Archive for November, 2008
Are you using a blog to promote your business? If so, you are on the right track! A blog is a great communication tool and it also serves as a relationship builder.
When you do business online, you cannot greet your customers face to face and get to know them as you would in a traditional retail setting. Blogs offer the next best thing, as they allow your customers to interact with you and see a bit more of your personal side.
Blogging about the new products or services you are offering, as well as any sales you are having is a great way to increase business.
One reason that business owners don’t blog regularly is that they have trouble thinking up things to blog about, or they simply don’t have the time.
One solution to both problems is to buy pre-written blog posts, such as those found here: http://www.indiebizchicks.com/blog-posts.html.
There will be a special sale on Pre-Written Blog Posts from November 26- 30. When you order, you will receive a subscription to 12 blog posts each month for the next year for only $70. Imagine having much of your blogging done for the entire year.
To order visit: Indie Biz Chicks
Hello and Thanks to the guests at my recent Joy of Connecting event in Decatur for requesting this receipe. I thought I would place it on our great new JOC Blog for all to see. Hope others enjoy as much at our group did. As you will see you can make it rich and sinful with heavy cream or lighten it by using NonFat Half and Half. Either way it is very good.
Best Wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving from Kathy Greider of GreiderBiz – Your BusinessBOOSTER where we work with you to bring in more customers, keep your current customer base happy and encourage all customers to spend more money using rewards and incentives. If you need more customers spending more money contact me to see the proven methods we use. Kathy firstname.lastname@example.org 404.313.8208
Ravioli with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
16 oz Cheese Ravioli (fresh, dried or frozen)
1 C Butternut Squash Puree
1 C chicken or vegetable stock
2 C Heavy Cream *** (see substitutions below)
¼ t Cinnamon
Salt and White Pepper - to your liking
Cook the ravioli as directed, drain, and cover while preparing the sauce. I always add a Tablespoon of olive oil to my water when cooking pasta.
Mix together in sauce pan: stock, squash, and cream. Cook over medium heat until liquid reduces by ½.
If you use the heavy cream – you do not need to follow the instructions in the next paragraph but you do need to follow this part: Do not turn the stove up too high or the mixture will scorch on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and just keep stirring until it thickens.
In an effort to reduce the fat content of this dish, I use Non-Fat Half and Half in place of the heavy cream. When you do this the liquid mixture does not reduce as well: so I took ¼ cup of the liquid out of the pan after it is warm and mix 2 T of Corn Starch with it until the mixture is smooth. Then slowly add this to the gently boiling liquid. It takes a while for the liquid to reduce. Do not turn the stove up too high or the mixture will scorch on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and just keep stirring.
Since I took out the heavy cream I added a Tablespoon of butter to put a bit of fat into the sauce to help it thicken.
After the liquid is reduced add the cinnamon and salt and pepper as needed.
Pour sauce over pasta and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon or some parley for color.
All one has to do is look around where you are to feel grateful for life’s many blessings! And, all you have to do is think of those who continue to bless our lives every day to realize that reasons for gratitude are everywhere. Just think of all the indivduals who make our lives easier – the mailman, the clerks who stock the grocery shelves, the tank trucks that supply us with gasoline, the bank teller, dry cleaner, street cleaners, garbage men and recyclers, retailers, civil servants, our dentist, doctors, financial planner, insurance agent and the list goes on and on. With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, I’m reminded that my life is richer not because of what I’ve acquired but rather because of the people who make a difference in my life! So, to those who have chosen to connect with me and for those of you who are an essential part of my life, I want you to know that I appreciate you and wish you overflowing peace and happiness now and always. Express gratitude to the people in your life. Let them know how much they are valued. Until next time…………..Bonnie www.BonnieRossParker.com
I hauled myself out of bed the other morning at 4AM in order to attend a Breakfast networking meeting that was entitled How Gratitude can bring an increase in your bottom line! When I first got the invitation to this meeting, I thought Oh Boy! This is right up my alley. But after a long week at getting up early going to meetings and then attending more late night meetings also, not to mention suffering from a head cold and sinus infection going on 4 weeks now, when the alarm went off, I thought, OMG what was I thinking. I got ready anyway because I had to pick up my team mate who had registered and paid for us to go.
It was very well worth the trip. It was not your typical business meeting. This is a new group focused on all the right aspects of business. The very first exercise we did was to talk with those at our table and to tell what we were grateful for not in our business, but in our life. That was different, but it is close to Thanksgiving, so I could understand. But as the presentation went on, I began to see the true theme of the meeting and the organization. It was very refreshing because it hit right on my core values and beliefs, that of building relationships with people and trying to establish a helpful giving attitude will come back to you ten fold.
I go to a lot of face to face networking meetings of all kinds and meet a lot of people. My primary purpose, of course, like everyone else, it to find new business. Along the way I meet a lot of people who are doing the same thing. Now we all know we can’t all do business with each other, however we can try and help each other. How you ask? Listen and ask questions. Find out about the person and their business, what makes them unique and different from others in their industry. One of the questions that you can ask, which was presented in this meeting, “Why should I do business with you?” Try that one sometimes and you’ll be surprised at the answers you get. Also think about what you would say if someone asked you that question. Now you still might not need their services at the moment, but you can use that information in a number of ways.
Here are five things you can do:
- ¨ Introduce that person to a good referral partner for them. Example: Introduce a Real Estate person to a mortgage broker.
- ¨ Suggest/invite them to other networking meetings, groups, organizations, etc. that they might attend. I have a ‘Networking Opportunities’ list posted on my website that I refer people to.
- ¨ If it’s someone you really want to establish a relationship with, make the effort to follow up with them. Send them a note or card. Call and set up a meeting for coffee with the intention of ‘How can we help each other’ or ‘I want to get to know you and understand your business better.’
- ¨ File their info, so you will have it when you hear someone needs that service. Establish yourself as a ‘Who do you know that does?”
- ¨ Refer that person whenever possible.
Here is an example of how gratitude helped my bottom line this week. I help co-host a women’s monthly networking meeting. We had a professional organizer who attended our meetings a few times. She impressed me because besides just introducing herself and telling about her business, she would offer helpful tips on organizing. We established some rapport and she started using my greeting card service for which I was grateful. When someone asks if I know an organizer, I refer them to her. One of the referrals was to my sister in law, who just raved the ideas and information she provided, and she would definitely be using her services. I also asked her to be a speaker at an upcoming business meeting in January. So even though I have not used her services personally, I know she’s very good and knowledgeable at what she does and she is very reliable.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. I recently acquired a new client for my greeting card business and when I talked with her and asked how she found out about me and my service, she said she had been a speaker at a recent meeting of which my friend the organizer had sent her a thank you card. Do you turn cards over to see what brand it is? My website was printed on the back of the card. She liked the card so much, she set up her own account, tried it, liked it, and then upgraded. Was I grateful? You better believe it. I not only sent a Thank You card, but a gift as well.
So, I believe, the point of all this is showing gratitude and appreciation and helping others can help to build your business because they in turn will do the same for us.
I leave you with these quotes:
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~William A. Ward
Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern
“Send Out to Give” Kody Bateman
“What goes around, comes around” – Proverb quote
Annette S. Walden
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Gifts, Greeting Cards, and Promotional Products
“Helping You and Your Business Look Good”
When I wrote about blogging for business, I mentioned ten reasons why adding a blog to your marketing efforts was so wise, but I actually left something out.
This thing that I didn’t mention came up for me in a big way in the last few weeks. First, a reporter from MSNBC called to interview me. My spot appeared on national television that night.
Then just a couple of days ago, a reporter from ABC news called up to get my thoughts on another topic of the moment.
How did both of these reporters find me?
They did a Google search that let them to my blog.
You see, one of the things about blogging that’s so great is the fresh, relevant content. Search engines love this content, but people see it too, including the media.
I’ll admit that writing and submitting press releases is not my favorite thing in the world to do. Are you procrastinating about it too? Your blog can also help you generate free publicity.
When someone finds a blog post you’ve written, they know you’re interested and knowledgeable on the topic. You have an opinion.
Can you see how this can result in publicity and more exposure for your business?
It’s the holiday season I can already tell. It seems that this time of the year people’s nerves seem to be on edge. Or is the economy or a combination of both? Or is it that some individuals who are in business just don’t understand that being gracious in business dealings will help to build a lasting relationship with a client or potential client. And hopefully that lasting relationship will lead to future business and/or referrals.
Here are some of my recent musings that have prompted me to write this blog.
Sometimes people may not need your product or service when you initially talk with them. If you’re gracious during your interaction, they might remember you the next time someone says, “Do you know someone who sells XYZ?” Or they may even come back to you months later and say OK now the time is right and I want to buy your product or service.
Sometimes you may order something and when you received it, it just wasn’t what you expected. And if the person is gracious about letting you return it, you might be more apt to try and do business with them the next time you were looking for other products that they sell.
Sometimes people just don’t respond to your time table. People are busy. Life happens. People forget. Your priorities are not their priorities. I’ve always heard that sugar works better than vinegar or if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Sometimes a gentle nudge as a reminder works a whole lot better than sending a nasty gram/email. You never know what problems or issues they may be dealing with.
Sometimes having a cheerful, positive, and helpful attitude will promote you and your business far more than you know. I recently helped to put together a Holiday and Gift Bazaar. We did a lot of work promoting it, but we did not have the turn out that we had wanted. Most everyone was gracious and understanding and blamed it on the economy, etc. I was very impressed with one individual whose attitude and actions went far beyond my expectations. She even sent us a thank you note telling us how much she appreciated how professional everything was done and that she appreciated all our efforts. Now, she sells a product that I typically purchase from someone else, but because of her graciousness, the next time I am in need of this product, I will be ordering from her, referring her, and finding ways I can help her with her business.
And Sometimes I have been know to lose my cool as a consumer and pull out the ‘B’ card. I regret it when I do. Recently I had been trying to get an issue resolved. The person I was dealing with had done a wonderful job except for one little thing and she was a friend. She had to work through her company for a solution. I have to give her credit; she handled herself and me very graciously. She found and provided me with an acceptable resolution. I had been giving her glowing testimonials, but after that I am even more ingratiated to her. I recommend her every chance I get and I will do business with her again.
Here are some quotes to consider for doing business. I offer them for us to ponder this holiday season and throughout the year.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>If you help enough people get want they want, you’ll get what you want. Zig Zilar
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Givers Gain – Ivan Misner
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart. ~Henry Clay
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors. ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. ~Author Unknown
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain
<!–[if !supportLists]–>¨ <!–[endif]–>The fragrance always lingers in the hand that gives the flower
I hope the saying that ‘Nice guys (gals) finish last’ isn’t true. And even if it is, I would rather be remembered as being gracious in my business dealings.
Annette S. Walden
Marketing Solutions Consultant
“Helping you and your business look good!”
Gifts, Greeting Cards, Promotional Products, & Business Resources
Have you launched your blog yet?
Blogging has so many important benefits and it’s no wonder that huge corporations and megastores are getting into blogging. Even WalMart has a blog! Especially for the micropreneur, blogs have several distinct advantages. Here are a few of them.
- Blogs provide search engine food. Google loves fresh, relevant, and frequently updated content. A blog can help you get free search engine traffic.I experienced a powerful example of this recently. One week ago, a reporter from NBC news called me. He found my blog doing a Google search on a topic he was doing a story on. That evening, I found myself on national television. You can see a portion of the MSNBC news cast here.
- Blogs create community. Because they are interactive, a blog draws people back to your site again and again. Your visitors will read your post then leave their comments, read comments left by others, and come back to see how the conversation is flowing. Message forums can also accomplish this, but blogs are much easier to manage than message forums, which attract a lot of spam. With RSS (Real Simple Syndication), people can subscribe to your blog feed and be notified automatically when you update your blog.
- Blogging puts you in control. Posting to your blog is as easy as typing an email or a word document. Why pay a designer to add a page to your website when you can update your site whenever you like, easy as pie? You can blog as often or as rarely as you like to serve your particular needs.
- Blogging grows your profits. There are many ways you can add additional monetization streams to your blog so you can make more money in your business without working harder.
- Your customers love blogs. On your blog, customers can ask you questions, read info about your products and services, and share their opinions. A blog has a more friendly feel than a website.
- Blogs help you know your target market. As you observe who is leaving comments and linking to your your blog, you get to know your target market better. This information helps you be a smarter, more effective marketer.
- Blogs = easy market research. A blog is an easy way to conduct surveys and polls to help you get inside the mind of your customers. This information is invaluable to you.
- Blogs help your customers get to know you. A blog gives your customers a chance to see your personality shine through. They’re able to get a glimpse of who you are as a person, not just a business. People buy from people they like!
- Blogging is free. As a small business owner, you have a limited marketing budget and have to make your advertising dollars stretch. Blogging is a free marketing tactic – it only costs you a little of your time.
- Blogging is fun. I’ll admit it, blogging is addicting once you get going! It’s rewarding and fun to express yourself and be part of the new media. With so many benefits to your business, what’s not to love?
So, have you launched your blog yet?
Please leave a comment and let us know what your challenges, concerns and experiences are.