Archive for the ‘Doing Business’ Category

Meet a Young, Successful Entrepreneur

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Jonathan Prizant knew in 2014, when he was a freshman in high school, that he wanted to start his own business. Despite being interested in pursuing a business education through school, he also wanted hands on experience in business. In 2015, Jonathan decided to launch a company that produces custom T-Shirts. Over the course of the next few years the company expanded from a small T-shirt printing gig to a full blown apparel decoration, graphic design, and branding agency. Skokie Printing Inc. grows every year. So does Jonathan.

The relative success of the small business hasn’t hindered his original plans, as he is also pursuing a college degree in business and marketing and will graduate in 2021.

“Building a business is a 100 percent learning experience. My father has no formal education and has been running an IT company company since the 90s, while my mom has a master’s in business. My goal is to have both: the first hand experience of bootstrapping a company and an official college business education. It’s a balancing act, but I’m proud to have the opportunity to experience both.”

While Jonathan is home-based, he works with part-time employees. Their goal is to respond to customers’ unique needs and interest in custom T-Shirts, jackets, embroidery and other possibilities. “Personal customer service is critical.”

“We offer a customized printing solution for any organization or an event. We apply a variety of different methods and can transfer anything from basic text and full color photos onto your garment via a unique approach.”

Currently, one of Jonathan’s top priorities is networking. “I’m more concerned with meeting business owners and developing lasting relationships with my clients. My ultimate goal is to expand from printing into all aspects of advertising and be the go-to guy for marketing small businesses and organizations.”

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Will you retire from work when you’re 65 or 95?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Some people retire when they’re 65 or 70. Others are not the retiring type and still work in their 90s. Others go back to work after retiring. Or you might want to volunteer. Your decision will probably depend on your financial resources, your personality, your interests and how rewarding your life style is.

Here are some helpful resources as you consider the next chapter in your life.

Consider your possibilities to see what “works” for you?!

How to Increase Your Business Referrals

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

“The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word-of-mouth referrals are what drive business today,” John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing,  says in his book, The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself. “Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals. That’s why so many businesses can grow and thrive by tapping this business-building strategy alone.”

The Referral Engine encourages you to take an objective look at your business and reevaluate your marketing strategy as well as your business model. Get ready to “craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors and colleagues.”

When we buy products or services, we are really buying experiences. Yes, referrals start with the quality of your professional knowledge, skills, services and products. However, as Jantsch explains in The Referral Engine, the “first step in the design of your referral system is to unearth the simple remarkable difference that is your chief competitive advantage. … It’s not enough to be an accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15 or your money back. If you want people to talk, you’ve got to be the accountant who gets the tax return done before April 15, then gets your oil changed at the car wash next door while you discuss your return in his office.”  And, that’s just the beginning.

If you need help developing a “core talkable difference” or innovation for your start-up or mature (needing some reinvention) business, The Referral Engine is loaded with resources, examples, and strategies to help you identify new strategies for building your business and endless referrals.

What does your business do and what does it mean to your customers? Who are your ideal customers? What is your added and “extreme” value? How do you and your staff engage customers in a memorable way that leads to word-of-mouth referrals? Why do or should they choose you over a competitor? Do you know which referral system would work best for your company?

“In preparation for writing this book,” Jantsch says, “I conducted an informal survey of several thousand small business owners. Unsurprisingly, I found that 63.4 percent felt that over half their business came by way of referrals. “But,” he notes, “of that same group, 79.9 percent readily admitted that they had no system of any kind to generate referrals.”

Is it time for a new approach?

“If you love to cold call and dig spending money on advertising, then The Referral Engine is not for you,” David Meerman Scott says in praise of the book. However, if you appreciate the value and potential of referrals, then, as Seth Godin notes, “This book will pay for itself in one day.”

 

Challenges of the Self-Employed

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

You might be considering self-employment as your new year’s goal and could find these perspectives helpful. If you are already your own boss, please share your experiences.

4 Big Challenges Today’s Self-Employed Professionals Face

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9996-self-employment-challenges.html

The Challenges of Being Self-Employed

https://www.theselfemployed.com/working-from-home/challenges-self-employed/

Five Challenges of Being Your Own Boss

https://timsstrategy.com/5-challenges-of-being-your-own-boss/

Risks and Challenges of Being Self-Employed – How to Reinforce Your Small Business

https://www.next-insurance.com/blog/risks-challenges-of-being-self-employed/

The Self-Employed on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/theselfemployed/

You will find many more resources when you Google “Books about self-employment” and “Magazines about self-employment.”

Happy New Year !!!

What is Your Brand?

Monday, December 10th, 2018

How do potential customers perceive your product or service? Do you have an “attractive” brand that communicates what they can expect from your business?

Define your audience. Are you trying to reach college students, working parents or corporate executives? Find adjectives that describe your business approach (i.e. traditional, reliable, playful, whimsical, fun). “Look at the marketplace and find examples of your competitor’s branding,” notes Luke Renn, Luke Renn Design. “Then determine what you like and dislike about their branding. Always be unique when creating your own identity, but keep in mind what has been successful in the marketplace.”

To start, your brand identity will be expressed through a logo, colors and typography. Keep in mind, the most effective logos are typically simple (think of the Apple logo). Once you’ve created your fundamental branding, it can be applied to many types of marketing materials: “business cards, envelopes, website, social media, t-shirts, banners, vehicle graphics and much more,” notes Renn. Behind these potential ideas, however, is your target market and audience and how they respond to your brand. Remember their expectations and your commitment to them. It’s an ongoing process of establishing a solid image or impression with an individual, group or organization.

You and your brand should build trust and confidence. Branding reflects what others think about your abilities. You want to develop a solid personal reputation. People like supporting local businesses and other professionals. Know your audience…what are their expectations?

In addition to graphic design Luke Renn’s brand also includes being an actor and voice-over artist.

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Holidays…It’s Time to Job Hunt!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

You may want to relax and enjoy the holidays, but November through January are considered optimal job hunting months. You’re networking at holiday events, your boss may be more relaxed and open to “promotional” conversations, and many companies are trying to fill positions during this time.

If, while focusing on the holidays, you wouldn’t mind fine-tuning and improving your job hunting strategies and skills, then you might be interested in a few resources.

Top 11 Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays: 
https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top-reasons-to-job-search-during-the-holidays-2062214

10 Tips to Job Hunt Successfully During the Holidays: 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/12/03/10-tips-to-job-hunt-successfully-during-the-holidays/#660818fe672d

Happy Holidays!

Blogging for Business

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Millions – yes, millions – of bloggers cover a variety of subjects and interests. Here are just a few of those that could help you make the decision.

 

4 Reasons Why Blogging Is Important for Your Business

https://blog.wishpond.com/post/47804902390/4-reasons-why-blogging-is-important-for-your-business

The Importance of Blogging

https://www.firstpagemarketing.com/blog/the-importance-of-blogging/

9 Reasons Why a Blog is Important for Your Career and Life

https://www.jeffbullas.com/sponsored/9-reasons-why-a-blog-is-important-career-life/

5 Reasons Why Your Website’s Blog Is Important for SEO

https://netvantagemarketing.com/blog/5-reasons-websites-blog-important-seo/

How to Write SEO Friendly Blog Posts –

My Step By Step Process (Alex Chris)

https://www.reliablesoft.net/seo-friendly-blog-posts/

This Is Exactly What Your First Blog Post Should Be About

https://www.shoutmeloud.com/write-first-blog-post.html

History of Blogging — Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

 

For some inspiration, you might want to Google “First Blog Post of Famous Bloggers.”  While you’re Googling, you will learn: how many bloggers there are; how many make money; how many make a living (megabucks at times); and, much more. Then you will understand if and why you want to blog?!

How to Network

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Business networking has been with us forever. While the venues and opportunities grow and change, we learn more about ourselves and how to develop mutually rewarding relationships. Contacts can emerge through referrals and introductions whether face-to-face or via phone, email, social media, or networking websites.

Here are resources that can offer rewarding results. Let’s start with some How To’s:

How to Network Like A Pro – Forbes  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/05/…/how-to-network-like-a-pr

How to Network Like You Really Mean It

Inc. Magazine, by Minda Zetlin

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/8-things-power-networkers-do-make-connections.html

How to Network When You Don’t Like Networking

https://fairygodboss.com/articles/how-to-network-when-you-hate-networking

How to Network

Lots of information from YouTube networkers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfNN3b1dofQ

And, more resources:

10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

http://www.businessknowhow.com/tips/networking.htm

5 Things You MUST Do During Networking Events

http://www.workitdaily.com/networking-events-things-must-do/

12 Things Not To Do When Networking

http://www.careertoolbelt.com/12-things-not-to-do-when-networking/

Lots of books discuss the business networking process. One of them is Guerilla Marketing in 30 Days, 3rd Edition, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager. Among their many suggestions is to develop networking goals. For example:

  • Meet 10 new people.
  • Receive eight business cards.
  • Note something of interest on each card.
  • Write a follow-up note to five of these people (or all).
  • Call and set up an appointment after writing to three contacts.
  • Continue the relationship with two of these.

The book also offers encouraging “Ongoing Networking Tips and Techniques” and  “Action Steps.”

Here’s to your networking success.

Do you know the secrets to rewarding phone conversations?

Monday, September 17th, 2018

“How many of your business conversations happen on the phone? For many people, it’s most of them. In fact, some of us spend more time talking to people we can’t see than we do in face-to-face interaction.  Your body language shapes what they hear and that shapes how they feel about you,” notes Catherine Johns, speaker, author and former radio personality.
https://catherinejohns.com/

“When people hear your voice, even if they can’t see you, they’re forming impressions of you. It helps to understand the secrets of compelling conversations with unseen others,” adds Johns.

Here are her suggestions.

  • Stand up. Your voice will have a lot more energy in it if you stand while you speak. Even if you do most of your work seated, you’ll project more strength when you stand up for that important phone call.
  • But if you sit, sit up straight. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor, your bottom squarely in the chair, your spine erect and your shoulders back and down. No hunching over the desk. Sitting like this, you’ll be grounded and your voice will be stronger and more resonant.
  • A headset helps. Holding the phone to your ear makes your arm tired, and a lot of us press our ear to the phone and strain our necks in the process. A speaker phone solves those problems, but the sound is thin and hollow. Use a headset instead. Even the earbuds that have a mic on the cord with give you freedom to move with decent audio quality.
  • Speak from your core. The energy should come from the power center below your navel, not from your throat or your head. With the phone or a mic close to your mouth, there’s no need for big volume. Don’t shout. While you want energy in your voice, you’ll get it from being grounded and relaxing your body.
  • Energize your voice by moving your body.  Use gestures just as you would if you were right there in the room with the person. Your conversational partner can’t see your hands moving, but the gestures animate your voice and they will hear the difference. When you gesture to emphasize a point, for instance, you’ll soundmore emphatic too.
  • And don’t forget your face. Facial expressions reflect your inner state and people can sense your mood even when they can’t see your face. So, don’t pick up the phone with a frown unless you’re about to let someone have it, for good reason. Some people find it helps to have a mirror near their desk – looking at yourself is a reminder to smile.
  • Or theirs. Talking to someone you don’t know? Let’s say you’re making a sales call. Or, it’s the phone screening that precedes an in-person job interview. When the stakes are high, it’s easy to freeze up so you sound stiff and unnatural.  As you prepare for your call, pull up the person’s picture on LinkedIn or the company website. It will give you something to focus on and help you sound as if you’re talking to an actual human.

If you do know the person, visualize them as you place the call. Just make a mental picture – there she is, sitting in her office, seeing your name on Caller I.D. and smiling as she reaches for the phone. See how that sets you up for a warmer conversation?

  • Speak a bit more slowly than you ordinarily do. Enunciate. Remember that visual cues are missing. All they have to go on is your words and the tone of your voice. To make sure they understand everything you say, you may need a slower pace than you would in a face-to-face conversation. This is especially true if one of you is not a native speaker of English, of if you’re covering complex—or controversial –content.
  • Pause to project confidence. A moment of silence enhances understanding and gives your listener a chance to absorb what you’re saying. The pause is also a powerful signal that you’re comfortable and confident. You’re not rushing, you’re not apologizing for taking up their time, and you’re not desperate for this conversation to be over.

 This is especially important when you are desperate for it to be over!

You may have had an experience where you didn’t know how to finish so you just kept talking and eventually it became awkward. It’s better to put a period on it and settle into the silence. Let the other person be the next to speak.

  • Listen more than you talk. You’re brilliant, of course. You have important information to impart and deep insights to share. They’ll be more impressed with all of it if they hear as much of themselves as they hear from you.

On the phone, we can’t see someone’s eyes glaze over. We may not be aware that they’ve tuned out and started checking their email. The way to head that off is to say what you have to say—once. Say it well. Then zip it. And listen.

If you follow Catherine’s suggestions, you’ll have more rewarding phone conversations. And you may be surprised at the opportunities they create.

Ready for Your Interview?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

All of us are familiar with interviews, whether as the interviewee or interviewer. We might be job hunting and the interview is critical. Or, in researching a subject for an article or book, we have to interview an expert in the field. Or, a media reporter wants to interview you.

Whatever our goal and perspective, we should be prepared for the interview so we know we did our best.

Here are some interesting and helpful resources that will keep us on top of the interview.

If you want even more insights about interviewing for a job, check out Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Chapter 12, “Hand-to-Hand Combat, Winning the Face-to-Face Interview.” The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authors are Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

Interviews offer new perspectives, information and opportunities we might not have considered. You never know?!!!!