Sunday, May 25, 2008

Article Repost

The Silent Killer of Business Success

by Laurie Hayes

It seems harmless and innocent enough, but its crippling effects run rampant in the business world.

Entire days are lost, projects sloppily thrown together, and work pushed aside as entrepreneurs become slaves to its hypnotic pull.

It was designed to make life easier and speed up communications, but instead has become the nemesis of the already overextended business owner.

Have you guessed what it is? If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're also a victim of the cursed 'email.'

How many times a day do you check your email? How much time to spend each time you visit?

During a recent mastermind call, a colleague discussed challenges he was having with productivity and event management. As we broke his day into segments, we discovered he was spending 15 minutes of every hour checking email - the majority of which is spam.

Another member then shared the fact that he too had fallen into the email trap and had recently started a stat sheet. In one day alone, he checked his email 21 times! He was trying to curb his habit but was still struggling.

Several more of us chimed in confessing we had "slipped" in our email discipline efforts and were checking it more often than we should be.

Before the call ended we made a pact to check our email no more than twice a day and for a maximum of 10-15 minutes only. We will share our results at our next meeting.

An analogy one of our members shared really helped put things in perspective. Would you as a responsible business owner walk to your mailbox 10-15 times a day to collect bulk mail and advertisements? If not, why would you do it at your computer?

These challenges are not reserved for home business start-ups and amateurs. My mastermind colleagues who were discussing these difficulties are six and seven figure earners. Email infatuation does not discriminate!

My own coach, a multi-millionaire who has built several companies, recently discussed his obsession with email and the impact it was having on his productivity!

It's an ongoing dilemma and all you, I, or any of us can do is be aware of it, keep our activities in check and do whatever it takes to stay the course.

This time I have taken extra steps to remove email from my mind. I open the application between 11:30 and noon and between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., take care of business then shut it down.

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, defines email as, "The greatest single interruption in the modern world" and recommends weaning yourself down to one visit a day. He's actually reached the point where he checks it once a week.

If anyone needs you badly enough they will pick up the phone and call, and if they don't, how important could it really have been?

Are you ready to get a handle on the silent business killer? If discipline is an issue, find an accountability partner or state your intentions to your mastermind group or peers. If you can't do it yourself, have others rally around you.

It takes 26 to 30 days to create a habit. Stick this out - create productive, winning habits and once you've mastered the monster, you'll be on the fast track to business success.

Copyright 2007 Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source


Laurie Hayes, founder and visionary behind The HBB Source, helps government and corporate employees break free of their jobs to live their dream of entrepreneurship. To subscribe to her FREE e-zine for valuable resources designed to create home business success, visit http://www.thehbbsource.com.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

7 Unusual, Uncommon, and Unexpected Networking Secrets

When Business Cards Aren't Enough:
7 Unusual, Uncommon and Unexpected
Networking Secrets to Help Boost Business

By Scott Ginsberg
author of The Power of Approachability

There comes a time in every small businessperson’s life when common networking practices like handing out business cards, attending various meetings and schmoozing with potential clients only goes so far. Eventually, the same old techniques get overused to the point that they become insufficient.


But how many times have you gained new business, created a great relationship or watched your website hits skyrocket because you did something unusual? Or uncommon? Perhaps even unexpected? Maybe you were on the right track.

The following is a list of atypical networking techniques that will help boost business. WARNING: They will stretch your courage. They will test your expertise. And they will challenge your creativity. But when business cards aren’t enough, alternative ways to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships are your ticket to networking success.

What’s Your Story?
How did you get your start in business? Did you “fall” into your line of work? Perhaps there was an interesting anecdote, epiphany or event that caused the birth of your business. If so, this is called “Your Story.” Now, it’s not your Elevator Speech or your 30 Second Commercial. It’s your story. And it’s a fundamental tool for helping people and potential customers get to know you.

Here’s the key: write it out. Practice saying it aloud. Make it funny. And tell it to everybody. Not only does this create a memorable presence, but the more you share it with people, the more they will share Your Story with other people. Why? Because people don’t remember things, they remember stories. And after a while, the word about Your Story will spread.

Mix the Medium and Wow People
When I receive an email from an organization or business who has a question, wants to work together or just wants to chat, I do something called Mix the Medium. Here's how it works:

1) The exact moment I finish reading the email, I obtain the person’s phone number (if I don’t already have it.) If there's no email signature, I look at their email address or go to their website. If all I know is their company, I call Directory Assistance or look them up on City Search. Basically, I do anything I can to get their phone number within the next two minutes.

2) Then I call them right back.

3) I then say, "Hi, this is Scott Ginsberg. I was in the office when your email came through and I thought I’d call you back!" I say with a big smile on my face.

PEOPLE LOVE THIS. I have never done this without completely blowing the caller away. They respond with such excited phrases as "Wow, that was fast!" or "I'm impressed you called back already!" In fact, I recently received an email from a friend of mine who just changed jobs. He was writing to say hello and wish me a Happy New Year. And since I hadn’t heard from Jake in quite a while, I Mixed the Medium and called him right back. Five minutes later he booked me to do one of my speaking programs for his new organization!

Network en Masse
Speaking of speaking, here’s another untapped networking resource: local groups, organizations and associations. But I’m not talking about joining; I’m talking about giving a speech. It’s what I call “Networking en Masse.”

Small businesspeople are successful because they’re experts on something. So whether you’re in sales, printing, tech consulting or retail, find a way to transform your expertise into an informative, concise and entertaining speech that will help other people like yourself boost business.

Contact the meeting coordinator of your local Chamber, Rotary Club, Networking Group or Trade Association. They always need speakers. Offer the group a free 15-20 minute program. Include valuable tips, stories, illustrations and examples from your own business experiences that are of interest to the members. By speaking, you position yourself as an expert, validate your credibility and increase your company’s visibility.





Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Become Known as an Expert In Your Field

Here is another article I hope you find useful.

How To Become Known As An Expert In Your Field

Whether you're in home renovation, hairstyling, real estate, coaching, dog grooming, multi-level marketing, or any other type of business, one of the best ways to build a home-based enterprise is to become an expert in your field.

You may be competing with hundreds of thousands online or with a small number in your own community, and if you want to give your business the edge over the competition, you want to become known as the go-to person for the most reliable advice and guidance.

People will pay top dollar and deliberately seek out "experts" to help them solve their problems.

So, how do you establish yourself as an expert?

First, be willing to focus on a very specific niche then commit to learning as much about it as you can. Read books, attend courses, workshops, and conferences, study white papers, government reports and opposing opinions of experts in the field.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Join discussion groups, write articles about what you've learned, and post on blogs and online forums where other experts in the field congregate.

If you're a realtor, instead of just selling homes like 90 percent of the others, become an expert at foreclosures, private sales, relocations or selling to a specific group of individuals.

If you're in home renovation, become an expert at custom decking, gazebos and pergolas -- turning the outdoors into an expanded living space of the home. Someone who is a jack of all trades won't be able to share the same creative ideas, best materials for use and pitfalls to watch for as someone who has studied hundreds of designs and built a handsome portfolio of projects with glowing testimonials.

Second, remain focused on your niche regardless of how many enticing ideas and opportunities come your way.

Entrepreneurs are idea people. They can have five new ideas a day and a problem arises when they try to pursue all of them at once. This is known as "Bright Shiny Object Syndrome", an ailment that lures many a business owner down a scattered, non-productive road.

There will always be great ideas you can pursue, but like the Chinese proverb says, "Man who chases two rabbits, catches none."

Focus on one thing at a time. Once you have mastered it, move on to the next.

Third, surround yourself with people you want to be like. For example, if you have joined a multi-level marketing company and want to be in the top ten percent, find out who make up the top ten percent and model them.

Call them up, ask if they would be willing to mentor you or give you some sage advice. Find out what the top ten percent do that the other ninety percent doesn't, then model their actions.

If they go to every conference, go to every conference. If they read four books a month on personal growth or the particular industry they're in, do the same. If they attend three networking functions a month, attend three networking functions a month.

They've proven their formula works, and you only need repeat it.

Fourth, be willing to acknowledge you'll never know everything. As soon as you feel you've learned as much as you possibly can and choose to stop learning, you begin to regress. Everything is in a state of constant change and as long as you remain committed to keep up with change, growth continues.

Fifth, regard yourself as an expert. As the Law of Attraction dictates, you become what you think about.

Muhammad Ali referred to himself as "The Greatest". Was he? He may not have been when he started, but he certainly turned out to be.

Some people consider this lying to yourself. Some people call themselves stupid or not worthy and belief it, but is it true? Not at all. Yet they act the way they believe they should to match their perception of themselves.

When you regard yourself as an expert in your field, you begin to act in ways an expert would act. You carry yourself a certain way, speak a certain way and become who you want to be by playing the part until it becomes a part of you.

Experts in various fields state it takes approximately 10,000 hours of commitment to your craft, sport, or field of study to achieve expert status.

If you're willing to commit to these five basic principles and accept that it's a process and will take time, expert status will be yours.

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Laurie Hayes is the expert and visionary behind The HBB Confidential, a no-cost bi-weekly ezine for home-based business owners. Each issue delivers simple strategies you can use right away to build a profitable home business while creating fun and freedom in your life! Go to http://www.thehbbsource.com to learn more.