VIDEO:

Vikram Rajan presented at this month’s Forum on the Top 5 Internet Marketing Trends for your small firm in 2017. View the video below.

 

Moving Beyond Cold Calling

Moving Beyond Cold Calling by Dave Bresler

At a recent Around the Horn session, we were presented with a question from the principal of a new company. He told us about his cold-calling efforts, which were largely successful—but he was curious if there was another way to get his venture off the ground. The group came up with several ideas. 

Targeted Seminars 

One attendee suggested hosting or producing seminars for targeted groups. Seminars for targeted groups generally produce great conversion rates upwards of 30%. Someone else suggested that he do a Network!Network! forum. These are our two-hour network-wide events in which we allocate 45 minutes for a member to present on a topic of current business interest. By doing so, the member is able to present himself or herself as an expert in his or her field. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

A second person suggested that he consider SEO. SEO gets you noticed by promoting your page ranking on search engines—Google is obviously the most prominent. Because Google tends to change its criteria on a fairly regular basis, SEO professionals are very useful in helping to keep your page rankings up—the general consensus is that if you’re not on the first page, you don’t exist. 

Outsource 

Someone else suggested engaging a company that does the cold calling for you based on a script that you provide. This person’s experience was that such companies do deliver on their promise of setting appointments. Certainly, this person said, your time is more valuable than the cost of hiring somebody to do the cold calling for you. 

My Two Cents 

Cold calling is generating less and less traction, because if you can’t reach a live person, nobody will call you back from a message. And there are fewer and fewer live people answering phones for principals these days. 

All of my new clients come from current clients, which makes sense, because I am looking for people just like them. Your best referral source is almost always current clients who are happy with your performance and who will recommend your service with authority.

If you would like to get in on the great advice industry leaders share at every Around the Horn session, contact Network!Network! today!

Dave Bresler
President of Network!Network!
Phone: 914-924-1297
Contact us using this online form.

 

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VIDEO: Your Story. Your Future – Nick Pavlidis

Nick Pavlidis is a professional ghostwriter and content coach. This month at The Forum, Nick provides valuable advice on how and why you should write your own book.

View the video below.

 

VIDEO: The Emotional Intelligence of Money – Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith presented at The Forum on how emotions affect our decisions about money.

Brenda Smith is a strategic wealth coach. In this video, Brenda provides insights on the inner impulses that drive our investment decisions, and how we can avoid making the wrong decisions at the wrong time.

Watch the video below

 

When Is Late Rude?

When Is Late Rude? by Dave Bresler

We’ve all heard the old saw about how it’s de rigueur to be fashionably late. We once, many years ago, arrived very late (I won’t say how late) to a dinner party and were mortified to find everybody else already seated at the dinner table. So, the next time we were invited to dinner (somewhere else, I hasten to add), I pushed my wife to get there on the dot only to be greeted at the door by the host and hostess in their bath robes. What we learned was that it was rude to arrive on time and also rude to arrive an hour late. On time to a party, it appears, is a half hour late. 

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Compensating Sales Staff: To Be (in the Office) or Not to Be

Compensating Sales Staff: To Be (in the office) or Not to Be by Dave Bresler

At a recent Around the Horn session, we fielded a question from a gentleman who was a successful franchisee of a fast-growing business that had a strong sales component. He and his management team created a leadership structure, new mission statement, and are now considering an adjustment to their compensation plan to make it “salary plus.” That means providing a higher base salary while reducing commissions at the same time.

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Hiring: Give It the Attention You Deserve

Hiring: Give it the attention YOU deserve by Dave Bresler

At a recent Around the Horn Session, the group was introduced to someone who needed to hire, but he wasn’t sure about how to go about getting it all organized. The new employee’s responsibilities were to be developing relationships.

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VIDEO: Discover the 3 Pillars That Are Mission Critical for Business Growth

Rochelle Lisner presents the 3 pillars that are mission-critical for business success at this month’s Network!Network! Forum.

Rochelle is the Founder and Business Growth Strategist at Dynamic Business Growth

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Scaling Your Business: What Are the Tradeoffs?

Scaling Your Business: What Are the Tradeoffs? by Dave Bresler

When a business grows so much that it can no longer find spare parts in its own warehouse, you have to ask yourself: Is it really successful? What tradeoffs have to be made in order to ensure a business isn’t scaling too fast? This was the subject of a recent Around the Horn session. As usual, the group provided ample advice, but also some pertinent questions. 

Scaling means additional capital and additional people—and the problems that come with adding each. These are things that a business owner needs to figure out sooner or later. 

  • Do you use your own capital or acquire it? Sometimes paying a little interest on a loan is the right strategy, even if you possess the capital.
  • Do you hire in advance of the new business you’re anticipating? If you wait until you can afford it, you may find yourself under the gun to get them in place. You’re likely to hire quickly, which is never a good thing. 

The next question a growing business must answer is whether to expand geographically or by adding product. 

  • If you add product, do you do it organically or do you buy another company?
  • Should you affiliate with somebody who has this additional product which reduces your risks?

Technology is another way to address growth. 

  • Do you put all your information in the cloud or keep it local?
  • Do you digitize existing documents so that you can search for them in the computer? 

I also think controlling the growth is important. I know someone who was involved with a telecom company that was growing by leaps and bounds, and they were already fairly big. My contact explained that the company grew too fast, added too many people too fast, did not have the proper systems in place to deal with the growth—and ended up scrambling to perform its core functions. This company was eventually sold because they outgrew themselves. 

Slowing down the growth and passing on some market share may seem counter-intuitive, but at least the business will not have made any promises it cannot keep.    

Has your business experienced a growth spurt? How did it work out? Consider joining us at our next Around the Horn session!

Dave Bresler
President of Network!Network!
Phone: 914-924-1297
Contact us using this online form.

 

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VIDEO: Why Inbound Marketing is the Future

Anthony Butler of Can-Do Ideas shows Network!Network! members why Inbound Marketing is the future. Watch the video of the presentation.

 

Scaling Up for the Solo Practitioner

Scaling Up for the Solo Practitioner by Dave Bresler

Going to networking events takes time, but the rewards of meeting new people include learning about great “inside information” for free. At a recent Around the Horn session, a participant received heaps of good advice from experts in their fields. 

Question: What is the best way for a solo practitioner to scale up? 

More than one person suggested delegating: look for activities that you’d be comfortable giving to a junior person. Your clients are not going to feel like you are pulling a bait and switch with them if the only things you switch are answering the phones and photocopying. Save yourself for the tasks that require your expertise, and be the face of the business instead.

I really enjoyed the next commenter’s suggestion: engage a work-at-home mom (also known around the web as a WAHM). Running a household while caring for kids is a lot like running a complex corporation. In fact, the whole room agreed that WAHMs, especially those re-entering the traditional workforce, are eager to seek out new work and advance their newly relaunched careers.  

By chance, we had within our ranks an attorney who does legal writing. She has a network of freelance attorneys available for part-time legal help—many of them WAHMs.

Several people in attendance (including me) suggested using virtual assistants. Virtual assistants generally work on several different people’s projects, which is why they are so much more affordable than a dedicated, “brick-and-mortar” assistant. I use mine to do all of the invitations to all of the Network! Network! events as well as contact sheets and any other special project that I cannot—or choose not—to do.

I was particularly interested in the topic because my own business is growing, and the writing on the wall seems to be saying that much of my time will be devoted to managing a business that does networking—as opposed to managing a network. I need to decide whether or not I want to continue doing what I love to do, or whether I want to manage other people who are doing what I love to do.

Well, that’s my dilemma. What’s yours?

Dave Bresler
President of Network!Network!
Phone: 914-924-1297
Contact us using this online form.

VIDEO: Strategies for Success: Business & Personal Planning

This month’s forum features Michael Gansl and Micheal Korn sharing insights on how business owners can make plans in order to attain their financial and personal goals.

Establishing an Online Presence or I Saw You Online

Establishing an Online Presence or I Saw You Online by Dave Bresler

It was at an Around the Horn session last month that someone proposed a question dealing with an issue that, although years in the making, still seems new to many people. 

We’re a unique company and we want to go about establishing a web presence in the best way possible. How do we do it?

The first suggestion was to produce some content on video—for the website, for YouTube, and for newsletters. People now are searching videos more than they’re searching text-based content. So the smart marketer should have videos “out in the ether.” Also, be sure to obtain some video testimonials from your happy clients. Testimonials, in general, get a lot of attention from potential clients, but video testimonials even more so. 

Another suggestion for making your site visible is also useful in helping to bury any negative publicity. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of using certain keywords to elevate your position in search engine results—and the most popular search engine by far is Google. By elevating the content you author and approve of, negative entries get relegated to the back of the line. 

The next suggestion was to establish a blog and send out newsletters. “It doesn’t have to apply to everybody all the time but it should apply to you all the time.” Again, the idea is to put things out into the ether: if you write it, they will come. 

The option of paid advertising was also brought up—not on traditional media, but using Google AdWords. AdWords are flexible tools that target users based on their browser history and the search terms they use. It can be used for local, regional, and national campaigns, and offers several distinct products from Pay-Per-Click to targeted, interactive banner ads. 

One attendee suggested coming up with a punchy, pithy tagline to adorn the space underneath the company’s logo. Think: “Just Do It.” 

Even though it is not a strictly online activity, attending networking events is the icing on the cake. First, it benefits you by placing you in the same room as potential clients. Networking events also provide excellent forums for you to speak about your industry and whatever it is you are doing that sets you apart. Furthermore, along with your blogs and newsletter, networking allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field. 

What are your strategies for establishing an online presence?

Dave Bresler
President of Network!Network!
Phone: 914-924-1297
Contact us using this online form.

VIDEO: Sean O’Rourke on Cyber Insurance

New Kid On The Block: Cyber Liability Insurance – Sean C. O’Rourke

Sean gave a presentation on why companies may need insurance to protect against cyber attacks and loss of data.

 

 

 

Beyond Branding: What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

Beyond Branding: What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? by Dave Bresler

I am pleased to share the results of another Around the Horn forum session. The question at hand, this time, was, “What is your USP?” USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition—what sets you apart from the pack.

It’s a People Thing

People-centered philosophies were the focus for many of our participants. Their USPs dealt with themes like empathy and trust.

As a consultant at the session said, “People do business with you first, then your product, and finally, the company.” Your USP is the reason people want to do business with you instead of your competitor. People do business with people.

A mover said, “I don’t manage moves; I manage emotions.” A consultant said she “zeroes in on how to set up stories.”

A CPA called herself “a human being who empathizes with her clients and knows the ins and outs of tax and audit.” She said she “bridges the gap to financial literacy.” Similarly, a financial advisor called herself “the champion and personal CFO” for her clients.

Someone who does telecommunication audits—finding areas where his clients are being billed too much and could be saving money—said, “I don’t talk about business. I become a friend and give of myself.”

Master of the Trade

USPs also frequently focused on expertise. People like to know they are getting the best for their money.

The mover who said he manages emotions also said, “We offer a handheld, unique, guided, specific service.” He said he “will walk away from jobs,” as well, showing that he cares about quality more than quantity.

One participant—an attorney who is on a panel of 15 attorneys who advise the state judicial system and has significant visibility in the New York marketplace—said his small firm is a “sophisticated firm offering large-firm employment and litigation support at small-firm rates.”

An IT services provider said he “has a pedigree.” He said, “I was the IT director at a financial firm and am a cyber security expert. I protect the data integrity of my clients.”

About 25 years ago, during the early days of the Internet, someone said of his IT business, “In the age of the Information Superhighway, we provide the seatbelts and airbags.”

A USP Is Not a Platitude

There might be dozens or even hundreds of other companies a client could choose from, all of which provide the same product or service you provide. A good unique selling proposition tells your potential clients why they should choose you over all those competitors.

It’s not enough to say you’re bigger, better, faster, smarter. Those are platitudes.

Simply saying you “provide a good service” is like saying you breathe. Everyone does that. What makes you different? What makes you appear special to potential clients? What will they get from you that they won’t get elsewhere?

“Branding” is a clichéd buzzword these days, but what it really boils down to is this: “What do people think of when they think of you?” When someone says Coca-Cola or IBM or Google, you immediately have a perception of what those names signify. That’s what makes those brands who they are.

What makes you stand out from the crowd? What do people think of when they hear your company’s name? Feel free to share your USP.

Dave Bresler
President of Network!Network!
Phone: 914-924-1297
Contact us using this online form.