Thursday, October 18, 2018

Want Your Business to Grow? Complete One Material Action Per Day!


When you are running a small business, it is really easy to get distracted. Firstly, your own CEO job most likely has a lot of different tasks, from chief strategist to chief bottle washer. Secondly, your team makes many demands on your time, mostly to help point them in the right direction on their projects. And, thirdly, it’s just too easy to get sucked into the random inbound contacts that come into your email box or through social media.

All I can say to you entrepreneurs who are “floating in the wind” of poor time management is: unless you are doing at least one material thing each day to move your business forward towards new revenue or profit heights, you are never going to grow your business as quickly as you could. Allow me to explain.

What is a material action?
To me, a material action is something that has meaningful revenue or profit implications from its output. On the revenue side, it could be things like launching a new marketing campaign, or making a new sales call, or ideating a new product line, or expanding into a new target-customer or geographic market, or hiring a new salesperson, or negotiating business merger opportunities, etc. Anything that will drive new revenues.

On the profit side, it could be things like cutting your cost structure, or improving your business efficiency. Or, it could be improving your company morale and productivity, or similar tasks. Anything that will drive higher margins for your business.

What is not a material action?
On the flip side, there are a lot of demands on your time that you think may be important, but just are not a material action, as defined above. This could be things like producing your monthly financial statements, or posting to your social media accounts, or writing a new monthly email newsletter. Or, it could be managing your ad agency, or doing one-on-one meetings with your direct reports, or running payroll checks, or upgrading your systems, or relocating your home office, etc. Yes, these are important tasks that need to get done. But, none are going to propel your business to the next level.

Budget more time for more material action.
I bet if you did a critical assessment of how you are spending each of your working hours, most of you are spending the vast majority of your time, if not all of your time, on “less material” action. To me, if you are not spending at least 20 percent of each day on “material actions” you will not have a reasonable chance to grow your revenues and propel your business to the next level.

So, it is important that you actually carve out “material action” time into your daily schedules. For example, maybe you block out 8-to-10 am each day for you to think and act strategically and materially about your business. Note that I intentionally did not suggest 3-to-5 pm each day, when you are most likely tired and not doing your best thinking.



A case study: Part one, the good.
We recently acquired a business in February 2018. At the time, they were doing around $2.5 million in annual revenues. Within four months of acquiring the business, our annualized revenue run rate had doubled to over $5 million. How did we do that? We focused on material actions to drive the business forward. We quadrupled our marketing budget and hired a new ad agency; we launched an SEO effort, opened new sales and marketing channels, expanded our sales team, grew our margins, etc. Our focus was on driving revenues as quickly as we could, and our time was firmly focused on making those material actions happen.

Case study: Part two, the bad.
To continue the story above, with the increase in revenues came an increase in time demanded for “less material” projects in months that followed. We learned our customer relationship management (CRM) platform could not handle the extra volume, and we needed to upgrade to a different CRM, a decision that needed to be researched. We learned our product information on the website was out of date and needed to be updated. Our product offering needed to be fine-tuned, to make the business more scalable.

Moreover, our ad agency suggested we make some technology changes, which resulted in some unexpected hiccups and fixing time required. To double our staff, we reviewed hundreds of resumes and held dozens of interviews. Sometimes those hires worked out, and other times they did not, spinning our wheels right back to where we started. Quickly, the time I had to focus on “material” projects, started to get consumed by “less material” projects. And, guess what happened: sales growth started to slow down!

Hand off less material work to others. 
I get it, small businesses are typically undercapitalized and don’t necessarily have the luxury of large teams of staff to help leverage your workload. But, even in small businesses, you need to figure out how to keep yourself moving the business forward with “material” projects.

Where you can, hand off the “less material” work. Let your bookkeeper produce monthly financial statements. Let your head of marketing manage your ad agency. Let your head of technology review various systems needed. Take yourself out of those processed, at least until the busy work is done, and then you can review the final output in each area. Don’t let the “less material” work get in the way of you having the time required to drive the business forward by completing material work.

Executives in small businesses are typically very busy people, wearing many different hats at the same time. The real challenge you will have is making sure that 100 percent of your time is not consumed by “less material” projects. You need the discipline of: (i) knowing what projects have the highest odds of moving your revenue or profit growth to the next level (which is an art of its own); and (ii) making sure that time slotted to work on “material” projects is actually getting used to get it done. Remember the scene in the Pixar movie “Up”, where the dog kept getting distracted by squirrels running by? The “less material” work that you find yourself doing are your “squirrels," distracting you from where your focus needs to be.



Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Busakorn Pongparnit | Getty Images



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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There's No Guarantee Sudden Startup Success Will Last. Here's What You Need to Do to Achieve Long-Term Growth.


Investing in a startup within the first year can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking, but it's best to keep your heart rate steady, your mind open and your eyes clear. Once they've had a taste of success, entrepreneurs tend to shy away from outside help with raising money or improving their innovations. They think they should steer clear of outside influence for fear of losing momentum and trajectory.

Based on my 25 years of senior management experience in startups and publicly traded technology companies, through many investments and success stories, as well as misses, I've learned that this just isn't the case. Of course, there are always the edge-case scenarios, but let's be honest, we can't count on that any more than winning the lottery or a starting position in the NBA. I've seen far too many entrepreneurs put blinders on and refuse help that could have been a pivotal factor. In almost every case, high-caliber outside resources actually help startups grow -- they apply real-world pressure on the nascent business to be bigger, better and more competitive.

For many talented entrepreneurs, there's a spike of success -- a surge in sales, customers, investors or publicity -- that feels like confirmation you're doing everything right. At this stage, many feel they know exactly what to do -- even to the point of turning down help, advice or funding. And so begins one of the biggest mistakes young businesses make. You can't afford to believe that the spike will last, or that your trajectory will stay in a straight line. Business doesn't follow Newton's laws, and anyway, there are plenty of outside forces to throw you off the straight-ahead line of momentum.

The trick is to be ready, willing and able to adjust quickly -- much easier said than done. Small-business owners and entrepreneurs have to identify what creates forward progress toward your vision and focus on that. It might seem obvious that you want to follow an upward course, and you want the energy to be all about sales. But, that instinct isn't always the right one for achieving sustained success. If you're only focused on making profits right away, you'll miss important feedback and lessons from the market.

The most important thing for startups to learn and engage with, especially if they've had a spike of success, is why customers like and use their product. There are nuances here: Find the customers who are actually using the product, not just trying it. Understanding why they continue to use it may be illuminating in unexpected ways. Based on this understanding, you might step on the accelerator (we got it right, let's keep going that way, faster!) or you might need to pump the brakes. If customers are using your product in different contexts or patterns than planned, that should give you cause for reflection. Does the unexpected use present an opportunity to explore new features, use cases and markets? Or does it mean your customers have misunderstood, rejected or missed your selling points?

If you're not seeing anything enlightening in how your customers use your product, don't assume your work is done. Make sure your assessments are honest, and circle back for another go around after some time has passed to see if use patterns or contexts have changed. If you suspect you can't see it objectively, ask for help from someone with an unbiased view.

Build a moat around your customers. Protect them and keep them at the center of your kingdom. Think every day about how to delight them. Read online comments and reviews, and pay special attention to the middle 60 percent to 80 percent. High praise and severe criticism represent outlier experiences, but you need to understand the experience of the more typical user. You need that middle bulk of customers to stick with you. Sustainability, after all, is everything. No one goes into business to be a one-hit wonder, stuck playing low-rent venues (or vanished into obscurity) for the duration. To ensure long-term success, always stay focused on what's best for the customer. There will be occasion to focus on the bottom line, but in the early days, it shouldn't be the guiding force.


It's not easy for entrepreneurs to stay open to outside advice and criticism. They have a deep sense of ownership (rightfully so) over their ideas and the fruits of their hard work. It's difficult to absorb advice you don't want to hear, especially if it means changing something you consider essential or special about your product or service. It's very hard to hear "slow down" when you're on a roll, hitting every shot -- nothing but net, as they say. But, the great players are always refining their moves, working on their stroke or swing. Hard as it may be to believe in the heady flush of early success, there will come a time when you aren't winning every play, and you'll be glad you put in the time working on refinement, resilience and resources.

I like to use the Google as an example, which you can read in detail in The Google Story. The founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were just over two years down the road when they brought in an outside CEO, Eric Schmidt from Novell, under the advisement of VCs John Doerr and Michael Moritz. Even though they are arguably among the world's most brilliant and successful innovators, Page and Brin brought in an experienced set of hands on the steering wheel and let Schmidt drive them toward growth and sustainability. Yet, no one takes any of the credit for Google's dominance away from the founders; their legacy stands.

I advise entrepreneurs to check themselves regularly to maintain a clear self-awareness. The No. 1 question is, "Would I eat my own dog food?" If you wouldn't enthusiastically use your own product or service, why are you selling it? Try your product every day. Pretend to be a customer and write anonymous comments to your team. Do they act on it? Does the feedback make its way to you? Follow through and use your powers of ingenuity and insight to solve customer problems in a way that results in lasting, positive changes for your product.

It's a big, competitive world out there. It's easy to get lost in the fray when you're a small business or rising entrepreneur. Scaling up is a particularly fraught time for startups. During periods of intense growth and expansion, be sure to stick to your true north. Don't branch out into being too many things to too many people, or trying to set up too many revenue streams. As a startup trying to make your mark, it's better to be great to a small group than just average to a larger group.

Use the energy generated by your early success and best ideas to attract help and talent, instead of assuming that one spike means you've got it all figured out. In the long run, the discipline required to control your acceleration, check your hubris, center your customers and listen to advice will become the framework that keeps your business vibrant, competitive and profitable.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image credit: Igor Emmerich | Getty Images


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

5 Tips To Help Your Small Business


I was very proud recently writing up my newsletter announcing seven new clients. We are an overnight success that took over 20 years of hard work to happen we continue to gain clients via referrals from happy customers. As any small business person will tell you referrals are the lifeblood of any company like mine.

Now this post is not meant to just brag about our success. No, actually this is a post designed to help you, the small business person. I intend to share with you what I consider the secret of success for any small business, particularly service businesses. Now my business isn’t your typical service business, usually you think more of the guy that comes to fix your refrigerator or the exterminator, or perhaps someone who comes to cut your grass. But, I do look at myself as a service company and most definitely a small business despite our tremendous growth.


  • Communication & Responsiveness
The simplest thing a service business can do to retain customers and reap the benefits of those people referring you over and over is to respond to inquiries immediately. As an example, we answer every email the same day. Most of the time we fulfill customer requests within 24 hours. No matter what you’re doing, respond to your customers quickly. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere. And, If you have the contact form on your site, make sure you check and respond as soon as possible. When people fill out a form, they do so as they want immediate help. As not everyone prefers the phone these days, they fill out your form. If you ignore this or take too long to respond, again they will probably go elsewhere.


  • Take a long view

A lot of times companies make the mistake of overcharging a customer on their first interaction. The problem with that, is you leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth and they’re not as likely to for you or use you again. Instead, try to be fair, even giving first time customers/clients a discount. The result will be repeating business and referrals. Being shortsighted and overcharging maybe profitable in the short term, but in the long-term is not a great strategy.


  • Quality Offerings

One thing most people and companies are looking for is to deal with businesses who have a good solid offering. For us, we have tried to develop service plans to handle most of the web tasks a small business could ever need. So rather than their company having to hire a person to do SEO, another to do social media, another to write blog posts, another to host their site, and yet another to manage their website updates and security, they just hire us. So think about your business, what are you offering and what can you add to those offerings to make you more valuable to your customers?



  • Help Those Who Help Others

One thing that we have always done is give a substantial discount to nonprofit organizations. This is something we recommend to most small businesses. By giving a discount to nonprofits, veterans groups and others you show people that you are a part of the community. This leaves your customers with a good feeling about you and your business. And people always want to refer companies they like and respect.


  • Always Be Reviewing

I am a firm believer that you can always be improving. [ see my post on Kaizen – Kaizen is Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” ] But to do so you need to constantly be reviewing what you are doing as a small business. Take a look at what can you do better, what works and of course what doesn’t work. The world is constantly changing, and as such you need to be evolving all the time as a business. Keep your eyes on others in your industry, look for the next big thing. I’m not telling you to get away with from what made you successful, but perhaps adding something to your company can help you sustain yourself for the long haul.

Bottom Line

I have followed these tips and they have worked well for me growing my business over the last two decades. I’m sure there are other good pieces of advice, and I would love to hear some of your tips to help small-business. The small business community is a tight knit one and anytime you can reach out and help others, that’s a good thing. Good karma can never hurt!


Source: https://www.business2community.com

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Top 7 Event Marketing Strategies & Ideas



Do you remember all those birthday parties you had as a kid? Friends, neighbors, classmates, family, uncles and aunts, grandparents… the guest list was always full.

You would spend weeks planning what you’ll wear, imagining the gifts you’d receive, chalking out the menu and getting excited about the games you’d play.

But what would happen if you forgot to send the invites?

No, no let’s not even imagine the catastrophe!

The simple point I’m trying to make (while also realizing how old I’ve become!), is that an event, no matter what it is, is only as successful as the turnout of invitees.

While, here’s hoping that your personal party guests are polite and excited to turn up, as a business or nonprofit you can’t rely on hope alone.


Event Marketing lies at the very core of the success of an event. Unless you really put some thought behind your event marketing strategy, chances are the footfall will be meager, if at all. This holds true for both online and offline events.

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What is event marketing?
Simply put, event marketing is all about letting people know that you are hosting an event and how much it would mean to you if they joined in.  It’s the strategy to promote an online or offline event through various channels.

Be it a Donation Camp, Volunteer Appreciation Day, Meet n’ Greet, an Expert Speak Conference, a Facebook Live Seminar, Workshop, or any other event, marketing it, and doing that well, will create a buzz and entice people to join in.

Why you should consider event marketing strategies

The answer to the why is pretty simple: a successful event marketing campaign gets you the attention and footfall you need to get attendees to your events.

However, there are many other reasons why event marketing strategies work, like reaching the right target audience in an effective way, knowing the best way to make an impression and most importantly, creating awareness around your event.

It all starts with a solid event marketing plan. From the moment the idea to host an event is conceived to the point that the event actually takes place, the right event marketing strategies are required throughout the entire journey.

So who are these attendees and who is your target audience?

As I mentioned earlier, one of the key elements of making an event a success is knowing and reaching out to your target audience.

To know who your target audience is, you first need to know the goal of your event and then find the people who fit in with that goal.

For example, if you are hosting a Donation Camp to raise funds for your nonprofit, everyone who supports your cause is a part of your target audience.

Event marketing strategies to try for your next event

Now that you know who you want to reach, it’s time to think of the best ways to promote your event to these people.

So how do you make your event marketing persuasive and not pushy? Well, you can try some of these event marketing ideas and strategies to start with:

1. Share with the Media
A Press Release is a great way to get the attention of the people who can help you further your event goals. With a formal press release, you invite local media to be a part of your event. You can also spark the attention of influencers and new supporters. This is especially great when the goal of your event is to spread awareness and invite influential people.

2. Socialize
With social media being one of the top places to connect with local influencers and people with a strong presence, this tactic can help you get the right attention. Look for influencers who work within your industry and have a great following on various social networks. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing!

A survey conducted by Collective Bias shows that a whopping 70% of today’s generation depends on influencer or peer recommendations to make buying decisions. For example, if you are hosting an event to recruit more volunteers, the influencers could talk about how this event is going to be amazing, why one should volunteer or just why they would personally attend the event.

3. Go live
Yes, it’s going social again! Facebook is a huge space and a great platform to get the word out about your event. A Live Stream is a new trend in event marketing where you have a direct interaction with your target audience and invite them in. Use this opportunity to give your audience a peek into what lies ahead and make a compelling pitch about why attending the actual event is something they don’t want to miss. Bizzabo studied that almost 30% of marketing professionals believe that live streams impact an event the most.

4. Dedicate pop-ups and landing pages
Create a pop-up form on your website to direct potential event attendees to a dedicated event page. Pop-ups may be annoying but one cannot overlook their effectiveness. The content you use on the landing page and the pop-up is a key factor that will determine if people will get pulled in.

5. Market to your audience using email
Email Marketing continues to be the most effective means to reach out to your contacts and invite them to an event. At 70%, email marketing is known to be the most popular event marketing strategy among people who regularly host events.

Constant Contact allows you to send professional, impactful and customizable emails, inviting people to your event. Our email marketing templates are for everyone!

6. Spark FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
Create the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ among your audience. Use content like video or imagery to show them how they will be at a loss if they don’t attend. Contrary to popular belief, people are more interested in an event when they feel they will lose out on something valuable if they don’t attend. ‘“You don’t want to miss this event. Here’s why ’ is a simple but effective email marketing subject line, social media campaign or blog post to generate curiosity about your event.

7. Promise a good time (and deliver!)
Use multiple mediums and channels to show people what a great time they’ll have at your event. A promotional video, images, user-generated content, and other details that will immediately spark interest are all great resources to excite your audience. It’s like any movie; when the trailer comes out people start talking about it and can’t wait to go see the full movie. A sneak peek- visual or text- will show them that you have taken all the efforts to make this a memorable, fun and rewarding event for all your attendees- it’s an incentive you offer in exchange of their attendance.

Each of these event marketing ideas is tried, tested and highly recommended to use when promoting your next event.

Ready to create a buzz?

You know your event is going to be exceptional. You have planned amazing things for your attendees- it’s time to create a buzz about it.

Event marketing strategies allow you to make an impact building up to the event, and continue the momentum for your business or nonprofit even after.


Use this opportunity to show people that their needs and priorities are at the top of your mind and you will ensure no stone is left unturned in giving them what you offer. Start planning your next event and use these event promotion strategies to make it highly successful.

Source: https://blogs.constantcontact.com

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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3 Tips for Figuring Out Which Business Mastermind to Join



One of the most valuable things you can do for your development as a business owner is to join a business mastermind.

A good business mastermind group can help you take your venture to the next level, as well as provide you with a chance to meet others with similar values. A good mastermind group can encourage you, inspire you, and even give constructive criticism that makes you better.

Plus, depending on the mastermind you join, you might also learn new skills and techniques for running your business more effectively. But how do you decide which mastermind to join? Here are three tips that can help you figure it out:

1. Know What You Want from the Business Mastermind

First, you need to know what you want from the mastermind group. Are you hoping to pick up a specific skill? Do you want help developing a new business plan or improving your current business? Are you most interested in making connections with people who share your values and can keep you focused?


Figure out what you hope to accomplish with your mastermind. Be specific. That way, you’ll be able to see if you can find a mastermind group that fits your needs.

There are different types of masterminds. Some of them require an upfront financial investment and might include short-term on-site commitment. You meet people in more of a workshop setting in person and have intense sessions to accomplish something specific. In other cases, you might have an ongoing business mastermind group, meeting once or twice a month to check in, develop strengths, and help others.

Understanding what you want out of the mastermind can help you identify a good fit.

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2. Will You Truly Get Useful and Actionable Help?

Next, find out how you can get truly useful and actionable help. This is especially important if you’re paying money to join some sort of exclusive business mastermind group.

Does the mastermind come with some sort of way to communicate regularly? I belong to a mastermind group that uses Slack. When someone has a question outside our regular mastermind meeting, they can post a question and someone will answer quickly. We also use Slack to share our favorite tools, tips, and news.

Whether it’s a private Facebook group, Slack channel, or some other method of communication, find out if the mastermind has a way to provide actionable advice. Pay attention to see if you can apply what you find out on your own. A good mastermind has a way for you to keep learning and taking action to improve your business.

3. Know What You Bring to the Table

In some cases, you need to show that you can contribute to the business mastermind. You should have something to add to the group. Is there a specialty that others can learn from? Do you have connections that could help others? Do you have insightful advice?

When you know what you offer, and how it fits in, that can help you find a good mastermind to fit into.

Any type of networking or mastermind situation is a two-way street. You can get a lot out of it, but you need to be providing value, too.



Source: https://www.business2community.com
Image Credit: 3dman_eu / Pixabay


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Join WNFP Communities!

Monday, October 15, 2018

How Many Goals Do You Need?



It's generally accepted that Jim Collins coined the phrase "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" or, as it's touted in meetings all around the world today, the "BHAG." 

Entrepreneurs love these because the goal is usually easy to state and, most of the time, is short on direction.

"Do $5 million in sales" might be the BHAG in question, but, once stated, a lot of small business owners won't take the time to flesh out the roadmap to that goal.  It sits there, on a piece of paper, quietly making its way to the bottom of the pile. 

For most owners, the BHAG and any related strategies and goals might start off cohesive and, as the ditch gets deeper, ideas and reality tend to separate.  Everybody likes glittering generalities, but most owners lack the patience for fine detail.

You guessed it - forty years of working with small businesses has shown me how creating a series of cohesive goals can be two things - a powerful way to focus your business' energy or a complete waste of time.  For starters, building any business has to start with four key parts - the Dream, Vision, Purpose, and Mission and within those lie every goal your company will ever need to meet - the big ones, the small ones, and every one in between.  Design your business from the ground up with the goals you want to achieve!  Some, of course, may be understated, others, like a video game your kids play, have to have certain stages attained before they can be accomplished, but the seeds for your company's goals all lie in the structure that you build long before the doors ever opened. 

At the same times, a company's ability to achieve a goal is based on the habits you embrace - can you meet deadlines?  Are the ethical standards of the company top-tier?  Is customer service the best in the industry?

All these reap rewards and allow you, as the entrepreneur, to leverage those habits into the goals you've set from day one.  While you absolutely need goals in your business - they were why you opened the doors in the first place - there are other, smaller pieces of the puzzle that you need to always seek to do and, as you gain experience, establish as a part of the overall system of the job and the business.

Understand what needs to be done.  Every day, there is something that requires your attention - not to run the business, but to refine the business.  Perhaps it is a specific marketing initiative that will take time to launch, perhaps it's simply hiring the bookkeeper.  Either way, working on the business is at least as important as working in the business (As I've said for many years).  Make it a habit to do it everyday AND to always know what the end goals are.

Know there are only three answers to any question.  Yes, No and Maybe are all the answers you can get out of most questions and questions are really just another way of stating the challenges that your company will face.  If you find yourself worrying about the course your company is taking, understand what each scenario means and craft a strategy to handle them.  Even better?  Having a plan can give you the confidence to keep moving forward and focus on "real" challenges - growing the enterprise.

Don't be afraid to reach out.  No matter how successful you are, you still need to have mentorship.  Professional athletes still have coaches, why is it odd or strange to think that you don't need a mentor or a coach to help guide you through tough decisions and challenges?  You're reading this article for a reason - to learn new ideas and ways to grow your company.  Acknowledge that there are people who can help to guide you through the pitfalls of building your business and seek their advice.

These could all be seen as goals, but the smarter way to look at any goal is to make sure that the basis for creating a goal is designed into the business itself.  If you want to change the world of painless dentistry, so be it - but open your practice with that goal in mind:  how you will do it, one office at a time and how you will use your first office as the prototype for all the offices to come. 

Yes, it IS a BHAG, but the seeds to the success of that goal lie in the every process and action you take from day one.




Source: https://www.inc.com
Image Credit: Getty Images


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
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How to Maintain a Facebook Page for Your Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)


A whopping 80% of small businesses now use Facebook Pages for marketing. Understandably so, because there are over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook and those numbers can’t be ignored.

However, as more small businesses set up Facebook Pages to connect with customers online, they are facing a challenge managing their business Pages.

Oftentimes, small business owners and Page managers ask questions like, “What should you post on your Facebook business Page?,” “What is the best times to post to really engage the audience?,” and “How often should you post to Facebook, anyway?”

Tips for Managing a Facebook Page for Your Small Business

According to a recent infographic by Citipost Mail, a provider of mailing services for direct mailing in the UK, the best way to engage your audience  on Facebook will depend on your brand and its personality. Depending on your business, you can post humorous videos, inspiring images and informative graphics.

Video posts can be as simple as customer testimonials or feature your employees talking about the kind of work they do and how your business is helping out a local charity or cause.

Other types of content you can post to your Facebook business Page include product giveaways, industry news, and tips on using your products.


Visual Content Is Big on Facebook

Pay particular attention to visual content. 85% of marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing to engage their audience, says Citipost Mail.

Videos make up only 3% of content on Facebook, but have better engagement rate than photos making up 54% of content. Videos also have better reach than text-only posts.

“People find information easier to read and digest when it is presented visually,” Citipost Mail says in the infographic originally published on the company’s blog.

Thursdays and Fridays are the best days to post on Facebook in terms of engagement, adds Citipost Mail. The best performing posts are 40 characters long, bringing 86% more engagement than longer posts.

Engagement increases when you post on Thursdays and Fridays between 1 pm and 3 pm, and on the weekends between 12 pm and 1 pm.

Marketers post to Facebook business Pages up to 8 times per day on average!

How is your business measuring up to these industry standards?

Maintain Facebook Business Pages

Check out Citipost Mail insightful infographic below to learn more about how to maintain your small business Facebook Page and increase customer engagement on the social networking site.


Source: https://smallbiztrends.com
Image Credit: Citipost Mail


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

5 Unorthodox Networking Tips


Ditch the elevator pitch, business card swap and other well-worn strategies if you want to be more successful at networking. Probably not what you expected to read, right?

I read a great post from Undercover Recruiter, "8 Ways to Make a Great Impression at a Networking Event," which provides very useful suggestions to help you achieve success at networking events. Read this article for a good "must have" summary of the best traditionally accepted networking best practices. But in today's extremely competitive environment, these tips alone may not be enough.

Every good networking article will tell you to have business cards, be a good listener, dress for success etc., but now you need to raise the bar in order to truly maximize your networking efforts. I have been to a ton of networking events and discovered there are ways that can help you make an unforgettable lasting impression. These suggestions may seem contrary to what you may have learned in the past, but I promise you, if you incorporate these strategies into your networking efforts, you will increase your chances of standing out from others and being remembered.

1. Bring business cards, but don't hand them out

Business cards are a great and easy way to exchange information, but only when the time is right. You need to have a meaningful conversation first. How many times do you come back from a networking event with a handful of cards and you can't put a face to the name on the card? This is because you may not have taken the time to get to know that person. And it is probably likely that most of the people that have your card, don't remember your face either. Not only did you waste your time having meaningless conversations, but chances are your card will end up in the garbage. Take the time to talk to the people you are networking with. Ask thoughtful questions and if the conversation is meaningful enough and you have established some follow-up actions, then trade cards.

2. Forget about your elevator pitch

Most people have carefully prepared elevator pitch so they know what to day whenever you meet someone, but guess what? Over time it starts to sound canned and insincere. So don't do it. I believe you should get to know the person you are talking to and understand more about their background and needs. Then when you share what you do, you can provide details that are relevant to that person. People don't necessarily want to hear all about you, what they do want to hear about is what you can do for them or maybe someone they know. I prefer to think of this as your elevator "promise". It is much more personal and gets to the heart of how you will add value.



3. Don't show too much interest in other people

Have you ever noticed someone skimming the room while having a conversation with you? Maybe checking out who else is in the room or where their next "stop" is going to be? It is really disconcerting and frankly rude. Instead focus on the person you are talking to. Keep you eyes on them, listen to what they are saying, ask good questions and understand what their networking goals are. Then find ways you can help and do it. Refrain from looking around and looking uninterested.

4. It's okay to leave your friends behind

It's always nice to come to a networking event armed with co-workers and friends. You will have someone to talk to and it reduces any feelings of discomfort; however, you are limiting yourself to possibilities. Why spend valuable networking time talking to people you already know? Instead, take the time to branch out. Start by making eye contact with others in the room and inviting someone to join your group. After you have had the chance to talk a little, take the plunge and leave the group and find someone else to talk to. You are at a networking event so others will also be looking for people to talk to. Your fellow networkers will appreciate that you are taking the initiative to reach out, so think of it as your way of helping others.


5. Go to the bar

Traditionally, a good networking tip would be to avoid excessive drinking, dancing on tables and other antics which would certainly make you more memorable; however not an approach I would advocate. Yet the bar is still a great place to find a person to start a conversation with. As you are waiting for your drink, introduce yourself to the person next to you. Besides the "bar approach" there are other ways to easily initiate a conversation that will work even if you are on the shy side. Try talking to the event organizer. He or she will want to ensure you are making the most of your experience, so this is a good person to start with. Then after having a conversation, ask for an introduction to someone. Be proactive and if there is someone specific you want to meet, then the organizer may be able to locate that person and help you make that connection.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
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Why Continuing to Pursue Your Goals Is the Straightest Shot to Success

[WATCH VIDEO]

In times of towering obstacles, it can be hard to keep going. But, real progress towards your goals can only be made if you overcome your challenges. In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Jack Canfield shares a few tips to help you to keep moving forward.


  1. Consider if your goal is the right one. What is your ultimate intention? And also consider if you have the appropriate skill set.
  2. Break down your big goal into smaller, more manageable steps. This practice of dividing up your larger goal into easier goalposts will create markers for success that can keep you motivated. 
  3. Ask for others' help. Seek out someone who has accomplished what you're hoping to accomplish and ask them questions.  
  4. Stop looking at the gap -- the space between what you wanted to achieve, and what you actually achieved. 
  5. Someone out in the world needs the work you are doing or the goal you are striving for. 
  6. Never stop taking action towards your goals. Stay in the game as long as you can. 

Canfield quotes Ross Perot when he brings up how most people give up when they are almost to the finish line of success. The level of success you desire may be just on the horizon. Canfield stresses that since you never know how close you could be, keep taking consistent action toward your goals. 





Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Art and Science of Networking (Infographic)


Networking isn’t about shaking hands and exchanging business cards. It also isn't just about trying to find a dream job or new opportunity. A solid network is helpful for a variety of reasons, whether you’re looking to launch a business, showcase a project or meet new people. If you really want to grow your network, you’ve got to focus on building valuable relationships.



The best part about networking is that there are no downsides to it. Of course, it might sound daunting at first, but people with strong social networks also are typically more confident, happier and healthier. According to research by Network Wise, strong and healthy networks can lead to a decrease in dementia, breast cancer and other health issues.

The three most important types of networks that you should develop are operational, personal and strategic. Operational means gaining contacts and connections with people important to business, while personal refers to those people you socialize with and who are more likely to become your friends. Strategic are the people you strategically connect with to share ideas and whom you look up to.

While that might sound like a lot of work, with the help of technology, networking is easier and more achievable than ever. Sites including LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are all great places to connect with people and begin building your own networks.

To learn more, check out Network Wise’s infographic below.




Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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5 Steps To Transform Your Service-Based Side Hustle Into A SaaS Startup


The astonishing growth of cloud-based technology has resulted in the explosion of SaaS (Software as a Service) becoming a multibillion-dollar industry. From managing sales leads to organizing your personal finances, SaaS tools plays a key role in countless organizations.

As such, it should hardly be surprising that many entrepreneurs and programers have decided to throw their hats into this potentially lucrative space. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to speak with one such person who's turned a software tool originally built for personal use, into a thriving SaaS startup—Josh Pigford, the founder of Baremetrics.


During our conversation, Pigford revealed some great insights into what helped his company become successful today—and how you too, may be able to grow your own service-based side business into a scalable startup.


1. Build For Yourself

SaaS products won’t become successful if they don’t address actual customer pain points—and there are few better ways to know you’re achieving this than by building software that addresses your own needs first. This way, you’re not just guessing that others will be interested in your software.

“I was just building something internally for me, and then I mentioned it to some other founders I knew, and they said, ‘Hey, we need the exact same thing,’” Pigford recalls. “I just built what I needed at the time. That was how I kept it focused—I worked on it until it did what I needed it to do.”

2. Create Strategically And Solve Individual Needs

Many SaaS tools eventually become seen as a commodity—but because of this, it can become all too easy for your side hustle to simply get lost amongst the crowd of other tools attempting to offer the same service. To truly stand out in the marketplace, you need to emphasize the strategic elements of your software, and (in the early days) be willing to assist individual customers with fine-tuning certain elements of their strategy as well.

Pigford is not alone in this assessment, either. As fellow podcast guest Junaid Shams, cofounder of mobile payment app Rooam also shared with me, “Anybody can design an app or program. The days when you could make money simply by contributing to the pool of software are long gone—now you have to actively add value to specific customers’ business models.”

Producing a helpful software product is one thing. But by emphasizing the strategic benefits your tool has to offer, you’ll craft a much more persuasive pitch that actually encourages new users to sign up.

3. Charge Money To Get Better Feedback

When you first start marketing your software, it can be tempting to offer it for free, so more people will join and give you feedback about what works (and what doesn’t).

Yet as Pigford explains, this is actually the wrong strategy if you want to gain insights that will build a successful SaaS business. “Start charging for it right away. Don’t hesitate to ask people to pay for what you’re building. Otherwise, the feedback you’re getting will be from people who aren’t necessarily willing to pay for it anyway… and you don’t want to build stuff for those people.”

Build your product for those who are willing to pay for it—otherwise, you’ll just waste time adapting your software model for people who wouldn’t pay anyway.



4. Get Social

If you think Twitter and other social media platforms are a waste of time, think again.

“Most of my first customers came from just talking about my service on Twitter,” says Pigford. By consistently sharing information with his followers (who were mostly entrepreneurs themselves), Pigford was able to generate social media shares and word-of-mouth referrals to build his initial group of customers.

Pigford’s social media posting is also notable because it wasn’t directly self-promotional, he never asked for email signups or purchases. Instead, by posting screenshots and explaining what he was working on, he was able to build enough interest in his software for a successful launch.

Never underestimate the power of engaging with others online. Building your social media presence now—and forging relationships with your future target customers—can pay big dividends once you’re ready to launch your software.

5. Build A Strong Referral Model

Of course, you’re not going to find all of your customers on Twitter. In the early stages, when you don’t have much of a marketing budget, if you have any marketing budget at all, you’ll largely rely on word of mouth to grow your brand.

As Arash Asli of the Forbes Technology Council explains, “Reviews matter to customers when choosing which SaaS business is best, but word-of-mouth referrals are typically what generate the best results, with 82% of consumers saying they want recommendations from family, colleagues and friends about considering buying products and services.”

The easier you make it for your current customers to make referrals, the faster you’ll be able to grow your SaaS startup. Incentives like a promotional discount or free access to additional software features will go a long way in motivating your current customers to offer up referrals.

Begin The Transformation

The right software can transform lives and businesses—and of course, help you achieve your own pursuits toward financial freedom in the process.

Regardless of whether you’re still in college or working on your own business after getting from work every evening, implementing these steps can help take your projects from side hustle to rapidly growing SaaS product.

Source: https://www.forbes.com
Image Credit: How Baremetrics founder Josh Pigford transitioned from running a service-based side hustle, to growing a seven-figure SaaS startup. JOSH PIGFORD




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

5 Tips for Stress-Free Networking



Successful entrepreneurs know that networking is not a numbers game. It’s not about how many business cards you pass out or collect. It’s not about how many products you can sell or whom you can instantly impress, exploit or schmooze to get what you want.

Proper networking is a gradual process of making genuine connections with people and cultivating those relationships for the long term. Here are five ways to take the stress out of networking, expand your sphere of influence and form solid, mutually beneficial relationships.

1. Give with no expectations in return.

The most effective networking takes place when you are willing to tithe your social capital. In other words, look for opportunities to be of service to others instead of thinking about how others can meet your needs. Train your ears to hear a problem so you can present a solution.

For example, if a colleague or client mentions that she needs a good painter, you might not know one, but someone in your network probably does. Do a little research and pass along the information. She will remember you and be forever grateful for your kind and unsolicited efforts.

2. Network with one person at a time.

Instead of spending small amounts of time with a lot of people, spend more time with a smaller number of carefully chosen people. You may find it comforting to know that the strength and longevity of your relationships depend more on the quality and far less upon the quantity of your connections.

Stop believing you have to meet everyone in the room. You don’t. At the next networking event, introduce yourself to someone who is sitting alone. More often than not, it’s the short, casual, one-on-one conversations that turn into potential business opportunities.

3. Approach people who are different from you.

It’s natural to gravitate toward people who are just like us, but you do yourself a disservice when you socialize with the same people all the time. Don't be guilty of "clustering." This is when people who know one another get into groups, either sitting or standing, while they pretty much ignore everyone else around them. Staying in familiar territory defeats the purpose of networking so expand your horizons and occasionally break away from those you know or see every day.



4. Share a personal story or two.

Most of us have a habit of launching into business talk too soon, so take time to form a connection that has some substance. The best way to do this is by telling your story or by trying to get others to reveal their stories.

Stories are the most basic tool for connecting us to one another. People attend, remember, and are transformed by stories. Many of us grew up listening to stories passed from generation to generation by our parents or grandparents. Stories have a unique power to move people’s hearts, minds, feet, and wallets in the storyteller’s intended direction. Share a little bit about yourself -- how you became interested in your profession, who inspired you to start your own business, or where you grew up.

5. Listen more than you talk.

As the saying goes, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." Focus more on the other person and less on yourself and you will be perceived as being the most engaging person in the room.

Start out by asking the right questions and then listen to the other person’s response. Some of my favorite questions include: “What do you like to do in your spare time?” and “What motivated you to start your own business?” Most people enjoy talking about themselves, and these kinds of questions prompt people to open up. In time, they might even reveal their background, motivations, philosophy and challenges. Even though you might not agree with everything the person says, all you have to do is be a good listener.

Keep your networking efforts simple. Become interested in others, find out what matters to them, and then center your conversations on their interests and priorities. When you are genuine and sincere, your network (and eventually your net worth) will organically grow.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Compassionate Eye Foundation/John Wildgoose | Getty Images



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!