Have you ever had one of those days when your world feels a bit overwhelming? A few months ago I was in a place where I thought it might be better if I venture back into the Corporate world of working, getting a regular paycheck and having a conference room available if I needed to hide from the chaos of a busy day. I could take PTO time and get a paycheck if I needed a vacation, call in sick and still get paid and even go to the doctor when I needed to because it was part of a corporate wellness plan. Ahhh those were the days.
Heck, this entrepreneurial career path is not exactly what I was taught 6 years ago when I invested big bucks in a mentor who said "just dream it and you will achieve it". I believed him and drank his KoolAid on a regular basis. I've never dreamed so much in my life during the first few years during my mentorship. However, it seems that nothing I was dreaming about was coming true. Why? Because I was told to be someone I wasn't, speak like someone else would, and dress like a certain millionaire so I could achieve that goal too. It was a gut wrenching process because I forced myself to do things I wasn't comfortable doing. As I saw my life crumble around me and my soul starting to sour it was time to say enough is enough.
Lessons learned and things started to change for the better when I converted back to my gregarious self. I was listening to peoples needs, sharing personal experiences and loving all people for who they were. Becoming a mentor and a connector and using my God given talents in a natural setting helped open new doors and create healthy relationships. I'm on a continual path to learn more and become a better person and am confident that the path of entreprenuership will allow me to help more people.
So when you are ready to give up or throw in the towel on your dreams just remember that there are lessons to be learned and a life of positive experiences ahead of you. It's a great time to sit back and have some fun in your life. Just like I do once in a while with my kids. The picture attached is one that included silly string while I was on a conference call. They got me. Have fun while living life.
Be Real * Have Fun * Get a Mentor You Can Relate To * Keep Learning
According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, nearly 30% of small business owners have lowered their prices.
When setting your own prices, consider these ideas:
>> Be flexible – offer a wide variety of pricing options to win
over and keep risk-averse customers.
>> Customize – ask your clients what they need, and then change
your mix of offerings to emphasize the most affordable.
>> Target customers when they have the most cash – the first
week of the month after shoppers have received their pay checks
is usually the best time.
Source: Evans, Teri, “Slash & Earn,” BusinessWeek SmallBiz.
This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly, Direct Response Letter. www.bly.com
The Internet has really proven to be a great resource for local business owners, and many of them are just now discovering exactly how many customers it can send in their direction. One of the reasons why this is the case, is because people are now searching online for local businesses by name, or by what they have to offer. Along with that, many of them use social media networks regularly on their cell phones, and you can also use this to drive insane amounts of new and repeat business to your location.
One of the best ways for you to be able to do this is to simply ask your existing customers to follow you on one of the social networks, such as twitter or Facebook. Whenever they do this, it gives you the opportunity to market to them and to send them a message or update about your business. This can be a very powerful tool, and if used properly you can really fill your location with customers very quickly.
Something that you may want to consider, is running specials from time to time and contacting your customers through these social media networks. For example, if you run a small restaurant, you may want to have a special evening that is themed in some way or another in order to attract customers. By sending out a message on the social media networks about this special event, you will not only get visitors that will be attending it, you will also remind people to come by and visit you at any time.
Make sure that you are active on these social media networks, even when you're not sending out information that is specific to your business. This gives people the opportunity to form a bond with you, and a certain level of trust is also going to be achieved. When this takes place, people will feel as if you are talking to them directly, even if you have hundreds or perhaps thousands of followers.
Finally, try to get people interested and adding into the conversation whenever you are posting messages on Facebook. This helps to build your local network, as their friends who are also part of their network will see what they have to say. This is an excellent promotional tool, and it is one that should not be overlooked by any local business that would like to achieve higher numbers and to get more customers to come in their door regularly.
1.) Blogs – it seems that everybody is blogging nowadays, and not only does it help you to have a voice on the Internet, it is also an excellent way for you to be found. Many blogs are interlinked together through what is called RSS, and this can help people to hop from a related blogs over to yours. Simply by posting things that are related to your business, you can have inbound traffic.
2.) E-books – E-books have been around for quite some time, and that they are an excellent way for you to pull people into your website. One thing that you may want to do, is try putting out a free e-book that will be passed around. This form of viral marketing pulls people into your website, and once it gets started, it seems to take on a life of its own.
3.) Videos – The most popular type of websites that are online now are video websites. It seems that online video is here to stay, and you can grab a part of this with your own inbound marketing campaigns. Posting videos that are related to your niche on high-traffic video websites, such as YouTube will naturally pull people that are interested in what you have to say.
4.) Search Engine Optimization – This is the mother of all inbound marketing techniques online. By optimizing for keywords and keyword phrases that are related to your target audience, you can pull free traffic off of the search engines directly to your website. The people that tend to come from the search engines visit as a result of some very specific searches. This means that you have a hot audience from the start.
5.) Webinars – Holding an online seminar is also an excellent way to promote your service or product through inbound marketing. People love webinars, and even if they don’t make it to the actual event, you can post it on your website in recorded form and it will act as a form of inbound marketing for many years to come.
6.) RSS Feeds – You can use RSS feeds in order to pull traffic into your website, as they generally get posted throughout the Internet on related websites. Not only that, it many times acts as a form of inbound link which helps to boost your SEO and get you more free traffic from the search engines.
Even with all the technological advances that have come about in the past few decades, the business card is still a powerful way to communicate and network.
Elements of Good Business Card Design
The main thing you want to accomplish with your business card design is to stand out. If one attends many networking events they know just how many business cards people acquire.
Because a business card is a reminder of who one is, they will want to stand out among all the rest. One way to stand out is to change the shape of the card. There is no law that says that
business cards have to be 3" x 2." with the corners at sharp right angles. By simply rounding the corners it will make quite a difference. Another way to stand out are the elements that you put on the card. A humorous picture goes a long ways to eliciting a smile and reaction from those that receive the card. A funny tagline always makes a business card memorable.
Even changing your professional title can help. Small business owners and entrepreneurs should use something other than president or CEO. Be creative, even self-deprecating. Consider Yahoo, a large billion-dollar company and the founders refer to themselves as Chief Yahoo. Still, there are professions where comical or whimsical business cards are not well-suited. In cases like lawyers or morticians, the best tip for good business card design is to go minimal. Use plain text and offer as little as possible. Some business professionals could get away with just a name and phone number. For more information place only the name and title on the front, then put additional information on the back. This is a good way to get an initial impression from a minimal design, while still offering plenty of information about one's business.
Always Leave Room For Notes
A person should have plenty of room on their card to personalize it. Good networkers know to always personalize a business card with a note of some sort, like providing their cellphone
number. Handwriting something turns a business card into a personal note which has a higher value. Again the personalized business card will stand out among any others a person may
Of course, if a person is not using the back of their business card it is all the room they will need. On the other hand should someone decide to use the front and back, there should be
plenty of room somewhere to write a note. Just make sure that the note space has a white or very light background to contrast against the ink of the pen for maximum readability.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Design
Before shipping off business cards design to the printer you want to make sure and check just how effective the design of your card is. The best way to measure effectiveness is to print them out on your home or office printer. Then show the design to friends, colleagues, and family to get an opinion. However, what you really want to look for is for their initial reaction. If they do not react to your card you probably want to go back and re-work your design. After all, with the people that you meet you want to get their attention and remember you, the business card should be helping you do that.