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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stand Out In A Crowd

Do an internet search for business coaches or internet marketers or network marketing coaches - or photographers - or caterers - or just about any business - and what will you find?  Lots of competition!  Each battling for their piece of the market pie.  Many of these businesses will struggle for months or years to get their businesses noticed and eventually, many will give up and quit.  But for those who learn how to stand out in a crowded market, the possibilities are truly endless.

How do you get noticed when there is so much marketing noise all around you?  You've got to find and hone in on those things that make your business different from all of the others.

What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?  Is it your over-the-top customer service?  Just last night my husband and I went out for dinner.  We have a street in our town called Restaurant Row - for good reason.  There are plenty of them located there!  I think every restaurant chain in the country has a location there. (Okay - that's probably a bit of an exaggeration.  But there are a lot of restaurants on Restaurant Row!).  Since none of them particularly stand out in the Restaurant Row crowd we tried one we hadn't been to yet for the first time.  The food was good but not spectacular.  The drinks were okay.  But the service?  Out of this world!  I worked as a waitress while in college so I feel pretty qualified to judge and I can sincerely say this was probably the best service I have ever had.  It was so good that my normally hard-to-please husband actually asked to speak to the manager so he could compliment our waiter.  Did the service set them apart from all the other restaurants? Definitely!  Will we eat there again?  Count on it!  Will we rave about them to our friends?  Absolutely!  Stellar customer service is definitely one way to stand out in any crowd!

What are some other ways to set yourself apart from the competition?  Does your business offer something the others don't?  Do you cater to a specialized market?  Are you the expert in your chosen field?  Do you go above and beyond most other businesses?  For example, last night when we mentioned it was our first visit, the restaurant gave us free appetizers AND a gift card to come back again.  No other restaurant has done that for us.  That was the icing on the cake.

Need some more ideas?  Do you offer an outstanding guarantee?  Can you do the job better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors?  How about giving back to your community?  I do much of my shopping from a particular business simply because they donate a percentage of their profits to my favorite charity.  How do you treat your customers after the sale?  My insurance agent sends me a birthday card every year.  I get Thank You cards periodically from my hairdresser - sometimes with a special offer.  My vet sends a sympathy card whenever we have to put a pet to sleep. 

It doesn't necessarily take a large amount of money to make yourself stand out in the crowd.  Find what makes your business unique.  Focus on it.  Market it. 

How do you make your business stand out?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Network Marketing Tip - Top 5 Network Marketing Business Building Tools

If you are new to network marketing, you have one question on your mind. How do I build my team? If you have been in network marketing for years, you have one question on your mind. How do I continue to build my team now that I've exhausted all my friends and family contacts? Here are 5 great resources that I have personally used to build my own downline - WITHOUT having to recruit friends or family!

1. Black Belt Recruiting - How to sponsor 20 reps a month with ANY company!

2. Building on a Budget - Generate leads and build ANY business, even if you are on a tight budget!

3. Magnetic Sponsoring Course - Free videos show you how you can literally have an endless new stream of distributors knocking on your door, ready to join!

4. MLM Traffic Formula - Learn how to use the power of the internet to generate free leads.

5. PPC Domination - Learn how to generate free leads using Google AdWords.

These are the tools I have used to build my network marketing business. Do you have a resource to recommend? Post it a comment and let other network marketers share in your success!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Tribute to My Daughters

Today is July 4.  Independence Day.  And I gave much thought to writing about freedom - freedom to make your own opportunity.  Freedom to live life on your terms.  But somehow everything I wrote sounded phony and contrived.

I turned on the television to watch some of the 4th of July festivities, hoping for a little inspiration.  And I did find one that stirred me.  It was a tribute to our service men and women.  Throughout the day, that was a theme I heard repeated.  That freedom isn't really free and that we need to express our appreciation to these heroes.  But as I kept hearing that message, I started to remember my own service days.  And I realized that I had not served so I could receive thanks and adulation.  I served because I believed in my country and what it stood for.  And I'm fairly certain that most of my fellow service men and women feel the same way.  Sure, it's nice to be appreciated.  But we all knew what we signed on for,  All we wanted was the acknowledgement of a job well done, respect for ourselves and the country we served, and the ability to pick up our lives when we returned to civilian life.

As I sat thinking about this, a commentator on the program I was watching stated almost my same thoughts.  And, he said, if anyone deserved praise and commendation, it wasn't necessarily the service member but instead the military spouse.  I was surprised to hear that comment and I gave it some thought.  After all, not only was once an active member of the Armed Forces, but I had also been a military spouse.  I kept the household running when my husband was deployed.  I wrote and called to encourage him while he was gone.  And I welcomed him back when he returned.  But he did much the same for me when it was the other way around.  We both knew what we had signed on for when we married.  We made the choice anyway.  We didn't feel like we needed praise.  Just some understanding and support when we needed it.  And respect - for us, for our spouse, and for our country.

But then it came to me.  There was a group of people who deserved all the admiration, appreciation, and praise we could give them.  They had not signed up for the military life willingly.  And yet they served every day.  I am talking about the children of military families.

And so, to my daughters, I want to pay a long overdue tribute.  Your mom was not always able to make it to field trips and concerts.  But you made sure Dad recorded them so I would not miss seeing you perform or hearing you sing.  Thank you.

For all of the holidays you celebrated with babysitters, nannies, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors because mom had duty that day - thank you.

For the many times you were uprooted from a school, a neighborhood, a city, a country where you had just settled in and made friends and a life - thank you.

For the many nights you lay awake missing your parents, wondering when they would come home, if they would come home - thank you.

For the hugs, kisses, cards, poems, pictures, stories and the many other countless ways you tried to cheer me up when I was lonely, or tired, or worried - thank you.

For all of the best friends, confidants, first loves, and companions you made, only to leave them behind with the next transfer - thank you.

When you were born, you signed on to a lifestyle that can often be challenging and sometimes even heartrending.  You weren't asked if you were ready.  You were not given the chance to say no.  And yet you went.  From base to base, duty station to duty station, from one town to another, country after country.  You learned to speak a smattering of many languages.  You learned new customs and tried new foods.  You made countless new friends around the world.  You became part of whatever community you were in.  And although there were moments when you were frustrated and even angry, most of the time you went with a smile, willing to face whatever new adventure was coming your way.

The television shows were right.  Freedom isn't free.  My daughters paid a price.    They served - right beside their father and mother. And they did it with pride, enthusiasm and grace.  Thank you girls.  We couldn't have done it without you. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to Get On The News Without Committing Murder

Well, she has done it again. My friend and mentor, Beverly Mahone, has written another fabulous book. When she first shared the title - "How to Get On The News Without Committing Murder" - I knew I had to have it. Bev is a PR genius! If she was going to share some tips, I wanted to know what they were.

When I was working as a "professional Girl Scout" (yes, there is such a thing) I handled much of the publicity for local events so I am not exactly a newbie when it comes to PR. But Bev taught me a thing or two in this book. In fact, she taught me 8 things. Her book contains 8 Killer Tips and each of them had at least one thing I found useful. Whether it was the list of journalists on Twitter (Killer Tip #5) or information on podcasting (Killer Tip #7), I finished the book armed with some new media savvy. If you have some PR experience, you, too, will still find helpful advice. If you are new to the world of publicity, this book is a must read!

In addition to her PR tips, Bev has also provided an invaluable list of resources. She leads you to the best press release sites, shows you places to post your teleseminars and workshops, and gives you a list of podcast directories. Just the resource list alone is worth the price of the book.

This book is simply brilliant. Bev tells you exactly what you need to know and shares her personal secrets on getting media attention. With all of the information she provides, she makes it easy to gain the publicity you need to shine the spotlight on yourself and your business. And now I'm off to look at the sites where I can post event announcements (Killer Tip #6). I have a teleseminar coming up soon and I'll be needing some publicity!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Know You Want To So Let's Make It Happen!

Let's get together at the big jvAlert Live Event. I'm going and I know that you want to go too, so let's make it happen.

http://jvAlertLive.com/?id=4345

If you can get there, it will be a "win-win" situation for both of us.


There's just nothing like meeting face to face and we can talk about all kinds of ways that we can work together.

Not only can we get together, but I have some great people to introduce you to.

So, what's holding you back?

Maybe it's the "boss." Everyone's got one for sure. Maybe the spouse or significant other?

Look I know the feeling, because I have someone that watches the purse strings pretty carefully too.

They want to know the bottom-line, which is ...

Money.

Ah yes, that money stuff! I've got a few opinions on that subject!

http://jvAlertLive.com/?id=4345

You can get all THREE days for only $695 with the Early-Bird Special. Compare that to other conference prices!

Ok, now that the money part is solved, what about the, "What am I supposed to do while you are off having fun at your conference!" objection.

No doubt about it, jvAlert Live is FUN!

So ...

Bring the spouse and kids for an adventure, while you write off your expenses as a business deduction!

Remember, the proceeds from a SINGLE joint venture could cover your costs.

Here's a quote from Jane Mark and Phil Basten to their newsletter subscribers talking about the results after they attended jvAlert Live!

=================

"We went down to Philadelphia to meet with a group of marketing experts just to brain storm, kick around ideas and make some lasting friends and Joint Ventures."

"To say it was prosperous would be an understatement. We have already made JV's deals from that event that made us over $25,000 in two weeks. Not a bad days work and that was only a start."

Jane Mark and Phil Basten

=================

No wonder they are coming back for more!

Check out all the details at:

http://jvAlertLive.com/?id=4345

See you there!

How To Write A Business Plan

When starting your own business, it is essential that you have a business plan. You wouldn't start on a trip without a map, would you? Why would you want to start a business without some idea of where you are going?

There are different ways to create your plan. There are several business plan software packages available to help you with the process. I have never used any of them, so I cannot recommend one in particular. I am more comfortable just creating my plan myself. If that interests you, then read on to see how I do it.

There is a suggested order to your business plan elements and I encourage you to learn it. If you ever decide to look for outside financing or a business partner, they will expect to see all of these elements. For my own use, I am not quite as formal. I will teach you everything, though, so you can get familiar with it.

The first part of your plan should always be an "Executive Summary". This is the who, what, when, where, and how of your marketing strategy. Although it is the first part of your written plan, it is typically created last, after all of your marketing analysis has been completed.

Yes, I said marketing analysis. You will need some information about your industry and your competitors before you launch your business. This should be the second part of your business plan. You will want to research the strengths and weaknesses of your industry as a whole, plus your competitors. You need to find out as much as you can about them. Trust me - if they are successful in the business, they know all about you!

The third part of your business plan should focus on your products or services and your target markets. Information such as target market demographics, industry trends, societal/cultural trends, and the needs/wants of your target market go here. If you don't know how or don't have the time to do this yourself, you can purchase the information. Again, I have never done so. My husband loves spending countless hours on the internet researching this stuff for me, and he works cheap so I let him do it!

Next you will want to outline your actual marketing strategy. How will you get the word out to your target markets? What promotional activities will you use? What type of marketing programs? Will you be strictly online or will you use some offline marketing? What pricing strategies will you use for each of your products/services? State your overall marketing objective and then describe how you are going to get there.

You will also need to describe how you are going to measure whether your strategies are succeeding. Most formal business plans include this information in a separate section. Since no one sees my business plan except me and my husband, I just include it with the information above. But you do want to describe how you will monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary.

The last part of your business plan is your forecast. This is where you will forecast your growth and financial analyses. Information to include: What does it cost to produce your product/service (including all overhead costs and other expenses)? How many of each product/service will you need to sell to make a profit? How long will it take to make a profit? What will you do if you don't sell enough? What will you do if you sell more than expected?

A business plan is essential for business success.  It's the road map that helps you get where you want to be.  It generally project 3-5 years ahead and outlines the steps you plan to take to build your business.  Follow the outline above, hire someone to help you, use an online template or a software package, check out the suggestions on the SBA.gov website - do whatever you need to.  But before you do anything else with your business, write your business plan.








Monday, July 1, 2013

Where Do I Find the Time?


Q. I have a full time job and an extremely busy life with 3 kids and my husband going back to school part time while still working his full time job. I want to start my own business - although I'm not sure which one yet - but I don't think I have the time. How can I make it work?

A. You DO have the time. You just may need to make some adjustments.

First, let's take a look at your expectations. If you think you are going to put in a couple of hours a week and yet be able to quit your job in 6 months, you need to adjust your expectations. That is just unrealistic. But if you and your husband are willing to continue to work your jobs and start your business part time, you can soon be bringing in a nice supplemental income while you continue to grow your business.

If you have decided that a part-time business is fine while you grow, then the next thing you may need to adjust is how you spend your time. Get a calendar for the month. Let's start with July since it's just getting started. First, pencil in your and your husband's work schedules. This is time that is already blocked and can't be used to grow your business. Next mark any other dates and times that are absolutely locked in - anything that can't be rescheduled or cancelled. Next, pick one day that is for you and your family. No work allowed. My day is Sunday. That's the day I very rarely do any type of work, but instead devote myself to church and family. Now look at your calendar. Allowing for sleep of course, the remaining hours are the times you have available to work your business. Start scheduling yourself some "appointments." These don't have to be real appointments to meet with someone, but I have learned that if you write down a commitment to do something and schedule a time to do it, you are much more likely to actually follow through. So let's say we skip our favorite Monday night TV show and use that hour to solidify your business concept. Tuesday night perhaps your husband doesn't have class but he's on the computer doing homework anyway so let's schedule him to register a domain name. Wednesday let's spend some time doing market research on your business. Thursday do a little research on your competitors. Friday attend a local business networking event. Saturday start building your online presence (website, social media, etc).  See?  By the end of the week you will have made significant progress towards starting your business.

My point is that in the beginning it's not so much the quantity of time spent as the consistency. Do a little something - ANYTHING - but do something every day to help your business grow. Read information about your industry, attend webinars, make a contact list of prospects, make a few phone calls, send some emails, mail a brochure, update your website. Every day do at least one thing to grow your business and you'll see that slowly but steadily, your business will grow, your income will grow and you WILL one day be able to take your part-time business to a full-time lifestyle. Good luck!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What Are Your Goals?

Did you know that less than 3% of people have written goals? Why? Studies have shown that the most successful people are the ones who have specific, written goals.  This is true in both your personal and your business life.  Perhaps most people don't have written goals because they don't understand how to set and use them. Since setting goals is one of the most important keys to achieving business success, let's learn how to use them wisely.

Setting a goal is not like a New Year's resolution. That is just a wish, an annual ritual we use to lull ourselves into thinking next year will be different. But just wishing and hoping for something isn't going to make it happen. You need to have a target to shoot for and a plan to get there. That's where goal setting comes in. 

When planning your goals, first establish the time frame. They could be lifetime goals, 10 year, 5 year, 1 year, 6 month, 3 month, 1 month or weekly goals. I have a 5 year plan and a yearly plan that I use to set up monthly goals. I also have ongoing goals, such as exercising 3 - 5 times a week.

Be specific when you write your goals. Don't just write down "I want to lose weight" or "I want to increase my client base." Write "I will lose 60 pounds by December 2013" or "I will have my new Training for Trainers website online by August 1, 2013" (which is actually MY newest goal!).   Make sure your goal statement is positive. Don't say, "I don't want to be fat." Say "I will be a healthy weight by July 2013."  Instead of saying "I don't want a job" say "I will start a home business by January 1, 2014."

The achievement of a worthwhile goal can seem overwhelming at first. The easiest way to proceed is to break your goal down into smaller steps. Start with the first step then move onto the next. When making your plans, a good way is to start is from the end part and work your way to the present.

Measure your progress. After you complete a step, check it off. Watching steady progress is a good motivator. For example, while working towards my weight loss goal, I can mark off milestones of 10 pounds or 20, 40, and finally 60!  Each day, as I build a page of my new website, I know I am one page closer to reaching my goal.

Don't be discouraged by setbacks. All successful people experience setbacks, disappointments, and failure along the way. That's just part of the process. That's part of learning. Many times these act as course corrections to get you back on target.

There are several success principles used in goal achievement. One is properly programming your mind. You need to review your goal morning and at night before you go to bed. Have your goal written on a 3 x 5 card so you can review during the day. At night, ask your subconscious mind for solutions to problems, and methods or tools for helping you achieve your goal.

Another important principle is that of persistence. No one has enjoyed great achievement without persistence. Do something everyday towards your goal. A day's action puts you one step closer to your objective. Doing something everyday creates a momentum that is hard to stop.

When it comes to achieving your goals, you need to think of yourself as an unstoppable force moving relentlessly toward your objective. Keep moving forward, one step at a time, and before you realize it, you will be marking another goal as "Accomplished!".