Expand Your Business With Blogging

Statistically speaking, you’re likely reading this outside of normal business hours. Am I right, or am I right? Why? Because if you have a life (okay … admittedly many people don’t) the majority of your time is spent away from the office and outside of normal business hours. Usually, when the sun goes down you are already out the door. Frazier has left the building.

But the sun never sets on the internet. It operates 24/7/365 for online and offline businesses both. There are no doors to unlock and no lights to turn on. The doors are always open and the lights are always on. No brick; no mortar; no time clocks.

There are so many important online tools for both marketing (presenting your company and product to the market) and sales (trading that product/service for revenue) … if you’re not using them you’re soon to be extinct. Even the US government figured that out. Filed any corporate taxes lately? Most companies now do it online (it is called EFTPS, if you’re at all curious).

Low-to-No Cost – Many of the online resources available for your business are usable with no cost and can offer great results. Calculate the ROI on that: small investment (mostly in your time) and great results. Infinite ROI? No, not quite. But as a business owner if you use these available tools correctly it will make a difference in your business. Put another way, if you are not using online tools for your business, the wolves are at the door and your house is made of sticks. Not brick and mortar; sticks.

Blogging is increasingly being used to effectively to present businesses and products to the market. Websites like Blogger and WordPress make it possible to share value – your knowledge and experience – through blog posts. Helpful blog posts on relevant content establish you as a leader and creates a relationship that your consumers don’t normally get from just visiting your website. Just today in a phone conversation a client said, “I was so glad to see you are a real person!” The personal touch works.

Need a great example? Go look at 3PAR’s company blog called “StorageRap” (www.storagerap.com). No, I’m not associated with 3PAR in any way. But Marc Farley is awesome at what he does for the data storage industry. Take special note of the value that he delivers. Yes, it comes with a heavy dose of opinion, and more than a bit of controversy, but that is the whole point of blogging! Ever read a boring blog post … more than part-way? I rest my case.

If you are venturing into a company blog, ensure it has a clear objective. Brainstorm with colleagues on ideas of what to write and how to represent the company. Then just to it.

Don’t be stingy. And don’t be a twit. – Contribute to the communication in meaningful ways. A terrific way to increase your network is to be active and to comment on others’ posts. Respect the poster; comment on the post. Remember that a single post could be read by thousands, some of whom may take great interest in you and the products you represent.

Don’t Abuse the Blog – If you use your blog correctly, clients and consumers will appreciate your information and insight. But consistency is key. Deliver value to your business community by remaining active in blogging and in social networking forums. Don’t hold back. Give more, and you will receive more.

Brian Moore is a business coach and mentor that assists serious entrepreneurs in building a profitable online business with multiple incomes streams. Brian and his team have assisted hundreds of people in generating profits that exceed $250K or more in their first year. For more information and to contact Brian, visit: http://www.meetbrianmoore.com

Left Handed Facts

It is developed in pregnancy, by ultrasound you can see which hand is licked or close to mouth most. While Most people are right handed, but 10% of the world is not. And also they are more common in males than females. That’s another fact about left handed people because they are frequently referred to as “lefties.” Another common nickname for them is “southpaw” (particularly in a sports context). This nickname occurred during the 1890s due to left handed baseball pitchers. Batters are facing east so that the afternoon sun does not shine in their eyes.

Do You Know?

* There seem to be a high likelihood that in twins, one will be left handed. It is believed that there may be some genetic link for left hand preference. There has not been a specific gene pinpointed that is the “left handed” gene as of yet, however it does seem like left handedness runs in families.

* Before birth, exposure to high testosterone may can lead to left handed child (because high rates of testosterone suppresses left hemisphere of the brain).

* 25% of astronauts are lefties.

* Every year Over 2500 people die from using tools which was created for ‘right handed’ people. Life can be difficult for lefties simply because everything is made for right handed individuals. Consider knives, for example, because they are mostly made for righties. The computer mouse is almost always on the right side of the computer and that makes it difficult for lefties to handle. Most guns and golf clubs are made for right handed people. Finding the other versions are easier today, but they can be more expensive.

* Another left handed fact is lefties sometimes find it difficult to complete their school work simply because most desks are made for right handed individuals. Those who are lefties have their arms hanging out in the air when they are trying to write, which makes it very difficult. Maybe it is because of this that many of them have poor handwriting.

Want to see more left handed facts? Visit http://squidoo.com/factsaboutlefthanded

How to Get Free Advertising in the Yellow Pages

I actually stumbled across this technique completely by accident when searching for a home cleaner in the Yellow Pages. There was a large full page display Ad and when I called it, the phone number had been disconnected.

At first I thought I had called the wrong number. Then, when I called it again (double-checking of course to make sure I had the right number), all I got was the “beep-beep-beep” sound that confirmed that the number had been disconnected.

I was amazed to say the least. Here, a company had spent $30k to place a full page Ad, only to have the number misprinted? Surely it was an error. So – I did a little digging out of curiosity only to find the cleaning company had gone out of business.

Bingo.

I couldn’t believe my luck. That particular edition of the Yellow Pages still had six months to run, and surely there were going to be plenty of people calling that number. So – I immediately contacted the phone company and bought the number.

Two weeks later, I created a joint venture with another cleaning company and took 20% of the resulting sales. All we did was set up a separate phone line to handle these new inquiries so we could track the results. Not only did we get new business, we also had repeat customers of the bankrupt business calling and we managed to get over 50% of these people to do business with us.

Talk about easy money!

Now, of course not many businesses who place full page Ads (or even half page Ads) will go bust throughout the year. However, if you look long enough you will find 1 or 2. A more systematic approach is to subscribe to an insolvency site that publishes new bankruptcies. When you are notified of a company gone bust, you can then check if they have an Ad in the Yellow Pages first, then buy the number once it’s disconnected. In my experience the phone number is almost never sold when a small or medium sized business is put in liquidation.

Also, there are lots of unpaid listings in the Yellow Pages that get disconnected or no longer apply to that business. The reasons vary, but usually the smaller businesses are operated out of home and when the owner moves or sells his or her business the number sometimes doesn’t get changed over.

Of course, there’s nowhere near the same amount of value in unpaid listings but they do still work. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there. My advice – don’t pay more than $50 for phone numbers that are in unpaid listings. –Marcus Maclean

If You Own a Service Business, Forget Advertising

Strangely enough, almost every business out there at some point in time will turn away potential customers, despite the fact they’ve paid thousands of dollars in advertising to get that customer to call. The reasons why businesses do this varies, but in the service industry, most of the time they’re just too busy, or their service is too expensive.

This true fact creates an amazing opportunity to quickly, cheaply and effectively increase sales by simply taking the business your competitor doesn’t want or need or can’t cope with.

There are two ways to do it.

ONE: When your competitor has so much demand they literally cannot keep up, you could offer to do the jobs they can’t do (for lack of resources or labor) and pay them a referral fee. For example, a panel beater might be fully booked up for the month but a customer needs a job done urgently. Rather than kissing the sale good bye, your competitor might as well give you the job and take a cut.

In my experience, many owners don’t like this idea for the simple reason that their name is on the line. After all, if a customer comes to THEM and they point them in the direction of a competitor who botches the job up, it’s THEIR name that suffers.

So, it’s important when you approach a competitor that you are confident in the quality of your service and you have a track record to prove it.

TWO: Almost ALL service businesses will refuse jobs from time to time because a customer is haggling them on price. In my experience, I have NEVER come across a business that doesn’t deal with the dreaded price shopper.

If you do offer a lower-cost service than your competitor, and you’re willing to deal with these types of customers if only to get the sale, you could offer to have them refer their price shoppers to you.

A word of warning though. I would only use this method in slow periods when you really need the money. Or if you are able to offer a lower-cost service and still make good margins. The only one fatal flaw in this technique is that you’ll often attract the annoying customers who complain and never pay on time. But if you need the money – it’s worth it. — Marcus Maclean