Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sure-Fire Ways to Hurt Your Business

1. Lie to Your Customers.
Companies that over-promise the benefits of their product or service can almost guarantee losing part of their market share! Customers will lose their trust in you and visit your competition. 

2. Ignore Customer Calls.
Pick up the phone by at least the third ring.  Be personable.  Show that you care.

3. Have Sporadic Hours.
Make sure your hours of operation are convenient for YOUR customer.  Consider using a website to attract more business.

4. Don’t Listen to Your Customers.
Don't daydream or think about anything else.  Your customer pays your bills.  Focus on them!  Discover their wants, needs, and desires. Listen, really listen.

5. Ignore Your Customer.
Online or off, be attentive to your customers and their needs.  Be aware if they are in your store or online.  Address their concerns.

6. Look at Your Customer as A Thief.
Keep you and your business safe and secure, but don't think every customer is in your business to rip you off.  Fire rude or uncaring employees immediately.  Remember the Golden Rule. Treat your customer as you'd wish to be treated...with respect. 

7. Don't Keep in Touch with Customers.
Make sure you have information--whenever possible--on your customers. Get their information so you can send them informative newsletters with upcoming sales. Send them e-mails on upcoming events.

8. Argue or Be Rude to Your Customer.
Customers buy from people and websites they like.  Be personable.  Show You care!

9. Be complacent:  Do the same things you've done in the past.
Invest in marketing strategies and ideas to increase your customer base.  Research. Be active in your community.  Be indespensible.

10. Don't Promote.
Boost your company profile by any positive means necessary.  Become the company people recognize as the authority in your field.

CLICK HERE for an effective way to attract more business.

Internalize These Great Quotes on Success!

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. 
Bill Cosby 

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. 
Bruce Lee 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. 
Winston Churchill 

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. 
Swami Vivekananda 

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. 
Dale Carnegie 

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. 
Vince Lombardi 

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. 
Jim Rohn 

Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture. 
Lydia M. Child 

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something. 
Morihei Ueshiba 

Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown. 
Ross Perot   

As a bonus, I'll close with my favorite success quote of all time:

Action is the foundational key to all success. 
Pablo Picasso 

Faith. Focus. Follow-Through. Success!

Click HERE for an effective tool designed to help you succeed!

All the best!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Effective, Inexpensive Marketing Tool Generates More Business

It may sound like a David versus Goliath story. However, small companies can deliver positive impact to their bottom line by using an effective tool enjoyed by Fortune 500 companies for less than a penny per impression.

Promotional products, also known as advertising specialties, are more effective and affordable than most media. To the newcomer, promotional products are useful items imprinted with the company name and/or logo on them. Types of promotional products include, but are not limited to, caps, pens, casual or tee shirts, 
automotive accessories, and mugs.

Unlike a business card, which may end up in the trash, promotional products are perceived as useful and something of value. Look around your home. Odds are if  you are like most people, you have several promotional products on display: a couple of imprinted pens at your desk, that special coffee mug inside your cupboard, 
or that colorful magnet on the refrigerator door.

Recently, the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) conducted a landmark study showing that promotional products are less expensive per impression than most other media. In addition, the study found promotional products are very effective and affordable when compared to other forms of media.

ASI conducted a total of 3,332 in-person and online surveys, including interviews with business professionals in major metropolitian areas such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Montreal, and Sydney.A follow-up to its 2008 survey, ASI included new demographic information on politics, ethnicity, gender and age. 
Because knowing the recipient of advertising specialties is extremely important for advertisers. In addiititon, the survey included global markets and more promotional products, such as food and automotive accessories.

The survey found:

The cost per impression of a promotional product remained nearly the same in the US between 2008 and 2010, at .005 cents. Imagine the number of impressions received from an imprinted pen, which often exchanges hands at numerous times!

Tote bags have the highest number of impressions per month, over 1,000. The fact is that 36% of people with annual incomes less than $50,000 own bags. This gives the advertisers more bang for their buck.

Gender differences were prevalent in the survey: Men were more likely than women to own polo-type shirts and caps. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to have bags, writing instruments, calendars and health and safety products.

The survey also found advertiser identification very strong. In fact, 83% Americans remembering the advertiser on a promotional item they own. After all, the goal of any business offering promotional products is to be remembered. No other media delivers such a powerful impact.

Promotional products deliver positive opinions of businesses. According to the survey, 41% Americans say their opinion of the advertiser is more positive upon receiving a promotional product.

The positive impact of promotional products expands the globe. Over 63% of the survey-takers in London have received and kept a pen in the last 12 months. In the U.S. , writing instruments are used the most often, an average of 18.2 times per month.

Promotional products have incredible pass-along rates! Nearly 63% of US survey-takers give the promotional item to someone else if they don’t use it themselves. It is nearly impossible to do that with any other form of advertising!

The popularity of promotional products (advertising specialties) has never been greater! The most widely used promotional products in the U.S. are writing instruments (46%), shirts (38%) and calendars (24%).

For effectiveness, affordability, popularity, and selection, promotional products can’t be beat! Shouldn’t they become a vital part of your company’s marketing team?

Succeed in Your Business!

How to Increase Your Client Base and Make More Money!

In today’s struggling economy, business owners all over the globe seek new clients. Many even wonder how their competition seems to have a larger client base than they do. The answer, my friends, is that these professionals are doing something other, more qualified professionals claim they are too busy to do: They are marketing themselves.

Marketing for business professionals isn’t rocket science, nor is it time consuming. The following helpful hints will attract more clients your way, thus delivering more revenue for your business:

1 Set yourself apart from the pack. Make sure clients know you are a unique, one-of-a-kind specialist in your field of expertise. Let them know you concentrate 100% of your efforts in providing them the best service at all times. You are not a jack-of-all-trades or a discount house, but the best business professional at any cost. Then show them. Afterwards, ask for referrals, and watch your small business or practice grow!

2. Stay in touch with your clients. While seeking new business, don’t forget your current clients. Constantly remind them how much they mean to you—through a card, letter, and or an inexpensive promotional item complete with your business card. Again, don’t forget to ask for referrals.

3. Network. Attend after hour events, breakfasts, or mid-day meetings. Join your area chamber or service organization. Volunteer in your community. Speak to various groups about your profession. Whatever you do, make sure you have plenty of business cards on hand.

4. Share. Share your expertise with all media, including news, radio, television, and free online articles. Offer up-to-date information to those who visit your website with your very own blog. If you don’t have a professional looking website, now is the time to invest in one.

5. Promote. Invest time and a little money by promoting the most important person in your business: you. Advertise on billboards, radio, television, advertising specialties, and especially digital marketing. Make yourself visible to future clients in directories of all kinds.

By following these simple, yet effective steps, you can watch your business grow during these tough economic times. Invest in your future. Invest in yourself.

Visit HERE for more success!

Effective Ways to Promote Your Business Your Competition will Do If You Don't

There are three great times to promote your business:  Always, Anytime, and Now!

A tough economy is not the time to skimp on promoting your business or company. If anything, businesses should advertise even more now than during robust economies. Those who fail to do so risk financial setbacks.

Digital Marketing: The opportunity to grow your business with digital marketing services has never been greater. What is digital marketing? Defined, it is promoting your company or brand by using all forms of digital advertising channels to reach new customers.

Promotional or Specialty Advertising: Customers and potential customers alike want to feel appreciated, thanked for their patronage. Today’s businesses can’t always rely on past customer loyalty. All things being equal, customers will often go where they feel valued—even if it comes in the form of an inexpensive ink pen, 
stress ball, or ball cap.

Business Incentives: Increase attention and increase traffic to your business with these unique gas, travel, retail, grocery, and dining certificates. For only pennies on the dollar, these incentives are sure to please even the most particular consumer.

Signs: A friend owned a sign company for nearly twenty years. Inside her showroom was a message: A Business without A Sign is A Sign of No Business. Think about it: How can your customers find you without a sign saying Hey! Here I am!?

Advertising: Several types of advertising cover the landscape

Radio: Radio gets results! As a former radio announcer, I believed those words daily. After all, that’s how I was paid—from advertising revenue. (Sadly, I thought it was my magical voice!) These days, find a format your audience—err, customers—prefers. Also, find time slots that deliver the most bang for your buck (i.e. 
drive time mornings and afternoons). Be creative, have fun, and get results!

Television: While I have a face made for radio, I do have a little experience in this field. (My college degree was in English-Journalism. That and $1.99 will get you a cup of coffee somewhere!) Check out the station’s demographics. How do they pertain to your audience/customers? Like radio, television can be iffy where success is concerned. After all, so many folks have TIVO these days to skip through advertising. Try to get a package rate during the best possible time slots.

Print Media: Newspapers, shopper’s guides, and local magazines often offer media kits. Readership of some media is down, so make sure to do thorough research. This type of advertising can be iffy, as many periodicals are shutting their doors. Ask clients of this type of media on their personal success before purchasing.

Free: Use these sparingly! The web offers numerous free classified advertising sites—especially for those with websites. Warning: You’ll receive a lot of advertising as a result, so designate an email address for your messages!

Direct Marketing: Business cards, fliers, door hangers, and ads placed in windshields are inexpensive, yet offer mixed results. Do not violate any laws when distributing, however.

Writing Articles: Are you an expert at your product or service? Write articles about your expertise with a small link to your website at the end. The internet is hungry for original, well written articles that are not blatant attempts at advertising. A great website for sharing ideas is Hub Pages! Tip: Make sure you share 
these articles with the public!

Word-of-Mouth: Always, always, always ask friends, family, neighbors, and others if they know of anyone who may be interested in your services. One of the best ways to help you with this rewarding, yet challenging task is through:

Networking: Online or offline, networking groups abound. Online, I would suggest joining effective sites like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, or Ryze. Offline, I would suggest Toastmasters, BNI, your area chamber, Meetup, or after hour social events.

An Effective Website: Nearly 55% of all small businesses have a website. The minor investment has nicely rewarded these business owners:

Most consumers search the web before making a purchase or visiting your store. Phone books are nearly obsolete.

The world is now your marketplace, so you can sell your products or service anywhere in the world. This means more money, opportunity, and a more professional image for you.

Websites become your hardest-working employee, working around the clock daily to promote your products or services. Your site can work as a super sales tool, thus increasing customer satisfaction. These are wonderful results you can take to the bank.

Telemarketing: Forgive my grammar, but this ain't your father's form of telemarketing--where folks lacking personality seem to be reading from poorly produced scripts. Technology has helped produce an excellent telemarketing product! Many companies offer telemarketing on a commission basis: You pay only if You make 
a sale!

Start Succeeding Today!

"Must-Have Qualities" to Succeed in Business

Do you have what it takes to succeed?

So many business opportunities aren't worth the time, investment, or aggravation. You’ve heard all the false promises before:

Make $10,000 in your underwear overnight! (Can you see the image? Scary, huh?)

E-mail your way to riches! (Why do you think they call it SPAM?)

Get the Lazy Loafer’s Guide to Wealth! (So you can fill the bum’s pockets with cash?)

How many of you have even fallen prey to such outlandish claims? C’mon! Be honest! Most of us have at one time or another. Even me.

Yes, I once was the Sucker King—a poor schmuck who’d fall for every so-called money-making scam and/or scheme on the planet. Years ago, I even shelled out thousands for a personalized children’s book program full of spelling and punctuation errors!

As a seasoned marketing professional, I’ve learned from my business opportunity misfortunes. As an honorable man, I don’t want these stressful situations to bite you on the butt. (After all, karma can be quite painful!)

So, what does it take to succeed online? It takes:

DESIRE. Do you want to succeed? What are you passionate about? Do you have a fire burning deep within to make your dreams come true? If you do, you are geared for success far better than those negative naysayers and pouting pessimists who slouch near the wayside and constantly wonder what if.

PLANNING. Proverbs says it best: He who fails to plan, plans to fail. Because I want you to succeed, allow me to offer a few suggestions: Grab a notebook. In it, list the product(s) you wish to sell online and how you plan to sell them (website, classifieds, blogs, e-mail signature, business forums, fliers, etc). Next, purchase a domain name or get a free website (such as weebly) and design a basic website or blog which promotes your business. Be creative and have fun, but make sure you use spell-check! (I have a degree in Journalism-English and still have to use it daily!)

FAITH. Have faith in your product, service, and self at all times. Whenever you feel faith slipping from grasp, there are three things you can do: Pray, Read Affirmations, or Consider these motivational quotes:

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

-- Charles F. Kettering

Believe deep down in your heart that you're destined to do great things.
-- Joe Paterno

Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.
-- David Joseph Schwartz

Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can 
-- Mary Kay Ash

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX. In addition to using websites, business cards, advertising specialties, incentives, and classifieds, think of exciting, new ways you can promote your business. Create blogs. Write a press release. Offer freebies from your website. Dress as a gorilla wearing a tutu. Do whatever it takes. After all, 
your business is your baby! (Heck, I even advertised my bald head as a human billboard during a Superbowl!)

PERSERVERANCE. I’m not going to sugar-coat it: Success takes effort, goal-setting, strategic planning, and more than a heaping helping of determination. Need advice? Contact me or one of the many wonderful business forums online (linkedin and ryze are two). Commit yourself to success and never, ever let negativity get 
in your way.

Click HERE for more success!

How to Succeed in Your Own Business

If you believe you have what it takes to succeed online, you’re ready to find an online business which is reasonably tailor-made to meet your personality, talents, investment (whether it’s financial, in time, in talent, or all the above).

WARNING: I said “reasonably tailor-made” above, as no business is 100% perfect for everyone. All online businesses, like those in the real, 9-to-5 world, require some planning and effort. If you’re not willing to invest the time needed to adequately support and promote YOUR business, running one is NOT for you. There is 
no free lunch!

HOWEVER…If you do have what it takes—Desire, Plans, and Perseverance, to name a few—then, by all means, find the online business of your dreams. How, pray tell, do you do this? Well, first off, it starts with:

RESEARCH. If you have no idea what type of online business you wish to offer and promote, research is the key to unlocking a wealth of information on a wide variety of businesses. Without research, it’s like a first-timer making homemade cookies without a recipe. Do your homework! Grab a pen and notebook, and take 
some notes.

Start your journey to success online—that’s right: the internet. Read articles by home business professionals—no, not the folks trying to sell you business programs, kits, and pie-in-the-sky potions. I mean real, legitimate online business professionals, such as Scott Fox, Juliette Powell, and Ewen Chia, just to name a 

NETWORK. Whether Online or in-person, talk to area business leaders to get their viewpoints and feedback on successful online businesses. No, I am not talking about classifieds who tout their online business opportunities, but networks of local business people from business organizations, forums, or your area chamber of 
commerce (ask for a business directory, often free).

PLAN. Put pen to paper and carefully, thoroughly develop an online business game plan. Brainstorm with your closest, trustworthy friends and professional acquaintances to come up with a steady stream of ideas.

Together, ask several important questions:

(1). Who is your customer base and/or niche audience? Be as specific as possible, and realize you can’t serve everyone in the universe.

(2) What product(s), service(s), or program(s) do you plan to offer? Again, try to be as specific as possible. Don’t overwhelm your audience with a ton of unrelated products, services, or opportunities, as this will only confuse them.

(3) When do you plan to purchase a domain and website? The correct answer to this two-part question should either be Immediately or Right Away. There’s no better time than the present to project a professional image. Also, be creative when deciding on a domain name.

(4) How much can you safely invest in a business? Be brutally honest with yourself. If you don’t have two dimes to rub together, the last thing you want to do is get deeper in debt. Good news: The internet lists well-written articles on free and inexpensive ways to start a business.

(5) How much time do you have to invest in a business? Read that last question again, please. If you are not willing to put (invest) time in your online business—say two or three hours a day depending on the business, then don’t waste your time. Collect baseball cards, garden, or do anything else. After all, an online business 
requires some sweat equity.

(6) Who is your competition? What do you know about them? What sets you apart from them? You need solid, concrete answers to these three questions, so you can beat them at their game. The best place to learn more about the competition is online. Check out their websites and information to discover how you can 
become even more competitive.

(7) What type of content will you offer your visitors? Many websites simply promote products, services, or opportunities! Boring! Set yourself apart from the competition with a site rich in content. Let’s say you’re a pest control operator: Write an article or blog about what causes wasp, hornet, or rat infestations. Whatever you write, show them that you Are the expert in a particular field.

(8) Have you thought about a logo, motto, or slogan? If you have, make sure they look professional and set you apart from the others. Suggestion: If you have an artistic friend or sign maker in your area, see if they can offer input.

(9) Anything else? YES: Always make sure you use spell-check. Nothing looks less professional than a website full of spelling errors!

SEARCH. Make sure the product(s), service(s), and opportunities you plan to promote interest you, so the visitor senses your passion for the item(s). Also, make darn sure these items are scam-free (so you can be proud of what you do) and marketable to your audience (so you can make money online). Whether good, bad, or downright ugly, you can find items and their reviews on the internet.

If you already have a product, service, or opportunity that can be promoted online, I would start there first. After all, you are the expert. And, hopefully, your passion and interest for that item shows.

However, if you lack passion for your item(s) or need a product, service, or opportunity to promote online, realize they fall into several categories:

(1) Affiliate Programs: A company rewards you to promote their product or products. Great for the beginner, many marketers earn thousands monthly for their efforts—even more. Hint: Don't join every affiliate program on the planet. Join something that intrigues you.

(2) Free Online Businesses. Just like the name implies, these businesses cost nothing to join or promote. Many business “owners” can generate an excellent return on their investment ( by working smart).

(3) Networking or MLM programs. Here, you help others succeed, so you can earn several layers of income. While some are free, most are not.

(4) Paid Online Products and Services. The more the internet grows, the greater the need for related services. Among the greatest money-makers online are effective tools to increase your business.

(5) Online Businesses. These require a fee to join, but may generate the income you desire. Word of advice: Check them out before you join. Like anything, most are good, reputable businesses, but a few are rotten to the core.

(6) Direct Selling. This one is iffy. I am a business consultant by day, yet find promoting some of my services does well online. However, results do vary.

(7) Online Selling Sites. Though some products are overly saturated on the site, many make a decent living on this site. Overall, it has an excellent reputation.

(8) Blogging. If you enjoy writing, this may be down your alley. Bloggers often make money from ads surrounding their blog.

(9) Referral Sites. There are numerous sites promoting networking, advertising, and free sign-ups. The jury is still out on this, but some folks reportedly make 

(10)Everything Else. A new opportunity, product, or service pops up almost every day. Some will work; others will fail. Do the research online and you may discover a goldmine—or fool’s gold.

SET-UP. Well, you’ve thoroughly planned, researched, and listened to the experts, both online and off. You’ve asked yourself thought-provoking questions, registered a domain name, and you or a professional is setting up your website. You’ve even selected products, services, and opportunities which, you hope, will 
generate a nice profit.

Congratulations! You are ready to begin. But, wait! Don’t forget to:

PROMOTE. This is such a lengthy and important subject; I will discuss this in full in another article. In the meantime, I suggest you start promoting your program, business, product, or service with free online classifieds. Many work wonders.

One thing is for sure, however: You must promote, promote, and promote in order to succeed. Don’t simply rely on basic word-of-mouth to promote your product, service, or program.

PERSERVERE. Don’t let anything—and I do mean anything—stand in your way of online success. Study your product(s), service(s), or opportunities to the point you are the expert. Avoid negative people, as all they bring to your world is negative energy. (Constructive criticism, however, can be beneficial.) Invest more time in your online business, if needed.

Do whatever it takes to succeed online. Nurture your business and watch it grow! Reap the rewards of a job well done!

Click HERE for more success!