Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Habits Mentally Strong People Practice.

Are you mentally strong? Much like your body has to be worked out to become strong, the brain does too. Many of the most celebrated CEOs and business leaders around the world are know for being "tough as nails", but this didn't happen overnight. In fact, most CEOs have to practice being mentally strong. Here are the top five habits of mentally strong people.

#1. They don't attend pitty parties. That's right, the mentally strong don't feel sorry for themselves when things don't happen as planned. They don't blame others or dwell on things, either. So, if you want to be great, brush off something that didn't work out and move on without holding a grudge.

#2. They refuse to be complacent, even when the money is good. Yes, complacent only means you will one day be outdated. Embrace change and learn new things daily.

#3. They refuse to please others. Mentally strong people have a job to do. Worrying about pleasing others or how others will react is a distraction that will cut off money and success. Don't worry about people, worry about the task at hand.

#4. Don't give up after a venture fails. Most of the known CEOs have had failures. But they're out there, spinning a new business and looking at other opportunities. If you let failure stop you, then you really do fail!

5. Don't rely on the world for anything, including breaks. The world owes you nothing, regardless of how tough you had it as a kid or so on. If you know the world isn't going to give you a break, then you realize you have to try harder than everyone else to be successful.

This is my last blog until January 2, 2014. As I leave for the holiday break, I truly hope you learn from these five practices for mentally strong people.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,

Twyla

Thursday, December 12, 2013

5 Rules for Growing Your Business in 2014

I recently was reading a trade industry magazine for business men and women. This magazine had a section dedicated to sound business advice. While a lot of the information and quotes were pretty basic, I found five quotes that really inspired me to look at what I can improve upon in 2014. I decided to share these quotes with you, and expand a bit on them, to help inspire your growth as a business owner in 2014.

1. "Never confuse activity with progress." —Ty, Boston, MA
I agree. You can be busy and still not grow. Don't be satisfied with the business you do have. Go after the business you don't have!

2. "Cash is more important than your mother." —Grace, Shanghai, China
I know this is harsh, but cash is king. Your mother wouldn't have nice things if it wasn't for your extra support (I hope). So, know cash makes the world go round and if you're not bringing it in as a business owner then you're doing something wrong.

3. "Always look for people smarter than you, and surround yourself with people who can challenge and inspire you." —Doug, Redwood City, CA

If you think you're the best then you will fail fast. Find people who know more than you and continue to learn.

4. "Hire slowly. Fire quickly." —Jenny, Seattle
I couldn't agree more. You can develop skill, you can't develop customer service. If you have someone on your team who is abrasive and not caring, fire them right away before the situation becomes worse.

5. "Getting your business launched and your first product onto the market will take you twice as long, and cost you twice as much, as you think it will." - —Dave, Toronto, ON

Well said! If you think this is easy, you're not really equipped to run a business.

I hope these quotes have inspired you to do great things in 2014.

Until next time,

Twyla

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Homeland Security; Rain Forecasts Smuggling in Arizona.

I recently read an article in Homeland Security magazine discussing how raining weather resulted in an increase of smuggling attempts in the state of Arizona. This brought me to the topic of the basic issues at hand always should be addressed first. Something as simple as a weather event can create a national security concern for our country. Why? Because people tend to slow down and not do as good of a job outdoors when the weather is compromised.

The Homeland Security magazine says "“Narcotics traffickers use any means to move their products, including strapping the drugs to their backs, cloning vehicles and even trying to use the weather to their advantage." So, how prepared are we really when it comes to weather events and security? This article implies, and I agree, that bad weather puts our security efforts in more of a relaxed state of mind. Think about it. You're less likely to be pulled over for speeding during a rain storm because the officer, naturally, doesn't want to stand in the rain and write a ticket. This is a fact. And, now, it seems the same is going on with our border patrol agents and those in the position to watch over this country during a weather event. Luckily, we are now aware of the considered advantage by those trying to trespass into this country and can prepare and respond accordingly.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this finding. Please leave a comment below.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett of IME

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is Your Website Fun?

I just redid my website for IME. While I loved our old flash website, it wasn't functional anymore and it wasn't perceived as fun. I had to cater to what my customers needed to know and tell them a little bit more. So, how do you engage customers once they hit your website? Do you tell them everything about yourself? Should you leave them wanting more?

Now at days, more photos and less text is more. We live in a social-sharing world where a picture is worth way more than a thousand words. White backgrounds and easy to read text fonts are important. Being clever and not overly bearing or pushing with your web content is key. Oh, and let's talk about SEO (search engine optimized content). While it is important to have SEO anchor words and phrases on your website, it shouldn't be littered with them. Make sure your content really says something about you and your brand.

Social media is really important. You want your website to show you do have a social media presence so customers may instantly communicate with you from your website and also share your website (content, photos, links, etc.) right away. Easy navigation is a plus, too. Gone are the days of hosting both header, footer and side bars. You should have easy, font-driven buttons that are direct with content.

If you're thinking about redesigning your website, go for it. You might want to also read up on the psychology of color before picking a specific theme.

Until next time,

Twyla

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fantastic Business Habits for 2014

The New Year is just a couple of week away. Boy, this year flew by fast! If you're thinking about a resolution, stop right now and read. I've come up with a few habits every entrepreneur should form in 2014 to ensure success.

Start with focusing on your life style, not a life change. People tend not to change much. Your likes, dislikes, goals- they pretty much remain the same throughout life. Goals can be expanded upon, what you dislike may soften but will always exist, your likes may go through phases but the core of what appeals to you never truly leaves. Thus, don't focus on changing your life this up and coming year. Instead, focus on how you will improve your lifestyle to pivot through life's changes.

You also want to have a resolution to be reasonable. We live in a now society. Everything has to be easier, techier (is that a word,lol) and happening in the moment. Not everything has to be done now. In fact, if you rush something- chances are it will turn out terrible. So, resolve to be patient and slow down this year. Your business WILL benefit from this small action.

Drink more water. Yes, this is my advise. Too many of us get caught up in the coffee, energy drink, Skinny Girl beverage trend and social circle drinks. But adding a glass (or one more glass) of water to your daily routine in 2014 will improve your health and alertness. It is an affordable and easy resolution to make and keep.

This week is the last week of my blog. I will be taking a two week break, and then back with you in 2014. So, send in those business questions now and I will try to get most of them answered by Friday.

Twyla

Friday, December 6, 2013

Test Your Business Ideas

I recently received a request to write about testing business ideas. While we can prepare for and plan our businesses around concepts and data, there is no real way to test if we're going to be successful or not.

There are some ways to double check if you are or are not on the right path when it comes to business. Here are my top three tips to see if you are on the right path to projected success;

#1. Focus on goals, don't just have them.

I know many people who write goals down. They have a goal for every part of their life. What they're missing is a plan. You need to have a goal followed by a plan and work at it daily.

#2. Be reasonable with your time frames. Don't plan to be a millionaire at the end of two years. If only life were this easy. Make sure you have a realistic timeline to compliment your goals and your plans.

#3. Make profit your number one goal. Don't think about expansion, second offices, etc. until you actually have a solid profit coming in. You can't just think big, you have to grow a profit to get big.

I hope this week's tips and topics have helped you developed your business plans. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Homeland Security Book is NOW for Sale!

It's here. My first book is for sale on my website. It is dedicated to the subject of Homeland Security. You can buy it as an immediate download for $9.99 or a printed version for $14.99 +S&H.

Here is the chapter preview:

Chapter Preview

Chapter 1 The creation of the Department of Homeland Security
Chapter 2 Overview of homeland sustainability challenges
Chapter 3 What homeland security can’t do
Chapter 4 What homeland security can do
Chapter 5 How social media can help government agencies communicate disaster messages
Chapter 6 How to prioritize projects
Chapter 7 How to assess and handle natural disasters
Chapter 8 How to assess and handle threats
Chapter 9 Urban Areas Security Initiative – Overview of the 32 jurisdictions
Chapter 10 Mass transit disasters and accidents
Chapter 11 Moving on – Lions and Tigers and Grants, Oh my! How IME can help you in a variety of ways and why the next series is important for those seeking to write and win a grant!

Here is how you can buy the book today! http://www.hireime.com/#!homeland-security-book/cvrb

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Homeland Security Issue of the Week!

I want to talk about a report recently on Forbes.com related to Cyber Security. The report stated "the DHS has its own set of cyber vulnerabilities." Yes, according to a full report by the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security suffers from cyber security issues. So, if the DHS is exposed enough to cyber criminal activity, how do you protect your own agency or business?

Here's a list from the DHS' own website noting how to protect yourself from a cyber attack. http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/protect-myself-cyber-attacks However, there is no 100% bullet-proof vest for your computer system to wear- as the DHS itself will admit.

I decided to expand upon a few of these topics. For example, one tip is to NEVER click on links sent in random emails. Well, this is pretty obvious. However, you don't have to receive random emails in the first place. You can set up personal and professional accounts to not accept emails sent from people other than those on an approved list.

You should be more concerned with malware than emailed links, too. Accrding to the DHS, "Destructive malware has the capability to target a large scope of systems, and can potentially execute across multiple systems throughout a network. As a result, it is important for an organization to assess their environment for atypical channels for potential malware delivery and/or propagation throughout their systems. Systems to assess include:

Enterprise Applications – particularly those which have the capability to directly interface with and impact multiple hosts and endpoints. Common examples include
Patch Management Systems,
Asset Management Systems,
Remote Assistance software (typically utilized by the corporate Help Desk),
Anti-Virus,
Systems assigned to system and network administrative personnel,
Centralized Backup Servers, and
Centralized File Shares."

My company, IME, can help you take a comprehensive look at your current cyber setup and possible issues. We can help rectify many issues, too. Will you be 100% safe and secure? No- that's impossible. Even the DHS has private waves of computing that are hackable. However, you will be more prepared to prevent and respond to cyber security attacks and threats.

Until tomorrow,
Twyla

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Your Marketing Message.... Is It Believable?

I received an interesting question the other day. An email arrived asking me how to make a marketing campaign more believable. Well, I don't think there should ever be dishonesty in marketing and advertising. You should sell what you know and sell honestly. However, you can improve how you market your product to gain more attention.

The first step to do this is to clarify your thoughts, services and/or products. Don't use too much text on any packaging. It will bore people. Don't forget, we live in a virtual world now where many brands only have 140 characters to get their point across. Be direct.

Next, you want to avoid over used descriptions. Never deem yourself or your products as "the best", "hot", "on sale", or "amazing." Instead, get creative. Use terms that create an emotional connection and aren't a part of a sales pitch.

Finally, don't be a sales person. Don't write to sell something. Instead, sell something by writing marketing content that is relatable and not after a customer's wallet. I promise you this approach works better than any sales page out there!

Keep those great questions coming. Remember, tomorrow's blog is on the topic of Homeland Security so be sure to tune in.

Twyla Garrett

Monday, December 2, 2013

Starting A Business in 2014? 3 MUST Tips for Success.

So, you're going to open a business in 2014. Congrats and welcome to the real world of entrepreneurship. You will NOT be rich over night and you're going to have to work more than you think. I'm going to share three MUST do secrets for success to help you during your first year of business.

1. Don't have offices if at all possible. I mean cubical farms or inner-offices where people can close doors on one another. You should promote and open work space where everyone can look at, talk to and see what others are doing. This promotes less slacking off for your employees and also generates better communication skills and sales results.

2. Don't buy t-shirts and other branded items for customers or employees to wear or use outside the office. This is a huge waste of money. Make sure you are spending as little money as needed on things that are not actually needed. In other words, don't buy into the hype of owning a business. Know what you can and can't spend.

3. Don't listen to your customers. If you know what you have will sell, and it isn't selling, change your marketing strategy- not the product / services based on the opinions of those who aren't buying. Change your marketing, change your market, but don't change your entire product or services. You will find your customers, you just have to stay consistent with your branding.

Running a business is going to be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding, things you can do. Make sure you stay focused, on budget and strong.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

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