Prosperity self help resource73

Small Business Development Manual,
ebook by Meir Liraz,
president of

Small Business, Prosperity and financial wellbeing self help series of articles we have compiled into an ebook for your convenience:

INDEX: Effective Decision Making
How to Choose and Keep Customers
Keys To Small Business Success
Ten Keys to Working Effectively in a Home Office
Ten Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Ten Areas of Leverage That Every Small Business Has
Ten Employer-Employee Rules for Successfully Running A Small Business
Essentials Of Successful Print Ads
45 Ideas to Promote Your Business
Ten Signals That It’s Time to Make a Radical Shift in Your Business
Win-Win Negotiation Tips
Win-Win Negotiating
Tips to Enhance Your Decision Making Batting Average
How to Improve Your Delegation Skills
How to Be More Effective and Organized
How to Improve Your Goal Setting Skills
How To Improve Your Supervising and Leadership Skills
How To Improve Your Planning Skills
How To Improve Your Self Management Skills
Ten Things to Say or Do When a Prospective Customer Says No
Nine Ways to get free PR/media coverage for yourself or your business
Ten Warnings of a Business Turnaround Situation
Ten Strategies To Increase Your Sales
Ten Strategies To Building a Solid Business Partnership or Alliance
Tips for getting FREE Publicity for your business

Effective Decision Making

Most of us have never been taught to make wise decisions in our work or personal lives. Could you benefit from using a system that combines logical thinking with intuition? Ask yourself these empowering questions adapted from Dr. Spencer Johnson’s book: YES or NO.

1. What do I really need from this decision?

Distinguish between a want which is a WISH and a NEED which is a necessity. You may want a luxurious home, but may need a peaceful haven. You may want to buy a variety of inexpensive shoes, but you may need good quality Ferragamos to keep your feet from hurting. Successful people get their true needs met. When we pursue what we think we want, we feel empty even after we have it. Be sure to focus clearly on what will actually fulfill your needs and avoid being distracted by everything else.

2. What are my options?

Asking this question puts you in a resourceful state to allow yourself to find effective solutions. Be open to having new thoughts flow into your consciousness. If you hear yourself saying: I have no options…, recognize that you are simply not aware of them right now. Inform yourself of options by gathering information, talking with others of working with a coach. A good example about the importance of getting information before making a decision is the classic story about Henry Ford. He took three regional managers to dinner and afterwards decided which one to select to be his national manager. When the successful candidate later asked Ford why he had been chosen, he replied: All of you were successful at selling, but you were the only one who tasted his food before salting it. I like a person who gets information before making a decision. What opportunities have you missed by not first getting the information needed before reaching a decision?

3. Take each option and ask: Then what would probably happen?

Use your logical mind to narrow down your options to two or three. Then, use your imagination to focus in great detail on what would happen it you acted upon this choice. See what unfolds and feel the consequences as if you have already experienced this decision. Take it well into the future by asking: then what?…at least two more times

4. Have I thought it through completely?

Take time to be aware of the worst case/best case scenarios and what you would do in either case. How would that be for you? The result of even one decision has a domino effect on ourselves and others. Our lives are shaped by our decisions every day.5. What does my decision reveal about my beliefs?

It’s been said that we are what we believe. Your core beliefs form your self-image–your identity. They define how you feel about yourself and influence your decisions through your subconscious. Beliefs are largely choices we’ve make long ago and have forgotten. Your decisions mirror your personal thoughts and feelings; they reveal (to yourself and others) how you really view yourself and the world. By looking at the pattern of your past decisions you can identify limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of your wise decision-making. If you are not able to see your own truth, ask what they see or get a coach to help.

6. How does this decision fit my purpose or personal mission?

If you have declared to live your life from a place of integrity, for example, ask yourself: Does this decision I’m about to make cause me to make a deposit in my personal integrity account? Check for congruence between what you say you believe and what you actually do. Being clear about who you are and what you stand for allows you to make better decisions.

7. Am I trusting my intuition?

Your intuition is your personal guide to help you sense what is right for you. To access it, determine how you feel about the decision. For most people, the best way to do this is to sit quietly, close your eyes and go within. Open to your body’s wisdom. Do you feel calm or anxious? If you feel stressed or confused as a result of focusing on this decision, it’s your inner wisdom letting you know this is probably not right for you now. On the other hand, if you feel lighter, peaceful or inspired, this is your validation to proceed. Think back to a time you made a successful decision and remember how that felt. Let your intuition be your teacher.

8. Am I setting my ego aside and listening to my Higher Power?

By accessing your intuition, you have learned what is inside of you; now for further guidance, especially for critical decisions, you need to go beyond yourself to make sure your ego isn’t interfering. This step is a very private and personal one and you must decide for yourself how best to do this. Some people pray, meditate or commune with nature. I ask my Higher Power for guidance and then keep still to listen what comes to me.

9. Do I really expect a positive outcome?

Often we unwittingly sabotage our own success. We do this with positive intent to protect ourselves from fear, pain or disappointment should it not turn out. We know now that our dominant thoughts influence with events we experience and that it is better to act AS IF the desired outcome is already assured. The key word here is expect, not want. You may want to win the lottery, but you may not expect to be a multi-million dollar winner.

10. What would I do if I deserved better?

Some undermine their efforts due to a hidden belief that they don’t deserve more. To see if this is true for you, look at your life. Do you find that you stop at a certain level of success? Do you have an internal thermostat that causes you to cool down whenever you go beyond your comfort zone? Most of us resist this idea that we don’t let ourselves have anymore than we really believe we deserve. If you believe in your decision, then act on it!


How to Choose and Keep Customers

1. Do you know who your customers are?

It may sound automatic, but many businesses simply don’t keep track of who actually buys their products. And, those that do, rarely analyze buying behavior. A customer database is essential. If you don’t have one, create one. Start by capturing the basics: customer contact information, product preference and purchase frequency.

2. Have you ranked your customers?

Not all customers are created equal, yet most businesses treat them exactly the same. That’s why you need a customer ranking system. Look at those variables that are most relevant to your business — purchase frequency, revenue, selling costs, referral potential, and so on and score your customers accordingly. Marketing research firm CRI, for example, ranked their 157 customers using a simple quadrant that bucketed customers according to the kind of business they generated each year, i.e. High Volume/Low Margin and Low Volume/High Margin.

3. Do you know which customers are your most valuable?

The ranking exercise may help explain puzzling disparities in company performance. The ‘Why aren’t we growing/more profitable/gaining market share when we have more customers than we ever have?’ dilemma can be crystal clear when you really look at how each customer is contributing or subtracting from the bottom line. CRI found that only 10 of its customers fell into the preferred category-High/High.

4. Do you have too many customers?

In CRI’s case, they concluded they were ‘spending much too much time and valuable employee resources on too many unprofitable customers’ — in fact, 101 of them essentially contributed nothing to the bottom line. Smart CEOs understand precisely who their target customers are. And, they know how to go after only the right customers. Is there room in your business to be more customer-selective?

5. Which of your customers may be worth firing?

Less can definitely be more when it comes to unprofitable customers. Like CRI, who cut its customer base in half, getting rid of some customers may be your company’s secret growth strategy. Also think about the costs you would NOT incur if certain customers went away. Are some draining the business? The process of raising your customer standards and paring automatically opens space to attract the flow of new, more profitable business.

6. When is the last time you checked customer satisfaction?

If you’re not regularly taking the pulse of your customers, they may be sacrificing, rather than being satisfied. ‘Customer sacrifice = What the customer wants EXACTLY minus what the customer settles for’ say B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, authors of The Experience Economy. Check to see if you can shore up the areas of your product or service that may be cracking or settling.

7. Are you spending too much on finding new customers?

Determine all of the costs (people, time and dollars) you incur to grab new customers. Are more company resources focused on customer acquisition vs. customer retention? Consider putting more attention on holding on to the ones you already have. It can have a profound impact on the bottom line — current customers are 5-10 times LESS expensive to sell to than new customers. And, you can avoid nasty customer defections due to neglect.

8. Are you actively converting first-time buyers to long-term customers?

In some businesses, such as car or life insurance and credit cards, companies actually lose money on first-year customers. Check to make sure you don’t have a ‘leaky bucket’ — losing mature customers and replacing them with new ones. It takes many new customers to compensate for the loss of just one veteran, according to Frederick Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect. And, the bigger the leak, the harder you have to work to keep it full.

9. Are you fortifying relationships with your best customers?

There are 4 strategies to keep great customers, say Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, authors of The One-to-One Future:

#1) Recognize your Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) with special treatment (perks, MVC Club, unique services),

#2) Reward loyal buyers, i.e. frequent buyer programs,

#3) Deliver Consistent Product Quality and Satisfaction, and

#4) Customize Product/Service For Individual Customers — the ultimate way to keep customers loyal longer is to spend more time catering more to their individual tastes. What can you do to better personalize each customer’s experience with you?

10. Are you earning customer loyalty?

Strategic CEOs treat customers like assets and do everything they can to invest and safe keep them. Customer loyalty standouts, such as Lexus, State Farm and MBNA, engineer their entire company (not just the customer service dept.) around customer loyalty — manufacturing, pricing, sales incentives, and all operations inside and out are built for lifetime customers.


Keys To Small Business Success

William A. Ward once said, “Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently”. Use Ward’s advice while pursuing the following tips for small business success.

1. Stay current. Join an industry association related to your product or offering. Subscribe to all the magazines that cover your business. (They are tax deductible!) Look at joining an organization like NASE ( National Association of Self employed). They have great sources of advice and information as well as great discounts on insurance, rental cars, and other business expenses. Read and constantly be researching topics about your business. It’s easy on the internet!

2. Make sure you have a financial plan. Also a budget and a measurement process to keep track of how you are doing monthly. If you don’t know where you stand financially and have no short term and long term financial goals, then you are just letting fate dictate your success and we know those odds aren’t too good. Control your own destiny!

3. Cash forecasting. It sounds boring and difficult, but it’s not. Keep it simple. Look at your next 3 months projected income or revenue, then just lay next to it all the expenditures you need to keep the business running. The difference is your cash flow. You must do this to avoid surprises. Most businesses hit the brick wall because they fail to understand their cash flow.

4. Get an advisory board or a mentor. Sounds crazy for a small operation? It’s not! The board can be family members that you trust, or friends. Ask them to be your board of directors and review your business plans and results with them. Having someone to bounce ideas off and get an objective opinion is critical. Or, hire a Business Coach.

5. Maintain a balance between work, play and family. This is critical for long term success. We all put in crazy hours on a short term basis to get a hot project done or the product out the door, but if you do this on a long term, regular basis it is a dangerous sign that you are losing perspective. You need to be able to step away on a regular basis and get your batteries re-charged. And also have time for family because if they suffer it is almost a sure bet your business will suffer too.

6. Network. It’s easy to get isolated in a home business or your own small business operation. Force yourself to get out and meet with others that can provide a business support structure for you. One of the benefits of a corporation is the workings of teams and the on going support structure it provides. You need to create that for yourself. Don’t think you can do it all by yourself; By talking to others in business you will find out great ideas and it will help motivate you.

7. Discipline/Motivation. One of the hardest aspects of a small business or home based business is creating the discipline or motivation to work each day. It is so easy to get distracted and put off the essential tasks that need to get done. Keep your work place and hours separate from the rest of your responsibilities. Develop a to-do list EVERYDAY. Set goals for the week. Review how you are doing against them. We all struggle with this and it is one of the key elements of success.

8. Don’t rest on your laurels. Be prepared to always change. Force change. Look for things to do more efficiently or how to improve your offering or product. Constantly evaluate your competition and benchmark yourself against them.

9. Do something you love. If you are in a business that you hate, then it is a good bet you won’t be successful. Find where your true talents and skills are and get in a business that exploits them. The saying, ” if you do what you love and the money will follow” is so true. Remember success is more attitude than aptitude and never forget that failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

10. Don’t Give up. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed several times before doing extremely well. So, if you’re failing, fail. And fail fast. And learn. And try again, with this new wisdom. Do NOT give up. Yet, do not suffer, either.


Ten Keys to Working Effectively in a Home Office

There are many successful home business models ranging from total chaos to very structured. So there is no single recipe that must be followed to be successful. Many home businesses are started by refugees from corporate America who are used to the structure and socialization aspects of the corporation. For these owners, the following secrets will help provide the structure they may need when they first start.

1. Negotiate an agreement with the other inhabitants and live upto that agreement. Frequently there is a re-entry problem with the other inhabitants. Your spouse may be used to being alone during the day, and may be unhappy with your increased presence. Have a kick-off meeting to negotiate an agreement that will avoid conflict.

2. Set aside a separate area for the business.If possible, dedicate a room or part of the basement to the business. This helps everyone feel that the home is still a home. It also provides a basis for a home office income tax deduction.

3. Schedule separate blocks of work time and free time.There can be many distractions during the day. It is helpful if you have a schedule for the day so you can minimize interruptions and distractions.

4. Start every work day at the scheduled time.Form a habit of starting on time and keeping to the schedule. This makes it easier to minimize distractions.

5. Don’t sleep late or watch daytime TV during work time.It’s tempting sometimes, but successful businesses are built on the days that you don’t feel like it, not on the days that you do feel like it.

6. Wear your work uniform when you are working.When I started my consulting practice, I found it helpful to dress business casual (for men this is wearing a tie without a food stain). It made me feel more like I was supposed to be working.

7. Work on high value tasks during your peak productive hours.Most people have specific part of the day that they are more productive. I find my optimum schedule is to start about one hour after sunrise, work continuously for four hours, then go out. I can work another two hours after I return. That six hour work schedule has consistently produced more work product than I used to produce in two days in the corporate environment.

8. Accomplish your Single Daily Action before you finish the workday.Have a Single Daily Action every day which is the most important action for that day. When you are starting your practice, this is likely to be marketing-related.

9. Build a supportive community and nurture it every day.I think the chief complaint about home business is that it can get lonely and isolated. Make it a practice to talk to people every day, even when your focus is on completing an important project.

10. Manage your thoughts.Sometimes it is easy to become discouraged and/or negative. Create a method of maintaining a realistic positive outlook and reenergizing yourself when the voice of your Evil Twin intrudes.


Ten Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

How do you judge the effectiveness of your small business marketing efforts?

Easy…does it produce results? Great looking ads, fancy logos and flashy web sites are worthless if they don’t bring business to your door. This list of 10 common marketing mistakes can help you produce better results.

1. Not Having a Clearly Defined USP.

Do you want to fit in or stand out? In order to thrive in today’s cluttered marketplace, every business owner must be able to clearly articulate an answer to the question, “Why should someone do business with you rather than your competitor?” “What makes you unique? Your answer to these questions constitutes your Unique Selling Proposition.

Do you offer 24-hour, 7 day a week service? Do you offer the lowest price? Do you offer a no risk guarantee? A strong USP helps you to stand out in a crowded field.

2. Selling Features Rather than Benefits.

Someone once said, “No one ever bought a drill bit. Millions of people have bought a hole” People don’t buy features, they buy benefits. They are tuned into Radio Station W.I.I.F.M. (What’s in it for me?) Tell them clearly how the features of your product/service will help them, make their life easier, etc.

3. Not using headlines in print advertisements.

You have at most a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention when they read a newspaper, magazine etc. Using an attention-grabbing headline ensures that the reader will continue to read the rest of the advertisement. The headline is an ad for the ad. Take a look at some newspaper ads. Which ones attract your attention? You will probably find they have utilized an effective headline.

4. Not testing headlines, price points, packages, pitches, everything.

How do you know what ad, what price, what offer most appeals to customers? By putting them to a vote. Test everything. Rather than running one newspaper ad for three weeks, why not run three different ads for three weeks and measure which draws better?

Rather than putting all your advertising into newspaper, why not split between newspaper and direct mail and measure the results? Why not price your products/services at different points and see which sells more? Is cheaper always better? Not necessarily.

Each situation is unique. One price may outperform another for a myriad of reasons. Your job is not to know why, but to find what works. Test, test, test.

5. Making it difficult to do business with you.

Are your sales staff knowledgeable about your products? Does someone answer your phone promptly and in a friendly manner? Can people find your phone number, location? Can customers find things easily in your store? Put yourselves in your customer’s shoes. Don’t make them work-they won’t.

I’ve seen a web site that undoubtedly cost the company thousands of dollars and NOWHERE could I find a phone number or email address. Your customer has better things to do than struggle to do business with you.

6. Not finding out what your customer’s needs are.

What is the first step in filling your customer’s needs? Discovering what they are. What’s most important to them? Don’t even try to guess.

You may think price is most important when what they really want is fast service. You may believe fast service is what they want when what they desperately want is a friendly, personal touch. How do you find out? People won’t tell you unless you ask. So ask.

7. Not maintaining an up to date customer database.

Your customer list is pure gold. Rather than always working to bring new customers in the door, why not take advantage of the good will you have already built with your existing clientele? Experiment with extending special offers to your customer base.

Ask for referrals. Send them a card on their birthday. Call and ask what they most enjoyed about doing business with you (or what they disliked doing business with you). You worked hard to develop these relationships. Recognize their value and work hard to “re-delight” them.

8. Not eliminating the risk.

What stops a customer from buying from you? Are they unsure that your offer is worth their hard-earned money? Make it easy to decide to buy from you. How can you reduce their risk? If you are in a service business, let them try your service at no cost.

If you are a lawyer or consultant offer them a free consultation. Offer them a money back, no questions asked guarantee on any product they buy. Why not?

Are you afraid people will take advantage of you? Give it a try for a month. You may be very pleasantly surprised. Not confident in your product or service? Then go to work on improving your service.

9. Not educating your customers

Don’t just claim that your service is better. Explain why. Are your staff better trained? Do you utilize a technology that increases service turnaround or quality? Don’t expect people to just take your word for things.

Quality, Service and Value mean nothing. Everyone claims to offer these. Make these claims real for the customer by offering credible explanations why they should do business with you.

10. Not knowing what works, and sticking with it.

Do you know which ads are effective? What media pulls best? What offer gets the best reaction? By testing (see above) you will. When you find something that works, don’t change it until you find something that works better. Just because you’re sick of an ad/offer isn’t a good enough reason to change it. You can supplement with other ads and offers. If it works, keep it.


Ten Areas of Leverage That Every Small Business Has

1. Customer-base

Ask yourself: If I just bought this company, how would I sell more/expand what I sell to this customer base?

2. Cash

Ask yourself: If I could invest this cash in any one part of this business/niche/product line for the biggest cumulative return/profit over the next 5 years, where would I invest it all?

3. Market Leadership

Ask yourself: To remain the market leader for the next 25 years, where should I invest my time and company’s resources right now?

4. Reputation

Ask yourself: What can I do to double the strength of our current reputation, within the next 6 months?

5. Momentum

Ask yourself: What’s working well right now and how can I keep it working well?

6. Key Staff

Ask yourself: Who are the 5 key people in my organization and what game/plan can I create with them so they’ll stick around for a long time?

7. Systems

Ask yourself: What systems work so well that we take them for granted? How could we improve them?

8. Responsiveness

Ask yourself; How quickly and completely do we respond to changes in our customers, market, technology, staff needs or economic conditions?

9. Intellectual Property

Ask yourself: What do we have, IP-wise, that just isn’t being as leveraged as it could be?

10. The X Factor

What do we have that’s very, very special and that we could really maximize, just for the pleasure of it? .


Ten Employer-Employee Rules forSuccessfully Running A Small Business

You’ve just been in a serious car accident. You’ve got massive internal injuries and a broken jaw. You’re going to be in the hospital at least a month. Your jaw is wired shut so you can’t use the phone. Will your business run easily and well while you recover? Will your customers be served while you are gone?

If you’ve just experienced heart failure over this prospect, the following list is for you. The information below, if put into practice, will reduce your stress, increase your business’ productivity, and give you the vacation you so richly deserve.

Here’s the top ten things you can do to make your business run as smoothly as possible.

1. Hire wisely.

Most businesses hire bodies for particular jobs rather than people to help build a future. Your business is only as good as each individual employee’s contribution to its functioning.

Therefore, look for the three i’s when you hire: intelligence, initiative, and integrity. For every position, from receptionist to packing clerk, hire only the best you can find.

Conversely, if you have current employees who are not performing well, consider whether they are a wise investment of your money.

2. Build a team, not your ego.

Many employers let their egos dominate their interactions with their employees. Stop the pattern. Instead, trust your employees to do their jobs. Make each employee feel that they are an invaluable member of the company team.

Let each employee know they are an integral part of the company’s end product. Set the example for positive interaction at all times between members of the team even when ideas or performance must be corrected.

3. Reward well.

When you get good employees, reward them financially and emotionally. Be sure their pay is at least at market rate. Take time often to acknowledge each employee’s contribution. The two biggest loyalty builders are two simple words– thank you.

4. Be hands on.

Know each employee’s job and how to do it. This not only gives you an automatic reserve employee and trainer(yourself), but has an added bonus.

If you show an employee that you are willing to learn or have learned his/her job, you are communicating that you believe their work has value. Every employee needs to know that whether they are emptying trash cans, setting the presses, or selling the large accounts, their work is worthwhile and valuable.

5. Make your employees versatile.

In a small company, every employee should know how to do at least two jobs, particularly on the technical and service sides. For critical tasks, at least three employees should know how to do each job. Thus, you always have an on-the-premises reserve who can step in when needed.

6. Give away tasks, but not ultimate leadership.

What is it you do best? Are you the idea man, the best salesman in your company, the organizer? Find your best talent and then delegate all other tasks to your employees. Train them appropriately to do their job, let them know you have confidence in their ability to perform well, and then let them do their jobs.

Adding responsibility with confidence will increase your employee’s willingness to work and their pride in the company’s end result. At the same time, you must maintain ultimate leadership. In any well run ship, the captain makes final decisions and you are still the captain, albeit a benign one.

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

You must talk with your employees, solicit their suggestions, and positively correct their mistakes. Conversely, you must create an atmosphere where employees are willing and able to talk with you. The two best sources of information on how your business is doing and how to improve it are your employees and your customers. Pay attention to both.

8. Give your best and always and encourage the same in your employees.

Pride in the company and its product or service always begins at the top. If you give a half effort or let a sloppily produced product go out the door to a client, you are sending a message to your employees that you do not respect your clients or your work. Your employees will adopt that view as well. If you set the example of giving the extra effort, pitching in when needed,caring about your fellow team members, working as a unit to be the best in your particular business, and taking care of the bottom line, your employees worth having and keeping will follow suit.

9. Encourage innovation and creation.

Give your employees a stake in the future. Once a month, have a meeting where the employees make suggestions on how to improve your product, service, efficiency, or bottom line. Give monetary rewards when the ideas produce increases to the bottom line. Give positive encouragement for the process.

10. Have a second in command.

No general goes into battle without a major who can take over if he is felled by a bullet. You are your business’ general and must act accordingly. Find someone you trust within your company who has the same goals, ideals, and a similar business style. Train him/her appropriately. Let others know he/she has your confidence and authority when you are gone. When that is done, leave on vacation and test the theory out. If you have completed steps 1-9 above, your business will run easily and well and you will have regained a healthy balance in your life.


Essentials Of Successful Print Ads

Print ads generally have four written parts — headline, support copy, call to action, and company name — plus a visual. Visuals are usually more important than copy because they’re more effective in attracting readers’ attention and can instantly present your product or service in a dramatic and motivating way.

Unless you’re commissioning your own original artwork or photography, the visuals you’ll use will probably be either drawings and photographs from your suppliers, or non-copyrighted artwork (clip art) found in clip-art books and scrap-art computer programs.

So choose the strongest visual among them — the one that best draws the eye and explains what you’re selling — and move on to copy.

The most prominent piece of copy — your headline — must not only work with your visual, amplifying its meaning, but also attract attention with a word, phrase or sentence announcing a benefit that appeals to your target market.

One expert wrote that a headline is that final, mind-changing, sales-clinching comment you’d make when leaving the office of a prospect who, until then, had responded with nothing but negatives. Others point to the enduring effectiveness of the standard headlines “Sale,” “Free” and “Buy now and save.”

Collect ideas that are right for you from your salespeople, from the ads in your file, and from advertising books. And remember it is not so much the words, but the ideas they express, that sell; determine your message, then find words to convey it.

Below the headline, support copy explains the headline premise and adds secondary benefits or any assurance readers might need to dispel suspicions raised by the headline, such as the assurance of “same great quality” when you’re offering a “new low price.”

Following this copy, as a sign-off, is a call to action urging the reader to respond (“Call for an appointment today,” or “Remember, sale ends March 21”).

Your company name, traditionally at the bottom of the ad, should include your address and phone number. Make your phone number larger to help stimulate response by phone.

Add a cross street to your address (e.g., “5730 Sheridan, at La Monte”) if you’re a new business or if, for other reasons, people might have difficulty finding you.

The next step is to combine all these visual and copy elements into an eye-catching, easy-to-read ad formatted to the dimensions stipulated by the publication.

It’s best to study the ads in that publication in advance, and consider what your ad might look like in order to stand out on the page.

Experiment with different layout ideas rendered in thumbnail sketches, and then fine-tune your ad to fit the layout you prefer. Obviously, it’s highly advisable if not imperative, when you’re doing ads in-house, that the person composing your ad has design experience.

Not only is skill required to make an ad look right, but the quality of your ad must compete favorably with others appearing in the publication.

It’s also a good idea to prepare your ad well ahead of the deadline. This way, you can put it aside for a few days and then review the ad with a fresh perspective while there’s still time to make revisions.

As a final check, lay your ad on a page of the publication where it will appear and make sure it stands out from the articles and other ads on the page.


45 Ideas to Promote Your Business

1. Advertise in the classified advertising section of your community newspaper.

2. Advertise in the Yellow Pages.

3. Advertise on a grocery buggy.

4. Approach your prospective customers over the phone.

5. Approach your prospective customers in person.

6. Approach your prospective customers through the mail.

7. Be a guest speaker at seminars and present on your area of expertise.

8. Be a guest speaker on radio talk shows.

9. Build and maintain a customer mailing and contact list on database software.

10. Build your image with well designed letterhead and business cards.

11. Design a brochure that best explains the benefits of your services.

12. Design a mail order campaign.

13. Design a point of purchase display for your product.

14. Design a telemarketing campaign.

15. Design an image building logo for your company.

16. Design and distribute a quarterly newsletter or an industry update announcement.

17. Design and distribute company calendars, mugs, pens, note pads, or other advertising specialties displaying your company name and logo.

18. Design and distribute a free “how to do it” hand-out related to your industry (e.g. Tips for conserving energy in your home).

19. Design buttons, decals and bumper stickers or balloons with your company name, logo or slogan.

20. Design T-shirts displaying your company name and logo.

21. Explore cross promotion with a non-competing company selling to your target market.

22. Explore the costs of advertising in newspapers, magazines, on radio, television, billboards, bus shelters and benches.

23. Explore ways to share your advertising costs using cooperative advertising.

24. Follow up customer purchases with a thank you letter.

25. Follow up customer purchases with Christmas or birthday cards.

26. Have your company profiled in a magazine or newspaper that is read by prospective customers.

27. Hire an advertising agency or public relations firm.

28. Hold a promotional contest.

29. Hold a seminar on your service, product or industry.

30. Include promotional material with your invoices.

31. Look for prospective customers at trade shows related to your industry.

32. Look for prospective customers in associations related to your industry.

33. Look for prospective customers at seminars related to your industry.

34. Look for prospective customers in magazines and newspapers related to your industry.

35. Package your brochure, price lists and letter in a folder for your customers.

36. Place a sidewalk sign outside your store or office.

37. Place flyers on bulletin boards and car windshields.

38. Place promotional notes on your envelopes, mailing labels.

39. Place signs or paint logos on your company vehicle(s).

40. Prepare a corporate video.

41. Prepare a list of product features and benefits to help you plan your advertising and promotional campaigns.

42. Prepare proposals offering solutions to your customers’ needs

43. Provide free samples of your product or service.

44. Provide public tours of your operation.

45. Sponsor a charity event.


Ten Signals That It’s Time to Makea Radical Shift in Your Business

Certain business realities signal us that we should make a shift if we are to survive.

Herewith, a list of some of those signals.

1. You find more and more competitors in your market.

An indication that it’s a good market, but being fractioned. Unless what you offer is both different and better, look for another niche.

2. Your market disappears.

OK, you make the world’s best buggy whips! Wake up.

3. Your interests and values are out of sync with your business.

A formula for business disaster and personal misery. Revisit your vision and mission–and align them with your values. Now start again.

4. Your customers are leaving for your competition.

Either figure out why and fix it or find another business.

5. You dread going to work in the morning.

Figure out why. If it can’t be changed, do something else.

6. You notice your competitors changing.

Have you noticed that, like it or not, it’s a race? Do what it takes to win or join another race.

7. Working on the business is taking more time than working in the business.

If your revenue can’t support more help, find a way to simplify and streamline your business (your competitors probably are).

8. You’re losing key employees to your competitors.

A sure sign of “trouble in River City!” Conduct “exit interviews” with departing employees–figure out what the competition’s got that you don’t.

9. Your business no longer supports your lifestyle.

Well, change either one or the other until they’re in sync.

10. You’re neither learning nor having fun any more.

Certain death if you stick it out. Time for a fresh start.


Win-Win Negotiation Tips

Learning how to negotiate removes pressure, stress and friction from your life. You see, negotiating is like chess — if you don’t know how to play you will be intimidated by the activity, especially if your opponent knows the game.

Negotiating is a predicable event that has rules, planned moves, and counter moves. But, unlike chess, negotiating is an activity you can’t avoid, so learn the rules. This article discusses the five underlying facts about negotiating, win-win negotiating, and the definition of a good negotiator.

Five Underlying Facts About Negotiating

1. You are negotiating all the time. Whether you are buying supplies, selling products or services, discussing pay with employees, buying a car, disagreeing with your spouse, or dealing with your children, you are always negotiating. It’s just that some of what you negotiate, are considered by you as normal activity.

2. Everything you want is presently owned or controlled by someone else. Doesn’t that statement seem like “a given?” But think of the implications. To get what you want means you have to negotiate with the person that has it.

3. There are predictable responses to strategic maneuvers or gambits. It is critical to understand this because if strategies are predictable then they can be managed. If a gambit such as “nibbling” for extras at the end of a negotiation is employed on you then you can request “trade-offs” to either stop it or get extras for yourself.

4. There are three critical factors to every negotiation: The understanding of power — Who has the power in the negotiation? Understanding this will help you in your strategies. Does the person you are dealing with have the power to make the decision? Are you in a weak negotiating position? If so, can you bring in factors or strategies that mitigate that?

The information factor — What the opponent wants, what they require, and understanding the elements about the object negotiated for are all informational items that are critical for a smooth negotiation or to use to your advantage.

The time element — Time is an important element to negotiation. If someone wants your product but is desperate because they need it quickly, it’s a big factor in the strength of your position. You know they have little time to compare other products. You can guarantee speed for more money.

5. People are different and have different personality styles that must be accounted for in negotiations. Strategies are affected by the people within the negotiation. If you play to the needs and desires of the person, you will be more successful in the negotiation.


Win-Win Negotiating

Understanding the underlying facts about negotiations gives you a base to work from in any negotiation, but win-win is a central theme that must be concentrated on. Keep in mind three simple rules:

1. Never narrow negotiations down to one issue. Doing so leaves the participants in the position of having a winner or a loser. When single-issue negotiations become a factor, broaden the scope of the negotiations. If immediate delivery is important to a customer and you can’t meet the schedule, maybe a partial shipment will resolve their problem while you produce the rest.

2. Never assume you know what the other party wants. What you think you are negotiating for may be totally different from what they are. You may be selling them on quality, when what they need is medium quality, low price and large volume. Always keep an eye on their wants and needs.

3. Understand that people are different and have different perspectives on negotiations. Some may want to negotiate and build a long term business relationship. Others may want the deal, and a handshake and it’s over. Price is generally an important factor but never assume that money is the only issue. Other issues can change the price they are willing to accept or the price you are willing to accept, like financing, quality, and speed.

The Negotiator

Let’s now direct our attention to the negotiator — You. To be a good negotiator requires five things:

1. Understand that negotiating is always a two-way affair — If you ignore that fact, you will ignore the needs of the other party and put a stake in the heart of the negotiation.

2. Desire to acquire the skills of negotiating — Negotiating is a learned activity. Constantly evaluate your performance and determine how you can improve.

3. Understand how the human factor and gambits affect negotiating — Knowing one gambit and using it always is not enough. It may not work on some people. They may have an affective counter to the gambit. Then you are lost or may not recognize tactics being used on you.

4. Be willing to practice — Pay attention to what you are doing during negotiations. Plan them and re-evaluate your performance. Prepare for negotiations by practicing with someone.

5. Desire to create Win-Win situations — You don’t want to negotiate with someone who only wants to destroy you. If you both win, a future deal is possible.

As you understand the rules and the process of negotiations, the stress, pressure and friction that currently get in your way will disappear. You will actually learn to enjoy the process.


Tips to Enhance Your Decision Making Batting Average

Just as people are different, so are their styles of decision making. Each person is a result of all of the decisions made in their life to date. Recognizing this, here are some tips to enhance your decision making batting average.

• Do not make decisions that are not yours to make.

• When making a decision you are simply choosing from among alternatives. You are not making a choice between right and wrong.

• Avoid snap decisions. Move fast on the reversible ones and slowly on the non-reversible.

• Choosing the right alternative at the wrong time is not any better than the wrong alternative at the right time, so make the decision while you still have time.

• Do your decision making on paper. Make notes and keep your ideas visible so you can consider all the relevant information in making this decision.

• Be sure to choose based on what is right, not who is right.

• Write down the pros and cons of a line of action. It clarifies your thinking and makes for a better decision.

• Make decisions as you go along. Do not let them accumulate. A backlog of many little decisions could be harder to deal with than one big and complex decision.

• Consider those affected by your decision. Whenever feasible, get them involved to increase their commitment.

• Recognize that you cannot know with 100% certainty that your decision is correct because the actions to implement it are to take place in the future. So make it and don’t worry about it.

• Use the OAR, O. A. R. approach in decision making. Look at O, Objectives you are seeking to attain, A, the Alternatives you sense are available to you and R, the risk of the alternative you are considering.

• It has been said that a decision should always be made at the lowest possible level and as close to the scene of action as possible. However, a decision should always be made at a level insuring that all activities and objectives affected are fully considered. The first rule tells us how far down a decision should be made. The second how far down it can be made.

• Remember that not making a decision is a decision not to take action.

• To be effective a manager must have the luxury of having the right to be wrong.

• Trust yourself to make a decision and then to be able to field the consequences appropriately.

• Don’t waste your time making decisions that do not have to be made.

• Determine alternative courses of action before gathering data.

• Before implementing what appears to be the best choice, assess the risk by asking “What can I think of that might go wrong with this alternative ?”

• Many decisions you make are unimportant-about 80% of them. Establish operating limits and let your secretary or others make them for you.

• Consider making the decision yourself in lieu of a group, but recognize the potential for less commitment by those affected.

• As part of your decision making process, always consider how the decision is to be implemented.

• As soon as you are aware that a decision will have to be made on a specific situation, review the facts at hand then set it aside. Let this incubate in your subconscious mind until it is time to finally make the decision.

• Once the decision has been made, don’t look back. Be aware of how it is currently affecting you and focus on your next move. Never regret a decision. It was the right thing to do at the time. Now focus on what is right at this time.

• Mentally rehearse implementation of your choice and reflect in your imagination what outcomes will result.

• Brainstorming alternative solutions with your staff or others will gain fresh ideas and commitment.

• Discontinue prolonged deliberation about your decision. Make it and carry it through.

• Once you have made the decision and have started what you are going to do, put the “what if’s” aside and do it with commitment.


How to Improve Your Delegation Skills

Derived from Latin, delegate means “to send from.” When delegating you are sending the work “from” you “to” someone else. Effective delegation will not only give you more time to work on your important opportunities, but you will also help others on your team learn new skills.

• Delegation helps people grow underneath you in an organization and thus pushes you even higher in management. It provides you with more time, and you will be able to take on higher priority projects.

• Delegate whole pieces or entire job pieces rather than simply tasks and activities.

• Clearly define what outcome is needed, then let individuals use some creative thinking of their own as to how to get to that outcome.

• Clearly define limits of authority that go with the delegated job. Can the person hire other people to work with them? Are there spending constraints?

• Clear standards of performance will help the person know when he or she is doing exactly what is expected.

• When on the receiving end of delegation, work to make your boss’ job easier and to get the boss promoted. This will enhance your promotability also.

• Assess routine activities in which you are involved. Can any of them be eliminated or delegated?

• Never underestimate a person’s potential. Delegate slightly more than you think the person is capable of handling. Expect them to succeed, and you will be pleasantly surprised more frequently than not.

• Expect completed staff work from the individuals reporting to you. That is, they will come to you giving you alternatives and suggestions when a problem exists rather than just saying “Boss, what should we do?”

• Do not avoid delegating something because you cannot give someone the entire project. Let the person start with a bite size piece, then after learning and doing that, they can accept larger pieces and larger areas of responsibility.

• Agree on a monitoring or measurement procedure that will keep you informed as to progress on this project because you are ultimately still responsible for it and need to know that it is progressing as it should. In other words-If you can’t measure it don’t delegate it.

• Keep your mind open to new ideas and ways of doing things. There just might be a better way than the way something has previously been done.

• Delegation is not giving an assignment. You are asking the person to accept responsibility for a project. They have the right to say no.

• Encourage your people to ask for parts of your job.

• Never take back a delegated item because you can do it better or faster. Help the other person learn to do it better.

• Agree on the frequency of feedback meetings or reports between yourself and the person to whom you are delegating. Good communication will assure ongoing success.

• Delegation strengthens your position. It shows you are doing your job as a manager-getting results with others. This makes you more promotable.

• Delegation is taking a risk that the other person might make a mistake, but people learn from mistakes and will be able to do it right the next time. Think back to a time a project was delegated to you and you messed it up. You also learned a valuable lesson.

• Find out what the talents and interests of your people are and you will be able to delegate more intelligently and effectively.

• A person will be more excited about doing a project when they came up with the idea of how to do it, than if the boss tells them how to do it.

• Be sensitive to upward delegation by your staff. When they ask you for a decision on their project, ask them to think about some alternatives which you will then discuss with them. This way responsibility for action stays with the staff member.

• Don’t do an activity that someone else would be willing to do for you if you would just ask them.

• “Push” responsibility down in a caring helpful way.

• Remember, you are not the only one that can accomplish an end result. Trust others to be capable of achieving it.

• Break large jobs into manageable pieces and delegate pieces to those who can do them more readily.

• Keep following up and following through until the entire project is done.

• Resist the urge to solve someone else’s problem. They need to learn for themselves. Give them suggestions and perhaps limits but let them take their own action.


How to Be More Effective and Organized

Achieving goals in an efficient way is possible when you are well-organized. Here are some ideas that will help you become more organized.

• Use a personal pocket calendar that you carry with you at all times to help keep yourself organized.

• Use check lists and check sheets regularly for those things which must be done in a correct way.

• Have different-colored checklists for easy identification.

• When people come back to you asking the same question they have asked several times before, ask them to set up a standard operating procedure by simply writing down the statement that you are to make about how the situation is to be handled. They can then keep that at their desk, and will not have to ask you about it in the future.

• Create a visible time line for key projects.

• Make a daily “to-do” list of activities that you must do and set priorities on it every day. Then do the activities in priority order.

• Use a tickler or follow-up file allowing you to file items until the day that you can act on them.

• Set up a system to handle repetitive tasks.

• Avoid over organizing to the point where your perfectionism interferes with your achieving results.

• Identify and post reorder quantities on office supplies to prevent running out completely.

• Carry 3×5 cards or a notebook or note paper or your pocket calendar to make notes of things that you would like to remember.

• When doing work on a computer, have a regular routine of backing up your work at least twice a day to ensure it does not get lost.

• Dictate your notes or thoughts for projects on a cassette, then either have it transcribed by your secretary or personally pay a student to do it for you.

• Work on only one item at a time.

• Keep only one project on your desk at a time to avoid distractions. Time is lost sorting through other items while you’re working on one.

• If you are working on several projects, keep each one in a clearly labeled file by itself so you do not have to look through a mixed project file to find things.

• Do not schedule every minute of the day; keep flexible for the unexpected items that will come up,

• When you sense things are out of control-STOP. Sit quietly, relax, re-establish priorities in writing, decide what action to take, then go again.

• Sit down and do all trivia in one sitting to get it over with.

• Build flexibility into your schedule by purposely overestimating the amount of time needed on each activity.

• Use a people page-a page that has an individual’s name at the top on which you write down the routine things you want to ask this individual. Then call this person once a day, or at most, twice to ask all the questions that have accumulated on the page.

• If you are responsible for several key projects, use project pages in your calendar or planner. Keep one page on each project. Whenever you think of something that is relevant to that project, jot it down on the appropriate page. This way you will be organizing your thoughts as you have them.

• Schedule a meeting with yourself every day. Then during this meeting work uninterrupted on your top priority project.

• Carry a project with you so when kept waiting in a doctor’s office, airport or on a bus, you can be productive.

• Before leaving the office at night, put the most important project for tomorrow on your desk. It will be there ready and waiting for you in the morning.

• Establish an efficient working routine that matches you and your job. Do a certain activity at the same time each day or on the same day every week.

• Organize items you reference frequently in a ring binder in protective plastic. It will enhance its usability and present ability to customers or to yourself.

• Keep a log of requests made. Be sure to note the day and hour they are to be completed.

• Each day make a Call-See-Do list. Who you should call. Who you should see, and what you should do.

• Consolidate support staff where possible. For example, typing staff could be reorganized into a pool to equalize their work loads.

• Create specific useful forms such as time sheets and other record keeping sheets that are helpful to a specific job, but do not bog down the people with redundant paperwork.

• Keep only one calendar and keep it with you at all times.

• Combine all personal and work related items into your one personal calendar.

• Gather all needed materials and supplies for a project. Then when you sit and do the project, you won’t have to run for this item or that item.

• Capture a few minutes from every activity you do. They accumulate to be extra time for your high priority projects.

• Use the computer where practical for reports and processing of information gathered.

• Instead of using a standard form it may pay off to make a customized form for a special customer. Assess the situation carefully.

• Trade days. Work on Saturday when it is quiet and take another day or two half days off.

• Implement flex time to help employee motivation.

• Once you are sure you are doing the most important thing, then ask yourself: “How can I do this more efficiently?”

• Use short, simple, written directions for routine procedures.

• Move your in-basket off the desk so it will not be a temptation or distraction.

• As things you must do come to mind, write them down in your pocket planner or calendar immediately so they do not get lost.

• Look for ways of automating office procedures.

• Work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. It gives you an extra day at home and better concentration at work.

• Use a steno pad to list thoughts, duties, interruptions or questions. Use a highlighter to cross them off as you deal with them.

• Keep a notebook with pages headed “Thanks giving,”

• “Christmas,” “Office party,” or the name of other special projects. Then when you think of something that must be done or bought, etc., you can jot it down on the appropriate page.

• Make up daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly lists of routine duties with blank spaces to fill in responsibilities and special duties.

• Group like tasks together to prevent job jumping and wasting time.

• Provide adequate private work space as well as central areas and conference space to maximize effectiveness.

• Buy ahead so you have supplies on hand.

• Ask people who are not closely involved with a problem or process how they think it could be done. You will get fresh ideas.

• Use the proper tools for the job even if you have to go out and purchase them.

• Develop personal systems that work for you, then follow them. Be sure to update them periodically.

• At night put classified material in a secure place. Do not leave it out where it might walk off.

• Clean your desk the last five minutes of the day and prepare it for getting started first thing in the morning.

• Keep papers you are not working on in the filing cabinet, not on your desk.

• Keep supplies and materials in a storage cabinet, not on your desk.

• Establish an organized filing system that anyone can use and see that things get into it immediately.

• Save simplistic, repetitious, routine, manual jobs, (folding papers, stuffing envelopes) for times when you choose to simply relax and chat with others, or listen to cassette tapes.

• List key activities on 3×5 cards, one to a card. Review them in priority sequence several times each day.

• Stick “Post-It-Notes” on projects to show status or progress of a project.

• Role model as an organized person. You will soon convince yourself.

• Devise a problem resolution log which keeps track of progress on solving problems within a department.

• Schedule a block of time to be dedicated to major projects.

• When you think other people might forget something important, use multiple reminders to jog their memory. Use such things as notes, lists, tickler reports, status reports, briefings, phone calls, special bulletins, and so forth.

• Look for two or more complementary activities that can be dovetailed and done at one time.

• When you receive a person’s business card, write notes about your encounter on the back of the card.


How to Improve Your Goal Setting Skills

Life is a journey. Not just any journey, but the most fantastic journey in the universe.

Life is a journey from where you are to where you want to be. You can choose your own destination. Not only that, you can choose how you are going to get there. Goal setting will help you end up where you want to be.

• When it comes to setting goals, start off with what’s important to you in life. Take out a sheet of paper. Sit quietly, and on that sheet of paper, brainstorm what you want to accomplish between now and the end of your life.

• Second step-use another sheet of paper, and this time consider yourself and your personal goals for the next 12 month period. Some key areas in which you might set personal goals include: family, personal growth, financial, health, social, career, hobbies, spiritual, and recreation. Write down the things that you plan to accomplish or achieve or attain during this one-year period?

• Now, as a third step, go back and compare the two goal lists you have made. Make sure that the items on your short-term list will, as you attain them, be helping you attain your long-term or lifetime goals. It is important that what you are doing short term is taking you in the right direction toward your lifetime goals. Please rewrite your short term goals now if you need to.

• As a next step, looking at the goals that are on your list at this time, if there are any that you are not willing to pay the price for, go ahead and cross them out, leaving only those items you are willing to cause to happen in your life. This does not necessarily mean you have the money or the other resources for attaining the goal right now. However, when you do have it, would you spend it on or trade it for the goals you have on your list?

• Now, on still another sheet of paper, create the job goals that are important to you during this upcoming 12-month period. Identify what outcomes you wish to attain or achieve during this one-year period in your specific area of responsibility and authority.

• Some key areas in which you might consider writing job goals, if you did not already, include: quality, quantity, cost control, cost improvement, equipment, procedures, training, sales, financial, and personnel.

• As a next step, look for the blending between your job or work goals and your personal goals. Anywhere you notice that you are attaining a goal on the job while at the same time you are attaining a personal goal, note this relationship: it is in these areas you will be most highly motivated.

• For each of the three lists that you have just created, take an additional sheet of paper and list the activities that you must do to attain the most important goal that you have on each of your lists.

• Now on another piece of paper titled “Things To-Do List” identify from the activities you just listed, the ones that you must do tomorrow to move you toward your most important goal.

• Rewrite your goals in these categories at least every three months.

• The only thing in life that is constant is the fact that everything is changing. It makes sense that our goals will change as we change.

• Recognize how focusing on what you do want, what you do intend to accomplish, also defines what you choose not to do in your life.

• Daily rewrite your list of “Things To-Do” after first reviewing your desired goals.

• Success is defined as “the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal.” If you are doing the things that are moving you toward the attainment of your goal, then you are “successful” even if you are not there yet.

• Every step along the way to achieving a goal is just as important as the last step.

• It is not the achieving of a goal that is so important, it is what you become in the process.

• Set goals with your family also. Help children learn this process early in life.

• Decide what you should be accomplishing and then stick to your knitting. Do not attempt to be or do all things for all people.

• Dreams and wishes are not goals until they are written as specific end results on paper.

• Written specific goals provide direction and focus to your activities. They become a road map to follow.

• Being busy with activities does not pay, only results do. As in baseball you only get points for getting to the goal of home plate. Just making it to the bases does not count.

• It has been said that the amount of information available to us is now doubling in less than 30 months. We must learn to focus on only what is truly important to our self and our job.

• Be sure the goals and activities that you are working for are yours and that you really want and desire to achieve them. The commitment is vital to your success in achieving them.

• When you have a goal that is exciting to you, the life energy flows through you. You are excited about accomplishing it because it is personally meaningful.

• Create a time line or matrix chart on which you display your goals visually and the dates when you will have them accomplished.

• Continually look for ways to integrate or blend personal and professional goals.

• Setting a goal, that you believe is unattainable will result in frustration. To be challenging and motivating, goals must be perceived as realistic and attainable.

• Those people with dreams are the ones most likely to experience them.

• Set goals carefully for you will attain them. This also means if you set none, you will attain that.

• Goals, when thoughtfully set, can provide strong motivational direction.

• Clear cut, understandable and realistic objectives leading to the goal help to maintain the sense of realism and the hope of attainment of the goal.

• Establish measurement criteria to monitor progressive movement toward your goal. Then you will experience progress.

• Set goals that you will be proud to have achieved, then sense your having completed them.

• Have a vision that you know is unquestionably right and you will be internally driven to achieve that vision.

• A goal is “reasonable” when you can see the entire process needed to get to its attainment.

• Good planning assists in sensing reasonableness of challenging goals.

• Use picture goals.

• Develop an emotional reason why you should attain your goal.


How To Improve Your Supervising and Leadership Skills

In organizations we must work with and for others. To be able to mutually achieve our goals we must be able to relate to others effectively. These ideas will help you be a better supervisor and leader.

• Catch people doing things right and then let them know that they are doing things right.

• Use feedback to stay informed about what other people are doing in your area of responsibility and authority.

• Have regular, focused meetings regarding the projects that you are responsible for.

• Provide adequate instructions. Time is lost if things are not done correctly.

• Train others to do jobs. You cannot do them all, nor can others do them if they have not been trained.

• Expect others to succeed. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you believe others are loyal, dedicated and doing a good job.

• Help others see how they will benefit from doing a job. This is when they truly become motivated.

• Do not avoid talking to a poor performer. It hurts them, the organization and yourself if the situation is not dealt with.

• Do not over control others. It is frustrating for them and time consuming for you.

• Focus on results, not on activities or personalities.

• Reward people for the results that they produce.

• Manage by walking around. See what people are doing and listen to what they have to say.

• Make quality an obsession, especially on smaller items.

• Send thank you notes and memos.

• Provide workers with open, direct, and immediate feedback on their actual performance as compared to expected performance and they tend to correct their own deficiencies.

• Practice naive listening. Don’t talk, just let people explain why they are doing the types of things that they are doing. You will learn many things.

• Manage by exception. When things are going well, leave them alone. When a problem occurs, then help.

• Never seek to place blame. Always focus on the problem.

• Never ignore a concern of one of your people. While it may seem trivial to you, to the other person it is a problem that will continue to destroy their train of thought.

• Make it a personal rule and a challenge to respond to someone within 24 hours of hearing their request.

• Keep memos on bulletin boards to a minimum. People will spend less time standing there reading.

• Give employees an opportunity to speak their opinions and suggestions without fear of ridicule or reprisal.

• When you are going to make a change that affects others, get them involved before making the actual change. This increases commitment to make the change work after it is implemented.

• Put key ideas on small posters to hang around the office.

• When the environment and your sincerity permit, give the person a hug or a touch.

• Employees are the only organization resource that can, with training, appreciate in value. All other resources depreciate.

• People want to be involved in something important. Give them a whole project or a significant piece of the project to work on.

• Have salary tied into performance appraisal and accomplishing of objectives.

• Consider sharing distasteful tasks to reduce resentment and hard feelings.

• Ask, “Will you please do this for me” instead of telling someone just to do it.

• Eliminate private secretaries in favor of shared secretaries in order to make it easier to even out the work load.

• If you give employees a basic employee handbook, you will not be interrupted with their questions.

• Pay attention to small details, the big ones are obvious and get taken care of.

• Stay open in your thinking. Be open to all new ideas. Do this and you will not be setting up barriers that do not exist.

• Avoid asking others to do trivial personal items for you.

• Say thank you to those with whom you associate.

• A warm smile and strong handshake break barriers.

• Smile. It helps you feel better and is contagious. The whole organization shudders when the boss is frowning. Likewise it smiles when the boss does.

• Keep things “light” and have fun rather than being too serious. Seriousness blocks productivity.

• In order to fly with the eagles you must “think lightly.”

• Work with each person to create standard operating procedures for their specific job. It will eliminate repetitious questions.

• Let people know why they are doing something. It then becomes more meaningful when they recognize their part in a greater vision.

• Provide soft, lively background music not slow and not rock.

• To get a disorganized coffee drinking crew started off more efficiently, begin each day with a 5 to 10 minute meeting just at starting time. They will be focused, set in the right direction and can get right to work.

• Practice the golden rule in business: Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you. Fairness will then be in your business.

• Practice the platinum rule in interpersonal relationships. It is “Do unto others, the way they want to be done unto.” They will be more apt to stay comfortable when interacting with us when we are able to do things their preferred way.

• Get others to commit to deadlines by asking, “When can you have that for me?”

• Nail down commitment by asking, “Do I have your word that you will have that for me then?”

• Set the stage for cooperation from others by:1) Introducing the idea; 2) Continual stimulation by talking about it; and 3) get others to make an investment by having them participate in the planning.

• If you are unable to reach agreement or get a commitment from another person in a meeting, agree to disagree, but summarize your understanding in a confirming memo.

• Giving people recognition generates energy within them. They will then direct that energy toward increased productivity.

• Tap the potential of those working for you by giving them opportunities to think things through for themselves instead of just telling them how to do something.

• Always give people the benefit of the doubt. They may not be the cause of a problem. The cause may be beyond their control.

• Admit it when you do not know the answer to a question posed by a staff member. Then challenge the staff person to research and decide what the best answer is. It will help this person grow.

• Be persistent and follow up.

• When you were away and some of your people did an exceptional job, call them at home in the evening when you find out and personally thank them for what they did instead of waiting until the next time you see them.

• If you know that a person will respond angrily to a particular comment, avoid bringing it up. It is nonproductive and bad for the relationship. In other words, “never kick a skunk.”

• When you appreciate what someone has done, let them know and put it in writing. This can then be added to their personnel file.

• Have an opinion survey done to determine how people view the organization. That way you can catch any problems while they are still small.

• Encourage periods of uninterrupted activity such as a daily quiet hour in your department or work group.

• When asking someone to do something, let them know what is in it for them and the organization. Do not focus just on what is in it for the organization and yourself.

• The boss is the strongest model the employees have. Be a positive model as people are watching to see how you behave. They will reflect this in their own behavior. Lead by example.

• Be a member of the 4 F club with others. Be seen as Fair, Firm, Friendly and having Foresight.

• Do not help others unless they need and ask for help.

• Encourage your people to come up with new ideas and ways to do things. Give them credit and recognition for the idea.

• If a new idea won’t work, at least praise the effort of the person so they will come up with future ideas.

• Once a month meet with each staff member to catch any problems or concerns the person may have as soon as possible before they become a crisis.

• Be the kind of a person that others want to help out and work for.

• Be flexible and do whatever it takes to get the job done. Remember it is results that count, not activities.

• Generally speaking, getting something done perfectly is usually not as important as getting it done. Perfection has a high cost and it may not be worth it.

• When giving or receiving information, don’t hurry. Take the time needed to truly understand. It prevents future problems and misunderstandings.

• Whenever you are having an important discussion with a person, before parting, set a specific follow-up date and time and write it in your calendar.

• Never criticize an employee in front of others. Have all discussions of a corrective nature in private.

• Hire people with specific skills and interests that match what the organization needs to have accomplished. The better the match, the better the productivity and the more motivated the person.

• Treat people as people-not things.

• Flaring in anger will drive others away. If not physically at least mentally,

• Keep a “warm fuzzy” file for each person a place to keep track of the things you have already complimented them for, and want to compliment them for.

• Have regular performance review and goal setting sessions with each of your employees at least every three months.

• Have regular “development discussions” with each of your people in which you discuss only how the individual may grow personally and how you and the organization may be able to support them in doing this.

• Low morale in workers may be an indication of the boss only talking about negative things or what’s wrong. Be sure to balance negative comments with more frequent positive comments.

• Let your people know you are there to help them not to harass them.

• Telling people what you plan to do, and when, can be a catalyst for getting objections and input which you might not otherwise receive.

• Form an action team to address people’s problems right away rather than letting things drag out and perhaps get worse.

• Instead of saying to another, “What can I do for you?” ask them “What can you do for me on this project?”

• Do not hold back from discussing the need to improve performance with one of your people.

• Encourage others to develop their plan of action and give you a detailed explanation.

• Encourage individuals to compete against themselves to achieve more. Let it be a personal challenge to become better as an individual-not competing with others but self.

• Check the ratio of positive comments to negative comments that you make to your people. Purposely make more positive comments.

• Demand accountability.

• Do things for others. They will be more willing to do things for you.

• Consider using time off as a reward for getting things done ahead of time.

• Set up an orientation training program for all new employees. It will help them learn their way around as well as teach them where things are kept and why.

• Stay informed of subordinates’ needs and interests. Projects can be more effectively designed and rotated when you are well informed.

• If individuals needs some encouragement in taking action, ask them, “What if…” questions to help them see what choices of action are available.

• Let people know that you know they can do it.

• Ask questions creatively so the action to be taken is suggested by the person who is to take it.

• Set up incentives that reward desired performance.

• Ask others for their estimate of how long it will take to do a project. When possible, agree and hold them accountable for that goal.

• Take on someone else’s routine so they can do what you need done without interruption.

• Just as with family members, break large chores up into small, fun activities and enjoy doing them with team members.

• Before an employee leaves on vacation agree on a “must do” list of activities to be completed.

• Do not be quick to judge others. Learn to listen carefully before coming to conclusions.

• Consider sharing ideas and responsibility with others rather than just getting someone to do it for you or just doing it yourself.

• Inspire others to new levels of achievement by using positive encouraging feedback and ideas.

• Don’t just ask someone who is busy to get things done for you; look for the busy person who is getting results. This is a doer, not simply a busy wheel spinner.

• Believe in the good of people.

• Do not be a “baby sitter” of others, constantly taking care of them and telling them what to do. Challenge them and help them learn to think and do things for themselves.

• Consider an incentive plan to reward productivity gains.

• Don’t do what you can get someone else to do by simply asking.

• Clearly communicate who you want to do what, by when and at what cost. Then identify who needs to know about it and when they are to be informed.

• For people you relate to regularly, keep a list of things you need to talk to the person about. Then when you meet with or call them, you can review all the items that have accumulated on your list.

• Recognize you are not the only one who can do a job right. Trust others to do things for you.

• Organize, deputize, supervise.

• Meditate for one minute before starting a new subject or project.

• Don’t worry about who gets the credit for completing a project. Focus on the task to be accomplished and do it.

• When credit is given to you for completion of a project, be sure to give it to all who were involved. This will nurture the relationships and provide motivation to support you in the future.

• Be sincerely interested in the people working for and with you.

• Help others recognize their own importance.

• Keep a list of birthdays, marriage and work anniversaries and other special dates. Provide recognition to your people on each of these dates. Mark your calendar prior to the actual date so you have time to prepare for it.


How To Improve Your Planning Skills

Planning is written about and talked about more than it is done. Here are some ideas that will encourage you to plan your activities in advance.

• Force yourself to plan.

• If you fail to plan, you are by default planning to fail.

• Schedule uninterrupted time every day to do your planning.

• Anticipate possible problems you could encounter in your project because of people, material, or mechanical failures. Purposely provide preventive actions and contingency plans in important high risk situations.

• When planning a project, plan in thinking time.

• Plan for tomorrow, tonight. Your subconscious will help organize while you sleep.

• Each day anticipate the sequence of activities that you will do to attain the objectives you are after.

• Think about your entire week. How will important projects be sequenced?

• Do your planning on paper to capture all of your ideas and to be sure none of them get lost. We can only work mentally with about seven pieces of information without losing some- thing. Write your thoughts down and you will be able to utilize everything you think of during your planning process.

• When developing a specific plan, list the activity steps individually on small pieces of paper and then sequence the pieces of paper. Then write the whole plan out in sequential order.

• If you must, leave your office and get away to do your planning in a quiet place where you can think.

• Don’t hurry the process. Something will get overlooked.

• When things go wrong, it can generally be traced back to a poor job of planning or failing to follow an existing plan.

• List key words that relate to a project. They will fit into and help you in planning. Keep records of how long it takes to do an activity. You can use this information for future scheduling.

• Take the first 10% of any time block and dedicate it to planning that block.

• Whether you call it planning time, thinking time, quiet time or meditation, the payoff in increased productivity is the same.

• Schedule one weekend away each quarter and make it a top priority. Mini-vacations are refreshing.

• Encourage your staff to create their own plan and then to explain it in detail to you.

• Sit quietly and mentally rehearse the steps in your plan. Use your imagination to visualize the steps being taken. You will sense where additional steps need to be added and will anticipate problems to prevent.

• Consider settling for 90% completion of 90% of the projects. The final 10% may not be worth the cost to attain them.

• Use the first 10 minutes of each day to plan or review your plan for the day.

• When starting a new project or activity, take a moment to quietly review, mentally, the steps you will follow.

• Set your own due dates for projects earlier than the actual deadline.

• Put schedules in writing. Publish them and then follow up with them.

• If you cannot identify the objectives and steps to take to get to a goal, it is “unrealistic.”

• Mentally organize before proceeding.

• Create and use Gantt charts.

• Create and use PERT charts.

• Stick Post-It-Notes on paperwork to indicate or highlight scheduling and due dates.

• Remember the 6 P’s of planning: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

• Schedule formal planning meetings with your staff regularly.


How To Improve Your Self Management Skills

You are responsible for everything that happens in your life. Learn to accept total responsibility for yourself. If you do not manage yourself, then you are letting others have control of your life. These tips will help “you” manage “you.”

• Look at every new opportunity as an exciting and new-life experience.

• If you catch yourself worrying about an upcoming task, go ahead and do it now so it no longer is a distraction.

• Get into the habit of finishing what you start.

• Give up “waiting time” forever. Have something with you at all times to work on. For example: plan your day, work on a report, or read a page from your book.

• Be a professional who exhibits self-confidence and self-assurance in your potential to complete any task.

• Avoid worry. The majority of the things you worry about never occur.

• Agree with yourself in advance that you will have a good attitude toward the upcoming task.

• Hire specialists to do those things you are not expert in.

• Take a chance-calculated risks pay off in entrepreneurial progress.

• Frequently ask, “Is what I am doing right now moving me toward my goals?”

• Plan the future, but live in the present.

• Make a list of your accomplishments as you go through the day-they are greater than you think.

• Keep a time log at least once every six months to determine exactly where your time is going.

• Do it right the first time and you will not have to take time later to fix it.

• Practice concentrating on your work, doing only one thing at a time.

• Accept responsibility for your job successes and failures. Do not look for a scapegoat.

• Do not view things you do as a “job.” View all activities as a challenge.

• Use your subconscious mind by telling it to do what you do want. Instead of telling yourself, “I can’t do that very well,” say, “I can do this very well.”

• Schedule several short vacations or long weekends-this creates positive deadlines by when you must have projects done.

• Develop a faster operating tempo or pace. Do things with a sense of urgency. Get over thinking you must do everything yourself.

• Take time to be quiet and reflective for a few minutes each day.

• Live effectiveness in everything you do rather then just sporadically applying time management techniques.

• Live in the Now. The current instant is the only time in which you have control-not the past, not the future, just now, in this instant.

• Recognize you control only 50% of a relationship and that is your half. If you are dissatisfied with what is going on, change what you are doing and saying.

• Give yourself points for completing tasks on your “to-do” list in priority order. When you reach 10 points, reward yourself.

• Carry a card with your goals written on it and review your goals at least three times a day.

• Act with enthusiasm in all that you do.

• Take time out to thank yourself for a good job.

• Practice your personal beliefs. It may be helpful each morning to take 15 minutes to gather your thoughts and say a prayer.

• Operate knowing that there is good in everything. Every cloud has a silver lining-look for it.

• Whenever you have an important thought that is not directly related to what you are working on, write it down. Then you will not forget it and you also will no longer be distracted by it.

• Make a commitment to show someone a specific accomplishment on a certain date. The added urgency will help you feel motivated to have it done.

• Reward yourself when you have successfully completed a high priority project.

• Instead of thinking about what you didn’t get done, recognize all you did get accomplished and reward yourself for having done the most important things.

• Keep a list of accomplishments as well as a list of “things to-do. You will learn just how much you do get done.

• Practice self determination, wanting to do it for yourself.

• Nothing takes the place of persistence. Practice “stick-to-it-iveness.”

• Get into the habit of writing down a person’s name-it will help you to remember it.

• Believe that you can be what you want to he.

• Operate on the philosophy that what we give out is what comes back to us.

• Occasionally, sit quietly and do a self-assessment of your skills and strengths.

• Praise yourself for your progress.

• Recognize not all days will go as you desire. Be kind to yourself on days when your self esteem is wavering. Remind yourself that you are good and can stand up to any obstacle.

• Never criticize yourself as having a weakness. There is no such thing. You are only talking about a present undeveloped skill or part of yourself that if you so chose, you can change. You do not have any weakness, only untapped potential.

• Check to be sure you do not fall into the activity trap of simply doing tasks without knowing to what greater good the task is designed to contribute.

• Be pleasant all the time-no matter what the situation.

• Life is what you perceive it to be. Do you see it as a bore or as an adventure?

• Recall what you were hired to do and make sure it happens.

• To get ahead in anything, operate in the “and then some” manner. Always do what is expected “and then some,” so what you give is always more than is expected by the other person.

• When working on a project that you can’t stand, do it for a few minutes at a time until you can’t stand it anymore. Then do something else and come back later for a few more minutes. Keep taking these bite size pieces until it is completely done.

• Look at what you do as an adventure. You can discover new things from this new perspective.

• Challenge yourself to do things differently than you have in the past. It provides new ideas and keeps you interested.

• Finish that last task you are working on before you go home; do not just leave it.

• Plan your day as you shower and dress in the morning. Keep a pad and pencil nearby to jot down ideas.

• Talk to yourself. Self talk using positive affirmations is something that is common among all great achievers. They convince themselves that they can accomplish their goals.

• Practice being punctual. Others will sense your professionalism.

• Plan, at least to a minimum, everything you undertake.

• Think it through, then do it.

• Think of your time as money. Are you getting a good return on the way you invest/spend it?

• Take some time, no matter how short, every day to do something you enjoy.

• Remember, if you think you can or you think you cannot, you are right.

• Use the self-fulfilling prophesy on yourself. Expect yourself to succeed.

• Doing gives you the power to do.

• Whenever you agree to get back to someone or complete a project, commit to a specific date by when you will have it done. and write this in your calendar immediately.

• Think in terms of long-term results.

• Create your own “motivation board” by putting up notes of things you need to do on a bulletin board or special wall space. It is an easily visible way to see what you need to work on. When an item is done, remove the note. Also keep your goals listed and pictured on your board.

• “Ninety percent of success in showing up.”

• Be open and ready to make adjustments as things change.

• Focus 100% of your attention on a project.

• Since your boss will be asking you for progress reports, from time to time, stay informed by asking your people for progress reports each day while you meet them in their office or work area.

• Hire an assistant to run small errands and cleanup paperwork, etc. Even if you pay them from your own pocket, it is a good investment because it increases your productivity.

• Enjoy your life and blessings. You could be worse off.

• Recognize that even though you say you are doing something for someone else, in reality you are doing it for yourself. Since you are doing it for yourself, you can also enjoy it more.

• Start each day with a smile.

• Your job reflects you. Can you take pride in it being well done, error free and on time?

• Do it right or do it wrong just do it!

• Compete with yourself to become a little better each time you do something. Achieve your potential.

• Streamline your daily routine to do the same thing at the same time in the same order. Periodically review for continued effectiveness and efficiently.

• When responsible for a project, become intensively involved with it.

• Tell someone else what you are doing to keep on schedule. It keeps you committed.

• Make each day the best day of the week.

• Network with others in the organization to stay informed of who is doing what, when, where, and for whom.

• Use even small “pockets of time” to make lists, write notes and consider ideas.

• Consciously decide what are some things you are NOT going to do.

• Be willing to ask that a staff meeting be called to clarify a specific issue.

• Purposely schedule something you enjoy between routine projects. It will help rejuvenate you.

• Schedule a block of time periodically to take a big bite out of a major project.

• Realize “energy begets energy.” Act and energy will flow.

• Time your routine activities such as telephone calls. Determine how you can “capture” some of the time and use it on other top priority activities.

• Be a “doer” not a “sitter.”

• Sense the pride you will feel when you have completed a project.

• “He who kills time buries opportunities.”

• Meditate according to your personal beliefs at the beginning of each day.

• Create the right “mind set” for success by adjusting your attitude for the upcoming project.

• Stay interested in what you are doing. Keep looking for what is interesting in your work. Change your perspective and look at it as someone outside your job would,

• Do not get hung-up on trivial details or tangents. Stay focused and moving.

• Always carry a pen or pencil and paper on which you can make notes.

• Do not accept calls for the first 15 minutes of the day while you prepare your daily strategy.

• Contemplating, meditating on, thinking about, or praying about the activities and success of the workday focuses energy toward that end result.

• Nest activities to available waiting time. Take a bite out of your elephant-sized project.

• Establish personal incentives and rewards to help maintain your own high enthusiasm and performance level. • Schedule formal planning meetings with your staff regularly.


Ten Things to Say or Do When a Prospective Customer Says No

Clarify the No.

“Is that no right now, no forever, or no I don’t like you?”

Identify the No.

“Most people say no to this product/service at first. Would youtell me which part you are saying no to?”

Accept the No.

“I understand completely. It worth thinking about first.”

Keep talking/listening.

“I accept your No, Bob. But can we discuss it/keep talking aboutyou?”

Ask a thinking question.

“Would you tell me where you want to be financially in 10 years, Bob?”

Ask an empathy question.

“Is it the price, Bob?

Ask a trick question.

“If I can completely resolve your concerns about this product/service,would you be inclined to buy?”

Ask for permission to ask again.

“OK, Bob, I hear you. Will you give me the option of letting you knowof any news regarding this product/service over the course of the next12 months?”

Get some other energy in there.

“Bob, would you find it helpful if I asked a happy customer of minecall you this week to share THEIR experience of this product/service?They won’t sell you; but you can ask any question of him/her.

Get permission to keep in touch.

May I send you my quarterly newsletter for a year?


Nine Ways to get free PR/media coverage for yourself or your business

I learned the following during a recent media blitz for We had over 100 media placements in 11 months.

Send out 1,000 press releases and/or press kits to everybody.

Include a great portrait photo and/or action shot of your product orservice. PROVE that it’s legitimate as best you can. The media WILLcover stuff as long as they aren’t afraid it will come back to makeTHEM look bad.

Focus on the benefits, novelty-ness, timeliness, newsworthiness of your product or service.

Don’t try to sell it! Tell it, instead. Stand in the shoes of the jaded/suspicious/bored person reading your press release/press kitand ask yourself how you can make THIS appealing to THEM! Give ita twist.

Create a STORY around your product or service.

Did you lose your shirt at something, but then CAME BACK to make alot of money? (turnaround…) Did you start to create one product,but ended up with another? (fate/chance…)

Link your product or service to something else that IS newsworthy.

For example, if the trend is entrepreneur ism/home based offices,what do YOU have or do that supports folks doing this?

Link your product to the Web/Internet.
Creating an online product/service, take an existing profession andmake it cyber-oriented one, etc.

Create controversy.
Sue somebody. Get sued by somebody. Challenge someone well known.
Go against the status quo; David vs Goliath, etc. Add your two centsworth to an existing controversy. Make fun of an institution/spoofthem. Call a press conference.

Give an award or give something away.
If you don’t have the credibility needed, create an “institution/organization” that will get it for you. Or give $1,000 to the local NEEDY/DESPERATE charity, etc. Give SOMETHING interesting away to a group that is INTERESTING.

Issue a report or survey or index/measure.
These work. And as an unusual example, create a HIGHLY VALUABLEmeasure of the human condition, like the Happiness Index or theMisery Index or SOMETHING that tells us more about ourselves in asurprising way. The nice thing about a survey/report/annual poolis that you’ll likely get lots of coverage out of it, perhaps evenlong term if it’s annual.

Help the reporters do their job.

Return their calls within an hour. Have background info on you oryour firm available for faxing. Answer their questions; don’t tryto convince them of anything. Be gracious but not too friendly.Always know the 3 major points that you want to get across and finda way to weave these in AS YOU ANSWER THEIR questions.


Ten Warnings of a Business Turnaround Situation

This is a checklist to identify warning signals that a businessis in or is heading towards a crisis state.

Cash flow problems

The business owner might not have a clear report on receivablesnor have a process for maximizing revenues. There could be delaysin paying bills and meeting salary and other expenses in a timelyfashion.

Lack of profitability

The business owner might not have set profitability goals and/ormight not be tracking profits. Or, these mechanisms could be inplace, but the business is just not profitable.

Issues Related to Products and Services

A successful business requires a clear definition of products andservices it offers. It is a warning if a business owner cannotclearly define the business, is not monitoring the shifting marketplacedemands, and is not offering highly marketable products and services.

Business Owner has Weak Personal Foundation

A business owner might have personal problems affecting his or herability to effectively manage the business.

Staffing Issues

The staff might exhibit low morale, the company might be losing itsbest people to competitors, or the overall work environment might notbe encouraging high productivity from its employees.

Customer Issues

It is a warning if the business owner cannot define the ideal customer.Other warnings are lack of effective communication channels with thecustomers, customer lawsuits, high volume of customer complaints, a lotof product returns, and low customer retention.

Business expansions or alliances that are creating problems.

A business might expand too quickly or into the wrong markets. Itmight form alliances with companies that are not a good match andwill not enhance profitability.

Lack of succession planning

A business might lack succession planning. This is a warning for familyowned and non family owned businesses.

Lack of business vision and/or mission

The lack of a business vision and/or mission might be evident in lackof teamwork or a weak company culture.

Lack of business growth

The lack of a business plan with clear cut goals could be the sourceof slow business growth and a strong warning that a turnaround strategyis needed


Ten Strategies To Increase Your Sales

When potential customers are shopping around, how can your products or services stand out? Try these 10 tips to increase your sales.

Begin by differentiating your services or products by who you and your company are.What differentiates you? More training, more experience, better methods,a better team? Come up with your key points.

If people can buy a similar product or service for less, be ready to overcome that obstacle.

Agree with the potential customer that they can buy for less but showthem that they may be comparing apples to oranges.

Sell based on value.Describe what they will get from your product or service.

Stress the quality of your product or service.

Point out what you are providing for the same investment as the competitor.

Talk about dependability.How long have you been in business? What’s your experience or background?How about testimonials and benefits?

Have some advantages that differentiate you.What can you provide that others don’t? Come up with something special orexclusive. Ask your customers what they might suggest.

Give outstanding follow-up services.Frequently, customers complain that after the sale, there is no follow-up.Differentiate yourself by providing a unique follow-up service. That alonewill be a refreshing change for customers!

Offer a money back guarantee.Great point for differentiation.

Take credit cards if most of your competitors don’t.

Target a niche that your competitor doesn’t sell to.

Want to be different – just sell to people that no one else has marketedto… it takes a bit of research but can really pay off


Ten Strategies To Building a Solid Business Partnership or Alliance

There can be disastrous results when care is not taken to build a solid foundation under which a new Business Partnership or Alliance can safely develop strength and stability.

This Top Ten list offers some basic stepsto consider when moving forward into a Business Partnership and Alliance,that can decrease the chances for negative results, and can increase thechance for a Successful Partnership to be established.

After choosing one another as potential partners, establish mutual ideas, goals, and philosophies operating in the team you are developing.

Look for enough compatibility to challenge and stimulate one another overtime, as well as the presence of mutual trust.

Choose a partner whose strengths complement the limits of the other partner, and vise versa.

Establish the project or core focus of the partnership that is being created.

Determine the kind of Partnership that will be created.

Will it be Equal, or possibly an Associate relationship, or any otherpossible combinations in between? Factors such as determining level offinancial risk, availability of time and energy for the project, andprior existence of any intellectual property tied to the project aresome key items to consider.

Hiring a Coach that has expertise in thisarea is recommended during the formative stages of the partnership, andat any time such support is needed in the future, in order to protectthe best interests for each partner involved.

Develop a sound financial compensation plan for profits received that both partners agree to in a signed document or contract.

Legal representation for the partnership may be appropriate at this juncture.

Determine what roles each partner will play during the course of the project, defined and clearly documented for future reference.

Be accountable to your role, until both partners change the structure ofroles established.

Create and support the intent to continually place a working plan into action,review the results of the action taken, and making expedientand necessary shifts that will support the health of the partnership overthe lifespan of the alliance.

If possible get the support of your immediate support system established before entering into partnership.

You will need to educate them about expenditures of time, money, energy andother resources that will be needed to successfully launch the project(s) yourpartnership represents.

Have planned, regularly schedule meetings on a weekly basis.

These meetings will be set up for the purpose of discussing the wins andchallenges, what’s working and what’s not, areas of discord and mutualplanning for future growth and expansion.

Set a minimum time period that both partners will agree to a “no exit” clause.New ventures take time to be planted, watered and nourished, weeded andultimately harvested.


Tips for getting FREE Publicity for your business

Getting your business mentioned in the press is an extremely good wayto achieve a positive image and attract new customers to your business.

Few things can give you as much credibility than as being recommendedby a major newspaper or magazine. But just how do you write a pressrelease that gets attention, and brings in results? Although I can’tguarantee that you’ll get media attention, I can tell you how you canincrease the odds of seeing your business in the real-world media.

What is a Press Release?

A press release is a document that is written out in a specific formatthat is used to pitch a reporter or editor or to make an announcementthat you believe is newsworthy.

The basic outline for a press release is as follows:



For Further Information Contact:
Full Name of Contact

Email Address

Direct Phone Number



Some City, Some State
— Date (i.e. January 27th, 2001)
— Introductoryparagraph that answers Who, When, Where, What and So What?

A second paragraph offering more information.

Third paragraph includes a quote that’s attributed to somebody important,for example: “It’s a revolutionary product,” says Joe Smith, CEO of BigCompany Inc.

Fourth paragraph includes some more information, perhaps another quote.

Fourth paragraph often includes history and background information aboutthe company.


The entire press release should be no more than 400 words, or one printedpage.

Five Things That You Must Do In Your Press Release

1. Make your press release newsworthy. Make sure that you have somethingto say that’ll be of interest to the readers of the publication thatyou’re sending the press release to.

Keep in mind that the media lovenews stories with a human side to them. Make your angle on the storyentertaining, interesting or newsworthy or don’t bother sending out apress release at all.

2. Target your releases. There’s no point in sending a press release aboutthe launch of your jewelry store to “Fishing World” magazine.

3. Use the proper press release format. Have a professional check thepress release for grammar and spelling.

4. Keep the press release concise. Get to the point in the first paragraph.Use clear, concise, vivid language. There’s no better way to get your storyignored than sending a lengthy release which doesn’t state it’s purpose(Who, When, Where, What) right upfront. Don’t fill the press release withbuzz-words, hyperbole and exaggerated claims.

5. Write an excellent headline. The headline is 90% of your press release.Here are a few headlines that worked extremely well

– I Can Help Anyone Find the Love of Their Life in 90 Days Or Less!

– Abraham Lincoln’s Office Is Being Given Away… For Free!

– Brooklyn Bridge Sold By New Jersey Man… For $14.95!

Write headlines that attract attention, stir emotion and create picturesin the mind of the reader.

More On Targeting

Be careful who you send your press release to. When compiling your own medialist don’t waste your time getting the email addresses or fax numbers ofevery newspaper and magazine in the country, just the ones who would beinterested in your story. Likewise, when you purchase a media list, don’tsend your press release to every contact. Take some time to filter out allthe ones who wouldn’t care about your press release, no matter how good it is.

How To Distribute Your Press Release

Where can you get the fax and email addresses for the media? right here!We’ve assembled for you two great free resources for getting publicity:

A. The Top 100 US Newspapers:

Use this resource if you are targeting a national market.

B. Directory of Local Daily and Weekly Newspapers

Use this resource if you are targeting a local market.


Articles by Meir Liraz, president of (, a free informational web site for entrepreneurs and small business owners that provides free guides and tips for starting, growing and managing a small business

(A really content rich site that is well worth a visit for common sense business strategies and advice – HM)


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