Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Ways to Increase Your Income Right Now

It might sound counter-intuitive to talk about increasing your income when it seems like the rest of the world is complaining about how bad the economy is. But savvy business owners know that there's no such thing as a "bad market." In fact, some of the biggest fortunes have been made thanks to smart business strategies first implemented during recessions.

The even better news is that increasing your income doesn't have to be complicated. Here are five ideas you can use right now.

1. Raise your rates and/or prices. Many entrepreneurs - especially women - grossly underestimate what the market will bear when it comes to "price elasticity." During a recession, raising your rates might seem down right crazy... at least on the surface. But if you are not charging what you are worth, you are discounting the value you provide and, in turn, telling your clients to discount your worth as well.

One business owner that I work with told me recently that she had never increased her rates on existing clients. Having started her business almost a decade ago, that meant some of her clients were paying less than HALF of her current rate. She was reluctant to charge them more because she was afraid of losing them as clients. At the same time, she was turning down projects from higher-paying clients because she was overworked! After our conversation, she finally agreed to bring all of her clients up to her current rate structure. Some of the original clients did leave-which was a good thing because now she's earning more money in fewer hours!

2. Build multiple revenue streams. If you're not already on this bandwagon and still only earning "per hour" fees then you're missing out on a huge opportunity to multiply your income. No matter what industry you are in, you can productize your expertise once and sell it over and over again. Here are just a few of the ways you can package what you know:

* Information products (i.e. e-books, special reports, tool kits, etc.)
* Audio seminars and webinars
* Continuity programs (i.e. monthly coaching, membership or mastermind groups)
* Affiliate marketing
* In-person coaching seminars to small or large groups
* Membership-only content websites
* Joint ventures
* Paid speaking

The important thing here is to get your first product together quickly or it can become overwhelming. In a future blog post, I'll talk about how you can create an information product in just one weekend.

3. Create more billable hours. "How," you say? First, start by outsourcing all non-revenue generating responsibilities, such as bookkeeping and administrative tasks. Virtual assistants are an affordable and practical option as you grow your business. Next, look into investing in the growth of your business by hiring a productivity consultant who can help maximize your time. Even if you consider yourself a highly organized person, you would be surprised just how much more efficient you can be if you learn from a trained productivity expert. The extra billable time you gain will more than pay for the service.

Here's a great resource to get you started:

"7 Power Steps to Peak Productivity"

4. Sell more to existing clients. If you've ever been through the drive through lane and the voice in the speaker has asked, "Do you want fries with that?" then you know what up-selling is. McDonald's estimates that it makes an additional $19 million PER DAY by simply up-selling the words french fries!!! The good news for you (although maybe not for your hips) is that up-selling works-and it can be applied in any type of business. If you're a coach or consultant that typically works one-on-one, try offering your current clients a group rate package or a premium service. If you're a paid speaker, work with the meeting organizer to book multiple presentations. If you use an automated shopping cart system to sell information products, leverage its up-sell feature to offer additional products or services that complement what your customer is already buying, or consider offering a special "bundle" price if they purchase more than one product or service at a time.

5. Expand upstream or downstream. Chances are, no matter what product or service you're offering, it's only one piece of a larger puzzle. By looking at what your client needs before they get to you or what the next logical step in the process is after they work with you, you can identify opportunities to better serve your clients while also increasing your revenue.

Here's an example: Our original business was supporting clients' marketing and communication needs, such as writing copy for websites and brochures, supporting media relations efforts, and managing social media content. However, before we can develop effective marketing materials, our client must first have a solid business plan, a clearly identified target market, a robust e-list, and so on. Therefore, it was a natural extension to also help our clients with these other needs as well... and that's how Richer. Smarter. Happier. was born!

The bottom line is this: Be sure to take time at least once a month to review your sources of income and give thought to how you can maximize the parts of your business that you already have in place. Chances are, you'll surprise yourself with the number of opportunities you find if you just take the time to look.

Old School Vs New School Marketing

The reason why I wrote this article because I know that people are feeling the same way I use to feel. Trying to market a product or services is a tough thing to do when you're a rookie marketer in business. But, let me say this if you're a newbie entrepreneur you ask yourself "what I you do and how I you do it?" I offend use to ask my self that same question. It was very frustrating I don't know what to do not even the first step but to talk to my broke family and friends about my business that they had no interest in.

That was me a couple of years ago wondering what should I do and how much is it going to cost me. Well I must say the times have change. Its going to take time and effort with a little bit of money. The real question is do you understand the difference between old school versus the new school marketing. I'm about to explain to you the difference and why you should grasp the idea of both. There are six steps for both I hope you will learn and take notes so you can understand them.


*Walking around handing out Business Cards in Walmart, Target, Best Buy or anywhere: Nothing wrong with this you can meet and build a relationship with a lot of people over time. But if your like me you want success in a reasonable amount of time.


*Social Media (Facebook, Twitter or MySpace) or different Blogs: Social Media you can build relationships with people quicker and faster than walking around and meeting people. By my experience if I wanted to meet 50 People a day in person that about 4 or 5 hrs of work but over the internet 30 minutes you see the difference.


*Picking up the Phone & Calling each Person one by on e(Time Consuming) You have to leave a voice mail with everybody you call and then take time emailing them. Now nothing is wrong with that but that's a lot of time you prefer to work smarter than hard.


*Systems like Phone Burner it's changing the Industry on how we call Prospects Daily: Phone Burner call about 70 to 80 people per Hour and you only talk to the people that answers the rest automatic get a email and voicemail from you. Do you see the difference.


*Texting Prospects or Clients to get them to a meeting or Motivating them: Still texting individuals daily uses of a lot of time.People time is so valuable you want to use your time more wisely. You have to text one by one useless you have them group in your phone. Lets think in masses you had a group on followers of 2,000 clients or prospects how do you communicate with them everyday without spend hours a day text them.


*AWeber and Build lasting success is a great way to contact people in one click: AWeber and Build Lasting success are some great systems I recommend you use. A click of a button and you can send out emails to thousands. Then what I really love is that you can set it up that everyday your clients can get something from you and your not even there. You put your relationship on auto pilot. In my opinion thats hot because wouldn't it be great that your spouse receive a card one day and roses the next for everything of the year. Question "would you have a better relationship?"


*Speaking on the Phone with New Prospects or Clients: Your business will not survive without talking to new clients or Prospects daily. So you need something that can help you see your prospects or clients daily when you need to. The old school way their was no way besides the phone.


*Skype using Video Phone (It's Free): It's more personal especially when you are talking to new client or prospect from another state or country. When you can see that person it's more personal so you can see their facial expression. A picture is worth a thousand words.


*Buy Leads: You Don't have to worry about them being Good or Bad Leads: When you buy leads you can waste a lot of money because you are talking to people that have no idea of what you are selling or trying to educate them on.


*Generate leads: They become more personal: The leads are more personal and their is a general interest on what you're trying to show them. If you can captured their name and email address with phone number you have built trust already. That is the beginning of a great relationship now all you have to do is bring value and the rest is history.


*Do Presentations in your Local Market Place: If you do 3 a day that's a good day also close 1 out of 3 that's even better. You will waste gas to no show appointments and time with unqualified person. I been there you waste time, energy and money trying to convince that person.


*Watch your video over the Internet about your business or opportunity: (See If that person is serious or not): This way you can post videos and content all over Social Media and Blogs with your links so people can contact you. This will create momentum then people will be coming to you instead you going to them. I know that's what you really prefer (you become the hunted and not the hunter.) Again "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

I look forward to helping you find your Purpose in Life!! Lloyd Christten

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

7 Rules For Sales Success

There are lots of books and articles written on sales success - by authors much smarter than I. However, with so much information at our fingertips, I thought these simple 7 rules may prove helpful. Although basic, these common sense yet powerful rules - if done repeatedly - will become habits and contribute to your success.

1. Target - Pick a niche and become the expert in that niche. Virtually all industries have become so competitive over the years and the more successful salespeople I've worked with have dedicated endless hours to really learn the nuances of a particular vertical market. Take a real interest in becoming an expert in a specific industry, attend key industry tradeshows and know the players within that sector.

2. Be Different - Pretty simple advice and yet so difficult to achieve. If you are in a commoditized industry as I am; you need to think creatively. How can you differentiate yourself when selling on price alone? It's tough and in the end, it's a losing proposition if your entire sales posture is price.

3. Build a Team - whether you are an individual salesperson or part of a sales office, build a team and make everyone else feel like there is a common goal. You may ask, "How do I build a team when I work independently?" Easy! Make the community your team, join network groups, involve your family and "ask for help." I have met too many salespeople that are too embarrassed and proud to ask for help. Speak up. We're salespeople and it's our job and responsibility to seek out decision-makers to help us build our businesses. Be proud of what you do and by building a team, you can leverage yourself and make your business more scale-able to exponentially grow.

4. Say Thank You - And say it often. There are lots of salespeople out there all prospecting for the same customer base. When was the last time you wrote an email saying "thank you" for a new client. When was the last time you "handwrote" a letter to a client saying that you appreciate the confidence they have placed in you. If you're too lazy to write a letter, just pick up the phone periodically and check in to say hello. It's amazing how far this simple gesture will go in maintaining your attrition and solidifying your relationship.

5. Smile - have fun with your business; enjoy your successes and the gift you have to be involved in your business. As one of my business coaches once told me, we don't work very hard - working hard is doing manual labor for 14-18 hours per day in the dead of summer. Work is all relative and I think many of us have it pretty good.

6. Share - I'm amazed how many salespeople are too "scared" to share information and key learnings with fellow salespeople from competitive organizations. It's a big world out there and its naïve to think that every salesperson you know will be calling on the same prospect. In all candor, my 2 closest friends in my industry are direct competitors with me - we speak daily and have helped one another close deals and grow as industry professionals. Meet people at trade-shows, industry networking events, and begin developing great business relationships and friendships for years to come.

7. Sell Soft - Think of how you like to be treated when shopping in your neighborhood store - do you like when the salesperson is "in your face" and forcing the sale? You have a good service to offer; be confident in your sales approach and let the sale come to you. Of course, we have all been burned whereby the prospective customer has taken your proposal and shared it with the incumbent only for you to lose the sale because he matched your price. But, I feel very confident that if you sell in a respectful, diligent and soft manner that you will win more sales than you lose.


One of the best resources to use to quickly establish credibility, add additional streams of income, and attract new clients, is hosting teleseminars. Teleseminars are conducted over the telephone. Just like a live seminar, teleseminars have a speaker and attendees. What you don't have is the expense of travel, hotel, food, beverage, and room rental.
There are many benefits to hosting a teleseminar. These include:
1. Easy Implementation. When you use a more familiar technology like the phone, it brings a certain level of comfort to you and the attendees. With many free teleseminar services available, it makes hosting one cost effective, especially for start-up businesses.
2. Cultivates Your Relationship with Your Prospects. When you hold regular teleseminars, your prospects get to know you and you get to demonstrate your skills. When you host them weekly or monthly, you develop a reputation for these events. It helps to distinguish yourself in the marketplace as the go-to person in your area of expertise.
3. Builds Your Community. When you schedule teleseminars, you position yourself as an expert by delivering high-value content. When people sign up for your teleseminar, remember to also give them your free weekly tips. This gives you an opportunity to stay in touch with them, cultivate your relationship, and provide an ongoing value-added experience regardless of where they are located.
4. Adds Additional Income Stream. As you facilitate various teleseminars, you create an empire of resources. The same information can be repackaged or reproduced in several media types to generate income. When you record them, you can download it to a CD or ebook. You can also have it transcribed and package it for sale at a later speaking engagement or sell on your website. At the end of your teleseminar, remember to offer one of your products for sale for those who feel inspired and want more from you.
5. Leverages Your Time. When you record your teleseminars, you are able to work smarter not harder. When you hold the live event, record it. I've done this for years. I keep the recordings where prospects tap into these high-content complimentary teleseminars at any time and listen when they are ready. Regardless of when a prospect enters my reader community, they learn all about the key systems that attract clients. I also automated the process, so that when they sign up, they get immediate access.
6. Connectivity Convenience. Teleseminars are not only convenient for you, they are convenient for your prospect. Since they can dial in from wherever they are, they don't need to worry about being at a computer or making sure their internet connection is up to speed.
7. Boosts Your Online Traffic. When done right and regularly, prospects will come to your website for additional information, listen to your recordings, sign up for live events, and purchase your products.
Adding teleseminars to your marketing system helps you to quickly establish credibility, add additional streams of income, and attract new clients.
Your Assignment
• Create the content for your session.
• Set a time and date and schedule your teleseminar with a hosting service. There are a number of free services to choose from.
• Market your session making sure your title is catchy and informs your prospect on the subject matter.
• Set up a way for them to sign up. For an added feature, have your attendees download a handout to complete as you go through the material.
• Follow up with your attendees. Whether you offered a special product they could purchase at the end of your call or ask what they took away from your teleseminar, make sure to stay in touch with your attendees.

High-Volume Scanning and Process Automation For Better, Faster, Smarter Decision Making

High-volume scanning is a pretty simple concept, but it's only the beginning of effective automation. If you're using your scanning software to capture and sort a large volume of documents, your system isn't much more than a change sorter, pulling like documents together and dropping them into the right place. Sure, having everything in one place is an important step, but it's only the beginning.

This article provides tips to help you streamline and maximize your high-volume scanning process, showing how you can use effective scanning as the launching pad to enterprise-wide business efficiency. Thoughtful preparation, combined with a high-performing, high-volume scanning solution and business process management tools lead to better, faster, and smarter decision making. Together, they give business leaders the information they need to rise from the position of competing sideliners to marketplace leaders.

Taking full advantage of the power of high-volume scanning
High-volume scanning is vital for capturing large volumes of information quickly. Combined with an efficient document management system that has robust indexing, search, and retrieval capabilities, it makes mission-critical information available to those who need it. Even if your company isn't ready to take full advantage of business process automation via digital workflow, there are several things you can do to increase the speed and relevancy of the information you provide.

If you're running high-volume scanners, you're probably doing a lot of batch scanning...but are you doing everything you can to streamline and maximize the value of the capture and indexing process? Here are five questions to consider as you map out your scanning process:

Are you taking advantage of sorting and indexing opportunities before the scanning process begins?
Let's pretend, for example, that you manage an insurance company that needs to sort and process a high volume of incoming documents such as policy change forms, coverage cancellations, policy renewals, and claims. Your company has a single mail delivery address or post office box. Mail is sorted further internally. Your staff is instructed to sort incoming mail by department and document type so papers can be organized appropriately into batches for quicker scanning.

After considering the hours spent preparing mail for scanning, your company decides to pre-address each type of outgoing form (and its corresponding return mail envelopes) with its own post office box or suite number and bar code. Your goal is to expedite scanning and deliver work more quickly to the appropriate people so you can offer better service to your clients and compete more successfully in the marketplace.

The post office box and suite numbers let your staff pick up and deliver pre-sorted mail destined by processing area, such as renewal forms, claims, etc. Your mailroom staff delivers the sorted contents of each post office box for batch scanning. The post office box number is used as an indexing key to instruct the system where documents should be stored electronically, how they should be categorized, and who should be notified of receipt. This reduces hours previously spent on mail sorting and eliminates manual cataloguing errors. Staff receives imaged forms quickly and directly from their desktops, accelerating turnaround and processing times, ensuring excellent customer service, and meeting your goal.

Does your scanning software integrate with your electronic document management (EDM) software? Does your storage system offer encyclopedic indexing that serves the needs of your entire enterprise?

The power of high-volume scanning starts with getting accurate data where it's required. Central, searchable storage is vital to finding documents and information when they're needed - now and in the future - and making data available to the right people as quickly as possible. Even scanning systems with top-quality automatic verification of accurate data and quality images can fail to reach their potential value unless you can retrieve specific files from your desktop quickly when you want them. Whether you are scanning data that you want to store, organize, or ultimately use in your accounts payable, document management, ERP, or other back-end systems, speed is the name of the game.

Although a large volume scanning operation may be restricted to meeting the needs of a specific department, it's important to consider potential uses of the information across the enterprise. How do other departments interact with the stored documents? Have you taken into consideration how different departments and users will search for the documents and their contents as you create the indexing schemes? In order to leverage the value of high-volume scanning, the granular and detailed approach to a departmental solution needs to be coupled with the long-term vision to meet company-wide needs.

Are you using bar codes to their full advantage?

Bar code scanning is ideal for large volumes of routine documents due to its high accuracy rate (usually approaching or reaching 100%). It also tightens security by encrypting information and only displaying clues about the content (under the bar codes) that are meaningful to staff. Finally, it has the ability to pull large amounts of information, or links to images and documents that are embedded in the bar codes and stored in the EDM system, into a very small space.

Many companies choose to print bar codes on forms that are then scanned upon return for easier and more secure routing and processing. Embedded links pull up additional data about the person and the form as needed, completing the business picture for staff in accordance with the rules you have established regarding information each person can access. Using multiple bar codes that contain data relevant to different business areas can further contribute to streamlining processing and directing work.

Information privacy is guaranteed, since a good EDM system only allows pre-authorized staff to view the data that is encrypted in the bar codes. Data accuracy, consistency, and security are ensured, and informed decisions can be made quickly.

Are you maximizing your use of digital storage and line-of-business applications?

High-volume scanning is an excellent launching pad for maximizing revenue and avoiding cost. Consider a standard "2% 10/Net 30" invoicing process. To take advantage of discounts for prompt payments and avoid penalties for late payments, you need real-time information:

* Which bills are due, and when
* How much you can save on each invoice by paying early;
* Cash flow information to guide the expenditures; and
* Which bills should be scheduled for priority payment.
* High-volume scanning makes sure billing information is available quickly. Yet without a solid document management system that enables detailed indexing, effective search, and integration with your invoicing and reporting systems, discounts are inadvertently missed and late penalties ensue. By taking advantage of data stored in each of your disparate software systems, you save thousands of hours otherwise wasted by searching for documents and data, prioritizing work, and making timely payments.
* Are you maximizing efficiency with full process automation?

Getting information into your company quickly is only half of the equation. Getting information distributed wherever it is needed for fast and accurate decision making is just as vital.

The key to end-to-end document efficiency is business process management (BPM) and workflow software that builds on the power of your scanning and line-of-business software. BPM gets the right work to the right people at the right time, facilitating straight-through processing of information and real-time decision making. It enables efficiencies that simply are not possible without it. Some powerful benefits include:

Capturing and indexing documents straight into departmental queues. Detailed indexing of documents pertinent to a specific department can be indexed in greater detail by specialists at the departmental level. This lets scanning staff focus on getting documents into the system and gives your department control over the details.

Scanning batches of documents directly into work queues while simultaneously routing them for storage in the document management system. This helps you accelerate your speed at the beginning of the business process. Some companies use a single indexing key during batch scanning to indicate who will process the documents and import them directly into a workflow. This results in lightning-fast progress from receipt through delivery to work queues, making straight-through/real-time processing an attainable goal.

Packaging groups of related documents and routing them into work queues for processing. Receipt of the final item in a group of related documents can instruct the system to package all pertinent documents and send them to the appropriate person to be worked on. An enrollment officer, for example, would receive a college application, financial aid information, transcript, and other needed documents in a package for processing and distribution when all documents have been received. This eliminates time spent juggling, searching for, and collecting related documents, and ensures applications are prioritized fairly based on document receipt.

Parallel processing of time-sensitive documents, enabling faster turnaround. Items requiring multiple timely reviews, approvals, or signatures move quickly through the system rather than being bound to the cumbersome and time-consuming sequential decisions that a paper-based or email system would allow. Simultaneous review of insurance documents by Underwriting and Claims, or collegiate applications reviewed by Admissions, Student Aid, and the honors program areas are just two examples.

Enforcement of processing rules, such as hierarchical approvals. Workflow automation within a BPM system lets you establish standards and processes that every employee has to follow consistently and ensures that the rules are followed. It also lets you establish standard processes for routine exceptions (for example, out-of-state college applicants to state university that draws mostly in-state residents can be placed into an "exception" queue). All exceptions are handled in accordance with rules that you have pre-approved, again guaranteeing fair and consistent treatment.

Detailed, clear audit trails. Built-in workflow tracking in a robust business process automation system follows every interaction with documents and processes that are flowed through the system. Answering the "who, what, when, where, and why" questions is easy, since all transactions follow the business and information governance rules you set in place. Regulations and demonstration of compliance are no longer a nightmare with BPM.

Real-time reporting for improved decision making. Have you ever questioned the productivity of a specific employee on a particular day, especially if bottlenecks are occurring? Have you speculated which products consumers are buying this week as result of special promotions, wishing you had real data, or wanted to know which of your branches or subsidiaries are generating the most business? Have you wondered where the slowdowns are in your processes that you could rectify and improve? BPM gives you these answers and more, providing the knowledge you need to make smart decisions and changes now...and in the future.
The BPM lifecycle: building on high-volume scanning.

High-volume scanning is the gateway to the BPM lifecycle. By understanding the pieces and parts of BPM, you can leverage the value of the mission-critical documents captured by your scanning staff and add tremendous value not only to the department(s) most in need of automation, but across your enterprise. Here's a bird's-eye view into how the BPM lifecycle works, why each stage is important, and how it builds on the value of the digital documents created by your scanning team.

Process Design:

One of the most important parts of business automation is process design. It requires careful study of your existing business procedures - what documents you use, in which formats they exist (paper, email, online forms, voice mail), and the role each plays in your routine business processes - so you can streamline intelligently prior to process automation. BPM and workflow software that includes a built-in process designer allows you to create, execute, and improve processes within a single application. (Note: Effective process design requires an exhaustive drill-down analysis of every step within each process, and effective two-way communication about the steps involved. Without analysis and communication, the best designs will be ineffective.)

Process Modeling:

After you (or your vendor's professional services provider) have completed the process design that shows how your streamlined process should work theoretically, will your BPM or workflow software provide the logic to make your business process design work? Or do you have to jump between two or more design, modeling, and execution applications to move from theory to reality? Seamless communication is vital to a high-volume, high-performing BPM solution. The tighter the integration, the smoother and easier it will be to bridge the process design and execution stages and get results.

Process Execution:

As the saying goes, "The truth is in the pudding," and the execution of your plans needs to be seamless so the BPM system delivers the results you anticipate. Think about the following:

* Every process has a specific, ideal (or regulated) time for completion. Can your system create alerts when a time-sensitive item is in danger of untimely completion?
* Does your system automate re-distribution of work, considering data such as employee vacations, illnesses, reassigned duties, overloaded staff, and other information?
* Does your BPM solution integrate with multiple systems, such as your mainframe and legacy systems, ERP, CRM, accounting, human resources, and other applications? You may not need all of this today, but if you overlook the possible needs of the future, you may drop behind your competitors through inefficient communications and fall behind in the race to compete.
* Companies grow, and their needs change. Is your system capable of scaling and adapting to meet your shifting needs without an interruption in your routine business processes?
* Are there clients in your industry who can quantify their success using the BPM solution you have chosen? Make sure you choose wisely.

Process Monitoring:

Monitoring business transactions in real time delivers valuable information to businesses in increasingly competitive environments.

* Where are your documents within a process at any specific time?
* How many applications had to be denied today?
* How many invoices were paid late this week, and why?
* Where are the bottlenecks or slow-downs in your processing?
* Are documents routinely stuck in the Inbox of an underperforming employee?
* Which employees are neglecting to file vacation paperwork on time?
* A BPM system that is integrated with your business systems provides valuable real-time insight into all of your business processes, giving you the opportunity to improve and optimize your standard procedures. It gives you the power of a chameleon, letting you adapt and make changes quickly and effectively.

Process Optimization:

Nothing lasts forever. That's true of even the best and most efficient processes. Times change; regulations change; customer preferences change; and your business must change, too. As it does, you need to be able to make modifications that optimize processing efficiency, speed, and service, without interruption in your business processes. Would your processing support parallel approvals rather than sequential decisions, which take longer? Would a departmentally shared work queue that allows everyone on staff to work on incoming jobs be better for your team productivity than individual work queues, or vice versa?

If a new law mandates that exceptions to a specific process must be handled in a particular way, your system needs to be open to instant modification. If your company takes part in a merger and acquisition that adds layers of details and increases work volumes within your processes, you need confidence that your system can adapt and change.

The only thing that is constant is change. You have to be ready - and able - to adapt at a moment's notice. BPM gives you the power to make changes on the fly, letting you soar above the competition with proactive, informed decisions and quick, customized service.

Archiving Information at the End of the Processing Life Cycle:

Every document travels through distinct phases of the processing lifecycle, determining if it needs to be stored as an active file, migrated to long-term storage for future reference, or purged/deleted in accordance with regulations. From the moment you capture documents electronically at your scanning station (or via your website or other method of capture), you need to be sure your document retention plans will respond to the regulations that govern them.

A hierarchical storage management system (HSM) that is integrated with your BPM solution removes the need for you to track documents and manage their migration and deletion. Instead, documents follow the rules you establish, providing notification when documents will be transferred, purged or permanently deleted, or automating the entire process in compliance with your rules. Clear audit trails facilitate the audit process and eliminate hours of manual search. By integrating your high-volume scanning software with a complete BPM and HSM solution, your documents and data have a smooth journey through all phases of the business lifecycle, from the cradle to the grave.

When Budgets Are Tight: Software as a Service (SaaS) as a Launch Pad for Efficiency:

An increasing number of imaging vendors are offering SaaS solutions for document scanning as an affordable way to capture forms and data without the client having to make the investment in infrastructure, set-up, and consulting. Although many companies prefer having direct control over their data, a SaaS vendor can scan high volumes of material using a simple indexing key or two, and send the documents straight into your document storage software or even into a work queue within your chosen workflow and BPM solution. If you're looking for power and a return on investment without the initial start-up costs, SaaS is an alternative worthy of consideration.


Smart decision making and fast response to change are the name of the game in today's highly competitive and quickly changing marketplace. High-volume scanning, integrated with intelligent business process automation, guarantees your staff plays by the rules you set in place for a winning game. It lets you make business information available securely and quickly; demand and achieve information consistency and accuracy; and push work efficiently wherever it needs to go. In the end, high-volume scanning, BPM, and HSM let you provide unbeatable service that gives you a deck of winning cards in a tough game.

Become A Pet Service Provider For Fun, And Profit

This business can provide you with a good income. You can charge $10-to-$30 an hour for your pet services. You also have the option of offering your clients weekly or monthly rates. Offering these lengthier packages helps your clients save money, and allows you to secure future income. Different pet services you provide will vary in prices you charge; they are all worth your time. You can increase your prices for new clients as you gain more experience, and a longer client list. People gladly pay more for service providers that are in demand, and are experienced in their field of work.

You will benefit by offering both standard and creative pet services. You should offer standard dog walking, pet sitting, and pet feeding services, but don't stop there. You can offer pet medication administering service. Obviously, you will need to get detailed instructions from the owner, or directly from the owner's veterinarian. You can also offer to rollerblade with their dog, so that he can run full-bore for a while. Most pet owners are incapable of running their dogs at full speed, and know that there little buddies need it. A lot of pet owners cannot bend over to pick up their dogs droppings, their cats litter box, or cannot clean their pet's cage; you can offer this cleaning to the services you provide. Offer basic obedience train for dogs as part of your service. You can train your canine clients on basic commands such as sit, stay, lay down. These are simple repetitive commands that most dogs will begin to obey once you have gained their trust and respect. Many owners who lack physical strength may want to hire you to properly leash train their dogs. There are a multitude of beneficial services that you can offer to your future clients to enhance your value and profit.

Increase your value to your customers by knowing their pet better than your competition does. Your reputation, your referral business, and your income will be enhanced as your knowledge grows. Pet owners are willing to pay more for expert pet service providers. Use the internet to learn about the individual needs, tendencies, pluses, and minuses of different breeds of dog and cats. Begin studying the primary breeds of dogs and cats, and then get to the more unique breeds. Next, you can begin studying the care needs of unique pets such as small mammals (hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.), birds, reptiles, and other pets. Show off your knowledge when you are conversing with your clients. They will be impressed, and will be quick to refer you to their friends. Pet owners are extremely interested in their pets, and they want to think that you are as well.

As a pet service provider, you set your work schedule and hours. Granted, you will earn more if you work more, but the choice is yours to make. You can easily work as a pet service provider, while keeping up with your personal responsibilities. Regardless if you are a student, a stay-at-home mom, starting this business part-time, or have nothing but time on your hands, your schedule is of your own choosing. It is a good idea to write out your work schedule a few weeks in advance, so that you can communicate your upcoming availability to your perspective clients. You should be realistic in your scheduling; don't set a goal of earning maximum income, but working minimal hours.

As long as you love animals, you will have a lot of fun as a pet service provider. Don't start this business if you don't love animals. Animals are much smarter than most people give them credit for. If you don't like being around an animal, then he probably doesn't like being around you either. A person who does not like animals will have a tough time in the pet service provider industry. Animals have minimal options available to them to get away from a person that they don't like; a person in this scenario would likely be bitten, clawed, or attacked a lot more often than someone who loves animals. Assuming you do love animals, you will have a lot of fun earning your income in this business. You get to help, meet, and work with a variety of animals while you are helping people who need you. It's always good to know that someone is happy to see you, and animals are very upfront about showing how happy there are to see you. This is a fun and rewarding business to be in whether you are rollerblading with a dog, sitting and petting a purring cat, keeping a lonely animal company as its owners are away, or helping an owner with their dog's behavior problems.

This is a very easy, and inexpensive, business to operate and advertise. There is very little overhead involved in operating a pet service business. As your business grows you may want to pick up a few items like dog harnesses, training collars, cat toys, or other items, but none of this is required. It is strongly recommended that you get business cards printed for your business. You can start advertising your business by talking to random people in public about your services, and handing out your business cards. You can begin advertising your services on Craigslist, your local newspaper classified, or eBay classified to start with. Building a website could be an incredibly good way to build your business, and increase your client list. Building a website is probably easier, and less expensive, than you might think it is. Look into buying a domain name, and subscribing to a web-hosting service; this will cost you about $10 for your domain name, and about $10 per month for the hosting. Most web hosting companies have CSR's that will help you get your site operable.

As you've learned, pet service providing can be a very gratifying and rewarding business to get into. If you don't love animals, find a different kind of business to start. But if you love animals you can make very good money in this business, and help pet owners in need of your help. You will be rewarded for taking the time to learn about different animal's tendencies, habits, and care needs. So what are you waiting for? Getting started as a pet service provider is easy, and inexpensive to start and operate

Business Software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems - Why Your Business Needs Them!

Thanks to the expanding global workforce, heightened competition, and the continued need to cut costs and drive productivity, companies today are facing a new array of challenges. Many organizations have employees working out of the office, whether it's your traveling salesperson, or workers in other states, countries, or from home. Collaborating as a unified team (Workforce Collaboration) has never been more crucial and sharing information with a teammate in the next cubicle is only a small piece of the puzzle. That's where Business Software and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications come in.

CRM programs enable businesses to centrally access and manage customer information. Whether information is being shared amongst a large group, such as in a call center or simply between a few employees in a small business, it has to be accurate and reliable. In order to retain customers, their information needs to be recorded securely and correctly. Most people have encountered the reverse of this scenario and know how infuriating it can be when companies have poor organization and communication among their workers. To ensure your customers are satisfied, you need to stand above the rest and have an information hub where all workers have access to vital information about customers. This will help you achieve proper customer service, sales, marketing, and to unite all departments of your business. CRM's make Workforce Collaboration easier than ever!

Of course, not all team members should have access to the same information, and that's why certain CRM applications enable you to share information with your team members securely and with necessary territorial controls. That means team leaders can view more information and each department will see all relevant information. This ensures excellent Project Management for any organization, which is vital to your success.

CRM applications help all companies reduce the time and complexity it takes to report individual sales activities. Without a CRM, your workers will require an extra 64 to 70 hours per week! For instance, it will take 4-6 hours to consolidate, view, and analyze information about all customer contacts and engagements, current opportunities, probability of success, etc. Another 8-10 hours to get accurate activity reports from staff (not including the time it takes them to create those reports). Add 2-4 hours to find key potential prospects so that you target the right customers, or weed out the poor prospects. Finally, add on another 1/2 hour or so to research each customer regarding past history, needs, etc.

Any company that needs Process Improvement will find that in order to be more effective and cost efficient, a system of Sales Force Automation must be implemented. Certain CRM systems can significantly reduce wasted time and increase sales. Not only is Sales Force Automation important to sales teams, companies are increasingly required to automate common practices and processes. Sending emails to clients, entering vital information, and other crucial steps are automated with popular CRM applications to reduce wasted time of manually performing mundane tasks.

CRM applications make Project Management easier for company leaders with simple ways to monitor and measure individual and team success. Workers perform best when they have a clear-cut way to measure their success and see improvement. Of course, by measuring success, rewards can be given to enhance team morale! Employees that are struggling to perform can be encouraged and further trained to boost productivity. Everyone in the business world is competitive, especially salespeople; that's the point of quotas and commissions. When reps see how their doing against their quota, or even against other reps, that is encouragement to do better.

With handy tools in CRM applications, your company can effectively improve Workflow by targeting a) prospects for new business and b) existing customers for repeat business. This is a crucial tool to reduce wasted time and eliminate bothering the wrong customers. Your team will be able to quickly divide lead lists into groups that you create such as by ZIP code or last date of purchase. This enables your sales team to slice and dice their customer data to find the best approach. Creating "data policies" is a great way to do that. For example, if a new prospect is introduced and there is data indicating their interest in "Trucks," a completely different selling process can start for that prospect.

As times have changed, a simple phone call or visit isn't always enough. CRM applications will provide you with multiple ways to communicate to customers such as email marketing campaigns. By combining CRM Sales Force Automation data management and email campaigning in one application, you can specify your lead, prospect, and account targets, embedded personal information into each email, and measure results across your sales cycle.

Your CRM will make it easier to target the right customers with email lists and to make sure your message isn't viewed as spam by filters or customers! Newsletters make excellent campaigns to provide your reader with information that will help them improve their situation in an unobtrusive way. Meanwhile, it positions you as a reputable source of useful information. The better your content is, the better your chance that they will forward the newsletter to colleagues and peers or look forward to the next email from you. Your CRM will assist you in your email campaign efforts by offering simple templates in HTML form and providing you with statistics such as: who opened the email, who clicked on your link from the email, who unsubscribed, etc. Creating automated callback lists for customers who appeared to be interested (clicked on links, opened email, etc.) is a highly successful tool.

A CRM application will enable your organization to build on customer data with information relating to: opportunities, products, services, projects, customer feedback, referrals, accounting, and more. A Sales Force Automation CRM will automate processes that used to take days and will simplify it!

The answer to the problems associated with the expanding global workforce is through Web Collaboration technologies. This means operating a successful CRM and Business Software system for your company. You can be sure to:

- Win Customers: Nothing will be left to chance. From the first contact through first sale, everything is tracked.

- Work Together: It doesn't matter where you employees are in the office, state, country, or world, they will have the information they need to close more deals.

- Work Smarter: Working smarter is better than harder. It helps cut wasted time, efforts, and money! You have the reporting data you need to make great decisions.

For more information on Business Software [] and Customer Relationship Management applications CRM [], click on link texts to visit and let them guide you to success!

The Top Ten Books For Fitness Professional Who Want to Grow Their Business

These books have helped me tremendously! They are listed in no particular order, and there are 2 bonus books as well! Read them, put their ideas into action, and watch your business take off and lifestyle come into balance. They are cheap! Some of them are only $8. It will be a great investment in your future. All books also get at least 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Enjoy.

Please feel free to leave comments or emails with feedback. What book helped you grow your business the most? Any books you think should be added to this list? What about great nutrition books that have helped you?

Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller--Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

1) Think and Grow Rich - if you read this book, and do what it says, you will grow

rich. Period. This is considered the classic book on how to build wealth. This guy studied the richest people of his time for years, and then wrote this book based on the commonalities he observed from his subjects. What he found is that your attitude will determine your altitude, which is great because we get to choose our attitude. Learn the habits and attitudes of the masters and make them your own for super success.

The Holographic Universe

2) The Holographic Universe - the Buddha said "With our thoughts we create the world". Sounds interesting, but is it true? This book begins to lay down the scientific argument for why this is absolutely true through quantum physics. It is a great read, once you get past the science laden first 2 chapters, and it is really inspirational. It lays the scientific foundation for the saying "attitude determines altitude". If you already believe this in your heart, then you don't have to read this book, but if your rational brain needs some convincing, this is a great place to start.

The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage

3) The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage - learn more about how you can transform peoples' lives with your business. Most trainers know from my seminars, I truly believe creative a transformative experience with exercise is the most valuable thing a personal trainer can provide their client. This book goes into the details of why experiences are the economic unit and demonstrate how they are the most vital and valuable entities in the new economy.

Pop!: Stand Out in Any Crowd

4) POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd - develop a unique marketing message fast. The book is more like a workbook, and will give you specific exercise to do with your ideas, so you can create a unique business or product name, and create unique ways of marketing your ideas that get noticed and engage people. Getting attention for your business is critical in our over communicated culture. There is way too much information at our fingertips at all times, and too many distractions. This book will help you stand out from the crowd easily and get more attention for your business. Recommend for those who already have some money to re-invest in their business and are looking to expand their brand.

The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

5) The Four Hour Work Week This book is the instant new classic, a New York Times best seller, and fun as hell to read. It is a timely and astute handbook which teaches how to leverage your time, the internet, and other people to create the lifestyle of your dreams. I can't recommend this book enough. In fact, if I could only recommend one book, this would be it. The author is in his early thirties and is already independently wealthy and tremendously accomplished. Read this book and use it as a handbook to build an empire and the lifestyle of your dreams. If you are looking to book yourself fast, start with Book Yourself Solid, which will give you a return on your money faster.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

6) The Power of Your Subconscious Mind - use "scientific prayer" to create the

rest of your life. This is another book that demonstrates the power of our thoughts. While this book does not give as much as a scientific explanation as "The Holographic Universe", it does give you practical ideas and exercises to help you start taking control of your thoughts and your destiny.

7) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - understanding

pandemics in both life and business. Every successful product, idea, or services has a tipping point, the point at which its growth goes from linear to exponential. The author illustrates that there are 3 universal factors that interact to create the tipping point for all pandemics. This book is a great read and fascinating, and is very applicable to how you can grow your business fast and strong.

8) Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence - be able to lead any person with any type of personality. This book is great for developing your leadership skills, and managing different kinds of clients with different kinds of personalities. It is an OK read, but the science and ideas are rock solid and invaluable.

9) Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High - This is a great book for handling hard conversations. Remember, a person's success can usually be measured by the # of difficult or awkward conversations they can navigate successfully. Don't hide in your comfort zone; flirt with the edges of the comfort zone so it expands. As your comfort zone gets bigger, your sphere of influence will expand, and your ability to make shit happen will exponentially increase. First build your demand for your business, with books like The Four Hour Work Week and POP! Stand Out In Any Crowd and Book Yourself Solid, then confront the clients that are not working for you. You know, the ones I am talking about, the ones that make you look "bad". Get rid of them gracefully and focus your efforts on the clients you love.

10) You Can Negotiate Anything - the title speaks for itself, and is %100 accurate. While the book is old and the examples in it are out of date to the point of being funny, the principles are as sound as could be. I have found the skills I have acquired from this book to be very helpful in handling penny pinching clients (who are often executives with big budgets that fight for every dollar they can) and raising rates. Read the book, than use the skills you learn out on Canal St or in a flea market, to perfect your skills before using them with your clients, as you need to be totally relaxed and confident when implementing them. This is a very useful book, and has helped me confidently and consistently raise my rates over the last decade.


Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

11) Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain This book covers content that every personal trainer, student, school teacher, and principal should know! Exercise creates new neurons in your brain! And not just anywhere in your brain, but in the areas that deal with memory, learning, attention, and survival. Spark summarizes the research that has finally proven this simple fact: exercising can make you smarter! It also opens up new niches and ways of marketing for exercise professionals, like training to prevent Alzhiemer's, training to help addicts in recovery, and youth exercise. Read this book, and learn how what kinds of exercise have been proven to increase neurons in your brain, and how to take full advantage of this fact on behalf of your clients and your business. Knowledgeable Personal Trainer = Brain

Enhancer. It is a scientific fact!

Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling

12) Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Then You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling Truth be told, this is the only book on the list that I have not read from cover to cover, but what I have read is excellent. I have seen the author speak in person and I was very impressed. This book will give you the biggest return on your investment in regards to getting more clients. If the main problem you want to fix is "getting more clients" then look no further and start right here, it will give you the biggest bang for your buck as long as you put the ideas into action. Well, there you have it. Education will give you the biggest and best return on your investment. Just pick up the book that intrigues or excites you the most, or the one you think will be the most helpful for your particular situation. Start reading, put its ideas into action immediately, and reap the benefits.

Until next time, keep your business fit.
Johnny Fitness

5 Easy Steps to Get YOUR Message Out Through the Media

"The media loves two kinds of people-experts, whom they misquote, and victims, who they exploit." - Joe Palca, National Public Radio

Just for the record, I don't actually agree with the above quote. But I know it's how a lot of people feel when it comes to working with the media.

For the first 10 years of my career, at least half of my job always entailed media relations. In fact, for the longest time, I thought I'd spend my entire life as a PR pro.

Now that Toni and I offer business coaching and marketing consulting to small business owners and solo-preneurs, I don't do as much of it, which is a shame. Media publicity can be one of the most effective ways to tell the world about your products or services.

(Remember: people can't buy from you if they don't know you exist.)

The thing is, I've found that a lot of entrepreneurs don't have the time, interest or know-how to do the necessary prep work in advance of a media interview in order to get any real value out of it. And so what happens is usually one of two things.

Scenario 1: The phone rings. The reporter on the other end says they are working on a story about underwater basket weaving and they heard you were an expert. Can you spare a few minutes to talk with them? You say yes. You answer their questions. The article comes out. It sounds okay enough, but you never get any new clients or other business opportunities out of it so it feels like a waste of your valuable time.

Scenario 2: The phone rings. The reporter on the other end says they are working on a story about underwater basket weaving and they heard you were an expert. Can you spare a few minutes to talk with them? You say yes. You answer their questions. The article comes out. And you're horrified because the reporter has either "gotten it all wrong" or "used the worst possible quote" they could have chosen from the interview. "Why did they have to write THAT??!!" you shriek.

(I once had a reporter at the Baltimore Sun quote me so precisely that he included every "um," "ah," and "like" that I said. Indeed, sometimes it's better to be grateful when reporters aren't so damn exact.)

But both of the above scenarios are a shame because with just a little know-how and some practice, you can turn every media interview into a priceless opportunity to establish yourself as an expert, raise awareness of your small business and attract more of your ideal customers.

You see, a media interview is a lot like a smorgasbord at a dinner party. If you put 20 or more options out on the buffet, your guests will pick and choose which of the items they're going to eat. And while you may think the roast beef and the asparagus are by far the best, some people will choose to eat the turkey and the stuffing instead.

In other words, you put it all out there, so you have no control over which dishes your guests choose to eat.

Now, if on the other hand you had a dinner party and only served roast beef, asparagus and some dinner rolls, anyone who is hungry is bound to eat at least some of what's there.

And that's EXACTLY the type of dinner party you want to throw when dealing with a reporter. Stick to the same three or four points in your interview, and the reporter will only have those three or four points to choose from when he's writing his article.

Makes sense, right?

So then what are the three or four points you want to stick to in the interview? Well, it all starts with understanding that every media opportunity is really a marketing opportunity to get YOUR message out to YOUR target audience - presumably your customers.

The only thing standing in the way of that is, well, the media. The reporter has a job to do. And it is not to promote your business. It is to report the news.

What I'm about to share with you is exactly what we walk our clients through when we're teaching a media training session or helping a client prepare for an upcoming media appearance. If you use these five steps consistently, you'll find that doing media interviews can be well worth your time.
Step 1: Know Your Message

There's a big difference between knowing your subject (i.e. whatever it is that you're an expert in) versus knowing your message. To figure out what your key message is, ask yourself these questions:

* What is my agenda for doing this interview? (Hint: Your agenda is NOT to "help the reporter out" although you'll certainly do that in the process.)

* In a perfect world, what headline would I like to see on the news article when it runs?

* What quotes and/or statements would I like to see in the article?

* What would I like my ideal customer to know about what I can do for them?

* What information would persuade my ideal client to want to learn more about this topic from me?

Step 2: Turn Your Message Into News a Reporter Can Use

Once you're clear on what it is that you want to communicate to your customers, you then need to transform your message into useable news that the reporter (and his editor) will want to print.

Here are some ways you can package your message so that it's "newsworthy."

* Offer short anecdotes to make your point. Share a success story of a client who has used your products and/or services. Be sure that you have their permission to do so.

* Offer statistics. Keep them short and simple and, if possible, mention the source by name.

* Give an analogy. This is particularly helpful when discussing complex subjects or ideas that most of the publication's readers would be unfamiliar with.

* Develop a catchy sound bite (i.e. a quotable one liner).

* Share relevant personal experiences. You'll want to keep it brief, but reporters are always looking to tell a story through peoples' personal experiences.

Step 3: Bridge to Your Message

Bridging is a technique that helps you get from what you are asked to what you want to say. If you've ever watched a politician be interviewed on the news, you've probably seen this technique in action. No matter what a politician is asked, he or she always gets immediately back to the point they want to make.

To be done effectively, bridging must appear seamless. Here's how:

1. Listen carefully to the question being asked.

2. Think about what YOUR message is.

3. Find a word or phrase in the question that you can use as a pivot point on which to build a bridge of words to your message.

4. Respond by answering or at least touching on the question; then move on to say what you want to say-i.e. your message.

Here's an example:

Your Desired Message: Acme Coaching's expertise is in helping women business owners move through hidden issues that have been secretly sabotaging their success.

Reporter's Question: How much time do you spend working with your clients on things like business strategy versus dealing with their personal baggage?

Pivot Word(s): personal baggage

Answer: "It varies depending on the client and what goals we co-create together. But I'm glad you brought up personal baggage because often times it's hidden issues like lack of confidence or fear of success that are secretly sabotaging a woman's success. That's exactly the type of thing Acme Coaching has a long track record of helping our clients to overcome in order to achieve much more success in their business. Let me give you an example from my client Sara..."
Step 4: Flag Your Message

Even in a short 15-minute interview (which is what I recommend), there's the chance that the reporter will cover a lot of different information with you. But as talked about in the smorgasbord analogy above, you don't want the reporter to cover points A, B and C in the article, if you're key messages are X, Y and Z.

During the interview, you should highlight the key points you want the reporter to understand and what you want to see in print. This technique is called "flagging." Here are some examples:

* "The most important thing to know about this is..."

* "What's most interesting is..."

* "What your readers may find helpful to know is..."

* "The real news here is..."

* "What I'm most excited about is..."

* "Above all else..."

* "If your readers only remember one thing, it would be to..."

Playing on the example I gave in Step 3, you could flag your key message like this:

"It varies depending on the client and what goals we co-create together. But I'm glad you brought up personal baggage because the most important thing to know about this is that often times it's hidden issues like lack of confidence or fear of success that are secretly sabotaging a woman's success. That's exactly the type of thing Acme Coaching has a long track record of helping our clients to overcome in order to achieve much more success in their business. Let me give you an example from my client Sara..."
Step 5: Repeat Your Message

Like all of us, reporters tend to use information that they've heard often, in a variety of ways. Develop various ways that you can phrase your key message, and repeat it often.

Variation 1: Acme Coaching's expertise is in helping women business owners move through hidden issues that have been secretly sabotaging their success.

Variation 2: The biggest result Acme Coaching gets for its clients is helping them move through hidden issues that have been secretly sabotaging their success.

Variation 3: Once women address any underlying or hidden issues that are sabotaging their success, they see an immediate difference in their level of success, and that's exactly what Acme Coaching specializes in.

Important Note: If this information was helpful for you, don't miss this week's issue of Brilliance! where we're going to share a list of ways that you can "recycle" your media coverage to create even more opportunities that will help you grow your business. You can register for your complimentary subscription here.

by Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR
Richer. Smarter. Happier.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ideas For Growing Your Business and Developing Your Brand

What you really want to do is spend more time serving your current clients and acquiring new ones.

When it comes to building your brand and promoting your business a good starting point is having a clear message of what your business can do. It also helps to know what you want your clients and prospective clients to think of you.

It's critical to know what makes you unique. Communicate that message with a few memorable words and images.

In his succinct and insightful book, Selling the Invisible, Harry Beckwith states," The more you say, the less people hear."

Beckwith goes on to tell us that our focus must be "fanatical" and that we have to, "Stand for one distinctive thing that will give us a competitive advantage." Your simplicity should be ruthless.

The main benefits should be said in one sentence or a short phrase. Apple did this by saying, "1,000 songs in your pocket". This was their slogan for the 1st Generation iPod.

You must also answer the questions, "How is what you offer different than your competitors". And "Why should anyone buy it from you?" Imagine what you want your clients to say about you to their friends and family members when you are not around.

Another way to stand out from the crowd is to be an industry leader. For example, Docutel was the first company to provide networked Automated Teller Machines. Voodoo was the first company to offer liquid-cooled computers. And Avis is the first rental car company to make mobility scooters available in conjunction with vehicle rentals.

Turn this idea around and start working with people who are doing something for their first time, like home buyers or people investing in IRA's. Brainstorm ways you can adapt this concept to your business.

Another thing to consider is making a list of the characteristics of the clients that you most desire to work with. Draft a profile of the ideal client you would like to work with by identifying the main characteristics of your best clients and start marketing in that direction.

In most cases, targeting the type of clients you want to work with will send you in a direction that will earn you the most return on your efforts.

Next, you will want to eliminate your least profitable clients. Not all clients bring equal value to your business. Write up a full description of each or your client's contributions and expenses to your company; consider overhead costs as well as other expenses on a per client basis. It is important to use measurable information.

Establishing your brand identity and knowing the type of client you want to work with is a measurable way to leverage the concept of working smarter rather than harder.

How to Gain Loyalty in Your Opt in Marketing Campaigns

When you really believe in what you're promoting and match it to solving your clients problems, you can present informative content that is useful to your prospect. In turn, your client base will expand, sales will multiply and your profits explode. This article will show you how.

The first, and I think most important part of any opt in marketing campaign, is to only sell and therefore inform your customers about products and services you personally believe in. Even if you are trying to market the newest, hottest thing, it will come across as less than sincere in the eyes of your subscribers, if you do not believe in it yourself.

This is integrity, and if your primary objective is to really help people as I'm sure it is, you can't help but succeed

This theory applies even to other people's products and services you are trying to market using your list. Always assume your customers can sense this sort of thing. Even if they cannot always, they will intuitively sense something's not right. Eventually, they will figure it out when you are not expecting it.

Not to mention how it could affect your credibility and sales on a personal level. But, you're smarter than that, and I believe you care about people, so it shouldn't be an issue in your opt-in email marketing campaigns.

Provide Honest Content and Get Honest Sales

The content you provide for your subscribers should only be of the best quality and of the best use within the niche. You need to develop rapport and keep your customers engaged. If you are not planning on doing both of these remember to entertain, engage, and inform.

There's a lot of things competing for your client's attention, so make your interactions memorable and fun as well as helpful! This builds relationship too, which is essential.

This applies to one-on-one selling in the off-line world, and it may be even more important in the virtual sales world. So, make sure to care about people and let that come through in all your interactions.

One of the most important factors in developing this communication is to remember that if you ask the wrong questions of your subscribers, you will most certainly get the wrong answers. Questions are the heart of any sales method. This is the way we gather information about our customers. Using this information, we can better communicate with them on a more personal level.

Listbuilding and Communication Based on Trust

So it is very important when establishing trust with your customers to always be honest with them and with yourself. If you are not honest with yourself, then you will not appear credible to the subscribers on your list. By keeping this in mind, you can either build your list beyond your wildest imagination. Think of them as an audience, friends, and a client base, and this will never be an issue for you.

More sales are made with friendship than with salesmanship. This is a simple principle to understand but not the easiest to put into practice, and it takes just that. You must practice and work at being honest with your customers. In the end, it will pay off more than you can imagine. Just remember to be honest with them and provide content and resourced that you first and foremost believe in yourself. This will take you VERY far!

Configuration of Complex Joomla CMS and Customer Relationship Business Management Platforms

Joomla is a powerful framework for delivering Complex web portals. With over 4700 extensions and counting, the largest developer network in the world and the most user friendly interface has made the award winning Joomla CMS the fastest growing open source CMS project perhaps in the world. With millions of users and enthusiasts from all around the globe and a low cost of entry this is quickly becoming the dominant content management system (CMS) for small businesses (SMB's) and even larger enterprises and institutions. We compared Joomla vs Drupal and Joomla vs Wordpress which are other worthy technologies but Joomla seemed for us to be the best overall platform for recommending to our customers. As Joomla integrators and Joomla Component Developers we deliver complex Joomla configurations for a wide variety of customers. Joomla is a perfect framework for the micro small business owner that needs training and mentoring to work independently on building their web empire as well as the small business enterprise with complex Joomla configuration needs.

There are several layers in deploying a Joomla CMS project.

* Planning and content architecture
* Template Design and graphics
* Components and Configurations
* User experience
* Customer Programming
* Legacy System Integrations
* SEO and Marketing
* Joomla User Training
* Ongoing Technical Support

Just to name a few... With any technology there are different points of entry depending on the experience and technical aptitude of the humans interacting with the system, the technical and business process requirements and the overall dynamics of the organization implementing the particular solution. We (our CNP Consultants) try to help folks "Get the most value out of their technology investment". Yea you will see this in our marketing but this is much more than hype. Value can be the key to success or failure. Among the biggest mistakes we have seen folks make and even made ourselves are:

Common Mistake #1

Just because you can do something with technology does not always make it practical.

I have personally implemented many powerful tools that accomplish their intended functionality but they actually never get used to their full potential by the end customers. While these were fun for us to build as developers and to see something cool that works, it did not really serve any of us well since our clients customers do not use them and thus they have a significant investment they are net getting a return on and thus until this first investment is paid for they are not all that excited to engage us to build more stuff.

The key here is determining first the business priorities of the project and then making sure everyone is listening to the needs of the end customer or user. Hey sometime folks build web tools just for themselves. I know I often post blog articles with a lot of links I want to not only share but also refer back to and we put plenty of tools online that we want to use ourselves as much as we want to and share with our customers. Just make sure you are clear why you are doing something and assess if it is going to deliver the right return on your investment.

Stay focused on what your customers are saying and what will yield the greatest return.

Technology implementation can be a never ending pit you throw money into, something that my father used to say about owning a luxury boat. If you are building your site for the shear ego of having a beautiful site with all kinds of creative features and functionality, have at it and of course we love to work with entrepreneurs with big ideas. However, like any relationship and any good investment a long term strategy is often much more practical. Our consulting customers get good advice about products and services that can grow their business or allow them to continue to get value from their investments. I have seen folks to often go for a quick sell and end up with dysfunctional customer relationships that ultimately cost more than the profit you made in the first place. Ask yourself many questions including "Is what I am doing today going to matter a year from now"? If you ask the right questions up front this can help you get the most out of your initiatives.

Technology is a moving target

One of the many reasons we got behind the Joomla CMS project as a core competency was because it was open source which offered freedom and scalable options for solving the greatest amount of business problems. We took the gamble from the trends in the market place that Joomla would continue to grow with features and stability and that the developer community would continue to be attracted to the Joomla framework thus building more confidence in the market place. With a scalable platform that is built on open source code for use was great since we wanted to work with technology that sold itself and that we could support and expand upon it to meet the needs of the types of customers we wanted to attract. Any kind of dynamic web portal project is a moving target and often needs to change course in mid stream. You have to keep good forward momentum yet listen to the trends in the marketplace so you can sail into the wind effectively. An innovative and scalable open source platform like Joomla is a perfect foundation for meeting this challenge.

But wait there is more...

A couple years ago, after a good year of working with Joomla we were looking for solutions that could actually help us build an all-in-one web based framework for managing our business in a Virtual Office Environment (everything accessible on the web). This is when after trying and implementing several CRM and project management tools ranging from SugarCRM to MS Project to SharePoint we found Info@hand CRBM. This was the perfect platform since it was open source code base and integrated with the Joomla CMS and QuickBooks. Now after 3 years of connecting the dots we have a powerful web infrastructure with "Complete transaction life cycle management" and "Customer Relationship Business Management". Very very very cool platform... we love it and so do many of the customers we have introduced to it. Though this system is also wired up with the conferencing and collaboration suite it also fills many gaps in client customer collaboration. These types of regular new innovations continue to add low cost of entry tools and value to the small business.

Sounds complicated but it is also very simple if you have time as your friend

What we have learned as "early adopters" is that there is much more to it than the technology if you are going to be successful. Complex Joomla Integrations are getting simpler as this platform evolves. The old carpenters saying get the right tool for the right job is very good advice. Since there are so many tools now in our toolbox and we fully understand how they all can work together I know I can start talking about it and it does not take long to get that "deer in the headlights look" from a prospect. The trick here is making sure we establish a clear roadmap and strategy for implementing technologies that will bring the greatest reward to your business and value to our customers. This takes time and effort to get it right and should be done early on in your process.

Common Mistake #2

Just because you have the technology does not mean you should implement it.

The second most challenging aspect of implementing a complicated project is the thought process of "let's do it all at once". I have often had clients that want to load up their sites with a ton of components and then they want to throw these new features out to their customers or workforce all at once. Well this is a huge horse pill that never gets swallowed. Hate to say it but until recently I have been guilty of this myself. There is a fine line between "Build it and they will come" and "Here take a bite and let me know if you like it".

Remember this is all about relationship management

I remember back in my days of dating that it only takes one or two words to "turn off" and scare someone away. Essentially this is a similar process we go through for attracting customers. While you want to make sure what you are presenting is honest and has substance you do not want to overload, overwhelm folks with more information than they are particularly interested in at the moment. You also want to put out information and web tools in a way that they want to have them presented. As in listen well and be a good conversationalist. Such is the case even more now with the Social Technology boon. I used to say "it is not hard to fall in love since people are impulsive by nature but the real challenge is falling in love with the right one". The same is true with technology. It can be easy to get excited about some new features and want to add them right away to your site just because they are cooler than the site next door. However, every time you push something new out it may distract or turn off your customers.

In relationships of any kind they are best nurtured over time. Deploying technology is a complex multi dimensional relationship. Moving too fast has greater risk of failure for everyone involved. You actually have several relationships and processes that need careful consideration over time:

* Solutions: Customer Needs - Business Process Need - Technology Implementation
* Relationships: Vendor Teams - Client Teams - Customers

In Conclusion work smarter with a good plan

Plan carefully and gather the right information about your customers and how technology can get you the best results as it relates to your business strategy. Make sure you deploy solutions over time with good the right vendors and the right customers. These systems have enough complexity that you have to really keep your eye on the ball or you can and will often times fail. None of us want to waste time or money and the wrong decision in this economy could cost you business. Before you travel anywhere it is a good idea to get directions, a map or invest in a GPS. Why would you not want to invest in good quality consulting to help guide you along the path of implementing technology?

Joomla Roadmap and Planning Guide

Value Builder Methodology

We have since built consulting practices to address these two common mistakes folks make with complex technology implementations. Yea sure we have to be geeks and able to wire all this stuff up and yes we do this well but the trick to getting value out of your technology is much more that the groovy tools we can dish out. With a few exceptions, most of the technology these days is all ready built and what that means is there is a greater need for configuration and being able to map the humans with the technology in a way that will allow you to stay focused on your priorities. Just start asking yourself questions like: What actions will give the best long term results? What will put out the fires of tomorrow before they start? How can I make this profitable to my company and add unique benefits to my customers?This should help get you on the right path.

10 Steps to Building a Bankruptcy Practice

Lots of lawyers are trying to build a bankruptcy practice these days. Many make the critical mistake of using outmoded ways of getting the practice off the ground, and end up being an also-ran in their area. Competition is fierce, and lawyers are working smarter - not only harder - to be successful.

10 Steps To Building a Successful Bankruptcy Practice

  1. Join the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys: This is the largest national organization dedicated to the plight of consumer debtors. With well over 4,400 bankruptcy lawyer members, it is the best source of information and continuing education for the new and established practitioner alike. NACBA also runs some very active listservs to help members share information.
  2. Buy the entire National Consumer Law Center library - including the consumer bankruptcy book: NCLC puts out the most comprehensive set of books on bankruptcy, consumer protection and related issues. Period. After practicing bankruptcy law over over 14 years I still refer to my books on a near-daily basis. If you go to any of the NACBA conventions you will find the NCLC books on sale at a significant discount.
  3. Sample the petition preparation software packages and get the one you like best: You cannot practice bankruptcy law without a petition preparation package. There are lots of good ones out there - BestCase, EZFiling, Bankruptcy2010 and Bankruptcy Pro are among the best - but you won't know which one is best for you until you sample them. All provide a free downloadable demo to work through, so take the time before spending a dime.
  4. Go to court: Find out where your court's bankruptcy hearings are held, and make plans to sit there each day for a week or more. You'll learn about the trustees as well as about the types of people who file for bankruptcy in your area. Once you know more about who files for bankruptcy you'll be in a better position to know their motivations and concerns.
  5. Sign up for CM/ECF: Most courts require bankruptcy lawyers to file cases electronically via the court's electronic case filing system. You need to get a password and (in some places) attend a training to learn how to file cases.
  6. Get a scanner: Bankruptcy is a paper-intensive practice area. If you don't start scanning everything into your system now, you'll get snowed under. I personally use a Fujitsu ScanSnap, and it's a life-saver (plus, it comes with a fully-functional copy of Adobe Acrobat).
  7. Start reading bankruptcy blogs: There are a lot of terrific resources online to help you keep up-to-date on the latest issues in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Law Network, BankruptcyProf Blog, and Bankruptcy Mastery are just a few substantive sites that can teach you a lot.
  8. Learn how to write: Yes, you know how to write like a lawyer, but that's not what's important. You need to be able to communicate in a way that your prospective clients understand without a dictionary. Writing like a lawyer is OK for judges, but clients need you to make it easier.
  9. Online legal marketing basics: Most people start their search for a bankruptcy lawyer by hitting a search engine, so it's important for you to know about the underpinnings of online legal marketing. Start a blog, set up Twitter, and consider if marketing your practice with video is right for you.
  10. Start compiling forms: Your bankruptcy practice will require you to be organized, so things like intake forms and retainer agreements are critical. The best places to find these are other lawyers. If you're on the NACBA listservs, just ask and ye shall receive - there's no reason to pay money to get canned intake documents.

How To Stop Trading Time For Dollars

When you're passionate about what you're doing, you naturally want to do more of it. This is especially true if you're a service professional, holistic practitioner or coach. Knowing that you're helping to improve the quality of someone's life or helping to make the world a better place to live can be quite a driving force. I've been there myself and it's easy to get caught up in the doing, or in providing the service, but it doesn't leave much room for business building. I've learned to completely transform the way I do business over the years and I've helped thousands do the same. The idea is to look for ways to serve others and you'll be inspired to make the shifts accordingly.

If your income is tied into how hard you work then you'll appreciate some of these strategies which are intended to help you work smarter, not harder:

1. Build a team of strategic alliances.

Take some time to develop your own personal network of people who can promote your services to their customer list. If you have a service which supports moms-to-be, then you would want to align yourself with Obstetricians who can refer you. This will significantly cut back on the time you would need to spend marketing.

2. Create a special referral rewards program for existing customers.

The people who have benefited from your services are your greatest sales staff. Express gratitude often and offer them something special for their referrals.

3. Create teleseminar programs whenever possible.

There must be some aspect of your work that you could provide in a group setting as opposed to spending one-on-one time with individual clients. You could conduct a live teleseminar or record it to be sold or given away to support your work. There are paying services and free services that you can use for this.

4. Document your process in a print book, eBook or workbook.

Package various aspects of your talent in a "how to" format to be sold or given to a customer to support the work they're doing with you.

5. Offer adjunct products and services from other companies.

You may consider offering solutions to your customer that did not originate from you but may help to improve their experience with you. Consider being a re-seller for these products if it's appropriate so that you get to realize some profit from the sale and your customer is getting exactly what they need. This could include vitamin therapy, additional follow-up services, or equipment they will buy.

6. Conduct live workshops or trainings.

Try to package aspects of your service so you can provide it in a group setting, similar to a teleseminar but face to face.

7. Offer continuity programs.

If your customer is complete with you after the service is provided, perhaps there is something more you can offer them that they would be willing to pay a monthly or yearly fee for. This would produce passive income for your practice. I have several coaching and mentoring programs I facilitate that way.

8. Record your service in an audio or video format.

This is a very powerful medium and can have multiple uses for you as a product to be sold or as a marketing tool to help build your business.

9. Systematize and automate various aspects of your service delivery.

This includes the service you provide, your follow-up communication, product offerings, etc. Systematizing not only saves you a considerable amount of time but it also allows others to come in and support you at any level.

10. Train the trainer.

Create facilitator training programs that allow others to learn what you do, under your guidance, and then go out and teach others for a fee.

In my Passion To Prosperity program for service providers, people have reported substantial shifts in the way they conduct their business as well as an increase in their income by incorporating just a few of these recommendations.

Diversity in the Workplace

As you look around your office, is everyone just like you? Probably not. The demographics of the American workforce have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. In the 1950s, more than 60% of the American workforce consisted of white males. They were typically the sole breadwinners in the household, expected to retire by age 65 and spend their retirement years in leisure activities. Today, the American workforce is a better reflection of the population with a significant mix of genders, race, religion, age and other background factors.

The long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives and views to their work. The challenge that diversity poses, therefore, is enabling your managers to capitalize on the mixture of genders, cultural backgrounds, ages and lifestyles to respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively.

Here are two examples of the challenges inherent in managing a diverse workforce:

An American health insurance company hired employees from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. The variety of different native languages and cultures, however, did not mix. Instead of making employees feel that they had a sub-group within their larger team, it gave rise to paranoia ("They must be talking about me.") and assumptions ("They think they are smarter than everyone else."). When the group needed to learn a new intake system, rather than pull together, they became even more estranged and productivity and morale plummeted.

In an American subsidiary of a global bank based in Japan, a few Japanese female workers complained to management that their older Japanese male bosses were being disrespectful to them. The human resources manager questioned all of the women in the office. Every Japanese woman reported problems with the Japanese men. In contrast, the American women reported no problems at all. Confused, the human resources manager questioned the Japanese male managers. The answer? The Japanese men responded that they understood American expectations related to sexual harassment, so they were careful about what they said to the American women. They were perplexed by the responses of the Japanese women. "What is the problem?" the Japanese men wanted to know, "They know that we don't mean anything. Any Japanese person would understand." Communication, which has never been straightforward and easy in the first place, is becoming even more complicated as organizations take on global partners.

Diversity is no longer just a black/white, male/female, old/young issue. It is much more complicated and interesting than that. In The Future of Diversity and the Work Ahead of Us, Harris Sussman says, "Diversity is about our relatedness, our connectedness, our interactions, where the lines cross. Diversity is many things - a bridge between organizational life and the reality of people's lives, building corporate capability, the framework for interrelationships between people, a learning exchange, a strategic lens on the world."

A benefit of a diverse workforce is the ability to tap into the many talents which employees from different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities and disabilities bring to the workplace. An impressive example of this is found on the business cards of employees at one Fortune 100 technology company. Employees at this company have business cards that appear normal at first glance. On closer inspection, the raised Braille characters of employee information are evident.

Many companies, however, still face challenges around building a diverse environment. Part of the reason is the tendency to pigeonhole employees, placing them in a different silo based on their diversity profile. If an employee is male, over 50, English, and an atheist, under what diversity category does this employee fall? Gender, generational, global or religious? In the real world, diversity cannot be easily categorized and those organizations that respond to human complexity by leveraging the talents of a broad workforce will be the most effective in growing their businesses and their customer base.

So, how do you develop a diversity strategy that gets results? The companies with the most effective diversity programs take a holistic approach to diversity by following these guidelines:

  1. Link diversity to the bottom line. When exploring ways to increase corporate profits, look to new markets or to partnering with your clients more strategically. Consider how a diverse workforce will enable your company to meet those goals. Think outside the box. At a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, Hispanics purchased many of the products. When the company hired a Director of Hispanic Markets, profits increased dramatically in less than one year because of the targeted marketing efforts Your new customers may be people with disabilities or people over the age of 65. How can your employees help you reach new markets?
  2. Walk the talk. If senior management advocates a diverse workforce, make diversity evident at all organizational levels. If you don't, some employees will quickly conclude that there is no future for them in your company. Don't be afraid to use words like black, white, gay or lesbian. Show respect for diversity issues and promote clear and positive responses to them. How can you demonstrate your company's commitment to diversity?
  3. Broaden your efforts. Does diversity at your company refer only to race and gender? If so, expand your definition and your diversity efforts. As baby boomers age and more minorities enter the workplace, the shift in demographics means that managing a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce will become a business norm. Also, there is a wealth of specialized equipment available to enable people with disabilities to contribute successfully to their work environments. If your organizational environment does not support diversity broadly you risk losing talent to your competitors. How can your recruitment efforts reach out to all qualified candidates?
  4. Remove artificial barriers to success. The style of interview - behavioral or functional- may be a disadvantage to some job candidates. Older employees, for example, are less familiar with behavioral interviews and may not perform as well unless your recruiters directly ask for the kind of experiences they are looking for. Employees from countries outside the US and non-Caucasian populations may downplay their achievements or focus on describing, "who they know" rather than "what they know" Train your recruiters to understand the cultural components of interviews. How can your human resources processes give equal opportunity to all people?
  5. Retain diversity at all levels. The definition of diversity goes beyond race and gender to encompass lifestyle issues. Programs that address work and family issues - alternative work schedules and child and elder care resources and referrals - make good business sense. How can you keep valuable employees?
  6. Provide practical training. Using relevant examples to teach small groups of people how to resolve conflicts and value diverse opinions helps companies far more than large, abstract diversity lectures. Training needs to emphasize the importance of diverse ideas as well. Workers care more about whether or not their boss seems to value their ideas rather than if they are part of a group of all white males or an ethnically diverse workforce. In addition, train leaders to move beyond their own cultural frame of reference to recognize and take full advantage of the productivity potential inherent in a diverse population. How can you provide diversity training at your company?
  7. Mentor with others at your company who you do not know well. Involve your managers in a mentoring program to coach and provide feedback to employees who are different from them. Some of your most influential mentors can be people with whom you have little in common. Find someone who doesn't look just like you. Find someone from a different background, a different race or a different gender. Find someone who thinks differently than you do. How can you find a mentor who is different from you?
  8. Measure your results. Conduct regular organizational assessments on issues like pay, benefits, work environment, management and promotional opportunities to assess your progress over the long term. Keep doing what is working and stop doing what is not working. How do you measure the impact of diversity initiatives at your organization?

In the book, Beyond Race and Gender, R. Roosevelt Thomas defines managing diversity as "a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees." Successful strategic diversity programs also lead to increased profits and lowered expenses.

The long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives and views and a corporate mindset that values those views. It's also no secret that the lack of diversity can affect your ability to communicate effectively with diverse clients. Link your diversity strategies to specific goals like morale, retention, performance and the bottom line. Build your business with everything you've got, with the complex multi-dimensional talents and personalities of your workforce, and make diversity work for you.

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