Education

Small Business and Groupon

Small Business and Groupon

Communication, Process
Groupon routinely calls small businesses to get them to advertise on the service. Consumers love the service that gives them large discounts on items and events. Businesses can advertise with no money out of pocket, so it sounds like a great deal for a business to get in front of new customers. Is it? In truth, Groupon is at best a mixed blessing for small businesses. Here is what you need to consider before using Groupon to advertise your business. Deep discount: The discount is just the starting point. Aside from the discount you are offering customers, the remaining price is split between your business and Groupon. If you offer a 50% you are only making 25%. Unless you have tremendous margins, you will lose money on the Groupon deal.…
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Certainty Is An Illusion

Certainty Is An Illusion

Attitude and Mindset, Planning
At the time of this writing, Brexit (the United Kingdom leaving the European Union) is a few days old. While no agreements or relationships have changed yet panic has ensued. The reason given for the panic is uncertainty. People are worried because they don't know what will happen. The truth of the matter is they never knew what was going happen and that's all right. Unless you have a crystal ball, you never know what is going to happen. While some events are more probable than others, and others are predictable, none of them are certain. A single event, such as being stuck in traffic for ten minutes longer than expected, can have a domino effect on the rest of your day, changing things that were certain, a long scheduled…
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Disruption Is Not Your Goal

Disruption Is Not Your Goal

Customer, Improvement, Innovation
When you listen to many startup companies, they talk about how they will disrupt the industry. The media celebrates disruptors and Wall Street gives these companies high valuations. The problem is that it moves the focus away from what is important. Your job isn't to be a disruptor. Your job is to find the best way to serve your customer. When you find the best way to serve your customer, you may indeed disrupt your industry. True disruption is a side effect of finding a better way to meet your customer's needs. Uber didn't disrupt the taxi industry just to disrupt things. They found a better way to connect cars and riders. It made getting a ride more convenient. If it did not provide that benefit for consumers and drivers it…
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Position Yourself As An Industry Expert

Position Yourself As An Industry Expert

Leadership, Personal Growth
One of the easiest ways to drive sales opportunities and to ensure job security is to become an expert in your field. In fact, the term "expert" carries a tremendous amount of authority, trust, and credibility - the things that reduce the risk of people not buying what you have to sell . . . and goes a long way in ensuring your job security. Focus On A Niche-- Instead of trying to sell or market yourself to everyone (including your own company), you are better off narrowing down your focus to a specific industry/industries or job function. Doing so will help you develop certain skills, buzzwords, and contacts. It will also position you as the resident expert. Recently, a business acquaintance of mine told me how she was able to set herself…
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What The Customer Expects From You

What The Customer Expects From You

Customer
How customers perceive your business is their reality - so take a step back and examine how you do business. Additionally, you may want to consider e-mailing a customer satisfaction survey to learn what you can do to improve your products and services. These surveys can also be a revenue generator for your business as they are a great venue for asking your client base this one magic question: What other products or services do you have an interest in learning more of: (then bullet list your products and or services). 1. People Want You To Show An Interest In Them: You need to not only know about their business but who they are and the things they like and enjoy. 2. People Want You To Respond FAST: Face it, your customers…
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When You Are Networking, You Are Not Selling

When You Are Networking, You Are Not Selling

Communication
When you are at a networking event, don't focus on trying to sell to everyone. Look at it as an opportunity to be a teacher, a center of influence and a fountain of knowledge for buying what you are selling. By making a few changes to your approach, you can become a center of influence in any industry and, in effect, generate a considerable amount of word-of-mouth advertising. Go Into A Networking Event To Do Just That. . .Network. One of the biggest mistakes most people make when they network is trying to sell to someone (this happens whether or not they are showing buying signals). This is the LAST thing you should do. Don't talk about how great you are or why someone should buy from you. Just have…
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Think Creatively by Using Both Sides of the Brain

Think Creatively by Using Both Sides of the Brain

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Innovation
Creativity is not genetically encoded. Anyone can learn to think creatively. The key is to use both the left and right hemispheres of the brain: logical and intuitive, respectively. Start by immersing yourself in a problem. Use the logical left side of your brain to understand what you know about the topic. Then switch to the right side by distancing yourself from the issue and mulling over the information. Exercise is a good way to access the visual nature of the right hemisphere. It often leads to an "ah-ha moment" where you see a new solution. Then switch back to the left hemisphere to challenge your creative breakthrough with rational thinking.
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Tips For Making Better Decisions

Tips For Making Better Decisions

Evaluate, Process
Many people rely on gut instinct to make important decisions. While there are benefits to trusting your gut, you make better decisions when you pair that instinct with logic and evidence. Here are three ways to introduce evidence-based management into your decision making process: Demand evidence. Whenever anyone makes a compelling claim, ask for supporting data. Don't take someone's word for it. Examine logic. Look closely at the evidence and be sure the logic holds up. Be on the lookout for faulty cause-and-effect reasoning. Encourage experimentation. If you don't have evidence, create some. Invite managers to conduct small experiments to test the viability of proposed strategies and use the resulting data to guide decisions.
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3 Tips To Build Your Leadership Skills

3 Tips To Build Your Leadership Skills

Improvement, Leadership
Leadership skills are like a knife. The blade will not stay sharp on its own forever. It requires a conscious effort to hone and strengthen ones skills to maintain their edge. Here are three tips to keep your leadership skills sharp. Develop A Plan: Develop clearly defined and concisely outlined plan of goals and objectives. Use facts, data and means through which you intend to achieve those objectives. Admit Failures And Weaknesses: Contrary to what some may think, admitting fault or weakness does not compromise a leader's strength or command. Mistakes are unavoidable. And no one person can excel at everything. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, our knowledge and our ignorance. Stubborn determination to be "right" in fear that being "wrong" compromises your intelligence will only hold you back. Never Stop…
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Save Time by Saying No

Save Time by Saying No

Process
What matters more: the amount of time you work or the results you produce? Any smart manager would say the latter. Yet, many people spend long, wasted hours at work. If you're struggling to keep control of your time and boost your performance, try doing these three things. Decline meetings. If you don't need to be there, don't accept the invitation. Explain your workload and request to see the meeting's minutes instead. Delete emails. Not all of them of course, but only keep and respond to the most important ones. Dial down your effort. If you can't say "no" to a certain request, recognize that it may only require a B+ effort. Don't spend time bumping it up to an A+ unless you really need to.
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