Branding Small Business for Dummies

While in Mexico for a TLC conference, I had the opportunity to talk to my very good friend Raymond Aaron about his book, “Branding Small Business for Dummies,” and why it’s so important for small businesses to build their brand. Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that branding is something only large corporations need to focus on and this video outlines the key points regarding what small businesses really need to know in relation to branding.  For example, if you don’t build your brand on purpose, it get’s built for you and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Watch the video now to learn how to use branding to differentiate yourself from your competitors and to find out how to easily get a free digital download of Raymond’s book, “Branding Small Business for Dummies.”  I can’t recommend this book highly enough and if you are familiar with it, I’d love for you to share your take on the book in the comment forum below–thanks!

Mega Partnering VI Event

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting at the Mega Partnering VI conference (www.MegaPartnering6.com) this year which is taking place in Los Angeles, CA from November 29-December 2.

The event is run by the J.T. Foxx Organization (www.JTFoxx.com) and J.T., whom I’ve gotten to know over the past couple of years, has invited me to give a presentation on how to achieve success through networking.

J.T. (pictured with me below) has a very interesting story as he started investing with nothing more than a rusted-out Ford pick-up truck, $974.00, and one cheap suit.  Now, six years later, he is a serial entrepreneur who has started several multi-million dollar companies internationally and he has become one of the world’s top wealth coaches and a sought after motivational speaker–all this he has done through mastering the art of partnering, branding, networking, and marketing.

Mega Partnering is an independent international organization J.T. Foxx created after watching a 60 Minutes episode  about Davos, applying, and getting turned down when he tried to start his own business.  Not willing to accept rejection, J.T. decided to create his own opportunities for small businesses and he called it “MegaPartnering.”

The conference has since grown to include small entrepreneurs from all over the world and it raises money for charitable initiatives, keeping with the philosophy, “Learn, Earn, Return.”  Mega Partnering attendees have included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Stedman Graham, and more.

There will be several accomplished entrepreneurs at this year’s event–many of them giving presentations– including Michael Eisner, Kathy Ireland, Eric Trump, John Assaraf, Raymond Aaron, and Mark Victor Hansen, among others.

If you are interested in registering to attend the event or learning more about it or about J.T.,  please CLICK HERE to visit the Mega Partnering website.  I hope to see you at the event in November!

 

 

Just Be Nice–It Really Is That Easy

Earlier this month, I was holding a telebridge training seminar for writers and Renia Carsillo (pictured below), a Small Business Coach and Social Media Expert, was kind enough to share her policy about posting comments on social media pages with the participants on the call.

I was quite impressed with Renia’s simple-to-use, straightforward ideas and I think they could come in handy for many business owners around the world when it comes to ensuring you’re headed in a positive, productive direction in regard to promoting business through social media.

A big thank you to Renia for offering to let me share her ideas below with the BusinessNetworking.com blog readers–if you like what you see, you can get more of Renia’s great insight by visiting her blog, Renia Grows (http://reniacarsillo.net/).

Here is an excerpt from “Rules for Readers” by Renia Carsillo

Just be nice.  It really is that easy.

I see lots of bad behavior every day in social media.  So much that I sometimes think we’re starting to lose our filters.

In my pursuit to help entrepreneurs through social media, I have adapted these best practices for readers, employees, fans, friends, and anyone else interacting with us online.

Think it through before you post it.  Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time–protect your privacy and your reputation.

Identify yourself–if you can’t say it with your real name and company role, it shouldn’t be said and will not be posted.  Names are good, photos are even better.

Respect copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws.

Don’t site or reference your clients, partners, or suppliers without their approval.  When you do make a reference, link back to the source.

Respect our community and be kind.  Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.  You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory–such as politics and religion.

Don’t pick fights.  Be the first to correct your own mistakes.

Try to add value.  Provide worthwhile information and perspective.

Be the first to respond to your own mistakes.  If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly as this can help to restore trust.  If you choose to modify content that was previously posted, such as editing a comment, make it clear that you have done so.  Deleting a previously published comment without a disclaimer that you have done so is considered lying and no one likes people who lie.

It all really boils down to that old mantra our parents relayed to us when we were small, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.  If that is too much to ask of you, just make sure that your comments are respectful, well thought out, and honest.

So what do you think of Renia’s policy on social media comments?  Share your thoughts in the comment section . . .

Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

This is the final guest blog in the three-part series featuring Frank DeRaffele’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity.'” To read the beginning and the middle of the article, please CLICK HERE for Part 1 and CLICK HERE for Part 2.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued)

Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

Innovation in our businesses is extremely important. New ideas help us to run our businesses more efficiently, market more effectively, sell with greater success, satisfy customers at higher levels and lead us to greater overall results–if we have a method to put them in place and the discipline to follow through with them.  Innovation gives us competitive advantage in many cases.  We just need to make sure we are not being deceived; we need to understand how to recognize the difference between Innovation and its evil twin, Creativity.

Quick steps to recognize  ‘Innovativity’ over Creativity in a great new idea:

1. Know what your current problem is and what you want as the end result in solving that problem.

2. Confirm that your new idea will help solve that problem DIRECTLY.  Don’t justify that it is a distant cause and effect relationship (e.g., “If I bring in a new target market they will buy more and I will increase my average dollar transaction.” — This simply justifies a non-direct creative idea).

3. It can be executed simply.  The best solutions usually are not complex.  Many times, the most complex problems have simple solutions.  As a Small Business Entrepreneur (SBE), it is rare that you have a complex problem.  It may be inconvenient, bad timing, a pain, or unexpected, but rarely so complex that it takes a complex solution.  Most very effective innovations are simple solutions.

My last words of advice on this topic: Don’t stop being creative!  Always be creative, just know how to use your creativity in the most effective and profitable manner.  Make your creativity spark your innovations so you may continue to build a very profitable and sustaining business.

This wraps up the final part of Frank’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” and I hope you have all found it to be as enjoyable and beneficial as I found it to be.  Any comments you leave about the article, I’ll be sure to pass on to Frank so please don’t be shy–tell us what you think!

Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity’

My friend Frank DeRaffele Jr., whom is also one of the co-authors of my upcoming book Business Networking and Sex, shared with me a great article he recently wrote called “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” and I’d like to share it with all of you who read this blog.

Frank makes some very interesting points about the importance of balancing creativity and innovation in regard to small business and I think small business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere will benefit from reading this article.  Since the article is quite lengthy, I’m going to divide it into a few different guest blogs so, if you like what you read in the remainder of this blog entry, be sure to stay tuned for the follow up guest blogs featuring Frank’s article.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr.

As Small Business Entrepreneurs (SBEs), one of our greatest strengths is our creativity.  Coming up with new ideas . . . ALL THE TIME.  However, one of our greatest weaknesses is our creativity.  Coming up with new ideas . . . ALL THE TIME.  For most of us, we have too many ideas, too often.  Oh, the paradox!  We tend to like the new idea, the new concept, the new Ah-ha!  The problem with this creativity and these great ideas is that we tend to be great out of the gate but lose power on the follow through.  I am not saying that we should not be creative.  I am not saying that creativity is a bad thing.  I AM saying that creativity can be a time stealer, distraction, justification, and crutch.

Ninja vs. Samurai

Most of us SBEs love the freedom that we have to come up with new ideas and then implement them as quickly or as slowly as we like.  We love the fact that if and when we get bored with this new idea or we feel it is not panning out as we hoped, we can just drop it and move on.  After all, we have no one to answer to.  “I can do what I want, when I want to, and no one can tell me otherwise” we think to ourselves.  This is true.  Very true.  In fact, TOO TRUE.  This freedom we have ends up becoming our Profitability Ninja.  This Ninja disguises himself as strength and confidence, happiness and joy.  Yet, behind his mask is the true assassin.  The Ninja who will kill our profits.  He begins to steal our profits and we don’t notice it.  We may not notice it for weeks, months, or years.  We mostly don’t notice it because either he is too close to us or we just refuse to see him.

This Ninja steals by keeping us focused on new projects that really haven’t been well thought out.  Investing time, energy, man hours, relationships, and money, with little to no return.  This is when the Dark Ninja turns into the Red Ninja.  We are metaphorically bleeding.  We are now going from profitability to loss (Black Ink to Red Ink).

So how do we save ourselves from this Ninja?  Enter the Samurai of Innovation . . .

Come back next week to read more of Frank’s article and learn about the “Samurai of Innovation.” In the meantime, if you have any comments to share about this first article installment, please feel free to share them here.

Think You Don’t Need a Network?–Think Again . . .

As a small-business professional or entrepreneur, how do you:

  • Get advice and help when problems arise
  • Gather the information you need for making important business decisions
  • Identify your markets and locate potential clients?

Unfortunately, most people get help in times of need from individuals or businesses they don’t know well. Instead of anticipating and planning for needs and emergencies, they are forced to react to every situation. They search the internet or ask friends and associates to help solve problems or recommend solutions, even though these people may not have the necessary expertise, and the sources they recommend may have little relevance to or experience with the business operation that is in need.

As a small-business owner, you don’t have the built-in resources to employ a management team to plan ahead, proactively problem solve, obtain and maintain ready access to vital resources–information, personnel, funding–and make informed decisions quickly in an emergency.  What you need is the functional equivalent of a management team and that is exactly what a network is for!

Your network is a systematically and strategically selected group of people on whom you can call as the need arises. It is a diverse, balanced and powerful system of sources–people from all facets of the business world–that will provide referrals, information and support in key areas of your business or profession, over both the short and the long term.

So, if you know someone who doesn’t want to put in the time and effort to establish a network because he thinks his business is just fine without one, do him a huge favor and explain why he needs to think again.

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