Tag: business

 
+

DOs and DONTs in networking events

 

 

Networking is the process of fishing for new customers or new order within a focused crowd. The effective networking will result into $$$! Yes: we network to make money, not to have fun. Yes: we network to make money, not to know more people. Yes: we network to make money, not to spend time.

 

The 4 DONTs of effective networking are 

  1. Do not start with your name or business name

Starting with your name and your business will frame you in the audience mind to the basic service of what you do. It will immediately create a barrier between you and the audience.

When you say: “Hi, I am Joe and I am accountant”

It automatically generates a barrier between you and the audience.  In the mindset of the audience, it will be one of these messages

“Oh, one more accountant in the crowd.”

“Oh, another one of them”

“Oh, I hate these guys, they do not do a good job”

All of these messages are toxic to your networking goals

 

  1. Do not wear the company shirt

Wearing a company shirt frames you within the company image. It would be reflect on the ability of connecting with the crowd. In my own experience, having a shirt of an elite service with extremely high reputation was not a good idea. The message in the head of the audience were

“Another guy from this company that charges premium?”

“I just got a call from this company last week, please not again.”

It automatically position you in a frame that impact the acceptance to your message.

 

  1. Do not have your logo

Having a logo frames you in what your company do and not how better or effective than your competitors. It is the type of barrier that you do not want. You shall focus of how better is your service or product than others. The message shall be “How do you outstand against others and why you are better. NOT what do you do.

 

  1. Do not talk about your business

Do say what your business is doing, or the nature of your service. Focus on the values that your provide to the different clients. Focus on why your customer will come to you and how do you stand against the crowd.

 

The 4 Do’s of effective networking are 

  1. Do ask an engagement question

An engagement question is the best approach to qualify your crowd. You shall be able to adjust your message to your crowd. If you the first question does not qualify the crowd, Ask a second question but there is NO THIRD. If you can not qualify the crowd, think about another question for next time.

  1. Do say a pain-hitting paragraph

A pain-hitting paragraph is a simple statement that characterizes the pain that your business is addressing. Identifying the pain immediately creates a link to the audience and you will get their ears for few minutes. Three – four statements conquer in the audience mind that you know and feel their pain. The audience perceives you are like them, and people like to buy from people like them, who they like.

 

  1. Do say what is your solution to the pain

After the pain-hitting paragraph pause for a moment, so the audience can digest what said. Then, say HOW you solve the pain, WHY your service is better, and the reasons they should use your service and not others.

 

  1. Do say how to access your solution

At the end you shall say how the audience can connect to your service, such as access a website. You must leave a contact information with an action so the audience can connect to you. Or simply, say “your name, I will be more than happy to assist you.”

 

+

Social Bookmark Traffic – Is It Useful?

In the very recent past, a friend of mine [Kate] was lucky enough to get her website listed (bookmarked) on Digg, a very popular social bookmark site. With her permission, I was given an excellent chance to overlook and analyze the traffic generated from these types of sites. Read on to discover the pro’s and con’s of social media site traffic, and how it could be utilised in your own website or online marketing efforts.

Firstly, it should be said that any sort of internet traffic, should not be considered useless. Visitors to your site should all be welcomed, as any visitor is a good thing. In saying that, however, it should be noted that traffic in all its greatness, is not created equally. Great differences become apparent when you start to analyze its source. The purpose of this article, is to take a much closer look at the traffic generated from social bookmarking, from the perspective of internet marketing.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 2 years, you’d notice a very big trend on the web–social bookmark and media websites have become “all that” on the web. Slashdot, Stumbleupon, Digg; any of these popular sites sound familiar?

This is where a lot of social bookmark traffic will originate from. In essence, these sites are driven and “controlled” by the users. Users or members choose which content they want to bookmark, and this will lead into viewing and discussing of said bookmarked content. Sites such as these are immensely popular, and flow traffic that the average website owner can only ever imagine having. Thats a lot of traffic, isn’t it? But is it really useful?

All this traffic and hype must be a good thing, right? But is it really worth your time? Should you integrate active promotion to these types of social media websites? What about concentrating all your online marketing strategies on these types of sites? The question more at point is, what are the real pro’s and con’s of getting your website listed on the front page of sites like Stumbleupon or Digg?

As a website owner myself, I wanted answers, and I wanted them quickly. In addition, I wondered if utilising these sites could benefit me; i.e, could they help me generate more income online?

Recently, my friends listing on Digg enabled me to have a upclose look at these sites, and the effects they brought to a website owner. This was a chance for a first-hand, upclose study; I was not about to pass this up.

However, this didn’t happen by chance. Kate took the action of placing the free “Addthis.com” bookmark to all her pages. You can also do this quite easily. Using this simple bookmark “button”, you can start to attract these sites. However, be warned; a site featured on the front page of social media sites can almost instantly generate 100,000’s of visitors to your website; this in essence is enough traffic that it may overload your server. Not good!

So be careful; active promotion to these social bookmark sites should only be taken upon if your servers or web hosting company can withstand the sudden influx of traffic.

With Kate’s permission, I utilised Google Analytics and started to analyze these types of visitors and social bookmark traffic generated. Interestingly enough, some very important factors were realised. The Majority of this traffic will:

– Simply bounce back.
– Very few visitors will stay on your site; even for a short period of time.
– Very few visitors will actually go into the depths of your site.
– If you have a newsletter or similar, you’ll notice that very few sign-up for these.
– If you utilise any type of marketing follow-ups, etc, very few will enter.

(In saying this, an unknown variable is the content of your site. Is it well written? Does it perform well? Is it useful or attractive to the visitor?)

Traffic from these sites does pose a very common problem, however; its temporary traffic, to say the least. The mass amount of traffic generated will usually only last a few days at most, that is, until your listing or bookmark is removed from the front page. Most of these visitors will rarely remain on your website for long, and the majority leave within seconds. In saying that, you may have a few sign-up’s to your newsletter or Ezine, or visitors that explore your site. But keep in mind, this number will not be very high.

Social media site traffic can be likened to customers in the drive-thru sections of fast food restaurants; they come and go as quick as they came. The visitors will basically view your content, and before you know it, have already left, surfing back to the main site to venture onto the next item or listing. Social bookmark traffic will always behave differently, to a large extent, when compared to organic search engine traffic, or your newsletter traffic, for instance. Very differently.

Visitors from Kate’s article posts will generally add up to 50 to a 100 new sign-ups a day; much different when compared to social bookmark traffic. In addition, readers and visitors to her articles are actually interested in her content, and therefore have been previously exposed to similiar content upon reaching her website. So in this case, there was no comparison.

The choice of traffic will always lay in the visitors generated from search engines, atleast when comparing to the traffic from social bookmarking sites. A question still remains, however– is social bookmark traffic really all that useless?

Firstly, as previously mentioned, you need to remember that no traffic should be considered useless. Any type of visitor to your website should be counted as a good thing. Any website owner should realise that getting traffic and visitors to your website is a must; otherwise its game over.

When someone searches for a particular term in a search engine, and they end up at your website, this means that your visitor is there because you have what they’re looking for. This type of traffic is essential to your website. Visitors like these are considered to be “targeted traffic”; that is, they’re more likely to read your pitch-page, overlook your information, sign-up to a newsletter, or even buy a product. Additionally, they may also become repeat visitors. Traffic like this is ideal. These are the types of visitors you really want.

However, its not all bad news. Social media or bookmark sites do have a bright side.

How would you like the possibility of your website gaining exposure to millions of people? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Even though you may not get sales, for instance, this traffic can assist in getting your websites name out there; branding it, creating a buzz.

If your website appeals to a more mass market, then you are even more in luck. Social bookmark traffic in this case can be an excellent source of traffic and visitors.

Social sites such as these also have another added bonus; gaining a link on high PR7 and PR8 websites, with high traffic flow, can’t hurt your search engine rankings. After your website is featured on a social media site such as Digg, your link can also appear on a large number of secondary websites on the web, as much as 1000 or more. Much of this traffic will also be using the Firefox web browser, which is embedded with the Alexa toolbar– what does this do for you? Your Alexa traffic rank will be improved. As much as 50% of the visitors hitting Kate’s website we’re running the Firefox browser.

Something worth pointing out, is that the traffic generated from Stumbleupon was much different. Longer stay durations were the common thing in this traffic, that is, this traffic behaved more like organic traffic. This could possibly be attributed to the fact that Stumbleupon is a higher quality site, and this was reflected from the higher quality of the visitors originating from there. This also made me come to the realisation that not all social media/bookmark traffic can be measured with the same stick. This experience also pointed me out to something important; the content featured on Kate’s website is geared towards targeted visitors from search engines and articles, and is generally not suited to the mainstream net-surfer.

An idea to better take advantage of this type of traffic, is to gear your website and its content to more mainstream internet users. Whether or not this enables you to achieve a greater level of success, is largely dependant on what you offer and how it is offered. Another unknown variable, unfortunately.

In the near future, I hope to gain the chance to further study social bookmark traffic, and its long-term effects on websites. In specific, the effect it would have on keyword rankings and link popularity rankings in search engines; only then can I come to any type of real judgements. However, for now, my mind is being kept open, and the idea is being tossed up as to whether social media and bookmark traffic is actually worth the time or the effort. Is the time taken away from your usual day-to-day marketing efforts worth it?

Guess there is only one way to find out, really.

Please fill in the The Complete Speaking Business Assessment for free assessment

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Myths about Selling

Your online commercializing conflict will include a number of dissimilar methods in different arenas of the Internet. You may have a web site, use an auto responder, post classified ads, post articles, place banner advertisings, sponsor lists and newssheets, circulate press handouts, and much more. Keep in mind, though, that when you are first commencing, it is vital that you concentrate on one facet of your merchandising crusade at a time and elevate it to its fullest degree before proceeding on to the next.

It is more effective to slowly become profitable by concentrating on one event at a time, than to hardly be gainful because you are attacking all of the events halfhearted.

Broaden and spend little sums of money on advertisement for the first time. If you apply a conservative approach, you will not be exhausted financially if an ad doesnít return the sales you were going for. Just keep trying out advertisements as your fund permits until you discover the one that works most effective; then you can roll it out and be positive that you are going to earn money rather than lose it!

If you have a lot of contest, state that you will respect all of your competitionsí vouchers and/or rebates; use “theirî advertisement to your advantage.

An antique problem in business sector is accumulating final payment for services delivered. As a business possessor, you need to be tended for “difficultî customers and “moochesî by exercising such matters as

In your contract or sales arrangements, state the interest rates and late fees that will be assessed if payment is not received within 30 days of completion.

Compose form letters to be used for accumulating the remainder. There should be three letters in total — one after the payment is ten days late, another after twenty days, and a third that lets the client know that youíll be turning their account over to a collection authority (or taking them to small claims court).

The third letter should not be sent until 45 days after the payment is late. And of course, never bluff. If you say you will turn it over to a collection agency, do so.

The best way to protect yourself is to take payment thru credit card. State to your customer that you will bill their credit card one third of the entire cost as an initial down payment, another third just after you have passed the 50% closing period, and the final third on delivery. Or use the two-payment system – half at the introduction of the task and the balance upon completion.

One more thing. You are free to use this article on your website provided that it stays unaltered and the links in the resourcebox is live, search-engine friendly links.

DO NOT STEAL. IT IS NOT WORTH IT.

Please fill in the The Complete Speaking Business Assessment for free assessment

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Content marketing is in use everywhere

Content marketing has been lapped up by both internet marketers and online surfers. Using this media allows one to express his ideas and allows the other to read and enjoy. No wonder there are more and more people signing up each day to blog sites and people are publishing relevant articles on their websites in a bid to attract more and more
people.

Content marketing is in use everywhere because it is only the words that allow explaining. Different channels use different types of content marketing, be it the newsletter, email marketing, blogging, publishing, website content, etc. Content is in demand everywhere.

Content marketing is virtuous by its own nature, firstly because it has the power of attracting traffic long after the content has been published. More traffic will continue if the content is good and has something visitors find interesting. Content needs to be interesting and informative however, if you want the visitors to continue coming in.

So how will you attract traffic to your website using content marketing?

Include links, this it is obvious all content you publish should contain related links which take the reader to your website. However, unabashed advertising of products has not yet been looked upon kindly by the ezine public. This attitude towards advertising is right and does keep the spirit of informative advertising afloat.

It is important to maintain information levels when using content marketing. While browsing many of us have come across articles which have practically no informative value. Obviously if you want to write more articles on the same subject, slowly the matter diminishes and what remain to be filled are the futile words.

Spinning content can provide some respite from this problem, but it is necessary that you do not publish these articles with same ezine, instead make sure the information rich rewritten articles reach as many article directories as you can. The above can help you maintain information level and attract a lot of visitors from different directories.

Please fill in the The Complete Speaking Business Assessment for free assessment

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Ebooks Are Raking It In

Have you always wanted an unlimited income that you didn’t have to leave the comfort of your own home for? Have you ever thought about becoming a writer, and publishing books? Well, many people have become well-known authors, and have made quite a bit of money writing books, but it seems that even more are making a lot more money writing ebooks.

Ebooks can be a very valuable asset. Let me just list a few of the reasons why they have become so popular. First of all, paper books take what seems an eternity to get published, not to mention that it costs quite a bit of money in printing, and postage, and handling, and stuff. Ebooks do not have a publishing cost, plus ebooks are digital. They can be emailed to your client directly, or they can download the ebook from your website, giving them instant gratification, which everyone loves. They are also digitally stored, so you don’t have all kinds of books cluttering up your house.

Ebooks also stay there, on the internet, indefinately, if you will, making money for you, while you sit back, on the beach, contemplating what you will be writing your next ebook about. That’s right, you can just relax while your ebook sits on your website, making you money. Many people are just raking in the dough from ebooks today. But, you will need to use some tools (there are links on my website to access these tools) to make sure that there is enough traffic being directed to your site.

There are all sorts of ways to bring traffic to your site, like writing articles, (like the one written here), using autoresponders, and buying mailing lists. My mentors, whom I have links to on my website, offer many tools and tips for driving traffic to your site. One tip is to build the customers trust, by offering plenty of free stuff. Free PDF files are a hot item to offer for free, because people can pass them around freely, appealing to more of a mass market. And any computer with Adobe Reader, (which can be downloaded for free), can read these types of files.
PDF files are also considered valuable to search engines, thus making it easier for customers to find your site.

There are many other ways to get traffic to your site, and many other methods of making money online, but writing ebooks is one of the easiest, and most profitable ways. For more information, please go to my website, and check out my links. If you register with my site, I will send you some simply amazing reports, with tons of invaluable information, all for FREE! Go there now! Take the step, learn something new. Learn something proven to make money!

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Location Location Location

This article conveys how important choosing a location for your mobile food vending business is. Location is one of the biggest and possibly most difficult choices made when starting this type of business.

Location is one of the biggest keys to running a successful food concession business. Although one of the most overused clichÈs out there is location location location when regarding real estate, it couldnít be more appropriate for mobile food vending as well. While product, customer service, and advertising are all important parts of running this business, location is a key that if you do not get it right, your business will not only fail, but will fail miserably. Without the proper location, customers will not be able to or want to stop at your business. Location is also important because it has everything to do with your product and who will buy your product. Finally permanent location is important because it determines the familiarity and frequency with which your customers stop by.

First and foremost, if you donít have the proper type of location, you are not going to be able to attract customers. For example, the corner of a highway where your potential clients are going 75 mph and not even noticing you is not a great way to bring in customers. You are looking for a place that people are stopped or slowed significantly. This can include places like stop lights as well as speed zones where drivers slow down. Also, if customers feel unsafe or do not like the appearance of your location, you wonít have much luck in selling your product either.

Location is also important because it has everything to do with what type of product you will sell. Burgers go over much better at a fair or on the side of the road in a small town than sushi would. Studying your demographic through your location is a great way to judge what types of food a certain area might like well enough to come back to. In this way, you can choose a type of food that isnít already in the area. If there are a dozen burger joints, unless you have a phenomenal burger, maybe you want to do bbq. Also, ask people in the area what they might like to see come to the community. Taking the advice of your potential customers is a great idea to develop an early rapport and to get a feel for what is needed in the neighborhood.

Permanent location is also a way to help ensure repeat customers. Repeat customers are a large part of your customer base. If you are constantly in a new location, or you donít show up on time, this could be the death of your loyal customersí business. Making sure you are reliable is one of the best ways to get the lunch crowd in. If they know that at regular hours on regular days they can count on you to be there, they may choose to eat at your establishment rather than patronize the local chain.

The bottom line is, good location is imperative in order to make sure you have customers that are comfortable stopping; it helps you decide what type of food you will serve, and repeat customers will be able to rely on your consistency.

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

You are not running a business. You are copying grandma's hobby of making pies.

 

Like all grandmas, she had the hobby of making pies and we receive lots of them to make her happy. Like it or not, as grandkids, we are told to thank our grandma for the pie and tell her how wonderful is the pie, how we cannot resist finishing the last pie, which was the best.  Then we ends up having more pies, although we did not like the pies till today.

 

Grandma is a very senior, (and I hate to say “old”) with very limited mobility and almost no eyesight. She will challenge her ability to make more pies and send them to her grandkids because she believes she makes them happier.

 

I was invited to the introduction of a new product with the business owner, and I was told that it is better product that best serve my health and my life.

I was given a bottle to try and I am just curious.   I was told that it is a new product that is better than anything else for my health.  I was intrigued and as I start to ask simple questions to find a reason to try the sample.

 

After asking few questions, I found a very strong resistance to answer these simple questions. Then, I was framed as a consultant who is looking for new clients. Then, I was told to not impose my service. The fact is I am not a consultant and I am not shopping for new clients.    I wonder, if I should ask the business owner to simply search my name on google “Wael Badawy” to know who I am and what I do.

 

The product is introduced, as a combination of ingredients that I know, ingredients that I do not know, and ingredient that I may not heard about it.

This introduction triggered a flag, because I do not generally eat or drink what I do not know, in the absence of a strong motive, such as being ill.

 

THEN, the ingredients are very healthy and it has better fruits and vegetables that I do not know but I should consume for their valuable impact.

I am not sure what is missing here? But, my understanding is the consumers of  organic products like to know everything about their food. They do not like the unknown chemicals that may impact their health.  At this point, I saw the second flag, because I was judged again.

For me, rightly or wrongly, “organic” is good enough to justify its high price, but  “organic” or natural ingredients that I do not know to be better for my health, is not true.   Pure marijuana and marijuana’s leaves are organic and natural but they are dangerous and even though we need to know more details to understand its medicinal effect.   If I consume it, I will be addicted and most likely, I will end up in Jail but I am consuming an organic natural plant!!!

 

THEN, the product’s presentation explained the principle of consuming the full fruit/vegetable in a juice, against extracts.  In my mind, this principle is questionable with diverse arguments. As a matter of fact, having a full lime as a juice will change its flavor and texture with time because of oxidation, and it can turn to be poisoning or has a higher level of toxic.  On the other hand, I cannot consume the whole orange or the whole banana. I have to peal it first!!!

– Anyway, I will pass on this argument because I am not the expert in food but I know what I eat.

 

At this point, I started to ask questions to better understand who is the business owner, what is the value of the product and what is the quality of the product in order to have a level of confidence to try the product.

 

I asked about the size of the business, to feel comfort that there are others who trust this product and buy it.  I was looking for the customers’ WHY to compare it to mine, i.e. what are the reasons to buy this over-priced product. Oh, this product will cost 25x – 35x the price of a high quality 100% natural juice.

 

I asked about the plan to grow the business in the next three or five years. I asked about the vision of the owner to confirm the quality of the product, and there is someone stands behind the product.   All what I received is “3 and 5 years are very long time”.  In the absence of an answer, it demonstrates that there is no continuity and no guarantee to a quality control process.   i.e. two samples of the product with the same ingredient, will have different taste.

 

I asked about the value of the product? The question aimed to help me to find my WHY, and I can try the sample.   The articulated value is “You drink good natural stuff, so your body will perform better”.  There is no confirmation or reference other than the business owner has issues and it was solved by personally drinking this combination. There was no testimonial and no confirmation of the business owner story. So, I attempted to clarify and I asked, does it help with a diet plan? or release weight? or having high energy? etc.  The value was articulated as you eat better ingredients, you will be healthier and you feel good, with a proof.

I do not eat pizza and burger everyday and I eat apple and banana everyday. As it was said “One apple a day, keeps the doctor away!!!”

The articulated value is very general and I can have a blinder. I will use a mix of fruits and vegetables. AND, WOW, the juice will have the same value.

 

The answer continues to be “the ingredients used are planted by the owner in business owner’s garden and then picked and prepared to make the product!!!”

 

I asked about the science or the research behind this drink.  The answer is that the business owner has researched each of the known and unknown ingredients.  But, the business owner has two degrees (none of them are related to food, or health or technology or medicine). Yes, everyone may be impressed of these two degrees that have no relation to the business.

Moreover, the business owner has no passion to either degree and do not work with these degrees but the business owner offers this product to serve and help others.

The product looks professional with an expiry date to expire in two days!!! The product comes in a quantity of 1, 4 and 8 bottles.   I do not know the reason that of the expiry date given that there is no research or science behind the product to determine the impact of the three days instead of two.  I wonder If someone orders a pack of eight bottles, will he/her consome them all in two days. What about the logistics of producing, distributing and consuming a product that has to be kept cold (I assume) in two days?

It translates to a very limited number of customers with limited quantity orders, within a very small geographical area. So, the production, distribution and consumption in two days!!!.

 

I have to say that this is not a business, this is a grandma hobby to make pies, as:

1- The pies are initially FREE, till she asks for a favor in return, which will be fairly pricy.

2- The ingredients are from grandma apple tree in the backyard – Oh, by the way, the apple tree is very natural and very organic, because grandma is a senior and can not take care of the apple tree and no one fertilizes the tree.

3- Grandma believes that she makes her family happier by offering more pies. She consumes her effort, while her grandkids do not prefer to eat the pies, or do not eat them at all.

4- Grandma’s pies have to be eaten hot, and within one or two days.

5- No one knows the secret ingredient of the pies, even grandma herself does not.

6- Grandma pies taste differs from time to time. It is a function of the mood and the time in the oven, but grandma does not read the time.

7- Grandma serves only her family and close friends, which is a very limited consumer base.

 

The whole time, I was simply looking for a reason to try a sample of a new product.  I may feel lucky to put my hand on a free sample of this product. I was trying to find a reason for myself. I know grandma, but I do not know the business owner.   So please stop copying grandma hobby making pies and focus on building a business.

 

Note from the author: 

This is a true story and I held the name of the product and business confidential because I have the care and passion to every small business and entrepreneur in our community.   I strongly believe that the message within this post will help everyone in their business, So please let me know your thoughts below. 

 

I declare that I owe the business owner the price of the sample because I did not feel comfort to drink it, which is my fault AND now the sample expired!!!

 

+

Guerilla Versus Gorilla – Small Companies Can Win

We make our living as guerillas not the bad kind, but more of a freedom fighter. By using the term ‘guerilla’ I mean EMJ (now a division of SYNNEX) fights for business against big gorillas (other distributors) in the field. Our competitors are almost 100 times our size; EMJ is a Canadian-based, $165 million per year distributor. We have made an operating profit for the past 80 consecutive quarters. So even though we are up against the big gorillas as a distributor, we must be doing something right.

If you are in a business where some of the competitors are much larger, you may be able to benefit from using guerilla tactics. The principles of running a guerrilla organization differ from running a gorilla organization. As a guerrilla, we hide from our competitor; we do not try to crush them. I even go so far as to examine what they do well and let them do it. At the same time, I look for under-serviced markets and get to these markets fast.

A gorilla takes all competitors head on, trying to crush the competition. Sometimes this takes the form of a price war. Sometimes it takes major prolonged, drawn-out investment. This works as long as you are the same size, or larger than the competition. Even then, such a long battle can sap power and ultimately profits.

Companies that die often believe they were gorillas. It is certain death for a business to fight gorillas unless they can withstand the siege. Any time we hire someone with a gorilla-company background, we watch and coach that person to make sure they are indoctrinated with the appropriate tactics. We have to make sure they understand out business model.

My 8 favourite guerilla tactics are:

1 Act fast. I use my company’s size for my advantage. I can act lightning fast. In the computer business, this is a huge asset. Things change so rapidly that moving fast and being first to market is a huge advantage. Larger companies do not react quickly. Develop a reputation for being first it gets the attention of customers.

2 Welcome smaller opportunities. Gorillas tend to say ‘no’ to manufacturers who don’t think they can do significant volume with. But a small opportunity rejected by a gorilla can be a very profitable opportunity for a guerilla. For EMJ, a million dollar per product line is an opportunity big enough to get the attention of my first string. In your business, look for the right-sized opportunity for you. Frequently, it is the smaller opportunity that has the best promise. The gorillas will leave you alone. There is always a right-sized opportunity for a company of any size. Knowing your rightful place in the market can help you to thrive.

3 Get focussed. Higher focus means we know more, stock more, and sell more product of fewer manufacturers. The smaller our product listing, the more powerful we become. We know a lot about a little. That means we know the products we sell better than a gorilla, and we become a sales tool for the reseller, not just an order-taker. Could you become more focused and specialized in a business area by giving up on a part of your business?

4 Be more flexible. We can adapt more easily to our customers and suppliers. We try not to be ruled by policy. The bigger a company gets, the more likely they are to have policy and some of it is required. As a small distributor, we can be more flexible. Are there areas that your competition is ignoring that by being more entrepreneurial, you can capitalize on?

5 Be smarter. This sounds too simple, almost embarrassing to write. Since we are smaller, we can look at the business we do more carefully and make sure it makes good business sense. We don’t pick up another manufacturer just to increase the size of our line card. That’s just not good business sense for us. That’s the way we have to think and so should you.

6 Lower your overhead. For some reason, most companies seem to choose more expensive offices and furnishings as they grow. This expectation tends to increase costs in all areas of the company that distribution, at current margin levels, can ill afford. At EMJ, we buy quality used furniture. We are on the outskirts of Guelph where the cost of land and taxes is less. Our capital base is even high enough that our cost of capital is less than some of the gorillas. Are there areas that you can be lower overhead than the gorillas in your field? Costs always add up on the bottom line.

7 Foster staff loyalty one major advantage guerillas have over gorillas is the ability to attract, motivate, and keep good people. Primarily this is because guerillas can be more flexible, easier to work for and give people more of a sense of accomplishment because what they do contributes more directly the company’s bottom line. I have always found there to be great power by being smaller and treating my people with respect and not just as numbers. Gorillas can try to do this but it is tough for them to copy you.

8 Just BE a gorilla. We like to enter market areas that we can dominate and specialize in. We may not be the biggest but in certain specific niches, we dominate. As long as we are the biggest in an area, we can act the part. We can under-price and over-service the competition forever. Anyone who enters our markets learns that it is expensive and often impossible to unseat us.

9 Be personal. One thing a smaller organization can do is to be more personal. People buy from people. You can foster relationships that will help you sell. Part of the way we are personal is by showing our customers what markets and products ARE profitable. There is nothing that cements a customer relationship better than making them money, because you’ll be making money for them AND for you!

10 Be opportunistic to sum up guerilla strategy is simply to be opportunistic. Take advantage of opportunities that the gorillas cannot do. There are many companies that remain profitable by being opportunistic.

In summary, unless you are huge think guerilla. Appropriate guerilla tactics for your size will win any battle.

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Your Small Business May Be At Risk Unless You Have A Security and Recovery Plan

Taking the time now to at least put together an informal security and business recovery plan will go a long way in the event of a real disaster or other loss. Learn what your small business should think about before the unexpected happens.

Donít think your small business is at risk? Think again. Whether you realize it or not, your business has valuable information and assets that probably are not protected right now. Your business likely has confidential client information, proprietary business knowledge or just internal knowledge that you wouldnít want to be exposed to criminals or competitors. The loss of this information could have a devastating impact to your business. While business insurance is an important part of your protection, it cannot protect clients from identity theft or your business from unscrupulous employees or competitors.

No matter how big or small, your business needs to have a security and recovery plan in place that determines what risks you have, helps protect against those risks and sets plans in place to handle the most likely types of losses you may experience. Your plan should also look at the both the ëphysicalí and the ëvirtualí aspects of your business.

Start by considering the types of risks to which your business may be vulnerable. What if your business information was lost or stolen? Do you have customer files or records, tax receipts, bank statements, business plans, customer work products?

Next, consider the physical aspects of your business that may be vulnerable. Do you have unique office equipment, inventory, computers or trade specific tools?

Finally, look at how you do business. Do you rely on technology, the internet or employees with unique skills? Does your business model depend on repeatable processes that are unique to your business?

Now, consider what would happen to your business if these parts of your business were lost, destroyed or stolen. Could you continue operating if you lost your client files? Could you be sued by customers if their personal information was exposed? Could you be the target of negative publicity? Could your competitors benefit if they gained access to the information? What if you lost email access for a day? What if that key employee suddenly left for another job? What if your office space caught fire or was flooded?

Your security and recovery plan should put in place the safeguards and policies and procedures to prevent some of these risks and the potential to negatively impact your business. Physical access to buildings is relatively easy to control although most small business have little more than a lock on the front door. Should you consider locking file drawers? Is inventory controlled? Does every employee have access, even to things that are not part of his or her job? Could a disgruntled or fired employee return to the workspace after hours with an extra key copy?

Your plan should consider how to protect the ëvirtualí parts of your business also. Do you have backups of any important files? Do you have passwords, account numbers and other ëkeysí securely guarded? Do your computers have virus and firewall protection and is it up-to-date? Do you have internet and email usage policies in place to protect your employees form harassment charges?

What about remote employees or workers who ëtake work home?í In todayís highly mobile environment vital business information can now be easily accessed outside of your physical controls? Do your employees know how to safeguard laptops, cell phones, flash drives or even print outs of business information once they leave your workspace? What if a laptop is stolen from a workerís car or home or hotel room? Do you have a backup of the data that was on the laptop? What if your employees are accessing your information from a coffee shop Wi-Fi? How do you know if your clients and business are protected?

Lastly, your security and recovery plan should consider how you would handle the most likely losses. For instance, if the computer that holds all your sales information crashes, you should probably have a plan to immediately restore that information from a backup. Where is the backup tape or disk kept? Who has access to it and most importantly, who knows how to restore a backup? If you office is flooded, how quickly can you relocate? Can some employees work from home or other remote locations temporarily? If client information is stolen, do you have a way to contact them?

Most small business owners likely have taken first steps like purchasing insurance and putting locks on the front door. Unfortunately, few have taken the time to really understand the potential risks to their business.

Taking the time now to at least put together an informal plan will go a long way in the event of a real disaster or other loss. Even the best planning obviously wonít protect against all disasters but it can certainly lessen the impact to your business once one occurs.

Aubrey Jones is President and founder of Riverbank Consulting, Inc. Since 1996 he has worked to protect internet banking clients for one of the top US financial institutions including serving as a Risk Manager.

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar

+

Action Priority Matrix

An Action Priority Matrix (or Time Management Matrix) is a tool for prioritizing daily activities. There are 4 quadrants to the matrix as shown below:

1 – Important and Urgent
These are the tasks that must be done now. These tasks should be cleared away as soon as possible, as they are often not relevant to the actual work that is most important to us.

  • Pressing issues that arise
  • Emergencies and crises
  • Deadlines
  • Scheduled appointments and meetings

2 – Important but not urgent
These are the most important tasks of all. They are the activities that allow us to reach our goals and objectives. They should be scheduled and worked on every day.

  • Working on specific projects or goal tasks
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Personal development
  • Crises prevention

3 – Urgent but not important
These activities can take up a large proportion of our time if we let them. They are often avoidable by delegating the job to others, or by ignoring them altogether.

  • Daily unscheduled tasks
  • Interruptions
  • Maintenance work
  • General fill-in jobs
  • Regular correspondence

4 – Not urgent and not important
These are the activities that we let creep into our day. They are often tasks we shouldn’t be doing at all, but we often use them as an excuse to escape the drudgery of other tasks.

  • Time wasting – idle chatting, long breaks
  • Irrelevant distractions – internet surfing, socializing online, texting friends, personal phone calls
  • Trivial work – busy work, , pushing paper, other procrastination tasks

More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar