July 26, 2012 Leave a comment
July 26, 2012 Leave a comment
From Happiness Is Better.com
Posted by Dustin 30 March, 2009
While mentors are typically older, this is not always the rule. Several of my mentors is 20 years younger than me and is teaching me the ins and outs of the Web world.
Mentors should be people that you respect and admire. Many times a client wishes to pattern their professional life after that of their mentor and thus you want to ensure you are following a person who shares your business morals.
3. Similar Goals
It is advisable to find a mentor who shares goals similar to yours. It can certainly help your chances of success if your mentor has previously already experienced a lot of the work you have in front of you.
Your mentor needs to be available for interaction. It can be great to have a really successful person mentoring you, but if they aren’t available to meet, it defeats the purpose of the arrangement.
You need a mentor that is open-minded. This will allow you to progress in a way you need to progress, not necessarily in the way the mentor would prefer.
We all want people to think what we’re doing is important especially our mentor. A mentor needs to care about your success just as much as you do. Your mentor should be the person who helps you up when you fall. This all flows from a genuine caring and concern about your success.
Your mentor needs to be positive and what’s more important, keep you positive. If you spend a meaningful amount of time with your mentor, and they are positive, then you will remain positive. Always remember, positive thoughts in, positive thoughts out. People want to work with other positive people.
You want a mentor who is able to not only focus on you and what you would like to achieve, but also help you focus. For instance, let’s say you are just about to start your business and have a mentor who has been successful in starting many businesses and knows what it takes to be successful. Starting a business can be a daunting task for anyone. There are a lot of things to consider, particularly in the beginning, and you will be expected to wear many hats. A good mentor will help stay focused on the most important point in terms of starting your new business.
9. Believes in You
Your mentor needs to believe in your potential. If they don’t believe in your abilities, they will not put all of their effort into the mentor-protégé relationship. No one wins in this relationship and both parties are wasting their time.
10. Open and Honest
A mentor-protégé relationship is most beneficial when you can both share experiences and information. Openness and honesty also help to build credibility and trust between the mentor and their protégé.
Remember, a mentoring relationship is only as strong as the sum of its parts. This is only a guide line for what to look for in a mentor. You may add or subtract from this list as it pertains to your situation.
Are there other qualities you look for in a mentor? How did you decide who your mentor was going to be? Leave a comment and let me know!
July 26, 2012 Leave a comment
I n the next few blogs, I will be looking at the whole mentorship process both from the mentor’s perspective and that of the mentee (person being mentored).
In this blog, I have drawn on an excellent article by , looking at the questions that a professional mentor needs to ask his client at the beginning, to ascertain what approach to take with the client to obtain the very best results.
In a following blog, I will look at what questions the client should be asking the mentor in order to insure that they have chosen the perfect mentor for their particular needs.
Below are some of the questions that most Mentors are typically asking in the “getting to know you” phase of a new mentoring relationship.
1. Why are you looking for mentoring/what do you expect to get out of mentoring? And what do you expect to give?
The key is to set out any expectations at the beginning. You should make sure that you and the client have similar goals in mind. If there isn’t agreement early on then you know this particular pairing is unlikely to succeed. In that case, perhaps both individuals should move on. My reasoning behind the second question concerning the client’s expectations is to establish at the very start that mentoring is very much a two way street. Typically people think of mentoring as being an older, wiser person “teaching” a younger novice. Mentoring is so much more than that. It’s an activity that ultimately benefits both parties when done properly!
2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
The key element within this question is the determination of whether or not your new mentee has a vision or a plan for themselves. Some clients do have a plan and are seeking your help to get them there while others don’t have a plan and this is the basis for their seeking mentoring. It is good to know whether the client need assistance designing an successful future for themselves and pinning down their vision.
3. Have you had a mentor before and if so what worked/didn’t work?
It is vital that you determine whether the client has had any bad experiences (with mentoring) in the past. I am a great believer in learning from past mistakes and thus I wish to ensure that we avoid them as we move forward. Therefore I like to get those experiences out in the open early. If the person is new to mentoring all together I take extra time setting down the ground rules and expectations for all parties.
4. What propels you?/What is holding you back?
It is vital that you determine if your new Mentee/Protege is self-aware or not. When I encounter a client who has difficulty answering this question, I put aside the time to press them to be a bit more introspective. If the client provides me with clear, self-reflective answer then we’re ahead of the game.
5. Are you satisfied?
This is the ‘ultimate’ question. Remember, we must remember that most clients initially seek out mentors because they are unhappy with something about themselves or their career. I have found that it is a key question and the answers I get at the beginning are ones that I keep checking throughout the course of the relationship.
Often, I just assist the Mentee achieve what they’ve decided will make them happy. Sometimes it involves guiding the Mentee to effect change (read: re-framing) their definition of what makes them happy. The latter is almost always a more powerful, awe-inspiring experience for the client as many of us don’t recognize exactly what it takes to be happy or successful. Observing the client reach their aspirations, whatever they may be, is one of the best aspects of mentoring.
There are, of course, literally thousands of things to ask and talk about over the course of the mentoring relationship but the 5 questions presented above should provide you will an excellent start to the establishment of a productive, mutually beneficial journey.
Feel free to post some of your favorite questions to ask a new mentee in the comments section!
One of the first things I ask my clients is ‘how badly do you want success’? Often the difference between those who achieve their goals and those who continue to struggle is that the people who experience success are willing to do whatever it takes – even if it may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even costs money.
We have seen people out there, people who are great at what they do and with a commitment to success. These people have identified specific goals.
A client of mind started out but searching for a trainer, one within her paltry budget and she now does her training by email, giving her weekly learning and skills development schedules. She has spent the last 6 months following her customized learning schedules step by step.
Has it been convenient? I would have to say, No, not at all. There are many days she’s exhausted from working 9 hours with the kids, but she faithfully does her exercises and is dedicated to her skills development. I have observed that nothing seems to get in her way, not holidays, extended work hours nor unexpected life events!
Has it been comfortable? It would seem to be, from my vantage point, not always. She had left her formal training early in life to assume the task of family rearing and family administrator. She is being asked to move constantly out of her comfort zone, and yet each time I see her, she has expanded her barriers further and further. No I would say that she spends a great deal of time outside her comfort zone and she seems to love it!
Has it been free? No. She had to invest a large chunk of her hard earned money into her dream. But for her, her business success has become a priority and she’s sacrificed to pay for her business trainer.
Has she succeeded? Yes! She is now on her way to realizing her dream! She’s closing in on her opening, she’s feeling stronger about herself than she’s ever felt and she’s about to qualify for bank loan which will pave the way to her dream fulfillment!
So what is the lesson here? The lesson is that if you want success, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. What exactly do I mean by this? Well so many times, I hear from people – “ I would love to attend one of your workshop, but it’s too far from where I live. I’ll attend your workshop when it’s in (insert city name).”
OR perhaps, “I just don’t have the money to do your program at this time. I’ll do it next month/year/life.”
Is this you, have you found yourself using these excuses, preventing yourself from achieving your path to personal or business success. Remember, success is NOT easy, it’s not comfortable, it’s not convenient and it’s certainly not free.
If it were then everybody in the world would be successful.
From an article by ©2009-2012 Meredith Hill, http://www.TravelBusinessU.com
Travel business entrepreneur Meredith Hill is founder of the Global Institute of Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) and creator of the SAFARI Guide Home Study System®, the proven step-by-step program that shows you how-to start attracting LUCRATIVE clients, making more money, saving yourself tons of time and finally travelling more often. To get your complimentary audio on the “3 Insider Secrets to Collecting Bigger Commission Checks, So You Can Work Less, Travel More, and Make a Difference in the Lives of Your Clients” visit http://www.TravelBusinessU.com.
I am sure that we have all struggled with ideas to promote our business. In this summary of a PRWeb article (www.PRWeb.com) we talk about some ideas for Press Releases to promote your business.
The idea is to get your company name out there where potential customers will look—search engines. News Releases have a broader reach than email marketing and they reach those people beyond your current email list, like prospects, journalists and bloggers.
You probably are saying that you don’t think you have any news? It doesn’t really matter what your
industry may be, your business makes news regularly. You can easily turn any piece of news into an online asset that helps you increase awareness, attract more customers and win more business.
Perhaps you just started your new company, that’s news right there. You may have recently launched a new product or service, or are offering a great promotion. Maybe you created a website for your
business or moved to a new building, all opportunities to make news.
So spread the word, and get your story out there with an online news release.
Here are 14 ideas from PRWeb to get you started.
Turning your business’s news into publicity, visibility and more customers.
1: Tell everyone about your latest accomplishment or award.
The next time you win an award or have a major breakthrough – or win an award for your latest major breakthrough – let the world know about it. An online news release can take the story beyond your industry in all sorts of ways and connect you with all sorts of people, including journalists looking for a story, and customers looking for a well-reviewed, credible product or service.
2: Share an inspirational story.
For inspiration for your next release, looks no further then… inspiration. Readers love to hear about people
going that extra mile, overcoming adversity, and becoming successful–and the publicity can generate
even more success for your organization.
3: Offer useful, free educational resources.
Educate the public about your latest initiative, event, product or service. No one likes to be lectured, but you can present helpful, useful information by telling a story. This sort of news can build your credibility with readers and provides a resource they might share with others.
4: We are “going green.”
Even if you’re not in the environmental industry, you can still win customers with a ‘green’ story. People like it when businesses help the environment. They search online for green products too – so get your eco-news out there.
5: Publicize a recent event.
You’re organizing an event – that’s a great story. But why only get one news release out of it? Recapping its success once you’re all done gives you a brand new story angle for no extra legwork. Who attended? Which speakers stood out? What was the highlight? Let the world know.
6: Debunk a myth.
There are tons of myths that relate to your industry, and an online news release is a great platform to debunk them. It’s the kind of “told-you-so” link that people love to send to their friends. Learn to debunk and brand at the same time. This is perfect if you’re in fashion or lifestyle
7: Announce a charitable contribution.
A news release about your latest charitable contribution can help generate awareness and credibility for the cause you believe in. But it can really help you drive business, too. It can win you positive media coverage and connect your business with the many consumers that believe in your cause. Use keywords to promote your charity or organization
8: Broadcast your upcoming holiday event.
There are tons of holiday events every year and for every type of company, organization and industry. There are also tons of people searching the Web for events, shows, gifts and more. The competition is fierce but the rewards are well worth it, so complement your existing publicity with a news release.
9: You have a new invention or patent.
If your business or organization has a new invention or patent pending, why not publicize it? It’s a great way to get this information out to the public, the media, and customers. Remember to minimize jargon to remain inclusive to non-technical readers.
10: Hook your story to a technology trend.
There are always trends being discussed on YouTube, or Twitter. Tech is one of the most talked-about industries today, and you don’t need to have a high-tech product to get in on the action. Seriously, you can capitalize on the buzz out there with just a notepad. Don’t just talk tech—use it as part of your story
11: Recap a successful podcast.
In podcasting, the battle for a consistent listening audience is tough. Summarizing and promoting a successful podcast online helps you turn up the volume. A news release can help brand your podcasts, get the word out to a broader audience and win you more listeners (which means more leads). Give the readers a sneak peek with a video or audio snippet of a fun bit of the show.
12: Share new market studies, research, surveys or polls.
Everyone loves stats and surveys, particularly journalists who find ready-made stories in this type of news release. Readers also love sharing them in a big way, via links, tweets, Facebook and just about every other communication channel. Get straight to the point and put the best nugget from your research, study or poll right in your headline, front and center.
13: Provide helpful tips.
Publishing a few helpful tips can turn a search engine user into a potential customer, so get your industry knowledge out there. If you sell fitness products, provide tips on how to use them. Or if you sell computers, publish a list of keyboard shortcuts or a guide on how to avoid online scams. You have the tips and people are out there searching for them. Get publishing and get connected. Remember though, just one or two brilliant tips is much better than a long list of useless ones. Better still, if your product relates to the tips you provide, promote it.
14: Promote your event or team sponsorship
A great way to reach local customers is to sponsor a local team or event, and then publish a news release promoting your involvement. It’s added publicity for them, and it’s great publicity for you – especially when it connects you to customers and journalists looking for the team/event. Announce ongoing sponsorships, too. A 25th anniversary of a sponsorship is as newsworthy (if not more so) as a first-year sponsorship.
PRWeb gives you everything you need to get attention, improve your search engine ranking and drive more business to your door.
You create an announcement about your organization, they send it across the Web and around the world.
Even if you’ve never written a news or press release before, you can create one in minutes with their resources. All you need is something great to say about your business. They’ll send it to all major search engines—where millions of potential customers are looking for businesses like yours—as well as to thousands of news sites, and to more than 30,000 journalists and bloggers.
Create a free account at http://www.PRWeb.com today. Big time publicity and new customers are only a click away!
July 17, 2012 Leave a comment
An effective presentation is often the foundation of a successful meeting, pitch for business or team building day out. Therefore, it is important to finely hone your presentation skills in order to be at the top of your game. We’ve outlined what we think are five of the most useful presentation tips – some obvious, some less so – see what you think.
This might sound like a no-brainer, after all who’s going to want to listen to someone who’s dull and uninspiring? However, if you or someone in your business can bring genuine enthusiasm into the conference venues you use – then it’s almost half the battle won. Top level content and good visual accompaniment are also a requirement but it is crucial that whoever delivers a presentation is engaged with the topic in order to be able to engage the audience. As with everything in life there’s a balance to be struck, so we’re not saying that presenters should go over the top but a combination of knowledge and energy is fundamental in getting a presentation to work.
Prepare the Room
Your choice of conference venue for a presentation is very important. Simple things such as ensuring there’s enough seating, refreshments are provided and all your technological equipment is working will prove invaluable. This will mean there are no awkward glitches and everything can run as you would like it to, which is crucial for the creation of a professional atmosphere. Another, somewhat subtle choice you can make is to set up the lighting in way that focuses attention on the presenter, while making sure the audience doesn’t feel the need to nod off during the presentation. Most projectors these days work well without having to completely darken the room – so it is easy enough to strike this balance.
Make Effective Visuals
No one wants to hear the phrase “death by PowerPoint” uttered in response to their presentation – but a slide show epic is a trap many presentations fall into. To avoid this, it is important to make sure a presentation has engaging visuals but that they should always be used as a supplement to the main attraction i.e. the presenter. Any images or graphs used should offer a good jumping off point for the speaker and they should be clear enough that if an audience member has a question, the point can be easily and simply demonstrated.
Be Ready for Testing Questions
You’ll never be able to predict what type of questions might come up but make sure you aren’t going to get flustered if something awkward arises. Whether you have to deal with a heckler or an audience member has an axe to grind, it’s vital to maintain a professional persona throughout the presentation. This means you have to be very well versed in what you’re talking about but also ensure you come over as personable and if possible, humorous, as this is a good way of endearing yourself to the audience, while at the same time an effective way of diffusing potentially tricky situations. If you cannot answer a question, admit it as quickly and professionally as possible, then offer to find an answer once the presentation has finished.
Don’t Expect to Seal the Deal
A presentation can be one of the most significant building blocks to the future success of your business. However, it is not the be all and end all of what you need to do. Make sure you have a strategy in place to keep in touch with attendees, often it can be effective to send a copy or even a video of the presentation to people in order to jog their memories and remind them of how good the event was.
If you follow these tips and stick to your strengths then you’ll certainly be able to deliver effective and engaging presentations.
About the author
This article is from DeVere Hotels Group – a leading hotelier, conference venue and meeting-rooms provider.
July 16, 2012 Leave a comment
A Timeless 5 Step Sales Philosophy From Mark Twain
By Deborah Shane
There are and will always be distinct steps in the sales process. They actually have changed very little since 1865, when Mark Twain created what might be one of the first sales training manuals “The Successful Sales Agent.” He was not only an author but a very savvy businessman who understood the power and importance of personal sales and training. He created a sales training program for all of his, “outside sellers”, who sold his books to the public.
In his time, there was no email, no social media, no video, no blogs just people taking products and services directly to the people.
What was left was personal branding at its best and most basic.
Mark Twain understood and appreciated the value of a sales process 147 years ago. He sold thousands of copies of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, through “subscription agents”, salespeople who would pre-sell his books door-to-door using sample pages of the books.
Here are the five progressive steps from The Successful Sales Agent to what he called “Canvassing” taken in the following natural order:
1. Thorough preparation
2. Securing influence
3. Gaining a hearing
4. Creating a desire
5. Taking the order
*From Hamlin Hill, Mark Twain and Elisha Bliss (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1964)
He opens his manual with this statement:
“You must be interested yourself, or you cannot interest others; and the way for you to become interested, is to KNOW your book THOROUGHLY.”
Is this sales 101 or what?
“Know your product, be a user of it and be passionate about its features benefits and results.”
Please take a few minutes to read the “Successful Sales Agent Manuscript” written in 1865 by Mark Twain and marvel at how the fundamentals of salesmanship that we follow today have not changed at all. Fast forward to today and add in some of the fancy technology, super cool new media, a ton more competition and being in a completely different time in history and those five progressive sales steps from 1865 are still the steps we take to deliver the products and services we market and sell today.
Do you have a passion for sales?
Do you believe in your product?
Are you building relationships?
Are you developing testimonials and referrals?
Are you presenting yourself professionally?
We can learn a lot from Mark Twain about sales:
Know your customer
Follow common sense tactical fundamentals
Practice, practice, practice
July 16, 2012 Leave a comment
5 Questions Can Help You Determine Your Entrepreneurial Readiness
There are many tests that purport to determine whether you are entrepreneur material! While most of them seem either too restrictive or to optimistic, this guide from Mitchell York would seem to be the closes to what I have found to be the case in my 30 plus years.
Have a look and see what you think!
Despite the difficult economy — and in many ways because of it — entrepreneurship is alive and thriving. All around us, even when unemployment is high and consumer confidence is low, there are new businesses opening just as quickly as others are closing. Many of them are being launched by people who lost their jobs and either didn’t want to, or could not, find another.
If you’re thinking of taking the entrepreneurial plunge, it’s important that you know just what it takes to be successful before you make what could be the biggest financial and emotional commitment of your life. Here are five ways to know if entrepreneurship may be right for you.
Are You Running Away from a Problem or Running Toward a Vision?
Some people feel they have no choice but to start a business when all they really want is to find a good job. A few of these so-called “forced entrepreneurs” may come up with the next big thing, but many don’t have the heart to be in a business for the long run. So do some soul-searching and figure out if you’re running toward a defining vision of your future as a business owner, or away from a problem. And if all you really want is a great job, you can learn how to find one much more easily than you can find success as an entrepreneur.
Do You Have Support?
It is certainly true that it takes a village — not just to raise a child, but to start a business. Before you start a business, you need to have a strong support network in place. It starts with your family. If your spouse/partner and children aren’t fully behind your idea, you have more work to do. If you can’t “make the sale” to them, how are you going to convince customers to buy from you, partners to do business with you, a supply chain to give you credit, and a bank to give you financing? Entrepreneurship starts at home.
Do You Have Deep Reserves?
Convention wisdom says you should have 6-12 months of living expenses in the bank to live on until your business becomes cash flow positive. That is not nearly enough. I advocate having five years of capital saved. That sounds like a lot…and it is. But most business failures happen because the owner runs out of cash, just at the time when in another few months they may have seen daylight. So have as much of a bankroll as you can to allow for unforeseen contingencies.
Do You Have Good Entrepreneur Role Models?
When you’re a child, you always look for cues for modeling your behavior. Smart adults do, too. Look around your circle of family and friends for successful entrepreneurs and figure out what makes them tick. Do you have the same stuff? If not, can you get it? If you don’t know anyone personally who you can study, hit the library bookshelf and study people like Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s), Donald Trump, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mary Kay, Howard Schultz (founder of Starbuck’s) and Michael Dell. Read their memoirs and biographies and understand the commonalities of the successful.
Do You Have the Key Skills of Entrepreneurship?
There are hundreds of things you need to know how to do to be a successful entrepreneur, but the most important ones are these:
High Risk Tolerance: You have to be able to stare into the abyss of entrepreneurial uncertainty and not falter.
Excellent Salesmanship: You absolutely have to have at least a little Steve Ballmer in you to be successful as an entrepreneur. You may have the greatest invention in the world, but if you can’t communicate its importance to a variety of constituencies (customers, employees, suppliers, lenders), you’re not going to succeed.
An Independent Temperament: Entrepreneurs consistently go against the tide. They start companies when others are retrenching; they don’t care about being rejected time and time again; and they trust their gut.
Great Negotiating Ability: If you negotiate well for everything from a store lease to contracting services to website design, you’ll realize that every dollar saved keeps your business in business through the peaks and valleys of cash flow.
Emotional Intelligence: This is a term coined by behaviorist and author Daniel Goleman. “EI,” as it’s often referred to, is a set of skills that allows you to understand and influence the behavior of yourself and others. Being able to listen, reason with and persuade is different from being a good negotiator but just as important.
If you think you have what it takes, my advice is to give it a try. Small business is the backbone of the economy and the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Find a good business mentor and increase your chances of success!