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30 Do’s And 20 Don’ts In Starting A Small Business

Small scale businesses are easier to set up compared to the middle or large scale businesses that require more time, feasibility reports, ad...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

How To Improve Your Sales Process And Increase Business

Whether you're an entrepreneur or just an independent contractor, you're a salesperson. So when somebody says, "I'm not a salesperson, I'm an entrepreneur," they don't really understand the meaning of entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur is a salesperson. So today I want you to look at this from the perspective of asking yourself where in the selling process you mess up. In this video Patrick Bet-David gets into the following six parts of the sales process. #1: Prospecting - 1:56   #2: Approach and Contact - 6:40   #3: Presentation - 8:53   #4: Follow Up - 11:36   #5: Referrals -- 15:05 #6: Maintain Customer Relationships - 17:26




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

15 Business Books Everyone Should Read

Business Books Mentioned in this video:
1.Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich - http://amzn.to/2zr0Hck 2. The Secret - http://amzn.to/2Bn8xVA 3. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki - http://amzn.to/2hVXSIR 4. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham - http://amzn.to/2Bml23D 5. Money Master The Game by Tony Robbins - http://amzn.to/2A9ll4k 6. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris - http://amzn.to/2iQBSjE 7. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco - http://amzn.to/2k2EluD 8. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg - http://amzn.to/2zsdKKx 9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - http://amzn.to/2iQCplE 10. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie - http://amzn.to/2zp5Xx4 Bonus: How to Win Friends in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie - http://amzn.to/2A9ZrxO 11. The $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau - http://amzn.to/2zpymDa 12. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma - http://amzn.to/2hQnVkW 13. E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - http://amzn.to/2hQokUu 14. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone - http://amzn.to/2zDNCQX 15. Zero to One by Peter Thiel - http://amzn.to/2iTWHee

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How To Raise Money As An Entrepreneur

How do you raise money? How do you find investors? How do you take your company from an idea to raising capital for it? Patrick Bet-David covers these topics as well as the 10 questions to ask before raising money for your business.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Success Can Come At Any Age

When it comes to solving really hard problems, Ma has a famous quote that I love: "Today is hard. Tomorrow will be worse. But the day after that will be beautiful. Most of your talent won't make it past tomorrow." But as a leader, you must inspire people through those hardest times: To stick with it, to move through it, and to see past it so they can make it to the day where things are beautiful. That's when you're really innovating. You have get your team there. I'm a dropout of Harvard Business School, but I took a very helpful leadership class while I was there that really stuck with me. We discussed looking at problems from every angle, and looking at the person inside the puzzle. See their picture, their concern, their point of view, and understand that people feel passionately the way they do. Your job is to see the 360ยบ and come up with the answers. On the flip side, you have to balance this by pushing people to their boundaries. How do you get there, if most people don't make it past Jack Ma's tomorrow? You ache to get talent to do things they've never done before. And that's hard.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Jack Ma's Tips - How To Grow A Small Business FAST

Ma Yun, born September 10, 1964), known professionally as Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate who is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of successful Internet-based businesses. He is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Morning Rituals Of An Entrepreneur By Patrick Beck-David

I believe your day as an entrepreneur is a pure reflection of your morning rituals. How you start your day will determine the type of day you're going to end up having. A lot of people ask me, "Pat, I want to know how your day starts. What do you do in the morning? What time do you wake up. What time do you do this? What time do you do that?" In this video, I'll share with you exactly what I do in the morning, and I'll also cover the morning rituals of some other entrepreneurs that I respect. Gary Vee -- 1:55 Tony Robbins -- 2:10 Zuckerberg - 3:40 Jack Dorsey - 4:03 Richard Branson - 4:12 Simon Cowell - 4:39 Tory Burch - 5:03 My Personal Morning Routine - 5:23


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

7 Signs You Are Going To Be Successful

Great coaches, mentors and CEOs are all very good at having a certain intuition where they know which player, talent, or future leader to bet on. There's something about them. Somehow they know who's going to be successful. They get credit for choosing and putting their money on the right people. I'm here to tell you that there's seven signs that you're going to be successful in life. That's what is covered in this video. #1: Super Competitive - 1:09 #2: Finish Things - 2:16 #3: Circle Out-Earns Them - 2:53 #4: Mind Never Stops - 3:29 #5: Credible People See You Going Places - 3:57 #6: Always Learning - 4:55 #7: Extremely Obsessive - 5:10


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fear Of Competition Is Not Something You Should Worry About

"Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind." - Dale Carnegie
I get a lot of e-mails asking if particular niches are good. Usually it sounds something like: "Should I launch a Web site/blog/product in a competitive niche? Isn't it overly difficult if there are tons of competitors?"
Competition doesn't matter. In many instances, the more competition the better. The fear of competition is all in your head.
Get out of your head and take massive action.
Let's say you wanted to start a new blog in the simplicity niche.
How many blogs are already in that niche? Far too many to count.
How many have been successful? Quite a few.
Let's start at the top: ZenHabits.net. Leo Babauta has 170k+ subscribers! And a print book. And eBooks. And a blog coaching program. And 2 other successful blogs! Leo has created a monumental movement. That's scary competition, right?
Or perhaps not.
When you see a "competitor" who seems like they have a stranglehold on the marketplace that's a good thing. It means the niche is thriving and you hold a better chance of getting a piece of the pie.
Know this: The pie is not finite!
The pie grows to support new thought leaders. It will feed as many mouths as are necessary. If you provide the new ingredients, it will take care of the rest. Bigger pans, bigger window sills (for cooling, duh!).
Why You Shouldn't Fear Your Biggest Competitors
The people at the top aren't usually evil. (And if some of them are, who cares?) The more success, more people have in a niche, the more the pie grows and the more everybody succeeds. Again, the pie is not finite.
Successful people understand the abundance mentality. They know the pie is not finite, and they're happy to share ideas to build the pie bigger.
More than likely if you talk to some of the top dogs in your chosen niche they will be glad to provide you with some advice. That doesn't signify you should abuse this ability to connect with them. Only a short, succinct, e-mail (short e-mail = very important) asking for a bit of specific advice (also very important) will usually be met with kindness.
I've e-mailed some people who I never thought would email me back. Much less with quality suggestions/ideas/tips instead of a simple "cool, keep doing what you're doing!" or whatever.
Destroy Your Fear Of Competition In The Next 7 Minutes
This is what you need to do immediately:
1) Choose your 3 biggest "competitors." It doesn't matter who they are, how famous they are, or how much you look up to them. Get that out of your head. As the guys from The Ren Men Show (<- amazing="" bench="" et="" game="" meaning="" off="" p="" play="" say:="" the="" would="">
2) Come up with a very succinct question that you necessitate help with.
3) Send each a personalized e-mail. Your whole e-mail should be no more than 5 sentences. No long diatribes. Brevity is key here.
I believe you'll be happily surprised with what happens.
Do you still fear competition?
Fear gives you the upper hand!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Female Entrepreneurs....Unleash A High-End Mindset And Succeed


Expert Author Dr. Shauntel Peak-Jimenez, Ph.D
As a female entrepreneur if you want to create high-end programs and attract high-end clients then you must have the right mindset. That means addressing and transforming any self-limiting beliefs that have the potential to block your money flow, and your ability to attract the kind of clients you dream about. You can't think that you don't have what it takes to be a high-end service provider. You must believe in yourself and in your ability to be amazing at what you do!
Having the right mindset is the foundation for you to build your success on. Without the right mindset you are probably not going to take the action needed to go to the next level of success. When you have a high-end mindset you have a high-level of confidence and you are not going to let doubt or fear stop you. And it doesn't matter what your bank account currently shows. That has nothing to do with how you should be moving forward. I believe that what is in your mind is more important that what is in your bank account, because if your mindset is right then it can attract financial abundance into your bank account.
When you unleash a higher-level mindset you start feeling abundant right now. Not tomorrow, but right now. Think of what you have to be thankful for. Think of the areas you are wealthy in, and I am not referring to material wealth. I am referring to health wealth, spiritual wealth, family wealth, relationship wealth, joy, peace, and fulfillment. Those are priceless. Focus on what you do have and not on what you don't have.
You are a phenomenal female entrepreneur so feel good about yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. You are unique for a reason. Have the right mental attitude that draws more abundance into your life, and not one that causes it to move away from you. If you have a desire to create high-end programs and attract high-end clients then you can do it! So believe in yourself and go for it!
Dr. Shauntel Peak-Jimenez, Ph.D. is the founder of High Heels to High Income, where she provides programs for female entrepreneurs to help them create and deliver high-end programs and attract high-end clients. To find out about programs for female entrepreneurs please visit http://www.highheelstohighincome.com

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

4 Easy Ways To Get More Referrals Without Feeling Aggressive

Non-Pushy Examples on How to Use Word of Mouth Marketing to Grow Your Business
Word of mouth marketing works.
In fact, referrals are often one of the key factors influencing someone to work with you. For us, we account for about 90-95% of new business coming from referrals.
How many times do you see someone asking for recommendations on social media? When someone needs a professional, 9 times out of 10 they ask their network who they know who does what they're looking for.
So having a referral marketing plan in place helps ensure raving fans are telling others about you.
However, while we know the importance of asking for referrals, when it comes down to it, the asking part can feel awkward or even aggressive.
But when you believe in the value of what you offer you can feel good about having others tell the world about you. When you have the right mindset and a proven process in place, getting referrals is easy.
Here's 4 ways to get more referrals that don't feel desperate with examples you can use right now:
1. Set an Expectation for Referrals
Before you begin working with a new client, you can condition them to think of you as someone to send business to. That can look something like this:
"I am excited to work with you. When our project is completed, I know you will be thrilled with the work we did together. If you are happy with our work would you be willing to share us with others? Your referrals are how our business grows."
You can also mention the incentive you offer for those referrals that result in a sale. For instance we offer $100 towards any website, SEO or marketing work as our way of saying "thanks". (See point number 4 below for more details on this.)
2. Ask for a Virtual Introduction 
A really terrific way to get referrals is to ask a contact to do a virtual introduction with the prospect. Here's how an email like that goes:
Subject: Henry and Mike - A Virtual Introduction from (your name)
Hi Mark,
I've been working with Mike for three months and he's done a terrific job at getting our bookkeeping up to date. I know you're looking for a qualified bookkeeper so I thought I'd put you two together.
Mike, meet Henry from Company A. I have known him for five years and he has really made a name for himself in the industry. He's been a really valuable to have in my circle. He mentioned he needs a good bookkeeper and I thought you could help.
Henry, meet Mike from Company B. Mike and I go way back. He is a real rock star when it comes to accounting. He makes sure our books are balanced at all times.
Here's both of your contact information. Now reach out and connect!
Henry: 555-555-5555 henry@gmail.com companywebsite.com
Mike: 444-444-4444 mike@gmail.com mikecompanywebsite.com
3. Ask Happy Clients 
The best time to ask a client for a referral is right after you finished working with them. They are excited about the results you generated and are ready to sing your praises to the world.
Here's an example of such an ask:
Subject Line: FIRSTNAME, Quick Question.
I'm so glad you're happy with our PRODUCT OR SERVICE. I love helping people like you so knowing you're excited with the results made my day. Actually, it's because of this that I was hoping to ask you a favour...
It's my goal to help many more people like you. So I was wondering if you knew of any other people who could use my help? I'd love it if you could send a short note to them with a few kind words and asking them to connect with me?
With Gratitude.
4. Offer a Gift for Referrals
Giving a referral takes time and energy. When you make it worth their while, people are more likely to take the time to do it.
As a sign of your appreciation for their efforts, offer to give them a gift card, a referral fee, discount, or other gift if someone they refer you to hires you.
You can make a referral page on your website. Write an email to send to your clients and connections. Ask people in your Facebook groups. Let your vendors know you give rewards for referrals. Even put a teaser on the back of your business card letting others know.
Here's some example text to use:
Get X for Referring Friends and Family: I'd love to give you [insert your referral gift here] for every person who ends up hiring me. It's just a small token of appreciation as referrals are how we grow our business. Thanks for thinking of us!"
I hope these quick and easy examples have inspired you. Referrals are by far the most cost-effective way to build your business.
Being intentional about asking for referrals can unlock the door to unlimited growth. Here's wishing you endless referrals!
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
Visit http://www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results"
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Super Success Strategy To Attract Your Dream Clients

There are a lot of ways you can attract clients and I have tried many. Some of them worked for me and some of them didn't. One of the BIGGEST success strategies I have experienced was being authentic! Sounds simple doesn't it? But for many entrepreneurs that is a challenge? Why is it a challenge? It is a challenge because for some reason they feel like they have to be like someone else to be successful. They try to duplicate what others are doing in the industry instead of focusing on what they are purposed to do. They direct too much time and energy in the wrong direction.
Your clients aren't seeking you because you are trying to duplicate who someone else is. They want to work with you because they want to work with YOU! The real you. When you are authentic and genuine your clients recognize that and it is appealing to them. They are attracted to you because of your life story, your passion, your wisdom, and your gifts. When you try to be like someone else those key ingredients are missing.
You have been blessed to be the best at what you do, so never feel inferior to anyone else. And don't feel like you can never experience the level of success you deserve, because you can. When we are authentic it also opens the floodgate for creativity and we are able to create amazing and transformational programs and products for our dream clients. And when we are authentic we use authentic language in our marketing that draws them toward us.
It is extremely frustrating trying to be like someone else because we feel like they are more successful than us. That takes too much work! We try to walk like them, talk like them, and do business like them, only to realize it didn't work. Well, I believe the reason it didn't work is because they are successful at what they have been purposed to do. That is why it is working for them and may not work for you. Now, that doesn't mean we can't learn success strategies from others. Learn their recipe for success but don't leave out the ingredient of your unique flavor.
If you are trying to figure out what separates you in your industry. If you are trying to figure out how to stand out against the competition. And if you are trying to discover a way to become more attractive to your clients, being more authentic can be the peanut butter to your jelly (if you like peanut butter and jelly). You are wonderful and you were created to be unique for a reason, so embrace who you are and shine forward!
Dr. Shauntel Peak-Jimenez, Ph.D. is the founder of High Heels to High Income, where she provides services for female entrepreneurs to help them create and deliver high-end programs and attract high-end clients. To find out about programs for female entrepreneurs please visit http://www.highheelstohighincome.com

Saturday, April 14, 2018

How To Become A Thought Leader In Your Industry


Expert Author Shyra Smith
With the explosion of social media and numerous online resources, consumers can now obtain information on anything almost instantaneously. As a result, the concept of thought leadership and how people and companies direct consumer choices and preferences has become increasingly popular. What exactly is thought leadership, though?
Thought leadership is essentially the ability to answer the questions of your target market, your customers, or your audience in general. If you are a thought leader, the public sees you as a pioneer or trendsetter in your field. You are the go-to person whenever anyone gets stuck. It takes time to reach such a position of authority, but once you're there, you can swing public sentiment and opinions, impact industry best practices, and even be the deciding voice between what matters and what works from what does not.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Thought leaders must offer some sort of benefit to their readers or listeners. Either they are able to help their audience with decision-making or problem identification, or they facilitate their ability to come up with the next big thing. Everyone in every industry has a certain level of knowledge and experience, but it is the movers and shakers in the industry who ultimately seal more deals and get buyers and customers to reach for their wallets with more success than everyone else. As a result, thought leaders can build or break a brand, and they help drive customer engagement and also help create the next generation of consumers.
Thought leaders also help drive innovation and progress by publishing carefully crafted and managed columns and other social media posts. Such interaction points are where thought leaders talk about new products, features, services, technological advancements, or ways of doing business. This allows them to harness a whole new spectrum of customer feedback, comments, and experiences which can then be used to formulate new or improve production processes or impact the general way business is conducted in other meaningful ways. It also leads to improvements and advancements in the industry as a whole.
In an Association of Management Consulting Firms ( AMCF ) study, over 90% of respondents said that low-quality online content published by a company or an individual lowered their opinion of the content-creator. An almost identical percentage said that seeing high-quality content improved their opinion of the content creator. These are not incidental percentages, so they are worth looking into in somewhat more detail.
When it comes to thought leaders, respondents to the AMCF survey paid upwards of $4 million per year on marketing their thought leadership columns and articles to the general public. The companies who were at the higher end of the curve spent almost twice the average. With changing trends in both online as well as offline journalism and publishing, this article shows that there are trade-offs between quality, quantity, having a vast number of contributors writing for you, and including different media types in your posts (such as photos, graphs, and so on). However, the bottom line is that your readership and followers will rise or fall depending on the content you are producing, and the dollar figure for what this is worth on your balance sheet might be just a few thousands of dollars or as high as several million, depending on the size of your company.
BECOMING A THOUGHT LEADER
Below are five simple, actionable steps to becoming a thought leader and developing your very own niche in your area of expertise.
  1. Thought leadership is all about providing useful information to your customers. There is a goldmine of information waiting to be dug up in consumer feedback and statistics. The first place to start is by conducting research of your own, slicing and dicing data sets to identify and derive insights, and sharing your results with your readers. 

  2. People love entertainment. Provide a fresh source of humor or wit in your content, whilst including personal anecdotes or stories of how or why something happened to you or someone you know in a way that relates to everyday customers. Highlight how a certain approach, product, or insight helped you or them overcome the problem at hand. This will imprint your comments and suggestions in memory, and casual customers will be more likely to remember you. Whenever they are ready to take the plunge and are ready to buy or purchase something, your suggestions will drive their actions.

  3. Start small, with a blog. Refine your online presence. Use your blog, Facebook page, or LinkedIn account to showcase your knowledge. Include relevant, beneficial content everywhere you post.

  4. Promote your content in the right places, in the right way, while you work on building your online presence. Tweeting an update with a catchy title, using the right images, crafting the perfect script, and even knowing what the ideal length of a post all take time to perfect. However, with time, and by using the right platforms with the right crowd, you'll slowly gain traction and your search rank will rise.

  5. Stay ahead of the curve. To be an influential, respected, and followed thought leader, you have to understand your industry thoroughly. See what's happening in online circles related to yours, keep track of industry developments, read everything on the likes of Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn groups, and also be sure to read books, articles, and online content created by other influencers.
A number of important things go into becoming a thought leader and developing your own personal brand and presence. However, the five points above are enough to get you started. Once the ball starts rolling, things will take shape and you can then address different areas of interest as the need arises.
Shyra Smith not only runs her own marketing agency, but she has a passion to help aspiring entrepreneurs to get their own businesses up and running. In her book, "Don't Quit Your Day Job... 7 Steps to Discover & Launch Your Passions Into Profits While You're Still Employed", Shyra shares some of her very own life lessons experienced in her journey to entrepreneurship.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Don't Be Shy - Just Ask (If They Trust You)

Wouldn't it be great if you knew what your customers and prospects wanted, why they wanted it, when they wanted it, and even what they expected to pay? Sure it would! It would give you a treasure trove of marketing intelligence that you could use to attract new customers and satisfy your current ones.
Well you could hire a spy I suppose, but I don't know where you would find one. So without going to the expense (I don't think they come cheaply) and effort of hiring an international spy, how do you get that information? Simple, you just ask.
A New Jersey Real Estate brokerage sent a questionnaire to 75,000 households asking about their plans for moving in the future: Are they planning to move soon? When? Where will they be moving? What do they want in a new home?
Within a month they received future home buying (and selling) plans of about 1500 households. They have a huge lead on their competition to attract listings to sell homes and prospects who want to buy homes. All they did was ask the questions.
Banks and credit unions know when installment loans (example - car loans) will be paid off. Many people will purchase their next car soon after they pay off the old one. If they asked their customers their automotive purchasing plans they could dangle a promotion in front of them to renew those loans.
The knowledge that you have, or can get, just by asking your customers can give you a head start on your competition and, in many cases, your customers will give you the answers... if you have created a trusted relationship with them and you ask in a manner that respects that relationship.
Business is there for those who have earned their customer's trust. Those who ask and search for marketing intelligence, and who then promote properly to those who respond, will find that selling is so much easier if you find those who want or need and all you have to do is ask. Just work at determining who can you ask. What can you ask them? How can you ask them? What form will your communications take? How often to ask them? What to say?
It does take planning and some experimentation, but it is not hard. It just takes getting over your shyness so figure it out and do it.
Question or comment to Larry: larry@larrygaller.com
Larry Galler coaches and consults with high-performance executives, professionals, and small businesses since 1993. He is the writer of the long-running (every Sunday since November 2001) business column, "Front Lines with Larry Galler". For a free coaching session, email Larry for an appointment - Larry@larrygaller.com. Sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.larrygaller.com.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Startup Funding - How To Write A Pitch That Gets Your Business Funded

Have you ever wondered about how many startups actually manage to get funded? Fundable estimates that less than 1% startups are successful in roping in angel investors, and a miserly 0.05% garner funding from VCs. While this may seem extreme, anecdotal evidence suggests that for every 10 investments they make, VCs evaluate about 1,200 proposals.
With odds that staggering, you want to give your start-up every possible competitive advantage when it comes to getting funded. One way to stand out from the crowd and beat the odds is to write a persuasive investor pitch.
The trick to crafting a persuasive pitch is to understand what factors / parameters drive investment decisions. While the final verdict is governed by each investor's investment thesis, investors as a community have certain shared expectations. The weightage they place on each individual factor will be different, but all these parameters collectively influence their decision.
So, before you get to writing the pitch, let's look inside an investor's mind and decode what questions they are asking themselves in order to determine your potential. If you provide them answers up-front in your pitch deck, your chances of walking away with an investment are very high.
#1. Does your idea / product / solution solve a real problem?
• What problem are you going to solve?
• Is the problem real?
o Who has this problem?
o How prevalent is it?
o Will people pay money to make this problem go away?
This part of your pitch will resonate if you tell real customer stories. If you came up with the idea because you yourself faced a problem or you saw someone struggling with this, then do tell the investors. A personal story is essential to selling and building faith in your idea / product / solution.
#2. Is your idea / product / solution the "Right Solution"?
• What is the opportunity / promise in your idea?
• How many other approaches have you evaluated?
• What are the other solutions available in the market?
• What makes your solution better than the others?
Example: Ventureast, one of the pioneers of venture funding in India, prefers to invest in businesses that scale and grow rapidly, leveraging their unique competitive advantage. For them to fund your idea / product / solution, you have to convince them that it is a real game changer.
#3. Do market dynamics support growth?
• How big is the overall market?
• Which segments of the market are you targeting?
• Are you making realistic projections / estimates about addressable market and your share of market?
• Do you have a plan to capture market share?
• Who is your competition?
• What is your plan to out-score the competition?
Example: Zodius Capital, which has funded such successes as bigbasket, pepperfry and zivame, has consistently chosen to invest in Indian businesses that are capable of disrupting existing markets or creating entirely new markets.
#4. What makes you and your team the right fit for this idea / product / solution?
• What background does your team possess?
• Do you have a successful record of transforming ideas into revenue streams?
• Do you have special knowledge or skillsets in the domain?
• Are you aware of the micro-trends that influence / drive the industry you are in?
• How committed is your team?
• Will you be willing to take direction and pivot if the business needs to? In other words, are you coachable?
• Will you make compatible partners? Are your philosophies / values / approaches in tune with each other?
Example: Ashton Kutcher, who invests through his venture capital firm A-Grade Investments, is clear that a great idea by itself does not lure him. To pique his interest, the founding team must understand their industry thoroughly, be resilient and be the kind of people whom he would like to hang out with.
#5. How strong is your execution muscle?
• Can you show traction? What gains have you already made - sales figures, # of users/sign-ups, conversions from free to paid customers, repeat purchases etc.?
• What is your revenue model? Are your financial projections healthy?
• What are you doing to acquire customers? How much does it cost?
• What is the lifetime value of a customer compared to the cost of acquisition?
• Are you forging any partnerships or ecosystem to fuel your growth?
Example: Vanessa Colella of Citi Ventures believes in the power of execution, and its ability to separate the truly successful people from those who are smart, but can't make it. If you have an idea that others have had, but know how to execute brilliantly, you have a good chance of getting funded as well.
#6. Do the rewards justify the risks?
• Is your business in line with their philosophy and approach? How aware are you of the potential risks - regulatory, legal, copyrights, patent infringements, liabilities etc.?
• Do you have a plan to mitigate risks?
• Is the idea/solution/product on trend? What are the chances of a better or more advanced solution disrupting the market?
• What is the exit path? How (and how much) will the investor make a return?
Example: Sequoia Capital's Shailedra Singh defines his job as backing an underdog against the Goliaths of industry. He tries for a high success ratio by taking calculated risks and being willing to accept occasional failures; while also taking a 10-15 year view on investments.
There you have it - a mind map to navigate the investors' thought process and pre-empt their reservations. Keeping this framework in mind, you can craft a pitch deck that helps to persuade the investors (angels as well as VCs) that you have a potentially successful startup, and one that is worthy of their funding.
Now all that is left is for you go forth and write a brilliant pitch. To quote the Hunger Games, may the odds be ever in your favor!
Sonali Raval is a Business Communications professional who has helped global leaders like Cisco, Ericsson & Quintiles bring their messaging to life. She builds your business brands - organizational as well as personal - by helping you discover and tell your best stories. She also coaches business leaders to deliver unforgettable presentations and elevate their personal brands.
If you want to know her story, head to https://sonaliraval.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Who The Bleep Is Running Your Business Anyway?


Expert Author Ursula Jorch
OK, that was a little harsh. But really, it's a valid and oh so important question.
As entrepreneurs, we can so easily get derailed. The temptations are many, and they center around one thing.
You are not connected with yourself.
When that's the case, it's easier to look outside of yourself for answers.
Without that connection, you can open yourself up to a lot of aimless wandering. Enter the gremlins.
Gremlin #1. I can tell you what to do.
Oh crap, this one I have both experienced and observed. And it's not pretty.
The well-meaning tool-wielder who wants to tell you who you are and from that profile, what to do in your business. Or the tough-love drill sergeant, barking orders that, 'This is the way!' Even the coach who hides that they have no idea how to help you to discover your own way, and instead pushes you in the direction that is familiar to them, even if it's wrong for you.
In retrospect, these all seem clear, but at the time, I was drawn in too. This gremlin seems to offer the way out of terrifying uncertainty. It's so understandable. And so damaging. At the very least, you'll be delayed from finding your true way with these detours.
Gremlin #1 Protector: If you hear the words, "I can tell you who you are/what to do," your inner radar will begin sending out alerts. Listen to those signals, and step away if you're being led away from what feels right for you.
Gremlin #2. Follow your fears.
Your own subconscious can lead you astray. It's so uncomfortable to be uncomfortable! Uncertainty will do that. Until you accept that discomfort is part of being an entrepreneur, a necessity for growth, it's only natural to want to avoid it. So you can become ruled by your fears.
Feeling nervous about practicing an elevator pitch? The fear gremlin at work: Avoid it, because surely, at some unknown point in the future, you'll feel better about trying it.
Reluctant to invest in your learning? The fear gremlin advises: keep going with what you know, because that seems easier. Besides, you're working so hard anyway.
Halfheartedly exploring ways to reach out to your audience? The fear gremlin says, dipping in your toe to see if the water's inviting is really the more prudent way, isn't it? And far more comfortable than plunging in wholeheartedly to learn as much as you can, and learning to deal with rejection instead.
Being ruled by your fears in your business stunts your growth, both personally and professionally. You'll never be fulfilled and discover the full scope of what you can do by letting this gremlin run things.
Gremlin #2 Protector: Your inner radar, your truth, will help you identify when you're running your business by the fear gremlin when a decision feels constricting instead of liberating.
Gremlin #3. Do things by the book.
By now, you're probably clear that following anyone's guidance to the letter is a bad recipe for business success. That includes guidance in well-respected publications and from people who've been enormously successful.
One of the beautiful aspects of having your own business is that you get to be creative and express yourself. The way that you stand out from the crowd is to put your unique stamp on the familiar. You can even innovate something entirely new at times.
Advice from those who've been there is helpful, yes. Learn from it, and apply it in your own way, rather than robotically following it. Be a student, not an acolyte.
Gremlin #3 Protector: Processes and consistency are a good thing. Structure is a good thing. But... when you include them in your business, make a conscious choice about whether they are right for you and your business. Don't just follow a prescription.
In your business, you can make a real difference in the world. In the lives of the people within your business: your team, your clients, your suppliers.
You can make a difference in the big wide world too. You can only do that if you are successful, if you can keep going and sustain your business in a healthy way.
To do that, you'll have to be clear about who you are and have faith in yourself.
I'm not saying you arrive at the entrance door to entrepreneurship with complete self-knowledge and confidence. I mean really, who has that? Like all of us, I'm still working on that one!
Even with that compassionate knowledge in mind, you've got to be willing and open to learning about who you are, and develop trust in that truth. That is what the best mentors will nurture in you.
Your inner radar, that unique inner voice of truth and clarity, is available to you. Clearing the way to hearing it is your best path to creating the business that you are meant to have.
It is your uniqueness, your rare and irreplaceable voice, that will guide you to creating a business that stands out and thrives.
So who the bleep is running your business anyway? For sustainable success and true fulfillment, it's the unique and beautiful you, all the way.
Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at http://www.WorkAlchemy.com.
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

How Can You Recover From Customer Service Blunders?

Every day for the last week my newsfeed has been riddled with customer service disasters, and it really does bring three issues to light: 
  • Right or wrong, it happens to everyone,
  • There is more than one side to every story, and;
  • The speed at which bad publicity spreads is lightening fast.
So, what do you do? What lessons have we learned as we witnessed (rather publicly) the good, the bad and the ugly of bad customer service:
1. Offer a sincere apology - both personally and on Social Media - quickly. The catch here is that there are two levels of response. The first is to the customer that you provided poor customer service to - contact this person directly, not via Social Media channels, and offer a sincere apology for what happened. See what you can do to remedy the situation, and assure them that you will review what happened. If possible, set up a call so the sincerity of your apology can be clear. Your second response, if the incident was posted to Social Media, would appropriately be to post an apology on the relevant channels as well.
2. Take responsibility - while initially you may not know how service went awry, it did. Review what processes failed and how to improve upon them.
3. Talk to your team - Does your team have what they need to offer excellent customer service, how can processes be revised to give them what they need? Did the poor customer service happen because training was lacking? Because communication wasn't open enough? Did your team member not feel comfortable to reach out after business hours for help? This is a constructive opportunity for the team to become a tighter and more informed unit. Embrace it!
4. Follow up - after you review with your team the highs and lows, and develop a plan to avoid such customer service mishaps in the future, reach out to your less than satisfied customer and ask them to be a part of the solution. Inform them the changes you've made, and ask for their input.
5. Try not to take it personally - as business owners we're not perfect, and neither are our staff. Even with the best of intentions, bad customer service does happen. Accept it as an opportunity for growth and development.
And of course, not all customer service blunders require a radical overhaul of your team processes. Sometimes an apology is enough, and then its time to move on. There are customers that will never be happy with what is offered, and as the business owner, you really need to dig deep to hear the full account of what happened. Don't be quick to blame your team, they may have been offering as much as they can, and were being faced with a difficult customer, determined not to be happy.
Deep breath - you've got this!
We want to hear from you! What challenges have you faced in the last 6 months, how did you overcome them? Let's learn from each other!
For more social media tips and strategies visit PMA Web Services where we share the latest information weekly! Grab your copy of "29 Ways You Can use Social Media to Build Your Business Right Now" here: http://www.peggymurrah.com/blog/
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Digital Shift In The New Era Of Customer Experience

How do you define, and cultivate the behavior of your customer without overwhelming them? Organizations tend to obsess over ways to innovate and remain competitive as a leader in their respective industry. All too often, this obsession puts more emphasis on the operational and revenue strategy versus the welfare of their end-user, the customer. Customers are savvier, more creative and have consistently proven how the old marketing focus and platform is now obsolete.
The customer experience goes beyond the simplicity of good service. It involves engagement, trust, education, solutions, how well you treat your workforce, social responsibility, and customer evangelism. It's about connecting to the emotion of the customer and treating them as a human and not a chatbot. How do you identify opportunities that focus on your customer, build core business data from them and better understand their behavior without disrupting their experience? The core of today's business ecosystem puts the customer first. By initially engaging with the customer, you can get a better handle on identifying their problem through researching opportunities for finding solutions to satisfy their needs.
Here are 3 primary and important reasons why it is imperative to rethink the digital shift and plan of action in this new era of the customer experience.
1. Technology is driving change. Business is social and digitized. The language customers speak is different and faster.
2. Current customer journeys no longer comply with traditional marketing funnels. Traditional customer journey stages have become obsolete. Customers do not flow in a linear fashion with new journey models, nor do they experience each stage of the process in the same fashion.
3. Build relationships, trust and earn loyalty. Focusing on building relationships and earning loyalty through delivering exceptional experiences throughout the customer journey is key for marketers. Marketing and sales teams can effectively grow tribes of customers who will advocate on their behalf and help organically grow their business to strengthen their brand.
Over 3 decades ago we strongly connected to customers through a brick and mortar location. We were in the driver's seat guiding them on decisions based on our suggestions of what we felt they needed. They trusted our expertise whether they needed what they purchased or not. Such transactions oftentimes resulted in buyer's remorse, which worked against repeat business.
In our customer-led market, we appeal to a larger base of consumers. You must build your business around your customers instead of the other way around. Building relationships, harnessing your resources to create a consumer-friendly culture, earning customer trust and loyalty by taking touch points and interactions seriously, will not pigeonhole ideas but will encourage the customer to feel comfortable getting on board your current digital marketing vehicle.
Kym Gordon Moore is an award-winning poet, author, speaker, philanthropist, certified inbound marketing specialist and an authority in strategic marketing communications. http://www.kymgmoore.com She is the Content Marketing Director for InKNOWvative Concepts, a creative disruption think-tank raising the frequency of limitless possibilities to supplement core business. http://inknowvativeconcepts.com/
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Customer Service Strategies In A Digital World

How to get your social media presence set up right so you can deal with customer complaints like a Pro
With social media being so prevalent, users often take to their favourite channel with their complaints.
75% of users surveyed said they include social media when evaluating a purchase.
32% want a response within 30 minutes and 42% expect a response in under an hour!
When you set up your social media keep that in mind.
How to use social media for customer service
Using social media to manage customer complaints may seem like a burden but the payoff is repeat business and happy customers.
Users often take to the majors like Twitter and Facebook. Don't shy away from either even if you've received some nasty feedback in the past.
When you initially set up your accounts you entered an email to register and you've probably noticed unless you changed the settings you get an email every time someone is active on your page/profile.
If you find this bothersome try creating an email like customerservice @example.com that forwards to your own account or the account of an employee whose job it is to monitor your online presence.
If it's directed to your own email create a folder or label specifically for customer service or PR that these emails automatically go to. Don't let it get lost in your emails though or you'll miss alerts.
*Depending on your email setup this will vary in execution*
These alerts will let you know when you have a new comment or message on your profile.
When you get one have a response protocol ready. You don't want to jump on a complaint and then have to wait 2 days for a decision-maker to draft their response.
One single meeting with your team on customer service/PR protocol on social platforms can save you a lot of headaches.
Have canned responses ready
Canned responses refer to an automatically generated response that is prompted by the user contacting you. You may have seen these in the past and wondered how they get set up; now you get to set them up for yourself:
Twitter
Twitter rolled out some great tools last year for users who operate their business online:
That link allows you to upgrade your account with messages that will automatically send to anyone who messages you directly and will show users that you provide this option.
You account will show your support hours and users will see that you take their feedback seriously.
This is a great signal to Google too - that you're serious about your business and helping customers.
If you want more help using Twitter try our section dedicated to using Twitter for business.
Facebook
Facebook also allows you to set up your account to help communicate with customers via instant messaging. To turn on instant replies to any instant message to your business's page follow these instructions:
To turn on Instant Replies for your Page:
1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
2. Click Messaging in the left column
3. Below Response Assistant, click to select Yes next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page
4. To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message and click Save
To turn off Instant Replies:
1. Click Settings at the top of your Page
2. Click Messaging in the left column
3. Below Response Assistant, click to select No next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page
You can direct users in both instances towards a contact email or simply let them know you'll review their message within the next 24 hours and respond.
Once you have these set up, how you use them is entirely up to you. Each were only available within the last 2 years so not all businesses have adapted yet but those that have done it have set user's expectations.
For more tips on using Facebook look at our section all about using Facebook to grow your business.
Monitor your reviews
Whether it's Yelp (who's results are now actually trending in SERPs) Google reviews, or Facebook reviews (if you have them turned on) it's very important to stay on top of your reviews.
There could be even more players in your niche so be on the lookout for sites dedicated to reviewing your products or services.
If you get a bad one you don't want to remove it. That would defeat the purposes of the reviews.
Instead use the platform's response option to address the reviewer's concerns.
By demonstrating to users you take their feedback and complaints seriously you show them they can trust they'll be treated with the same respect should things go wrong between you and them.
The point of PR and customer feedback should not be to defend yourself outright.
While some users may be serial complainers or even thieves always assume the best in the customer.
Use their complaint or question as an opportunity to possibly address something within your business you should have paid attention to a long time ago.
Often you'll find the customer has either made an error or there's a genuine issue you need to address with your business.
Whatever the case, keep in mind what you post will be what users see when reading up on your company. Not only that but Google looks for signals of a bad business in online engagement and reviews as well.
Position yourself as a responsible business owner who will address their concerns, so whenever someone reads about your business they get the right impression.
Just because a lot of customer service has moved online doesn't change the fact that your business needs to give a good impression to potential users/customers.
Put a smile on people's faces as much as possible and your social media can really help you grow.
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
Visit http://www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Heart Warming Customer Service Success Story

What does great customer service do? Win a customer's trust or make him a loyal patron for the rest of his life? The answer is actually a bit different; good service is what defines an enterprise's core values and how much it is committed to serving the customers. It matters a lot more than just retaining your customers because it helps you establish a position in the market, which is onerous in today's competitive landscape. Exceptional service is imperative to succeed, whether you are engaged in delivering call center outsourcing services or are running a multinational enterprise. This is what will count in the long run; so don't just dwindle upon the sales and profit figures and start working on improving the service quality quotient.
United Airline Connects A Grieving Son To His Ailing Mother
In the past few years, many commercial organizations have started concentrating more on this aspect of the business. They have not just worked towards the betterment of delivered support services but have started creating unforgettable service experience and setting examples. One amongst such incidents that have proved how dedicated organizations are towards the customers is the case of Kerry Drake, who was on his way to meet his ailing mother for the very last time. Flying in a United Airline Flight, the grieving son had almost lost all hopes to see his mother in her final hours; that's when a flight attendant came to his rescue. Without any delay, the crew of the connecting flight that Kerry had to board was informed about the situation. They decided to delay the flight and help the son reach his mother one last time. He reached the hospital to meet his mother in her final hours and bid her adieu forever the very next morning. This is a humane act that is rare in the corporate world where everyone is just fighting for earning better profits.
How benevolent it is to help someone in such a somber state, avoiding the fact that the parameter of success in this domain is an on-time departure record that the United Airline didn't care about. They did something humanely right and made numerous patrons all across the globe. As said before, such acts define the enterprise's core value and this airline has earned a 10/10 for passenger prioritization. They have shown the world how much they care and to what extent they can go to help their passengers, which undeniably is the most critical parameter of success in today's business world.
Alicia Gray is a Marketing Manager in (v)WeCare Technology ( http://www.vcaretec.com ) which is a renowned call center outsourcing service provider from New Jersey, USA