacking attribute that causes people to lose jobs. I can recount that I dismissed people who were very excellent in the work, very productive indeed but they violated honesty. They started cheating, bribing and performing shortcuts in business.

5. Have the correct attitudes - People lose job because they develop attitudes that are sour. Grumpy, complaining, frowning employees rarely keep their jobs. I wonder how some people who cannot smile end up in with customer services position where they handle client queries.

6. Performance and results - This is related to one's ability to do the work and deliver results. You are not employed for anything else other than achievement of results. Results can be measured in volume, quantities, quality, revenue, efficiencies and so on.

7. Work with the team - Team players keep their jobs. Your ability to influence others to perform of achieve can even cover up for your weaknesses. If you play it alone, you will soon be exposed and found wanting.

8. Be loyal to your brand and business - Loyalty means you are sold out to the business or product you are trading in. I am appalled by people who trade in a specific type of car and yet driving another type of car. Just ask yourself what you will be communicating. People have lost trust as their loyalty got to the test hence jobs were lost in the process.

9. Keep confidence - People play with confidential information and get sacked instantly. A piece of information in the wrong hands can bring a business down. Jobs such as payroll administrator etc call for someone who has integrity of heart and one who does not unnecessarily volunteer information they have access to.

10. Be willing to be corrected and keep learning - This is tied closely to attitude. An employee who does not learn from mistakes is not necessary. In the workplace, it is guarantee that you will not always know everything that you do. People will not sharpen you if you refuse to be corrected or you easily take offense. A worker who learns from mistakes usually keeps their job longer.

By : Rabison_Shumba

How to Open a Tea Room

7 Secrets to Opening and Running a Successful Tea House

"This is a good time to open a tea room, as tea is dramatically increasing in popularity. It is often the well-publicized health benefits of tea that get them curious, but once they try it, they are finding they truly enjoy it." -Cynthia Gold, Tea Sommelier, The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers

Here are seven secrets to making your tea house more successful...

Offer a strong lunch: This may be the biggest predictor of your success, and is more important than other factors you will consider. Having a full or robust lunch menu will bring in customers who are not there for the tea and they will come back for the food, if it's good.

Have a cafe section: You may even want to designate a separate section for those who are just there for soup, sandwiches and salads. The decor won't need to be as fancy and the seating will be different.

Women who come in just for the tea experience are likely to want linens and table skirts and delicate tea cups. But you can create a section that is much more casual for your lunch guests.

Afternoon tea by reservation: Because the finger sandwiches and fancy desserts may need to be prepared in advance, you will much less likely to have food go to waste if you make afternoon tea available every day but only by reservation.

Then you need to decide what that will mean to you and that depends on your budget. Will you serve afternoon tea with only one reservation or insist on a certain number of guests? In the beginning, you may need to limit it more, but eventually, may be popular enough that you can serve it every day, knowing there will be guests there to enjoy it.

Have a "special occasions" room: If possible, have a small room set aside for groups of people who want to reserve it for bridal teas, baby showers or children's tea parties. These groups may be big enough to need a reservation but too small to reserve the main tea space.

If only 15 people are coming, and they want privacy, but you can normally seat 50, you can't afford to shut down the main tea room for them. Having a room available so you don't lose them either insures you won't miss out on potential income.

Have a gift shop in your tea house: If at first, you cannot afford a whole room for a gift shop, designate a small space for selling tea and tea accessories so that people can purchase it there if they would like.

Separate entrances: If you know you will be likely to serve two entirely different clientele, such as hungry, traveling truckers and bored senior citizens, you might consider having one entrance for your café and another for your tea room.

Offer a variety of tea: Avoid limiting your menu to only a few teas or types of teas. Be sure to have as wide a variety as you can afford.

By : Jeanine_Byers_Hoag

Monday, July 19, 2010

What Custom Writing Instruments Suit You?

Oftentimes we don't realize that finding the attuned customizable writing materials simply means being able to discover what kind of writing instrument perfectly suits our company's needs and wants.

We do not realize that it's all about discovering the one that is the best among the rest, but about finding what best expresses what we want to convey to our prospects. Here are some key factors that might support you in landing on the merchandise befitting for your company:

Establish what class of industry your company belongs to.

Establish what field your company fall under in terms of industry type because it will determine what kind of writing materials will be best for you. To illustrate, if your company is an art industry, your company is better of obtaining a type of writing merchandise that is funky and casual.

However, if your company belongs to technological, finance, legal, education, computer and other corporate-type industries, a more sharp and executive look is appropriate for your merchandise.

Establish the overall desire for this particular promotion.

It is also essential that you are familiar with the overarching desire of your company for this particular promotion. This is because you want to align the drawing of your custom writing materials to that end.

Frequently, a exhibition has a theme where all the things should be accorded to, especially the assorted freebies. Thereby, you is required to choose a personalized freebie that is designed according to this particular theme; otherwise your exhibition will not be consistent and will have less impact.

Establish the company's fiscal estimate for the upcoming promotion.

Of course, you is required to be aware of the fiscal estimate for the campaign because you want to know what kind of items can and cannot afford. If you are just operating on a small fiscal estimate, customizable writing tools are perfect for you. The values of these kinds of customizable items are very low, amounting to less than a dollar.

Thereby, it is very easy to find the promotional writing instrument that is perfect for your exhibition. What you is required to do is to simply know yourself, peg what you want and know how much money you are willing to spend to get yourself to what you want.

By : Marc_Perez

Custom On-Hold Messages Promote Stronger Office-Patient Relations!

In addition to presenting a professional image and creating a warm, friendly environment for patients, most private medical practices employ a principle in customer care that has been proven to work well in all types of businesses: the team effort between doctors and medical assistants that involves assistants acting as a liaison, making interim contact with patients while they are waiting in the exam room for the doctor.

But a close look at the most successful practices reveals the presence of a second team that is hard at work: the front office staff that makes phone contact with patients being assisted by customized messages on-hold!

Meeting the challenge of managing multiple patient visits throughout the day while making patients feel they are receiving individualized care requires serious strategy. This cooperative "tag team" approach may be simple, but don't underestimate its effectiveness.

Once patients find themselves waiting in the exam room the dynamic of medical assistants periodically checking-in on them helps bridge the gap and make the wait seem shorter.

Aside from gathering vitals and verbal data for the doctor and reviewing patient history, assistants also have an opportunity to reassure patients that they have not been forgotten. For example, think about how comforting it can be to hear the words "the doctor will be right in".

Note: the "second team" as referred to above is actually the first team. Front office staff or receptionists are often the first line of contact with both new and existing patients. When interacting with callers they must be welcoming and exhibit a cheerful attitude as they bear the responsibility of communicating a positive first impression for the practice.

In exactly the same way messages on-hold serve as support for these staff members. Once callers are placed on hold the messages and music on-hold take over with the task of periodically reassuring the patient that they have not been forgotten and that their call is appreciated. Of course the music and voices should convey a professional sound and the verbiage should be fine-tuned to reinforce the attitude of staff.

Hold messages may also include important information about insurance and office policies, office hours, location and directions, doctor's curriculum vitae, as well as answers to other frequently asked questions. This helps reduce the amount of time staff spend on the telephone, freeing them to assist other callers and perform additional office duties, etc.

Augmenting the front office staff with a custom on-hold message production is a great way to complement other marketing and advertising efforts the practice has put in place.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to convey a warm, caring attitude with positive sounding music, and relaxed, conversational voices speaking words of reassurance goes a long way to bolster office-patient relations. That kind of teamwork produces lasting results, ultimately causing patients to feel loyalty toward the practice they visit!

By : Tom_Tramposh

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Think Outside the Business Card

Anyone in business knows that there is always a competition among co-workers and competitors to see who has the nicest business cards. Whether you work for a company, own a company or work as an independent contractor having a quality business card can put you a step ahead of the competition.

Modern-day social networking techniques may allow for faster and greater expansion but nothing beats interpersonal communication in developing long-lasting relationships with clients and partners. Listed below are the top four ways you can increase the quality of your card.

Use Color - Gone are the days when elegant styles two-tone styles make the best business cards. The modern card must incorporate eye-catching colors. This does not mean it needs to include every color in the rainbow, just that it should have enough that is stands out in a crowd as well as a person's memory.

Be sure to use colors that go together and often times brighter colors are better than pastel colors which can be easily looked over.

Card Material - One of the most overlooked and most important features of a card is its material. You can have the most creative, greatest design in the world but if it's made of a flimsy material it will be considered lower quality and give off the wrong message. Make sure you feel the material before the card is made to make sure it's strong enough to represent your products and services.

Be Creative - The average business person collects hundreds if not thousands of business cards over there career. Make yours stand out! Some people make their business cards in unique shapes that represent their products and services like a house shaped business card for a realtor or a car-shaped card for an auto-dealer or mechanic.

Creative designs are often shared with more than just the initial recipient which increases their promotional value.

Card Holders - This is perhaps the most interesting of all ways to increase the presentation value of your business cards. A card holder, especially a stainless steel or leather one, gives off a great first impression and only enhances the quality of your business exchange.

Card holders are also easy to carry and can have custom printed logos on them to further promote your goods and services.

By : Amin_Ramjee

6 Steps to Turn Your Site Into a Lead Machine

Every web site has the ability to be the NBT (next big thing). But what stops them? Here are the 6 steps every web site needs to be a Lead Machine.

Lead Machine

It only takes a few simple steps to turn your web site into a machine that will fill up your pipeline with leads. Grab their attention, direct their attention, get feedback, track them, and optimize the follow-up and market. Follow these steps:


First you have to get their attention with what you have to offer. Make it exciting with great copy and graphics that compel them. Your professionalism will let your visitor see how much better off they will be with your product or service.

Think of the billboard as you drive down the highway. At 70 miles per hour, how long does that message have to grab your attention and give you cause to take action? Your landing page is the same way. Do this as soon as possible on the entry.


Remember you will have to tell your visitor what to do next. If you have done a great job establishing your professionalism you will have created the impression of authority. Use this authority and have your visitor follow your advice. Tell your audience to buy your product or use your service. Show confidence that they will take the next step and they will.


Use your information request forms to educate yourself what you need to do to move this customer to take action. Find out what their pain is or what their "why" to coming to your site. Use tracking tools to see where the lead originated from. Knowing which search engine and which keyword phrases brought them to you will help you define your message going forward.


Your database is your goldmine. The information you gather needs to be placed in a database that is easy you to use. If you don't have a database that allows you to search, schedule, or track get one today.


Follow up your potential clients; use this database to schedule events and putting timely marketing materials in front of them. Using a newsletter will keep them interested. When the pain or the "why" reaches the fever to act, be in front of them ready to supply what they want.


Use every medium that you can afford to draw people to your site. Most people think of paid traffic such as search engines, advertisements, TV, radio and magazines. But remember word of mouth is the most effective on a cost per lead basis.

Talk your site up; put your web site in front of everyone. Never let a conversation happen without mentioning you site. No one has more passion for your site than you do.

By : Becky_Shipman