Archive for the ‘Doing Business’ Category

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

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Whether we are 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 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 — From Self-Judgement to Self-Understanding.  “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 — From Blame to Self-Responsibility.  “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 — From Unfriendly to Friendly.  “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 — From Resistance to Acceptance.  “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 — From Exclusion to Inclusion.  “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 — From Win-Lose to Win-Win-Win. 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.”

 

 

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

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