Tuesday, April 28, 2009

George Fraser - An Awesome Speaker

This Sunday, I had the pleasure of seeing George Fraser of Frasernet at a local Sisters 4 Sisters Network event hosted by Bowie State University.

I think the best way to put it was that Mr. Fraser was electrifying. As he mentioned, everything he shared with the audience wasn't new, but just said a different way.

Here are some of the quotes that I found empowering.

"Leaders understand the importance of time."

"Leaders know who they are."

"You don't have time to be unhappy and mediocre."

"Greatest hindrance of potential is success."

The most important part of what Mr. Frasier does is stress the importance of networking. He shared with us the 3 types of networking - all of which are important to success.
  1. Personal (friends, familiy, people at home)
  2. Operational (network at work that help get things done in your life)
  3. Strategic Network (These are people who are where you want to be)
Finally he left us with a great quote by John Henry Clark "What people do for themselves is based on what they think about themselves."

To find out more about George Fraser and his exceptional Power Networking Conference visit his site at http://www.frasernet.com/.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Business Card Tips

I ran across this great article about business cards and what to put on them. This search was prompted by a discussion over at the Virtual Assistant Forums about what title to put on your business card. Many struggle with this aspect of marketing - especially small business owners. Hopefully you will find this helpful.

Business Card Tips
Networking is an invaluable opportunity, and one that should not be wasted. In order to maximize networking, it is strongly suggested that all business professionals carry business cards. The business cards can be exchanged during introductions, both as a convenience and as a memory aid. In other words, business cards allow networkers to further the relationship through future contact.

Business cards may include one or more aspects of striking visual design, but should also contain important contact information. Use this guide to make the most of your business cards:

1. What to IncludeAll of this information should be included on a professional business card:
Name - This does not have to be your given name, but should be what you expect people in business to refer to you as.
Position - This is really optional; many small business owners find themselves wearing many hats, and may find it beneficial and/or less confusing to leave their official title off the cards.
Address - Physical office location and/or mailing address.
Website - Adding a website address to business cards is now very common and expected.
Email - Email is also now a very common and popular communication channel.
Phone - Include your business phone number.
Instant Messaging/ICQ Address - Internet chat address.

2. Double Sided CardsIf your company is global, or your sales territory focus is in a region where your spoken language is not the predominant language, you might wish to consider using the backside of your business card to include your information in an alternate language. You can also use the back of the card to provide more extensive information and details about your products and services. Or, if you do a lot of local business, you might want to include a small street map to your office on the back of your card. There are lots of things you might be able to do with all that blank space on the back of your cards.

3. Conversation Starters- Savvy sales people often use their business cards as a conversation starter. Of course, the card needs to be unique or unusual in order to generate a dialogue. Some of the more interesting cards I've seen recently were printed on micro-CDs, on magnets, on translucent plastic, etc.

4. Standard Size - Even if you are aiming for something unique, you should still not diverge from the "standard" business card size. For managing their contacts, many people will create a business card rolodex, or may have a hand scanner specifically sized for business cards. So stick with the standard size -- otherwise you may be excluded from their contact databases simply because your card didn't fit!

5. Order Quantity- Quantity discounts apply to business cards. When pricing printed business cards, check to see where the price breaks occur; sometimes you can significantly increase the quantity of business cards for very little additional cost.

6. Quality Matters - Flimsy cards that are paper thin, and cards with ragged perforated edges, just scream "amateur". If you are going to print cards yourself, be sure to use heavy business card stock, and use stock that has "clean-edge" micro-perforations. And "glossy" finished stock can also help boost the quality perception of self-printed cards, especially if lots of color is used in the card design.

7. Brand Cards - Your business cards should be similar to all of your other printed promotional material. Business cards should contain your business or product logo. Double-check the colors with the printer to make sure the correct pantone colors are used. This will ensure that the logo is printed using the correct and matching color scheme.

8. Keep CurrentInformation contained on the business card should always be kept current. Business cards with obsolete information crossed out are very unprofessional. If any information on the card changes or becomes obsolete, have new cards printed to reflect the change, and throw the old ones away.

9. Change It Up - Textured business cards, or cards with scalloped edges, stand out. Consider a wide variety of ways to make your card jump out of the pack. The texture or color of the card can also be utilized to ensure your card stands out.

10. Legible - Use a legible font that makes the text on the business card easy to read. Avoid making the fonts too small. Use contrasting colors, and avoid using porous paper that will allow the ink to bleed and the text to blend into the card.

11. Spelling - There is little more embarrassing than business cards that contain typographical errors. Proofread the cards multiple times. Let me say that again -- proofread your business cards! And have other people proofread them too, as they will often be able to spot mistakes that you've overlooked.

Maximize the power of your business cards. Whether you are networking, or just being personable, business cards are a must in the professional world, and crucial to business marketing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

5 Must Have Business Books

(from Entrepreneur Magazine)

No single business book contains everything you need to know--and some even offer advice nobody ought to hear. But these five have withstood the test of time to become books no one should start or run a business without reading first.

  1. Will It Fly? How to Know if Your New Business Idea Has Wings... Before You Take the Leap, by Thomas K. McKnight
    (FT Press, $27.95)
    The heart of this book is its 44-item checklist for evaluating business ideas by a hugely experienced veteran of business launches. By the time you've evaluated everything from your personal attitudes to exit strategies, you'll know as well as possible your chances for success.
  2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber
    (HarperCollins, $16.95)
    This revisit of the 1995 classic on general small-business management famously shows entrepreneurs why and how to stop working in their businesses and start working on their businesses.
  3. Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits From Your Small Businesses, by Jay Conrad Levinson (Mariner Books, $14.95)
    Now in its fourth edition, the original guide to small-business marketing packs the same high-impact, low-cost punch that made it a standard when it first came out in 1983. Now, however, it's updated with tips on websites, blogs, podcasting and other up-to-the minute techniques.
  4. The Business Planning Guide, by David H. Bangs Jr.
    (Kaplan Business, $24.95)
    This book's jargon-free writing and inside tips from a former banker and entrepreneur have made it the first and only choice for countless entrepreneurs getting started.
  5. Start Run & Grow a Successful Small Business, by Toolkit Media Group editors
    (Toolkit Media Group, $24.95)
    If anyone ever publishes the perfect all-in-one small-business reference, it will look a lot like the sixth edition of this 720-pager. It touches on everything, from accounting to staffing, with checklists and forms.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Updating Business Plan

This first year of business has been outstanding for administrative partners. We've gained a book of diverse and dynamic clients and have cultivated and grown many strategic partnerships. Now its time revamp... just a little bit. This year has helped us understand our strengths, passions and we will continue to provide the same types of services, but on an even deeper level.

So... I have to update my business plan ALREADY.

I say this to say that many times you don't know where your business is going to end up. You may start with one vision, only to find that you can achieve much greater success than you first imagined. Along the way it is important to update your business plan. When you start a new path or level of service - update your business plan.

Your business plan is your pathway to success. Not to say that you can't deviate from it at all, but its primary goal is to keep you focuses on growing your business.

As we update, in some areas re-write the business plan for administrative partners, looked forward to a more in-depth level of service for our exisiting clients and an more valuable position in taking care of our new target markets.