Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Based Leadership

Leadership is an issue that affects all of humanity. But, visionary and true leaders usually, are hard to find. Not only are we impacted by this phenomenon, but we are also called upon to exercise it.
Whether we are involved in leading government or business, guiding young minds, leading a family, a sports team or a committee, organising a dinner, a class project, a carpool or a household, or just standing for what is right at every turn of human endeavour -everyone has a leadership role to play. In other words, we are each called upon to be custodians of what is right and good, lasting and of value, for those in our care at one time or another.
It's as a result of an obvious lacuna in worthy, responsible leadership in many economies of the world that these posers were thrown up not long ago: "Whatever happened to leadership? Have all the great leaders gone from the world scene?" The search for true, values-based leadership is not limited to the global arena, but also relevant in the task of socio-political, cultural, educational, and moral transformation of developing economies such as Nigeria's.
And, why does a true leader need to demonstrate values in leadership? Values are regarded as esteemed qualities which are intrinsically desirable and have importance. That is why experts in the humanities have described values as "our very core, the especial essence of who we are as human beings." Such demonstrable and authentic values on which the Nigerian society should be built upon include transparency, patriotism, personal integrity, fear of God, courage, transformational leadership, accountability, vision, creativity, knowledge, character and passion.
Leadership also, has been described as a form of service. In order to lead effectively, a leader then, should be willing to meet the needs of the individuals in the team or group. It would be recalled the time it noticed the perceptible inadequacy in the leadership of some economies in Europe, London Sunday Times published an article with the title, "Whatever Happened to Real Leaders?"
In a write-up, the reading public was asked series of probing questions as these: "Would you expect to learn anything from them (leaders)? Do you expect them to do anything inspiring or creative, or even just the right thing? We have reached a real low point in leadership, lower than at any other time in recent history...."
The fact not only applies in the Western world where the people combat leadership problems of recent, it also applicable to the Nigerian situation, as the reputed most populous Black nation on earth needs is values-based, visionary leadership. It's a powerful, well-timed plea for the emergence of a right kind of leadership that can deliver Nigerians from the grip of its many socio-economic problems resulting from poor governance or maladministration.
While underscoring the need for anyone entrusted with the sacrosanct mandate of leadership in any human community, Walter Lippmann, a late American newspaper commentator, in his syndicated column "Today and Tomorrow", yet had attempted another description of leaders as "the custodians of a nation's ideals, of the beliefs it cherishes, of its permanent hopes, of the faith which makes a nation out of a mere aggregation of individuals."
According to Lippmann, the word literally, refers to a keeper, a guardian or a caretaker, as it is a proactive word which implies action on the part of the bearer. That is, custodians of the people's mandate simply hold such in trust on behalf of others. In other words, custodianship does not imply behaviour motivated out of self-interest, the unbecoming development which Nigerians daily witness in various aspects of their national life.
Today, it's no longer news in the country to see the mass media of communication inundated with scandalous and disturbing stories of reckless inflation of contract sums, disappearance of phoney contractors after collecting mobilisation funds, or oftentimes all of the contract sum; blind looting of treasuries with impunity, brigandage, culture of wastage, outright lack of vision on the part the leadership, endless dashed hopes, and lack of creativity in statecraft, and instances of shoddy cum white elephant projects with no material relevance to the aspirations of the populace.
As if the ostensibly invasive light-fingered approach being adopted by many of the leaders at different levels of governance is not enough, a new dimension of course, has been introduced to consolidate the conspiratorial pillaging of the nation's collective wealth. It's simply overwhelming these days, as Nigerians helplessly, continue to hear or read about horrifying tales of financial malfeasance, under various guises, and obvious looting of the treasury being reported in the media.
This is purportedly being committed by both appointed and elected leadership in active connivance with the ostensibly inefficient civil servants; shameless and forceful collection of toll from transporters and/ or motorists by men and officers of the Nigeria Police on the nation's roads; absolute diversions of statutory allocations originally budgeted for developmental projects and programmes, into private accounts for personal use by corrupt leaders.
Although theirs is not a perfect system, a former US Ambassador to Nigeria during late Gen. Sani Abacha regime, Mr. Walter Carrington, at a seminar in Lagos, last year, made a comparative analysis of the sustained purposeless leadership afflicting Nigeria with what obtains in the United States (US) in connection with values-based leadership. Carrington, specifically, mentioned the progressive strides the US has been recording over time to the extent that "racism and nepotism" were fast disappearing in America, thereby paving way for an African-American (obviously referring to Barack Obama) to win the support of the majority of the Americans to occupy The White House, the official seat of US Government in Washington, D.C.
According to him, instead of making distinct progress, the loss of a value system in Nigeria has made corruption, concept of "indigeneship", vandalism and political thuggery to remain prominent in the country's body politic.
It's not unexpected to discern why some do wonder aloud if responsibility, accountability and sense of integrity could ever be restored in the political dictionary of the current crop of leaders. Perhaps, such individuals and groups who frantically, desire meaningful change in the socio-political life of the country think so against the backdrop of apparent purposeful, focused leadership that characterised the era of Nigeria's founding fathers and elder statesmen as late Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto), Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Anthony Enahoro, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Murtala Muhammed, Osita Osadebey, and others who sacrificed a lot to ensure the well-being of the masses.
With their own share of challenges peculiar to the management of human affairs, till this day, those erstwhile leaders are fondly remembered for good as a result of their strength of character, discipline, loyalty, and patriotism.
Yet, it deserves a mention that in our day, there are yet men and women of substance who exemplify rare values-based leadership and courage in service to humanity in both private and public sectors of Nigeria's economy. Research has shown that Nigerians such as Dr. Christopher Kolade (aka Mr. Integrity), Mazi Sam I. Ohuabunwa, Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Prof. Wole Soyinka, late Chiefs Anthony Enahoro and Gani Fawehinmi, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Abubakar Umar, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, Nasril El-Rufai, and others numerous to mention here fall into this category.
Such ones are said to have continued to hold their heads high in and outside positions of authority despite very widespread corrupting influences around them. They are no doubt shining examples to particularly the younger generation.
However, a large number of the population believe what obtains now is just a question of a corrupt leader's associating himself or herself with any of the vicious cliques of ravenous individuals whose stock in trade is to hold their fatherland down till eternity. It's, therefore, not unusual to hear the mind-boggling term, 'cabal' at every turn in socio-political discourses.
The masses of our people effortlessly, have categorised such dubious leaders as belonging to either oil cabal, electric power cabal, generators or rice importation cabal, political power cabal, or fertilizer business cabal among other amorphous ones. Over the years, these groups are believed to have succeeded, just as they, absurdly, continue to work against the collective will of the Nigerian people on all fronts.
Nigerians seeking elective and political offices with nothing to offer the generality of the population ought to be discouraged henceforth. Again, as custodians of the people's mandate to serve them and manage their combined resources for the betterment of the entire society, individuals holding leadership positions should know and chart the way forward for the led, uphold what is best for all people, even if it may not be in his or her own interest to do so. Their custodial role must be approached as a temporary role, preserving something greater than the self -principles of enduring value in service.
This embodies an attitude that focuses on the task at hand and not on what a leader may gain from the position he or she holds. Interestingly, it implies a caring and concerned relationship between leaders and followers; it also implies individuals motivated by their constituents' best interests.
Consequently, these seem contrary to what is happening across the land. In many arenas in the country today, we see appointed or elected leaders holding nothing in trust for those they purport to serve. Instead, it's looting galore, as scores of them merely continue to advance their own ideals, hopes, and aspirations to keep their followers down and frustrated perpetually. Where there's no common vision to be shared and actualised, it is often difficult to say whether such selfish Nigerian leaders are serving their people in any meaningful way.
Poor reward system has been identified as another serious factor, which probably instigates many a leader to consciously, greedily appropriate billions of tax payers' money to themselves in the name of "allowances", or in many instances, some resort to outright pillaging of treasuries, regardless of whatever happens to them after leaving office.
But then, why institutionalised corruption in the nation's system? An unnamed foreigner who has lived in Nigeria for sometime was quoted as answering this poser thus: "Becoming corrupt is almost unavoidable, because morality is relaxed in the society (Nigeria), and many people struggle for survival without assistance from the state."
Mismanagement, deceit, and unfettered greed simply remain the undying features of the system, just as assumedly vision-oriented economic blueprints, development plans meant for implementation gather dusts on shelves. Yet, many questions all beg for answers. And, concerned Nigerians have continued to ask rhetorically: Where are our leaders leading? To whom can we look for the direction we need in respect of the actualisation of the much-touted Nigerian dream? To many, reviving the different sectors of the nation's economy for the benefit of the generality of the people appears hopeless.
The self-serving nature of some leaders has led to more exigent problems in the Nigerian system in recent times. The continued maladministration has not only entrenched a culture of corruption, impunity, political rascality, mindless looting of treasury, sycophancy, personality cults, purposeless leadership, and rampant disillusionment among the Nigerian people awaiting the advent of a new order in the current system.
Bad leadership has also instigated all forms of corrupt activities prevalent in the country now. These, some say, include political, bureaucratic, electoral corruption, embezzlement and bribery. Political corruption, which takes place at the highest levels of political authority, is a 'corruption of greed.' It affects the manner in which decisions are made, manipulates and distorts political institutions and rules of procedure.
How about the direct effect of this cankerworm on the entire system? Corruption tarnishes the image of a nation; perhaps, as someone put it recently, "that is why Nigeria suffers more than most societies from an appalling international image created by its inability to deal with bribery and corruption."
As measures towards moving the nation forward through purposeful, values-based leadership, the nation urgently, needs to get it acts right, retrace its steps where it has long got it wrong: anyone who aspires to lead others, irrespective of which aspect of the nation's life should be one who legitimately understands the core essence of selfless service in leadership, not individuals who actually don't understand anything about leadership, but about how much he or she could steal from the commonwealth.
It also, should be realised that anyone who aspires to lead Nigerians without possessing such exceptional values and ideals as personal integrity, forthrightness, fairness, belief in the eventual success of the Nigerian enterprise, accountability and trustworthiness, is probably taking a stroll. The current crop of leaders should learn to lead by example and instil hope in the followership for the emergence of a better nation.
According to George Washington in his inaugural address as a former President of the United States, while encouraging fellow American leaders to shun lip-service, he was reported to have declared: "... the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained."
Stressing the need for integrity in proper and effective leadership also, John Adair, a visiting professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Surrey and Exeter in England, once stated: "... I believe that holding firmly to sovereign values outside yourself grows a wholeness of personality and moral strength of character. The person of integrity will always be tested. The first real test comes when the demands of the truth or good appears to conflict with your self-interest or prospects. Which do you choose?" A thought to ponder over indeed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Information Screens Uses

This article discusses the growing use of modern flat TV screens such as LCD and plasmas and how they are used as information screens for messaging and providing customer information in places like transport hubs and outside the front of buildings and institutions. The article explains some cost effective methods of protection including the LCD enclosure:
Providing customers with information and keeping them informed is essential for many businesses. The transport industry have long adopted video displays even before the rise of flat screen TVs like LCD or plasma, when CRT monitors displayed timetabling information in train stations and bus depots.
Of course, now TVs have got thinner and cheaper, these information screens have been replaced by more modern TVs and it is not just the transport industry that are using them, either.
The great advantage of using a TV to display information is the speed at which messages can be relayed. For the transportation industry this has always been a boon as they can let customers know about delays and cancellations when and if they happen, but this type of immediacy is also useful for other institutions and businesses.
Many schools, colleges and universities are installing information screens in an effort to provide an efficient method to communicate with students. The difficulty in the modern college is that people can arrive throughout the day and while other communication systems are common, such as email, they are only effective when students check their email.
With information screens, important messages, including emergency information can be relayed as and when the news comes in, it also means the educational establishment can communicate successfully with all those people on campus, even if they are on different sites or at opposite needs of the building.
Information screens can be fitted both indoors and outdoors, but outdoor information screens are going to need protecting before they are installed.
A common method of using outdoor information screens is to source the make and size of LCD display you wish to use, from normal indoor screens, and then install them in an outdoor LCD enclosure.
Manufactured to accommodate any standard type of LCD TV device, LCD enclosures come in a variety of sizes-fitting the most common sized LCDs.
Once installed in the LCD enclosure, the screen will be protected from the weather, kept at the correct temperature (regardless of the ambient conditions), and be secured from theft, damage or vandalism.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stop Whining About Price

Price cutting is a self-inflicted wound. Nobody holds a gun to your head and makes you cut your price. I know that many of you are thinking right now: "There is so much competition today that you can't maintain profits," "Everybody is giving everything away," "The salespeople can't negotiate," and "Everybody knows our pricing from the Internet..." Blah, Blah, Blah. Stop whining about price!
Only about ten percent of buyers buy on price alone. For that ten percent, you can decide to lower your prices or let your customers buy elsewhere. Every person who has ever sold anything knows that the happiest customers are the ones that pay you profit, whereas the unhappiest customers are the ones that you gave everything away to. Here's a news flash: You don't have to do business with them. It's your choice.
All things being equal, money will be the customer's final decision. It is your job to make everything unequal. Customers consider the 3 M's: Money, Machine, and Me. What are you doing to elevate the "me" part of the equation? The "me" part of the 3M's stands for you: your process, the dealership, the service, and the reputation. It's the easiest part of the equation to change. Your dealership is unique and your customers need to know why. You have to believe that you are the best and that you are worth more. Many salespeople and sales managers have a flawed, weak belief system. If you don't believe you are outstanding, you will make yourself a replaceable commodity.
Every day you must work as hard on yourself as you do on sales. When you get better, your customers will get better. Do you work on yourself every day in the area of attitude, education, motivation, sales skills, customer follow-up, and marketing? Let's be brutally honest and forget about being politically correct...most sales people stink at their profession.
The majority of salespeople never work on the above skills. Can you really tell me that those unmotivated and uneducated idiots are the tough competition? Your only competition is in your own mind.
Recently, while in Las Vegas, I shopped for shoes at Caesar's Palace. At the first store I went to, I noticed the salesperson looked agitated to have to hang up the phone to wait on me. He was extremely rude and did nothing to add value to his store or differentiate himself from other run-of-the-mill salespeople.
The second store I went to, I encountered a sensational salesperson that created rapport, sold value, and quality. He knew his product and made a high price seem like a bargain.
The first store lost two sales and the second gained from the first salesperson's stupidity.
Is the first salesperson and his inadequacies the norm, or was it an aberration? My experience says that unfortunately, he's the norm. My hunch is that your experiences are the same as mine.
Work every day to get better and show it to your customers. Work on your belief system. Don't be a commodity, and stop whining about price. Price is the easiest problem to solve in the sale.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

T Shirts, Printing Methods Explained for Promotional T Shirts

I have had many of my customers ask me why we print their products using different methods at different times.
This is a valid question and for the sake of educating the larger masses and for those that are interested I will outline the difference between the printing process and how they may apply to your project. There are generally four printing methods, they are screen printing, heat transfer press, and embroidery "well this is not really printing but I place it there as you still need to place an image on a t shirt". The last and the latest technology is direct to garment. This process can produce some fantastic high resolution photographic printing but it is at a cost.
Screen printing
Screen printing is most likely the most popular method of printing promotional t shirts, the set up process is similar to offset traditional printing methods where you need to provide your images in to separable colour files, for example if you have a four colour file you need to supply a CMYK file which the print production firm can break each colour down and isolate them from each other creating, four separate print images, one for the cyan colour, one for magenta and one each for the yellow and K being black or grey scale.
Now that the CMYK files have been separated a separate screen is produced for each colour in total four screens a C screen, M screen, and one each for the Y and K screens. So each colour has its own separate screen. After the screens have been produced and have been quality tested and all adjustments have been made they are mounted on to the screen printing press were each colour is aligned to the next using registration marks on the screens. What this means is that each colour is printed separately on the promotional T shirt. Now that the screens have been set and have been tested we can begin the printing the t shirts.
In summarising screen printing we note that there is quite a bit of setup work to be done, you need to allow a hefty lead time for the turnaround of the promotional T shirts, also as the setup process is so intensive there is a substantial cost involved about $70 to $150 per colour so in a four colour print it would be between $280 and $600 depending on the print, and you have yet to print one good promotional T shirt.
The good news is that the set up is the costliest part of the screen printing process and from now on each t shirt is at a minimal price. To sum up, screen printing is the best process for producing large amounts of promotional T shirts, a minimum order of a few hundred and upwards.
Heat Press
Printing Promotional t shirts with heat transfers involves the digital reproduction of a heat transfer image on to specially coated paper that is then reversed printed and heat pressed on to the promotional t shirt.
The advantages of printing t shirts with heat transfer are that it is conducive to short runs. For example it is possible and cost effective to produce as little as one promotional t shirt. Therefore if you need only a few t shirts this is the method to be used, unfortunately this process comes with a huge restriction, you can only print on to white t shirts, now you may think that that's not real good but considering over 80% of promotional t shirts that are printed white the option is not that bad.
As I previously mentioned in the introduction of this article embroidery is really not a printing process but fundamentally you are placing an image on to a promotional t shirt, so I have decided to include it, if for nothing more than clarifying the process used to embroider promotional t shirts.
In a very simple explanation embroidery involves re scanning the image in to a stitch pattern or more so this creates a digital stitching map for the embroidery machine to follow. One of the limitations of embroidery is that it is only conducive to stitching smallish images like a logo on the breast pocket of the t shirt or a club emblem on the sleeve of a polo shirt.
Embroidery produces highly durable products, commonly used for corporate clothing it is not limited to t shirts or polo shirts.
Direct to Garment Printing
This is the latest in printing promotional t shirts, a fully digital process; it works similar to your home inkjet printer. The t shirt is placed on a movable platen and is guided through the print heads with extreme accuracy to produce some of the highest quality printed graphics to date. This printing method is capable of printing on to any coloured t shirt, as it uses white ink as the base colour on coloured promotional t shirts.
With digital direct to garment printing all you do is mount the t shirt on to the platen and press print on your computer just as you would when printing a word document. The direct to garment process is medium priced and is getting more cost effective as new technology are being released on to the market. It is possible to produce a single high quality t shirt to several hundred in a cost-effective manner
The screen printing process is very intensive and costly to set up but when done it is the most cost-effective method for printing large volumes of promotional t shirts. The heat press method is only able to print on white t shirts, but you can print very small runs and is perfect if you only want a single t shirt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trash Can Be Your Treasure

Have you ever found some nice things that were still in excellent condition sitting on the curb for garbage? Well, in my case someone else's trash, has put money into my purse. Living in or going through a pretty nice neighborhood can be very beneficial, especially on garbage day. I have passed by something on the side of the road and asked myself, are they really going to throw that out?
The majority of people throwing out nice or excellent conditioned items, usually have lots of money and assets already. Their main goal is to keep up with the Kardashians. For instance, family A went and bought a 48 inch flat screen TV two months ago. They were talking to their neighbors (family B) when they found out that family B has a 52 inch flat screen with 3D. Now family A gets rid of the t.v that they have only had for two months, just to keep up with family B. Or plain and simple, they just don't want that particular item anymore and set it out for the trash. That's where I come along and take their trash and turn it into a gift or better yet, cash!
When you see something set out for trash that looks pleasing to the eye get it, test it, and research it. For example, I found an electric guitar sitting on the side of the road. I didn't own amps or any type of guitar equipment, but I did remember my neighbors had a rock band and they could help me out with information on the electric guitar. I recommend researching the item you have found, that way you educate yourself on what you have. Information such as original cost, year, make, model type, and compatible items can be very beneficial for you. When doing research online, I found that this is a very common electric guitar which was made in 2007 and originally cost $449.00. I didn't have any interest in guitar playing, so my neighbors (with the rock band) offered to buy it for $200.00 and it was sold!
Just recently someone had a box with PS2 games (20 of them), PS2 Game system, wireless controller, and 8 megaByte memory card on the side of the road for garbage. I couldn't tell whether it worked or whether everything was intact until I got it home. Good thing it worked because my 11-year-old nephew had a birthday right around the corner.
You never know what you may find sitting on the curb waiting for the garbage truck. Anything that you think that may have some value get it and do some light research on it. You may find out some very surprising news about that item.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Power Combination

To drive traffic to your website, you'll need to speak to your prospects and customers in a language they understand. This means finding and using keywords that your customers are looking for. It also means using keyword terms that few competitors have caught onto yet. This is really a pretty simple concept, like selling water in the desert. However, before you roll up your sleeves and haul your water jugs to the Sahara, you'll want to calculate the cost versus benefit of your proposition. You'll want to know how much money you stand to make by using any given keyword, and you'll want to factor in your time to market in taking advantage of this opportunity. I call this concept Keyword Economics, and it's not all that difficult to understand. It's even easier to put into practice. Here's what you need to do.
Begin With SEO:
Use Google's free keyword research tool to get good suggestions for keyword terms to use on your site. Check the number of monthly searches and compare this to the number of results found using the Google search engine. (As you check the number of results, make sure you put the term in quotation marks.)
When you divide the total number of Global Monthly Searches by the number of Search Results, that number can be expressed as a percentage. I call it my Blue Ocean Index or BOI. It shows you how much or how little competition there is for your chosen keyword. You want a result that's better than 30%. If your result is anywhere above 100%, then you've got a hungry market on your hands
BOI = Global Monthly Searches / Results
Let's say you get terribly lucky and identify a term with a 500% BOI. Even with that, you still may find yourself with very few customers in the marketplace. Just because a keyword term has a relatively high ratio of searches to results, or a high BOI, that doesn't necessarily equate to a large volume of sales. For example, if your chosen term has 10,000 searches a month and there are only 2,000 results on the whole of the Internet, you have a 500% BOI, but you may wind up with only 15 customers a month, even with an optimized website.
Keyword Economics: Calculating Your Return Per Keyword
How can you tell how much money a given term will bring you in hard dollars? The answer is easy. It's Keyword Economics. I've come up with a formula for analyzing your opportunity for any given keyword term. Here's what that looks like.
Keyword Economics makes a set of assumptions, and these are scalable. They'll work for any term you use. The assumptions, however, are a little grand - that is they involve work, and the work is up to you. Keyword Economics assumes the following:
A) You've done your homework, and you've identified keywords to use in your website domain, site content, social media, and/or any other marketing venues that are routinely crawled by the search engines.
B) You have managed to come up in position 2 or 3 on a Google search for your chosen keyword term. Coming up Number 1 is dicey to pull off - aspirational if you will, and hard to guarantee.
C) You have a click-through rate from the Search Engine Results Page of 15%. That means out of 100 people searching, 15 are clicking on your link.
D) You have a 1% conversion rate. Of the people who do click through, 1 in 100 are buying your product.
E) The average profit for each product you sell is about $20. This figure is completely arbitrary, but it's manageable enough that it works consistently with our formula.
When you blend all of these factors together and mix them up just right, you get a figure of 3%. Keyword Economics is always 3% of Global Monthly Searches when all of these 5 assumptions have been met. That means when you find a keyword term with 10,000 Global Monthly Searches, you can gauge that your opportunity for that term has a monthly Keyword Economics factor of $300. It's an educated guess, and it's a great place to start.
KE = Global Monthly Searches * 3%
The better job you do getting onto Page One of a Google Search, the more likely it is that you'll score. It all starts with activity. It all starts with you and what you do next with these formulas. The good news is, most people will not act on this powerful combination. Will you be one of them?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Considering a Working At Home Business and Becoming Part of a New Thriving Economy

If the last few years have been any indication of what is to come economically speaking then isn't it time to rethink the world of business and careers? Currently there is a "new economy" that has been emerging and thriving. In this "new economy" a business is started every 11 seconds and the average revenue for 28% of these businesses according to is between $100,000 to $500,000 annually! What is this new economy and who is taking part?
The good news is a lot of people! From college grads who can't find work, to those who can't afford an advanced education, and even people with a lot of experience who have been out of a job due to a slumping recovery. People all over the country and even the world have looking to the internet to begin creating their next business in the hopes of replacing lost income, have a life filled with choice, freedom and financial stability. Why are so many rushing to learn this new business model?
It's quite simple really. They can rely on themselves rather than an employer. Also, show me a business that you know of in this world that has access to 2 billion potential customers. Can you think of any business that is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week? Name one business that is not hindered by its geographic location? And finally, can you fathom of a single business in this world where the owner doesn't have to be there to operate it? You probably guessed by now, there is no such business! At least not in the physical - bricks and mortar - type business. Read on.
The only business that would clearly fit the above description is a business that is created from your home and exists in cyber-space. Other advantages are minimal expenses, no overhead, no franchise fees, no -- fill in the blank. The revolution of the online working at home business man (or woman) has brought with it a promise of a new day for entrepreneurs. And these entrepreneurs have realized something. What do they know that you don't?
With minimal startup fees, proper training, great compensation plans, and products that are in need, anyone with a commitment and a some hard work can literally reinvent their lives. From vacationing at your own whim, more time with the family, complete freedom and choice as to where and when to work, and many other advantages, a working at home business is the salvation and solution to many of today's entrepreneurs and those who never even considered that they could be one. How do you find the right home business?
Finding the right home business can sometimes be a challenge, but if you understand what is needed to be successful then the pool of choices shrinks down to only a few. Where do people go wrong?
While many MLM or networking marketing companies promise high reward, the statistics are unfavorable in regards to success. Instead, the 'top-tier' direct sales companies have proven to have a significantly higher degree of success, trumping the pyramid structure. Some companies have already produced countless 6 and 7 figure earners with this structure in only a few short years.
To be involved in a working at home business it doesn't take rocket science. It takes a little ingenuity and mostly common sense. One should consider that any company that doesn't offer training, personal development, a fair compensation plan, or products that the market needs will be very difficult to get off the ground, but when the right ingredients are found together the lifestyle you deserve and want is truly possible.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Perfecting the Meet and Greet

Many sales today are won or lost in the first five minutes! There are many reasons why this is so, but poor business etiquette skills are to blame in a lot of cases. We all know that selling today is as cut-throat and bloodthirsty as it has ever been, with many salespeople spending their days relentlessly chasing their next pay check, commission, or accolade. Because of this many fundamentals are overlooked, including the important meet and greet. But simply being 'too busy' is no longer an excuse!
One of the most critically important and yet frequently overlooked aspects of selling is creating a solid foundation of trust and rapport. Practising and learning to relate to other people is not something a lot of salespeople are well educated in. In the sales game relating to others is the single most important success determinant, with the foundations being laid in the first five minutes. So what are the key areas of the meet and greet and how can we all become better at it?
First Impressions Count
When it comes to building trust and rapport in the sales environment, there is nothing more important than making a favourable first impression. You are being constantly scrutinised and factors such as appearance, attitude and time management are all part of your impressionable package. Always ensure you are well groomed, smiling and on time - nothing ruins a first impression more than tardiness and lateness.
Introduction and Handshake
When a handshake is offered it is impossible to avoid reaching within an arms length in distance. This automatically encroaches on the other person's personal space and many people are put out by this incursion and they become defensive. By invading their comfort zone you now have to face many of their defence mechanisms, but the best way to counter these is to use eye contact, body language and a tone a pace of voice that sets them at ease.
Remembering Names
A typical exchange of pleasantries will usually include name, occupation and then health and wellbeing. However, only seconds after the initial introduction most salespeople and customers cannot remember each other's names, so what hope do they have to remember them throughout the sales presentation. The two fundamental aspects of rapport building during the meet and greet process are the lowering of apprehension levels and attending to their name. Salespeople should focus as they greet people then listen closely to their name, repeating it in the next sentence in order to create an imprint.
Positive Environment
Customers obviously respond more favourably to positive experiences than negative ones. Therefore, it is the role of the salesperson to create a positive environment in which to 'exist' for the duration of the presentation. Enthusiasm, humour and stories are great fuel. It is important to realise that your actions and results are directly linked to your thoughts, so a positive pre-sale programming session might just be what you need to kick-start your positive energy again as you greet your customer.
Common Ground
The meet and greet is the sales warm up and it is here where you can establish common ground by discussing the weather, sports or a local news story. Also try to find out the other person's hobbies, awards or past accomplishments, for positive conversation on these topics will cement a good grounding for a business relationship.
Customers today have many options available to them and will turn to these if they do not find you to be likeable and trustworthy. Avoid leaving this backdoor open to your competition by developing strong relationships right from the outset.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Starting SEO the Organic Way

In the beginning it appears difficult and frustrating. Essentially, knowing that you have to spread your website and its information across THOUSANDS of sites can bring you down. On the contrary, simplicity, patience, and persistence will win this battle sooner than you think.
Organic, or Natural Search Engine Optimization begins with looking at any form of website optimizing that does NOT involve paying search engines, other websites, directories, or blogs. Basically, if there is no SEO company working on your organic search engine optimization, you should not be spending any money. Our recommendation is that any small business starting up should not seek any paid method of advertising unless there is a comfortable available budget for online marketing. Why is this? Well, in the beginning, it is always best to start small, and build your way up!
Through progressively creating, adjusting, and monitoring these Organic methods, success will follow!
- Social Media Networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc...)
- Directory Submission
- Blogging
- Article Submission
- Press Release
- Content Building
- Link Building
- and more!
Social Media Networking
Understanding the power of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is only half of the battle. Currently, Facebook is ranked 2nd, Twitter is ranked 9th, and LinkedIn is ranked17th in the world.
What does this have to do with you? Well, if you properly utilize these three social media sites, website popularity for your business or company will come. First on the list is setting up the account. By setting up an account, you can put up logos, pictures, videos, and much more on your profile. In addition to this, if you link your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts on your website, it is easier for viewers/potential clients to view your web pages which can lead to conversions. In the eyes of a potential buyer of your product or services, branding and website popularity is very important. Getting the person to your website, and then selling is hardest part.
This is why having simple profiles set up on social media sites will help to build your online profile. You can also think of it like this...the larger and more professional your online resume is, the more likely you are to receiving impressions-->clicks-->views-->conversions.
Directory Submission
Submitting your website to directories also plays an important role in your Organic SEO strategies. Being able to spread your URL and biography across thousands of free directories is a great privilege! The only downside to doing this is you will not see these link backs immediately unless you are willing to pay.
Some directories offer Paid One-Way Links, with free Reciprocal links. Where as other directories offer free One-Way-Links, with paid Reciprocal links. In addition to this, free One-Way-Links usually take 2-3 months of review before they will link your web page. Having said all of this, it is still worth your while. Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing are changing their algorithms evermore quickly, so having progressive links to your site over time is a good thing!
Blogging is always an important part for site awareness, just like being outside, you are able to interact and communicate with other people that you have never met. This same concept translates into the web, and having individuals commenting, questioning, or remarking on your thoughts and ideas. Blogs such as Squidoo, Tumblr, and BlogSpot offer excellent rewards for activity on their site.
In addition to this, the writers of these blog posts get to learn more about what they do or write on. Setting up blogs is very simple and clean. Our suggestion is to fill out your profile as much as you possibly can with pictures, videos, biographies, and anything else that comes to mind! As long as it is profanity free, you will never have any issues with blog admins or other fellow bloggers.
A last point to make about Blogs is that it allows you to write what ever you wish, whether it be educational or for marketing purposes. Having that extra option to express your knowledge or expertise about a certain subject(s) is only beneficial in the world of gaining website popularity.
Article Submission
Submitting articles is very similar to posting on blogs. One main difference is that articles are more formally developed then blog posts. For instance, you can post on your blog that you are having a bad day. In an article situation, you are trying to demonstrate and express your knowledge and expertise out to the public in hopes of getting mass recognition which would then lead to more traffic on your site.
Article Submission sites, or press release sites, help put your information out to the mass public looking to read about a certain topic. For example, if somebody is interested in how to remove a virus from their computer, the benefit of a computer store writing an article on how to fix your computer from viruses would be beneficial. The mere psychology behind helping others out of good-will, and giving free information to the public can only benefit you. In addition to this, the search engines also will give ranking credentials to sites that expand their horizons across article and press release sites such as EzineArticles or GoArticles.
Press Release
Press Releases are a little more formal in the sense that you will want to utilize press releases for important news and events. For small business owners, press releases can benefit through releasing a new location, a new event, sponsorship, affiliate, and much more.
An example of this could be if you own a sports store and you sponsor a little league baseball team. If the little league baseball team wins a tournament or competition, you could press release that it was with the help of your sponsorship that they were able to achieve such success. Of course you don't want to take all of the credit, but there is nothing wrong with taking a little recognition for your hard work and kind heart.
Content Building
One of the most important ways to increase your organic or natural rankings is by creating content every week. By writing about your business or services, search engines will pick up on the activity on your website while giving you credit for mentioning your keywords or phrases in different context.
Although this sounds like you can just keep repeating the same word over and over again, the search engines are smarter than that. When creating content, it MUST be YOUR OWN, and not DUPLICATE from another competitors site or blog. If you're thinking about playing with this fire, you should be careful because the search engines are very intricate, and are more than capable of spotting duplicated content that is not your own. By being able to pick up when and where the content is put on, the search engines will know if a year later you duplicate another sites content, so avoid doing this at all costs. If you are lazy or don't feel like writing content, contact an SEO business or professional content writer.
A last point that is needed to say on this topic is that content should be structured so whatever the main subject is that your topic about, gets properly placed and mentioned. For example, if somebody was to write about SEO, you would want to avoid mentioning it at the bottom of the paragraph or story. Instead, try starting off with the sentence: In Search Engine Optimization....
Link Building
Link building naturally is also a very key factor in organic SEO. In order to build links, you must conjure up a letter targeted at webmasters of websites that are relevant or complimentary to your business. Moreover, adding a "links" or "resources" page to your website will also help to have a back-end page in which you can list the sites that you are link exchanging with.
Essentially, the more deep links, the more website popularity. Deep links are the most important and effective when trying to achieve rankings on the search engines due to the fact that another site is fully recognizing the existence of your site.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Important to Be an Expert to Write Online Articles

The other day someone asked me if it was paramount that an individual be an expert in the field to write an online article on any given topic? Well, yes, I do have some comments on this, and seeing as I've written several articles in my life, I thought I might explain some things; first, most reporters who write articles in the news are not experts in everything they write about, but they work hard to understand before they bang out those keys on the keyboard and create the article.
Okay so, I don't actually believe that someone needs to be an expert in what they're writing about, however I can tell you that it's only fair to the reader of your online article that you do research on the topic, and/or know what you are talking about. Personally, I do a lot of research on each article I write, and I've done so much in my life it's pretty easy to write an article on quite a few different topics.
If a writer is serious about what they are writing, and does their due diligence to learn the subject matter, or happens to know it from previous experience, observation, education, or just plain flat doing their homework I believe that is to be adequate. I think what bothers me is when folks pay someone from another country $1-$2 to write an article for them, someone that doesn't even really speak English and has trouble with the languages and merely goes to Wikipedia and copies down the basics of whatever subject they're working on and writes the article.
Worse, someone in an emerging nation is probably taking half of the money and they pay their writers, perhaps 10 or 12 of them writing articles about things they don't know much about, and without the cultural perspective necessary to get it right.
Indeed, I also find it's very unfortunate when people give advice online, and use SEO strategies to get to the top of the search engine, and someone like me who spends the time to do it right and thus, knows what they're talking about has their articles, e-books, information, or real-world knowledge buried in the search engine. I don't find that to be funny, and it gets me rather upset at times. And I don't blame Google, and some of the other startup, but well-funded search engines who are trying to break into that market for trying to fix these problems.
Far too many people have put up websites with junk, and only for AdSense, trying to make trickle payments from people who click on ads. The Internet is the greatest communication device ever created in the history of mankind, but when people abuse it, and put up junk online, they are doing a disservice to everyone.
Sometimes I guess they think they are going to make money by doing this, and that makes it okay as long as they're making money, but it's not it's not okay - it's a disservice to the human race. And it is certainly not what the folks had in mind at Bell Labs when they started putting together the Internet with the ARPANET project. I'm not impressed, and I would say I'm as upset about it as Vincent Cerf, Larry page, and Tim Berners-Lee, etc.
As far as I'm concerned if you aren't giving valuable information to the Internet, or something that's worthy of being read, you're wasting everyone's time, including your own. Further if you are trying to pretend to be an expert in the field, and use informational marketing to attract people to buy your products and services online, don't you think you should know what you're talking about, I do. Think on it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Best Promote Your Products Online

If you have products that you need to promote online, the first thing to do is to identify your target audience. Figure out what kind of people would be potential customers and what there interests are, like sports, fashion, art, politics, etc. Identify them in these ways: males or females, age group, single or married, geographical location, occupations, or education level. Now that you have an idea of your niche market, you can get busy promoting your products.
Facebook gets first mention because of its viral marketing potential. Sign up and make an interesting and informative profile page and include pictures to build interest in your business and your products. Then start making connections with past colleagues, associates, co-workers, business partners and new friends who could be new prospective customers.
You can start by browsing groups where you think your target audience congregates. Write a short message and include your web address in your signature. Build a fan page and when a person becomes a fan, then that information will go out to all their friends. Recently, Facebook began offering the Like Button social plug-in for you to put on your website. When people are on your site and they click "like" then your content, and a link, will be shared with all their friends via the News Feed. This is another way to get caught up in the viral aspect of social networking. Lastly, consider buying Facebook ads. They provide selective targeting and are extremely cost effective when compared to alternative advertising methods.
Blogs are great ways to promote products online. Create a blog at Blogger or WordPress, etc. Use good keywords in the title and submit your blogs to blog directories like Blog Explosion or Weblog. Then you can funnel your Facebook friends to your blog. Offer something of value for free on your blog, like an eBook or video in exchange for a name and email address. Always assure your contacts that you will not sell or share their email address.
A valuable tool for marketing is a newsletter that you might want to host with MailChimp or even 3DCart who has a built in Newsletter. These can include specials, new products, and events. Let people know how often they will receive a newsletter and keep an archive of old ones on your website. If you have a brick 'n mortar, make sure your store address is included in the newsletter. Also, put an opt-in form for the newsletter on your website.
Another way to promote products online is through videos. Make an interesting video about your product and include a link to your store. Have keywords and a description in the file name and syndicate to You Tube, Metacafe, Digg Videos, My Space, Go Fish, etc. Add the video to your store, websites, and blogs. When you have a few, add a video site map to your store and websites so that search engines can index your videos.
Lastly, LinkedIn is a great place to communicate with like minded people, contribute your expertise and knowledge with others, network and find potential partners and customers who are interested in your offering. LinkedIn provides many ways to connect with others. You can join a group, invite others to join your network, showcase your professional work experience and send/receive messages from others.