Archive for the ‘Doing Business’ Category

Could You Take Over a Business If the Owner Was Closing It?

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

It now seems inevitable that when Yolanda Simonsis entered the package and converting industry in 1978 by working for a B2B publisher and within five years on a magazine as an editor-in-chief and associate publisher that she would one day establish an online magazine.  Sometimes, however, an opportunity suddenly emerges and you know it’s time. If you have entrepreneurial inclinations, Simonsis’ sudden transformation from employee to owner offers interesting insights and suggestions.

From Employee to Boss

“In August, 2011, we were advised that Paper, Film & Foil Converter magazine, which had been established in 1927, was closing along with other properties and employees would receive severance packages. In discussing our futures, three of us with long industry experience considered buying it, since the website and e-newsletter were very successful,” Simonsis explains.  “We did, and in addressing the new challenges, we have learned a lot and have been rewarded by the industry, advertisers and readers.”

By September, 2011, YTC Media, Inc. was established as the new owner of an online magazine: www.pffc-online.com. The new owners are: Yolanda Simonsis, President and Editorial Director; Timothy Janes, VP Online Sales; and Claudia Hine, VP Managing Editor.

In September, 2011, Simonsis attended an industry exhibition/conference in Las Vegas. She told attendees, including advertisers, about the new ownership and that Paper, Film & Foil Converter would no longer be a print publication.  Because PFFC had a prominent history and exhibiting participants knew and trusted Yolanda and the YTC staff, advertisers were very receptive. “They believed in us and our ability to make the new online site a success. PFFC also publishes a weekly newsletter via email. In fact, since 2011, we have increased revenues by 35% and have seen growth each year.”

Simonsis started her career in the packaging and converting industry at the former Delta Communications and immediately knew “I loved publishing, particularly trade publishing. In fact, it prompted me to seek additional training and education in publishing to prepare me for new responsibilities.”

When she and her colleagues began to set up the new YTC Media publishing company, Simonsis, Janes and Hine’s goals included maintaining their positive reputation, not disappointing staff and partners, and responding to subscribers and advertisers interests and feedback. “Our Online Buyers Guide, for example, is very popular.”

How to Purchase the Company You Work For – Simonsis’ Advice & Suggestions

  • Find a good lawyer who has experience in buying/selling in the trade publishing industry or your industry.
  • Be sure your key contributors are on-board before sharing any news about your new ownership with others. Once you are sure you have the elements in place, move on to the next step. . .
  • If you require “angel investors,” line them up before talking to your lawyer and accountant.
  • When starting out, it’s important to deliver your new message of ownership to key advertisers in person. You are asking them to place their trust in you with a monetary investment that you expect to return with a surplus of advantages.
  • Develop a reward system for those who are loyal to you as charter advertisers.
  • You don’t have to spend a ton of money in legalizing the formation of the corporation (we used LegalZoom), but you do need to do your research prior to forming the corporation in order to decide what fits your needs best. Will you form an S-Corp, an LLC, Inc., etc.? My advice is to check first with a CPA who will be doing your taxes. Tax law can make or break your fledgling company.
  • Create a detailed press release announcing your new company’s ownership and spread it far and wide. In a competitive situation, you don’t want fake news to become the reality for your potential advertisers and/or subscribers. The best scenario is to share your news at a large industry event/conference/trade show where people can ask you questions and you can provide the final word.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of past relationships to navigate where and how to set up reliable vendors who will provide valuable services.
  • Don’t commit to using service providers whom you’ve never used in the past. Network and use your past experience to find the best vendors.
  • This is your chance to implement new concepts that will make your product better than in the past. Identify those concepts and innovations and “make them so.”
  • Constant communication is your best ally. We worked very long hours with not much sleep when starting. But, our constant communication made sure we were all on the same page. We opted for three partners, and it was the best thing we did. All of our decisions come down to majority rule. It makes the difficult decisions much easier.
  • Make customer service a priority. Go above and beyond, and people will remember.

At first the challenges of keeping track of all you must do seem endless. Keep a running list and cross off each item as it’s accomplished. This is incredibly important to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Identify whose responsibility it is to do what. While these responsibilities may change in the future, someone must take on even the most onerous of duties at first. And you or a partner may discover that you surprisingly enjoy doing what you may have hated in the past. Somehow it’s different when you become the person in charge rather than doing work for someone else.

Rewards

It may take a good two to three years of maintaining the status quo before you start to see real growth. Don’t be frustrated. If you’re slowly but surely paying off your start-up loans and meeting your fiscal obligations, then your third or fourth year will be gratifying.

 

 

Books for Business and You

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Here are a few of the many, many books that offer incredible information and insights to help you grow your business.

Getting to YES with Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents, by William Ury, Published by HarperCollins, 2015.

  • Put Yourself in Your Shoes
  • Develop Your Inner BATNA
  • Reframe Your Picture
  • Stay in the Zone
  • Respect Them Even If
  • Give and Receive

The New Rules of Marketing & PR, 5th Edition, by David Meerman Scott. Published by John Wiley & Sons, 2015. How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly.

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

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

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.”

 

 

 

How to Grow Your Network and Your Business in 100 Days

Friday, February 17th, 2017

“When growing a business, networking can be an effective part of our marketing and public relations strategy because it can expand our sphere of influence and extend our message to an ever widening group of individuals,” explains Reno Lovison, owner of Reno Lovison Marketing, who introduced the100 DAYS Challenge to Grow Your Network & Your Business:  http://renoweb.net/100DAYS

“I have a networking connection,” Reno says, “who I met several years ago when I first did this challenge. Over the years he has referred me to several companies who have used my video services. These included two very nice pieces of business this past year. This became my inspiration to repeat the challenge because I realized that the concerted effort I put in over four years ago was still paying dividends. So this time I invited a few people to do it with me. I thought I would be happy with ten participants but I ended up with19 including myself.”

The primary goal of the 100 DAY Challenge is for each of us to meet 100 new people in 100 days. This is accomplished through the regular course of business, referrals, as well as attending networking events and other business related functions.  As a group the 19 people involved gather at various business locations every 10 days to check in on each other’s progress, share ideas and strategize. “People need to be challenged in order to move out of their comfort zone.” Reno notes, “If you’re not a little uncomfortable during the process, you may not be as engaged as you should be. When meeting new people it is essential to share contact information, typically a business card. Then have a plan to follow in order to develop new relationships and explore potential opportunities.”

Reno Lovison Marketing provides marketing services including web video production for businesses, authors, and artists. Mr. Lovison is the author of “Turn Your Business Card Into Business” and offers a self-directed online course designed to improve your networking skills.

Isn’t it time to grow your network and see what you can do to grow your business over the next 100 days?

Resources:

Effective Face-to-Face Networking:  www.BusinessCardtoBusiness.com

Video for Authors & Book Lovers:  www.AuthorsBroadcast.com

Web Video Marketing: www.RenoWeb.net

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.

Business Cards still great for marketing

Monday, July 25th, 2016

To help you present a positive first impression, Bea Lipski, manager of Minuteman Press in Morton Grove, IL,  explains the do’s and don’ts of memorable card creation. In fact, a recipient of your card may ask for more to share with other connections.

“The front side of your business card should clearly state the name of your business and services, as well as your name and job title. Contact information must be easy to read: phone numbers (direct and cell), website and email.”

If there’s room on the front side, you could include your logo and/or a photo. The photo may be a sample of your work and not your real picture, unless you want it there.

While the back side of your card can remain blank for notes, some people also insert a QR code.

Card design should be engaging. Your font size should be a 10 or 12 point, but not less than 7 to 8 points, so that it’s easily read. You might consider professional help from your printing service or a graphic designer. While design is critical, it should enhance the information and not overwhelm it. Before final printing, approve a sample.

As you consider price, remember that the business card is often your first impression, so avoid paper and printing that looks too thin, cards that have rough edges and do not present a professional appearance. They may be cheaper, but they often look that way.

Once your cards are ready for prime time, consider how you will carry them. You should always have some with you even if you’re not formally networking. One convenient option is a card-carrying case that fits into a purse or pocket.

Business or personal cards have not been replaced by digital, online or email exchanges that may be convenient but are impersonal. Yes, while these options offer lots of venues and opportunities, exchanging cards in person is great for marketing and building your brand. Business or personal cards are also great first impressions that continue to prove themselves in marketing and engage recipients – who can copy your information to their mobile devices.

For more information, contact Bea Lipski at Minuteman Press:    minutemanpressmg@sbcglobal.net.

Business “Referral Engine,” Meaningful Mentoring & “Decluttering your Mind”  

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Get ready to increase your business referrals, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, and “free your mind” to move on in life. We all appreciate new insights and rewarding information, and these resources can help you address the challenges in your life.

The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch, author of Duck Tape Marketing. “The secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the ‘Customer Referral Cycle’ – the way customers refer others to your company, who in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.”

Besides explaining how to generate referrals, Jantsch offers examples of “referral-specific campaigns, as well as workshop action plans that help you dramatically increase your referrals and business success. http://referralenginebook.com/

Starting Strong – A Mentoring Fable, Strategies for Success in the First 90 Days, by Lois J. Zachary & Lory A. Fischler. Zachary is president of Leadership Development Services and director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence. Fischler is senior associate for Leadership Development Services and the Center for Mentoring Excellence.

In Starting Strong you will discover what “really good mentors do to make a difference, how they engage their mentees, create good conversation, and keep it going.” Zachary and Fischler also explain how “mentor and mentee move past the idea of ‘advice’ and into a trust-based relationship that generates real learning.”

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118767713.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKRH4PDbNHo

► “Decluttering your mind,” by Jeannette Bessenger, The Washington Post. ‘Let go of the need to be right’ and 9 other ways to give your brain a spring cleaning.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-spring-clean-mind-family-0419-20160414-story.html

Here are Jeannette Bessenger’s 10 bullet points for “freeing your mind and freeing your life,” and you will find the great advice in the article itself.

  1. Mind your own business.
  2. Let go of the need to be right.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.
  4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.
  6. Forgive someone.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.
  8. Let go of perfectionism.
  9. Let go of self-limiting beliefs.
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.

First Person Public Relations looks forward to your feedback.

Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Are you a public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer (“gatekeeper” to your targeted audience)? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

Scott elaborates on his “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

For even more information on pitch letters, check out the First Person Public Relations blog post: “Pitch Letters Attract Media Interest, http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=487

Find targeted consumers and focus marketing for optimal results – at your library

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Your goals, as you focus your marketing activities, might include finding a perfect location for your business site – one where many people in your target market live and work nearby and would value your products or services. Or, you might want to identify consumers who are interested in the opportunities you offer even when location is not relevant for purchase. But, how do you find potential consumers?

While it’s necessary that businesses identify their target consumers and how best to approach them, accurate market segmentation information and mapping tools are not always easy to uncover.

Fortunately, your public library offers many business resources and services that lead to success.

“We helped a patron who wanted to open a Montessori school but didn’t know which location would be optimal. Through market segmentation and mapping information, we identified a neighborhood where many young children and other preschoolers lived within five miles and would be interested,” explains Bruce Brigell, Coordinator of Information Services for the Skokie Public Library in Illinois.

 “Another entrepreneur, who owns a travel business that includes cruises and other travel possibilities, asked for feedback. Where consumers lived wasn’t as important as their travel interests and information for a mailing list. We worked on that and were ultimately able to provide them with a targeted mailing list.”

Two of the library’s many business resources include ReferenceUSA and Social Explorer. “While you can go directly to the Library’s website — skokielibrary.info/resources/research — to use these resources, librarians are also able to generate lists and reports for patrons not familiar with the products,” Bruce says.

ReferenceUSA offers a variety of business and residential data sets that will help your business marketing strategy.  Included are categories such as consumer interests, purchasing habits, demographic and social profiles and other relevant data that enables you to develop accurate mailing lists or visualize where targeted businesses or consumers are located through ReferenceUSA’s Heat Map utility.

Social Explorer is another rewarding research source for market segmentation, offering demographic information at geographic levels from state or county wide to school district or block group. “Social Explorer applies data that is presented every 10 years by the U.S. Census, as well as the American Community Survey, which is an annual statistical survey from the Bureau, “Social Explorer and ReferenceUSA can complement each other, or you can just refer to one, depending on your interests and goals.”

Social Explorer tracks ethnicity, income, education, and other variables by town or by groups. “We can print out maps or offer information in table form,” Bruce adds.

Recently, the Skokie Public Library obtained access to the Experian BusinessIQ service to provide business credit reports to Skokie residents and businesses. The reports provide risk and financial stability scores as well as payment histories for businesses in the United States. Experian reports are available by request to the Reference Department at the Library.

These and other library business services and resources can help you launch and grow your business, consider all options, find targeted and interested consumers, and focus your marketing for optimal results.

How to Grow Your Business in 2016

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Ready to grow your business but not sure how or where to start?

Check these resources to help you find unexplored opportunities, clarify mysteries, mistakes and challenges, discover new niches and relationships, and learn more about your personal and professional potential.

Let’s get ready to make the most of 2016, Leap Year!

► 6 Keys to Growing Your Business in 2016

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/growing-your-business/

► 8 Steps to Achieving Your Loftiest Goals in 2016

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254059

►Top 5 Secrets to Grow Your Business

https://www.psprint.com/resources/secrets-to-grow-business/

► 5 Tried & True Ways to Grow Your Small Business

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2014/03/23/ask-an-expert-5-ways-to-grow-your-small-business/6738321/

Happy New Year!

Sally Chapralis