Monday, December 28, 2009

5 Steps to Create a Successful Marketing Plan

Dr. Maya Bailey

RISMEDIA, December 18, 2009—As a Master Business Coach, I often hear from my clients the following story: “I feel stuck in my business. I really love to help people, I am excellent in negotiations and contracts, but I really hate prospecting. I just can’t seem to bring myself to pick up the phone.”

How often have you had those feelings, or have known of someone else who does? The thought of marketing makes most people clench their teeth, tighten their stomach and engage in marketing avoidance behavior that sends their business down the drain.
My clients tell me: “If only I could learn to market myself, I would love my business. I would be making a fortune.”

If you have these feelings, you’re not alone. There are specific reasons, including the following, why people avoid marketing:

1. “I don’t want to bother people.” How many times have you said it yourself before you picked up the phone? The fear of bothering people is huge. In the same breath, most business people tell me that, “I hate it when a telemarketer calls me at home and I don’t want to do the same thing to other people.”

2. “I don’t like tooting my own horn.” So many of us have been taught, especially women, that it’s not good to promote yourself. This is especially difficult for women who have come from a background other than sales before they started their own business. Often times they were employed in a company and marketing was never a part of their job.

3. “I don’t want to be rejected.” Some people are so terrified of being rejected or disapproved of, that they will even avoid calling their former clients. I have written previously in other articles about the phenomena of having a sphere of influence, which is your “goldmine,” but being afraid to “mine it.”

Fortunately, there are solutions for creating a successful marketing plan. Here are 5 easy ways to transform “marketing” into a pleasurable and profitable experience.

1. Think of giving- Whenever you think of marketing yourself, think about the fact that you are actually “offering” a valuable service. We get back what we give out. If you think of giving out a valuable service, and you focus on what you have to give, you will radiate a powerful force of positive energy which you will attract back to yourself in terms of clients and sales. The “secret” is to focus on being “the giver.”

2. Know your unique selling points- Most of the time when I coach my entrepreneur clients, they hugely underestimate what makes them unique. When I ask them, “Why should I work with you instead of someone else?” They honestly don’t know. Here’s the “secret”: make a list of the compliments you have received from former clients. Did they tell you that you were friendly, easy to get along with, very knowledgeable, extremely dependable, or great with follow-up?

As you make the list and think about it, you will start to become aware that what you have to offer as a business person is yourself.

You are unique. There is no one else like you. The more you like yourself and approve of yourself, the more you will radiate out a positive energy of self-love, gratitude, and appreciation. These energies are the highest energies that you could send out. They are guaranteed to magnetize back to you the ideal clients that you want.

Read the rest of the marketing tips here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Ultimate Home Business Resource List

I've been getting quite a few phone calls and emails from friends who are thinking of starting new year with a business of their own. Although I might not have all of the answers, I try my best to be a valuable resource to them. Thats why I was quite excited when I came across "The Ultimate Home Business Resource List" in a recent Start-up Nation article.

I found these resources to be extremely beneficial. I hope you will too.

______________________________


When it comes to the US economy, there’s one vital sector that hits very close to home: home businesses. According to the Small Business Administration, 53 percent of businesses in the United States are based from home, and this number is expected to increase.

In recognition of their importance, we set out to create a Home Business Resource List that would serve the needs of entrepreneurs setting up shop from home. We asked experts, talked to home business owners and scoured the Internet, and this is what we found.

1. Government Resources
2. Marketing Solutions
3. Outsourcing
4. Technology
5. Accounting/Finance Software
6. Legal Assistance
7. Inventions
8. Setting up Your Home Office

Explore all the details here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Social Networking: Must or Time-Drain?

For most people, the answer might be both.

As a small business owner, you probably read about the importance of social media networking in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You might even have a Facebook Fan Page for your business.

All these networks are wonderful to generate more contacts, to gain more visibility for your business and expand your contacts. However, many small business owners also realize that once they have all their profiles set up, participating becomes an incredible time-draining activity with no specific or direct or measurable benefit for their business.

Here are THREE key points to help you make the most out of this important social marketing activity. Make sure you:


Plan it! As with any marketing activity you perform for your business, make a plan that includes not only objectives but also an action plan. Set specific goals to ensure your social networking happens for a reason and will help you get more leads and/or clients.

Schedule it! Allocate time for your social networking activity. You don't need to be available all the time. If you participate you must realize social media implies a two-way communications channel. You will have to respond and be active, but organizing this will ensure you make the most out of your time on these social networking sites.

Automatize it! There are many great online tools to systematize several parts of your social networking communications. Familiarize yourself with the tools available and implement the necessary ones to make your time on these networks a productive one. Better yet--hand this task over to your Virtual Assistant!

Written by:Owner of The Bilingual VA, Victoria Miles for Virtual Assistant Networking.com

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three Tips for Effective Time Management for Professionals

Is time management one of your biggest challenges? You are certainly not alone if that is the case. Many small business owners and other professionals are always looking for ways to make better use of their time. If finding a way to implement strategies for effective time management is something that appeals to you, you may find the tips and ideas presented here to be beneficial. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same time management problems. Look for tips that can have a positive impact on your own personal time management challenges.

3 Time Management Tips for Professionals
1. Get Organized – If you are disorganized, you’ll end up spending a lot of time each day looking for things, which is a complete waste of your time. Instead of wasting time searching for items, set aside a chunk of time to get organized and include time in each week’s to-do list to spend time getting re-organized. When you get in the habit of doing this, everything in your office will be in it’s proper place so you won’t find yourself wasting time searching for items that aren’t where they should be.

2. Reduce Socializing at Work – If people tend to stop by your office regularly to socialize, and you find yourself getting embroiled in lengthy conversations that keep you from taking care of your work responsibilities, you have a time management challenge caused by too much socializing. Consider rearranging your workspace so that it’s difficult for people to camp out in your workspace for long periods of time. Try placing the visitor’s chairs in your office so they aren’t right by the entrance to your office, or place stacks of books or files in the chairs. You may also want to get into the habit of standing up when people enter your office. This can be a signal to them to keep the conversation short and sweet.

3. Plan Your Work Wisely – When coming up with a plan for getting your work completed, think about what times of day or days of the week seem to work best for certain tasks. If you experience a drop in energy during the afternoon, schedule tasks that you consider mundane – such as filing or updating your computerized contact directory – for that time of day. If you are at your most energetic during the morning hours, use that time to contact prospective clients and to work on those parts of your job that require maximum creativity and energy. If the phone seems to ring endlessly on Friday afternoons, make sure that you’ve taken care of all of your deadline work for the week before then.

Article taken from the Small Business Channel at American Banking News - October 11

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Business Marketing Tips

As interviewed: John Jantsch, Founder, Duct Tape Marketing for Score.org

What are some starting points for crafting an effective
marketing strategy?


1. Talk to your customers. They have a better sense of what makes you unique—the things that generate loyalty and referrals. Ask them what you do that they like, and you may be surprised by the responses. It may well be the little things that set you apart.

2. Build a network of strategic partners. Surround yourself with best-of-class providers of products and services that customers need. Recommend them to your customers and they’ll do the same for you. During the recession, organizations that delivered these kinds
of referrals didn’t suffer much.

What are some helpful metrics a small business should consider for gauging the effectiveness of a marketing strategy?

Setting goals for revenue and profit are obvious choices. But also consider percentage of business from referrals, and satisfaction factors that your customers say make the difference for them.
Again, you’ll likely uncover qualities about your business that you’d never thought of.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Take Your Dream From Concept to Company

Every aspiring entrepreneur maintains a vision of what professional success looks and feels like for them. However, as tangible as it may be in mind, transforming that concept into reality presents challenges. “Essentially a vision is long term, or a fast-forward look at where you want to be,” says Dee Marshall, life coach and founder of Raise The Bar, a Newark, New Jersey-based coaching and consulting practice. “In order to make the vision a reality you have to begin with organizing your thoughts,” Marshall says. She recommends utilizing a vision board—images, pictures and affirmations of your dreams and desires compiled in a central location such as on a poster board or in a book—to help organize your thoughts into a visual concept. With pictures, words, and even actual objects, goals such as those you may have you’re your business can be literally brought to life. But what do you do after you’ve created the vision board and are ready to put action towards those aspirations?

Here, Marshall offers six ways to get your business off the ground: Put it on paper. Create a one page outline that includes a mission statement, vision statement and objectives. “If you can’t come up with a one-pager, then it could be an indication you are not ready for entrepreneurship,” warns Marshall. But even that shouldn’t deter you, because it is common to have difficulty writing down objectives and goals initially. It can also be a driving force when obtaining goals becomes challenging.

Apply SMART guidelines.

Specific: Vagueness leaves room for error. Being as precise as possible limits the chances of confusion in implementing your goals and objectives.

Measurable: Pursue goals that will offer you the ability to, at any point in the process, evaluate your effectiveness in actualizing them successfully.

Action-oriented: Shape your objectives around actions that will bring you closer to fulfilling your vision.

Results driven: Goals and objectives you focus on should provide concrete tangible outcomes.

Time bound: Attach and stick to a realistic deadline.

Read the Entire Article