Global Business Archives - Page 2 of 6 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Secrets to Success & Business Growth

In January, BNI® (Business Network International), the worldwide referral marketing organization which I founded in 1985, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

In light of this, one of the organization’s franchisees incredulously asked me how I’ve managed to consistently keep the company growing each year and how it’s possible that the BNI continues to steadily achieve higher and higher feats of success.

I made this video in answer to this question and in it I outline my secrets to growth and success step by step.  The great thing about what I explain in the video is that you can apply the same business tactics I used to your own business. 

After watching the video, I’d love to hear your thoughts about BNI, the business strategies I discuss, and/or how you are going to use the tactics I outline in your own business.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

To find out more about BNI, please visit www.BNI.com.

What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

When someone asks you what you do, what are the first words out of your mouth?  If the words aren’t ready to roll off your tongue, then read on . . .

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Image courtesy of artsamui at Free Digital Photos.net

When someone asks you what you do, make sure you’re ready with a response that is succinct but memorable. The attention span of the average adult is only 20 seconds; a long, drawn-out answer to the question isn’t going to work.

Focus on creating a unique selling proposition (USP)–a mini commercial that you can readily use while networking. I think of this as a personal answer to the age-old “Whattaya do?” question, which we’ve all been asked about a million and a half times.

Here’s an example. When someone asks what you do, don’t reply with a bland, general statement such as “I’m a consultant.” Half the world could say that, and it doesn’t tell anybody anything. Instead, you could say, “I work with small to medium-size businesses to help them attract more clients than they could possibly handle.”  This is short, powerful and informative.

A USP is obviously something you’ll have to tailor to your specific business, but can you see how it packs more punch than just telling people you’re a consultant? Whichever 12 or 20 words you choose, make sure your answer is quick and informative without sounding rehearsed or contrived.

So, make it your goal this week to come with a USP. Not only will this make you much more effective at networking events and functions, being prepared in this way will also make you more comfortable with introducing yourself to new people because you’ll have the confidence of knowing exactly what to say.

Once you’ve used your new USP a handful of times, come back and leave a comment letting me know what kind of response you got from people and how it worked out for you overall. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Is It Really All About the Customer?–YES!

In this video, I discuss a recent e-mail I received from a friend and colleague which really surprised me and made me realize that sometimes things which I think are totally and completely self evident to others may not actually be obvious to some people at all.

In my mind, it’s completely clear and non-debatable that that the customer is the most important entity when it comes to the success of any given business.  Realistically, however, it’s quite common for business owners to get caught up in the aspects of business they think take precedence over everything else when challenges arise and it’s easy to forget that the most important aspect of business is ALWAYS the people paying for the service.

In this short video, I explain why, in business, the customer is hands down the most important player in the game.  It’s not that the customer is always right–believe me, they’re not–but without the customer, you have no business.  If you are conducting your business with the belief that you, your business partners, your franchisor, your vendors, or anyone else is more important to your success than the customer then, I hate to break it to you, but that belief is absolutely bunk.  Even the legendary Henry Ford acknowledged during his lifetime that the customer is the ultimate key component in business–watch the video now to see what he had to say about this topic and, also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic so please leave your feedback in the comment forum.  Thanks!

Free Monthly ‘Networking Cafe’ Webinar–You’re Invited!

In this video, filmed at a recent networking conference in Nashville, TN, I talk to my good friend and partner in the Referral Institute®, Eddie Esposito, about the monthly Networking Cafe webinars we offer to the public.  These FREE monthly webinars offer invaluable information about how to grow business through networking and referral marketing and we often have guests on the webinar who are experts at helping people achieve business success.  Past guests include Jack Canfield, Michael Gerber, and Susan RoAne, among others.

These “Networking Cafe” webinars take place on the last Friday of each month and all you need to do to find out how to participate (we welcome you to ask questions during the webinar) for free is to visit the following link: http://referralinstitute.com/index.php/en-us/networking-cafe.

Thanks so much for watching this video and I really hope to interact with you on one of the upcoming webinars in the near future.  Also, if you have any suggestions for topics which you would love to have addressed on a future webinar, by all means, please leave your topic suggestions in the comment forum below–I’m  more than happy to address all valuable and relevant topics.  Thanks!

Are You Serious about Being in Business? Here’s How to Find Out . . .

A while back, I was one of the featured speakers at a conference for small business owners and one of the other speakers offered a list of things that all business owners must have in place in order to truly be in business and position themselves for success.  The speaker said, “If you don’t have all these things in place, you’re not really in business!”

This really stuck with me because there is a lot of validity to it.  With all the responsibilities of being a business owner, sometimes circumstances can get over whelming and some of the key things that should be in place to truly be in business tend to get pushed aside for “when there’s more time” (which will never happen) or get forgotten. 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Below is the list given by the speaker.  These are the things which all serious business owners must have in place in order to truly be in business and position themselves for success:

  1. I have business cards for myself and my team.
  2. I have a distinct phone line specifically for my business.
  3. I have a registered domain.
  4. I have a current website.
  5. I have an e-mail that corresponds with my business domain.
  6. I have a dedicated office or business space (even if it is home-based).
  7. I know what my target market is.
  8. I have a contact database system in place to communicate with my prospects.

As obvious as this list seems, half the participants at that conference did not meet all the requirements. I spoke to the same group of people again during another event, however, and I’m pleased to report that virtually all of the participants this time around met the above requirements (and more).

So here’s my question for you . . . Are YOU truly serious about being in business?  For those of you who can answer ‘yes’ to that question, what would you add to this list, if anything?  I’d love to hear your thoughts–please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Jim Blasingame: ‘The Age of the Customer’

I have been good friends with small business expert Jim Blasingame for over ten years and I can fully attest to the fact that his knowledge of what it takes to achieve success in small business is unparalleled (but don’t take my word for it, check out his bio below*).  I am excited to announce that just a few weeks ago, he released a revolutionary new book that will change the way the we think about buying and selling.

This short video offers a quick overview of the premise of Jim’s newly released book, The Age of the Customer, which focuses on the momentous marketplace shift currently taking place that is affecting the way we all do business.  Watch the video now to get a glimpse of what this significant marketplace shift means and to gain an awareness of the greatest danger it presents to business owners across the globe.

Knowledge is power and preparation is one of the greatest keys to success in business; The Age of the Customer arms you with the knowledge you need to prepare your business for lasting success.  CLICK HERE FOR A FREE SAMPLE OF THE BOOK.

After watching the video, reading through the free book sample, or reading the entire book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Jim’s ‘Age of the Customer’ concept–please leave your feedback in the comment forum below. Thanks!

  * Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s foremost experts on small business and entrepreneurship, and was ranked as the #1 small business expert in the world by Google.  President and founder of Small Business Network, Inc., Jim is the creator and award-winning host of The Small Business Advocate® Show, nationally syndicated since 1997.  As a high-energy keynote speaker, Jim talks to small business audiences about how to compete in the 21st century global marketplace, and he talks with large companies about how to speak small business as a second language.  A syndicated columnist and the author of three books, including Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success, which have sold almost 100,000 copies combined; his third book, The Age of the CustomerTM launched on January 27, 2014.

 

BNI Business Index Results for 2013

Over 1,000 business people from every populated continent in the world responded to the BNI Business Index for year-end, 2013.  According to the survey results, almost 76% of the respondents felt that business was better today than in 2012.  That’s up over 9% from the 2011 survey.    In addition, only 6.1% felt that it was declining in the 2013 survey which is down from the 9.6% that said that business was declining in 2011.

How is Business

The most promising news was the hiring trend numbers.  The 2013 survey found that 55.3% of the respondents said that they would be or possibly would be, hiring in the 2013 survey compared to an anemic 42.9% in 2011.

Why the Improvement?

The three most common reasons cited for growth by the respondents was restructuring, niche marketing, and networking.

Restructuring was a common theme relating to many respondents.  Comments such as: “one of the reasons my business keeps growing is that I… adapt my offerings to support the goals [of my clients].”  Reorganizing showed up in responses like: I’ve “reorganized staff and cut expenses and it is starting to pay off.” “My number one goal was to reduce overhead to the max, and as well as “refocusing our services back to our core competencies… and better communication” has helped substantially.

Two comments that summed up many of the respondents beliefs were: “I’ve changed the way I do business,” and I “can’t keep doing the same old thing if it’s not working.  You have to re-invent yourself.”

Other respondents focused on a niche market.  Such as those who said things such as: “last year I became clearer about my target market, strategic partners and taking a hard look at my numbers and what work would be necessary to grow” and “many of my competitors were bought out and closed their doors.  I focused on my core business.”

Networking continued to be a strong business builder as represented by comments such as: “my business depends a lot on referrals and networking” and “my business is flourishing today as a result of my networking efforts both via the internet and face to face.”  Once respondent claimed that “my business has tripled its income over the past year due largely to my committed involvement to networking.”

Is Your Company Hiring

The one thing that came up by many people who said they were still struggling were complaints about government regulation which have been a constant since the BNI Business Index was first released in 2010.  Issues like the impact of health care reform, government regulation of businesses, and legislative incompetence showed up throughout the survey this year and every previous year.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the two questions posed in the graphs included in this blog post (How is business for you today compared to this time last year? ; Is your company hiring or planning on hiring people over the next few months?)–please share your answers in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Welcome to International Networking Week®!

This week marks the 8th annual celebration of International Networking Week® which is recognized each year by thousands of people around the world.

International Networking Week is about celebrating the key role that networking plays in the development and success of business around the world.  It is about creating an awareness relating to the process of networking.  Not just any kind of networking, but what I call “relationship networking”–an approach to doing business based on building long-term, successful, genuine relationships with people strategically through the networking process.

International Networking Week has been acknowledged by many governmental organizations (including a joint resolution of the California State Assembly and Senate) and is celebrated in many countries across the globe.  Start the new year out with more business by using this week to build your networking skills and expand the opportunities within your reach.  If you belong to any networking groups, be sure to tell them that this is International Networking Week (Feb 3-7).

CLICK HERE to view a short video about International Networking Week 2014.  Please feel free to share the video with others and show it at your networking meetings this week.

For more information and a list of worldwide events, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.

So what will you be doing to recognize International Networking Week?  Please share your plans in the comment forum below–thanks!

New International Networking Week® Video for 2014

The new video for International Networking Week® 2014 has just been released!

This short, six-and-a-half-minute video, sponsored by the Referral Institute, explains how the week of February 3rd-7th, 2014 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking. International Networking Week® 2013

2014 will mark the 8th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the week. One of the main goals of the week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach.  In the video, I talk about Stewart Emery’s “Who’s in Your Room?” concept within a networking context and how International Networking Week presents a great opportunity to reassess the people currently in your life and reach out to people who you want in your ‘room’ but may have lost contact with or need to build a relationship with.

I hope you enjoy the video and that you’re as excited as I am about participating in the global celebration of International Networking Week come February.  After watching the video, please share your thoughts on it, and on International Networking Week in general, in the comment forum below.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

Could You be Making Things Harder Than They Really Are?

In business, there are endless opportunities to learn from the successes and mistakes of others who have ventured into the entrepreneurial waters before us.  So, why is  it that we often ignore the lessons we can learn from others’ mistakes and doom ourselves to making the same bad decisions?  People in business and sales do this all the time.  For example, there are tried-and-true sales techniques that are so simplistic it doesn’t seem as though they can really be effective so we write them off and try to reinvent the wheel.

Many times, we try to re-evaluate, improve upon, and complicate these simple yet proven techniques and all we’re really succeeding in doing is making things harder than they really are!  One of the biggest mistakes that people in business (and especially in sales) make is not listening to the people who have experience.  For some reason, they assume that they have to know better . . . and the truth is, they don’t.  There is nothing like experience–it beats education every day of the week.  The only thing better is a combination of education and experience . . . or a willingness to learn from other people’s experience.

There are many basic sales techniques that any good salesperson knows to be effective.  They don’t look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience, as well as from the experience of others, what works in sales and what doesn’t work in sales.  If you’ve read my book, Masters of Sales, you may have read things that seemed to simple to be effective or you may have seen ideas that you’ve heard before.  The fact is, instead of being dismissed, these tactics and ideas should be embraced.  True Masters of Sales learn from other people’s success and remember that sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact.

Is there a simple lesson you learned from another business owner/entrepreneur which has helped you achieve success in your business?  I’d love to get a conversation going about this in order to share simple tactics for success and important lessons learned so we can all lessen our risk of making things harder than they really are.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

Meet Bob, a World Traveler & Networking V.I.P.

Fourteen years ago, I met Bob.  Bob has since then traveled to every part of the world I’ve been to and met thousands of people in the process as my right-hand wing-man and networking partner extraordinaire.

I wrote a blog some time ago telling Bob’s story because he’s a very important person in the way that he can teach us all a thing or two about staying connected.  This video is Bob’s first video blog appearance on BusinessNetworking.com and I’m excited to say that it certainly won’t be his last video blog appearance.  Watch the video now to find out more about Bob and why you’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of him.

Also, be sure to read the full story about Bob by CLICKING HERE Once you read his story you’ll have a much better understanding why he’s such a popular and well-loved networker and you’ll appreciate him a lot more when he makes his upcoming video cameos.

After watching the video and reading Bob’s story, I’d love to hear your comments on what you think about Bob or your stories about different ways (whether they’re similar to Bob or not) that you stay connected when you’re traveling both near and far.  Thanks in advance for your input!

Richard Branson’s ‘Plan B’ Initiative for a Better World–How You Can Make a Difference

[Note – unfortunately, there was a lot of wind during this recording.  We did our best to edit it out.  Thanks for understanding.]

I mentioned in a previous blog, “Virgin Territory,” that I recently visited Necker Island and had the opportunity to spend some time with Richard Branson.  During that visit, Richard was kind enough to take a few minutes to record this video with me and share what his ‘Plan B’ initiative is all about.

The ‘Plan B’ concept aims to bring businesses together in a united effort to achieve greater social responsibility and a better, more sustainable planet.   Watch the video now to find out how you can be a part of the ‘B Team’ and play a part in making the world a better place for us all to live in.

What are your thoughts on this concept?  Do you share Richard’s ideas about the importance of businesses placing higher importance on social responsibility and bettering the environment?  What might you be able to do in your business within the coming weeks to bring it more in line with the ‘Plan B’ concept?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

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