Friday, January 31, 2014

Breaking Up with Your Bank 101

There are some occasions where I tell business owners to break up with their banks. Yes, like all things related to business, if your bank doesn’t appreciate your commitment as a customer- break up with it. Inspired by a friend’s recent experience, I’m listing three signs that may help you decide if it is time to ditch your bank for another one.

1. Your bank’s representative never has an answer. If you don’t have a personal relationship with your bank’s staff as a business owner, it is a bad thing. If your point of contact at the bank can’t answer questions and has to check with someone higher at another brand, it is a bad thing. Why? Well, business owners often have “grey areas” and personal relationships can help push people through these areas and get things accomplished. A yes or no, black or white answer from a representative who doesn’t know you means your business truly doesn’t matter to the bank.

2. Understand your representative hasn’t ever signed a paycheck for someone else. Thus, he isn’t going to be as invested in your business as you. However, he or she should care. They are there to help you and they’re not the IRS – thus they are paid to guide and consult on what works for your business. If the bank isn’t helping guide you when needed, it is break up time.

3. The bank is connected with the right people. Your bank / banker should have a list of recommendations from CPAs, attorneys and more. They act as the hub of all things financial and business. If the banker doesn’t have recommendations then how involved in your business – or business in general- can he or she be?

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Are You A Terrible Sales Person?

Today I overheard someone say that she was a terrible salesperson. She spoke about her fear of public speaking, how she didn’t want to come off as pushy and how she couldn’t ever ask anyone for money. Wow, those are all the elements of being a terrible sales person. However, she can work on these things.

Selling doesn’t have to be about the bottom line. In fact, if you think of it this way then you probably are a terrible sales person. Sales people provide solutions for their customers. Great sales people aren’t worried about the commission. Instead, they are driven to connect their customers with the right products/ services. Thinking you are pushy or asking people for money going into the game will put you at a disadvantage. You need to be in the mindset that you are providing insight and solutions for money and the money part needs to be at the back of your mind.

If you are afraid of public speaking, how do you order coffee in the morning? Think about this! You have to wait in line with a bunch of other people. You have to provide a very busy barista with a quick, yet complex, order that is accurate and you do this in front of a crowd. Your sales pitch shouldn’t be any harder than providing a coffee order to barista in a busy coffee shop.

If you are in a position to sell, embrace it. I know this sounds easier said than done but if you really work on changing your mindset and understanding you don’t have to be Tony Robbins to get your point across, then the sales process will be easier for you.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homeland Security & the 2014 Superbowl!

It is an obvious statement to discern the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going to be all over this year’s Superbowl. In fact, an increased amount of air marshals and behavioral detection officers, radiological detection teams and random baggage checks at transit hubs are among the security measures the federal Homeland Security Department will deploy in the next few days to help local police in New Jersey and New York secure the Super Bowl.

With the current threats and security concerns revolving around Sochi, it isn’t hard to connect the dots and prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best, when it comes to major events, like the Superbowl, within and outside our country. So, what is so different about this year’s Superbowl versus any other? Why the need for more security?

Unlike audiences for other championship games, spectators of Super Bowl XLVIII will rely heavily on mass transit. Resulting from this factor alone, The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told CNN that it will deploy its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response, or VIPR, teams. Composed air marshals, transportation security inspectors, behavioral detection officers, the teams will work at train hubs, particularly New York's Penn Station and Secaucus Junction in New Jersey, too. Yes, mass transit going to and from the Superbowl is the number one reason for the bump in security this year.

Publishing specific news feeds to help travelers understand the increase in security, the TSA has advised security measures to be prepared for (in and around NY and NJ) are:

-- The FBI plans add more analysts, weapons of mass destruction specialists and other agents to assist local authorities.

--The New York Police Department and FBI are increasing operations that target sex trafficking, which investigators say often increases for major sporting and other events.

-- Customs and Border Protection officers will scan cargo entering the stadium, looking for drugs and weapons. They also will help secure air space over the game.

-- The U.S. Coast Guard will help local authorities secure canals and rivers that pass next to the stadium complex.

-- Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will target counterfeit vendors selling fake Super Bowl memorabilia

I know the last point seems mute, but there is a serious concern over counterfeit vendors and license infringement for a variety of reasons.

I’m not a huge football fan, but like everyone- I will be watching the game. I have great faith in the TSA’s efforts, along with the FBI and CIA, to keep the public safe. I hope this quick synopsis as to what increased efforts are being made to keep our citizens safe during the Superbowl has been informative.

If you want to learn more about Homeland Security, my book on the subject is available as an immediate download directly from my business website. Here’s the link: http://www.hireime.com

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Branding and Sales

Here’s a business secret most entrepreneurs don’t want you to know…. They started their companies with an idea only, not a true foundation to what it is they are selling. Yes, many business owners started with a “Sell first, figure the rest out later” plan.

While you shouldn’t bank your entire organization’s success on this type of thinking, there is something to be said for building value with sales before it actually exists. So, how do you do this? First, understand how your services or products can help solve a problem for your potential client. If you can show him or her not how great your services / products are but how they will actually fix a challenge, you’re golden when it comes to value.

Next, understand your prospect’s ambitions and tailor your pitch to meet these. If you can’t meet the client’s ambitions, don’t promise to. You will both be disappointed in the end. Be honest but be prepared to sell the value in accomplishing goals for your client- or at least in helping him or her get there.

Selling your services or products as a new company (sometimes even as an established one) can be hard but that doesn’t mean it will not work. Be persistent and be ready to show how much value your potential client may be losing by not hiring you!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

Monday, January 27, 2014

3 Bookkeeping Tips for Business Owners

As a business owner you need to be 100% involved in your finances. Don’t pass the torch onto a CPA or a financial firm and hope for the best. You care the most about your money. Period!

I’ve compiled three tips for business owners when it comes to bookkeeping. They’re listed below and remember – no one cares as much about your money than you do, so don’t assume bookkeepers and CPAs have it handled. Check their work and then check again.

#1. Track your expenses monthly. Sit down and really take the time to identify where any overspending is occurring and how next month can be better.

#2. Pay your invoices on time. Seems simple but I have to stress it. Not only can late paid invoices cause you to absorb tremendous late fees, this act will lower your D&B number. You want to be paid on time and so do other business owners.

#3. Make sure you know what and when taxes to the IRS are due. I’m serious. Most business owners aren’t aware of the specific and different deadlines required by the IRS for business taxes. If you don’t know, find out.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

Friday, January 24, 2014

2 Business Tips You NEED for Success

I’ve been asked to provide some more business tips on obtaining success. While measuring success is different for everyone, I have come up with two pinpointed areas that help people elevate either their services or products. If you’re in business, you should implement the two tips below as soon as possible.

#1. Know that superheroes don’t exist and accept that you are not one of them. I know this is a bit of a disappointment but you’re only human. In order to be successful you have to have high-goals and reasonable expectations. Some people fail in business because they become overwhelmed when goals are met within their deadlines. No, you might not meet your own goals, but this doesn’t mean you’re not on your way. Take off the virtual super hero cape and get to work. If a goal doesn’t pan out, pivot but don’t quit.

#2. Understand stress is part of the game. I met one lady who had a business for three months. Yes, three months. This isn’t enough time to gauge anything- growth, customer reviews, etc. If you don’t have the tolerance for stress, you’re not going to make it in business and success is out of reach. I know this is blunt but it is a fact of life. Owning a business is not stress sometimes. Owning a business is stressful all of the time. You’re going to have to deal with stress daily. Are you prepared to handle it?

Success isn’t given, it is earned. Sometimes it is earned on your fourth or fifth try. The key to success is not quitting and not believing wealth and success will come without a price tag.

Have a great weekend and more business tips coming your way Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, January 23, 2014

3 Tricks to Remember Names

How many times have you been at a major event, had a great conversation with someone and then forgot their name? It happens to all of us. However, using someone's name is important to closing deals and forging alliances. It makes them feel special. Why do you think Starbucks is able to cell ten cent coffee for five dollars a cup? The coffee isn't special, the experience is! Your name is part of the Starbucks experience.

If you need help remembering the names of people you meet then continue to read. I've come up with some great tips for you.

1. Ask the person to spell their name. Even if the person's name is 'Bob' ask him to spell it. He may seem surprised by this and that is ok. I find being honest with people as to why you're asking acts as a great icebreaker within itself.

2. Make a mental association. This seems obvious, but it works. If a man is wearing a funny tie- I refer to him as Funny Tie Bob or Pink Gucci purse Brenda. This trick really does work for face-to-name recall.

3. Repeat the person's name twice after you met him or her to him or her in conversation. This will help you get used to the face and name syncing together.

If all else fails, admit you forgot the person's name. It may make him or her (even you) cringe for a second, but you will move on and so will the other person. Don't be afraid to admit you forgot the name , ask for the name and then continue on the with the conversation.

Until next time,

Twyla

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why Our Homeland Security Panel Chief Is Worried About Sochi.

Russia isn't helping alleviate the security concerns many countries have regarding Sochi right now. The Olympic games that will commence in Sochi, Russia on February 7th are already at the center of controversy because of security concerns. Homeland Security's Panel Chief Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul told CNN today an improvement is needed in intelligence-sharing between Russia and the United States. And he voiced concern about the risk of a suicide bomber setting off an explosive device.

We should, as a global society, be concerned and there is always room to do more when it comes to security. Does this mean Russia's current efforts and that of the other involved countries are falling short? No. Because of my position with IME, overkill and over preparedness is a very good thing when it comes to security issues. I can understand where Mr. McCaul is coming from and I can understand how the companies and other efforts involved don't want spend time reviewing what might go wrong any longer when efforts can be focused making sure things go right.

The FBI has sent agents to Sochi to help in counterterrorism activities, and the Pentagon has offered to provide military assistance. Two Navy ships stationed in the Black Sea are available, if Americans need to be evacuated. President Obama also spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone on Tuesday to discuss security during the Olympics. Things are getting better when it comes to Olympic security and McCaul, who recently toured Sochi agrees despite his recent statements.

I'll be posting special blogs on the issues of security, international collaboration and more throughout the Olympics. Continue to check in here for more information and updates. In the meantime, check out my eBook on Homeland Security for sale at www.HireIme.com.

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SEO and Your Business

Are you SEO savvy? If you don’t know what SEO itself means, chances are you’re not. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. A few years back everyone was chasing the SEO content boom. As social media outlets progressed, SEO now has to be blended with actual content- not just key words.

SEO words are picked up quicker by Google and other search engines. This is why websites in the past had a lot of key word (or SEO content) that made no sense or didn’t really say anything at all. Things are changing, again, and 2014 is going to change how internet prowlers and content writers use SEO as an element to capture business.

First, branding has to be more important than just getting content online. This is opposite of a few years past. If your branding and content isn’t providing real info, it’s not working.

Second, Google is relying more than ever on human signals in the form of shares and mentions on social media to help vet sites. What does this mean? If you’re not placing social media sharing tags on every form of content you write or publish, it isn’t being recognized as a searchable asset in Google. Finally, purposing how your SEO content words work together. You should have content, key words and links in this order. Any other priority and your efforts will not produce results.

I hope this helps you steer how you will drive your digital marketing efforts in 2014.

Twyla

Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Get Oprah Money.

Want to know the number one phrase I hear as a business owner? “Oprah,” is the most popular word / phrase that I hear. From people pitching me as the next “Oprah” of business to people stating they need to get their products and books on “Oprah’s” show – it seems I can’t escape the word.

Oprah didn’t have a blog to read about success. She used her resources, merit and talent to expand her brand. She will be the first to admit it wasn’t easy. Luckily, you have a blog to read free business tips on. Since I hear of Oprah so often, I decided to share her secret to financial success.

Yes, this popular infographic is floating around the internet (still can’t escape Oprah) and I figured my readers would love to see it, and share their comments on it, this Friday.

So, enjoy and I will have more for you on Monday!

Twyla

Thursday, January 16, 2014

3 Features Your Website’s Front Page Must Have!

Great websites can sell their products without a customer every calling into to ask questions. So, what makes for a great website? After reading tons of articles online, and speaking with friends and clients, I’ve nailed down the three features every great website must contain.

#1. Contact information. While this seems obvious, many companies are so afraid of Spam that they refuse to put anything other than an 800 number on their website. Why? Spam is against the law and easy to report and get rid of now at days. You should have an 800 number, a regular number, a fax number and at least two email addresses (one generic and one personal) on your website to make consumers feel you’re willing to be reached.

#2. Images that say what you do without words. These shouldn’t be stock images or images of people at a meeting. They should be specific pictures that define who you are and what your company does without someone reading any part of your website. If you sell cars, photos of a car lot will work. If you sell steak, a photo of your steak works best. Be clear and tell a story through visual images on page one.

#3. Social media links. Don’t save these for the contact page. Customers should be able to see what you’re writing and posting on your social media accounts because it forms an immediate and emotional relationship, which has been proven to increase sales.

If you have these three elements on the front page of your website, you’re in great shape.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Human Trafficking & Homeland Security

This blog post may be a little off topic when you think of Homeland Security. I promise you it is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issue. What am I talking about? Human trafficking.

According to the DHS;

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations investigates incidents of human trafficking, arrests traffickers, protects victims, and provides short-term immigration relief for foreign victims;

U.S. Customs and Border Protection interdicts traffickers, protects victims, and disrupts human trafficking schemes at our borders;

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides long-term immigration relief to foreign victims of human trafficking through its T and U visas; and,

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Health Affairs to develop human trafficking awareness training for law enforcement and first responders. “

Our society is not only seeing an increase in the number of human trafficking incidents, but we’re seeing an increase in the amount of children being used. These children are trafficked for a variety of reasons, but mostly for drug mule or sex slave purposes! We should all be outraged right now.

January is National Human Trafficking and Slavery Prevention Month. As business owners and everyday people, we need to be on the lookout for indicators of trafficking and then report any suspicious activity. Know that you can report suspicious human trafficking activity, or get help from federal law enforcement, by calling 1-866-347-2423.

The DHS has a Blue Campaign running right now and the public is encouraged to educated themselves about the things to watch for and how to become involved. Here is the link: https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/take-action

I’m hopeful you will take the time to visit the link above and share this information with others. Let’s all work together to stop this from happening again.

Twyla Garrett, CEO of IME

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are You Attractive?

OK, the title of tonight’s post may seem silly but there is a lot to be said for making your brand as attractive as you!

Your brand is representative your voice. Your business has to reflect what you stand for, what is sells, and the relationships it has with vendors and clients all through social media and traditional design and content marketing. Easier said than done? Yes! But that doesn’t mean it is an impossible task.

In easy terms, consider how you dress. Do you always wear black? Do you wear color? Are you defined by a signature hair style? If you have little things about your appearance that define you to your friends and family then you already know how to brand yourself. You just need to take this concept and apply it to your brand.

The next step is to remain consistent. If you are always evolving your appearance as a business people may assume that you have a brand identity issue happening- or worse, you don’t know who your customers are.

Being attractive to your demographic is a major part of branding and what makes and breaks certain companies.

Try writing down five consistent things about your personal appearance and your company’s brand right now. Then run a survey and ask your customers the same question about your brand. See if they can come up with the same answers as you. If not, you need to adjust your attractiveness to customers.

Until next time,

Twyla

Monday, January 13, 2014

Data Is Great ; Instincts Are Better

You’re either born a business person or you’re not. It is this simple. I’ve encountered two types of entrepreneurs in my life. Those who know business and those who know how to repeat facts and review data.

While data and facts are great, they will not help you when it comes to the instinctual decision making skills needed to survive in business. You have to know how to read people, read between the lines when considering business trends, and understand the profit potential associated with gut instinct.

Allowing data to navigate your company’s operation is like driving drunk. You’re somewhat aware of what is going on, but you’re not fully capable of operating a vehicle. In fact, operating a vehicle while impaired is dangerous (often fatal) for so many reasons. The applies to using data to pivot your business or business ideas. It’s fatal if not dangerous.

So, this Monday ask yourself if you run your business relying solely on data or mixing statistics with personal feelings. If you’re doing the later then you are in good shape. If you rely only on numbers and figures then ask yourself how business is. I’m willing to bet not as great as it can be.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Friday, January 10, 2014

3 Website "Musts" in 2014

As we head into 2014, business men and women are seeking to establish their websites by adding more elements to their websites. So, what are the trends for websites in 2014?

The first must is simplicity. A psychology study recently linked increased sales to websites with a simple design. It turns out the more options you provide customers with on a website, the more complex they find it and log off quicker.

Your next must is to use plain colors. Bright colors, while fun, are a turn-off for many perspective colors. A lot of muted colors have the same impact. Keep your website simple and the colors limited to two primary colors.

Finally, video is king. This isn't new, but more video is replacing sales content daily. Content is king, but it has to be valuable content. Product sales and bio sections should be left to video, having quality content replace everything else.

Consider these tips as you head into the weekend and make changes based on these suggestions.

Until Monday,

Twyla

Thursday, January 9, 2014

3 Ways to Be Productive in the Morning.

Some people get more work done at night. Others love to knock out their workload in the morning. If you’re like me, working late into the evening is worth sleeping in. And, if you’re like me, you don’t always get to sleep in!

So, how do you maximize the most of your a.m. time? I’ve come up with three solid tips that truly help me and should help you.

#1. Think about your day before you start it. Easier said than done with all the social media and email distractions, right?! I found if I break my day into three sections (big projects, email and phone calls, light work) throughout the day (morning, noon, evening), that the pressure of having to do everything all at once goes away and my mornings are easier.

#2. Don’t review your email before noon. As stated above, you should section out your day. If you open emails before noon, any big projects you have to work on could get bumped because someone wrote an email that sounded urgent. If someone has an urgent project, they will call you if an email isn’t responded to quickly enough. Otherwise, put email on the back burner until the afternoon.

#3. Check the temperature of your work environment. That’s right, if your workspace is too hot in the morning (or any time for that matter), productivity will suffer. Make sure your office isn’t too cold or too hot.

Well, that’s it for my tips. Connect with me on social media and let’s discuss if , after implementing these tips, your mornings are more organized.

Until next time,

Twyla

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3 Ways to Get Rich Quick, Yes... Really!

There is a story trending on the internet today regarding getting rick quick. This story notes nine fail-safe ways to boom your business. I read the tips. While I wish I could endorse them, I simply can't. There is no way to beat hard work and years of failures and successes to develop wealth, unless you win the lotto!

However, if you want to become rich, consider some of the following traits;

1. Did you have it tough as a child? Yes, adversity can create wealth. People who have had to survive and thrive in unlivable environment tend to make the most money in this world. If this is you, don't think of yourself as defeated. Think of your background as a competitive edge. It has provided you with the stamina to see things through, especially though situation!

2. Do what you love. People who invest in business they're not invested in usually limit how much money they can make. If you do something you love, the chances of success greatly improve.

3. Live poor. Two thirds of America's millionaires are self-employed. They didn't have anything handed to them. They continue to grow their business because they live below their means and invest their profits back into their passion. In other words, they're not making it rain every Friday night at the club. Be discreet with the money you do have and live as if you're broke!

While I hate to say there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it's true. However, you can grow your own rainbow and fill up your own pot with gold, it just takes work.

Twyla

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Making of a YouTube Video -101

This week I've been discussing marketing and how to help your start-up with a little (or none) marketing budget. Today, however, I want to talk about YouTube. Now, I will say that I'm not a big video fan. Having YouTube videos will not make or break my company, but I work in a specialized field. Most companies, on the other hand, do need a YouTube video - or some type of video introduction to their company- in order to stay competitive in today's social media market.

If you are pondering making your own YouTube video, you're at the right place. I decided to do some research and put together a mini-guide (below) on the proper way to create a YouTube video for your company and marketing purposes.

How to Create a YouTube video 101.

First, consider the proper timing when sketching out the frames and script for your video. A great YouTube video should be between one and three minutes. Being concise and to the point is just as important as being timely. Videos that are too short have proven themselves to be ineffective. Videos that are over three minuets statistically bore the customer and you lose business.

Make sure you explain what your company is, who you are, and what services you provide within the first thirty seconds. Yes, timing is everything. Be upfront about who you are and what you're all about. You don't want to bank on a busy professional sitting to the end of the video to grasp an understanding of what it is you do or sell.

Do you have room for a call to action? You should! A video shouldn't just be a video about your company's products or services. It should have a call to action in the video. Make sure you are clear when presenting the call to action and stay away from sales-like verbiage. Be clever with how you word your call to action.

Remain professional. I am not kidding when I say I have watched video after video where business owners are pitching products standing outside on a windy day. I can't hear what they are saying, so why did these people put their terribly produced videos online? Don't they know this hurts their companies? You don't have to have a budget to make a professional video- as long as you use common sense. Your video has to be clear and look professional as much as it needs to be entertaining.

Still have questions? Leave me a message below and I will be happy to personally respond to all of your YouTube and video questions.

In the meantime, check out the 5 most hated YouTube videos via this link: http://gizmodo.com/5866695/the-five-most-hated-youtube-videos-in-internet-history Happy marketing,

Twyla

Monday, January 6, 2014

Start-Up Marketing; How to be Your Own Salesperson

Most companies would love to start-up with an amazing sales team in place. This isn't always the case. In fact, most start-up companies hit the streets with one sales person- the owner. If you have a small sales team (or none), don't panic. I've put together my top five sales / marketing tips to help you not only survive during this time, but thrive!

1. You're likely going to compete against established companies. Focus on how you're different, not how old the company is.

2. Pay for referrals. That's right, reward your early customers with deep discounts for referrals they send over- even if the referrals don't by. This will put a customer, who is already in love with your products or services, in the sales position for you- and for free!

3. Don't be pushy. People don't like pushy. There is a reason used car salespeople have their reputation. Focus on being honest with your sales leads and help them figure out how your products and services solves their challenges.

4. Gather data and review it often. Ask yourself why people aren't buying. Then ask those who said "no" why they did. Knowing why you're not selling is far more valuable then understanding why you are selling.

5. Say no to negotiations. If a client starts bartering with your price point only because of how long your company has been opened, walk away. In the long run, it will cost you more to earn this client's business then it will generate profits and referrals. If a client isn't sold on you as a company or the products / services it provides, move on. There will be leads out there willing to listen, excited about a new brand and option on the market, and they will have cash readily available.

Starting up a company isn't easy, but it isn't impossible. Stick with me during my January marketing series and I promise your profit margins will improve.

Until next time,

Twyla

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 Sure Ways to Creating Buzz!

It's January. It's a new year. How are you going to get your brand and your business noticed this year? Chances are you don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to compete as a start-up against the major players. Well, I've got a secret for you... tons of available cash doesn't have to be your make or break point. You can create your own buzz online and for very little money. Here's how:

Start with knowing who your audience is. If you don't know who to write for, you will not be great at creating meaningful messages. Sit down and take the time to define who your desired audience is when it comes to social media. Use this definition as your blueprint for creating buzz.

Next, create an idea bubble and then take these ideas and make them into an editorial calender. Follow your calender to the "t", but also make sure you are really interacting with online customers and potential customers. Don't rely on automatic systems to make your brand relevant. You have to be there, in the trenches, updating your accounts and responding like a real person.

That's it. If you do these two things, you're already ahead of the game. Too many people rely on autosend systems and reaching a wide audience that they forget the marketing impact behind planning and knowing who you are writing to / for.

I will be spending most of January talking about marketing and how vital it is for any business or brand.

Until next time,

Twyla

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