Networking for shy people…

The Venture is one of the biz blogs that I read and recommend. It’s a old article but well worth reading.

Tony Featherstone writes in ‘easy to work with’ language and his blog post from April 9th 2010 was titled, ‘Networking for shy people’ Click here to read the whole article.

His main points were:

1.   Be yourself

2.   Plan your network
3.   Have a networking routine
4.   Listen
5.   Be prepared
6.   Less is more
7.   Give without asking
8.   Don’t waste time
9.   Don’t annoy people with technology
10. Don’t give too much

I absolutely concur particularly with his point no. 2 & 3. It’s crucial to have a plan and routine that you are comfortable with.

I advise my clients to target networking to their industry and sometimes even to their product/s. Which also means that you can change networking oportunities and functions as your business grows and your focus alters. Don’t even forget that you’re the driver, not any organisation or group. The opportunities are there to assist not dictate to your time.

Remember that I can create a targeted plan for you if you need any pointers.

Enjoy!

Kathy Smail

Making $ work for you

Today I want to encourage you to look outside the usual options for gaining publicity for your business.

Here are 3 ‘out of the box’ ideas:

  • Approach a local school or community group that fits in with your values and offer them either product or $ to use as a fundraiser in return for exposure . (Then go to your suppliers and ask for a deal or be savvy about any recent specials you have access to)
  • Look for any local business groups that hold breakfast or events and offer to sponsor part of the catering or give a product or branded giveaway to each attendee. You’d be surprised how often this works.
  • If you are a serviced based business, offer a free consultaltion to members of local schools or groups. You may just have to wait until they are looking for some additional giveaways for parents or members.

Enjoy!

Kathy Smail

What to do when sales are bad…

We’re in a tough climate, sales are harder to get than they were pre-GFC (Global Financial Crisis).

This doesn’t mean it’s time to bail and run, although many good businesses are choosing to get out of the hard slog of seemingly overwhelming effort and I don’t blame them. Sometimes there’s a point when a business owner has had enough and that makes it the right time for them.

I’d like to give you a couple of tips to give you a kick start:

  1. Is your offer/product/service still current? – Look at your offer compared to the market today.
  2. Are you reaching your target consumer? – Is the person who will purchase from you, still hearing about you or from you?
  3. How are you building more consumers? – What strategies are you using to gain ground? (even if it feels like you’re losing some)
  4. Get some help – Get fresh eyes on your business for pointers.

The answers and outcomes of the above will get you back on track.

Contact me if you’re up to the ‘fresh eyes’ stage or need some help with doing a review of where your business currently stands and I can help.

Kathy Smail

5 tips for selecting rising superstars

5 tips for selecting rising superstars

I’ve been chatting about Recruiting recently (Interview Questions, Interview Prep, Tackling Resumes) and here’s some more on the same theme.

I found this article in Human Capital Magazine (Issue 9.08). I love it for a couple of reasons:

1. I love a quick list
2. I think they’re right!

Here’s the five points:

1. Understand what can be taught (skills) and what needs to be brought (attitude)

2. Advertise or brief an agency based on both the attitude and skills that you are looking for

3. Invest the time to talk to applicants by phone – it’s hard to pick an awesome attitude AND skills you are looking for

4. Ask ‘unusual’ questions at the interview to get ‘below the surface’ and see what makes someone tick

5. Use behavioural profiling to understand the natural talents of candidates

This article was sourced from Rookie Recruits – Tackling the Talent Crisis white paper. Check them out here.

When you’re recruiting especially in the current economic hard times, it’s crucial to get it right. Use whatever resources you can; an agency, profiling, behavioural interviewing.

My biggest tip…recruit everywhere you go…think about point 1; be looking for a consistently great attitude and then investigate your options.

Enjoy!

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Working on a Wire…

It’s been a busy week. I’ve started a new project which I’m enjoying (mind you I’m only 3 days in!)

I heard from a client recently who asked how to ensure that their advertising $ are spent in the right place to bring in the most return.

There’s a fine line to tread when deciding about advertising. You need to decide what type of advertising you need; a ‘call to action’ or ‘branding’.

A ‘call to action’ is advertising that has requires an immediate response from clients or customers and generally has an end date. It could be in the form of a sale of nominated products or services or value added offers if redeemed in a certain period. A ‘call to action’ approach is easily quantifiable as it is soon obvious if sales have increased.

Branding is a longer term approach to advertising. A branding program requires a determination of the business’ particular offer; a point of difference (sometimes called a POD) that separates your business from the competition. Branding is the approach that you need to ensure that you are clearly visible and memorable to your clients or customers in your chosen field.

Developing a branding program can strategically place the business in its correct place therefore creating more opportunities for additional sales.

Of course a branding campaign can be supported by periodic ‘call to action’ advertising.

Contact me to develop a targeted Advertising Campaign for your business!

Enjoy!

 

Help…I’m drowning…

Funny how everything is urgent in the life of a consultant!

Sometimes good time management plans are reduced to completing the most urgent (read the one that is calling the loudest!) and frantically adding a little effort to all the other tasks to keep the requests at bay.

A good tactic is to stop working so frantically on the task, or tasks, and spend a little time planning…it seems weird to add some planning time (yep, another task!) into an already bursting schedule but it works.

Usually it only takes a little time to regroup and break down the possibly daunting tasks and create a smoother track to completion.

Try it….it works!

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My new year wish for you…Get your backup sorted!

Recently I read a blog article titled ‘Two $100 products that will save your digital life’.

Following on from the usual back up call; make.sure.you.back.up with an external hard-drive,  Andrew Ballard from ReBusiness suggests finding a ‘swap buddy’ with whom you swap a second external hard-drive to keep on a different premises than your original files (ie computer and any initial back up)

I think it’s a great idea. I love a good back up plan and as my middle name should really have been ‘plan b’, this ticks all the boxes of a great solution.

Read the whole article here.

Enjoy!

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Creative Approaches…

Just a thought for today…what if you looked at your current offer and got ‘creative’???

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Enjoy!

K

Brand Blunders

Recently Naomi Simson of Red Balloon tweeted about an article called ’10 Worst Brand Blunders of 2010′ Click here for the full article.

As my clients know, I’m passionate about Branding. It can make or break your business.

Geoffrey James of bnet.com lists his top 10 Brand Blunders and the lessons…here they are:

Blunder #10: GM Dumps the Chevy Nickname
Lesson learned: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

Blunder #9: Dell’s Internal Meltdowns
Lesson learned: No brand, however lustrous, can long survive a lousy product

Blunder #8: Oprah’s New Logo
Lesson learned: When hiring a graphic designer, hire the one who isn’t color-blind

Blunder #7: Politicians Hiring Strippers
Lesson learned: Don’t choose a strategy that conflicts with your stated values

Blunder #6: Primark’s Padded Bikinis for Kids
Lesson learned: If you’re in retail, hire buyers who aren’t complete idiots

Blunder #5: The GAP Logo Yank-Back
Lesson learned: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Then don’t fix it again

Blunder #4: Johnson & Johnson’s tainted medicine
Lesson learned: Don’t poison children, no matter how good it looks on the bottom line

Blunder #3: Toyota goes into Denial
Lesson learned: Don’t inhale your own smoke

Blunder #2: BP does Damage Control
Lesson learned: If your CEO is a jackass, keep him away from the press

….and just in case we needed proof that even when you are one of the biggest ‘organisational machines’ in the world, ignoring customers needs can be a flawed strategy…

Blunder #1: Obama loses his Luster
Lesson learned: Don’t solve problems that the customer doesn’t think are important…especially when the customer is freaking about something entirely different.

Enjoy!

K

Work Life Balance

I find that I get a little annoyed (ok…maybe a lot) each time the ‘work/life balance’ get trotted out as either an attempt to curb someone’s work time or to explain why a certain choice has been made.

Now before my inbox gets flooded with angry emails, let me explain.

I think that the key to work life balance is you and your significant others ie family etc. I get annoyed that it is implied there is somehow an imaginary line that we must find to have somehow achieved this balance.

One size does not fit all!

Why not spend today taking some time out for those who love you and your balance?

Enjoy!

K

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