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BIZ TIPS

 

TOPICS:
Advertising    
Business Planning
Customer Service
E-Mail Etiquette
Financial
Home Based Business
Image
Insurance
International Business
Law
Marketing
Organizing
Problem Solving
Sales    
Say Thank You 
Time Management
Twitter
Venture Capital
 

   

Advertising     

Improve the response to your advertising,
by Kindra Deloit, Advertising Consultant

Quiz:  Which headline has the most appeal?

  (a)  "Request Terry Hanmper's new FREE vitamin samples"
  Or 
  (b)  "I love Terry Hanmper's new FREE vitamin samples -- you will, too!"

Most people would choose (b).

You'll usually get higher response from an ad with a personal endorsement.  Try it!

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Business Planning  

Two reasons to write your business plan:
STUDIES SHOW:
85% of the people that do not take the time to plan their businesses or career will not reach their desired level of success or will fail altogether.   Of those that do take the time to write their plan, 85% will succeed.

STUDIES SHOW:
40% of people with a strategic plan will double their income and profits within two years of writing their plan.
With a strategic plan, greater than 70% of these people will exceed their own expectations within the next 5 years regardless of economic conditions.

    

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. " ~ Wayne Gretzky

 

 

    



Analyze Failure,
provided by Mark Tinyer, Research Statistician

A "failure" can be a good thing.  If a project flops, take time to analyze before moving on. Rather than assigning blame, re-examine the failure.  Determine it's cause.  Was it insufficient planning? Was it poor timing? Was it insufficient research? Was it insufficient resources?  Was it erroneous data?
Don't let yourself jump to conclusions.  Allow yourself to get all the facts , so you can make a well-founded decision on the actual outcome of the project.  You may find some efforts in your project were useful or correct, however, most of all, with proper analysis, you will gain a valuable learning experience.  

    

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Question Advice,
by Sumner M. Davenport, Results Coach
Many entrepreneurs get caught in a trap of taking advice that doesn’t serve their business in the best way.  When seeking advice for your business consider the following:
Be aware of people who have something to gain from their advice.  As example, a website designer working with one specific hosting company will only give hosting and web advice relating to that one company; a corporate attorney will almost always suggest you incorporate rahter than another form of business entity (hence the name corporate attorney); An enrolled agent accountant, a CPA and a Tax attorney may all three give you different advice on a tax matter; a newspaper representative will tell you that their newspaper advertising is the best. Who's right?  Perhaps they all are. You only know if advice is right for you when you ask the important question - WHY?

In having someone explain their advice and why they think it applies to your business, will you gain the information you need in order to make an intelligent decision.

Wishing you awesome and continued success.

 

 

 

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Customer Service     

Four important C's of Business,
submitted by Heidi Prince, Business Consultant
1. Compliment - When you have received good service or product, it is to everyone's benefit when you give a compliment.  So few people hear a sincere Thank you" these days, that yours will be remembered 
2. Complain - It is also to everyone's benefit when you pass on a complaint when service or product is bad.  The complaint needs to go to the top management or owner for best receptivity.  Successful companies listen and respond.  If they don't know it's broke they can’t fix it.
3. Continue - When you hear a compliment on your product or service, continue doing what earned the praise.
4. Correct - Companies that succeed, learn to correct the problems that cause unsatisfied customers.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Respond Quickly
,
by Joann Chevron, Customer Service Consultant

No one likes to feel ignored - especially customers. 

When a customer calls, send you a letter or email, your best response is the quickest.  The best rule is to return all messages and respond to letters within the same day.

Most people want to know their communication was received and acknowledged.  The answer to their question or solution to their problem is secondary.  Take time to respond to your customers initial contact, even if the answer needs to be: "I’ll get back to you with the full information/solution".  Quick response to their initial communication, will prevent additional upsets, and many times give you the time you need to gather your information for complete response.

 

   

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Take Care of Your Customers,
by Monica Fryer, Customer Service Consultant

But only if you want more.

Too many people make the mistake of ignoring their customer when a problem occurs and a complaint arises.  Many independent salespeople erroneously feel the customer can deal with the company themselves.  If that is true, then why do they need you?

Customers remember how you come through in service, long after the sale was made.  When you respond quickly to a customer complaint or problem, and get involved to find the solution They will remember you with more business and referrals.  Ignoring a customer not only loses that customer, but everyone they know.

How do you want to grow your business?  With satisfied customers sending referrals or always struggling to overcome a reputation for bad service?

 

 

 

 

 

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E-mail Etiquette

When sending business emails, remember to put your business signature on the bottom of your email.  You should have your company name, web address, and phone number at the bottom of every email, so your recipient can contact you easily

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Financial    

Be Wary of Paying Taxes with Credit Cards,
By Tricia Biner, Tax Attorney

You will have more chances next year to use your credit card to pay your taxes.  But before you take Uncle Sam up on his offer, be aware that there are hidden costs that can make this very expensive for you. In 2000The IRS began accepting American Express, Discover and MasterCard for tax returns with a balance due. You are also allowed to use credit cards to pay estimated tax balances and projected balances on automatic extension requests. If you are planning to use your credit card, it will cost about 2.4% of the balance due.  So you might want to re-consider if this is the most economical method for you to use, especially if you have a large tax bill.  Plus, consider the additional credit card charges if you don't pay off the balance each month. The law requires that private firms handle the collections, so the IRS may not be totally up front about these fees when accepting your credit cards for payment. Best solution - discuss it with your Accountant and chose the best and most financially efficient method for your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Little known secret on how to get your loan approved
Before filling out that loan application get a copy of your credit report. Clear up any errors and correct any questionable or negative accounts. If you've been turned down for a loan because of your credit report, you can obtain a free copy within 30 days of being denied credit.
 

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Home Based Business     

Even the best workers may find it hard to cope with the distractions of working from home -- television, kids, food, pets, etc.  Tell participants, in advance, how their work will be measured and evaluated.  Then you'll need to find the right balance -- making sure they get the work done, without breathing down their necks.

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Image     

7 Seconds,
by Bunny Vreeland, Ph.D. Certified Professional Image Consultant; Registered Certified Hypnotherapist
The Impact we make on each other depends:
    55% on how we look and behave.
    38% on how we speak.
    7% on what we say.
Quote from Silent Messages Professor Albert Mehrabian

Others judge us within the first 7 seconds. They decide on our background, education, socio-economic status, if they like us, want to do business with us or socialize with us and all based on 7 seconds!  No, it isn’t fair, but it is true. Today's concern with appearance is at an all time high.  Here are three main reasons;
    1.  We have increased mobility. Most of us move or change jobs more frequently than out parents did and, as a result, we are continually having to re-establish our identities with new people in new environments.
    2.  The impact of the media. Television, especially, has had a profound impact on our ability to form judgments in all things visual.
    3.  The changing role of woman. Where women once had a more stereotypical role, their lives are becoming more and more diverse. Advice and role models abound. Women have many more choices to act on then they ever have. 

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Insurance  

Home Office Coverage
 by Valerie Schields, Financial Planner

Many small businesses are currently being run at home. Many times a separate room is designated, and should be for tax purposes.  Many times the Home Office Business Owner neglects to consider the appropriate insurance  to cover their business.  A Home office may need an insurance policy that is separate from the one covering the rest of the house.  A typical homeowners policy usually does not cover more than $2500 in equipment.  Office equipment such as computers, copiers, fax machines and printers, plus valuable files may add up to more than your homeowner policy covers. If you are running a full time business from your home, it is suggested that you talk to your insurance agent regarding a policy rider to cover the business.  This rider is usually very inexpensive ($200 average), and you will appreciate its value should the need arise.

   

International Business

Make sure international payments are made in U.S. funds. The currency conversion might otherwise be costly and slow down your actual receipt of funds. You can make sure payments are sent to you as U.S. funds from a U.S. bank.

The best way to figure out if your check is drawn on a U>S Bank is to look at the bottom of the check for the 9-digit ABA routing number. If it's there you're probably receiving U.S. funds. If you don't know what an ABA routing number is you can visit the American Bankers Association at http://www.aba.com to find lists of publications that give the details.

   

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Marketing    

Where to Find New Business,
by Kellie Barbar, Marketing Coach

Along with the perks of being your own boss, and having charge of your won business, is the never-ending challenge of finding new business.

The following methods work:

1. Referrals:  ASK your current customers for names and phone numbers of people they recommend or ASK them to call these people for you.  If they are satisfied with your service/product, they will be happy to refer you.   (Note: You must ASK)

2. Network and Socialize:  Meet people in face-to-face business settings.  Make a plan, and make these gatherings a BUSINESS  focus for you rather than a social chat.  Save the conversation about the weather for another time.

3. Use the Media: Work with someone or become educated on how to write and send out press releases.  These keep the media alert of you and the changes in your business. You may be surprises to learn that there is a great deal of information in the business sections of local newspapers that is not paid advertising.  It is information gathered from press releases and it is printed for free.

4.  Get Online:  Get a presence on the Web.  If not your own web page, get a page on a small business web page with a link to your email address.  Many web pages offer links, banners and small business advertising.

   

 

Private Practice Marketing on a budget: attract new clients and prospects

   

Market yourself as a published author

 

Envision new Ideas
by Sumner M. Davenport, Coach

Times have changed, our customers have changed and the old way of doing things does not fit the new emerging opportunities. it's time to think outside the box.

Start by erasing your mind of how everyone else is doing it   Let go of the ideas of  how they are getting rich, how they are marketing their product,, etc.  Start writing your own vision. 

Start envisioning your success, and think of new and exciting ways to get attention, produce and promote a product, make a difference - from your unique position.  Focus on your talents, your experience, your expertise and you can make a difference in the marketplace. 

   

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Speak up!
By Precilla Kaven, Professional Speakers Agent

Look for opportunities to speak to groups.  Many charity and civic groups are looking for speakers at their business meetings.  They usually don't pay for these speakers, however, the exposure is worth the time. 

To get the most from speaking for free:
1.   Choose the groups that have the best target audience for your business
2.   Prepare a short introduction that can be used by the group in their advertising or when introducing you before your speech.  This way they can deliver information about you that is important for prospects to know.  By having this information delivered prior to your presentation, it gives more time to your presentation. 
3.   Prepare your entire “speaking time" in advance.  Your “speaking time" includes your networking before and after your presentation.
4.   Practice! Practice! Practice!  Make sure you sound casual and confident in your presentation as well as your networking
5.   Listen! Listen to what others have to say.  You will learn who is your best potential client by listening, especially before and after your presentation
6.  Follow-up

   

Query Your Customers
by Sumner M. Davenport, Entrepreneur Coach

Many small businesses feel that establishing and keeping customers is the most difficult part of their business.  They are constantly trying to discover what their prospect and customer wants. The best way to understand your customer is to ask them.  Always take time to ask a customer why they bought.  Ask customers that have left you to tell you why.  If you asked them why they bought when they first became a customer, they will be more likely to tell you why they quit.  Some of the feedback you get will be valuable for the growth of your business.  Other feed back will show you how to define your target market.  Even when customers leave, it isn’t always for a bad reason.  Finding out why helps you to know you are still doing a good job.

   

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Keep Your Name in their Face, 
By Michelle Green, Lasting Impressions

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your customers or prospects think of you every day.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have your number handy when they want to call you?  Wouldn’t it be nice to know how?
it's easy, it's simple and it can be inexpensive.
Promotional Items also now as Advertising specialties.
But before you rush out and buy 100 pens to give away, start with a plan.
Who is your target market?  What impact do you want to make with a promotional item?  What image do you want to project?  What is your budget?  What will you follow-up with?
Don't make the mistake of buying “trinkets" and giving them away like candy. 
Make a plan, and make the promotional items work for you.

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Organizing    

Organizing Habits
Submitted by 2009 is Mine - Now!

  • Start right away to create a new habit of being organized - it won't happen on its own.

  • Write a plan, and book it into your appointment calendar. Make your appointments with yourself a priority.

  • To get on track, avoid promising yourself that you will do it all in one day. Most people will become overwhelmed and give up in the process. Instead spend a few minutes every day to sort, file and discard. Choose one location to clean and organize at a time, ie: closets, desk.

  • Create a filing system that works for you using hanging folders with plastic tabs (e.g., Pendaflex) for papers

  • Stop creating more paperwork. Scan necessary paperwork into your computer files and keep it there until you need a printed copy for immediate use. Only print reports when you need them in physical form. (the exception to this is legal documents where the original is essential. In those cases set up your filing to keep them organized. )

  • When organizing and sorting through your papers and other items, ask yourself - when was the last time I used this or needed this? How important is it for me to keep? What is the worst that can happen if I get rid of it. If it is essential to keep, set up its perfect place to be and put it there now.

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Thank You


Remember to say "Thank You" to your customers and do it personally.
submitted by Thank and Grow Richer

The two points of this tip are equally important. Your business with your customers is a relationship, no different than your relationship with friends that you want to keep in your life.

Like anyone else, your customers need to know that they are appreciated. This is more than a quick email with two short words. Your customers will notice the attention you give to the thank you as part of its sincerity.

Instead of an email - call them. Your voice will deliver the message with more sincerity than your keyboard. If they only have one second to find out the reason for your call, your message will stay in their mind much longer.

Use the old fashioned way - send them a handwritten note. Mail is personal., And it can't be overlooked. Even if the envelope gets put in the pile of other papers on their desk, it will eventually be found. And most likely at the right moment. Just seeing the envelope, before ever opening it to read the message, they already know your message and you are different.

Do it soon and do it often. Would you rather be thanked the next day or next year for something you did for someone? And would one "thank you" carry you for the lifetime of your relationship?

When you show your customers that you appreciate them, they will return the appreciation as a loyal customer.

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Time Management    

Five Time Management Tips
By Sandra Palmer, Efficiency Consultant

    1 - Close your office door when you want to think strategically.  Even when working at home alone, this action creates an environment of focus.
    2  - Limit duration of phone calls.  Decide in advance how much time you have available for the phone call.  Set a time and stay with it.
    3 - Read only business related emails, regular mail, notes and faxes during prime business hours.  Save all personal correspondence for after “money Making" prime business hours
    4 - Plan all appointments in advance (1) How much time is necessary (2) What do you want to accomplish (3) What materials do you need to have with you (Begin collecting these materials as your work, and placing them in a convenient place, you can easily access just before the meeting , or in your briefcase if the meeting is out of your office) 
    5 - Get Organized.  It takes less time to find notes, materials and communications when you have a specific place for them.  Pondering and searching are two big time wasters.

Article excerpt by Sandra Palmer Submitted with permission to post

   

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Start New Habits
Submitted by 2009 is Mine - Now!

  • Create a filing system that works for you using hanging folders with plastic tabs (e.g., Pendaflex) for papers

  • When you print a report or notes, set your print options to print the entire file location at the bottom of the page. This saves time hunting for the file on your computer and can prevent reprinting the same information over and again.

  • Handle paper once - when you pick up a paper from your desk, or incoming mail - file it appropriately the first time. This way when you need it, it will be where you can find it without searching.

 

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Twitter

Our favorite people to follow:

http://twitter.com/wholefoods - posts updates about store activities, foods, etc. Personally responds by direct message to many of the tweets and feedback received.

http://twitter.com/tinafey - Humorous food for thought.

http://www.twitter.com/grader Find out how effective you are on Twitter

http://twitter.com/andrew303 Posts tweets with good info, creating an interest to click the link

 

 

Venture Capital

When making presentations to Venture Capital prospects - start simple and whet their appetite for more. When you've captured their interest give your best presentation with the answers to their questions especially what's in it for them.

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