Archive for the ‘Categorized’ Category

Have You Considered Buying a Franchise? Learn More from Owners of a Top-rated National Franchise

Monday, July 17th, 2017

“My husband and I were in our mid-60s and retiring from corporate America when we considered opening a business together. Friends suggested that we go into franchising and offered resources that could help us decide if franchising would work for us,” explains Gale Cohen-DeMarco.

After lots of research and working with the franchise consultancy FranNet.com, Gale and her husband Peter began to clarify their interests, professional strengths and goals. They identified three possible franchise opportunities. One was Sport Clips Haircuts, which focuses on men and boys’ haircuts in a sports-themed environment. “After more research into Sport Clips, we were comfortable with its business model and potential for us, challenging as this new venture would be.”

“Peter and I also complement each other’s strengths. He understands the financial side of businesses, and I am experienced in operations, and sales and marketing.”

Started with 3 Locations  – Growing & Learning

“We chose to start with 3 licenses which gave us the potential to open 3 stores.  When we looked at the financial impact of the Sport Clips business model, and spoke to existing owners, it was apparent that we needed 3 sites to be profitable enough for us.”

Gale and Peter’s new venture began in 2010 with lots of training and significant Sport Clips support. “We learned more about their local and national franchise policies, technical concerns, business, marketing, and real estate issues. We interviewed current franchise owners, former owners, and much more.”

“We had applicable skills and experience, we knew ‘best practices’ that were transferable to different businesses, and we accepted that we would be working long hours. We realized there was no such thing as a dumb question and could have gone on much longer asking more and more questions!”

Among the challenges in the hair stylist profession is the availability of licensed stylists who want to cut men’s hair. “We’re always in the hiring, referral and marketing mode, and there’s lots of competition.” To address this, Cohen-DeMarco’s marketing activities include Facebook, advertising, referrals from stylists and clientele, networking, membership and volunteering in local organizations.

Is Franchising for You?

Gale offers important advice as you consider franchising. “Peter’s financial experience has been critical, including his understanding of due diligence required by both franchisor and franchisee.”

Sport Clips gave them a list of current and former franchise owners who could explain the pros and cons of owning a franchise. “Over the past 7 years the business has continued to evolve. We currently face a national shortage of licensed stylists which has become the most limiting factor to growth that we now deal with. Even though we investigated the Sport Clips opportunity for several months, there was no way we could have seen this issue developing. Ultimately, you make the best decision you can with the information you have at hand, and then you dive in and work your heart out!”

“Being financially capable is very important, because it took us three years for our franchises to become profitable.  It’s an expensive learning process, but our success has been rewarding.” Today, the Cohen-DeMarco’s own 6 locations and plan to open 2 more.

To succeed in franchising, Gale offers tips and insights:

  • Lots of research is necessary before making a decision.
  • Being self-directed is important.
  • You should understand finances and requirements in franchising.
  • Do you have good relationships with other people?
  • Would you like being in a store-front business?
  • Do you have lots of time, which is required?
  • Networking in your community is important.
  • Marketing and a positive feedback is critical and ongoing.

And, Gale adds, remember this:

  • People – clients, staff and others – are your most important resource.
  • Don’t just think about money. How can you be the best and contribute to your community? Reciprocity becomes profitability.

Gale Cohen-DeMarco, gcdemarco1@comcast.net

“Conversation cleanup – The way you communicate at work may be hurting you.”

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

 

We may have some annoying communication habits “that are driving people crazy.” It’s probably time to address them. Author Kat Boogaard discusses “eight common faux pas” in her (Inc.) article, “Conversation cleanup.” Here’s a brief intro to each one, and you will find more information in the article itself at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

  •  “Constantly Interrupting. We all have one thing in common when talking. We want to be listened to. So if you’re one of those people who tend to jump in and interrupt or – even worse – try to complete people’ sentences for them, you need to…”
  • “Multitasking. Conversations deserve your full attention, not the halfhearted glances you’re willing to give them when you manage to rip your focus away from your iPhone screen. Multitasking is a habit we’re likely all guilty of, but…”
  • “Using Qualifiers. ‘Don’t take this personally, but…’; This might be a bad idea, but…’; I know what you’re thinking, but…if you tend to overuse them, you may be driving people up a wall. Why?”
  • “Equating Your Experiences. Someone is explaining a difficult problem he is currently facing. You immediately respond with ‘I know exactly how you feel,’ and then launch into your own long-winded tale … that’s not really relevant. It’s important to remember…”
  • “Floundering. We’ve all had to deal with those people who seem to just ramble on endlessly without a point and appear to be talking simply because they like the sound of their own voices. … When you decide to speak up, make sure…”
  • “Avoiding Direct Contact. …The never-ending assortment of communication tools available today has made us less willing to actually talk to one another. So before hitting send on a message, …”
  • “Waiting Instead of Listening. As my mom always loves to tell me, ‘There’s a big difference between hearing and listening!’ And when you’re having a conversation with someone, you should be actively listening. That means…”
  • “Using Filler Words. ‘Hey, Jason, Umm, I’m just checking in on that, uhhh, report to see if you think you’ll, like, have that done by, like the end of the day.’ This is perhaps the toughest bad verbal habit to break. … But…”

It’s time to tune in and address our conversational issues. For great advice before your next conversation head to:

http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

 

Want to start a website without using a designer? Consider WordPress

Monday, March 27th, 2017

 

If you want a website but don’t have the budget for a designer and don’t know how to create one yourself, then consider WordPress. “It is a common and popular web design solution, and most web-hosting companies offer it as an option,” notes Christopher Merrill, Christopher Merrill Web Design, www.christophermerrill.com

“I caution people to use WordPress through a web-hosting resource such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions or DreamHost. but not a free version. These web hosters usually provide a simple way to create a WordPress website offering many templates and design options. WordPress acts as a content management system that helps you create and manage digital content. So, with WordPress you can add text, images and links to your menus.”

Christopher also suggests that if you have questions about WordPress, you can also type that question into Google. For example: How do I create a website page in WordPress? Or, How do I add images in WordPress? Search engines are smart and understand the full question and your goals, leading you to answers.

“If you want to create a template yourself, then you must create a ‘child theme’ based on that template,” Christopher explains. “A ‘child theme’ is a universal theme in WordPress that you select, and it’s the only theme you will use.  And, once again, Google the question: How do I create a child theme in WordPress?; and up comes an  explanation. If you’re not comfortable doing it, then you may need professional assistance.

“On another note, you will need to learn how to upload files from your computer to your server, where your files are stored, using the file manager that comes with your account, or an ftp (file, transfer, protocol) program. You might need a professional’s help with this.

“If you’re the adventuresome type, you might want to know the difference between a widget and a plugin and other ‘fancy stuff.’ They may not be necessary, but WordPress offers the basic plugins you need. And, of course, you can Google: WordPress Plugins vs. Widgets: What’s the Difference?

“Finally, when WordPress asks you to update your website or your plugins, do it. This is important for keeping your WordPress site secure. This also reflects the importance of the “child theme.” Without it, you will lose updates. WordPress and your website can give you power and can be an exciting and rewarding adventure.”

 

 

 

Millennials & Marketing

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

As we know Millennials are introducing us – Baby Boomers and Gen X – to new opportunities, ideas and approaches. Marketing is one example.

Marketing to Millennials – You’d Better Learn to Keep up

https://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-to-millennials-youd-better-learn-to-keep-up-16697426-1.html

Keeping Up with the Millennials

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-lightman/keeping-up-with-the-mille_b_8431768.html

10 Brands that got Millennium Marketing Right

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/trillion-dollar-demographic-10-brands-got-millennial-marketing-right/135969/

How Millennials Are Changing the Way Companies Build Brands

http://www.forbes.com/sites/under30network/2016/05/16/how-millennials-are-changing-the-way-companies-build-brands/#3dcdfb333b4a

5 Ways Successful Brands Win with Millennials on Social Media

http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurenfriedman/2016/01/26/5-ways-successful-brands-win-with-millennials-on-social-media/#3109212a1ae0

Retail for the Generations: How to Market to Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials

http://www.datamentors.com/blog/retail-generations-how-market-baby-boomers-gen-x-and-millennials

These findings about how millennials and baby boomers shop may surprise you

http://www.businessinsider.com/sc/how-millennials-and-baby-boomers-shop-2015-4

Books for Business

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Here are just three of the many, many books and other print and online resources that offer incredible information and insights to help you grow your business.

Guerrilla Marketing In 30 Days, 3rd Edition, by Jay Conrad Levinson And Al Lautenslager. Published by Entrepreneurial Media, Inc., 2014.  This book gives you:

  • “Disciplined 30-Day Plan: One Action/Day
  • “Bonus Days and Actions for Maintaining Momentum
  • “Proven Tactics Adapted to New Customer Demands, Markets, and Technologies.”

Workbooks and other resources are also available.

The  25  Best Books for Entrepreneurs

“If you have your sights set on building a massively successful company where you call the shots, you might want to start with the following books.” By Jenna Goudreau, Inc.Magazine, First appeared in Business Insider, http://www.inc.com/business-insider/best-books-for-entrepreneurs.html

The Secret Sauce to Freelance Writing on the Side, by Jodee Redmond, is a new eBook published by Freelance Writing Jobs (FWJ): www.freelancewritinggigs.com.  To learn more about The Secret Sauce and other resources: https://payhip.com/b/kR7i

If you want to suggest your favorite books for business, please do.

Entrepreneurial Spirits from Teens to Seniors

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Entrepreneurs usually start their own businesses because they see opportunities and needs in the marketplace that trigger their interests. Or, they work for an organization that values their entrepreneurial savvy and contribution to company goals.

The entrepreneurial spirit can also apply to individuals facing the business of everyday life. They see alternatives, take initiative, make sound decisions, create new strategies or techniques, and assume the risk of innovation when exploring approaches to life’s challenges.

Meet some entrepreneurs who reflect all ages and stages of life experiences, from pre-school motivated kids with ideas, to baby boomers and older who thought they had retired but then took new directions. Some teens and seniors partner with each other. It’s Leap Year!

►Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?

 What’s the Best Age to Launch a Start-Up? Founders Young and Old Tell Us

http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/09/whats-the-best-age-to-launch-a-startup-founders-young-and-old-tell-us/

 The 11-year-old fashion designer behind “Mo’s Bows”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/08/06/the-11-year-old-fashion-entrepreneur-behind-mos-bows/

►Are You an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Spirit of the Entrepreneur – These 5 characteristics will take you far as you start your business.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/190986

 8 traits of successful entrepreneurs

http://www.mbda.gov/node/337

 ►Entrepreneurial Kids & Finance Prodigies

Kid Entrepreneurs

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/kid-entrepreneurs

 http://quicken.intuit.com/support/help/fun-with-finances/9-young-entrepreneurs/INF16221.html;jsessionid=HmlFgPi4k6yDT+Y1eNVJlA**.p39-2

Entrepreneurial Adults

 Older Entrepreneurs find new niches and potential in start-ups

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-11/older-entrepreneurs/53483890/1

8 Over 80

http://www.inc.com/8over80/

Here’s to your “passion, positivity, adaptability, leadership potential and ambition.” Feel free to share your entrepreneurial experiences with us.

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Share your story and experience on First Person Public Relations!

Mentoring — Top Tips to Mentors

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

When you successfully mentor, both you and your mentee grow and develop, and you will discover rewarding experiences and new opportunities.

To help you understand the mentoring process and its potential, Dr. Lois J. Zachary, President, Leadership Development Services, LLC, offers Top Tips to Mentors. The Center for Mentoring Excellence is a division of Leadership Development Services. http://centerformentoringexcellence.com

Top Tips to Mentors

►  “Listening is critical,”  Lois explains. “You should not talk more than the mentee. Mentoring is about the mentee’s growth and development. Don’t make assumptions without checking them out first. You might jump to incorrect conclusions if you do. How good are you at listening, asking questions and clarifying your mentee’s perspectives?”

►  “Try to walk in the mentee’s shoes. Different generations see the world differently. They have different experiences and interests. Ask questions so that you can understand your mentee’s perspective.  In conversation, check things out. Say ‘I am assuming…’  Or, say ‘I’m curious about…’  Your mentee will appreciate that you’re trying to understand where they are coming from.

►  “Mentoring is mentee-driven, so clarify your role and mentee expectations, and as you move along in the process, make sure you’re on the same page.”

►  “Hold yourself accountable for supporting your mentees and helping them develop a vision and a goal for the future. At the end of every mentoring session, ask the mentee if the feedback you provided was relevant and useful.”

►  While you are helping and supporting your mentee, “look at mentoring as an opportunity for self-development and growth,” Dr. Zachary explains. “Always consider how you can become a better mentor. It will help you become more effective with co-workers and strengthen your skills as a leader.”

► “Your mentees must leave with the capacity, competence and confidence to achieve their goals.”

The potential for your growth and development, new personal insights and lessons you will learn as a mentor are transferrable to many situations as you consider your potential – and whether you might seek a mentor for yourself.

To subscribe to the Center for Mentoring Excellence monthly eletter: http://conta.cc/1Qe4vCC or text MENTORING4U to 22828 on your mobile device.

 

 

Time to “Brand” New You

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Branding is receiving lots of attention. Is it time to create a brand for yourself or reconsider your current one?

Your brand evolves over time, reflecting a personal and professional commitment to your goals, beliefs and the expectations of others. A brand is what we (consumers, employers, colleagues, friends and family) trust you for.

Each of us has a personal brand – characteristics and experience we offer. Many, many articles and books discuss personal branding and the importance of authenticity and trust, and here are a few that offer insights and advice as you consider your approaches.

► “Personal Branding Guerrilla Style…Shape Up Your Brand with Attitude,” Chapter 2, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, by Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry, John Wiley & Sons.

► Branding and the “Me” Economy, The New York Times,

 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/us/27iht-currents.html?_r=0

► Branding Gets Personal for These Job Seekers, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/branding-gets-personal-for-these-job-seekers-1440756000

► Your Personal Brand Needs a Growth Strategy, Entrepreneur Magazine, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242504

► Rethink “brand you,” and find your authentic self, Forbes Magazine, http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/07/14/rethink-brand-you-find-your-authentic-self/

► Clients Want Authenticity – Your brand needs to reflect the real you, http://www.healyourgrid.com/clients-want-authenticity-your-brand-needs-to-reflect-the-real-you/

► Is your business [brand] male or female?

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-brand-genders-0903-biz-20150904-story.html

► Your Brand – My Gut Feeling and Trust,

 http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=546

► Brand New You, http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=336

► Personal Branding (Perspectives),

 http://mashable.com/category/personal-brand/

Ready for a “brand” new you?

Getting Ready to Negotiate with Others? Start by Negotiating with Yourself!

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Whether we’re negotiating with managers, parents, colleagues or friends to find a mutually rewarding agreement or relationship “…the biggest obstacle is actually ourselves – our natural tendency to react in ways that do not serve our true interests….But this obstacle can also become our biggest opportunity.”

In his latest book, Getting to Yes with Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents, author William Ury explains “that if we learn to understand ourselves first, we lay the groundwork for understanding and influencing others.”  http://www.williamury.com/

Ury introduces “Six Challenging Steps” that may at times seem like common sense…common sense that is uncommonly applied.” Ury’s experience includes 3 ½ decades of working as a mediator with people and organizations from all walks of life. The Six Challenging Steps offer specific, in-depth information on how to negotiate with yourself (“Inner Yes Method”) and how this approach will lead to rewarding outcomes for yourself and the “other side.” Here’s an introduction, and there’s a detailed chapter on each in his book.

 “1. Put Yourself in Your Shoes. Understand your worthiest opponent, yourself.”  Don’t prematurely judge yourself. Listen to and explore your underlying needs, which will influence your negotiation strategy.

“2. Develop Your Inner BATNA. Almost all of us find it difficult not to blame others with whom we come into conflict. The challenge is to do the opposite and to take responsibility for your life and relationships. More specifically, it is to develop your inner BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement), to make a commitment to yourself to take care of your needs independently of what the other does or does not do.”

“3. Reframe Your Picture. …The challenge is to change how you see your life, creating your own independent and sufficient source of contentment. It is to see life as being on your side even when it seems unfriendly.”

“4. Stay in the Zone. … The challenge is to stay in the present moment, the only place where you have the power to experience true satisfaction as well as to change the situation for the better.”

“5. Respect Them Even If. … It is tempting to meet rejection with rejection, personal attack with personal attack, exclusion with exclusion. The challenge is to surprise others with respect and inclusion even if they are difficult.”

“6. Give and Receive. It is all too easy, especially when resources seem scarce, to fall into the win-lose trap and to focus on meeting only your needs. The final challenge is to change the game to a win-win approach by giving first instead of taking.”

 Ury also discusses The Three Wins: A Win Within, A Win With Others, and A Win for the Whole. “As I have personally experienced,” Ury says, “getting to yes with yourself is not just the most challenging, but the most rewarding negotiation of all.”

Letter from a Veteran – November 12, 1944

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Seventy years ago, one of the first women to serve in the military observed Veteran’s Day. She reflects on this and other experiences in her letters home. Mollie’s War is a memoir that features letters Mollie wrote to her sister, Beck, while stationed in Europe. “It describes the life of a WAC enlistee who would serve in England when it came under attack, France weeks aftger the invasion, and Germany after VE Day.”

“Here is my mother’s letter on the first Veteran’s Day in newly liberated Paris,” says Cyndee Schaffer, author of Mollie’s War, The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe.  www.mollieswar.com

Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, Cyndee’s mother, was one of the 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps (IWAC) during the Second World War. Of those, about 8,000 served in the European Theater of Operations.

 

Letter from Mollie from newly liberated Paris

Here are a few paragraphs from Mollie’s letter home.

Paris, France, 12 Nov.1944.

“Dear Beck,

…Must tell you about the Armistice Day Parade here in Paris. I still recall the ones we used to go to—you, Jackie & myself—but this was really the “cat’s meow.” It started about 6 AM—maybe not actually but there were gendarmes (or draculas as we call them with their all-enveloping capes) & G.I.’s, too, directing crowds that early, lining up the streets near the Arc de Triomphe, along with the great numbers of people who probably ran back to get sandwiches & hustled back to regain choice spots from where they would have an advantageous view of the celebration. And, Beck, I think the parading or celebrating was still going on this morning.

Florence (another WAC) & myself left the office at 10:30 AM & we made a “bee line” for Champs Elysees (one of the main streets in Paris that runs into the Arc de Triomphe). Honestly the people were packed like sardines (trite but true). Florence & I were standing on tip toes but couldn’t see very much. All of a sudden I felt my feet leave the ground & I had a most wonderful view of marching soldiers. I turned around as I felt myself being put gently back to earth—it was the captain! I thanked him & both Florence & I laughed. We walked farther on & we decided to stand back near the buildings away from the crowds along the streets. We did have a better view. We saw Churchill go by in a car but weren’t quite sure. However, when we heard the people shouting “Vive Churchill,” that confined it. Besides I had said to Florence “I know we have a long range view of the parade, but no one but Churchill’s cheeks are puffed out like that!”

The one minute’s silence at 11 AM brought to mind the folks back home—wonder when we’ll be coming home. I know, Beck, it won’t be too soon. …” You can read the full letter from Paris here: Mollie_Letter_Home_Veterans_Day.

 

Letter to Mollie from Joe

“ ‘My mama wore combat boots’. When you are the daughter of a WWII WAC, that statement resonates with you,” Cyndee says. “Yes, my mother wore combat boots and that brought a legacy with it. The one outstanding quality throughout my mother’s letters and the letters that were sent to her was the fact that everyone wrote such beautiful ones. Here is probably the most touching letter. the one from Joe. I tried to find him when I was writing the book but I could not.” Here’s just a few of his thoughts.

“Salmunster, Germany

Sept 5th 1945

“My darling sweetheart – no that’s too informal, Dear Sergeant Molly – no that’s too G.I., Dear Friend – nope too cold, I know… Hi Callahan!

“You see, I told you I’d drop you a line (or should I say a note because good l’il WACs stay away from those bad boys with “lines”?) I finally caught a ride home but it was the next morning after the dance about 10:00. I spent the night in the transit barracks in Frankfurt. It was much too cold and dark to try those 60 kilometers home. I got home in time for dinner so I didn’t miss much time hitch-hiking on the road.

“I wanted to tell you though—thanks, honey I had a swell time. I only hope I didn’t scare you too much with all that chatter. Actually, I’m not such a talkative fellow as I may have seemed. But you can’t really understand what being at that dance meant to me. Honestly it was the first American dance I’ve been to since I came overseas twenty months ago. I was as happy as a lark and I guess I showed it a little more than somewhat?” …

“…Be a good girl. Work hard but most of all, stay as sweet and as kind as you are.

“Yours always.

Joe”

You can read the full letter from Joe here: Joe_Letter_to_Mollie_World_War_II.

Seventy years may have passed, but let’s always remember our veterans.