Archives for June 2009

Winner Announced: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite x4

A Big thank you out to all who participated in this draw. I literally took all your names, put ’em in a bowl, swished them all around and came up with a winner.

The winner is Regina Baker! Congratulations Regina! You’ll need to contact me within 3 business days to smallbusinessbranding @ gmail.com We have more giveaway’s coming so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

SBB Giveaway – CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4

Some fun news today! We have a special giveaway from Kelly Manuel who is the PR Manager at Corel. You can follow her on twitter here https://twitter.com/kellylm.

Kelly contacted me recently to do a cool giveaway for CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 Valued at $429.00 USD. It was super easy for me to agree to host a giveaway here at the blog. 🙂

So here are some details about CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4.

1) You get 10,0000 high quality clipart images

2) 1000 high resolution digital images

3) 80 professionally designed templates

4) Over 1000 OpenType and international fonts including 75 Windows Glyph List 4 fonts and 10 single line engraving fonts

5) Over 2 hours of training videos

Basically you can create very professional results with this product for your creative projects. I see also that you can tag your files which is pretty cool.

To Enter

1) Post a comment on why you’d love to have this

2) Contest ends and Winner will be announced Monday June 29th, 2009

3) Winner must pay for shipping costs

4) We will email the winner on Monday, prize must be claimed within 3 days or we will choose another winner

Also, for those who don’t win, you can download a free trial here.

How To Make Face Time Work For You

Technology has changed the face of business in spectacular ways. It has enabled businesses to embrace a greater community, it has increased productivity, and simplified communication. There are so many positives that they would be hard to name here in this post. There is one aspect of technology that I find sad, and that is how it has made us lazy regarding personal contact or “face time” with customers and prospects. Email makes it so easy and efficient. But, you know what they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” In business this situation can be the kiss of death. If your entire relationship is email and text based, there is virtually no relationship.

Long distance customers take on a different dynamic, but customers within a few hours drive are worth having face time with. Companies like the investment company Edward Jones, does not allow it’s advisors to use email with their customers. They do allow personal, voice and snail mail contact only. This effort is rewarded repeatedly. Here are some other things that I do to make “face time” work for me:

Coffee chat: When a person contacts me to see how we might work together, I typically suggest we meet over coffee. This way I can size them up better and try to understand their motivation. I’ve struck up some terrific business relationships this way.

Networking meet-ups: You can use these events to spruce up your sales skills and put a face to a name. It gives you a chance to help someone on the spot.

In-person presentations: I like to present proposals in person. This shows that I want their business enough to get off my butt and shake some hands. I don’t want our relationship to be entirely virtual. Show you’re a real business.

Ignore email: Purposely visit customers. Showing up to chat WILL get you more business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken something in personally that I could have just as easily emailed only to get other projects given to me on my way out the door. Seeing you reminds them of other ways that you can help.

“I’m in the area” opportunities: Sometimes, when “I’m in the area” I call to see whether I can pop in to say howdie. These friendly requests always brings a smile and some great conversation.

New service meetings: Recently, I emailed a number of old files and offered to bring them a coffee and discuss what I’m offering these days that might be of help to them. I hand a hand full take me up on it, and this effort resurrected some old business.

The point here is not to rely on convenience to grow your business. It’s not about you – it’s about them.

Taking A Closer Look At Consulting

As business and technology get more and more complicated, consulting is a booming industry.  It seems like every day you hear about someone who made a fortune online by consulting.  But what is a consultant?

If you say you’re a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant, people have a good idea of what you do and what you know, even if they know nothing else about you; however, “consultant” is a much more ambiguous term.

Consultants could be experts in science, marketing, business, or pretty much anything.  All a consultant is is someone you pay for advice.  It’s hard for one person or one company to understand everything, so if they need information on a specific thing they don’t know, they hire an expert.  The best part is that companies will pay for your expertise – a lot.

The advice you get paid for could be practically anything.  Generally businesses are looking for solutions to their problems.  It may be that they need to cut costs, or consolidate their workforce, or that they need to know how to market a product better.  The possibilities are practically endless.

Not all consulting is the same.  Like many other industries nowadays, consulting can be done through a firm, or on your own as an independent agent.  While working for yourself gives you more freedom to take the projects you want and set your own time schedule and work environment, it also means you’ll have a less steady pay check and will have to take more responsibility in the running of the business.

Another challenge facing most people who run their own business is motivation to get work done.  Without a rigid schedule and a boss checking your progress, many people find it more difficult to finish projects.

The first step in choosing an area to consult in is figuring out what you know and like.  Remember, you have to be an expert.  There may be a lot of money in consulting in a specific field, but if you know nothing about it and have no interest in learning, you’ll probably be a terrible consultant and make very little money.  Plus, if you’re consulting in a field you like, you’ll be more motivated to get work done and have higher productivity. 

While you can be a consultant in almost any area, some choices are better than others.  You need to find a market you’re not only good in, but also one that has people looking for consultants.  You also probably don’t want to go into a field that already has many consultants looking for work.

A good way to get started is to look at ads of people looking for consultants.  You can also do more intensive research at the library to find general fields that people need consultants in.  Once you find one or more areas that suit you, research them further until you find the perfect fit.  Remember that many people won’t hire you unless you already have proven results, so it’s best to stick to an area you’ve already worked in.

Just remember that starting your own business, or even changing career fields, is not an easy venture.  It takes a lot of time and planning.  It will also probably take a while for your business to succeed, so don’t give up.

Discover 5 Easy Ways To Grow Self Motivation

Now that summer is here, I figure we could all use a little dose of self motivation. It’s not always easy to be motivated to get your work done, even I as a long time entrepeneur sometimes tend to get either bored or lack self motivation to get my own work done.

So I figured, I’d share some ways to increase and grow our self motivation.

Self Motivation

While self-motivation is a simple concept, we all know that it’s one of the hardest things to attain.  Despite purely good intentions, most of us are better at slacking off than getting motivated.  But, no matter what your attention span it is possible for you to motivate yourself and reach your goals; you just need to follow a few simple steps.

Know what you’re doing

A to-do list is nice to have to help you get things done, but it doesn’t do much to help you stay motivated.  Before you can make your to-do list, you need to set goals and priorities.  They may be short term like “finish this project to attain more work” or more general like “increase workload to attain promotion”.  If you give yourself a goal or vision to work for, you’re going to be more motivated to finish things than if you’re simply completing tasks.

Stay positive

A positive attitude can go a long way.  People have probably told you this over and over, but you’re still not inclined to believe it.  Take a little extra time each day to remind yourself of your accomplishments.  It is also a good idea to try to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.  If you don’t have any at work, find positive and encouraging statements from successful people and post them around your office.

Set mini-goals

Finishing a project can be a daunting task.  If it’s a large amount of work, you’re likely to look at it, get overwhelmed, and give up or put it off before you even get started.  An easier way to accomplish a project is to break it up into smaller tasks.  This way you’ll be looking at a bunch of small goals instead of one great big one.  While it’s the same amount of work, it helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed.  Plus, each time you accomplish one of your tasks, you’ll feel successful and motivated to keep trekking on through the rest.

Reward yourself

To help keep yourself going, set up rewards for each task you complete.  They don’t have to be anything big; they could be going to see a movie over the weekend or spending 15 minutes on the phone with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  It’s just something positive to help encourage you.  You can also set small rewards for your mini goals and have a large reward for when you finish a large project.

Have a backup

While we may have the best of intentions, most of us really aren’t that good at sticking with our self-motivating methods.  If this seems like you, you may be in need of some backup.  This is a friend, co-worker, or associate – anyone who is dependable and trustworthy.  Let them know what your goals are (and even your rewards) and set up a plan for them to check up on you.

It could be as simple as giving you a call to see how much you’ve gotten done, or maybe have them be the keeper of some reward and administer it when you reach your goal.  This way, if your resolution wavers, you’ll have someone else there to help out.

Webalue: Good News For Your Online Brand!

There are a few good analytics services that can give you a good indication of how your web presence is doing. All are employing a generic approach appealing to the broad market.
There is one among them that stands out. It stands out because its focus is the health of your online brand.
This stand-out product is called – Webalue.com The positioning message states that Webalue.com is an online system that evaluates third-party websites in order to generate strategic brand reports for brand managers to improvise their marketing efficiency. These reports are valuable for companies that are determined to foster their brand’s online presence.
Webalue.com is the brain child of a young entrepreneur, Meheer Thakare. Meheer’s company resides in Mumbai, India. He and I have been in touch for a year or so, and I have been following the progress of Webalue.com’s development. It impresses me to no end the ambition and intelligence of young people through out the world. Meheer first contacted me through his exposure to my posts here at Small Business Branding.
Besides, the usual analytics provided by other analytics services, Webalue.com establishes a Brand Score, Reach Points, Domain and Incoming Link Analysis and Referrers. Webalue.com allows consumer feedback as well. Included in this feedback, is consumer’s email databases, consumers segregation and polling results from whether consumers would or would not recommend. Consumer intelligence is the key to building your brand. If you take full advantage of all the data Webalue.com gives you, you should be able to appreciate what your brand’s online value is.
The design of Webalue.com is very sexy and very easy to navigate and read. Using Webalue is FREE! Webalue.com’s results are derived from industry-level benchmarks and as such give a fair evaluation of your company’s online brand. The service is dynamic in that it is constantly being updated.
If you’re keen on evaluating your own brand’s online presence, give Webalue.com a try. Meheer and his team would love your feedback. I think you’ll appreciate what this service can do for you. Webalue is another important tool in building the success of your brand and taking advantage of data to help position your brand strategically. I am using Webalue.com myself, and every week I discover more and more information about my own brand.

Find Ways To Improve Your Product With Technology

In an issue of Popular Science magazine, I read how Cub Cadet who makes lawn mowers, enlisted the help of aeronautical engineers to improve their mower blades. The result was a blade that could cut and also clean up after itself better. Basically, the propellers formed a kind of air vortex that swept more of the cut grass into the bags rather than scattering them on the ground.

I love reading about technology transfer like this and reminds me there’s always some way to use technology from another industry in our own business.

It also reminds me, in order to stand the test of time, that our products need to be constantly improved and very often, new technology can help with that. Maybe it’s a new or better way of delivering your product. Maybe it’s a better more efficient way of fulfilling your orders or creating/manufacturing the product. Maybe it’s a better way of managing your resources and maybe it’s a new way of reaching your target audience.

Or like in Cub Cadet’s case, maybe someone has the technical knowledge to help you design a better product or product delivery method. All you need is a consultation. That’s a big part of what we do at TechBasedMarketing by the way 😉

You don’t have to be a propeller head and be able to do it all on yourself, you only need to be aware of the technological advancements available and with a little creativity and help, you can improve your product with a little tech transfer too.

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