bookmark_borderFind A Group that Needs Speakers

Finding groups that use speakers is not difficult. I find that most organized service groups use speakers for their regular meetings. I am a member of Rotary and have been for nearly fifteen years. In that period of time, the clubs use a speaker almost every week of the year. There are thousands of Rotary clubs all over the world. The most important thing to remember, especially for Rotary, is that the topic must be of interest to the members and that you cannot sell your services to the group. Many a good speakers have not been recommended to other clubs as they tried to sell attendance to their speeches or training sessions.

I find that other groups such as Lions, Kiwanis, churches, PTAs, etc., all want to hear good talks and they do not want to be sold a bill of goods. You need to remember that your goal is to get your name known, not to sell. If one group likes your speech, they may give you referrals to other groups that would like to hear what you have to say. Another great place to offer a talk is at the Chamber of Commerce. Almost every town in North America has a Chamber. You will need to find out the protocols for putting on a talk, but most are open to new ideas and fresh topics. More often than not, you will find out about groups through your own networking efforts.

Even though some groups are easy to get on the speakers list, others will make it more difficult. They will want to know more about who you are, why you want to talk to the group and how the topic fits for their members.

bookmark_borderStarting a Concierge Service

  • Estimated start-up costs and pricing guidelines:
    Actually, most of us already have almost everything we need to start a concierge service. On the list of essential equipment is: cell phone, computer (preferably a laptop), fax machine, printer, and perhaps a color copier. All told, you might be out $2000 if you had to buy everything from scratch. The amount you charge really depends on your time investment and the services you are providing. A lot of concierge services charge a monthly membership fee where a person is allotted a specified number of errands. Others charge by the hour while some by the errand. Generally speaking, starting a concierge service will net you any where from $24-125 per hour.
  • Recommended experience, skills, and training:
    Starting a concierge service certainly does not require any college degree but it wouldn’t hurt. A background in sales is probably best for anyone serious about succeeding with a concierge service. Since your entire professional life revolves around making good contacts and selling yourself and your services on a daily basis, a sales background comes in very handy. Any training involving general business and sales or marketing is also valuable.
  • Marketing tips:
    Any successful concierge service will have to effectively network and find the best deals on the products or services their clients are wanting. Targeting airports and hotels where large numbers of strangers enter your town every day are great places to concentrate marketing efforts as they are filled with people in need of services in your area. A company website is another great idea as your target market will most likely consist of white collar people who are Internet savvy. Be sure to have your content list your location consistently so that you come up in searches performed on your area.
  • Financing sources:
    Banks tend to view a concierge service as a high risk business due to its unpredictable nature. There just are no reliable business models to use and they depend upon the charisma and determination of the owner in order to succeed. Thus, financing options are limited to friends and family. But, fortunately the start-up and operational costs are relatively low so financing should not be too great of an obstacle for most.
  • Income Potential:
    Starting a concierge service may be a fairly large risk in the eyes of a bank, but it has above average income potential for those with the determination to make it work. On average, a personal concierge makes $40,000 to $60,000 per year. But, many concierges make extra money from stores and contractors who pay them a commission for sending business their way. It is not uncommon for a personal concierge to charge annual membership fees of $1000-1500 to an individual and average $5,000 in annual dues from corporate clients.

bookmark_borderWays to Harness App Development For Business

  1. Customer Engagement (it’s about instant access to what’s important). Mobile apps let customers (and employees) get access to needed and often secured information at their fingertips when and where they want it. As a result of reaching your customer anytime, anywhere, and on their terms, you build goodwill right into the experience. This kind of positive experience with your brand often leads to peer-to-peer recommendations and possibly a positive review. Since peer review and recommendation is the number one source for gaining a loyal customer across all demographics, this might be a more significant benefit than you had ever imagined. Most of all, app engagement doesn’t have to be flashy to be valued. Even more mundane tasks like account management or remote management of various assets can score big with clients.
  2. Promoting Products, Services & Discounts. With the use of a mobile app specific to your business, you can provide customers with accurate information about products or services, discount offers, etc., or entice them with personalized promotions that increase relevancy. If you are a retailer, an app installed on a smartphone opens the door to another possibility, too. It makes it possible to take advantage of in-store beacons that can trigger on-the-spot specials, announce events or contests, or maybe just as important, provide more personalization to the shopping or visitor experience.
  3. Facilitate Sales. You can also promote business sales by integrating a mobile shopping cart. If you already sell your products and services online, then a mobile app is likely your next best step to increasing sales, particularly as it provides your customers the flexibility and convenience to do things they would have otherwise done sitting at their desks. Undoubtedly this benefits retail, but B2B buyers also have similar needs when away from the office at a remote job location or wherever.
  4. Customer Service. Mobile applications provide customers a simple yet efficient way to get in touch with your business as you can include detailed information about your company, products & services, hours and direct contact through texting, phone, or email. Even more, request feedback and suggestions from your customers by merely inserting polls and surveys.
  5. Enhanced Customer Experience. Businesses can make the best use of apps like never before by personalizing some functions such as messaging, photo sharing, loyalty programs and push notifications that connect us to things we want or need to know.

Of course, there are many factors that can disrupt thriving businesses-even well established one with celebrated business models. However, most are not that relevant to small business concerns. Nevertheless, small businesses aren’t immune to disruption.

We considered a top disruptive technology that is the most important for SMBs to consider now and in the near future. Mobile apps can be a significant business tool for all kinds of reasons, and you may have an idea even now that can set your business apart. If so, share it with a trusted app developer who can give a “ballpark” estimate to turn your idea into reality. Then you can weigh its benefits to projected cost to see if it’s worth pursuing.

bookmark_borderHeroic Entrepreneur

I recently rented the movie, Seabiscuit, which started my thinking about this whole notion of heroism. What I found heroic in the movie was not that both Seabiscuit and his jockey. Red Pollard, came back from adversity to win the Santa Anita race. What was most heroic is that neither of them let adversity stop them in the pursuit of their passion. They knew they were born to do what they were doing, and despite physical setbacks, found the courage to pursue their passion anyway. In the pursuit of this passion, the paths that their lives took had a profound impact on all they came into contact with, most especially with Seabiscuit’s owner, Charles Howard, and trainer, Tom Smith. Howard and Smith got in touch with their owns gifts as a result of their contact with Pollard and Seabiscuit, and racing history was changed forever.

Where would we be today in the world without these people who discovered their brilliance, changed the world in some way by following their passion, and have become famous because they followed their dreams: Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Debbie Fields, Stephen Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, and Mark Victor Hanson, to name a few?

There are others who aren’t yet famous yet are heroic every day because they have discovered their brilliance and their gifts and share those with the world. My virtual assistant, Jean Hanson, who, after years in retail and helping her husband run a cleaning business, now loves to step into the lives and businesses of her clients and is thrilled with her ability to help them achieve their goals. It’s due to Jean’s love of helping me achieve my business dreams that I’m able publish a weekly email newsletter and inspire my readers to take action to live better lives and create better businesses.

My brother started his firefighting career at the tender age of 15, now continues to serve as the youngest-elected chief of the local volunteer fire department, fire marshall for the city in which he lives, and Assistant. Emergency Management Coordinator for his local tri-county region. When the space shuttle Columbia exploded mid-air on February 1, 2003, and debris rained down on East Texas, he organized and managed an incredible volunteer effort to retrieve shuttle debris and remains of the astronauts, 5 of whom were recovered through his team’s search efforts. How would NASA’s ability to thoroughly examine the debris and research the cause of the explosion have changed if my brother hadn’t been there spearheading the rescue, following his passion of firefighting, and leading with his gifts to organize and delegate large numbers of people in times of crisis?

Each of us has a unique gift that we bring to the world, and I truly believe that we all are here to fulfill a purpose that ties in with our gifts. The impact that your gift will have on the lives of others can be incredibly amazing, so you definitely owe it to yourself, at a minimum, to discover that gift.

As a business owner, perhaps you’ve discovered your brilliance and are able to pursue that daily in the operation of your business. If you’re like most business owners, however, you often lose sight of why you started your business and get bogged down in doing those day-to-day things that drive you nuts but are necessary evils for keeping your business afloat, yet prevent you from living your brilliance. If that’s the case, grab a sheet of paper and make two columns: Things I Love and Everything Else. In your Things I Love column, write down only those activities you love to do in your business.

For me, it’s pretty simple: writing, speaking, coaching, and marketing. All the other things that need to happen in my business, from bookkeeping to website maintenance to fulfilling marketing plans to database updates go into the Everything Else column, where I’m delegating (or have a plan to delegate) these tasks to those professionals, like my VA Jean, who are great at these things and love to do them. This, in turn, enables me to free up my time to do what I do best, and share my gifts with the world.

Exercise your courage muscles today, get in touch with your brilliance, and become a hero in your own right in your business and your life. The world is waiting to experience your brilliance….

bookmark_borderWrite A One-Page Business Plan

  • STEP 1: DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE TO LOOK LIKE
    What do you want your business to look like in 12 months? What annual income do you need to earn? Do you want a 6-figure business, a business that will eventually replace your income or a part time business?

This step is about creating and writing a vision that is authentic to you. One that articulates your true ambitions, desires and purpose. It is not about what you think you should want. Keep it simple, visualise freely and write your vision in the present tense as if you are already living it.

  • STEP 2: DECIDE ON YOUR DESIRED ANNUAL REVENUE TARGET
    What would you like to earn in a year and how many clients you would like to see over that timeframe. Then work backwards to calculate your hourly value.

Say your annual revenue target is $100,000 and you would like to see 20 clients a week for an hour each. Your formula should look like this:

20 clients x 52 weeks = 1,040 clients a year

$100,000 ÷ 1,040 = $96 per hour (This figure will increase when allocating any non-revenue time such as annual leave)

If you manufacture or sell a product then work out how many products must be sold and how much time needs to be invested to achieve those same results.

Next, run a reality check. Based on the previous calculations, ask yourself whether you are prepared to work that many hours or weeks in a year. Be realistic and do not forget to schedule in recreation or vacation time.

Say you now decide you only want to see four clients a day over four days a week for one hour each in order to have four weeks of annual leave. Your formula would look like this:

$100,000 ÷ 48 working weeks = $2,083

$2,083 ÷ 16 clients a week = $130

This shows that your annual revenue target of $100,000 is still achievable if you rework your fee structure or pricing strategy.

  • STEP 3: DECIDE ON YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT
    It is important to communicate to your potential client why they would want to choose you over your competitors. They must be able to clearly see a non-monetary difference otherwise they will make a choice based on price. In other words, what is your unique selling point or USP? This could range from a niche service you offer or the extent of your services to your branding or the strength of your credibility.
  • STEP 4: IDENTIFY THE STRATEGIES THAT WILL HELP YOU HIT YOUR TARGET
    Move your focus from short-term goals to a strategic vision that enables you to choose and correct the direction of your course with ease. As long as you are clear about your purpose and future (Step 1), you will be able to write a solid list of strategies.
  • STEP 5: IDENTIFY WHAT YOU NEED TO STOP DOING
    What activities are a waste of your time or energy, and are out of line with your new strategy? Perhaps it is certain administrative tasks, which can be assigned to an assistant whose hourly value will be lower than yours. That will free you up to meet clients. By identifying what you need to stop doing, you will also get clearer about the strategies you need drive forward.
  • STEP 6: QUESTION EACH NEW TASK OR ACTIVITY
    Before starting any new task or activity, ask yourself this question – Is this moving my business forward or is it a distraction? Quite often we hear out about a new marketing strategy someone else has embarked on and get distracted from our own vision, strategies and plans.
  • STEP 7: CONDUCT A QUARTERLY REVIEW
    Review the first six steps every quarter to ensure you are on track and to evaluate whether each strategy is working as planned. A quarterly review allows you to catch anything that is not working early on and make a decision one way or another.

Also remember that your business plan is a guide. It is not set in stone. Circumstances and priorities change with time and regularly revisiting your plan will help you make the necessary tweaks to keep your business on course.

bookmark_borderEntrepreneurial Mindset

Don’t worry if you don’t possess all of the above traits. Starting and running a business is an act of creation; a work in progress. You can learn as you go. To give you a head start, let’s take a closer look at some of the mental skills you might need to refine to ease your transition into self-employment.

  • Ability to work without supervision: You’re the boss now–nobody scheduling your time, telling you what steps to take next, what to do when things go wrong. You need to be able to prioritize your own work by differentiating between those tasks that must be done first and those projects that can be assigned back-burner status. To help keep yourself on track, make To-Do lists of all the things you need to accomplish: today, this week, this month. Then for each list, take time to analyze the steps necessary to complete each project, writing the steps down in the order they need to be done. Let these lists be your supervisor, your guide to accomplishing your goals.
  • Ability to self-motivate: Sometimes the temptation to slack off is irresistible. The sun is shining and you’d rather go to the beach; or it’s raining and you’ve got a stuffy nose and you’d rather stay in bed with a good book. It’s during these times that you must force yourself to stay on task, especially if you’re working against deadlines. To overcome this mental block, try using the reward system to motivate yourself: “When I get these invoices paid, I can go for a walk in the park” (or eat a bowl of chocolate fudge ice cream, or get a massage). Use whatever reward you need to help you get through the slump. But be sure to give yourself a reward because you don’t want to leave yourself feeling betrayed.

Another motivational tactic is setting a timer that buzzes or chimes when time’s up. Allocate a certain block of minutes to work on a project (notice I didn’t say “complete a project”–who wouldn’t cave in under that pressure?) and devote yourself to that task exclusively until the timer goes off. Then you’re free to start the next task on your list. I usually find that I’m “in the zone” when the timer goes off so I just keep working, but it’s liberating to know I don’t have to.

  • Ability to make quick decisions: We don’t always have the luxury of saying, “I’ll get back to you on that,” like when the delivery van breaks down and you’ve got to get two dozen centerpieces to a wedding reception that afternoon. You have to be capable of assessing a situation and coming up with a workable solution, quickly. The key is to stay calm, run through a mental list of your options, and determine which will be the most viable for that situation. Things happen, and if you allow your brain to overflow with panic, there isn’t room left for solutions-based ideas to formulate.
  • Ability to handle stress: Like in the example above, you need to stay in control of your emotions when things go wrong. Screaming at the delivery person who demands payment on the spot for a prepaid order isn’t going to get the product into your hands without paying for it twice. You need to identify the problem (in this case a misunderstanding with the supplier) and shift your mental processes toward solving the problem. It helps to look at the big picture too: a hundred years from now, will this be the catalyst that ended life on earth as we know it? If the answer is no, you probably don’t need to angst over it for more than a few minutes.
  • Flexibility: This one can be challenging, especially if we’ve got a fixed idea of what we want to do or a process for doing it. Then, when things don’t go as planned, we dig in, determined to make it work even if it kills us. Unless you’re willing to die for your plan, you need to be willing to entertain different ideas. Remind yourself often that entrepreneurship offers unlimited possibilities, and the greater your options, the greater your opportunities.
  • Focus: Determine what you want to do, the processes and resources required to do it, and the steps you’ll need to get it done, then set yourself to the task. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be somewhat flexible, as outlined in #5 above, including allowing for interruptions, but stay on task as much as possible. If a certain project feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into bite-sized chunks and focusing on just one chunk at a time. Your ability to complete projects on time and within budget heavily relies on your ability to focus.
  • Persistence: A lot of clichés about success are based on the ability to stick with a project: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”; “Slow and easy wins the race”; “If it doesn’t work, get a bigger hammer” (okay, that last one is my dad’s favorite). The point is, the only way to guarantee failure is to give up. Conversely, the only way to ensure success is to keep trying. Understand however, that you must be willing to try different processes to achieve a goal if one or more other processes don’t work (see #5 above). Also, you may find that you have to reset your goals on occasion to keep your business moving forward.
  • Patience: This character trait is not only a virtue, it’s also vital to maintaining your sanity. If your business is to succeed, you need to be patient with yourself and with the progress you’re making in achieving your goals. Every day is a chance to learn and grow, so give yourself permission to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over them. Just trust the process. Your future is unfolding at exactly the pace it needs to in order to provide you with everything you need.

bookmark_borderThink Like a Marketer

Marketing is a process, not an event. It involves research, promotion, and distribution along with advertising and sales.

Maybe the most important and most overlooked aspect of marketing is having the right marketing attitude or marketing mindset. Think like a marketer.

When you have a marketing mindset, you ask how you can build brand awareness to help your target audience become familiar with your products and services, and you as well. Developing that know, like, and trust factor with your audience is key.

As you develop a marketing mindset, ideas of how to meet marketing goals on a daily basis will come easily, but here are a few ways to get started:

  • Know Your Product & Service Inside Out: This may sound obvious but think about how many times we, as customers, have walked away from buying something because the person helping us couldn’t answer a few basic questions about their product or service.
  • Find Ways to Leverage Mistakes of Competitors: It’s easy to see what the competition is doing well but just as much (and sometimes even more) can be learned by observing what your competition is doing not so well. The Internet is saturated with career service companies, but what makes your career service better than your competitors? Do your homework. Where are they weak? What client needs are not being met and what can you do to step in and meet those needs?
  • Point Clients In Your Direction: Solve client problems. Point them to one of your services or products and emphasize the benefits, value, and results they can gain from it-being a solution to their problem.
  • The “Bottom Line” Isn’t Just About Money Coming In: Looking for ways to save is just as important as finding new revenue streams. Instead of just recording where the money is going, watch for places to save. When looking at those numbers is there a way that sales can be made more efficiently?
  • Every Client Interaction Is a Networking Opportunity: The word “networking” makes some people uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be about schmoozing or closing a sale. It’s simply having a conversation in an effort to build new relationships or strengthen current ones.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”-Peter F. Drucker

In business, everything ties into marketing in one way or form-what you wear, how you communicate (verbally and non-verbally), and what you do to attract, retain, and maintain client relationships. All of it affects or contributes to the profitability and success of your business.

bookmark_borderSpacecraft Washing Business

After spending years in the cleaning business, washing cars, trucks, boats and planes, I’ve seen it all. I’ve personally cleaned the biofoul scum from the water line of yachts, plastered migrating butterflies off the bumpers of long-haul trucks, and dead bird carcasses off the leading edges of private jets. Let’s face it, here on Earth there is a lot of stuff floating in the air or puddled on the ground – but that is here, what about space?

Well, even though there appears to be only one molecule per square meter in space, space craft travel faster and will a lot of molecular matter when traveling afar. There was an interesting article in AstroWatch News Online on June 29, 2018 titled; “Milky Way Rich in Grease-Like Molecules, Study Finds,” which stated:

“The researchers found that there are about 100 greasy carbon atoms for every million hydrogen atoms, accounting for between a quarter and a half of the available carbon. In the Milky Way Galaxy, this amounts to about 10 billion trillion trillion tonnes of greasy matter, or enough for 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter.”

Before you get excited, the article goes on to note: “This space grease is not the kind of thing you’d want to spread on a slice of toast! It’s dirty, likely toxic and only forms in the environment of interstellar space (and our laboratory). It’s also intriguing that organic material of this kind – material that gets incorporated into planetary systems – is so abundant.”

Thus, if our spacecraft do “Boldly Go” and explore the Universe, no doubt they will come back totally dirty and need SpaceCraft Washing. Well, I guess as technology changes so too does industry. I know this very well as a former up-start in the car wash industry, as I was the first innovator to come up with a mobile car washing business.

In the future, Spacecraft Cleaning and Detailing might become quite a lucrative business. Think of all those ‘private space’ companies that wish to take up space tourists? Each flight they will come back totally dirty and filthy, with greasy film all over them. It probably will be hard to clean off having been frozen on the hull of the spacecraft and then backed on at super high temperatures during re-entry. Perhaps this could be a future TV episode of Dirty Jobs!

bookmark_borderWire Harnessing In Industries

Benefits of cable harness

The concept of the custom wire harness is also called cable harness. When you bind a bunch of wires, you get many advantages. Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of cables. If moisture enters cables, they may not function properly causing short circuits. By bundling the wires up and putting a protective covering, the wires are protected against any kind of moisture attack. Other factors like vibrations and frictions and also nullified by way of wire harnessing. The protective layer makes the cables durable and provides a shield against any external harm. The type of protection you require can easily be decoded by customization to suit your working area.

Get an expert harnesser

There are many companies dealing with cabling jobs. You need to find out that which agency will suitable for custom wire harness job at your location. Unless the company has proficiency in this work, the harnessing done at your place will not be protective enough for your machines. They may give away after some time and your cables get exposed to factors which may damage them. The cabling companies also offer a maintenance service of the harnessing job they do for their clients. This gives you added benefit by offloading the take care part of your cables, and your machines function without deterrence.

Enhances safety of workplace

When you are placing an order of customized wire harnessing, you need to provide all necessary details to your vendor for helping them prepare the best harnessing for you. The materials of the existing cables, their functionalities and heir specifications have to be provided to the cabling company to design the best harnessing for your cable parts. When you provide a casing to the bundles of wires, you minimize the chances of accidents caused by electrical shock. Harnessing renders a higher safety and reduces the hazards of electrical accidents. This is very appropriate for industrial establishments, as there are huge cabling systems which need to be organized and put into a protective jacket.

Go for cable harnessing without delay

The wire harnessing is a boon the user of machine systems. It is even used in the PCs where the different wires are put into a single protective layer. This not only reduces the space but also minimizes the risk of electric shock hazards. Try to go for harnessing at your place of business to increase safety and make the site visually appealing trough the covering of the multiple wires here and there.

bookmark_borderTake a Break from Business

To try and combat this stress and pressure you need to budget a small amount of time every day, aside in a quiet place, to recharge your physical and mental batteries.

Teachers in day care centres and kindergartens often use quiet times to maintain some sort of order in their classrooms. When you have 20 or 30 hyperactive little children running around, quiet time allows them to calm down. As a business owner you need to treat yourself to the same sort of attention. After you have worked so hard, you owe it to yourself to have some time for yourself.

Quiet time is not an option it should be a basic requirement in your business. This time of being alone, where you have a few minutes or even half an hour to yourself, will pay dividends in the long run, in how successfully and stress free you will continue to run your business.

We are not suggesting that you go into meditation or wear a robe, or go into a trance, or anything like that – simply take time to go for a walk or feel the wind blow, or smell the flowers. Just sitting in the park will do you a world of good.

If you can’t get out, make sure you close your door and put the ‘not to be disturbed’ sign up. Don’t turn on the radio or TV. Don’t read any books. Simply just take some time to relax and take it easy.

Highly strung, entrepreneur achievers need this quiet time relaxation the most.

You will probably find that when you begin this, it will be difficult to shut off all the business problems of the day. You need to persevere, because the business problems will always be there – no matter what. It’s true how the big problems will appear smaller once you have them in the right perspective.

Personal Keys to Success

  • Make people feel at ease.
  • Have confidence in your own value.
  • Participate in life.
  • Be active in your community.
  • Feel worthy of your own goals.
  • Relax and be yourself.
  • Be slow to criticise others’ achievements.
  • Never use subterfuge. (Speak your mind and earn respect.)
  • Look into the nearest mirror, because the person starting back at you is the only person responsible for your success.
  • Your positive self-esteem is your foundation for success.
  • Always associate with successful people and avoid those who are negative.
  • Desire to be successful and commit to being a success.
  • Write down a vision of what you want out of your life.
  • Do what you are best at because this will give you the most satisfaction.
  • Write down your biggest goals, because they are the ones you most want to fulfil.
  • Banish all negative thoughts and traits because they are bad habits.
  • Don’t bathe in success, but use it. Once you achieve your first goal move on to others.
  • Listen to other people’s comments and advise. Once you hear it, weigh up your own actions.
  • Share the spotlight by giving credit to those who deserve it.