Time Is Money: Inspiration From a Piece of Art

Some time ago, while on our annual trek to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Vermont, DH and I stopped at a glass blowing studio / shop.

One piece in particular caught my eye. The artist named it “Time is Money”, shredded some bills and then created the glass blown hourglass around it.

While, from a pure business sense, it's true that time is money, it's also true that time is a resource (in this case like money) that can be invested, squandered or cherished in how we used it.

When you walked into your office this morning, did you sit down and get started on your top priority of the day or did you open email or your Facebook account and allow others' agendas to take precedence over your own?

Or, do you have a routine, a ritual that you follow each day, week, month and year? If you're not getting the results (whether in business or life) that you're looking for, it's probably because you're following the same routine.

Time to shake things up a bit.

You've likely been told that it's important to have goals and, even more importantly, that those goals should be written.

Goals for the sake of goals alone however are not going to result in things happening, in things actually getting accomplished.

What would happen if you started looking at your goals as a piece of the whole?

For example:

• What's your mission? Your true mission, that thing which you want more than anything (even if it feels selfish)?
• What purpose does your mission serve? It only needs to matter to you.
• What impact do you want to have (for yourself and / or others) that will support that purpose?
• What specific goals do you need to have to have the impact you're reaching for?
• What do your priorities need to be to attain those goals?
• What specific activities need completing to achieve your priorities?

Can you see how we start with our mission and then reverse engineer all the steps down to the activities we need to accomplish today, this week, this month …

Now that you have that in line, a lesson from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

1. Draw 4 quadrants on a piece of paper (or use a table to do in MS Word or Mac Pages)

2. Label them as shown below

To achieve your goals, most of your time will be sent working on items that fall into the “Important – Not Urgent” quadrant as this is where you have the best chance of spotting opportunities as you make things happen.

Items in “Important – Urgent” and “Not Important – Urgent” are typically the result of others pulling you away from your agenda.

Tasks which fall in the “Not Important – Not Urgent” quadrant essentially amount to busywork and should be avoided / delegated as much as possible, and never, ever given your attention during your peak productivity times.

3. When unsure of what to work on, first check in with the “Mission Roll-up” above, then refer back to these quadrants and ask yourself “Where does X fall?” and make your decision from a place of conscious choice rather than routine or knee jerk reactions.

Imagine what a difference it would make if the majority of every day you focused on those things which would bring your dreams to life.

“What are some of your favorite time management and productivity strategies? Please share below.”

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Why You Should Form an Entity?

I hear people ask this question, why should I form an entity? There are major advantages to forming an entity. When your form an entity or corporation your building a wall between yourself and your business. There are many current Business owners that operate as a Sole Proprietors which essential puts everything you own personally at risk. Many times Sole Proprietors think that because they have a Tax ID number and a business license that they have nothing to worry about if they get bought into court. Not having a solid wall in place to act as a shield for your personal life will certainly burn you every time if something were to happen. If you have an Entity in place and you have set yourself up properly you have nothing personally to worry about. Let's me explain more about that.

If you plan to set your entity up in your home state, that is where you live, you need to make sure to do a few things. Set your entity up with your Secretary Of State office. Speak to your local experts on what entity to set up for your business. You can set up an LLC or S-Corp to act as flow through entities for your taxes. Once you have established your structure then get your EIN number, business license if needed, state license if needed. Make sure again to check with you local business organizations to see what licensing is required for your business in your county.

Lots of people have heard the story of setting your Entity up in Delaware or Nevada for “better” protection. There are several Fortune 500 companies who set up their entity in Delaware due to the Business Court being established there. If you're living in Utah and your entity was formed in Delaware you need to take addition steps to protect yourself. You need to foreign file your entity from Delaware to Utah using the proper forms provided by your secretary of state (s) offices to be fully compliant. If your entity is not properly filed from your incorporating state to your current staying state you stand to have no protection with your corporate veil.

Whatever roads you're traveling down make sure your protection is in place. Do not risk your family life and all the hard things you worked for. Make sure to put the proper walls in place so when something does happen you're protected. It's important to know what avenues to take when setting up your entity always seek expert advice. Do not go at it alone. There are many people who think they know but when you ask the right questions you quickly realize things are not always what they appear to be.

Regards-

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Booklet Tips – Producers Not End-Users

The end-user is your buyer when you focus only on single-copy sales of your tips booklet or any other form of your content. It's a different story when your attention is primarily on large quantity sales to companies, associations, educational institutions, and the military and the decision makers in each of those environments. They want to reach the same end-user as you do, though the path they take is other than the one you take, and for reasons that serve them and extremely you best.

Here are typical situations where it makes good sense to approach the producer to suggest they invest in large quantities at a time. You'll see ways those producers can use your booklets or other formats of your content by distributing it to the end-user. In each case it is added value for the producer, in one way or another, extending their reach and / or their bottom line, while keeping you in front of both the end-user and the producer beyond the moment.

Conferences / trade shows / fairs

1. Give away printed or download as bonus to all attendees.

2. Generate sponsorship revenue potential for the show producer.

3. Contact the event marketing / promotion / event planning person.

4. Give at the event or follow-up afterwards to extend the event's shelf life

Catalogs

1. Offer as a gift with purchase.

2. Include it with any purchase, a certain price purchase, or by a certain date.

3. Talk to the marketing department not the merchandising department.

4. Suggest a license if it is a large enough catalog or they want it for download.

Speaking Engagements

1. Give a copy to every attendee.

2. Provide as either a download or in print.

3. Extend your presence beyond the presentation.

4. Realize your product can substitute for your speaking fee and be larger payment.

Retailers / Manufacturers

1. Use it as a value added gift with purchase to incent sales.

2. Give with any purchase, a certain price purchase, or by a certain date.

3. Talk to the marketing department not the merchandising department.

4. Suggest retailers may use their co-op advertising money from manufacturers.

ACTION – Re-focus your attention to the producers rather than the end-user to substantively increase your reach and your bottom line, helping many more people along the way, including yourself! You have more contacts than you think you have, based on your professional and personal activities over the years. Look at your colleagues, vendors, places that have ever hired you for anything, the people you hire for your business and your personal activities, the events you have ever attended in any capacity, and the organizations in which you are or have been a member . Depending on your topic (s), you are likely to be happily surprised by who comes to mind as potential buyers of your tips booklets and other formats of your content once you start thinking about it. The end-users will be guided to receive your valuable information to help them improve their life, and the large quantity decision maker accomplishes their goal through distributing your product. Everyone benefits when you reach out to the producers, which reach is immediately wider than yours.

“Turn Your Tips Into Products, Your Tips Products Into Moneymakers.TM”

© 2015

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How Will Losing Net Neutrality Affect Small Businesses?

The term “net neutrality” has recently been appearing in the media. Net neutrality, loosely defined, means that all web traffic is equal; each site loads at the same speed (depending on your internet connection) and is available to all consumers to find online. No preferential faster service is being given to any single one website or company. However, if small business websites were to lose net neutrality, what are the potential ramifications?

The current United States Congress is currently debating enacting regulations to preserve or dispose of net neutrality. Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, has said he opposes any legislation that would regulate net neutrality. While both parties agree a free and open internet is positive, Republicans, led by Walden, are debating if net neutrality limits freedom by adding too much regulation that stifles innovation in the telecom industry. They are trying to strip the FCC's authority to enforce strong internet protections.

Recent developments have FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposing the organization uses its authority under Title II of the Communications Act to protect neutral consumer broadband internet, in an effort to stop Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from potentially throttling website load speeds and potentially charging promotions to run streaming or social media sites faster. President Obama is in favor of this Title II proposal.

If net neutrality is lost, huge entities like Facebook and Amazon could buy preferential treatment from ISPs for faster, more reliable service, giving them a huge advantage over smaller competitors. This creates inequality, where the playing field is tilted in the favor of big money, stifling innovation from smaller competitors that could provide a better service or product. Online companies especially need a neutral internet to even attempt to compete with large corporations. ISPs could also slow down sites that will not comply with their possible financial requirements, which could be tantamount to legalized extortion.

Similar to how telecom companies bundled major cable channels together to form cable packages, ISPs could also offer / enforce internet packages that only include bundles of major sites for a certain low fee, which could be enticing to consumers on a budget. However, this could effectively negate their ability to access a free and open internet, and could close off access to a variety of small business sites from millions of consumers. ISPs could essentially pick and choose the online content for millions of consumers, limiting free speech and their ability to express their free speech. This could result in extra costs to small businesses to even be included on internet packages, which would require a higher premium for consumers to access more sites and get faster service. Online companies that are dependent on video marketing for traffic would crumble, as they could not afford to pay ISPs to host and share their content. It would limit the ability for consumers to even see these marketing videos. Also, any and all costs invested to make and produce videos that currently had a total financial loss, as they still could not host and share them online without paying.

If you're a small business owner that depends on being online, keep a close eye on the net neutrality issue. It is important to keep the internet neutral, free and open for all to access it as they wish, for the continuation of successful online business. Regulation a utility does not stifle innovation or freedom, it allows for an equivalent playing field and fights against monopolization of the internet by large organizations and companies. Keeping the Internet Service Providers to control speed, access and the information you see online will destroy small businesses in North America.

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How to Be Successful in Business – Wouldn’t the Dragon’s Den Contestants Like to Know

Watching “Dragons Den's” entrepreneur's makes interesting viewing, but are there also lessons to be learnt? Who are the successful contestants that walk away with the money they are looking for? What makes a successful business? Perhaps the first reason is people “buy” people. They have to have an attractive personality, be confident with a good business manner. Show they are organized and knowledgeable in all the facts that they need to present and have to researched the backgrounds of the Dragons and what they specialize in, in other words, make a good impression. A smart business-like appearance is also important and to be able to illustrate some existing success in their business.

If you were interviewing people for a job are they not the same qualities you would be looking for? You would want to find someone you could refer to, work with and who would fit into your organization and be an asset to the company.

If you want to succeed in business and life there are many best seller classic books you can read to hone your personality and get ideas. Napoleon Hill's “Keys to Success”, examines the 17 principles he discovered were present in the successful men he interviewed. It is a book written in an older style but still relevant today. What makes a business successful? Some things never change.

However in the arena of marketing things are changing. How we hate shop assistants that immediately approach us with a fake smile and board tone of voice. The old way of selling to people is now changing with the growth of social media. Selling is becoming a sharing or advisory service with feedback from the users you hope to influence. Users of social media are encouraged to like their preferences. Selling is no-longer pushing products it is now much more of a social affair. People do not like to be sold, they like their problems resolved and then they choose to buy. Social Media now is heavily influencing marketing. There are many books introducing you to social media marketing, but here is a best seller I found helpful “Profitable social Media Marketing” by Tim Kitchen and Tashmeen Mirza

There is so much choice nowdays and we are an affluent society so that people can afford to be choosy in their purchases. Mostly they are made from an emotional desire rather than a need. Emotion is very much in the forefront of purchasing, think of all the house programs where people are looking for that feeling . There is still brand loyalty but you have to earn your credibility and goodwill. Likes are everywhere. You have to get the attention of your customers, care about the service you give and always give added value to keep their repeated custom. Selling has turned into communicating with your customers.

All the compare type sites encourage people to move their loyalty. So it is important to retain your customers, it is much easier to satisfy existing happy customers than find new ones. So, wishing you great success in your business

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Own A Small Company? Know Whom To Recruit

There may be many types of employees in a workplace. A study also confirms that the working environment of a company that has different types of employees can be great. This is all the more true for small business entities because the workplace will be more dynamic and enterprising than those companies in which most of the employees are of the same type. Therefore, recruiters must try to have a good mix of different types of employees in their companies. Let us have a look at some of the types of employees who can do good to their companies.

The cheerleaders

You need cheerleaders not only for sports but for companies as well. These are marketers who can promote the company's brand. Even if a company produces great products, it can not sustain in the industry if its brand is not promoted appropriately. These cheerleaders are go-getters and they give the necessary push to let the world know of their company and the products or services they offer. In general, these people are very much assertive, take timely action and may not hesitate to take risks for promoting the company.

Multi-Taskers

Nowadays, an accountant must know a little of marketing and likewise, an employee who belongs to the administration department must know accounting also. In a small company, every employee may feel the pressure of their work. If you have multi-taskers in your company, they may willingly share the burden and relieve the pressure of other employees. Remember, this is true only for small firms because the financial budgets and the manpower of these companies may be very limited. So, if you have a multi-tasker, you can utilize his or her services wherever required.

The Obligators

You can not brand them as “Yes Ministers.” But unlike other employees, these 'obligors' will be ready to rise to the occasion when there are deadlines or even impossible claims from clients.

Employees Who Play Reverse Roles

Being the owner of a small firm, you may have a tendency to recruit like-minded employees. But experts advise that you must avoid this tension and opt for people who may have opposition views. This will help in viewing things in different perspectives because this may open up several unexplored opportunities. You can utilize them also as 'mock-rivals' in order to improve productivity and the probability of success.

Decision Makers

These people can be very much useful for start-ups. If your company is a start-up, you and your top managers may be related to take certain risks. But you may look upon these decision makers because they are capable of making quick decisions based on the concrete data they gather.

Cautious Players

Sometimes, the business owner may be a risk-taker and may have wild dreams. If you belong to this type, you need careful players to counterbalance your risk-taking nature. Since these people are averse to taking risks, they will not allow you to over-step your capabilities.

Planners

There may be many people who are good at executing tasks but those who have planning skills are less in number. If you have a good planner in your company, you can take his or her advice for identifying the long-term goals of your business and devising the most suitable plans for achieving them.

Organizers

Great ideas may fall by the wayside if there are no competent organizers. These people may put the plans into action. So, you must have these people in your company.

Analyzers

It is not enough if you have all these types of employees. You must keep a close watch on what your competitors do. You must also know how your industry is evolving and what changes are happening all around. So, you must have analysts who gather all these information and present them to you appropriatively. You can devise your strategies based on the inputs provided by these analysts.

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4 Things to NOT Do While Building a Small Business Website

When building your first (or new) business website, attention to detail is extremely important. You want your site to appear polished and professional, not cluttered and amateur, because that will drive away visitors … and sales. While every page should be optimized to serve its purpose, there are certain techniques that some amateurs use that drive normal consumers crazy. Here are four things you should NOT do when building a website.

1) No Splash Pages!

Splash pages were more common in the late 90s / early 2000s, but some people still unfortunately use them today. They're the fancy page that welcomes you upon arrival at a website. They often make the visitor click a link to access the homepage – something very few users are NOT going to do! They serve no real purpose, and will lose you a lot of online traffic. Do not give your visitors a reason to move on immediately. Avoid the splash page, have traffic come directly to your homepage, so they can at least see what you're offering before they decide to purchase or move on. Adding an extra step in the process will do nothing to help you.

2) No Confusing Navigation!

Your site needs simple and direct navigation for it to be successful. Making people shift through drop-down menus, having too many pages, or having a flash-based menu that will not work on every device will drive visitors AWAY from your site. Stick with basic buttons along the top or side of your homepage, always have a way for people to click back to the homepage from any other page, and design your site like a funnel, so that all traffic always leads back to your homepage or call to action page (which could / should be both). If a visitor needs to spend more than 5 seconds deciphering how to navigate your page, they will simply move on.

3) No Excessive Banner Ads!

Your site has easy-to-follow navigation, is set up like a funnel, has good content and looks beautiful. Why would you want to mess up all that with a bunch of banner ads? While a banner ad can be a good idea, especially if you're monetizing a blog or doing a cross promotion with another business, excessive banner ads ruin perfectly good websites. At best, they're tacky, flashing distractions that make your visitors doubt the quality of your site. Worst case scenario, they're driving traffic away from your site to another – or just driving traffic from your site completely. Even those with the least amount of online knowledge are wary of banner ads these days. So rethink those banner ads, especially if you've got a variety running along the headers, footers, and sides of all your web pages.

4) No Site-Wide Audio!

Another “classic” website idea is adding audio to your site. Audio CAN be very effective, if used correctly, depending on your business, product, service, and target market. However, having background music that is on every page of your site is a definite NO, especially if you have a blog or expect visitors to read through your website content for a while. If you absolutely have to have some kind of background audio, then make it very clear how you can stop or mute the music, otherwise you will lose many visitors to your site before they even look at your content.

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Three Questions for Planning Your Small Business Website

An online presence is imperative for a successful business. No matter what product, service or intellectual property your company is offering, an online presence is paramount. However, planning your business' first website can be confusing. Many people start with a simple enough idea, yet convolute it with extra pages, banner ads, too many clickable links, and make it bigger than it has to be. A successful website is one that is simple, easy to navigate, presents the audience with the product or service you're selling, and makes it easy to acquire that product or service. Before you even start planning your new website, you need to ask yourself the three following questions:

1) Who is your target market?

This is definitely the most important question. While it sounds obvious, many people think their business can provide for every consumer, so they plan a website that caters to every geographical location and every consumer taste. What happens? It becomes ambiguous, cluttered, and does nothing to improve your online visibility. You need to plan for who you want to attract to your website, and from what geographical locations. Start small, planning your website exclusively for the niche market you are trying to attract. Then, find the top two or three geographical locations where that niche market customer base is, and plan your website with those location (s) in mind. Once your business is established, then you can expand to under-served markets.

2) How can they find you?

You've created a refined plan for your website that markets to your specialized niche. Next, you have to create a way for those potential consumers to find your website. Even before you've started building a site, you need to include traffic methods in your planning. No matter how good your product is, or how amazing your site looks and functions, it is useless without TRAFFIC. The key to getting targeted traffic is by using keywords that will be used by potential customers in search engines. These keywords can be one word, or short phrases, that consumers type into a search engine to find a product or service that meets their needs. The best thing you can do is think like a consumer and use your competition to help plan your strategy. Find 5-10 keywords / phrases that bring up your most direct competition in a variety of search engines. Refine that list to 3-5 of the most effective keywords, and then install those into your website content, marketing plans, blog posts, social media posts, anything that will create a link to your website that features those searchable keywords. The more those keywords appear with links to your site, the more authority search engines will think you have on that field. Your website will soar up the search engine listings onto the first page in no time.

3) How do you convert website visits into sales?

The final part in planning your website is planning how to convert website visits into sales. You might get 100,000 page views per day, but that will mean nothing if you can not get some of those viewers to purchase. This requires a little finesse and psychology; you can not just present your product or service and expect people to purchase. You need to create desire, a reason for the potential customer to WANT what your company is offering. Current research has discovered that website viewers judge that page within a twenty of one second, which is why you should offer incentives, discounts or even freebies to attract these consumers to your website over your competition's. The unique features about your product / service should be extremely clear and prominent on every page on your site, because many people will not start on your homepage (especially if you have a blog). Bullet-point guarantees on your product, so visitors can quickly see why you're different from your competition. Finally, make sure your site is funnel-like, in that it all comes down to your call to action purchase pages. Internal links should be abundantly clear – do not have a page called “Products” if you're only selling brain supplements; simply label it as brain supplement! This will help search engines identify and rank your call to action page as your most important page, which will help lead visitors to purchasing your product and you converting on your traffic!

These are some basic questions to ask yourself before planning a new website. While they may seem a little obvious, you would be surprised at how many online businesses completely ignore them. If you want your website to be effective and convert at a high level, keep it simple and make sure you're asking yourself these questions.

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Number 1 Way to Increase Your Profits

Typically the phrase “increase your profits” is immediately followed by “lowering your expenses” or “cutting back”. Not today.

In my experience both in Corporate America and as a Business Owner for almost 10 years, the # 1 way to increase your profits is not to lower your expenses, although that helps of course.

The # 1 way to increase your profits is to optimize monetize your client base. Consider that management gobbledygook for “Give your clients an amazing experience and offer them what they want / need and they'll keep coming back. It's less expensive in time, energy and money, to keep current clients than to permanently chase after new ones. ”

It's all about Client Loyalty.

Easier said than done?

Not at all. In fact, I'm willing to bet that once you start, and see the results, this will become a fun part of managing your business. After all, you're essentially getting rewarded to show your gratitude.

Here are just a few Extreme Client Care ™ practices you can start right now:

* Send out a Thanks and Welcome Letter whenever possible. Both via email and hardcopy mail. Sell ​​a book? Send a “thanks and welcome” email with the first few chapters so your customer can start reading while they wait for the hardcopy. We mail a hardcopy “Welcome Kit” to every new Get It Done Right Community Member (GIDR) within 24 hours of joining – we do not talk about it on the info page, we just do it. Imagine the happy surprise when it arrives, complete with a resource CD of info.

* Offer specials, bonuses and surprises to existing customers. Our GIDR Members receive 15% off all products, group programs and private strategy sessions. What can you offer your existing clients that ties in with your branding? For example, TGI Friday's Restaurant frequently sends me coupons for a free appetizer or dessert as a “thank you”. This ensures I'm more likely to go to them than another restaurant. Coldwater Creek sends me notices for private sales before the general public gets in.

* Ensure that your Team “gets it”. You do not pay for your Team. Your clients do. In fact, your clients pay for everything. Everyone on your Team needs to understand this and treat every client as if she's your only client. This does not mean that clients are always right, it does mean that they all need to be treated with respect and care.

The above is in addition to:

* sending “thank you”, birthday, holiday, congratulations, condolences, get well, etc. cards as appropriate;
* remembering (a simple excel spreadsheet or customer relationship management system will do the trick) spouse and partner names, birthdays, pets names, children's names, favorite hobbies, authors, etc .; and
* putting as many systems as possible in place to ensure that each and every client receives as ideal an experience as possible and, when it does not happen, own up and apologize.

Regardless of industry or size of business, when it comes to increasing your profits, the largest factor is client loyalty. What will you do, what other Client Care practices can you implement to ensure loyalty? Please share in the comments below.

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3 Good Reasons To Upgrade to NFC (Smartphone) Payment Equipment

According to Apple ™ CEO Tim Cook, since its introduction in October, Apple Pay ™ has accounted for two of every three dollars spent through contactless payments on Visa ™, MasterCard ™, and American Express ™.

This is quite a statement considering other forms of contactless payments have been around for years. In my opinion as more and more businesses become able to accept contactless payments this will continue to grow. Apple Pay ™ may become the preferred method of payment for consumers. According to the numbers shared by Apple ™ about 90 percent of all credit and debit cards now in the hands of consumers can be used with Apple Pay ™ technology.

Apple Pay ™ may well be the preferred method of payment for consumers in the near future. It can also benefit the savvy business owner who is wise enough to upgrade equipment as soon as they can. Below I've listed the three best reasons to make the switch for both business owners and consumers.

First, and undoably the most important reason to a business owner to upgrade to new equipment is increased profits. More money is always good. In our technical society, users of the new technology seem to be seeking out businesses where they can use it. If you are one of the locations where they can use their gadget, guess what, you have a new customer. So, the sooner you upgrade the more new customers you may get from this equipment transition.

Second , it is a good idea to get your equipment upgraded to be able to accept chipped cards anyway. On October 1, 2015, liability will shift to you, the business owner, from the banks on fraudulent card transactions. That is only if you have not upgraded to EMV enabled equipment. If you do it wisely, the new equipment will handle both EMV and NFC / Smartphone transactions. If you choose the right processing representative this upgrade is free.

Third , and the most important to society as a whole is security. Each individual transaction when using Apple Pay ™ generates a one-time use code. It is the code that is transmitted. Unlike the old technology, no credit card numbers or names are ever changed in the transaction. In addition, with Apple Pay ™, the phone / card owners thumb print must be used to verify the transaction on the smartphone device. With each transaction having its own code even if it was intercepted the information is useless to a criminal. Additionally, with Apple Pay ™, it would be extremely difficult to counterfeit the phone owners' thumb print!

My opinion is that this is probably the most secure form of electronic payment yet devised. Get upgraded to the equipment that can process payments with the new technology and become part of the security solution.

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Generating a List of Customer Needs

The truly successful small businesses are successful because they are able to effectively address the needs and wants of their clients.

The problem a lot of small businesses face is that they do not always have a clear understanding of the true needs of their customers. They may think they know what they want and need, but they are basing this on their own perspective, usually colored by what they hope the customer needs instead of the reality.

In order to be a more successful small business, you need to understand what your customers really need, not just what you hope they need. And there are some very simple ways to collect this information and help your small business succeed more.

Before I offer the possible ways to collect this information it is important to remember a few things. You want to keep the survey simple and focused, The longer the survey the more likely you will not get responses, people do not have the time for long surveys. So make sure you take a lot of time to ensure you are asking only relevant questions and asking them in the simplest and briefest manner possible.

Once you have your survey questions in place you can use one of these approaches to collect the data.

1. Online Surveys

One of the easiest ways to generate a list of your customer needs is to create an online survey and send it to your customers and get feedback. You can also have these online surveys in a simple store location like on a tablet and ask people to fill it out for something like a discount as they pay.

There are a lot of platforms to making online surveys, the two I recommend you check into SurveyMonkey and Google Docs. Both of these can be free services and let you design your questions and collect the responses to the survey. They can be a bit difficult to access the responses and are not the most user friendly. Plus if you want to track your responses in a place you control these may not be your best choice.

2. Email Surveys

I recommend using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to conduct and manage the results of your surveys. Most good CRMs will let you store the date, host them, on websites for in store responses, and let people reply via email easily as well.

This gives you more control over where the contact responses are sorted so you can use the data more efficiently. I know CRMs can be intimidating but there are people out there that can help you overcome the overwhelm.

3. Ask in Person

This was discussed earlier but it is the best way to get accurate info. You have the people there consuming your product so find out why and what else they want to have offered so they will come and spend more money with you.

a. The simplest way to get a quick answer is through a tip jar (if you are a business that deals in a lot of cash where tips are normal). One of the best ways to increase tips and get clarity on what your customers want is to simply put two tip jars out and ask a simple question with two possible answers. Then ask people to vote for which they want with their tips. You get a quick response to a possible idea, increase the tips for your staff, and your customers get to have some fun.

b. Offer a reward for responding. You see this at the bottom of a lot of receipts, fill out our survey and get 10% off on your next visit. Why not offer random free gifts if people answer a survey right then and there. They do not have to be expensive but if people know they could get something free you can get more responses.

4. Take action

All of the above can help you be successful and have more clarity on your customer needs but it will only work for you if you take action. Now! Collecting the data is all well and good, but it is not the key. The key is taking action on the information you gathered and implementing the needed changes in order to really deliver the answers to the new needs you have identified.

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Getting Ready to Open Your Virtual Doors

There's more to being a virtual assistant than performing clerical duties – at least that's the way things have been heading for this now increasingly diverse role. From managing social media accounts to formatting different published materials can be just as common client tasks as data entry and typing. With so many specialty niches available, virtual assistants can choose to work in the areas that their skills are most suited for. If you are considering entering this industry, there are a lot of attractive benefits: no commute, no office dramas, and possible the freedom to make your own hours.

The role of a virtual assistant is constantly gaining higher demand and getting more diverse. Roughly five percent of all new people becoming VAs are broadly skilled young women. To make themselves stand out from all of the other work-at-home mothers and administrative assistants, they can choose to advertise themselves as specialists. Virtual assistants with extra experience in web design / administration, social media accounts, internet research, copywriting, or personal assistance can offer a wider range of services to clients. This ability to customize their offerings makes the ability to comfortably work from home look even more attractive.

It's not just the virtual assistant industry that's expanding, but the entire trend of working from home. In a few years, the global market for online work will be around five billion dollars. Businesses are starting to take advantage of the benefits that come from having employees in virtual work places or home offices.

That makes the present a great time to start thinking about virtual assistance as a career option. If you're new to being a VA, here are some tips to help get you started:

Choosing your office

If you are able to take over a whole room, rather than just a part of one, it is highly recommended. Ideally, the room should not be used for anything other than your office, and should not contain items that will distract you or create noise. Not only will you be able to declare your home office on your taxes, but there is something incredibly fulfilling to be able to close your office and “go home” for the evening. It creates a defined boundary between “work life” and “home life.” If there's a television in the room, get rid of it. Loud pets or appliances should be moved to another room. Having sufficient space to fit in office furniture, like your filing cabinets, desks, tables, or stationery shelves, needs to take priority. Always make sure you have the ability to hook up a phone line in the room and that you have enough power outlets.

Creating your workstation

Remember that you're going to spend all of your time sitting and working at the same desk every day. It may be tempting to get a small desk to conserve space or save money, but doing this will not give you enough room to work comfortably or stretch your legs. You're going to be sitting in your chair for long periods of time so also make sure you buy a comfortable chair that will not hurt your back and can be fully adjusted.

Buying your technology and supplies

Again, keep your comfort in mind. Staring at a poorly-positioned monitor for long periods of time can be painful. Using a mouse that's the wrong size or a keyboard that does not suit your hands is also bad for your posture.

You will want a way to back up your work, like using a portable hard drive. Instead of buying a copier, a scanner, and a fax machine, look at getting an all-in-one printer. Not only are they much cheaper but they are also a great way to save space in a small home office. Items like laminators, binding machines, and shredders are more specialized items, so unless you need them for a specific role, you can wait to get these.

Setting up your phone system

There are several options available when setting up a new phone line, and it's important to consider which one best suits your needs. If you know you will have reliable and fast internet, Skype is a possibility. In addition, RingCentral and Google Voice also options.

What about mobile phones? If your signal is always strong, then go for it .. just be wary when you answer your “business line” when you're not in your office. The backgrounds sounds does not give off a professional image.

Also, consider hiring someone to pick up your calls when you are out of the office or already on the phone. Unanswered calls can drive potential clients away and you may be able to find a reliable call-handling service to pick up your overflow.

Scheduling your work day and placing boundaries in place

When working from home, there are two common scenarios that will occur. The first one will have you loosely hopping in and out of work and getting very little done, mostly because you can not get focused. The second will have you working nonstop and forgetting about the rest of the world. Choosing your work and choosing your hours can only be effective if you're sticking to those hours.

Decide what your work hours are going to be – this does not need to be 8 am-4pm or 9 am-5pm, it can be any set hours that work best for you, like 10 am-4pm. Let your clients know that these are your work hours and that you can be contacted during this time. Let your friends and family know as well, and stress to them that these are work hours, and that being at home does not make any difference to your availability.

It's important to stick to your hours and not do work outside allocated work time. It's also important to focus on your tasks and not get distracted while you're meant to be working.

Listening to your body clock

If you know you're not a morning person and it's going to take you hours to get focused, then consider not starting your work day until later on in the morning. If you're making your own hours, then it's best to choose the ones where you are going to be the most focused and motivated.

Keeping your errands and chores out of your work day

It can be tempting to tidy up through the day or quickly put a load of laundry in the machine, but this will break up your work day. The dusting, the dirty dishes, the mopping – all these things need to wait until your work is done or you have a day off. If you really feel the need, you can always do little things while you're on your breaks or while you're waiting for your lunch to cook.

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What You Must Know About Vending Businesses

From an online marketer's perspective, owning a vending machine business is not ideally suited for automation or scalability.

However, vending machines are big business. But this does not mean a vending machine business is right for you.

I know the appeal this business model has on people because I've been there, done that. ” Please, if you're thinking about getting involved with vending, read this article first, and go in with your eyes wide open.

Aside of the obvious questions about machine price and delivery, here are 3 questions you must ask yourself and the person trying to sell you either vending machines or a vending machine business opportunity:

1. What is the mean time between failure for your machines?

You probably will not ask the question quite like that, but the point is, you need to know how much it is going to cost to keep your machines operational and reliable. You may also want to consider whether or not you have the mechanical skills to do the maintenance yourself.

In my experience, some of the machines, and especially the currency acceptance devices, can be very difficult and expensive to repair. One piece of gum jammed in a coin receptacle could theoretically put your $ 5,000 in the back of the shop, out of order.

2. What type of products will I be able to sell with your machines, and will any of them require that I maintain a food service permit?

Amazingly, many potential vending entrepreneurs fail to consider this, and find themselves retrofitting their home warehouse to meet food service standards.

Also, in the section below I discuss the categories of vending products that sell the best. Hopefully, your machines will be able to market these.

3. Where can I put my machines? And, if the machines are already in place, how long can they stay there?

Perhaps the most critical point in this business is the placement of your machines in high traffic areas. Sadly, as a vending machine business owner, you will be faced with strong resistance in this area. After all, what's in it for the property owner to allow your machines on his or her plans?

You may find yourself having to share profits with the property owner in order to place your machines.

The vending industry accounts for over $ 45 billion in annual sales volume, which is a basic chunk of money. Very briefly, here are the key factors to success in this business:

1. Ability to buy and maintain quality machinery

2. Placement of your machines in high traffic areas

3. Control of employee costs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 44,000 people work in the vending machine industry, with about 18% of those owning their own vending business, and a projected growth rate of 7% per year. At one time I was both an employee of a vending company and the owner of my own vending company.

In this exclusive report, I will discuss my personal experiences in the vending machine business, a few caveats you should consider prior to getting started, an overview of your potential to make money with vending machines, and a look at the current market and possible websites you can investigate further.

My Personal Experience

As an employee of a vending company I had a regular route where I serviced about 100 food and beverage machines. On any day I would normally have to deal with machine maintenance issues, customer refunds, expired food, and being asked to get my machines off the property, that day.

As an employee I took all of this in stride. It was just a job.

Several years later I decided to buy an existing vending machine business. I then learned just how hard it was to get machines placed in profitable locations. I also found out how expensive those “little” maintenance issues were. For example, to replace a dollar changer was going to cost me several thousand dollars. The sales at that particular location did not warrant that kind of expense, so I had to pull two snack machines and one drink machine to allow another vendor to come in.

I also deal with vandalism on numerous occasions. At one time I got a call from my local airport where I had placed a phone card machine. I was informed that my machine had been broken into. I lost over $ 300 in inventory and about $ 100 in cash in that one incident.

Challenges To Success

There are essentially six challenges you will face in your drive to make money with a vending machine business:

1. Getting your machines placed in profitable locations

2. Maintaining and servicing your machines

3. Loss of product due to theft and spoilage

4. Labor and vehicle expenses associated with serving machines spread around town

5. Liability issues related to machines and food products

6. Vandalism of machines

If you can generate enough profitable sales to cover these expenses, plus the value of your time, effort, and capital risk, then the vending machine business may be right for you. Keep in mind that there are companies that specialize in locating and servicing your machines, but their fees may not be realistic based on your projected sales and profits.

Making A Decision

I'm sorry I may sound a bit negative about the vending business, but believe me, I speak from hands on experience as both an employee and owner in this industry.

The idea of ​​making money from your little profit centers spread all over town sounds great – but reality bites.

Do some solid research in this business before you jump in. At the very least, go to work for a vending company for a while and see what's involved.

Vending Machine Statistics in US

The sale of cold beverages represents over half of all vending machine sales, followed by non-refrigerated snacks.

Interestingly, while cold beverages sold in containers, such as bottles and cans, rank well in the industry, the “cup-drop” variety of cold beverages does not do so well. In my experience, cup-drop machines may pose significant maintenance challenges, these machines are also fairly scorned by the consumer.

Within the cold weight arena, sellers typically choose either a closed front, or glass front machine. The closed front currently dominates the market, but the glass front is gaining in popularity as the glass front allows the consumer to see the product, which in itself aids in the marketing of beverages.

Among cold beverages, soft drinks account for about half of all sales, with diet drinks coming in second. There is also a growing trend for marketing bottled water and energy drinks.

Within the snack category, rolled candy and gum represent only a fraction of the overall market, with candy bars and bagged pastries leading the way. Keep this in mind when you look at snack machines.

You want a machine that can handle the bestselling product categories. If you commit to a machine that only allows gum, or small rolled candy, you may be limiting yourself.

Of note, the hot selling bagged pastries and chips typically require dispensers specifically designed for those package sizes. Again, this was a mistake I made when purchasing snack machines, and found myself sorry that I was not able to offer more variety to my customers.

While it is hard to quantify, I am sure there were many missed sales opportunities as a result.

It should also be noted that a snack machine should almost certainly have a glass front. The customer's ability to see the product is essential in this category.

Should You Hire Employees?

According to the US Census Bureau, the majority of vending machine firms retain employees, with some of the larger ones having as many as 66,000 employees. Ideally, you would want to start your vending company without employees, and hire route service people as your machine placements and profitability grow.

As an employer, let me expand on why it so important to carefully manage the hiring and retention of employees in your small business.

If you want to make money and ever attempt to allow employees to manage the bulk of the day to day activity in your business, keep in mind that vending machine employers often pay near minimum wage to its employees, which means you will have a high turnover of employees. Additionally, keep in mind that your employer costs will represent between 22-25% of base wage expenses.

For example, if you pay an employee $ 10 per hour, your true cost will be around 10×1.25 = $ 12.50 per hour. Given an 8 hour shift, you would need to realize $ 100 in profit from your sales to breakeven with this one employee.

In my experience, I was able to sale my products with a typical 25% mark up, with between 2-5% in product loss due to theft and spoilage.

That means you would have to sell over $ 400 in product to breakeven on your employee costs for that day.

Additionally, costs not even considered here are the expenses associated with operating a truck driving around town for hours each day.

Is it any wonder that some vending company owners choose not to hire employees?

Additionally, you need to think about the health care and insurance implications associated with hiring employees.

Law Of Large Numbers: 3 Ways to Make More Money

The Law of Large Numbers basically states that success in any endeavor is directly related to the number of trials and failures. This is particularly true in the area of ​​small business, especially the vending machine business.

In any business there are ratios, percentages, and customer conversion rates that impact how business is activated, and its profit potential.

Operating a profitable vending machine business is no different, so, knowing the numbers that govern your success is critical, and comes back to what I call The Law of Large Numbers.

Here are three suggestions for applying this law to your vending machine business …

1. Find Your True Sales Conversion Rate

Understand that success requires a much larger number of trials and failures than you may realize. For example, some marketing programs will tell you that their product offer converts to a sale for every 20 people who pass their machine.

However, in reality, your experience may suggest it actually takes up to 100 visitors to generate a sale.

Knowing that conversion rate is important, and although sometimes it may prove difficult to accept, knowing the truth is the only way to stay motivated and progress in the vending machine business. Do not accept assumptions or marketing sales pitch data when you are attempting to buy into the vending business, add machines, or chose locations for your machines.

Much of this data will come from experience, but you can also conduct research online using government vending association websites. One word of warning: Do not accept the sales figures and profit potential published by the manufacturers or suppliers of vending machines. Obviously, they are in the business of selling machines, and their data and survey results may tend to over state the profit potential.

If you purchase a vending machine and expect to get the results a vending machine supplier advertises, you may be disappointed.

2. Know Your Costs and Profit Margins

If it takes an average of 20 visitors to your product offer to make a sale, is the profit potential worth the effort, time, and expense to place and service a machine in that location? For example, if you place a machine in a factory that employs 500 people, you may be able to expect around 25 product sales per day. If each product offers a 50 cent gross profit after wholesale product prices and location fees are considered, is the $ 12.50 in profits for this machine worthwhile?

It may or may not be, depending on your other costs, including employee expenses, number of times per week the machine requires servicing, and your return on the investment in the machine.

These are important numbers to consider before investing in the vending machine business. If you do not have a clue what these numbers are, you may not be ready to take the plunge.

3. Put Your Marketing Into High Gear

Finally, if the conversion rate, costs, and profit margins are acceptable, you should consider ramping up your marketing efforts to the maximum sustainable rate to capitalize on the profit potential.

For example, if you could consistently make a profit off of one machine, after all expenses are factored in, what would happen if you had 10 machines placed in comparable locations? The answer lies in the Law of Large Numbers. As long as it remains profitable to do so, add machines and grow your business.

Final Thoughts on Vending

I've come down pretty hard on vending in this article, but the point I'm trying to make here is that just because a business industry has potential, or built-in consumer demand, does make it an automatic winner for you.

In any business endeavor you pursue, act like a pro:

1. Keep an open mind.

2. Do you due diligence.

3. Decide if the business is right for you or not.

4. Take massive action.

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Booklet Tips – Love Is All You Need

Your newsletter subscriber list is 20,000 people and steadily growing; you have 50,000 Facebook followers and almost that many LinkedIn contacts; you calendar is booked solid with media interviews and guest spots on teleclasses and webinars; and a group wants to bring you to speak to their 1,000 person audience face to face simply because they feel it will be great exposure for you. You're thinking all those numbers will certainly equal a ton of booklet sales and all that effort must be worth it. Enticing is not it?

After all, have not you been listening this is all a numbers game, especially when it comes to your publications and other related products and services you've worked to create in your business? You need to reach as many people as you can, right?

Guess again. You may be missing the most important thing of all – that one cruel piece that has kept you from generating the revenue you want from you booklets, books, audios, videos, speaking, and consulting.

Yes, you are getting your name, your business name, your publications' names out there, and very likely exhausting yourself in the process. You've been giving away lots of great information to help people improve their lives.

You've loved all those people who already indicated that they love you would connect the dots all on their own and want more from you, and that they would figure out, also all on their own, that you are in business and you have stuff for them to actually purchase from you.

The thing is you never asked them to do that. Presuming you're in front of the right people who find your message valuable enough, and that they are willing to spend time reading or listening or watching you, and that you understand the importance of having products at different prices and delivery formats – you may not be asking them to take that next step, to purchase something from you.

It really can be as simple as that, and as much of an oversight as that. There are many ways to do that and still be low-keyed, appropriate, and soft, regardless of the context or venue where you provide them guidance on their next step. You can do this without ever directly saying “buy my _______,” which is often a turn-off for even the most savvy consumer, and not allowed in certain settings.

Your followers are already indicating they love you. What are you doing to return the love?

ACTION – Be clear about how your people's lives improve by having your booklet, book, audio, video, or whatever format you deliver your products. Paint a picture of how your product supports that life improvement with experiences you know they value. Then refer to the “many people who have found our booklet (book / audio / video) useful in creating that result. was to someone reading an article, listing to a radio or television interview, or attending a lecture in your business community. And it did not matter if your focus is single copy or large-quantity results to individuals or organizations. It's the same. Let people know you have more that helps them achieve what they want in their life so they take that next step with you without anyone guessing or hopping for results.

“Turn Your Tips Into Products, Your Tips Products Into Moneymakers.TM”

© 2015

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Why Legal Translations Are Necessary

It's a well-known expression that knowledge is power. In fact Africa continues to limp simply because its people are not equipped intellectually and lack support to translate the available knowledge into tangible benefits. So instead of the governments in Africa investing more in building libraries and supporting the creative process, they invest more in building more prisons and buying guns and teargas to suppress dissent.

Now consider the developed world; people there know their rights and demand better services short of which the leaders are impeached or voted out without fear. It goes without saying that Uganda and most countries in sub-Saharan Africa can never attain the long-cherished dream of middle-income status without equipping its people to know and stand for their rights.

The need to translate the constitution

The first step in equipping Ugandans to know their rights and play their role as responsible citizens is give them the constitution. It is the mandate of the government to make the constitution accessible in both print and audio versions and in all languages ​​that cover this multi-ethnic nation so that everyone can read it and understand it, while those who can not read can access it in audio format in their mother tongues. If the government can do that, then people will know their rights; they will know that they pay taxes so that the government can deliver services and when the latter fails as it has often, then people can rise up and demand accountability from the rulers. Thus the need to translate not only the constitution but also the penal code and other legislative and executive literature is paramount. Thus legal translations are quintessential and essential if Uganda is to achieve Vision 2030.

Translation services can also be provided in number of languages ​​within different African countries such as;

Tigrinya translation services

Somali Translations

Malagasy Translations

Yoruba Translations

Chewa Translations

Wolof Translation services

Kinyarwanda translation services.

All the above may also apply to a specific genre of work or expertise and this could be Financial translations, Court Interpreting and conference interpreting, Educational translations, Immigration translations, business document translations, and more.

At the end of the day hiring a professional translations company translates into effective interpretations of one's rights, the roles that have to be played by our leaders constitutionally that getting the message intended to all local citizens that may not have the chance to understand the English language or any other.

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