Save Time and Make Valuable Connections by Networking Stategically

There’s never enough hours in a day. It’s probably a phrase you’ve heard (and said) many times over the course of your professional career—whether you’re an entrepreneur starting a new business or you’re working for someone else. Regardless of who you are and what you do, networking and making new (and strategic) connections is extremely important.

FriendsLewis Howes is author of LinkedWorking (418 Press, 2009) who shares tips about how to manage to find time to network—no matter how busy you are. His number one key to success? Leverage.

Network with like-minded people: Identify people who share the same goals and who have the same work ethic as you. There’s not enough time to sit down with every single person you meet. Instead, concentrate on asking for recommendations from your current network. You can also branch out to your alumni groups or local networking groups who share your industry interests.

Schedule in time to network: Adding a specific task to your calendar will help you to accomplish it. Be sure to identify networking events that you want to attend, and put them in your schedule. If there are no networking events lined up for that week, add in a ‘networking’ hour into a day during the work week. Use that time to pick up the phone and call a contact you’ve been meaning to check in with, sending out a personal card, or tagging a client/contact in social media about their area of expertise (and how it’s helped you!)

Never eat alone: Borrowing this tip from the title of a popular networking book, it’s no secret that everyone needs to eat. Get away from your desk and invite a contact to lunch. Have a goal in mind when you set the meeting. This will help you choose your lunch partner strategically (and will help you to move towards achieving the goal when you meet up).

Host a Google Hangout: Instead of sending a content-laden e-mail with tips (that could easily be ignored), try hosting a Google Hangout and connect personally with your network. You can connect with individuals no matter where they are, and easily build relationships and answer questions.

Give positive feedback and ideas: Try giving feedback in your area of expertise to a few key contacts. You don’t have to give away the farm, but learning a bit about what they do (and some ideas that you have to help them to reach their goals). Offering a few small tidbits could lead to gaining some valuable (and paying) clients.

How do you find time to network between meetings, family, friends, and your limited schedule? What helps you stay focused?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234108

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Photo credit: iStock

Posted in bootstrapping, business, entrepreneurship, marketing, networking, new ventures, opportunities, small business, start-up ventures, success, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Best Practices to Boost Success in Life and Business

Everyone defines success differently. For some it might be about purchasing a new car or taking a trip to an exotic location. For others it might mean providing for one’s family. It is important to define what success means for you. What makes you happy in your personal and professional life?

JoanneLenweaver-closeup

Stephen Key is an inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nev.-based company that educates entrepreneurs in how to bring ideas to market talks about what actions have led him to be the most happy in his personal and professional life. The following are some of his ‘best practices’ for being a successful person.

Seek out new experiences: Being in your comfort zone is the easiest. But if that is all that you do, you won’t grow much as a person. Exposure to different perspectives, new experiences, lifestyles and people helps you to become more flexible about evolving your thought process. Seeking out new experiences means you’re willing to challenge yourself and keep learning about the world around you—these are two keys to success.

Abandon your expectations: Having expectations tends to lead to disappointment. Instead, try walking into an unfamiliar situation with an open mind. If you don’t have any assumptions, you won’t be let down. Amazing things can happen when you open yourself up to possibility.

Treat everyone you meet with respect: Everyone has something to offer—don’t miss out and lose an opportunity. You may be surprised at how willing people are to support you just on the basis of how you treat them. And we will all need help at some point. Treat people with respect and you will grow your network, learn new things and get the support you need.

Give back: There are so many ways to give back, whether it’s financial support to a charity or cause you believe in, or lending your talents in a different way. Helping others can help you a better and more attentive listener.

Celebrate milestones, large and small: Don’t keep waiting to celebrate that one elusive goal. Instead, celebrate and appreciate those smaller, yet significant, accomplishments that happen all along. Welcome others, such as friends, family, and stakeholders, to help you celebrate these milestones.

Let go of the past: Taking risks in business inevitably lead to mistakes at some point. Rather than holding that over your head as a negative, instead realize and acknowledge what went wrong. Hopefully you won’t make that same mistake moving forward. In essence, mistakes form the path to success. You will learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.

Share your views on how you define success and work to achieve it!

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233364

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Photo by Caitlyn Bom Photography

Posted in business, entrepreneurship, happiness, new ventures, opportunities, start-up ventures, success, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Continuous Learning: Tips to Keep You Sharp

Learning is time consuming and requires a lot of effort, yet it is the best way to keep us mentally agile into our golden years. For entrepreneurs, learning is essential and helps you to stay competitive. Some people tend to slow down or stop the learning process if they are labeled “expert” or reach some degree of success. Continual learning is the key to success in this fast-paced world.

Business Talks

People get so consumed in their jobs that learning can be limited. People tend to give up when pursuing more formal, classroom-like education—the ramp up time to remember how to learn can be excruciating. According to Scott Halford, CSP, an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, engaging presenter, and a long-time consultant to Fortune 500 executive teams, there are ways to keep your learning in tip-top shape so you are constantly engaged.

Read one article a day written by someone with an opposing opinion: Your brain chemistry switches on when you meet competing knowledge. Be open and read it all the way through, no matter how frustrated you become.

Learn one radically new thing every day and apply it to your life: Finding unrelated things and putting them together or coming up with something new is what geniuses do. You can move towards accomplishing that by adding to your own experiences and knowledge.

Teach someone something that you’re passionate about: Teaching is an art. It involves learning from the questions asked by your students. It causes you to stretch your topic area. You have to be open to your knowledge being challenged.

Get deep sleep: Research shows that neural connections are made when you’ve hit the deepest stage of sleep, and that occurs typically over a seven to nine hour period. Don’t skimp on sleep!

Practice “awake sleeping” or reflection: Find time for yourself. Turn off all the electronic gadgets and simply reflect on what your needs are and how things are going. Be open to the ideas that come to mind.

Keep yourself smart by stretching your brain every day. The combination of the wisdom from experiences and your constant new knowledge will be one of the most powerful innovation tools you will possess.

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/203634

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Image from iStockPhoto

Posted in business, entrepreneurship, innovation, Leadership, new ventures, opportunities, small business, start-up ventures, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clever Ways to Increase Mobile App Reviews

The opinion of others (friends, family, product reviewers) matter, whether it is about restaurants, movies or apps. As hundreds of new apps hit the market every day, opinions and reviews affect how visible they will be in search results and how likely they will be featured on the app store. App reviews don’t just happen by themselves—especially the positive ones (people tend to leave a negative review if they are unhappy).

AppReviewHeaderAccording to Steve P. Young, a marketing consultant and host of the Mobile App Chat podcast, if you’re launching a new app, the following are things you can do to help get more positive app reviews:

Use an app review plugin: The quickest and easiest way to get an app review is to ask. There are a number of plugins available on iOS and Android that makes it simple to integrate app review functionality into your apps. Appirater is an iOS plugin that takes two minutes to drop into your app and asks users for review after they have used it for certain number of times or after a set time period. Avoid asking for a review too soon.

Incentivize users to review your app: The truth is, most people do not like popups. An easy way to get people to give you feedback and rate your app is to reward those users who choose to review. People like free stuff, so the probability of someone taking time to review your app will soar if they know they will get something in return. For games, this could mean extra points, or a bonus level.

Leverage Helpshift to provide direct support to your users: Providing exceptional customer service is the first step to getting good reviews. One way to do this is to include a “Send Feedback” button that opens an email form. An easy way to do this is by integrating Helpshift into your app so that you can communicate with your users via instant messaging window. This way, users can give negative feedback to a member of your customer support team and get answers in real time, rather than airing out frustrations in the form of a negative review.

Time the prompt: Don’t be in a hurry to get user reviews. Asking for a review when someone launches your app may not be the best idea—this interrupts normal app activity. A better strategy would be to wait for user to accomplish something or finish his/her intended task. This works in your favor to ask for review when user is happy about using your app.

Run a contest: Another way to increase app reviews is to run a contest on various forums. The popular blog Touch Arcade has a section where app developers run contests and giveaways to entice other members to leave reviews for their apps. You can giveaway goodies like iTunes Gift Card, or you can PayPal the winner. Running the contest requires you to manually manage the entire process but it can help you jumpstart the reviews and ratings.

These are few of the ways to help you get more reviews. Feel free to comment what is your strategy and what does or does not work for you. If you’re not in the app game, let us know if you tend to review apps. Do you find yourself more likely to review when you open the app? Do incentives help prompt a response?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233066

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Image from AppAdvice.

Posted in bootstrapping, business, entrepreneurship, innovation, mobile, mobile app, new ventures, opportunities, small business, start-up ventures, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ways to Win More Sales

Sales is an integral part of today’s economy. Rather than relying on simply your product/service, your ability to generate revenue and sell products and yourself will determine your success. Below are several signs that tell you are well positioned to succeed at the art of selling, as per Grant Cardone, an international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author, and radio show host of The Cardone Zone.

NetworkingatWISEexpo1

Remember you are in people business: Sales people sometimes get so involved in selling that they forget they are in the people business. Every customer wants to be treated personally. Getting and keeping customer attention is a big problem. Walk into any big-box outlet, restaurant or professional office and you might not even get acknowledged. Remind yourself that each potential or current client is a unique individual who deserves distinct treatment and your full attention.

Focus on the results, not the effort: Sales is not about planning, it’s about getting results. Getting in front of the customer is of the utmost importance. Your success is about getting your product in the hands of the customer. A great sales person needs to know how to get customer’s attention and present in a way that causes customers to buy. You don’t try to get an appointment—you either get it or you don’t.

Do the uncomfortable thing: Doing the uncomfortable thing is where the top performers live. Get in front of the tough customer, ask hard questions, and go for the close.

“I always call my toughest clients first and keep calling them long after everyone has given up,” says Cardone. “Once a month, I make a list of our company’s most difficult customers and create an attack plan on how to get those accounts. The first month we incorporated this strategy, I landed one of the biggest deals of my career.” Essentially, you have to get into deep waters to catch the big fish.

Wow the customer: Always work to inspire and involve your customer. When you wow a customer you make a difference and create customer retention. You can generate more impact by your presentation of the product. Wow them with your presentation, your dress, your belief in the product and the service you offer.

Ask for the sale: Most sales people never ask for the sale. If you don’t make the ask, you will only sell to those who are going to buy regardless.

Although you may not be in ‘sales’ these techniques can help anyone in business to make deals, create sustainable relationships and to increase sales and services. How does your company close the sale? What technique helps you to make the tough asks?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226387

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Photo by Caitlyn Bom Photography.

Posted in bootstrapping, business, business finances, entrepreneurship, Leadership, marketing, networking, new ventures, opportunities, sales, small business, start-up ventures, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Content Pieces You Can Create in 5 Minutes Or Less

content

Producing content can be a time-consuming task. When pressed for time, it can be very difficult to commit to posting lengthy content pieces through your social media outlets. Eric Siu is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain and compiled the following list of amazing ideas to churn out content pieces when you are crunched for time.

Answer a question in a video: With the advent of smartphones, you don’t need an expensive gadget to create a video. A post can be as simple as recording a video from your phone, editing and uploading all on the same device. You can answer a commonly-asked question about your company’s product or service and record yourself answering it. Don’t try to over produce it by trying to make it perfect. Followers may connect with you better with this type of “off-the-cuff” footage. You can then put the video’s embed code into a blog post, add a quick paragraph describing the topic at hand, and you have a new blog post ready with just a few minutes of work.

Share an album of photos: Pictures can be a very easy way to get your content up and running. You can create a photo series on a number of topics, including “behind the scene” shots, images of products being used, or sneak peeks of upcoming releases. You might not be an experienced photographer, but you can still create quick content pieces by posting images around a central theme or encouraging customers to share their own pictures of products or services at work.

Reflect on a quote: People love posting and sharing inspirational quotes. You can create a blog post using quotes that reflect your favorite sayings. Be sure to choose a quote that is particularly meaningful for you. Write a few sentences reflecting on it, or create a video of your thoughts. Your reflections don’t need to be long—but they should give your readers something to think about and apply to their own lives.

Round up your favorite links: If you share interesting industry links through social media, you will have a lot of content ideas. You can track the effectiveness of sharing links with social media monitoring tools.  At the start of each week, log into the area of your monitoring tool that reports analytics on your past posts and select the five to 20 links that received the most engagement on your social profiles. Compile these into a “weekly link round-up” post to share on your website. It only takes a few minutes!

Update a past post: One easy option is to update an old blog post and re-release it on your website. Add some new insights, any updated details on the subject matter, and re-post it.

These are a few shortcuts that could be helpful to develop meaningful content in a short amount of time. What do you post when pressed for time? What types of content do you find most effective?

For more information on this topic, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233120

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Posted in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, opportunities, start-up ventures, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to Look for in a Venture Capitalist

As an entrepreneur in the startup phase, there comes a stage when you might be working with venture capitalists (VCs). Some people think VCs are really lucky, others believe they’re extremely smart and well organized in their investments. VCs tend to be successful based on their relationships—who they know.

PencilNotepadCoffee

The following are some insights into their world and their psyche through Steve Andriole. Andriole has been a venture capitalist at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and is currently an active angel investor in a variety of business technology startups.

As an entrepreneur looking for investment or an investor looking to make some money, the following are five rank-ordered areas to assess:

  1. Relationships: Who does the VC know, work with or invest with? Look for strong VC relationships that might include law firms, successful entrepreneurial testimonials and happy institutional investors.
  2. Performance: VCs win whether they succeed or fail, but as a business owner, you need to find out what the empirical record actually shows—the real results. Look at the internal rate of return of each and every fund they have raised and the carried interest that investors actually received. This is the most important due diligence that you will ever do.
  3. Advocacy: It is important to understand the firm’s orientation. Is it an entrepreneur-friendly firm or more focused on the investor? Entrepreneur-friendly firms have better deal flow than firms that have investor biases.
  4. Knowledge: VCs should know enough to know their weaknesses, or what they don’t know. Arrogance and stupidity in a VC is a bad combination—stay alert for such traits.
  5. Professional Integrity: Be sure to calibrate the ethics and integrity of your VC firm.

Have you ever pitched to or worked with a venture capitalist? What is the most important trait you assess when approaching a VC?

For more information, please visit: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232929

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

Posted in bootstrapping, business, business finances, entrepreneurship, negotiation, networking, new ventures, opportunities, Risks, small business, start-up ventures, women in business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment