Thursday, July 31, 2014

Marketing “WOW” Moments.

Every company alive wishes they had a Super Bowl budget when it comes to marketing. Realistically, most of us business owners barely have a local magazine advertising budget. The truth is, simple and low-cost marketing efforts can have big results- you just have to know how to navigate your demographic and social media properly.

One thing I tell all my peers is to market as if you were having an honest conversation with someone. Don’t throw out “buy me” or “sham wow” content all over the internet. It doesn’t work. Most of us know of the Sham Wow, but how many of us bought the product? Exactly! Write like you are speaking to your customer without using the voice of a used car sales person. This trick will help you engage your demographic, not SPAM them.

You also want to seek out consistency. Don’t post to FB or Twitter only when you have something to sell. Provide funny MEMEs or viral videos to show your customers that your company is human, not just a promotion machine on social media. Engage with people, too. If someone asks a question on FB, respond right away. Offer tips and ask to follow up via email or phone. Adding a personal touch to your customer service, even online, is important.

I truly hope you utilize these techniques when starting to market your company and products. You don’t have to have a multi-million dollar budget to make a big impact. In fact, all you really have to do is put some time and effort into your writing and social media communication labors.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Your Intern Hates You!

Interns can be a great asset to your company. First off, you can find great talent at a decent “break in rate” should they perform well as an intern. Second, the intern and you are involved in a win-win scenario, both gaining something out of the relationship. All this said, there are interns who despise their internships because they are treated more like insignificant help vs. an education person eager to learn.

I have spoken to several students across this country about the value of an internship. Even those new to workforce have shared horror stories about being an intern. All of the common “hate” stories have to do with interns being treated like coffee maids or are gifted jobs outside of their educational experience.

If you want to get the most out of your professional relationship with interns, don’t belittle their ability simply because they are interns. Sending them out for coffee or lunch, worst off – shredding paper, is terrible. These tasks aren’t real world examples of their industry. It is important you utilize their talents and have them shadow on case files or make follow calls, etc.

The worst thing you can do a business professional is waste someone’s internship on non-specific, menial job tasks. Your company doesn’t benefit and neither does the intern. As business owners, it should be our responsibility to promote good ideas, amazing skills, and industry growth. Stunting someone simply because they temporarily hold the “intern” title is selfish and a no-win situation for anyone.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When People Undermind You!

Have you ever had to deal with a person who smiles to your face and then stabs you in the back when you walk away? This very common personality trait shows up in business settings daily, yet no one ever talks about it. So, on today’s blog, I wanted to discuss how to deal with people who undermine you.

Don’t error on giving someone you barely know the benefit of the doubt. Instead, you need to truly get to know people before you open up to them or delegate responsibility. If you tell a person everything you know, or delegate things right away, when you first meet him or her- they can use this information against you or fail you on purpose. These actions will always fall back on you. So, as simple as it sounds, make sure you truly get to know (Google, run a background check, spend time with, etc.) someone before you delegate important tasks or share crucial information.

Don’t assume why someone is doing something. If what a person does have you questioning him or her, ask them why they are doing it. First, it makes the person stand still. Then, they have to provide you an answer and be accountable for their actions. If they truly didn’t know they were undermining you, the problem will be fixed. If the action was deliberate, regardless of the explanation, he or she will know that you are on to them.

Finally, set boundaries with people and let them know what the resulting actions will be. I often tell employees that my office is a gossip-free office. If I hear of gossip, the entire team is fired. This usually eliminates not only gossip about one another, but undermining of me and direct supervisors.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 28, 2014

Email; You Sent What?!

The problem with today’s 24/7 social media culture is our innate need to respond to emails all of the time and no matter what time of the day it is. Thus, it become second nature to ignore double checking response tone and facts. We are so focused on responding right away that we often fail to ensure we are properly responding.

I had to think about the email issue as I started to write today’s blog. You see, I’ve always been big on not responding to emails ASAP and having designated times to check emails. So, if you want to make sure you are sending proper emails then follow my four tips below!

1. Wait at least an hour to respond to any angry or upset email. Don’t respond right away. When you do respond, make sure you save it as a draft before hitting “send” and wait two more hours. Next, read the email out loud before hitting “send” to ensure you are still remaining professional, not overly aggressive, in the email.

2. Never write an email using slang or terms of endearment. First, they are liable statements and second, these types of emails will make you sound unprofessional.

3. Never disclose company secrets in an email or speak poorly of your boss or co-workers in an email. Remember, this sounds obvious but it happens daily. Stay positive or don’t say anything at all via email. It can come back and bite you in the unmentionable!

4. Keep it under 300 words. If your email is going to be longer than 300 words then it is time for a face-to-face coffee meeting (or full blown meeting) with the intended recipient.

Remember, it is easy to send an email and receive an email. However, it is trickier to respond properly to an email without having any regrets or making yourself look foolish.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to be the smartest person in the room.

I often feel like I am the smartest person in the room. I know that I am not, but I read an article on how being confident about your intelligence level and increase it, lol! Seriously though, there are a few tricks available to help you become smarter. I wanted to share them with you on today’s blog. They’re listed below;

1. Write everything down that you learn. Don’t rely on your brain to retain important information. Note taking, even if you text message yourself, is important. Your brain tends to hold onto concepts and points longer if you write them down, so- get the pen or tablet out at your next big meeting.

2. Play board games. Yes, it is very important to play board games. Why? All the strategizing and puzzles actually help your brain expand and think through unpredictable situations. Many studies show playing a board game twice a week can help improve your IQ by a point every year!

3. Surround yourself with smart people. This may sound cliché, but it works. Ever hear that birds of a feather tend to flock to together? Well, it’s true. So, join some social groups that focus on the environment or certain causes that incorporate strategizing, thinking and working together as a team for the greater good.

Some people believe going back to school helps your intelligence. In can, but only if you enjoy the subject matter. Don’t go back to school for the sake of going back to school. Instead, make sure you are engaged with the concept of why you need to go back to school, otherwise- it is a waste of time and money.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homeland Security; Are You Tough Enough?

It’s not easy being in the homeland security business. While the business landscape can be a daily battlefield, the homeland security industry can really take a mental toll on its workforce. I wanted to address being tough enough for homeland security in today’s blog because true strength comes from the right mental attitude.

If you’re thinking about getting into the homeland security business, keep reading! You will need the following two habits to ensure you are tough enough to succeed within this industry.

First, you can’t waste mental energy relying on luck to distinguish your destiny. In any situation in life, especially with homeland security, you need to act as if you are in charge and there is no such word as “try”, you either do or you don’t. The middle doesn’t exist. If you act as if you are in control, others will respect you and you will have no room to blame bad luck on your failures or successes.

Second, complaining and critizing others isn’t an option. Homeland security requires you to work with a team. If the team succeeds, know it is a team effort. If the team fails, know that it is a team effort. If you spend too much time talking about others or complaining about the tasks at hand- people will start to question if you are mentally frail or out to sabotage others and you will not succeed within the industry. Play nice and be transparent, not critical or a baby about certain tasks!

I hope this information has provided you with a brief oversight on the toughness needed to combat the day-to-day operations within the homeland security field. You may also want to pick up a copy of my book dedicated to homeland security for more in-depth information. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Homeland-Security-Comprehensive-Guide-All-ebook/dp/B00IDW3W3Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406151956&sr=8-1&keywords=twyla+garrett

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Winning in the boardroom.

I wanted to use today’s blog to discuss playing nice in life. I mean all aspects of life, too. You see, in business we have to deal with boardroom meetings, client meetings, interaction with coworkers and employees, in-laws, etc. I’m not going to lie, these interactions can test our patience. If we lose it, we lose in life. It is crucial to know how to win in a group, which means making some unpopular decisions and statements on occasion.

Below, I am going to lay out my top 5 ways to win in the boardroom and in life. These steps will help you navigate your way to success in a group environment. Please don’t think these are tips on being popular, they’re not. In fact, some of the time- they may make you unpopular.

1. Don’t lie. It sounds obvious but it has to be said. The truth will follow you. Not stating something is also a form of lying. If you are always upfront with people, you have nothing to worry about in life.

2. Address conflict immediately. You shouldn’t wait for things to die down. This tactic will always cause the other person to hold onto a grudge versus letting it go. My best advice is to address conflict head on and work for a positive resolution versus hoping it will all “blow over.”

3. Understand there are no perfect people. . A variety of personalities and types can add differing perspectives to help make a team more productive. You will have to work alongside these different personalities. You may not have to like the people you are working with, but respect their differences and how they can better the project because of their distinctions.

4. Ask questions. Don’t assume anything in life. Further, if you think someone understands what you are asking of them, don’t be afraid to have them repeat the instructions back to you with a plan of how he or she is going to attack the tasks. This isn’t for micromanaging purposes. Instead, it helps to ensure the other person understands what you are asking of them without insulting them.

5. Allow yourself to fall down. The world is super competitive right now. Cheating is at its highest level. Don’t cheat, don’t forge, simply try. If you fail, allow yourself to fall down and then get right back up. Try again and make sure you do so by incorporating what you learned from the failed attempt.

Remember, if you are honest and address conflict with others right away- you are already going to win many battles in life. Now, work in understanding that people aren’t perfect, ask more questions then you make suggestions, and also become persistent and the world will be yours for the taking.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to ruin your reputation in one step.

I want to talk about your reputation. In business, it means everything. Some people, however, go out of their way to save their reputation and single handily ruin it in the same step. How is this possible? Covering up a mistake. Yes, not taking responsibility and fixing the mistake will harm your reputation for a long time in business.

Business guru John Brandon recently wrote, “The more you've done to hide a mistake, the more you will be despised. The alternative? Fess up right away. The sooner you come clean about losing a signed contract or getting into a fight with a competitor, the more time everyone has to deal with the problem and take corrective action. Let the mistake stay hidden and you are setting off a time bomb. When people find out, your reputation will suffer.”

I couldn’t agree with his advice more. Lying or trying to cover up a mistake irritates not only the customer, but those within the office. It takes more time and energy to correct a lie then it does to apologize and fix a mistake. We are all human. Being accountable and making mistakes are part of this process. Embrace it and learn for each experience versus trying to hide from them.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 18, 2014

2 Ways to Sell.

I was reading a lot on the subject of sales recently. I had to travel and came across a book on sales. We are all sales people. We have to pitch ourselves to clients or to the HR department for the job, etc. But what happens when you are the actual sales person who has to bring in clients? Are you stuck in a rut and using the same hum-drum tactics.

After much reading, I have discovered the following best sales tactics.

1. Ask for the business directly. This simply is presenting, asking and answering questions, and then stating that you have answered all the questions and it sounds like they (your audience) are ready to move forward. Then, boldly, present the contact and take care of the business now- or as quickly as possible. Being blunt and to the point, yet polite, does work and works often.

2. Time sensitive matters. If a potential client has been on the fence about moving forward, then give them a deadline as to when pricing will expire or go up. Either you have their business or you don’t. The time sensitive issue will clarify this immediately.

There are, of course, other tactics that do work. You want to use something that is ethical and comfortable for you.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Bad Side of Success

I had an interesting conversation with a woman recently on the dark or bad side of success. She seemed to think that every single CEO takes advantage of their own power and uses that same power to oppress employees and destroy society. Well, this is a bit extreme. I don’t like being categorized this way and I know other business owners and CEOs that don’t fit this description.

I can’t, however, deny that there isn’t a bad side to success. Some business situations are difficult and require a bit of a mean streak to navigate. In order to get what you want and what is best for your company and employees, sometimes being a master manipulator and a bit of a narcissist will benefit business.

Being able to have no regrets can be considered a “bad” trait, as this woman pointed out. But this trait is an important one. Business owners have to try new things and not become emotionally attached to ideas that fail. Why? They have to bounce back, move forward and keep generating income and jobs. If we become too invested in our failures, we will never be able to move forward.

So, I plead with anyone who thinks CEOs are hardened or possess “bad” traits to reconsider. Think about why these alleged bad traits (no attachment, narcissist behavior, manipulation), are needed to move business forward. I believe that as long as one uses these traits in ethical business deals, that all is OK and that these “bad” traits can actually be used for good!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When Opportunity Knocks…

One of the biggest mistakes I see new business owners make is not knowing when opportunity is knocking. This fundamental cornerstone of business isn’t often taught in business school, but often talked about. You have to know when and where to look for opportunities in order to expand.

The best way to create your own business opportunity is by offering an upgraded version of your products or services. Yes, create your own opportunity. If sales are starting to flat line then take a page out of Apple’s tech book and create a newer, better version of your old products or sales.

You also want to seek out a narrowcast of options. This is a TV term but it applies to business. Don’t try to market your product or services to all of the people, all of the time. Instead, be precise about the group you want to capture and then start seeking out opportunities to network, introduce or promote your product at.

Don’t think advertising alone will create opportunities, either. Long term publicity campaigns are needed in order to layer your brand’s identity in a credible manner. Ads don’t produce credibility, longevity or a huge push in ROI.

Remember, creating your own opportunities are the best ones to take advantage of!

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dr. Twyla Garrett Speaking At The United Nations in New York City on July 16th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) - Jul. 15, 2014 - MANHATTAN, N.Y. -- Twyla Garrett has spoken at renowned events, including The White House, across the country for the past five years. As a two-time author, serial entrepreneur and owner of the homeland security company IME, Garrett is scheduled to speak on the topic of innovation this Wednesday, July 16th, in New York.

“I can’t wait to participate at the New York Impact event. The early bird tickets are already sold-out. I know I can offer attendees a lot of great insight on innovation. I encourage a collaborative process. I want people to interact at this event and follow me on Twitter for an after-event Q&A session,” said Garrett.

The IMPACT Summer Academy for Emerging Global Leaders will take place at the Church Center of the United Nations in New York (777 United Nations Plaza 2nd Floor) on Wednesday, July 16th. The event starts at 9am and runs until 6:30 pm. Tickets start at $35 dollars and range up to $115 dollars. Tickets can be purchased online using any major credit card or PayPal. For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/impact-summer-academy-for-em...

Twyla Garrett will be speaking between 10am and 11:30 and is co-hosting the discussion with Dr. John P. Fernandez, Ph.D. President, ARMC Global; Author, Leading in a Diverse and Conflicted World and 9 other books on Race, Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in corporate and business setting. Other speakers include Ambassador Edita Hrda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN, Dr. Meredith L. Sadin, Ph.D. Princeton University, and more.

Members of the media are invited to request an interview with Twyla Garrett prior to, during or after the IMPACT at The United Nations event by contacting her media manager.

About: 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 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 for providing excellent opportunities to individuals facing immense challenges.

Ms. Garrett is an executive consultant to federal, state and local emergency management and homeland security programs nationwide. Her operational experience dates from response operations in 2003 and has continued for 10 years in direct or indirect support as a consultant to government.

MEDIA MANAGER: Helene Vece of HireAProWriter.com

Manhattan Office: (917) 410-7938

244 Madison Ave, Suite 2550. New York, NY 10016

Monday, July 14, 2014

Are You Exceptional?

I recently read an article on being exceptional in business. The article went on to say that if you are not exceptional (in their eyes), your business is bound to fail. I disagree with such a bold statement because 1) who defines exceptional and 2) there is something to be said for hard work.

I did, however, agree with some of the traits needed to navigate one’s business past the first year (which is the hardest thing to do these days). Here are the three exceptional traits needed to survive your first year of business.

1. Politics are to be avoided. Don’t get involved in scratching one’s back to get what you need out of a business deal. This may pay off now but it will ricochet later on. Plus, some things can be considered unethical. So, don’t get involved in politics and remain neutral.

2. Think and think some more. While you do have to be a do’er when running your own business, it is just as important to think things through and consider all scenarios before taking any action. Business owners who dive in blindly to certain opportunities will find the water shallow and have no depth with their investment.

3. Good business owners don’t sustain the standard, they reinvent it on the daily. Instead of considering certain rules or procedures or expectations as the standard, exceptional business owners will figure out a way to make things better or more competitive and then move in that direction. They have no loyalty to rules of the past because they are always looking forward.

So, hard work counts but these three steps will help carry your hard work a long way.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 11, 2014

Can You Be Out Smarted? Sure!

Gwynne Shotwell recently spoke at the Women 2.0 Conference stage. She said one really important thing, which was: "You can't control whether you're the smartest person in the room, but you can certainly control whether you're the most prepared." I couldn’t agree more.

It is important that we always learn from others. There are always going to be occasions, even when you are the boss, where other people are smarter than you and have more insight on you. This is hard to overcome for a number of reasons, but even more difficult of a pill to swallow when an employee knows more about your business and industry than you. So, what do you do in these situations?

First, don’t let your ego get the best of you. If you think you are going to be the smartest person in the room in every situation- you do need to work on taking that ego of yours down a notch. Once you do, follow these steps.

1. Be overly prepared. Like Ms. Shotwell said, you can’t ever be too prepared. Have data for meetings available on a note pad in front of you, so you only have to glance at it without admitting to using your smart phone to look up citations.

2. Read. Yes, read. Commit to one book a month on your industry and make sure they are recent book. Books over six months old are almost obsolete in many industries. Stay on the cutting edge of things by reading the most up to date material available.

3. Reach out to others within your industry, outside of your company, for coffee. Pick their brains and ask questions. This way, when you return to the office, you have an outside perspective and additional knowledge.

4. Ask questions of those in your company who are smarter than you. Ask then the who, what, where and why to get their opinion. This tactic will help you learn how they think, operate and what it is you need to study up on.

I hope this insight has helped if you feel you are struggling with this issue.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 Bad Choices with Instant Repercussions

Someone recently asked me, via Twitter, if I have ever immediately regretted a business decision. I think we all have, which is why I am penning a book on failure. One of my most valued lessons is knowing that there are two bad choices every business owner will make in his or her life that will immediately be regretted- followed by a hard lesson. Trust me when I say that these two bad choices can be avoided, which is why I am sharing them. I don’t want you to learn these lessons the hard was so I am hopeful you will keep reading.

#1. Stating you tried your best and failed. We, as people, are conditioned to say “I’ve tried my best” when we are met with failure. Instead of knowing you have this label excuse in your back pocket, say something meaningful before a challenging task. Say “I will” and then do it. It doesn’t matter in life if you try or not. Millions of people try every day fail. Why? They have the “I’ve tried my best” excuse available. Make no excuses for failure, make up your mind not to fail! So, don’t regret letting a client or a boss down by stating this excuse. Instead, work harder and longer and make it happen.

#2. Refusing to apologize. This is a big one for most people. Don’t take the lame cop out with an “I’m sorry you feel this way.” What’s wrong with simply saying “I’m sorry”? Swallow your fear--or pride--and say you're sorry. Then you'll help the other person let go of their resentment or bitterness and both parties will be able to move on. Saying you’re sorry means you take accountability for something, a rare thing in today’s world.

So, remember – say you are sorry and refuse to try your best, instead do your best.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Office Rumors.

Rumors are the worst. Most of the time, they are not true. However, sometimes they are. Either way, rumors and office gossip can easily tear a company down. Many great employees either leave because of gossip pertaining to them or because they culture sickens them.

I wanted to address how you deal with office gossip and rumors directly on my blog tonight. First, identify the root of the gossip. Now, you have two choices. First, don’t share anything with this person and change the subject every time he or she is around or second, fire him or her. This may seem drastic but it also depends on the extent of the gossip.

If the person is gossiping about someone’s hair or personal affairs, it is catty but ignoring it usually squashes it. If the person, however, is sharing company secrets or talking bad about the company or key employees in a way that can be harmful, liable or leak trade secrets- there is no rectifying the behavior. A firing is needed. Period.

I tell all of my employees that gossiping is not acceptable. Regardless of who starts it, if it gets back to me- the entire staff is fired. This isn’t a joke. I will do this. Most people are less likely to carry stories or even go near known gossips if they know the entire group’s livelihood is dependent upon this single rule.

So, if need be, implement my no gossip policy tomorrow. It is the best way to save your company from legal issues and prevent employee turnover.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Successful Business Day!

I receive many questions on the subject of what people should be doing. While this is a broad question, I thought about it and came up with some consistent steps for daily success.

First, start with breakfast. Don’t skip it. Breakfast is not a Starbucks and a pastry, either. You want oatmeal and a protein and then coffee. Breakfast gives you fuel and focus needed to hectic days. This sounds simple, but many busy business people skip it.

Second, have the courage to say no. You do not have to accept each and every meeting and invite that comes your way. Same goes for clients. So, make sure you put priority on the meetings, clients, etc. that you say ‘yes’ to and respectfully decline opportunities that will impede your focus and schedule.

Third, and last, clear your desk at the end of the day. Sounds odd, right? It’s not. If you clean up your office space at the end of the day- the you of tomorrow will thank you. Walking into an office that is neat and clean and not cluttered is a psychological cue for success, not defeat. Even if this mean stacking files and paper neatly, do it! Ten minutes of cleaning your office each day will set yourself up for double the productivity on the following day.

Try these tips out and get back to me on your results.

Until next time,
Twyla Garrett

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Top 5 Free Entrepreneur Resources.

Happy Monday! I wanted to provide my blog readers with a special treat this morning. Over the 4th of July weekend, I spent some time researching the best free resources for entrepreneurs. If you have other resources, please share them with me via Twitter. https://twitter.com/TwylaGarrett

#1. NewsWhip. http://www.newswhip.com/creators/leaderboard
I like this free resource because it helps business owners determine what content is trending on social media and pull in related trends to their specific industry.

#2. Cool Text http://www.newswhip.com/creators/leaderboard
This is an amazing tool that allows you to create customized lettering for your website, which could cost up to $20k in the corporate business world when you factor in right releases, etc.

#3. Bright Journey. http://www.brightjourney.com/about
This site is a great hub for mentoring! You can connect and learn from other entrepreneurs. If you are starting out, this is where you want to meet other business leaders!

#4. Google Entrepreneur. https://www.googleforentrepreneurs.com/
Most people don’t realize how big the Google brand is! Yes, Google has its own hub for entrepreneurs and you should visit it at least once (if not daily).

#5. Creative Live https://www.creativelive.com/
This is the spot for continued education with informative, entrepreneur-based business classes. You always have room to grow and with this free video service, you have an phenomenal resource within Creative Live.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Customer Service 101

I wanted to talk a bit today about customer service. It is a vital component of running any business. So, how do you know if your customers are running into excellent service if you are not busy on the front lines?

1. Call your main phone number (disguising your voice if you have to.) Are you happy with what you hear (and how long it takes to get someone to pick the phone?) Would you describe what happens as "welcoming?"

2. Log on to your website. Is it engaging? Friendly. Easy to navigate? Sending the message you want?

3. Eavesdrop on a conversation one of your employees is having with a customer, or potential customer. Are you happy with the way it went?

As a business owner, it is important to mark these three steps on your calendar at least every other month. If you feel your company’s customer service failed in response to questions 1 – 3, then you need to address why and then what the recovery plan is going forward.

I hope this information helps you mold your continued customer service plans and prevent issues for arising.

I will be off of the blog until Monday, July 7th. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Twyla N. Garrett

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