Sunday, August 29, 2010

Green Technology - New Recommendations Make it Easy to Be Green

It might not be easy being green if you happen to be the CEO of British Petroleum in light of the Gulf oil disaster, but if you're responsible for a digital signage network being environmentally responsible has never been simpler thanks to the Screen Forum.

That's because the Screen Forum, an independent working group focused on sharing best practices in the digital signage industry, released earlier this summer a list of one dozen steps aimed at ensuring digital sign networks deliver the maximum impact with the minimum affect on the environment.

The steps, available on the group's website, are a well-reasoned list of proscriptions for minimizing the impact of digital signage networks on the environment. While the list is publicly available on the Web and self explanatory, I found one aspect of the Screen Forum's steps fascinating and worthy of a bit of comment.

Achieving balance underpins much of the list -the balance between environmental impact and performance; the balance between achieving communications goals and doing so in a way that does not diminish, or is sympathetic to, nearby landmarks; and the balance between fulfilling its main purpose and giving back to the community by promoting environmental awareness.

Balancing performance and environmental impact touches many phases of digital signage network rollout and operations. The concept laid out in the steps seems to focus on the drawing a distinction between saturation and sufficiency.

Many of the steps advocate doing no more than is necessary to accomplish the desired mission of communications. Limiting the number of computer components, the size of the network and number of displays therein as well as the power requirements of the network seeks to balance the task at hand with the environmental cost of accomplishing it.

Achieving equilibrium in terms of digital sign performance and placement vis-à-vis nearby landmarks gets at the most basic of environmental concerns, namely impacting the locale in which the sign hangs.

Reading this step reminded me of the contrast between states that have outlawed, or legislated extremely strict restrictions, on the use and placement of billboards along highways and driving down the Las Vegas Strip.

The Screen Forum's admonition balances the legitimate desire to communicate important messages via digital signs with the need to appreciate the surroundings of the signs and minimize whenever and however possible the likelihood of the signs detracting from their local environment.

Acknowledging the opportunity to use the network -if even only on a periodic basis- to raise the awareness of the public about environmental concerns is particularly fascinating because it recognizes there's far more to a digital signage network than hardware and software.

In fact, the reason for being of any digital signage network is to communicate messages -often finely defined, narrowcast communications. Balancing that mission with the unrelated goal of communicating to the public about environmental concerns recognizes that there's more to communicating successfully than a well-defined message.

It's almost as if the Screen Forum transplanted the concept of public service TV messages to the arena of digital signage, except digital signage networks have no government-mandated public service obligation to fulfill.

Certainly, there's more to the Screen Forum's 12 steps than balance, but the concept plays an important role in the thinking behind the recommendations. Anyone considering rolling out a digital signage network would be well served to check out the Screen Forum's list and given it some serious consideration.

By : David_Little

Green Innovation - Developing Green Products, Services and Customer Experiences

There is a lot of focus today on making products, services, and business practices more environmentally friendly. At the same time, there is also a lot of debate about the "green movement" and whether it is the best approach to engage customers.

There is a fundamental truth that often seems to get lost: the purpose of business is to profitably serve customers, and the way to do that is to meet a need or satisfy a want.

Some customers will consider green attributes as part of their purchase decision, some will not. Meanwhile, *all* customers want a product, service, or experience that addresses their core needs in the category.

Thus, if you design a solution to meet a need or satisfy a want, your product or service will likely be successful.

If you are able to design it in a way that minimizes environmental impact, you will also appeal to a segment of the market that values green attributes. The challenge for you is to determine if that segment of green consumers overlaps with your core target audience.

Consequently, it is important to understand your market across two dimensions: core product/service attributes, and green attributes. You can then determine whether the group of consumers who are both in need of your solution and have a green orientation is sufficiently large to justify a unique offer that combines elements of both.

Additional considerations include: potential regulatory initiatives that could force you to go green, competitors that are moving in that direction, and supply/distribution channel requirements.

So the best strategy is to approach your customer as you always have: understand their needs and wants, and you can be successful. Include environmental issues in that assessment and you can be successful and green.

By : Glennon_Franklin

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Recession-Proof Business Ideas - Starting a Lawn Business

Starting a lawn business is fairly easy. Because grass continues to grow, a lawn business is not affected by recession. It provides steady work since it is a continuous need and you don't really need any large start-up capital. While you are still starting out, all you need is a simple lawn mower.

You will also need to have a way to transport it to your place of work. Once you get a contract, if you just do your job well, the customer will always come back to you for your services so you don't have to look for other customers.

After your lawn business is already stable, you can begin to expand and offer additional services like landscaping, installation of patios, sprinklers, and other lawn related work. Then you can also hire workers to help you with the additional jobs. And buy additional equipment needed in the expansion of your business.

The only thing that you should know here is that because it is such a lucrative business idea, you can expect a lot of competition. Aside from this, the prices that you can ask for your services is fixed and steady and doesn't go up fast. You may also encounter some troublesome customers but it is part of the game so you just have to be more patient.

Whatever problems that you may encounter in your lawn business, it is all within the normal range of problems that all businessmen face. The difference here is in the preparation for starting your lawn business. You should know the job that you are doing so that you can do it well. A little research and knowledge in basic accounting and taxation would help a lot as well.

By : Judson_Burdon

Knowing When to Quit

Quitters never win, winners never quit, that is a great motivational quote for anyone who strives for success in any given field of their life, my personal interpretation of this saying is quite different to what you see and may understand.

The problem with never quitting when it seems obvious to you that events no matter how positive you think and feel are not going favourably is that you are going to continue to remain static or worse, move backwards.

I would think most people including myself have been in a situation were they wanted a romantic situation to happen but try as you may the other person is not interested, if you continue you know you are only going to get yourself upset and in a negative state of mind, to let go and make a fresh start is a positive step forwards.

What you have done is changed your perspective, taken a step to one side and moved on to your next goal, I find a great way to think about this is to say to yourself, " I am in the process of", if you say this to yourself it is then impossible to have actually failed or quit, you are just changing your prospective.

Exactly the same situation happens in business, day in, day out worldwide.

If your new venture or existing business is struggling, you have tried everything to keep trading but you are losing money at an alarming rate, then sometimes it is good business sense to know when to quit.

This is a situation I know only too well, a couple of years ago I leased a very busy bar-club in the Canary islands, business was outstanding and so was my lifestyle, the banking crises happened and suddenly many people stopped taking vacations or the ones that did certainly spent less, the result for me personally was takings down 75%.

That is a huge amount for any business to weather the storm, I made cuts wherever possible but still the bottom line was I was losing money at an alarming rate.

The only decision I could make was to quit while I was still ahead, knowing when to quit while I still had capital is a decision that I did not take lightly but one that I knew was the right thing to do.

To have carried on would have meant me going into my savings and probably bankruptcy eventually.

This of course is my own personal experience of knowing when to quit and I hope many people reading this do not have the same problems as I did, you may have a sales campaign that is not going the way you planned or you are paying for software or an advertising agency and it is not working out, my advice would be re-access the situation and take the necessary action.

By taking action you have not failed, you are still "in the process of", you may have to change your perspective and then move towards your goal again.

In business we all take a gamble or that is what most people would have you believe, a gamble as far as I am concerned is a 50-50 bet or when the odds are against you, do not gamble, take a calculated risk were the odds are more in your favour!

I wish everyone the best in their business ventures and sometimes we all need the wisdom of Soloman, but by implementing "I am in the process of" when situations have not gone your way you are always moving forwards.

By : Mark_S_Jackson

Friday, August 27, 2010

How Often is PAT Testing Needed?

If you run a business, hotel, school, or any other organisation where people gather for work, learning, sleeping, or simply meeting others, you may be curious as to how often you require a Portable Appliance Testing service.

PAT testing will ensure that your electrical devices are safe, reducing the risk of injury to any individuals. It is an essential service, but one that could cause disruption and one that will cost money each time your chosen testing company visits.

For this reason you may wish to minimise the frequency of your PAT testing. To do so you will need to understand exactly how often the inspection and testing of certain electrical devices is required.

As useful as it would be to inform you of the exact testing schedule that you require for your business or organisation, unfortunately there are actually no absolute rules as to how often your appliances should be tested.

Instead the guidelines simply state that the inspection of any of your electrical equipment must be 'regular'. While this lack of solid guidelines may seem frustrating at the outset, it does make sense.

The frequency of testing of different appliances is, as it should be, related to the risk posed by the users of said appliance. For example, heavy duty electrical machinery used on a building site will probably require testing more often than the computer of an office worker.

In deciding how often your electrical equipment requires PAT testing, the following four factors will help you to make your decision:

* What environment is your electrical equipment located in? Could the environment be described as arduous, for example a building site? Or would 'benign' be a more appropriate word for, for example, an office space.

* Are the users of the electrical appliances in question likely to report any flaws or failings? If an employee is likely to notice a potentially hazardous situation with the equipment that they are using, and report said situation, then PAT testing may not be required as often as if individuals will ignore the situation.

* The construction of the equipment is another valid factor in deciding how often portable appliance testing is needed. For example, a piece of Class 1 equipment must have a connection with earth to be deemed safe, whereas Class 2 equipment need not have a fixed earth connection.

* Finally, the equipment itself bears some influence as to how often PAT testing should be carried out. An electrical item that you carry around may be more likely to be damaged than one that is found in a fixed position.

Hopefully these four factors have got you thinking about how often your electrical equipment requires PAT testing. It is important that the frequency of your testing is determined by the factors above, and that it is kept under constant review to ensure that your employees, tenants, or any other individuals, are kept as safe as possible.

By : Rebecca_L_Waterman

Lessons From Ground Zero Help Businesses Prepare For the Worst

A positive legacy of the World Trade Center bombings has been the lessons learned and applied with regard to safety preparedness and disaster management. The critical security changes that were put into place after the first attack on the Twin Towers expedited the September 11th evacuation and brought more than 18,000 people to safety...four hours faster than in 1993.

Workplace 'Disasters' Are Common

Thankfully, few businesses will ever be targets of deliberate acts of violence that are the focus of this construction safety training video, but the probability that a terrifying accidental workplace 'disaster' will occur is high. Chief among the threats: fire.

According to research by Maine Municipal Association Risk Management Services, there are between 70.000 to 80,000 workplace fires in the United States each year. The cost of workplace fires is more than $2 billion annually. However the more troubling statistic is that 5,000 people are estimated to be injured in these fires and as many as 200 people lose their lives.

This makes disaster management a very 'human' issue in the business world.

Twin Challenges from the Twin Towers

WTC experts point to two key factors that have the greatest influence on successfully managing a disaster. The first is maintaining a state of preparedness.

To meet the demands of unexpected circumstances, workplaces should be prepared in advance with routinely tested radios, flashlights, and properly stocked first aid kits. Employees must be familiar with the proper use of fire extinguishers and should participate regularly in fire drills. Many people associate fire drills with their grade school years, but practicing what to do in an emergency really does save lives.

The second challenge for a disaster-ready business is creating a strategy to get people to safety. The events of September 11th underscore the importance of evacuation plans and how vital it is to have accurate building maps available.

How to Be Ready for Anything

It is not difficult to put together a comprehensive, custom-tailored emergency response plan for a business...but it is essential. An inclusive approach is most effective. On its web site, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says that businesses "may find it beneficial to include a diverse group of representatives (management and employees) in this planning process and to meet frequently to review progress and allocate development tasks."

By : Mark_Woeppel

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Forewarned $7 a Gallon Gasoline is Coming - How Will You Survive To Later Thrive?

Oslo Norway business already lives with up to $7.41 a gallon costs for gasoline. How long do you think before you and I will begin moving toward 7 dollars a gallon in the US?

The reason to plan for this is basic and obvious. When the price of gasoline goes up, you use less and America pays less to OPEC. So how long do you realistically think it will be before our politicians officially discover this fact? It is not like they have not known about this logical answer for years.

After all, Ross Perot suggested it in 1992 to address the national deficit, move Social Security toward solvency and to pay for our roads and bridges, which many experts now describe are becoming so hazardous as to life threatening (think of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in 2007).

Fortunately and unfortunately the US has not dramatically raised gas taxes YET. Fortunately, because none of you want to pay more for gasoline, at a time when all your budgets are perilously stretched.

Unfortunately, because when it happens, the ramp up by month and year will be much more dramatic than if we had started earlier like Europe did.

If this politically unpopular idea of fifty-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax increase to help pay off the deficit had been implemented, we would have already made a major step towards addressing both the deficit and our dependence on foreign oil.

For those of you wanting to hide your heads in the sand ostrich style and think it will not happen any time soon, get real about a reasonable time frame for this issue to receive prominent publicity again. Check into when the Federal Deficit Commission working on a list of logical issues to address to address our trillion dollar string of deficits will issue a report.

If you remember that report is being researched now and results will be voted on and written over the next few months, will you still bet against a gasoline tax being approved by the commission?

Whether you use scenario planning, enterprise risk management, risk management, strategic planning or any similar named approach as part of your budget planning and strategic planning overview this year, how can you avoid addressing this very logical near term risk of higher energy costs?

Assuming gasoline is 4 dollars a gallon, what is the impact on your business and life.

Move out a little further and strategically think about the risks to your business model of 5 dollar a gallon gasoline.

Is your stomach strong enough to think about the equivalent of 6 or 7 dollars a gallon for gasoline in the foreseeable future?

So when your politicians find this logical answer to addressing the deficit and returning roads and bridges to safe and usable status again, what should you have started doing tomorrow to minimize the impact to your business and personal life? Making this into an opportunity, how will you gain a huge advantage over a competitor who does not plan for this looming risk?

After all the job or business you save with some advance planning might be your own.

Bottom line? - Control your financial destiny! Capitalize on hidden high return opportunities, while limiting exposure to risk.

Risks are what really go wrong when you are not looking: stupid things like bounced checks, losing your best customers or best people when you are blindsided.

By : Gary_W_Patterson

Five Traits of Pivotal Contacts

Pivotal Contacts are thought leaders among their peers. They have developed deep subject matter expertise, have proven themselves in situations requiring a balanced approach between strategic vision and tactical execution, or simply have access to influential relationships.

They are commonly referred to as movers and shakers in a given role, company, vertical industry, or city. They are all rising stars and key influencers, and often lead the most critical projects within any company. They are highly thought of in board meetings, mentioned in industry trade publications, and make numerous appearances in industry forums.

They are always invited to speak at the company's off-site strategy session or cross-industry conferences for their unique best practices. They are published writers, authors, or subject matter authorities, and are considered pillars of their organization or industry.

Pivotal contacts are also often hubs in their chosen fields. Here are some other common traits:

Time - To pivotal contacts, time is a valuable asset and they don't like to waste it. You're not likely to see these people hanging out by the water cooler, chatting it up.

Execution - They are passionate about execution. Seldom will they get excited about a 100-page analysis of a challenge. They are much less interested in everything you know and much more intrigued by what they need to know to get things done.

Gatekeepers - They are protected by very capable gatekeepers. The old days of the cliche secretary are long gone. Today's executive administrators and administrative assistants are polished, well-educated, professional, well-paid, and very good at what they do. They take pride in being professional administrators and are focused on optimizing their executives' valuable resources.

Mutual Trust, Respect, and Value - They build relationships based on mutual trust, respect, and value. Often, the only source of access is through a referral by a trusted source. These include lieutenants inside the organization or highly-valued external advisors, but certainly those who have filtered out the time or resource wasters.

Private - It has been my experience that pivotal contacts are well-known, yet private individuals. You may hear of their accomplishments, but seldom about their personal lives - including their family matters, political views, or downtime interests.

Pivotal contacts are often one to two business stature levels above your current perceived reach. If you are a manager, for example, a pivotal contact could be a vice-president. If you are a director, they could be division presidents.

If you are a senior executive, pivotal contacts could include the CEO, board of directors, or SVP of the parent company. Pivotal contacts can also be peers in other departments or of a higher stature in other organizations such as private equity firms.

By : David_M._Nour

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does Your Online Marketing Presence Fall Apart When You Get Interviewed?

Recently I listened to a Blog Talk Radio interview with a professional business owner. Let's call her "Cheryl" and let's say her expertise is in health and wellness.

Cheryl has many advantages. She holds advanced degrees from prestigious universities. She's knowledgeable. Visually, she makes a striking appearance that's very much appropriate to her target market. Why, I wondered, do I get the sense that Cheryl isn't hitting her stride?

As usual, the interview host presented a brief bio, "Cheryl combines 20 years in health care with expertise as a fitness trainer and life coach." Very impressive! I hoped she would connect the dots to show how her awesome background will benefit her clients.

But as I listened, I realized Cheryl made three mistakes.

First, as she talked, she employed a number of vocal tics: "um," "okay," and the ubiquitous "you know." These speech challenges actually detracted from Cheryl's message, which was built on her image as an educated professional.

Since Cheryl gets invited to speak quite often, she can listen to recordings. She can critique herself lovingly but accurately. She can ask her business coach to listen to at least a portion of the call. She will find that as her speaking style improves, she will get stronger results.

Second, Cheryl hadn't scripted her interview. She was all over the map. She talked about energy, weight loss, dealing with illness...and more. She talked about people who were really healthy and how to have a healthy mindset. As I listened, I didn't get a sense of what I should take away from the call.

Although Cheryl was being interviewed, she could guide the interview by offering the interviewer a list of 10 questions. She can guide the interview to create three to five takeaways for her audience. Once you get more than three, you start to lose your audience.

Third, Cheryl worked with the emotion of fear. No problem if she works with fears people experience today. For instance, she could talk about fear of gaining weight when going on vacation or fear of dealing with a specific illness. If she targets boomers, she could talk about fears of diabetes and heart disease.

But Cheryl talked about huge fears: fear of getting incurable illnesses or letting your health get out of control. Her whole speech was about avoiding the negatives, not embracing the positive. I am a healthy person but as I listened, I felt frustrated and helpless. I can only imagine what a person with health challenges would be thinking.

By : Cathy_Goodwin

Starting a Law Firm - Ideas About Office Space

One of the things that you will notice when you first open your law office is that you will write a lot of checks. You will make a lot of payments. It will seem like there is much more money going out than there is money coming in and, at the beginning, that probably will be the case.

Consequently, one of the major aims when you are staring out is to keep overhead costs as low as possible. That means you don't need that corner office overlooking Park Avenue. Right now, you don't have the client base to justify that sort of expenditure. With that in mind, below are some ideas for some "starter" office space, at least until you get your feet on the ground.

1) Traditional Office.

Traditional office space, while the most liberating and enticing, is also the most expensive. However, that doesn't mean you can't lease office space from the outset. The key is to put your office in a location where the cost is justified.

For example, if you are a litigator and can get prime office space next to the courthouse (where everyone who walks by can see your sign: "Law Office of Blankity Blank"), then the investment could be worthwhile.

Be sure to consult with other attorneys who have offices near the courthouse, and see how much business they get from walk-ins. Then evaluate whether the risk is worth it.

2) Home Office.

The home office is the least expensive of the options. Additionally, the expense is not ongoing - once you outfit your home office with furniture and technology, there really isn't a further expense until something needs to be replaced. Be aware that some practice areas (i.e. criminal defense or family law) do not lend themselves well to practicing out of your home.

However, others fit well into the warm environment that the home offers (i.e. elder law or estate planning), especially if you will be meeting clients there. You will need to create a separate office within your home, to separate work from home life and to maximize productivity.

3) Office Sharing.

Office sharing can be a great alternative to the traditional office. While still more pricey than other options, sharing an office with someone else creates a natural avenue for referrals. This is especially true if you are sharing with other attorneys who practice in different areas than you do, or if you are sharing with non-attorneys.

If you choose wisely, the referrals alone can justify the cost. As with any option, the key is to do your research, and meet with the people who you could potentially share space with, prior to making any decisions.

4) Virtual Office.

A relatively new phenomenon is the virtual office. The variations on the virtual office seem limitless, but it is essentially a place where you can meet with clients, receive your mail, have your telephone answered, while not being tethered to the office space.

Additionally, the cost of a virtual office can be much less than traditional or even shared office space. It is a great way to keep costs low while growing your law firm, and maintaining the look of an established law firm.

By : Demitri_Dopolous

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Gets a Prospect to Respond?

What gets a prospect to respond?

In a recent article, I wrote about how to get your inexpensive direct mail read and found it was basically three things:

1. Handwritten note
2. Larger size than normal mail
3. Different size than normal mail

Today I would like to talk about a great way to get prospects and clients to respond to your direct mail.

It really is just another way of making it look different from junk mail. Junk mail is sent to the masses and for the most part has a message that would work just as well one time of the year as another or one part of the country as another. It is ultimately far too general!

To get the biggest bang for your marketing buck you must:

• Personalize (use their name and your handwritten message) as much as possible.
• Make it timely (use something in the news or special date; e.g. 4th of July)

You can tie newsworthy events to an offering. For example, in 2007 the movie "Sicko" was being promoted and discussed on one TV show after another. Why not offer a card that lets people know that if they want to know the rating of their hospital to give you a call and you'll send them a report.

Or you can make the same offer for nursing homes! Holy cow! Now that is a great idea! Think about it! Who needs more financial help or is more acutely aware of the need for financial professional help than someone that is either entering or helping a loved one enter a nursing home!

If they request the report you simply go to to get the report to send them with a little bit about how your help people in similar situations.

Another way to use this idea is that people are very aware of holidays and tend to be very responsive to offers linked to holidays as long as the link makes sense.

Think about tying a 4th of July card to a review of their US Savings Bonds. What a great way to get in front of clients that have significant assets that you may be able to find a better home for.

What about using a Memorial Day card to offer a "Spring Cleaning" where you sit down with them to go through the records they need to keep and those that they can safely discard? You could even offer a tip sheet on how long you need to keep documents.

It is really not that difficult to tie in a holiday with some service you provide if you just think about it.

By : Mike_Kaselnak

Drafting Your Own Promotional Hats For Marketing

Head gears like hats and caps are promotional items that can really make an impact on your brand-building. It is worn on the head that makes it visible to the eyes of numerous individuals. And that is the primary endeavor of a promotional item-to get noticed.

But there are times that people seem not to pay attention to what is embossed in promotional hats and caps because it may boast of the traditional design that is too palpable among a number of people. It simply means that there nothing new about the custom caps and hats on your head.

To edge out from the rest, do not solely rely on other people's designs. In fact, you can outline your own custom promotional hats the way you want it. So, how would you design your own logo promotional hats and caps?

Laying out your logo promotional caps for business may take a little time. Of course it involves so many facets like the producing, ordering, shipping and silk screen or embroidery. To start things, acquire the greatest deal first.

Try to look for wholesale promotional hats and caps because ordering in bulk can earn you discount. You can search the Internet to trace which stores tender this and that.

Sketch your design. Personalizing your hats and caps is fun if you will see your creation worn by your subordinates and other people around your business. In designing your own outline consider the colors that you will amalgamate.

If you have sufficient budget, you can go for four colors and more. But, it is advisable for some micro business to have two colors for their designs because it is more inexpensive.

Consider your budget. If you have a big amount of budget to spare and you want exceptional and realistic designs go for silk screen. The silk screen course in printing the design for your promotional hats and caps is a bit complicated compared to the embroidered one. Again, hunt for a printing company that can offer you marvelous quality and service that is low-cost.

There are so many things to consider in making your own promotional hats and caps. Of course constantly ask yourself what's in it for me. Always seek for optimum quality because in the end, your company will either suffer or rejoice with the choices that you pick.

By : Beth_Loggins

Monday, August 23, 2010

Achieving the Balance in Your Business Greeting Cards

Probably you know by now that business greeting cards are totally different from your usual print greeting cards for a holiday or a special occasion. First and foremost, the tone that business greeting cards project is somewhat formal and professional as compared to holiday greeting cards which have a lighter and more personal nature.

Hence, it is not proper to infuse a very personal tone to your business cards to the point of being perceived as odd by your recipient. You would not want to put in something very comfortable and casual as it may not have the effect you intend to achieve.

It is therefore crucial that you learn how to write for print greeting cards that are produced to make and maintain business.

You ought to know how to appropriately address your client through this medium. This article will thus help you write for business greeting cards. Read on and learn how to essentially be cordial but professional.

The first thing to remember when writing for these print cards is to be formal yet somehow informal. Now that balance may sound a little hard to achieve.

Apparently, print cards are more effective when they are made more personal, but with business cards, you cannot just address or treat your client on a very personal note. You run the risk of being misinterpreted.

Therefore, it is important that you master the balance between formality and personal touch. For instance, do not address your client by his/her first name; use titles instead such as Mr. or Miss or Atty. or Dr. And then add their last names. It is crucial as well to do research about your clients to know how they should be addressed.

By doing so, you do not appear too formal and personal at the same time. At least you did not use the usual and oh-too-generic "Dear Sir/Ma'am". This approach is worth mastering though, but with proper research, you will do just fine.

The second thing you need to remember in your business cards is to be polite and respectful. This is standard practice, as you may already know. Use a tone that makes your client feel they are above you and you are ever ready to serve them.

This is a good feeling that clients love experiencing because it makes them feel more special and in control. In so doing, you let people further respond affirmatively to your print cards.

Another thing you should keep in mind is to be always discreet or subtle with your advertisements in your business greeting cards. Do not make your clients feel that you sent them a card just to advertise or sell something. Once you do this, expect people to consider your cards as junk mail that should be instantly discarded.

So as much as possible, restrain your sales talk and just exert your efforts in establishing good rapport with your client. For instance, you can mention that you have just launched your newest product but do not go any further than that.

I hope all these simple tips will help you in writing your business greeting cards and properly addressing your clients and colleagues. Just make sure you learn to balance professionalism and personal treatment so your recipients will find you respectful at the same time warm.

Also, focus on reinforcing good relations with your clients rather than obviously shoving your product to them. That is how you make your print greeting cards more effective for business.

By : Karen_Grahams

Leather USB Memory Sticks Make Great Corporate Gifts

Leather has been used since to prehistoric times to shape and fashion all manner of things from clothing, shelter, armour, liquid containers, saddles and boats to name but a few. Leather is also commonly used to trim or decorate weapons and to add a soft malleable feel to everyday items like steering wheels, handles and so on.

Although its history is very much as a material that is used in a very basic and rustic way it has, in more recent years, become a material that is synonymous with luxury and quality.

Products that are made high quality leather like shoes; bags, belts and wallets carry a price premium and look and feel fantastic. Luxury brands often use leather or leather trims to promote and feeling of strength, power and exclusivity.

It is for these reasons that products fashioned from leather or that use leather to add a finishing touch of style and class are sought after in the promotions industry and corporate gift market.

If you're going to give a gift to someone then you've already decided they are worthy of your recognition, thanks and appreciation and therefore choosing a gift that is going to deliver the right message is important.

Leather gifts suggest an investment in value, they suggest that you wanted to go beyond the "standard" product(s) and buy something that was has a degree of exclusivity.

The same arguments are true of leather USB flash drives. Yes, there are standard plastic and metal USB flash drives available and they do an excellent job but, if you want the recipient to think that you've spent a little more money on them, if you want them to feel particularly appreciated and thanked then its worth looking at the Leather USB Flash Drive options.

It perhaps no surprise that when Maserati wanted some USB flash drives producing that they opted for a leather version and a leather version that was matched to their corporate colours. The end result is a top-end, quality product that not only looks great but also is right for their high net worth customers.

There are several different models of Leather USB Flash Drives to choose from. They all have the same intrinsic characteristics you'd associate with any high quality leather gift but they go one step further because they can be pre-loaded with relevant thank you messages or information about your company and its products and services.

By : Phil_Battison

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top 5 Qualities That Every Businessman Should Have

Being involved in a business is one of the ways for us to survive. Nearly every people in the world today are involved in business. There are businesses that last long and there are those that only last for a couple of months or years.

One of the factors that greatly affect a business' success is the character of the businessman himself. If a business is handled by a good businessman then there is a very great chance that the business will succeed. While a business handled by a business man with poor character will surely die.


A good businessman should have a good knowledge about the business he is in and it's associated with. He should have knowledge with trade, marketing, stock market, finance, mercantile laws and banking. He should also have great knowledge about math and economics.


No matter how good a person is in the market, if he does not have this character no one would ever want to make business with that person. Most businessmen are looking for a business that they can trust and will never stab them on their backs. Many businessmen are opting for an honest person with little knowledge about marketing than those who are good at business but are dishonest.


Being on time is another trait that a good businessman should have. Time is very important, not only in business, but in every aspect of our lives. A single second that has passed by can't be taken back. Same as with business, being late in a business meeting may cause a decline in business offer or a loss in your money.


A business' success depends mainly upon the faithfulness and cooperation of each employee in the company. The employees mainly look up to their boss, and what their boss is doing greatly affects how their workers are performing. So, for a company to be productive and successful, they should have a leader with a good leadership character.

Financial Ability

Finance is another great important factor in running a successful business. Without a proper finance no business is going to be able to run smoothly and succeed. The larger the capital invested on a business the bigger the business is and the bigger the volume of income will be.

Now you know some of the traits a good businessman should have. Being involved in a business is not a joke it should be taken seriously because money is at stake in this game. Hard work and perseverance is a must in this field.

By : Greg_Pierce

Set Up Your Own Successful Business - Ten Tips

Although many small businesses do very well for their owners, a third of them fail within the first three years. Sometimes the problem is something as simple as cashflow - they keep waiting to be paid by various clients but spend too much while they wait and wait. Or it could be that they just didn't get enough work or enough sales to keep them going.

One of the best ways to avoid your business failing - whether you're a freelancer or whether you produce goods and services with a team of people helping you - is to get some practical knowledge and advice at the start. The more you know the less you have to learn the hard way! Here are ten 'what I wish I had known' pointers you should consider before taking the plunge:

1. Start small and keep your overheads low.

Don't spend any more than you have to on your start-up. Plenty of big businesses started very small: Laura Ashley began on her kitchen table, M&S started with a market stall, Tesco was just a couple of local grocer's shops at the beginning.

So don't rush out and get yourself a big posh office, start in your bedroom if you have to. Don't rush out and buy the latest laptop and phone; use what you've got until you've made some money and new kit becomes essential.

2. Cashflow.

Don't assume that people will pay on time - most don't. Cut down your waiting time by getting them to agree your payment terms at the start. Be clear that you will charge 8% over Base Rate for any invoices that are not paid within 30 days. Also, don't spend money now assuming you'll have some coming in soon. You probably won't, so wait until you have the money before you spend it.

3. Do a plan.

As the saying goes: 'If you fail to plan you plan to fail'. Even if you are just setting up as a freelancer you need to have a basic idea of what your costs are going to be each month and how much you think you could earn. Make yourself a chart for the next twelve months.

Put down your estimated costs for each month and then give yourself a ballpark figure of how much work or sales you think you could make as the months go on. It's a tough thing to guess but just the action of thinking it through will provide you with earnings goals and things to consider as you run your business.

4. Network.

There more you are 'out there' touting for work the more likely you are to get the work. With the internet it is possible to meet people without leaving your desk. Join online networking groups and forums and start chatting.

Try and make the time to get out to networking events in your area and make sure you take your business card with you wherever you go - you can meet interesting and potentially useful people anywhere. Who knows who you might meet at the gym, a wedding, at a conference or even on the bus!

5. Put the hours in but take time off.

You will be amazed at just how much time your business will take up for the first year or so, mainly because there are so many things that need to be done and only you to do them. You will need to do your own sales and marketing, finances, production and management for a start. It's not unusual to have to work seven days a week as a start up. However, make sure you slot in time off here and there and take actual holidays a couple of times a year.

6. Create a structure for yourself.

If you have left full-time employment you will find it hard at first to work without a corporate structure. Set yourself specific work hours and, if you have the space, create an 'office' area in your home where you work and do nothing else. You may find it helps to set up a routine for yourself - perhaps a visit to the gym first thing in the morning then your working day starts.

7. Learn, learn, learn.

The more information, help and advice you get before you start and while you are getting your business together the more likely you are to succeed. Take business courses, read books on setting up a business and talk to people who are doing what you want to do to get their advice. It can make the difference between success and failure.

8. Connect with supportive, helpful people.

You can feel very alone running your own business. Seek out positive, supportive people who inspire you and give you help. Keep away from negative people who drag you down or criticize. If you can, find a mentor - someone who also has a business in a similar area who will give you advice and useful contacts.

9. Set up passive income streams where possible.

If you have a website consider incorporating Google AdSense on it (these are Google AdWords that site on websites and make money for you when people click on them). Think about writing an eBook on your business subject and selling it online. Try to set up things that will make money for you without much effort so that you have more time to do the time-consuming parts of your business.

10. Keep the financials in order.

Businesses often fail because they have forgotten to put money aside for the tax bill or the VAT bill. Also many small businesses pay far too much tax in the first few years because they have not kept enough receipts for business expenses. However boring it may seem, make sure your book-keeping is up to date through the year and set aside money each month to pay tax and VAT when it comes up.

By : Jasmine_Birtles

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vending Massage Chairs For Business

What is Massage?

Massage is a relaxation treatment which includes a variety of gliding, kneading, smooth strokes and other movements on the exterior layer of the muscles in order to release muscle tension and pain. It also improves blood circulation by bringing in oxygen and some other nutrients to the tissues in our bodies.

What are the Benefits of a Massage Therapy?

Aside from relaxation purposes, a massage therapy is used for different health reasons:

• To ease body pain and fatigue
• To improve body posture
• To alleviate stirring conditions (chronic arthritis)
• To relieve stress and stress-related issues
• To ease headaches and migraines
• To relieve muscle pain, sprains and strains
• To resolve blood circulation and respiration concerns
• To improve condition for post-injury and post surgical incidents

Truth is, a lot of people find massage therapy to be a great way to pamper one's body after a long day of work. It relaxes your mind and body caused by stress either work-related or personal issues.

Is massage therapy expensive?

It actually depends on where you are getting a massage and your location. You can get a massage from different spas near you since this is a popular treatment nowadays or for your convenience you can likewise get a massage from a licensed massage therapist who could come in to your place for in-house services.

Now here's another way of getting a massage without going to your local spa or setting an appointment with a massage therapist and that is through a vending massage chair. Like a common vending machine all you need to do is drop a coin or a bill and you can now get a soothing massage for usually 15 minutes.

What are the benefits of getting a vending massage chair?

One major benefit of a vending massage chair is that it maintains a healthy lifestyle since you can get a regular massage anytime you wish. Aside from that, this machine can be an income generator, if you notice you will normally find vending massage chairs in the waiting lounges of malls and some other stores.

You can actually try it for your self and see how it works. The good thing about it is that you won't need to hire a professional to operate it and provide the service. If it's going to be strictly for personal use only then you will have your own privacy at the convenience of your home.

Of course we all know that when you're going to get a massage from a spa you need to be somehow "semi-naked," and that is something not all people is comfortable of doing. By getting a vending massage chair, you will not only earn but also promote a healthy living for the society especially for those who are working.

By : Gretchen_Canedo

A Wise Move for Business Is to Seek an Angel Investor

There are many people with good business ideas however they don't have enough capital to convert it to a real profit making venture. There are some people who seek the help of an Angel investor. They would invest in your business idea even if the money is tighter. They are giving away capital and helping start up businesses out there.

According to survey there are over hundred thousands of angel investors who are providing capital to businesses out there. Overall, these investors are giving away about $20 billion a year. If you are seeking to find an angel investor, there are some things that you should know.

One is to know the place where to look for angel investors. Most of them are looking at universities with business courses. This serves as an incubator for ideas. It is a good idea to contact local business groups. They would know some organizations that offer capital. Ask your friends or family in case they have an idea on this matter.

Asking around can lead you to the money you are seeking like high net individuals or big corporation that are interested in investing in small business. Some are willing to take the risk as long as the concept is strong enough and it is run by good people.

When seeking angel investors, you need to show them value. Your idea should be interesting. This would make them pay attention to your products and service. Make sure to have a business plan ready. It should be more than just an idea. You need to know how to attract customers or prove you can create product.

Very few investors would go for an idea without backing up. Business plan should cover the product, market and the execution. Explain the ways to make money. Add documents like profit and loss balance sheet. This is essential in their decision making if they would invest or not.

Remember that investors talk to other investors. Always be sure that your first business plan is very good. You don't want them to talk about a lousy and disorganized idea. There are angel investors who belong to association and they have venture capital firms.

People don't know that they pool their money so that it will be larger and they could spread the risk. Angel investors would also want to get involve in your business. They don't just give the capital.

There are many who want to become board of directors. This is something positive and you could use their advice. Your investor will not just sit back after giving you tons of money. It is a good idea to plan an exit strategy for the investor. Aside from the potential return of investment, you should know what to do in case things don't work out.

You need to communicate often with the investor. This is a business partnership so be transparent with your plans. This is a condition for most of them. Always keep these things in mind so they won't take their money and say goodbye.

By : Janaki_Patro

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Make Investors Pull Out Their Checkbook With Only 10 Slides

Have a big investor presentation coming up soon? Need to attract some investors for your small business? Start by creating a 10 slide powerpoint presentation that will last no longer than 20 minutes and then practice practice practice. Here are the ten slides you have to have to get investors excited.

Title - Just include your organization name, your name and contact information. Don't read this to the audience. Start off by telling them what your organization does in no more than 2 sentences.

Big Problem - What is the big problem or pain that your organization addresses? Maybe you have a cure to cancer, or maybe you have a pen that does not leave ink blots. Both are pains. Just make sure you start by setting the stage with the pain or problem

Unique Solution - After you have the audience nodding their head and talking amongst themselves with comments like, "Yeah I hate it when that happens". Now it is time to reveal your unique solution to this problem.

Business Model - We could alleviate a lot of problems if money was not an issue, but unfortunately it is, so now explain how you are going to make money with your unique solution to the big problem.

Unique Selling Proposition - What makes your product or service special? If you are a online marketing firm, how are you any better than the 1 million other online marketing firms?

Competition - Thoroughly explain your competition. Acknowledge their strengths, but you can also point out their weaknesses and where you hope to capitalize on their weaknesses. Never Never say that you have no competition. Even if no one else makes your product, what would keep someone from buying your product? That is your competition.

Marketing Plan - How are you going to find customers? How are you going to convince them to take money out of their wallet and put it in yours?

Financial Projections - Either a 3 or 5 year forecast is best. Give it your best shot on these, but don't waste too much time. What I have learned is that smart investors know that you have no idea what kind of money you will make so they essentially disregard your projections and make their own estimates based on everything else you have already told them.

Management Team - Teams are important because no one can build Google or Microsoft by themselves. You need team members that can make up for your weaknesses and vice versa. Focus your audience on your teams strengths as they will be what drives your success.

The Ask - Now it is time to ask for the funding you need. Don't ask for more than you need. Don't ask for less than you need. Explain major milestones for your organization as well as an expected timeline so that investors have an idea regarding the length of investment.

If you can communicate these ten topics in a clear and effective way you will be on your way toward raising your first round of investment!

By : Adam_Hoeksema

Joint Venture Psychology - Turning Weaknesses to Strengths

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Anyone who has sat down for a job interview has probably been asked these questions. However, have you actually sat down and truly analyzed your weaknesses?

Weaknesses may appear to be strengths. For instance, a perfectionist may consider his need for superior craft, design, or process an asset, when in actuality; it hinders his progress and prevents forward momentum. By carefully determining where your weaknesses are, you can work toward improving them, or using them to the advantage of your business or your JV business.

As an example, during your JV efforts, you find that your marketing strategy for billboard advertising is not what you expected, but your online marketing is showing results.

As a response, you and your JV partner modify your strategy to reduce billboard advertising and focus more on online SEO searches and pay per click advertising. This helps to generate the most out of your marketing dollar and improve sales.

The same holds true for your own weaknesses. You might determine that something is not working as well as you'd like. However, by modifying your behavior or capitalizing on a weakness, you can improve your own personal achievement.

Write It Out

The first thing you must do is take some time to write out your weakness. This is not the time to be over-confident and deny that you have any. Consider what hinders your progress. Are you a procrastinator? Do you have trouble with authority and taking directions?

Are you a slow typist? Any of these could be a weakness that prevents you from getting work done. Be honest and list what you think are your weaknesses. Then ask others as well.

Determine the Impact

What do your weaknesses cost you? Does your procrastination cost you time and money? Does your problem with sharing authority prevent decisions? Knowing how your weaknesses affect your external outcomes is important to know before you can begin working on internal changes.

Dedicate Yourself towards Improvement

Now that you know what you can improve, and what happens if you don't, you must dedicate your efforts toward improving that weakness into an asset. Were your communication skills determined to be a weakness?

Take writing and speech classes. Procrastination an issue? Read books on organization today (don't put it off!), or take a local community center class on improving organization and motivation skills.

Capitalize on Weaknesses

With your work set before you, you can set a goal to capitalize on your weaknesses. Take the classes. Face your fears. Focus on improvement. And don't forget to measure the results. When you can measure your improvement in certain areas, then you know you are on the right track to turning your weaknesses into assets.

Remember, there is strength in your weaknesses. You merely need to crash through the blocks of doubt and denial, and focus on changing behaviors.

By : Christian_Fea

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Fund Your Business Without Giving Up Equity

Although there are many methods to finance and capitalize a company, the financing transaction is usually structured and secured in one of two ways. Either your put up collateral as security or you give up some ownership of your company (equity).

Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks. One of the major benefits of using collateral instead of giving up equity is that you retain ownership and control of the business. This can be very important for business owners who want to retain their independence. When you sell equity, the buyers become your new partners - for better or for worse.

Most small and medium sized companies look for financing because they have cash flow problem. Although you can fix these problems by selling equity and recapitalizing the company - it's not always the easiest solution.

One business financing alternative is to get a business loan. Although business loans are a popular tool to finance a company - they can be hard to get. The current lending environment is very difficult and institutions are only extending loans to very low risk ventures.

To qualify, most companies need to have strong financial statements, multi year profits, seasoned management, substantial collateral and good growth potential. Few companies meet these criteria, especially small and midsized companies.

If the cash flow problems are caused by slow paying clients - rather than by low sales - invoice financing may be the right solution. Invoice financing is a simple solution that provides a funds advance on your slow paying invoices.

It plugs the cash flow gap, providing the money you need to pay suppliers, employees and other business costs. More importantly, it smoothes out cash flow, providing predictability and allowing the business owner to focus on other tasks.

Most invoice financing transactions are structured as two advances. The first payment is given to you as soon as you invoice your client. It's usually 80% of the invoice. The second advance, which is 20% less the financing fee, is given once your client actually pays the invoice.

One of the advantages of invoice financing is that is easier to get than other forms of financing. If your business is free of liens and encumbrances and you invoice credit worthy commercial clients, you have a good chance of qualifying.

By : Marco_Terry

A Flexible Alternative to Business Lines of Credit

Companies that sell to commercial and government customers almost always get paid for their services on net 30 to net 60 day terms. This means that they have to wait up to 60 days from the time of invoicing to be able to collect a payment.

Most firms cover expense during this delay by using their cash reserves or relying on a bank line of credit.

This strategy tends to work well, unless you have limited cash reserves and are unable to get a line of credit. Institutions underwrite their lines of credit much like business loans and other business financing products.

They require two or three years worth of financial reports about your company. They require that the company and the owners have substantial assets. And, they require that all the records be spotless.

If your company cannot meet the institutions funding criteria you will usually be out of luck, especially in the current economic environment. Conventional underwriting standards are very strict. However, there is an unconventional approach to financing your business that works for many industries.

As mentioned earlier, most companies that have cash flow problems have them because they can't afford to wait 30 or 60 days to get paid by clients. This gap can be covered using invoice financing.

Invoice financing provides an funds advance on your slow paying invoices giving your company the necessary liquidity to cover expenses while waiting to get paid. One advantage of invoice financing over other solutions is that you can leverage the credit quality of your clients to your advantage.

In an invoice financing transaction, the funding company buys the invoice at a discount, with the expectation it will be paid in 30 to 90 days. If your clients have good commercial credit, the funding company will likely buy the invoice. This feature enables small companies whose biggest asset is a solid roster of clients to use invoice financing.

A second advantage of invoice financing is that it grows with your sales. Your funding line will usually be determined by the size of your invoices and the credit quality of your clients. This funding flexibility enables small companies with big potential to grow organically.

By : Marco_Terry

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Team Building Quotes and the Shrek Test

Earlier today I typed into Google "team building", just to see where my company's website is now in that list, and noticed for the first time that one of the suggestions that Google offered once I had got past typing "team" was "team building quotes".

It got me thinking of my own favourite self quote on team building and I wondered how it measured up to the others that are out there. Time for some research then, but first let me put mine up for scrutiny:

"A team is one in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts"

So there's mine then. Implicit in it is the possibility that the whole could be less than the sum of the parts. That, for me, suggests that is the way that team members work together that determines how effective it is.

To paraphrase what Shrek said to Donkey in the first of the Shrek films, good quotes are like onions in that they have layers. So mine passes my own test. Well, Shrek's test to put credit where it is due.

To the research. The most listed quote that I could find was also the one that makes most people roll their eyes when they hear it. "There's no 'I' in team". So hated is this quote that almost everyone at least thinks, if not says out loud, the response "but there is a 'me' in it".

Hmmm. So it has definitely has layers but they are not beneficial ones. This prompted me to alter the Shrek test. It is not enough for the quote to have layers, the layers must add to the sentiment rather than simply exist or be detrimental to it.

"None of us is as smart as all of us" from Ken Blanchard, co-author of the excellent "The One Minute Manager", is a great quote. But how does it fare on the newly adjusted Shrek test? Well, for me, sorry Ken but it doesn't.

It's a wysiwyg quote - what you see is what you get. Direct, to the point, immediately evocative of the point it is trying to make. As a team building quote it succeeds splendidly. But layers? No. I don't need to think further to improve my understanding of it.

W Edwards Deming, father of Statistical Process Control and much credited for the revival of Japan after World War II, is attributed to a quote on the other end of the length scale - "What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for individual competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis."

I love the Blanchard quote, despite if failing the Shrek test, because it is succinct and makes a great point superbly. I have equal if not greater admiration for Dening and his work, but this quote just doesn't do it for me.

It doesn't need layers - it has sufficient detail and even complexity within the quote itself. I'm also not sure that I believe it is all good advice, though the majority within the quote certainly is. For example I disagree with the inference that competition within organisations is a bad thing.

It needs to be managed to avoid it becoming detrimental, but I see competition between teams within an organisation as a positive force. The Deming quote not only fails the Shrek test, it also isn't one I can wholeheartedly get behind.

Believe it or not, I really struggled after that to find quotes that were genuinely about teams. I found loads that were on pages that purported to be about teams but were actually about individuals or about winning or about individuals winning. I found plenty of motivational quotes from the likes of Henry Ford and Steve Jobs for teams but not really about teams.

So there you have it. My quote is the only one that passes the (totally subjective) Shrek test as adjusted in the research for this article. I'd welcome comments on this article. Especially if they are able to refute my findings and add genuine, Shrek-happy team building quotes to my current list of one. It'd be nice to have a proper list.

By : Alan_Hunt

Team Building Goals - What Are the Objectives of Team Building?

Success in building high performing teams in any organisation has huge benefits for the business, its Customers, the teams and for each team member. To achieve success in team building, it is important to have a tight focus on the objectives and goals, as well as on the benefits of team building for that specific business or workplace.

The Overall Objectives

Some think this is about playing silly games, or indulging in expensive and irrelevant out of work activities. The managers or business people who believe this will quickly dismiss the concept as a total waste of money and energy.

Others who have problems in their workplace with conflict in groups, poor performance or demotivated staff may see team building as positive, but as an unattainable goal. They do not have a clear understanding of team building, or, indeed of the role of leadership in achieving high performance.

Team building is a PROCESS that takes place over time. The start of the process is where there is a group of people, two or more, and a leader. The end of the process is where there is a high performing team, who are highly motivated to perform better and better, who have well-developed processes and systems to organise their workload, and who gain immense satisfaction from their shared achievements.

The overall objectives are to achieve this high performance, to develop the group through the various stages of development, until it achieves high performance. However, like any other process, there are different steps or stages, and there are quite different objectives and goals at each stage. Focussing on the RIGHT objectives at each stage, and changing your objectives as you go through the process, will help you achieve high performance.

The Objectives at Stage One

At the first stage of team building, the Forming stage, there are very identifiable objectives and goals. These objectives MUST be achieved before the group can move on to the next stage. It is the role of the leader of the team to ensure the objectives are met.

The objectives at the Forming stage are:

1. To bind the group, so that they get to know each other and begin having a sense of team. It is at this stage that team building activities will help bind them.
2. To align them to their shared purpose, goals and targets
3. To establish a positive team culture, the beliefs, values and norms of behaviour
4. To establish the role of the leader

The Objectives at the Second Stage

Some of the initial objectives will continue through to this stage, but other goals will be introduced to develop the team further. This stage is called the Storming stage, where members may challenge their shared purpose, the leadership or the norms of behaviour.

The objectives at this stage are:

1. To keep them aligned to their purpose and goals
2. To develop good working relationships between all members, giving them experience of working with different team members
3. To nurture shared problem solving and generating new ideas
4. To introduce processes so that they work effectively together e.g. daily huddles, flash problem solving meetings, regular state of play meetings, communication systems etc.
5. To establish clear short term goals and methods for celebrating achievement and milestones

The Objectives at the Third Stage

When the team has worked through the Storming stage, they will have become closer, and will have a deep sense of working together to achieve their shared purpose. This stage is called the Norming stage, where they work well together and has effective processes and systems.
To get the team to the next stage, the focus changes.

Not many teams achieve the fourth stage, the high performing team. The reason for this generally is that they get stuck in the Norming stage. To move the team forward, the objective now is to change the focus quite dramatically.

Up to now, the idea has been that there is no 'I' in team. The objective is to bind the team together to achieve their shared targets. Now the objective is to get the 'I' back in to the Team, to hold them together, but also to develop individual excellence and specialism.

The objectives at this stage are :

1. To increase the business knowledge, so that the team and individual members can take on more responsibility
2. To encourage problem solving, innovation and leadership for specific projects or tasks. The leader delegates to the team, or to small project groups.
3. To modify or change the processes so that they take on more responsibility. Team meetings reduce, team project teams increase. Leadership of projects or meetings rotates.
4. To get the team to set its own goals

With this clarity of the ladder of team building objectives, you will have a much better chance of developing your team effectively.

By : Kate_Tammemagi

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Speed Networking - You Can Connect Introverts and Extroverts For Fun and Success

If you see more speed networking events both in-person and online, it's likely because - they work! But how do you snap your speed networking into a pace that gets you results you want? From business cards, to elevator pitches, to how to listen to be of help, to follow-up and anything in between, you're going to find you recognize something that you haven't been doing and if you act on these ideas now, you WILL get more results with each round of practice.

Here's why speed networking appeals to introvert and extrovert alike:

Extroverts (energized most by other people) love:

- Networking with more people.

- Networking with new people.

- Networking CAN get loud at times.

- Networking in a large group is what you start and end with.

Introverts (energized most by their own thoughts and selves) thrive with:

- Networking in a designated time.

- Networking with structure.

- Networking without small talk.

- Networking is 1 to 1!

And what works for anyone, introvert and extrovert alike:

- The overall structure, typically you meet 15 to 20 people in 4 to 6 minute conversation rounds, is a comfortable and less intimidating environment than typical free for all events.

- A person can learn effective networking techniques through each conversation, repetition and a facilitator.

- The math works for everyone. Connections you make of 15 to 20 people in an hour, times an average of 250 if you have been in business for a year or two.

Networking, if it is in your strategic plan for marketing and business development, tends to lead to a lot of make-me-puke-but-I'm- listening kind of small talk, can wear out an unprepared introvert and because of distractions from the fast fun of it can leave the most ardent type cheerleader, an extrovert, weary. The train is in - speed networking has arrived and gets better with each round.

By : Patricia_Weber

How to Network As a Freelance Journalist

As with many professions, freelance journalism can be about who you know, not what you know. As a term, 'networking' comes with negative connotations and gives the idea of obsequiousness. But in reality, it's an essential aspect of the freelance world, and one that all aspiring freelance journalists should be prepared to engage in.

Networking doesn't have to be mean constantly selling yourself or 'sucking up' as the saying goes. There's a networking etiquette that will help make you known to editors and improve your chances of being hired in an unimposing manner.

* Never say no to an invitation. Whether it's a party, a wedding, a dinner party or (most importantly) a media event of some sort, always accept the invite. You never know who you will meet! Make a conscious effort to talk to people you don't know everywhere - even if it's not at an event, but just on the airplane, in a shopping line or at a sporting event.

* Don't try to sell yourself, listen instead! Rather than trying to sell yourself straight away, learn to be a good listener and ask questions. Inquire after their work, life and career with sincerity. This way, they're more likely to enjoy the conversation and remember you in the future.

* Stay in contact. Even if there is no immediate job prospect, if you meet someone you like and would potentially be interested in writing for/with, stay in touch. This is important as you don't want to approach or contact someone only when you want something in particular.

* Carry your details on you. Always have a business card or some other form of information about yourself on you, and don't be afraid to give it out. It can't hurt, and the worst that can happen is that they don't call.

* Follow leads, however small. Even if a lead is not overly promising, it's worthwhile cultivating a relationship with that person and following up potential business leads. Even if nothing comes off, they'll remember you for next time.

* Explore new networking avenues. In the online age, there are a number of new networking avenues different to traditional face to face interaction. New online sites for freelance journalists, for example and online discussion groups are a great place to meet other writers and editors. Also, join every networking club and association in the journalism field.

Networking is an essential element to successful freelance writing; however it is essential that you have quality written work and journalism skills to put on the market. General writing courses are a good place to start, or alternatively take specific journalism courses that cater to your area of interest to improve your writing skills. There's no substitute for quality writing, paired with polished networking skills!

By : EN_Jio

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making a Good Living As a Professional Coach

Being a successful professional coach means that you are able to make a comfortable, full-time living from coaching. Most coaches are drawn to the profession because of their sincere desire to help others - and indeed the world needs coaches.

After all the time and effort you put into your professional training, don't forget you need to spend additional time setting yourself up for success by planning and implementing your marketing strategy.

Since many coaches do not have a business or marketing background, getting this type of support and mentoring in your field of specialty is essential in order to become a successful coach practitioner.

Here are Five Steps to Building a Successful Coaching Practice:

STEP 1: Get coaching training

- Select a training program that fits you and delivers on ALL your needs.
- Coaching is a specific methodology and requires specific training, even if you think you already know how.
- Credibility comes from having qualifications.
- Set yourself up for success by doing it "right."

STEP 2: Choose a specialty and niche

- Your "profession" is your job title, which might be "Professional Coach." Your "specialty" is your area of focus within your profession, such as "Relationship Coach." Your "niche" is the specific group of people you help, such as "Relationship Coach for Singles."
- Choosing a specific niche is much more effective for attracting prospects and convincing them to hire you. Many practitioners struggle, especially coaches, when you resist choosing a niche and try to market to a general, broad audience.
- Be unique, follow your passion, become an expert in your niche.

STEP 3: Design your service delivery system for your niche

- Here is the secret to guaranteed success: Market Research with the people in your niche to learn what they need and want.
- Sell programs, not sessions! Don't try to market "coaching;" design and market a coaching program tailored to the needs and goals of your niche.
- Provide group services, such as classes, workshops, and group coaching. This is more affordable for your niche and is more profitable for you and leverages your time more effectively.

STEP 4: Apply marketing strategies to develop prospects

- Marketing is simply communicating what you do.
- You can market till the cows come home and not get any clients! The primary outcome of marketing is to develop prospects
- Three primary forms of marketing are:

1. Speaking
2. Writing
3. Networking

STEP 5: Apply enrollment strategies to convert your prospects to clients

- Focus on benefits and results. What will your client "get" and how will their life be different from working with you?
- Build your relationship with your prospective clients by providing and proving your value.
- Do not provide "sample" or "complimentary" sessions. Instead, offer a "[biggest goal or problem] Strategy Session" designed to be enticing to your niche (e.g. "Find the Love of Your Life Strategy Session" for singles).
- Learn and apply strategies for closing, overcoming objections, addressing common questions. Enrollment is a specific skill requiring practice and specific strategies. Once you've mastered this skill you will be able to get all the clients you can handle!
- Follow up, Follow up, Follow up. "Your fortune is in the follow up." This is where most practitioners fall short as most clients will hire you through your follow up efforts, not your initial contact.

Being a Professional Coach is a wonderful way to make a very good living as well as make a positive impact in the world. Building a successful business as a Professional Coach is much easier than you might think if you follow these five steps. If you want to help others and find that your family and friend often come to you to talk about their problems, this growing profession is probably a good fit for you!

By : David_Steele

Self Employment Business Advice

First of all, you should cover all the right bases and get the schooling you need to learn about your career choice and get the skills you need to become a success in your business. There are some risks that you will need to know about when it comes to being your own boss.

It is important to talk to other business owners when starting up your own business so they can give you the pros and cons of being self-employed and running your own business.

It is good to get all the advice that you can about your new business so you can make sure you are taking the right steps to make your business run smoothly without any catches.

This is why talking to other business owners, especially those within the same type of business or field as you are intending, is a good idea in order to learn more about what processes and experiences they went through.

Forming good relationships with other business owners can benefit your business, especially if someday they refer some of their customers to you. Your local chamber of commerce is a good place to learn about the requirements needed for filing state and local forms. Here you can talk to other business owners within your community.

Some of these business owners may help you with finding services and equipment that can help your business to grow and become a success.

When being self-employed and owning your own business, you must consider taxes. Finding someone that you can trust to handle your taxes each year is a good idea. This person will be able to inform you about the tax laws for a business owner.

Some business owners have accountants handle their taxes. If you need advice and help with getting a loan for your business your bank will be able to help you with this no matter what size of business you are planning to start.

By : Tony_Jacowski

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Everyone Deserves to Be Safe - Oh Really and Exactly Who Is Supposed to Pay for This?

It is amazing how many laws, rules, and regulations we have in our daily lives. It is known that the government's job to protect the American people, but they been taking their mission a little too far.

Now they wish to protect us from ourselves, and they want to make sure that we don't hurt ourselves, and I can't figure out why. The only thing that I can consider is they don't want us to hurt ourselves, or we might become unproductive, and unable to pay their taxes.

Indeed, I know that sounds silly, but let's look at this for a moment, let's have a dialogue on this issue. If we make laws and rules for the stupidest people amongst us, literally for the Darwin award winners, then we will create a society which is totally sterile, without innovation, entrepreneurship, or free thought.

We will create a society and civilization void of what has made America great. Indeed, if we look at other nations we see that their citizens can't think, they can't innovate, and they don't have original thoughts.

Personally, I do have original thoughts, and I have two per day. And it's taken me years to develop my mind in order to be able to do that. Many people in America may only have an original thought once per decade, and perhaps people that live in countries like China may never have an actual original thought of their own. That's a scary thought indeed.

Not long ago an acquaintance told me that; "Everyone Deserves to Be Safe," as he explained why government restrictive regulations needed to be even more invasive. But, I countered this with; "Oh really and exactly who is supposed to Pay for this - Everyone Else, and, if so, Why?"

We have all sorts of rules you understand, we have to wear a seatbelt, we can't talk while driving on our cell phone, and many of these rules are so we don't hurt ourselves, such as wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle, and other rules are so we don't hurt innocent bystanders.

Still, every rule must be enforced, and that takes money. In each time there is a new rule that takes a little bit of our personal freedoms away from us. There are so many rules now that you literally cannot live a single day of your life without breaking some rule, ordinance, law, or regulation without even knowing it. Now then, I live in California, and they actually have contests every year for who can think up the greatest new law.

Instead of dreaming up new laws, perhaps the California government should pay down its debt. Of course, I digress, but this is a significant issue. Does everyone really deserve to be safe? Or should everyone take it upon themselves to keep their family, their coworkers, their friends, their neighbors, and themselves safe and sound, by practicing a little bit of responsibility? Please consider all this.

By : Lance_Winslow

Health and Safety in the Office Environment

Ensuring that employees do not injure themselves at work is something which is prioritized by all businesses in modern times. Is it because the owners of the businesses deeply and genuinely care about the welfare of their employees? Perhaps it is more likely that business owners are concerned that a less than intelligent employee will injure themselves and then sue the company.

This growing fear that employees might injure themselves at work has cause health and safety to take priority in all working environments and has arguably created some outrageous health and safety rules.

One such example of an outrageous rule is how in certain offices across the UK workers are told not to move office chairs if they are found in the wrong position. In this case if someone breaks the rule and moves your chair to the other side of the room you should not move it back to your desk.

More outlandish rules are being applied in some schools across the UK such as students wearing goggles when handling blue tack and teachers being given a five page booklet about the dangers of Pritt-stick.

Ridiculous rules such as these have turned health and safety into somewhat of a joke, however some aspects of the practice are very important as hundreds of potentially serious accidents are avoided every year by following simple health and safety rules.

The primary safety hazard in any office is fire. Proper fire safety protocol and fire exits are standard in all offices whether it is Office Space Bracknell, office space Cardiff or Office Space Oxford.

All offices across the UK must have the correct regulations in place so that if a fire does ignite in the office building all staff members know how to react and will be safe. In the rather rare case of a fire breaking out in an office building following correct procedure can save lives

Another less dramatic hazard in the office working environment is the common trip hazard. Trip hazards account for a large amount of injuries that occur in office environments across the UK and also account for a large number of compensation claims taken out against companies.

There are several items which are classed as trip hazards from wires running along the ground to uneven stairwells. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are aware of trip hazards and that all hazards are fix as quickly as possible.

Whilst health and safety in offices may seem trivial to some there are hundreds of hazards in which employees need to be made aware of. Fire safety and trip hazard awareness are just two of the simple ways in which accident and injury can be avoided. Health and safety does not need to become ridiculous as it has in some cases, it just needs to be managed properly.

By : Nikki_Maidment

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Negotiating Successfully to Collect Your Cash - How Business Professionals Can Avoid Financial Chaos

Regardless of your profession, if you're in business, this could happen to you.

· Clients request services for which they cannot pay.

· You provide services, and then struggle to obtain payment.

· Slow payers strangle your cash flow.

· Payment issues poison your relationships with clients.

It doesn't have to be that way! The way in which you engage a client relationship at the outset of the relationship, to a great degree, dictates what will occur in the relationship. In addition, it dictates how resolutions will come about when there are payment challenges.

This article delves into some of the aspects that you can control to insure you and your clients do not end up in a negative situation, as the result of their inability to compensate you for your services.

1. Know with whom you're dealing:

a. You can avoid financial chaos by not dealing with some people and/or organizations. Just because someone wants to conduct business with you, doesn't mean they're a fit for your business. If they admit to having financial challenges during your initial meeting, you should consider the benefits of doing business with them and the potential hardship that such actions may have on your business.

b. Weigh the current financial situation of your business associate and assess the possibility that there may be a future 'payment' issue. If it appears that such a situation may loom, install 'safe guards' (i.e. collecting more funds up front, keeping the client on a shorter time payment leash, keep a watchful eye on the fact that there may be payment issues associated with the account and pounce the moment such issues become prevalent). In essence, ask yourself if you have the will power, staying power, and firepower (resources) to chase a debtor.

2. Establish Rapport:

a. Once you've assessed the potential risk of a financial default, and you decide to engage in a business relationship with the person, create a mutual relationship built on trust, respect, and the fact that you need to have funds to keep your business running. Set the expectation at the outset of the relationship that you expect your business associate to be a good payer.

b. In creating a genuine bond with your client, don't allow the client's financial problems to instill financial chaos into your business. In essence, don't inject empathy into the relationship when the client begins to tell you their financial tales of woe. During such times, you're setting the course for the relationship and how interactions will occur. Set the stage appropriately.

3. Recognize Excuses:

a. When some clients are on the verge of experiencing financial challenges, they may begin to hoard resources in an attempt to sustain their own livelihood. It's at this point that you must become insistent about receiving payment and putting a process in place to monitor future payments. Don't be caught up in giving more services, with the thought that if you don't, it will hasten the demise of your client's operations.

b. Discover body language (nonverbal communication) reading techniques. By possessing the ability to read body language, in person and over the phone, you can gain insight into thoughts that a client may not verbally disclose. Such insight will allow you to have a better glimpse into the real situation with which they may be dealing.

4. Use Negotiation Strategies:

a. You can employ numerous negotiation strategies to counter strategies that a client might present, in addressing his payment situation; the more strategies you're aware of, and how to use them in the appropriate situation(s), the better positioned you'll be to thwart the actions of a client that may have funds, but wish to apply them for other purposes.

b. Identify points upon which you can apply leverage and avoid financial chaos. As you progress in the relationship with your client, be attuned to opportunities where you may be able to apply points of pressure, should a lack of payment situation make such actions necessary (e.g. if the client doesn't want everyone to know they have a payment situation, you may consider informing him that it's your responsibility to report such occurrences).

c. Offer a promotion that gives the client a payback bonus (rebate), at the end of a specified period. The rebate becomes effective if the client submits funds, in the manner specified by the agreement (note: this becomes a cost of doing business, which gets incorporated in your overall pricing).

Client relations can be strained when payments issue arise, which could cause your business to incur financial hardships. In order to avoid such situations, choose your clients the way you'd choose your friends. Plus, always keep in mind that a certain amount of business will go bad.

Thus, the better you manage the potential for bad clients, the more enhanced your bottom line will become... and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you're always negotiating.

The Negotiation Tips Are...

· Learn to strike a balance between disagreeing and being disagreeable. Try never to create a situation that becomes unmanageable, due to slow or nonpayment. Maintain an attitude that conveys the belief that your client will do his best to submit payments on time.

· To the degree you can, engage the client as a friend, while maintaining the integrity of the business relationship. If a point occurs when you must discuss a payment situation, personalize yourself and speak from the financial discomfort (use appropriate 'word(s)' for your situation) that such an occurrence will have on you and your business.

· In considering with whom you'll do business, think about the potential future ramifications of engaging in a business relationship with any entity. In some case, there may be stop signs at the outset.

By : Greg_Williams