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Action instead of reaction

Interestingly enough I find myself blogging here again. :p

I wanted to focus on a couple of thoughts from some articles online written about capitalism and what its effects have been.

Capitalism has taken a negative connotation to itself via the “croaImagenie” capitalism that has taken its seed in our society. The Negative nature of Capitalism has been brought about by a lot of the political moves by the current administration as favors returned for the support given by private industry to politics. There seems to be a misnomer that capitalism intends only to serve the wealthy 1% of this country. It is, in fact not true. 

Capitalism has served many of the poor in enrichment, literacy, and lifestyle support. The private industry has offered a lot of help with not just wealth in money, but in building schools rebuilding or rehabbing schools and with organizing donations and contributing themselves for the middle and lower class. It’s been by their(the middle class) help as worker bees that a lot of the commerce of trade and enrichment of lives that capitalistic models have contributed to the good of many.

It is unfortunate that Capitalism has taken on such a negative connotation. In and of itself, its pure intent is to create competition and in the end the consumer benefits and the winning business keeps its doors open. Through proper commerce and innovation new products are offered and the market place is served economically well. There are people that do see where this is abused and the only ones that seemingly benefit are the “1%”. That said it is brought on as of late by the mainstream media that simply does not wish to encourage capitalism as they are seemingly leaning towards a different philosophy that enlists the government as not just a solution to the troubles of commerce but a resolution that it’s the only way to resolve the issues of capitalism. When looked at closer it begins to look like Socialism or communism.

The true resolution would lie in disallowing croanie capitalism and allowing for true commerce without special interest to operate. This would mean that payoffs and back room deals would have to be found out and stopped immediately. This of course is just not possible as it is near impossible to tell when those things are happening. Rumors abound but the manpower needed to battle that would be immense as well as the resources. A different resolution may be in order which would be a longer term plan to teach and raise a new breed of capitalists. A breed of these new capitalists that would still work together but for the betterment of commerce and trade where there is a win win win win win situation.

Here’s a link to an article that talks about one of the ways that this can be fixed:

http://www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/john-mackey-is-the-next-ayn-rand.html

CEO John Mackey has a great take on what needs to be done. If we can begin to teach this as a philosophy, this writer believes that there could be an effective change. 

Excerpt:

1) All businesses need a higher purpose. “Money is not what drives most entrepreneurs,” he says. “What drives most entrepreneurs is some kind of dream. Business will never be trusted if all it talks about is maximizing profit.”

2) Business must create value for everyone that trades with it. “We’re so hooked up to the win-lose dynamic,” he says. “The most amazing thing about capitalism is that it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s a win-win-win-win-win. Business must create value for customers that trade with it.”

3) We need a new type of leader. “Ultimately, you cannot create a conscious business unless the leadership is conscious with it,” he says. “We need more servant leaders who are dedicated to serving the stakeholders.” 

4) We have to create company cultures that are humanistic and empowering. “Conscious businesses have trusting cultures,” he says. “They tend to be more authentic and caring.”

With the economy now rebounding and still a lot of tensions filling the air about whether or not the economy is truly experiencing a recovery, this is a mark to begin following. Many will be against this as they want to keep the current model, but in order to change what’s really going on these suggested changes are definitely a great start.

What do you think?

 

Empire Avenue…what a rush!

{EAV_BLOG_VER:d7ff33935dbda4f2}

So here’s the skinny, in order to verify a blog, I have to add the string above to be sure it’s my blog and it’s real…

Well there’s the string…now what?

Well, honestly, since I’m on a lunch break I’ll write something useful.

To be able to increase visibility out in the marketplace a lot of small businesses are taking the road map most traveled…might not be the best idea.

Look to see where your market hangs out the most. (go where the ducks are in the pond)

Principles of marketing don’t change, just the modes, and methods. You still need to be in their heads as often as possible to build the trust and brand. Once that is in then you have to find a way to be sure it gets automated so you’re not tied to your business.

I’ve been thinking lately on starting to become a business efficiency expert since a lot of people are so good with creating new tools, but not necessarily the map…

Tyler Garner of Infusionsoft recently talked on the subject of how to monetize social media. his point was true for any marketing that you engage, there has to be a map or you will go nuts.

Take the time to write it out or plan it with software that will help you get a map drwan according to your goals and then figure out what tools will help you get there the quickest.

New way to outsource…here at home

Virtual Receptionist

Domestic Outsourcing just makes sense

Small and medium sized business owners are starting to hit a wall with the way the economy is going. It’s not easy to hire employees at the drop of a hat that can be specialists, or even non specialists and bring value to the business for wages that make sense.

In comes the thought of outsourcing; send what you can overseas…or should you? The Big guys do it, why not us? Isn’t that how to keep costs down? Isn’t that the way to control my business without having to pay out of my profits so heavily?

I know of a couple people that have Virtual Assistants overseas and love it, and I’ve heard a few horror stories about how inefficient they are, comprehension issues, etc.

So where budgets no longer allow for the hiring of new employees there’s an age old challenge that allows businesses to holds its owners down; make them work in the business until they really make it big or they finally fail simply because they are overwhelmed with the work, become too busy to deal with the daily operations and can’t get out to make the cash register ring, or they just give up.

So what about outsourcing…Domestic?

As many small businesses are opening there are just as many business owners that are trying to figure out if it’s still worth the stress and the strain of having to build it from scratch only to get held up because they can’t afford to hire that employee they need, or just shut it down.

Numbers alone already show that even with 25% profitability that someone would have to gross thousands to employ one employee

What's my profit margin?

for 8 hours. (Essentially 10K+ gross to justify a $2100-$2500/mo employee at or around minimum wage)

So what to do then? Outsource? As far back as 2004 Inc.com already had an article that said States were rewarding companies that DIDN’T outsource offshore.

The reasons to do outsource are many. Ease of focusing on core functions, lower operational cost, (huge one) Access to global knowledge base for creative and strategic planning, possibly freeing up resources for projects that need capital infusion etc.

However, when your local and state government are giving you reasons to NOT do it, even with incentives to not outsource, how can you bear having to do all the work yourself? How do you justify the cost of having an employee? I’ve known family businesses with families that have this false sense of pride in having a “family business” when they are actually drowning in it losing time together, losing time to themselves, losing their own identities and becoming the business in a way that is just not fulfilling.

So what’s the solution? Outsourcing…domestic, on shore, at home.

But that’s insane! No company that is a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) will work with a small or medium sized business right? Wrong.

New Niche, new way for the little guys to get out there and compete with the big guys.

Keeping in touch with your customers Live is what keeps your business growing

The secret is using a “Shared” model where numerous companies can share in the talents of one seat rather than having to buy a dedicated agent. (or five to ten as most BPOs would require) Being able to participate in the marketplace with a means to cut costs on virtual reception, Live Chat interaction, Email interaction, Text SMS services, etc can really help to increase revenue by having the menial tasks cared for while you concentrate on what’s important…making the cash register ring.

You don’t have to sacrifice your business’ identity, and you get to keep control over your company’s brand identity and brand affinity. There is a new breed of outsourcing that will help you keep things local, efficient, accurate, and definitely out there available for your market. You just need to search them out and make sure they will do it according to your parameters or that there can be a viable work around to get the job done.

The obvious benefit to the economy here at home is that more jobs are created and more people can work for a living that makes sense to them and their families.

Top Five Reasons to Outsource…Domestic

There’s talk of how outsourcing would make sense. It’s not huge, but it’s out there and it’s gaining a bit of steam.

So what would the top five reasons to outsource domestic be? The same as doing it offshore, it’s just that now you can afford it.

Here’s a short list as to what the benefits are to using an on shore solution.

BPO

BPOs are big honkin call centers meant for the big boys

1. Lower cost for operations – Face it, hiring an employee will cost you thousands even if they are minimum wage. The load pushes it up even higher and that just doesn’t cut it for 8 hours. Especially if you need the coverage for more than that. Having someone sit around that is only 8 hours and not necessarily producing that whole time is just not justified.

2. Able to focus on core functions – Virtual Assistants are great for one person operations, virtual reception, Live Chat and email interactions are great for small businesses that want to continue to focus on doing what they do best. (Doctors, Lawyers, Service providers, I even know a guy that uses outsourcing to sell his cigarette alternatives) Think about this if you’re tied to your phones right now, this is a way to get away from them and not be tied to our business, but it can be tied to you. You deal with the intel at your discretion, not the prospect or suspect.

3. Freeing up internal resources – Instead of having the receptionist tied to a desk and hiring another office person, why not have a virtual receptionist take care of the appointment setting and other non-core functions of the office (things that can be handled outside the immediate office) while the receptionist focuses on customer care, and assisting with other office functions. (Filing, follow up, proactive response rather than reactive)

4. Some companies can realize the benefit of re-engineering their processes while having a service like this in place; Even the little guys need breathing space to really see what’s going on. So, why not have an outsourcing company do some of the work for you, when the time comes to take that particular process back there will be other processes still needing to be covered.

5. Convenience – Do you really like having to answer your phone 24/7? Do you like missing your chat and missing a sale? Is it worth the lack of customer service when you’re sick that no one ever gets to them and interacts with them live? Why would you sacrifice that? I know a lot of people that have already told me that their customers know sometimes if the phone isn’t answered they’re busy…really? You will settle for that when there are opportunities to have someone else that you teach how to answer for you, how to work as if your actual employee, and can give that personalized service that normally only you can provide? You will settle for that?

If you have, you’ve given up your life for a business that owns you. Reminder: The American Dream isn’t to be owned by your business, (or anyone or anything else for that matter) but to own a business and succeed it. Find an onshore solution that can help you with some of your processes and get them off your shoulders. There are more benefits to doing this than I’ve outlined, but these five should get you thinking about doing something different, or we live out the definition of our friend Albert Einstein when he spoke on the subject of insanity.

Been a Bit…but I’m back!

Well, I’ve been busy workin on a few projects, and time has definitely gotten away from me.

I’ll be back online here shortly with some of the new research that’s been done by companies looking to help businesses grow via online tools and offline as well.

Right now I’m reviewing a couple of reports and studies about how live Chat is getting more attention online.

Interesting to see that SEO guys don’t necessarily believe that Live Chat can help increase conversion as much as 38%. This confirmed by an international Market research firm, and then again by a smaller firm that was approached by an actual service provider to do research on their particular company.

Guys here’s the bottom line, if you’re not there to interact with your potential customers, guess what? You’re leaving money on the table, and your customer is taking it(Their money) to your competitor!

Why the heck would you want to let go of money that belongs in your account?

Sometimes it amazes me how business owners think they have it all with one side of the picture. I had one guy tell me that if the site is architecturally designed well that conversions are just fine…guess he didn’t hear the part about 38% MORE than what is already there. Or how about the 80-110% for eCommerce sites?

Now I”m not saying this is the end all to increasing conversions on your site, but it definitely a way to make it better than what you have right now.

If you don’t have anything happening with your site right now, time to get it analyzed by someone that understands your niche, and knows how to get you in front of the right traffic. Then it becomes design and copy time, then you need to optimize it until you get the right kind of leads then you need a system to work that lead into a sale. (Whatever that process is)

I can tell you after seeing varied results, it’s better to have it than to not. Oh, and just because a site has it, if it can’t be monitored 24/7 you’ve thrown the money away. Find a service that can respond for you on the overnight or over weekend, etc. (This way you still have a life yeah?)

I’ll talk more about stuff next week…Glad to be back in the writing mode gang!

Consumers are in control…you just figured this out when?

Just read in Yahoo Business News today that Wall Street is finally acknowledging that consumers, not capitalists, not republicans, not democrats, not international business, not anything other than “CONSUMERS” are in control of things. Right here, right now, we are standing in the midst of a transference of wealth. What shall we do to make it effective so we, the “market consumers” can benefit?

Many will see an opportunity and will find a need and fill it. The economy is about to return to a service base rather than a product or “latest advanced toy” basis. We have become so comfortable with ourselves, that our innovative nature took a back seat to comfort creature mentality and has set us back about ten years.

Here’s the point; if Wall Street is finally acknowledging that consumers are in control and many of the “big boys” are the ones that are the most affected, we have a chance to say, “Ok. No more crap. Let’s get this country back on the road by making sure you’re producing things that are smart. Not just the latest toy, but the latest innovations that prove we can produce just as well just as inexpensively, and let’s make sure we support the ones that do.”

Enough of being led like blind sheep as consumers we have a choice in where the money flows, let’s make wiser choices and effect the right change.

Here’s an example; Hyundai came to this country with a product that was cheap and built pretty cheaply by my standards. They banked…quite well. They turned around and took that and now produce a luxury vehicle that rivals our old friends BMW and Mercedes, and are competing. We as consumers told the other two that rest on their reputations and history, it no longer matters about your name, I want a car I can enjoy and I’m not paying huge bucks for it. I mean really, $400 for a brake job? and only the fronts? Sorry, I’ll go with a well developed smart car that gets major mileage and is light on my wallet.

Since the consumer market is holding a lot of its discretionary income close to home, businesses have to find new ways to market to us to get us to come spend. Else not we will continue to watch the downward spiral of the economy til well into the next decade.

We have Wall Street’s attention, I say we keep it and make something of it by showing them through our voice…our wallets…that we will only support those that will support us wuth better services and products. Now is the time, make it count.

Business Development…what is it?

Ok. So ‘ve had this presentation for a bit and felt it was time to put it out there both as a refresher course and a “newbie” course for those that don’t quite get what Biz Dev is.

Here isa link to a presentation that is fairly simple to understand, once I get audio put to it we will do more to get it out to everyone in the business world.

Many think this is elementary stuff, but I’ve been running into too many people that just don’t understand that when times are slow that is when you make your best investments in your marketing, and TRACK THEM! Then you follow your sales through and make sure your conversion ratios make sense, then you do it again. (you know; wash, rinse, repeat as necessary)

Here’s the link: Click here

Once you’ve gotten here,  comment and give me your thoughts on what you think are necessary steps to making business deveelopment really work in our now economy…and be careful, there are a lot of emotions running right now, be critical in your thinking, find facts not feelings.

Where’s the money flowing…

Seth Godin makes a real interesting point on his latest blog; where the money is there you’ll find the people working.

Interesting to me that it starts as an end still and then the means justifies it. (almost sounds like the torture debate going on right now)

Here’s a tag to Mr. Godin’s point; if there is money to be made you can well believe that someone is going to be searching for it.

He wrote that things change around once there’s money to be made in any particluar field. He related it to writers becoming publishers which is the reverse of what was. (When the Writer Becomes the Publisher / Seth Godin – 05/2009)

It would seem pretty logical that once the public wants something, they are willing to pay for it, so what is it that you have that they are willing to pay for? What message can you get across to them to tell them what you have is what they need? Many times I see “the best blah blah” or “Number 1 blah blah in the state” C’mon, do you really think that is going to attract attention? If it does, I’d be pretty surprised. Nowadays it’s just not enough. Mr. Godin back in 2003 made refernece to being remarkable(the purple cow). If you have a pizz,a shop fine, so does almost every other coner strip mall, what makes yours so different?

Here in Las Vegas, NV , a local pizza chain by the name of Metro pizza decided to become the “purple cow” of the valley by holding pizza making classes. Their pizza is great, but now they are the teachers of pizza making, and it’s doing very well. People are paying for classes and more are hearing by word of mouth how great their pizzas are. Do you think they can charge a bit more because of that?

Here’s the bottom line: You have to find the flow of money where it is moving and get in front of it. It’s the one time you want to get run over by the flood. Even if you can’t handle it you’ll have known what is was like and can most likey prepare for it better next time. Pizza makers to pizza making teachers,writers becoming publishers, what else can you think of that would set you apart and find you more income for your business through the right marketing message?

Keep it rolling!

The Power of Green Marketing

Green marketing is no longer just for the “deep Eco aware” kids that only buy green anyway. (which by the way is less than 15% of the populace in the US). It’s become an awareness that is definitely growing but has its limitations due to lack of creativity. This is where the marketers come in. That is by the way you and I. It takes all of us to really come up with new ideas to drive this new awareness. So consider yourself a part of the marketing crew now.

Marketers have the creativity to produce new and exciting concepts that excite the consumer, and ultimately get an Eco friendly product out to market that everyone will at least be interested in. Example: http://tinyurl.com/ak9kqt

Read through this (http://tinyurl.com/czq8tl) article and you will see the process that has to occur in order for a truly “eco friendly” product can emerge. Then to think that a chemist is creative enough to come up with what is necessary to market that product is pretty far fetched.

In come the young creatve types that are ready to put a good spin on everything that is “green”. Here’s an example of one company going green with its product line. (no fillers no artificial this and that etc.):

www.ogilife.com

By returning to the ocean, and utilizing ingredients that are proven through scientific study and have approvals by the FDA, (you know how they get when you start talking about anything healthy) they have come up with some really good Eco friendly products that are also packaged Eco friendly and of course they have a non profit that contributes to the ecology.

Point: they have taken a “whole approach” to green marketing and have simply cut out a niche market that is not overly specialized, and yet not over diluted either. One way or another they will drive the “Green” awareness through their efforts to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Bottom line, Green marketing is in its growth phase and is on the grow and yet it will need us the public to continue driving the economy towards more Eco friendly awareness as well as buying green. After all, we are the marketers…

…and by all means, Keep It Rollling!

Wealthy Idiots Meet Idiot Reporter – The Plank

Wealthy Idiots Meet Idiot Reporter – The Plank

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