Friday, July 26, 2013

Why You Fail

Here's the thing, you're going to fail at something in life. I'm constantly asked about failure and how to avoid it. But, why avoid it? Many great lessons come out of failure. It isn't always this big, bad thing.

Running a company alone is much harder and more stressful than it seems, and it's especially unusual for a startup to succeed with just one person behind it. You are basically in charge of everything....... all the time! I'm not going to point out why people often fail here because I believe failure is a part of the journey. Many great business people once failed. The lessons they learned was what made them so successful in the end. But, I will say that running a company alone is the worst thing you can do.

So, here is the thought for today... don't go it alone. You're going to have to have help. Find someone willing to help you (usually for free)so you're not alone. This will not prevent failure, but it will give you a fighting chance to navigate your startup. You still might fail, but the other lessons are important ones and you shouldn't be distracted by running the entire business alone.

Happy Friday,


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Web Traffic - The Art of Getting Visitors

I really don't want to hear or read about another SEO tactic. While SEO is great, is shouldn't be relied upon. Real traffic is based upon real content that engages readers and subtly promotes a product or a service. SEO is based on key words being repeated over and over and over. The readers lose interest. So, if you want to produce a lot of web traffic, write for the right reasons.

You also want to make sure your writing staff is fact checking and citing real resources, not just writing opinions for the sake of controversy.

Speaking of controversy, opinions backed by facts are great. This is called engagement, not war. You want engagement and not a social media war. The war can kill your business, the engaging content will boost your customer base and web traffic.

The worst thing you can do to gain web traffic is purchase it. Click farms and spinners aren't real numbers. While the figure might be impressive on paper, it does nothing for your conversion rate and many investors or potential clientele know about, and can spot, click farms.

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Secret to Success

You want to be happy and successful in business, right? Well, the truth is they don't always go hand-in-hand- well, not at the very start of a venture. But, you can get to a place where you are happy and successful at the same time. Here's how;

1. Wake up and define a single expectation for the day. Don't list more than one or you will become overwhelmed. Keep a blank piece of paper next to your bed or on your dinning room table. When you wake up, even before you hit the bathroom, write down your single expectation for the day. When you come home from the table it will be an interesting test to see if you met the expectation or not. If not, consider why and then fix the issue tomorrow.

2. Make a list. Once you have set up your expectation for the day consider your next task. Start by making a list of the items you need to complete during the day and then schedule out how and when they will be completed. Having a plan for the day can keep you relaxed, focused and driving towards success.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet. Yes, a gift to every new person in your life. You can easily send a five dollar Starbucks gift certificate via email to new personal and/or business contacts. It helps you stand out, show you care, and bridge potential future business leads.

These three things may seem small- and they are. But don't forget that small changes and yield big results!

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pro-Business Words

There are certain words in business that you should be using! Why? Well, these specific words create action or a sense of need. They truly help your business grow, which is why they are so important.

What are the power words?

You have to define your own. That's right, the pro-business power words are different for each person and unique to each and every business. You have to define your business words in a couple of sentences. Don't go past twenty words. Try it right now. Grab a piece of paper and jot down ten words that describe your business. Then write down ten words that describe you. Now, form these words into a mission statement. You might lose a few here and there and that is ok. The point is to self-define the driving force that will be behind your success.

What happens when I have the words?

That's easy- when you define your power words you are left with a gauge for your company. If a client or an employee doesn't fit with these words (meaning if you described the person or situation and less than half of the descriptive words match your power words) then ditch the scenario or the person.

Being in business isn't easy and it isn't always nice, but it is very rewarding. Know your pro-business words. Live by them. Never, ever redefine what you stand for or what describes you.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Attention Getting Slogans....The "How-To" Edition

Every great brand needs a great slogan. So, what happens when you're stuck and can't come up with one? First, don't panic. Second, don't over think. If you are struggling to come up with a great slogan then step away from the task for three days. When you do come back to addressing the issue, follow my advice listed below.

A great slogan should be between three and five words. Anything longer will be hard to remember and won't stick with customers. Nike's 'Just Do It' campaign is the perfect slogan. It explains everything, it has stuck for years, and it is short. Remember, if you have a slogan over five words- revisit it and figure out how to make it shorter.

Don't be soulless. A great slogan has to provoke emotion within people. It should reference something other than "buy me." Marketing people forget customers are people, not numbers. Try viewing your slogan from a personal point of view.

You also want to have an element of shock value- but in a good way. Don't use anything too controversial, but a slogan that is clever enough to turn heads and be remembered.

Branding a business is hard work. You might have to revisit the drawing board several times- but it will be worth it in the end.

Until next time, Twyla Garrett

Twyla Garrett, CBM, CHS III is an extraordinary serial entrepreneur, corporate speaker, and compelling author who has been personally invited to speak at The White House about creating jobs, economic growth, and the controversial fiscal cliff of 2012. ​

Garrett is known for her notable (sometimes 100% self-funded) business deals and for providing excellent opportunities to individuals facing immense challenges. She developed a home-based small event planning and catering business from 1995-1998. She opened her first of three clubs, Club Escape, in 2003. Club Escape is a summer nightclub and restaurant, located in Richmond, that provides at-risk teens an opportunity to learn the restaurant business. Within the next few years, she opened Mocha Fusion Coffee Lounge in 2008, and 2020 Martini Café in 2008; both restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio. She sold those ventures and moved the 2020 Martini Café and Lounge to Richmond, Virginia.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tips To Be More Accountable.

People need to be held accountable both in life and at work. There are two main reasons why someone may not take responsibility for their actions. They are motivation and consequences.

Motivation is what drives people to do things. People go to work for a paycheck. People workout to be healthier and look great. I can go on and on. But, are your employees (or yourself) really motivated when it comes to work? When you delegate a task for someone make sure you explain why it needs to be done and what your expectations are. Otherwise, it is just another task that isn't important and a non-essential part of achieving a paycheck.

You also want to talk about consequences before assigning a task to anyone, including yourself. Write down three bullet points that will be the result of what happens when the task isn't completed or ins't completed accurately. Being able to look at these bullet points will put the task at hand into perspective and provide real life outcomes for what happens when it is or isn't completed.

Keeping yourself and employees motivated and accountable isn't easy, but it has to be done in order for success to become a factor in your life or your work environment.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Name Your Business 101

If you're thinking of starting a business then you're going to need a great name. Not just a name that's clever and will stick in the mind of customers and potential customers, but a name that is going to rank high within search engines and introduce you to an online demographic. So, how is the perfect name selected?

Well, start with knowing what names are taken. Don't use another company's name or try to use the name just spelled differently. It will make your company harder to find and it tells customers you weren't really interested in finding the right name for your brand. Always Google potential company names first.

You also want to do the 'Interesting' test. What's this you ask? The 'Interesting' test is a way to brainstorm that is more effective. Grab yourself 20 blank pieces of paper- no lines. Next, think of the most interesting words possible. Put one word on each page. Then, walk away for twenty-four hours. When you do come back to the pages, read each one. Think about the emotion it creates within yourself. Try mixing and matching words together to develop a name or to inspire other interesting words. This process helps, trust me!

Finally, make sure your name tells a story. The 'Interesting' test is a great way to formulate a name but it also must depict what your company does in one to three words. Oh, and don't have a name longer than three words- it usually won't stick.

Naming your company is one of the most important and exciting elements associated with starting a business. Enjoy the process.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do You Tattoo?

Here's a hot topic: tattoos. Today's work culture is becoming more laid back. More people work from home, don't wear full garb (jeans and t-shirts are becoming ok- even encouraged at companies like Zappos), and the strict dress codes of years past are almost obsolete. But, what about tattoos?

Well, allowing someone to work and show their tattoos is really left up to the individual employer. As an employee, you can be overlooked for a position because of a tattoo. There is no black and white answer right now. But, there seems to be a general rule about tattoos at work.... "If I see them, you're not hired- maybe in fired," said on HR Director.

The artwork associated with many tattoos is subjective, making the verbiage or image a liability for many companies. A customer can be offended by a tattoo and sue your company since your ambassador is wearing the artwork. In reality, not too many people would hire a woman with a tattoo around her chest to watch children, make coffee, or present at marketing meeting. The woman may be bright, kind, and far away from any stereo types that surround chest tattoos- but, she is still likely to not get a job because of the artwork.

If you have a tattoo- hide it. Unless a boss tells you otherwise, or indicates otherwise, showing your artwork at work is a bad idea.

Until next time,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Handling Conflict in Business

Your employees are not always going to get along. In fact, you might not get along with some of your clients. This doesn't mean business should stop, profits should be loss, or people should change jobs. There are many positives that can come from conflict. It is knowing how to spot them that is the key.

The first thing you should when a conflict arises is quickly and professionally address the issue. You want to set aside a time, neutral place, and date to discuss the issues. Send out the invitation to the meeting to all parties involved and set the ground rules in the email or faxed invitation. Basically, setup the agenda, how long everyone has to present their key points, and possible outcomes and conclusions that may be drawn from the meeting. This will keep everyone focused during the meetings, offset a desire for any potential personal attacks, and bring you closer to resolving the issue.

Think about who cares the most about the outcome and also try to listen to the other party. We all can't be right or wrong all of the time You should always look to arrive in the middle with the other party if a conflict is present. If you push to win, you can push away a great employee or life-long client. But, if you meet that person half way, you have developed a loyal employee or client for life.

Being professional and handling conflict don't always go hand-in-hand. If you can grasp the concept and make the situation a win-win and creative learning experience then you're truly a wonderful leader.

Until next time,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cheater Ads- Advertising on a Shoestring Budget.

If you need to get exposure but can't afford advertising- don't panic. Here are a few ways to grow your clients without paying through the nose.

Offer something free in exchange for an email address. Even if it is a free consultation. The reward for an email address approach is crucial. The email address allows you to send out company newsletter, email specials, etc. which can lead to a 20% return on new services, client upgrades, and more. The email reward system is a must for any company.

Go with Google. Even if your budget is five dollars, Google AdWords can help! The content network is less targeted, higher volume, and typically much cheaper to advertise on. This really is DIY advertising but if you have a small budget, it's a great start!

Facebook. The ads you create on Facebook work pretty much the same as Google AdWords. However, you have a bit more of an advantage because Facebook allows you to use images. The bounce rate with Facebook is less than that of Google AdWords because of the imagery involved.

The worst thing you can do is nothing. Even if you have to keep up a free blog or guest blog for free on another, more popular blog- do it. Any exposure is better than no exposure.

Until next time,

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Most Important Financial Rule in Business

I get tons of questions about business and finance on a daily basis. While you can ask me about finance and your specific circumstances on July 24th at my free webinar, to register, I'm offering some basic advice below.

The most important fiance rule in business, and my advice to all those going into business for the first time, is to know your price point. Don't look at your competition and devalue yourself by charging less. Instead think about what sets you apart and then charge more for your services based on the unique skills, services and products you have to offer.

You're going to lose clients when you raise prices. This is a given. But, you don't want clients who aren't willing to pay you what you're worth. If someone is looking for cheap, let them go somewhere else and get cheap. After all, you do get what you pay for. The easiest way to make a profit, and grow your business, is to charge more than your competitor and target the big fish- not spend time fishing for a thousand minnows.

If you have some success but you're not cutting it budget wise you also need to take a second look at what and how you're charging customers. If you're not making a profit, but you have lots of interest, raise the bar a little. Change your rates, cater to clients who can pay, and drop the clients who are unwilling to pay or those who pay less than what you're worth.

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Networking.... Your Biggest Problem.

No matter what you do for a living, you will have to network at some point. So, what is the trick? Well, there are lots of them out there. In fact, I've covered them a few times right here on my blog. Today I want to talk about the biggest networking mistake you can make.

Failing to nurture relationships is the biggest mistake you can make. Tossing away a business card or not following up with someone based upon an "not needed, nothing he/she can do for me now" attitude could kill your future business. Small connections can lead to big contracts. I've learned this time and time again.

When you make a connection schedule a time to send a personal thank you note within 48 hours. If you're too busy, get someone to help you with this. Personal notes are crucial.

Next, schedule follow-ups. Yes, you want to schedule times to touch base with everyone. I like to schedule a touch-base email every 45 days. There are lots of software and cloud computing products out there can help you personalize mass emails with the click of a button!

Finally, I host an annual holiday part for my contacts. Don't just hold one for your employees. Have a networking party around the holidays for your contacts, your employees, and your employees contacts. If you're not an employer, send holiday cards to your contacts.

Staying available allows people to refer business to you and visa versa. You never want to be out of sight and out of mind.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Signs of Failure.

Are you failing in life? In business? Would you even know that you're failing when you're failing? Well, failing is something we will all have to deal with in business. The trick is getting back on the horse. In the meantime, if you have two or more of the symptoms below in business- you're failing and either need to restructure or close down and reboot.

#1. Your brand is all about you- the person.

Your brand should be about solving a problem for a client or consumer. People invest money in themselves, not you.

#2. You hire your employees super fast.

If you're hiring someone the same day they are interviewed- you have a problem. You need to do a background check and interview at least 20 candidates for a single job before making a decision. Hiring someone too fast may mean you're hiring the wrong person.

#3. Over promise and under deliver.

If you tell clients a bunch of junk just to get their business, and then you fail to deliver, the word is going to spread. Especially with the power of social media being at everyone's cell phone carrying finger tips.

#4. Delegate sales.

If you're not selling your company, your sales people won't either. You need to be closing contracts and making deals- not sales people. They can discount your company, refer other companies, missbrand your company.... the nightmares can go on from here. You need to be involved in the day-to-day sales of your company... period!

#5. Break the trust of your customers.

Don't ever lie in business. This can hurt your companies in so many ways that I can't list them all here. Lying will ruin your company and your reputation.

Happy weekend,

Twyla Garrett

Friday, July 5, 2013

Renting Commercial Property? Free How-To Tips!

Not every business owner starts off in the position to buy a building or office space. In fact, it is likely you won't buy an office space during your lifetime. Most businesses rent. However, there are some ways to end up in terrible leases- well, truth be told, this happens more often than not. So, I've come up with a few tips on how-to avoid entering into a bad commercial lease.

1. Build in renewal options to your original lease contract.
Too often I hear business have to go under because companies are unexpectedly hit with a rent increase without warning from the landlord. Always build in renewal expectations within the original contract so this doesn't happen to you. It can avoid closing down your company, even if just temporarily while you find a new space.

2. Seek out hidden extras, ask before hand to avoid a headache later.
Commercial real estate landlords often tag on extras such as maintenance fees, upkeep for shared facilities (Common Area Maintenance or CAM), and so on. What about utilities? These charges are usually the responsibility of the tenant, but how are they measured? What about insurance? Do you have to keep a certain amount for your fire policy or theft policy? Is electricity use individually metered or apportioned by the square footage? Ask to see these “hidden fees” and policies as well as examples of costs that are typically incurred by tenants. This will help you determine the true cost of the property.

3. Ask for a sublease clause.
Why is this important? Well, a sublease adds some flexibility so that should your business plans change you can sublet your space to another business. You're not stuck paying for empty space or left burning the landlord to deal with the debt at a later date.

Make sure you do business with a reliable people, too. A simple Google search can easy your mind or bring up issues that need to be addressed.

Happy property hunting!

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Create More Sales!

Every business could always use more sales. So, how do you get them? Well, there are a few tricks you can do to increase sales.

Start with shopping your competition. You may be way over the average price for your sales or services. Find out what your competitors are charging and then invent an incentive-based promotion to either tie their price or beat it.

Revisit your current customers. They are already spending money and working with you. What services could you offer them to add to their current contracts? Find a way to add service or products that will compliment their current needs and add more sales to your bottom line.

Finally, build honest relationships with people. Don't send out Spam promotions or pretend to care about your customer. Instead, send out meaningful email blasts and perform follow up calls to your customers (current, past and potential) to show your loyalty and interest in earning their business.

Following these three steps will really help start a sales surge. Sure, there are other techniques out there- but these three are the basis for a happy profit line.

Until next time,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Start a Business for $100 Dollars.

They will say it can't be done..... starting a business with $100 dollars in your wallet. Whoever 'they' are don't have a clue about ambition. The fact is you can start a business with less than $100 dollars in your pocket. Here's how;

1. Don't overly think about your challenges. If you do, you won't take the risk. Life is a risk, you need to take chances in order to get somewhere. So, start your business today without thinking about failure. After all, if it doesn't work out you only invested $100 dollars!

2. Spend your money on advertising or memberships to websites that will provide you potential clients. You can worry about marketing, ad space, licensing, etc. later. Start by approaching clients and have your first few clients pay for the technicalities of starting a business.

3. Worry about your web presence. GoDaddy sells domains for under a dollar. All you have to do is Google this phrase. By your business domain now- even if you have to wait on the website. This is an important part of your future business.

Again, don't be scared to start your business. Take your idea and run with it. If the idea is good- all else will fall into place.