Monday, December 31, 2007

Goals or Resolutions--It's a New Year!

Yes, it is the last day of 2007 and frequently my mind has been upon 2008. I think I mentioned the book I have been reading lately, Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. The frogs are those things we put off doing that keep us from accomplishing our goals.

I am working on a presentation I am giving to a group of business owners in a couple of weeks but while planning it the information has motivated me to utilize some of the recommended steps. I thought I would share some of the steps with you in case it may be useful in motivating you for a more successful 2008.

Here are some of the techniques recommended that I am using:

1. Time management is a learned skill and the more we plan the better we learn and apply this skill. So start by writing out your goals on paper, same thing as "Think on paper".
2. Plan daily, weekly, and yearly. Start with the end in mind and write down the steps needed to accomplish the goal.
3. Resist the temptation to clear up the small things first (like email). Most every morning this year I turned on my computer and started reading and deleting emails. Only about 2% of those actually contributed to my growth, financially, professionally, and personally. Tackle the big jobs. Determine your tasks based on importance. These are tasks are usually the ones that add the most value to your day, life, and goals.
4. Upgrade your key skills. I have been planning on upgrading my desktop publishing skills and have identified local resources to accomplish this.
5. Apply the 80/20 rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. Concentrate on the top 20 percent. I have already determined a few activities that have not been beneficial to my business and I plan on cutting them out of my activities.

These are just a few of the 21 strategies shared in the book. I figure if I practice just a few of the tips shared I will be much farther ahead than I was in 2007.

Since this will be my last post for 2007, I want to take this opportunity to wish all the readers and subscribers of my blog a joyful end to 2007 and greater success in 2008!

Happy New Year!

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Art of Networking

With the holidays upon us there is no better opportunity to network than now. You are probably invited to all kinds of parties, your spouses parties, or a friend of a friend, and all of these have opportunities to meet new people.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

The Art Of Networking
By John Kaighn

As an entrepreneur you'll come in contact with numerous other business people as you conduct your day to day operations. They could be lawyers, suppliers, customers or other business services providers. These individuals are important to your business in many ways. If they bought your product or service or if you hired them, you can also gain their business knowledge, experience, ideas, and advice if you stay connected to them. This is what networking is all about. Networking is when two or more different businesses stay in contact on a regular basis to help build and improve each others business.

Some of the benefits which can be gained by talking to other business people are:

·Knowledge or information that you didn't have before
·Advice on how to solve a current business problem
·Leads to a new business project or opportunity
·Joint ventures and cross promotion deals
·Learning important skills that you didn't have before
·Constructive criticism that improves your business
·Brainstorming that sparks a profitable business idea
·Encouragement and motivation for your projects

There are several ways to network with other business people. You could participate in business expositions and trade shows. You might visit business clubs and associations or take part in on-line business related forums, e-mail discussion groups or chat rooms. By using your creativity, you could come up with even more ideas.

If you have the time, you could start your own networking group. You could hold meetings at a local seminar room, at a park, or at your own business facility. If you want to hold meetings on-line you can use a private chat room. You should publish a print or e-mail newsletter to keep members informed of meeting dates and times.

It is helpful to keep all of your business associates' contact information in one place. Make sure it is organized by business type or profession for easy searching, so when you need some advice on a new marketing campaign you can call your marketing expert. Be sure to follow up and stay in contact by phone or email on a regular basis.

Another fantastic way to network with other businesses is to operate a joint venture. This is when two or more businesses join together to work on a project for a set period of time. Participating in joint ventures with other businesses can increase your chances of beating your competition, increase your sales and increase your profits quickly. Other advantages of a joint venture are:

·money can be saved when businesses share operating costs
·referrals can come from other businesses
·valuable time can be saved when businesses share the workload
·new products and services can be offered to your customers
·new business associates can be gained
·money can be saved by sharing advertising and marketing costs
·advice and information can be obtained from other businesses

You can find joint venture opportunities with businesses online or
offline. I try to find businesses that have the same target audience, but are not in direct competition with my business. Here are a few ways to find joint ventures online:

·subscribe and participate in e-mail discussion groups, online forums and newsgroups that deal with your target audience
·subscribe to e-zines that deal with your targeted audience
·note on your Web site or e-zine that you are interested in doing joint ventures
·search in your favorite web directories and search engines to find businesses for joint ventures online

Once you find a business simply e-mail them your proposal.

Explain to the business owner the benefits of the joint venture.

Discuss why it would be a win/win situation for both of your businesses. Provide feedback regarding their business, Web site, products and services. Using the methods above will enhance your chances of constructing a profitable joint venture.

About the Author: John Kaighn is a Registered Investment Advisor with Jersey Benefits Advisors and writes articles on various business and investment information, ideas and opportunities. For more information about this and other topics you can visit and

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I have a great plan--I just haven't figured it out yet!

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Planning: To formulate a scheme or program for the accomplishment, enactment, or attainment of: plan a campaign. That is what I am in the process of doing (or so I think).
The new year is nearly upon us and I am in the process of starting something new. To ensure the project is a success, I am also in the process of planning it. I have read books for presentation purposes, purchased books for guidance purposes, and am formulating regulations for success purposes.
How are your plans coming for 2008? Have you started the process or is it just a small thought in the back of your mind?
If you have read any of my past posts, you will know that procrastination never led to anything good (at least in my son's life or mine). Start today and set goals for 2008. Then start the process of planning on how to achieve the goals.
Once you start it is not as hard as you think. There are several good tools out there to help the process. I utilize the One Page Business Plan frequently, as it is a very user friendly program. It is available at most book stores and has a CD that gives you forms to utilize.
If you the reader, have utilized good tools in the past and would like to share, please comment.
Here's to planning for 2008...
Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Searching for the best business books to display

I am the chair of the Small Business Resource Center Committee at our local Chamber of Commerce and we are in the process of purging the present materials and gathering business books for our chamber members to enjoy.

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I have read many good business books and plan on donating some of them, but with time as sparce as it is for us I know I have not read all the good business books available.

Have you read any good business books lately? If so, would you post the title and author? Also if you want to share a review that would be appreciated also.

My donations so far are:

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
What I Learned on the Way to the Top by Zig Ziglar
Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
1001 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson

I look forward to reading what others are recommending.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Power of Personal PR

Personal public relations plays big part in business success. People want to do business with people they like, so it is those "personal" relations that are just as important as traditional media PR.

The Power of Personal PR
by Sue Currie

Ten seconds is all it takes to make a first impression – whether it's your personal presentation or the first contact a potential client or customer has with your business through the telephone, website or other communication collateral.

When they walk through their door – or you walk through theirs – your image is imprinted in the first moment.

Research has proven that 67% of first impressions are accurate. Your personal image tells the world who you are and where you are going. Your business image says the same. Every email, voicemail, and phone call you make creates first impressions that build your brand.

But it's not just your logo or your business stationery that needs to look good. How you present yourself in person also says a lot about your brand. For many small business people or business entrepreneurs, you are your business and how your project yourself is vitally important to the success of your business.

How you shake hands, make eye contact, conduct yourself in social situations and the clothes you choose to wear contribute to your personal brand. Your image is like the weather. People notice when it's extremely good or extremely bad. People shouldn't judge us by our outward appearances but of course you know they will. First impressions can indicate to a potential client, your sense of style, ambition and self-confidence level.

Another measure of your success in dealing with people is due to personality.

Your voice, way of talking, body language and the way you develop relationships with your clients all count towards giving you a ‘manner'. Your personal manner speaks loudly to other people. You may need to do some self-analysis on your plus and minus personality traits before establishing a self-satisfying public image.

Sometimes things like aggravating speech habits, lack of good manners, sloppy dress or grooming can be your worst enemies.

Punctuality, your tone of voice, these are the things about you that speak loud and clear to others. Make sure that they're working for you.

I'm sure you've seen many examples of people who have had too much to drink at the office party and regretted things done or said. Perhaps not such good personal PR for career progression.

Maybe that date who sounded so promising on the telephone really let you down when you met and saw how badly dressed and untidy they were.

I'm not suggesting you need to have a complete makeover and invest a fortune in new clothes – but it is those little things that people notice.

You've no doubt invested a lot of time, effort and money into setting up your own business and learning many new skills – why not invest some time and effort into yourself – you're worth it!

* Business image – brand all letterhead, newsletters, email messages for a professional

* Personal image – establish a strong visual image – develop your own style and personal brand. Be aware of grooming and professional dress sense.

* Self image – get rid of bad habits, develop self-confidence and charm, walk tall and smile!

Sue Currie, the director of Shine Communications Consultancy and author of Apprentice to Business Ace – your inside-out guide to personal branding, is a business educator and speaker on personal branding through image and media. Sign up for free monthly tips on personal and professional PR at
and learn more about how you can achieve recognition, enhance your image and shine.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Key Marketing Methods for 2008

I am busy working on other projects that take top priority but wanted to continue actively blogging and sharing with my readers, so I found this great article with good content to perhaps motivate you to do something new or different for 2008.

I hope you enjoy the article.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

Key Marketing Methods for 2008
Copyright © 2007 Sam Law and Julian Stone

Isn't online marketing by definition, expensive? Not necessarily. Online businesses are coming to the realization that in an organic environment like the Internet, organic marketing is required; paying for traditional or static marketing only gets you so far before it becomes ineffective. The consumer now controls your marketing.

What is wrong with the old methods?

Old marketing methods are failing because users are beginning to wise up (Rise Up) against the old brute force advertising that tries to win users over through sheer volume, using abrasive web-page banners, unrelated Adwords displayed on the page, or repeated newsletters (most being restricted by anti-spam laws).

The old methods no longer work effectively for two key reasons. One is the fact that they are a "flash in the pan", directing users to websites only so long as you continue to pay for the campaign, the second reason is consumers are now at the stage where they either ignore them or go out of their way to block them (with plug-in based browser or email filtering).

Let's quickly run through some of the "traditional" ways to market on the web, and their failings.

  • Paid Campaigns - (These only work while active) Paid campaigns may lure people to your site, but they are regularly not your target market and after arriving they promptly leave (High "bounce" rate).
  • Banner Ads - People hate banner ads. Most of the ads on the Internet are loathed because they aren't relevant. Seeing a banner for a better insurance rate when on a gaming site is a massive disconnect for the audience and a significant portion of banner ads are plain abrasive to users. Filling one third of your page with banner ads will not increase the likelihood anyone will care.
  • Adwords - Adwords (PPC, Pay Per Click) have the same problem as banner ads, though to a lesser extent. Adwords work by displaying "sponsored results," in search engine results. Adword results are separated from normal search results so not many people select them and the unknown quality in the users eye causes distrust (how do I know that a sponsored result is better than an organic result). Competition is fierce, with prices spiraling upwards, and returns staying constant. For more information see our article about Google marketing pitfalls.
  • Newsletters - One word: Spam. Because of the spam epidemic, users are becoming ever more wary signing up to receive mail from any online source. Legislation and the ever increasing ability of spam filters mean a continually shrinking audience (Restricting the ability to send newsletters, and filtering them before they reach your audience).

    The "Old World" marketing relied on one or two large marketing sources to drive traffic with big budgets and marketing firms. You have to get people to create the "news" then you pay other people to distribute the "news", so you are pulling people into your "store" to show them what you have (whether they want it or not).

    New methods for marketing

    These days having other create and distribute your content for you is in vogue, this can mean syndicating your articles for other users to repost, paying users to review or rate your services, guiding users directly on forums or having users sign up to receive exclusive information. In every case, the handiwork of distribution is left to others.

    Lets quickly run through some of the new "web 2.0" ways to market on the web, and the reason you should try them:
  • Blogs - Blogs are a goldmine to both the reader and the writer. Blogging is less time consuming and considerably cheaper than traditional marketing. Blogs give you the ability to convey your personal thoughts on happenings in your industry and your personal and corporate life, letting you really connect with your audience. Another positive is the viral marketing component where you are referenced through various social media websites, search engines and other blogs, increasing both your credibility and searchability, making it easier for consumers to find and trust you.
  • Forums - Forums give you an insight into what people are talking about, letting you get directly into the heads of potential customers. An easy way to find an appropriate forum is by asking existing customers what forums they frequent. Join in conversations, threads, contribute to the community and become a trusted member, then you can give your professional advice and mention what you do for a living. You should approach this as a way to get insight into what people are talking about, with the side-effect of possibly generating leads. If you approach this as direct marketing the community will quickly tell and either ban you, or develop a healthy disdain of you.
  • Articles - Articles are a great way to show you are connected to the issues in your industry and the wider world around you. You can either submit your articles through a syndication service, or post it on your blog, even better is a combination of the two: Choose a topic you enjoy talking about and write an article (like this one!) with your personal opinion or some helpful advice. If it is well-written and educates readers, you will already have an edge on your competition.

    The theme of the new marketing methods is tailoring your content to the audience. The intent is to create something reader want to read. Marketing is not about trickery or insincerity, it's about communicating your ideas with honesty and authenticity. If it is worthwhile to your users, then they will happily talk about the content and spread it around, you have to communicate authentically with your customers and it simply doesn't happen using "traditional" online marketing.

    A word of caution: if you try any of the above methods but approach them traditionally (as a direct marketing channel) then not only will you annoy a great deal of users, you can also damage your company image. Again I stress the above point, make the content something people want to read, not just marketing material.

    Old marketing methods that are now approached differently

    Benjamin Franklin said insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This is increasingly true for some of the more traditional forms of online marketing. It's not so much what people are doing, but more a case of how they are being done.

    Let's take a look at how we should be approaching some of the old marketing methods today.
  • Press Releases - Before we start, I'm sorry to tell you, but unless you are in the 5% of the market that people pay attention to, no-one reads your press releases - at least no potential customers do. A high percentage of companies marketing on the web use traditional methods of delivery, either in print or on a section of their website. Consider changing your press release to positively present your company then send it through a syndication service for papers and online news sources to pick up and republish.
  • Search Engines - Previously you had to specifically tailor your site to search engine specifications to ensure you had a high pagerank and were located at the top of search results. To put it simply, the important factor was how your site was presented to the user. These days although page display has an impact, it is far more important to have the right content on the site. Search engines now care more about content. Structure your pages logically and efficiently with appropriate content for each page, and be sure to link to those pages wherever possible, especially if you are engaging in blog or forum marketing.
  • Mailing Lists and Newsletters - With new anti-spam laws coming into effect, coupled with users increasingly annoyed at anything email based, mailing lists and newsletters are becoming far less effective. Ensure all the users on your mailing lists and newsletters have agreed to receive them. You don't need to re-ask permission from your existing list, but be sure to let users op-out, and put an optional op-in form link in your communications.

    Old-world communication can still be effective but you need to ensure it is not your only approach.

    The Conclusion?

    Reevaluation is the key to a healthy online presence. You need to be constantly measuring and reevaluating your marketing methods to ensure you are not wasting money, and can take advantage of effective new methods.

    About The Author:
    Sam Law and Julian Stone - Project, Task & Time Management specialists for:, &

    Article Source: thePhantomWriters Article Submission Service