Monday, March 31, 2014

The Best Time Management Tip EVER!

Yes, I am bold enough to say it. I have the best time management tip ever. Keep reading because this tip will solve all of your time management problems and you will never, ever have to study up on the topic again. What is it?

Alright, here it is- the big, big- big secret to managing your time effectively. Say goodbye to your ‘to do’ list. No, I am not crazy. I swear this works. You see, the lists we create for ourselves put pressure on ourselves and we fill them up with tasks that aren’t immediate. We have items on these lists that read like a shopping list. You need to create your own schedule and block of times for certain areas of business, but not for specific items.

Example, if you book your own meetings- and you should- only schedule two hours a day to fit in all your meetings. Call this block “meetings” but don’t write anything further down. Only schedule meetings during this block of time. If it doesn’t work for someone else, let them move their day around. So, every day you walk into your office- let’s say from 11 to 1 – you know you have meetings. You may have one meeting, you may have four meetings. However, the meetings don’t start any sooner than 11 and go no later than 1pm. This gets the meeting elements into a concise block of time and you can move on to the next block of action items right away without worrying about a long list of tasks.

Try removing yourself from a ‘to do’ list business formula. Try my formula for a week and I swear you will be hooked because it simply is effective!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, March 28, 2014

Is Your Brand In Danger of Becoming Extinct?

Just because you built a brand doesn’t mean you can sustain a brand. Going into the weekend, you want to ask yourself if you have any of these three signs related to danger. If so, your brand is failing and you need to regroup.

Sign number one: The phone isn’t ringing. If your business used to have tons of phone calls, inquiries, and flat out business and now the phone isn’t ringing- your brand is in trouble.

Sign number two: You are inconsistent. What do I mean by this? Well, either you are spread too thin to focus on your brand or your trying to accomplish too many things at once.

Sign number three: Your social media accounts don’t reflect your company’s message. Yes, I mean your personal accounts. If you own a company understand people will look YOU up and not just your company. Don’t have a professional website and then photos of you in the club on your Facebook page. It scares investors and possible customers.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, March 27, 2014

3 Business Mastering Tasks

I didn’t gain my success overnight. In fact, it took years and I still work at it daily. However, there are three tasks / tools that I make part of my daily routine to ensure I am mastering my businesses. I am happy to share these with you now.

1. Satisfied customers leave you when somebody gives them a better deal. How do you avoid this? Value. If a customer leaves you for the better deal, don’t panic. In fact, send them on their way in a positive manner. They will miss your value over the saved money and come back. If they don’t come back, you’re not providing value. Be conscious to provide value on a daily basis.

2. Be honest about where your business really is. You are not what you think you are worth. Keep working, keep striving, don’t stand still or think you are better than you are- it will be your downfall.

3. Where is your profit? Don’t keep your profit line now in the water. You have to move it around but do so slowly. Make small, incremental changes that all together make your entire business significantly more efficient and profitable.

As we head into Friday remember to always present value about your products/services, know where you are really when it comes to business and your competition, and adjust your profit lines little by little.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Homeland Security Website IS A Cause for Concern

I’ve spoken on this topic before but I feel it is worth revisiting. The Inspector General noted that the US Department of Homeland Security – the government division ostensibly responsible for ensuring cybersecurity throughout the nation – itself suffers from serious cyber-vulnerabilities.

So, what has been done since this announcement in December of 2013? Not much. It is continuously frustrating to see business after business reamed for being the victim of cyberattacks breaching customer information when the DHS’s own website sits like a sitting duck. Why isn’t their website held to the same standard, if not a higher one, than private entities? Frustrating, right?!

What exactly is wrong with the DHS? Well, it has leaks so to speak. Windows XP – an operating system that was released over twelve years ago and for which Microsoft plans to stop issuing security patches in the near future – continues to run on computers at DHS headquarters. There is nothing really being done to configure a change in this operating system because 1) the workload is heavy and 2) the workload is heavy.

My point is change requires getting our hands dirty. An ounce of prevention outweighs the unthinkable results that could happen if these patches are not fixed.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Assistants Slow You Down

Everyone knows by reading my blog that I am a huge promoter of delegation. This said, I do want to address what happens when you hire your first assistant. There is a sense of relief and almost a feeling of less responsibility on the business owner or director. Don’t let hiring an assistant provoke a sense of “freedom” from work or responsibility. In fact, with an assistant you should be taking more on!

For example, controlling your own calendar is crucial. Many people let their assistants set up their appointments. Well, this is great if you want to be in hour long meetings or phone calls all day long. You need to control your calendar, period! Your productivity will go down when your assistant starts making meeting after meeting after meeting. Don’t delegate this task- ever!

Do you really need an assistant to book your travel plans? Is this cost-effective? No! Technology has made it so much easier to book your own flights, travel plants, etc. that paying someone to do this for you almost feels sacrilegious. You can mind five minutes in the day to book your own travel plans or dinner reservations. You don’t need to pay someone to do this for you.

You see, assistants can provide some benefit for you as far as performing actual work towards a goal. However, when it comes to booking meetings or travel for you personally – they are not needed. In fact, they hinder you.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, March 24, 2014

Persuasion , Are You Capable?

In business, as in life, sometimes a little persuasion is needed. This is a time to ask yourself if you are capable of pushing others to help you or accomplish something. In business, you need to be!

On this Monday morning I’ve decided to offer you two powerful tools for persuasion. In the Homeland Security business, we often have to use these tools at my company.

First, you have to be concise. People who go on and on and on tend to lose their audience, bore their audience and then tangle themselves up in details an investor or client shouldn’t ever hear about. So, if you want to be persuasive, be brief.

Next, you have to understand that visuals are key. People associated certain colors with certain emotions. Do your homework on the color of psychology and then create killer visuals that enforce what it is you are pitching. Again, keep your visuals concise.

You don’t have to be a marketing or sales genius to get your way, you only have to be short, sweet and to the point!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, March 21, 2014

Is Your Boss Terrible?

I own a business. I am a boss. So why am I writing about terrible bosses? Well, we all have room to grow but being many of my readers are soon-to-be entrepreneurs, many of you are still working for someone right now! Thus, this post if for you!

If your boss is a micromanager, I’m sorry. Your boss’ company will not grow unless he or she lets go of the harness. If you are in this situation, try sending your boss an action plan once a task is assigned to you. Note “check in” dates of when you will provide updates on certain milestones. If you take the initiative first, chances are your boss will not micromanage so much down the road.

If your boss changes direction often, I’m sorry. I understand going where the money is but sometimes boss’ are spread too thin and then start to panic. Try to offer data as to why you and your boss should stay the course. Chances are your thinking will be more level-headed than that of a business owner who has money on the line. You can be the voice of reason in this scenario.

Most of the time the boss doesn’t intend on being a terrible leader. It happens for a variety of reasons. Key employees gently point this out and help better the company. You can be this person.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are You A Fighter?

You either are a fighter in life or you take the escape route. Which one are you? Think about your answer. Are you sure it matches your track record or simply your self-perception?

You see, over the years I have noticed the people who fight in life (for what they want or what they believe in) simply know how to embrace their fear. These are the people who understand it takes strategy, not strength, to win a fight.

Do you rush into decisions on instinct and emotion? If so, you may not be a fighter. Fighters are able to look at a problem completely detached from the personal issues and ties related to it. If you love animals, you have to be strong and remove emotions in order to really get things done. If you love your business, you can’t keep a non-performer on simply because you like that person. You have to fight for what is right in life. If you can’t separate emotion and knee-jerk reactions in business in life, you may not be a fighter.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rejected? Why It’s A Good Thing.

We can’t evolve as people or business owners if we aren’t growing. In fact, it is impossible to grow if mistakes aren’t made and failure doesn’t happen. So, how do you learn from rejection, failure and mistakes? I’m glad you asked!

The Who, Ben Stiller, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan … these are all people who were told they didn’t possess talent. They faced rejection in their lives. They made millions. Rejection is a daily habit in business. People will hate your price point, your product ideas, they may not like you as a person – regardless, you will hear ‘no’ ten times to Sunday. The key is to not let it distract you from moving forward. Most businesses don’t make it within the first five years. Several entertainers have 10-15 years of rejection behind them before they make it. Don’t quit your dream because you took rejection personally.

Rejection is also a good thing because it forces you to be better and learn from your weakness. If someone says ‘no’ don’t run away with your pride bruised. Instead, buy the person a cup of coffee or send an eCard via Starbucks and ask for their input as to why they said no. Sometimes you have no control over the reason, other times you can correct something about yourself. Think of rejection as an opportunity for perfection.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, March 17, 2014

Winning. Marketing & You.

Here are some scary numbers…..

20% of all purchases are a result of Twitter.

91% of adults in the USA have a cell phone.

25% of companies use mobile ads.

Notice anything? How low is the mobile ad number?!. I never understood why some business owners put together and execute a half-hearted business campaign when it comes to marketing and PR services. Some people only hire a PR firm and rely on them to carry the load. Other people hire only an ad agency and rely on them to carry the load. You do need both as these two entities serve two different purposes!

My question to my readers this Monday is ‘Are your marketing and PR efforts in check?’ Well, are they? Are you investing money in PR? Are you getting the Google deep links from those press releases being distributed as often as possible? What about your ads? Are you paying for ads? If not why?

The numbers above show the potential for marketing and social media to work hand-in-hand and yet many people are not investing or executing a full campaign. Don’t short change yourself or your business. Need help? Contact me. I am willing to offer business conferences and one-on-one training as to how to accomplish this.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, March 14, 2014

Monday is S-Corp Time.

Business taxes are normally due on March 15th. Since this date falls on a Saturday, the IRS extended the filing deadline to Monday, March 17th! Here are a few tax tips if it is crunch time for your business taxes. I’m not a professional so make sure to check my tips against your personal situation with your CPA.

TIPS:

1. S corporations generally don't pay taxes. Their owners pay taxes on their share of the corporations’ net income. To enable owners to figure their personal taxes, S corporations must issue these schedules to shareholders. Schedule K-1 tells shareholders their share of income, deductions, credits, and other items.

2. There are some changes related to Form 1120S to consider. S corporations may need to complete a new Schedule B accompanying their Form 1120S.

3.New on this year’s Schedule K-1 is code U of box 17 for reporting information related to the net investment income, or NII, tax. This is an additional Medicare tax of 3.8 percent on the lesser of net investment income or the shareholder’s modified adjusted gross income over his or her threshold amount that depends on tax-filing status.

Happy tax filing,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting People to Perform.

Everyone things business is all rainbows and unicorns when you are the owner. Well, it is exactly the opposite. Let me explain something, getting people to work for you – I mean really perform- is really, really, really hard!

I developed a few strategies over the past few years to promote productivity within my employees. For instance, I start laying out expectations the minute someone signs up with my company. If someone fails to meet these expectations at any point during their employment- they are out. Done.

I also try to promote teamwork by having my employee review our mission statement and see if it could be made better. I strive for growth and having new employees assess old mission statements offers me a fresh perspective and gives the employee a sense of ownership- which increase productivity.

There is no ‘key’ to productivity and performance. I wish I had one. However, being clear about expectations and how you will measure performance is a great way to start. Including your employee in growth plans, such as mission statement reviews, will also help.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homeland Security Expert Available to Talk Missing Boeing 777 Plane and Russia / Ukraine Crisis.

Homeland Security expert and author, Twyla Garrett, is well-versed in the areas of national security and international safety. Ms. Garrett is available to speak with all media outlets on the subjects of the Missing 777 Plane and/or the Russia / Ukraine crisis and what it means for the USA.

Twyla N. Garrett is the author of ‘Homeland Security ; A Comprehensive Guide for All’ and owns IME, a homeland securities firm. Ms. Garrett is reaching out to the national media as a valuable resource on the topics of homeland security, the missing Boeing 777 (Flight 370) plane and the stolen passports, as well as the Russia / Ukraine crisis and how it can impact USA relations with both countries and the world.

“There are some real concerns directly related to flight 370. If terrorism is suspected, and we have grounds to believe it is, then the flight being held at another location isn’t likely. Whomever took the plan, if this is what happened, didn’t care about their fingerprints being scanned. What is even more concerning is the process of the fingerprints being scanned but the rest of the security technologies not being up to par,” said Ms. Garrett.

Ms. Garrett has been interviewed by several media resources in the past and was featured by Dell for the securities and technological work being accomplished by IME using the Dell product. Additionally, Ms. Garrett pens a daily blog on the topic of business with Homeland Security being the featured topic each and every Wednesday. “I think I can offer a different perspective to the media when it comes to these topics because I am not an elected official. I don’t have to protect my job come next election. What I say and how I say is informative, honest and not influenced by special interests or an intent to run, or rerun, for office,” finished Garrett.

Twyla Garrett is an extraordinary entrepreneur, corporate speaker, and compelling author who has been personally invited to speak at The Whitehouse on the issues of creating jobs, economic growth and the controversial fiscal cliff of 2012. Garrett is known for her notable (sometimes 100% self-funded) business deals as much as she is known for providing excellent opportunities to individuals facing immense challenges. Twyla’s memoir will be published in 2013 and it will be followed by a series of “how-to” business books, starting with one based on Homeland Security. Currently, Twyla’s business blog and social media accounts furnish motivational quotes and an over-the-shoulder view of her unique perspective on profiting in business while helping others.

https://twitter.com/TwylaGarrett

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Managing People with Personality Differences.

You are going to work with people you dislike. You may have paying clients you dislike. You have hire a qualified employee whom you dislike. It’s business, you’re going to have to deal with these situations. So, how do you?

You should first decide exactly what it is about the person you dislike. If it is a personal matter, you can’t take action. For example, if the co-worker in the next cubicle over sounds like your annoying sister-in-law, it isn’t her fault and you can’t take the association out on her. This said, if she is purposely under minding you professionally, then you need to address the issue with the employee and the proper resources.

Consider the good in everyone. This is hard but I do this all the time. I know I have negative traits, we all do. I would be horrified is someone only judged me on the negative without considering all the positives I offer. So, look for the good traits in each person and focus on them.

I don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution for this problem. However, I do know perspective is everything.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

Monday, March 10, 2014

Top 2 Sins of Entrepreneurs

I should clarify the title of today’s blog post. It really should read the Top 2 Sins of NEW Entrepreneurs. Hopefully, season entrepreneurs are still not making the following common mistakes.

1. A low cash reserve. You have to pay yourself first. If you fail, if you don’t make payroll, if a contract falls through – you need to be able to survive and at a reasonable rate. If you don’t have a cash reserve that can pay you, pay your bills, and float the company’s bills PLUS 5% then you’re ill-prepared.

2. Thinking you are entitled to a day off. Maybe, just maybe, five years from the day you start your business you will be able to take a week off and go on vacation. Even then, you will be mentally tied to your company. But at least you will be mentally tied to it in a vacation spot. It cracks me up when I hear or read about new business owners who are on vacation or taking a day off. Why? Well, there will be plenty of time for days off when you can’t compete because you took too much time away from your company initially and you’re standing in the unemployment line. Either you are working like a dog or you’re failing. There is no in between.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, March 7, 2014

Service Businesses to Start Today

Here is a questions I am always asked… “What service company can I start today with no budget.” Well, starting with no budget is often required yet never suggested. I did a lot of research to come up with some great answers for you. Here are my suggestions.

1. Dry cleaning pickup and delivery. You don’t have to do the laundry, you just have to coordinate it. This is an amazing service for people are too busy to drop laundry off, never mind do it themselves. Even if this is a weekend only business, it can yield up to $300 extra dollars per week!

2. Pet sitting. This job is pretty easy if you love pets. You sit, you stay, you play, you get paid. Remember, most people have Nanny cams in their homes for pet sitters so make sure you are doing your job.

3. Professional organizer. If this is your knack in life, embrace it. Organizational specialist can make up to a grand per home- per day!

There are tons of other service-based businesses that you can embrace but I selected these three because the initial investment is minimal and you can start making a profit right away.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The 5 Golden Rules of Business

For those of you who often read my blog, you have seen me state over and over how many times I am asked for business advice. I don’t like providing cookie cutter answers when each person’s situation is – well- personal! However, I have come up with 5 Golden Rules for Business that everyone should follow.

1. Take yourself seriously. I have heard people say not to take yourself seriously. If you will not take yourself seriously, who will? You have to be serious about yourself and your ideas. If you don’t believe in them, no one will.

2. Take time to plan. Improv is great if you are a comedian. Otherwise, take time each day to really plan things out when it comes to your business and your life.

3. Ask a client how you can earn their business. This is the best marketing trick / advice you will ever receive. Yes, ask and you will receive.

4. Build a great team. Employees are awesome for getting tasks done. However, they are not all great ambassadors of your brand. Find a team willing to be ambassadors for your brand.

5. Be easy to work with. Have you ever had to run to an ATM machine? Usually not these days because people take credit or debit like they breathe air. If you are hard to pay, people will not go out of their way to give you their money. Be accessible and easy to work with.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just When You Thought the Sochi Drama Was Over!

Homeland Security… Sochi is over and we had a disaster-free Olympic season. Just when we thought we were out of the clear as far as Russian and security was concerned, Ukraine relations turned south and now Putin is putting us in a funny position.

I’ve read several posts, via social media this week, stating we need to state out of the whole Russia and Ukraine feud. Well, I think that is wrong. We don’t ever want to promote a culture of another holocaust, which could happen if this feud escalates.

Here is why we need to be involved;

1. This feud could lead to another cold war, not good for economic stability on a global scale or that of chemical weapons being a concern.

2. Avoid a total government takeover of the Ukraine by Russia and the forced removal of civil liberties and certain religious and social beliefs from the Ukrainians.

3. Oppressive regimes and mass casualties.

4. Nuclear and chemical weapons can harm other countries.

The list can go on and on. Homeland Security is very concerned about this situation. We all should share this same vested security concerns, if –for nothing else- to support people who may have their country unjustly taken from them!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Face Your Fear; Know People

There really are two types of smart. There is street smart and there is book smart. The street smart people fear the book smart people and vice versa. Why? They each have something the other wants badly.

When people start their businesses, they often have a common fear regardless of what type of smart they are. What is this fear? People. Every single company needs people to power it. There is no disputing this fact. But how do you engage people to talk about your company, buy your products/services, or even work for you? Especially when you fear getting to know people or pitching to a cold room of investors?

First, start by people watching. There is no better tool to understand people better than watching and observing them over a period of time. If you are in Starbucks and you see a potential client, don’t approach him or her at first. Get to know them by listening in to their order, how other people approach that person or how he or she approaches other people. Really learn a lot about this person before uttering a single word. It will give you an advantage when you do get the courage up to by his or her coffee for them (and using their order).

Next, follow your heart. If something is scary exciting- run with it. Don’t back down from success because you fear people. It your heart is saying yes and your panic button is saying no- go with your heart’s inclination!

Finally, if you are not connecting with people to help improve your company, find new people. Think outside the box of your own expectations and face your fear. You may not like the people you end up catering to, but your company will be in business and you will like the profit line.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, March 3, 2014

Matthew McConaughey : King of the rebrand!

I heard Matthew McConaughey is a marketing genius. While this is true, I am certain it is not intentional! Matthew was once considered the king of bad movies. He was also considered a playboy actor who shouldn’t be taken seriously. He didn’t even take himself seriously. Think about the whole naked bongo incident. So, what happened last night at the Oscars? Rebranding is what happened.

Matthew McConaughey’s team helped him slowly, quietly and effectively turn his perception with audiences around. Was it overnight? No. Was it easy? No. Did it require patience? Heck yes! But, the reward was a serious acting role followed by an Academy Award!

What’s my point? It is never too late to turn things around and rebrand. You will have to take risks to obtain big rewards. No one ever thought of cutie pie Matt playing a dramatic role as an AIDS patient and advocate. It happened and he won an award. So, my point is you have to take risks and commit to your rebranding campaign when one is due. Go at it full speed ahead and have patience.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

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