Author Archives:Chris Cane

How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview

Business HandshakeOK! I stole this from www.dummies.com but I thought every point was valid. So I decided to share it with you. I guess that not all entrepreneurs are out looking for work but some are and others should be looking for these traits in applicants for jobs at their business.


How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview

Preparation is key when you’re ready to sell yourself during a job interview. In order to sell yourself (that is, your skills and experience) to the interviewer, thoroughly research the company and job position. In addition, you need to be prepared to answer questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you.

Follow these tips to make the hiring gods choose you.

  • Focus on skills and other factors that make you immediately productive. Employers don’t want to wait for six months before you deliver benefits to them. Concentrate on what you can do for the company, not on what the company can do for you.
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  • Present a fitting image for the part you seek. Walk, talk, and look the part.
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  • Likeability is vital. Act confident and friendly with good eye contact, a strong handshake, and a lot of smiles. Don’t use first names unless asked to do so.
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  • Memorize a 20-30 second branding brief. Your branding brief should tell your story very quickly. Prepare a longer personal commercial of 1-2 minutes that you customize for each job.
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    Elevator_Microsoft_Free_Images_MC900332526

    The Elevator Speech

  • Master a one-to-two-minute “commercial” about yourself. Almost certainly you will be asked to respond to some version of the “Tell me about yourself” question. Memorize a short description of your background (education, experience, and skills) that matches your strengths to the job. Add a sentence or two about your curiosity, commitment, and drive to build mountains atop your already good skills base.
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  • Don’t chatter to fill a silence. You risk nervously blurting out harmful information. Instead, ask a question: “Would you rather hear about my skills in A or B?”
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  • Avoid bringing up negatives. An exception is if you must do so to get ahead of the bad news that you’re sure is coming. Don’t trash your boss.
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  • Develop a storytelling knack. Prepare short little true stories that support your claims of relevant skills and accomplishments.
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  • Ask about the next step. Don’t leave without asking when a decision will be made and whether you can call back to check progress on the decision.

Eight Inexpensive Marketing Strategies

From: www.robertsontraininggroup.com

In a recent marketing workshop I attended, I discovered that most business owners rely on just two or three marketing strategies to attract new business. However, there is a multitude of ways to drive new business to your door. Here are a few:

Networking. Networking is perhaps the most commonly used approach by small business owners. However, it is often poorly executed. Many people attend a networking function and take the wrong approach by trying to meet as many people as they can. They bounce from person to person, handing out business cards like it is an Olympic event and they are vying for the gold medal. They fail to realize that the most effective way to network is to cultivate relationships and give referrals to other members first.

Referrals. This marketing strategy places a close second in preferred methods of generating new business leads. The key here is to ensure that you take a proactive approach rather than a passive one. Instead of assuming that a satisfied client will refer someone to you, ask for that referral. Tell people who your ideal client is and ask for their help in finding these types of clients. The real estate agent who represented the seller when we bought our house sends us a card every year and reminds us that she loves referrals. It is not pushy, does not sound like she’s begging, and I’m confident it helps generate new leads.

Writing. This often under-utilized marketing strategy is an excellent way to become recognized as an industry expert. Every industry has trade magazines and most are hungry for good content. The Internet is also filled with websites and e-zines looking for material to send to their subscribers and customers. I now write at least one article every month and send it to more than two hundred publications. This marketing strategy alone has helped drive more traffic to my website more than anything else. It is sometimes challenging to come up with ideas and to write an 800 word article but the investment of time and effort is definitely worth it.

Newsletters. This is another powerful marketing strategy to keep your name in front of your customers and prospects. Provide key insight into business challenges and offer solutions to them. In other words, help your prospects and customers solve problems. Some newsletters are nothing more than advertising so be sure to provide valuable information to your customer. Although it is less expensive to send a newsletter electronically, you can issue it in paper format. A local real estate agent regularly sends out a one-page update of the housing market in our neighborhood. (More: Newsletters Are Smart Marketing.)

Cold calling. Without a doubt, this is usually the most challenging way to market a business – I know very few people who actually enjoy cold calling. However, it can be a good way to uncover qualified prospects in a relatively short period of time. Be sure to start your conversation with a good opening to capture the other person’s attention. (See 10 Cold Calling Tips.)

Give free information. At the marketing workshop I attended, the facilitator suggested giving information to interested prospects. Using this marketing strategy on my website, I have quadrupled the number of subscribers to my newsletter in the last year. You do not need to give away all the information relevant to your product or service. Instead, offer information that will help your target market with their problems. For example, when people sign up to my e-zine, they receive a report that outlines 100 tips they can use to increase their sales.

Offer a guarantee. A concern many people have when changing suppliers is the risk associated with the change. They may not be completely satisfied with their existing supplier but the risk of choosing a supplier who may be worse can prevent them from changing. Eliminate this concern and offer a guarantee.

Advertising. This can be a great marketing strategy if you know how to create a good ad. The best marketers know that great sales copy is what makes the difference; I have experienced this first-hand. When I began selling my book on my website, I generated mediocre results for the first two years. I eventually changed the copy on my site and sales have soared every since. Glance through the ads in your trade magazine and you will quickly notice that most ads focus on the company’s product features instead of on the customer’s problem. Create a great ad by concentrating on the problem you can solve.

Location, Location, Location!

Frank Raeon

Frank Raeon, a mentor and counselor at SCORE here in Cincinnati has published a book recently called “The ABC’s of Site Selection: How to Pick Winners and Avoid Losers” The book is available at AMAZON, Barnes and Noble and Alibris to name a few.

The Cincinnati Enquirer published a story about Frank on February 4th 2011.

<Click Here> for the article in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

We borrowed the text from the Cincinnati Enquirer and entered it below:


The first three rules of real estate have always been “location, location, location.” But one local real estate expert wants to take would-be franchisees even deeper into the meaning of that old cliché.

Frank Raeon of Mariemont has written a new book called “The ABC’s of Site Selection: How to Pick Winners and Avoid Losers” (Xlibris Press, available on Amazon.com). He’s vice president of Townmark Inc. of Kenwood, a corporate real estate consulting firm, and has helped companies including McDonald’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Blockbuster select business sites in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Raeon, 64, recently spoke with business reporter James Pilcher about the finer points of site selection. Many of his insights are based on working at his parents’ restaurant/bar, where he learned the value of PASTA-V: Parking, access, signage, traffic light, activity in the area and visibility.

WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS’ place teach you about real estate?

Well, it was called The Alibi, and it did a great lunch business and then became more of a bar at night. It didn’t have great parking, but it was a self-standing building and was near a traffic light. And it also teaches you how you have to work for every customer.

WHY WRITE THIS book?

It gets down to the nuts and bolts and the details. Everyone knows location sells, but what goes into a good location? People don’t ask the questions they need to when deciding on where to start their business. Location is one thing, but what about the area? Is it a desirable demographic? What about the site? Is there good parking and lighting? And then there is the space itself. Do you have good windows, and is it visible?

Very few people are trained in site selection, and I wanted to change that.

WHAT’s THE BIGGEST mistake people make when selecting a site?

There are a lot of people who get into franchising just to make the fees from new sites. But the real good ones are the ones who want to create a growing and sustainable business. They usually care about the customer.

And that translates over into the site selection. Many folks don’t see the business through the eyes of the customers. You need to do that if you want those customers to keep coming back.

Finally, there is this that I learned from a guy at McDonald’s, which does the best job of site selection in the business: Never bring a site to someone else or get involved in something that you wouldn’t invest your own money in.

Trusting your Customer?

This post has nothing to do with small business specifically but it has a lot to do with sales and opportunities. I was reading a post on another blog where the writer was explaining that his company could provide:

  • The Best Price
  • The Best Quality
  • The Best Delivery

Please pick any two!

The above reminded me of one of my life’s experiences!

Many years ago I went on sales training with Varian Associates to be a Electron Device Group Sales Engineer. Ultimately I nailed the job and became sales manager. One of the lessons I learned came from a character named Otto. The year was 1975 and folks who were at Varian in 1975 will remember Otto. He was a charismatic NY style sales character with rough edges and a heart of gold. Otto and I along with six or seven other Varian sales guys spent several weeks together visiting Varian’s plants i Beverly, Mass, Salt Lake City, Utah, Georgetown Ontario and Palo Alto California to name a few. Our job was to remain positive while countless product managers at these various factories droned on and on explaining why they should get a disproportionate amount of our time.

Otto had just joined Varian a few months earlier and had been a seasoned sales guy with R.C.A. (Remember them?). His sales tip really came from a single sentence. Well perhaps a couple of sentences.

He had just visited one of his old customers and he explained that when he was selling for R.C.A. that the one purchasing guy told him that Varian’s was getting his business because:

Varian:

  • Had better prices!
  • Had higher quality!
  • Had better delivery!

Now he was visiting the same buyer who explained that he was giving the business to R.C.A. because:

RCA Now:

  • Had better prices!
  • Had higher quality!
  • Had better delivery!

Makes you wonder how this happens?

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Making_Entrepreneur

I received an email a few minutes ago from Lowell Bowie, one of our Cincinnati SCORE counselors. The email included a PDF file entitled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”. It was written by Vivek Wadhwa, Raj Aggarwal, Krisztina “Z” Holly and Alex Salkever.

I have to admit I enjoyed the read. If you click <here> you’ll enjoy reading the article.

Some of the highlights!

We asked company founders to rank the importance of a series of factors on the success of their mostrecent startups and to tell us what other factors were important.

  • 96 percent ranked prior work experience as an important success factor; 58 percent ranked this as extremely important.
  • 88 percent said that learning from previous successes, and 78 percent said that learning from previous failures, played an important role in their present successes. 40 percent said that lessons from failures were extremely important (the factor rating second-highest as “extremely important”).
  • 82 percent said their management team was important to their success. 35 percent said this was extremely important.
  • 73 percent said that good fortune was an important factor in their success. 22 percent ranked this as extremely important.

I suggest you read the full article (Click Here)

To Network or Not To Network, That is the Question!

Gotta Try This!

A couple of days ago, a fellow mentor copied me on an email he sent to one of our clients on the value of networking. I felt that his comments encapsulated the essence of networking. He had attended a networking session with Xavier University at the Cintas Center on April 1st with the client.

He ends with “I also think networking, like public speaking, is a skill that can be learned and the more you do it, the better you get.” – Please read on…

His words were “I think these types of meetings are a good place to make contacts. Networking is kind of like fishing. You never know if you are going to catch a fish, not how large it will be, unless you put your line in the water. There just aren’t any guarantees, and sometimes your leads will come from a conversation where did not expect anything would come from it.

Like we were talking about today, many people, especially younger people, think there is a short-cut or a silver bullet. They neither have the patience, nor are they willing to spend the time required to become successful. I don’t know of any short-cuts or silver bullets, but meetings like the one today will eventually bring in solid results for you. I definitely think there are meetings where your odds of making a connection are better, but right now I just don’t know what those organizations might be, but this is a good place to start.

I also think networking, like public speaking, is a skill that can be learned and the more you do it, the better you get. I hope you have a nice weekend.

I have a friend who fishes a lot and once said that more people would fish if they called it catching but of course one does not catch every time.

Chris

Selecting your domain name – Short, Smart and Significant

This posting was borrowed from Volusion where I have a shop set up at www.amjoshop.com

Remember these words ‘Short, Smart and Significant‘, these are the rules to live by when you are choosing a domain name for your business.

There are several things to consider in the quest for the perfect domain name.

Remember that defined, a domain name is “a name that distinguishes your business from others on the Internet, allows Internet users to find your website quickly and easily”. Your domain name will need to be different than the other domain names out there. Do a search to get an idea of which domain names are available, and which domains are already taken (most are). Generating a unique domain name won’t be too complicated, since most generic names are already being used by other companies.

In order to allow Internet users to find your website “quickly and easily”, keep the following three tips in mind.

Tip 1: Keep it “short and sweet”.

The shorter the site name, the easier it is for a customer to type and most importantly, remember. This also means, the easier it is for that customer to refer other customers to your site. The internet is all about speed and convenience, so choose your domain name along those same lines. Make the process of referencing, and getting to your website as painless and effortless as possible for your new customer.

Tip 2: Use keywords.

Choose a domain name that is best suited for Search Engines. Search Engines, such as Google, are the number one place to advertise products for your online business. Try to use the main keyword or phrase you’d like to optimize your entire site for. For example, if you specialize in selling jewelry, include the word jewelry in your domain name. If silver jewelry is all you sell, use the phrase silver jewelry. Don’t be too broad and at the same time, if you have a wide-ranging product base, don’t be too specific.

Use the tool that follows to test the popularity of different keywords currently being searched for: Keyword Tool.

Tip 3: Make it relevant.

Make sure your domain name is relevant to what you are selling. This helps when customers search for products or services your site offers. This is where your common sense comes in handy. Think about your own ideal online shopping experience or if you haven’t experienced such yet, think about what you’d want that experience to resemble.

For example, if you wanted to buy a fishing lure, which site would you be more likely to take the time to visit, Site A or Site B?

Site A: www.fishinglures.com

Site B: www.bobsfishstuff.com

I’m sure you, like most internet shoppers, would more than likely opt for Site A.

Having a relevant domain name makes that site appear more significant and pertinent to exactly what the customer is looking for- saving wasted time and annoyance. With these tips in mind, let the search begin. And don’t forget the three S’s- Short, Smart, and Significant!

-Stacie Leonard, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting (At Volusion)

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Computer Dumping and Recycling – Pangs of Guilt

Recently one of my Facebook friends shared a video with me and his other friends about the disposal of personal computers and their effect on the environment. I was, to say the least, shocked and then pangs of guilt moved in. Over the years I have thrown out computers, monitors, network adapters, printers and simply tossed them in the trash not knowing that there would be a possibility of some of that hardware poisoning people in faraway lands. The video he shared is at the PBS Website at http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/ghana804/video/video_index.html.
Here are two more for you to watch:

Recently one of my Facebook friends shared a video with me and his other friends about the disposal of personal computers and their effect on the environment. I was, to say the least, shocked and then pangs of guilt moved in. Over the years I have thrown out computers, monitors, network adapters, printers and simply tossed them in the trash not knowing that there would be a possibility of some of that hardware poisoning people in faraway lands. Videos for you to watch are shown below.

Here in Cincinnati, I learned recently that Brien Hope, a long-time SCORE counselor, works with the Cincinnati Computer Cooperative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which recycles computers donated by individuals, schools, non-profits and for-profit companies. C3 refurbishes all the computers they can for donation to schools, and low cost availability to non-profits, students, senior citizens and low income persons receiving sate or federal assistance. In a recent email from Brien he said “This is to let you know that C3 runs an environmentally sound program which diverts computer equipment from landfills. C3 was named the computer recycling by the Cincinnati Magazine for 2009, is fully endorsed by the BBB. Component Breakdown: All CPU’s that are not economically repairable are stripped for parts content. The parts are then used to repair other non-working units. Any component that cannot be salvaged is sent to a ISO 9001 compliant recycling center . NO equipment is sent overseas.”

I would urge local readers to visit this web page (http://www.cincinnaticomputercooperative.org/donate_recycle_computers.htm) and choose to donate their used or defunct computers, printers, monitors etc to the Cooperative:
See http://www.cincinnaticomputercooperative.org/donate_recycle_computers.htm

The video he shared is at the PBS Website at:

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/ghana804/video/video_index.html

Here are two more for you to watch:

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Front Office – Back Office – Do you have them covered?

An entrepreneur can create a wonderful pizza or perhaps sell it. Others simply buy pizzas and eat them.

Late last week I attended a presentation put on by a SCORE Mentor from our Dayton Chapter. His name is John Talty and he is a forward thinking individual with a very strong background of marketing with NEC. There were many facets to his presentation but one significant take-away for me as a mentor/counselor is that as we develop a relationship with a new client, we need to ensure that we make sure the client’s front and back office are covered.

All too often we dash past this as we look into our own skill-set and scramble to help the client. I began to realize that front/back offce coverage is crucial. Regardless of a company’s size, it needs to have its front office and back-office covered. We often meet clients with a strong sales and marketing background (front office) who do a lousy job with accounting, manufacturing, vendor development and many other back office functions. We need to help them get both “offices” covered.

We ourselves as mentors and counselors as we look back at our experience, we see that we were best at front office or back office functions. Knowing this, we need to consider adding our opposite or complement to the next meeting so we can help the client develop the skills that s/he needs to build or grow a successful business.

There needs to be a balance, a great carpenter or cabinet maker (back office) who lacks marketing, sales, advertising skills needs either to develop those skills within himself or find someone to help him.

My wife and I run a small home based business (www.amjo.net) and I’m the front office person with limited skills in the back-office and my wife provides the balance as she runs our back-office, processes orders, sends them through to our vendors. I keep hacking away, selling, advertising, working with customers, creating and maintaining websites, search for new vendors etc. I believe we have a good balance between which has helped us be successful over the years.

Many times as we meet a new client, we see a great builder, architect, fabricator, carpenter, cleaner or photographer who simply cannot promote themselves or their business well. I leave it to you to consider the back-office/front-office discussion and perhaps add some comments below to help explore this supposition.

SCORE has a poetic client

Jeannette Ramirez - Limerick Mug

Jeannette Ramirez - Limerick Mug

It was quite a surprise! Yesterday Dick Wendel, one of our Cincinnati counselors and the “poster boy” on out current flyer intoduced Jeannette Ramirez to John Vinturella (our blog meister) and myself. Jeannette is an author and poet and we here at SCORE are trying to help her make money with her talent. Following our meeting, she wrote a poem and sent it to us and I thought I’d share it with you.

I appreciate the gifts galore
Of businessmen who know the SCORE

And share advice with folks like me
Who struggle to gain equity

In businesses that incubate
But hope to hatch and be first-rate.

I’ll throw my hat into the rink
But, it’s confusing, and I think

It’s great to have you cultivate
The mental crops I percolate.

by: Jeannette Ramirez (September 15, 2010)

You can learn more about Jeannette at her websites:

http://www.here-be-limerick-poems.com
http://www.monday-morning-writers-group.com
http://www.formula-easy-recipes.com/index.html
http://www.writers-resources-cafe.com
http://www.love-you-love-quotes.com