Thursday, August 6, 2015

2 Ways To Become A Millionaire

So here’s the thing… we all want to become millionaires, right? Yes, for the most part. But most of us haven’t reached this goal yet or we believe (our inside voices) that we probably can’t or won’t. Well, think positive. There are two ways that you can put yourself on the path to becoming a millionaire, but you have to work hard and you have to remain steadfast.

First, write down 3-5 of the best people in the world who do what you do. Yes, there are others… if there wasn’t, you’d already be a millionaire. So, write down the names and then write down one step you know each person took to get to where they are at. Now, you have a road map and you just have to develop your very own plan that can mirror it.

Second, show up. I know people who want to strike it rich. They create a product or service, they launch it, they walk away and head to their latest and greatest idea. Well, where is the investment? It takes more than money to make something work for you. You have to invest time and effort and energy and love and so forth. Anyone can invest in creating a product or service, but not everyone is willing to show up to promote it and sell it and really go to bat for it. Create a routine and move your life forward by showing up for what it is that you work on. Think about it in book terms. If you hire a ghostwriter to create a book for you, it’s done. There is no love. You can sell it but are you really showing up for it? Now, let’s say you work on the book yourself for a year. You believe in it. You’ve loved it. You’ve hated it. You are more likely to really believe in it and pitch it and see it through to your earned success.

If you take my advice, and I hope you will, these two steps will put you on the right path to becoming a millionaire.

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

3 Things You Need To Do Right Now

If you want to know how to succeed in business, stop overthinking everything. We tend to overthink and not listen, which can be problematic for many business owners. We have this need to pitch, to sell- not to listen. Well, the truth is that we have to get out of our own head-space and consider the customer’s needs. To help you do this, I have created a list of 3 Things You Need To Do Right Now in order to get out of your head and into that of your customers…..

1. Stop focusing on what your competition is doing right. Who cares! You need to focus on what your customers need from you. Yes, it really is this simple. If you spend too much time looking at your competition then you’re not spending enough time looking at your customer…..

2. Focus on customer service. We forget this. We look at how we can be innovative or how we can spend more time “connecting” on social media. Be personal. Make phone calls. Send cards. Say “thank you” more often. Be involved, outside of social media, with your customers. Yes, this will pay off.

3. If your heart is not in it, neither are you. If you’re feeling like you need a mental health day to shut your phone off and regroup, do it. Nothing is worse than painfully working with a client when you are mentally somewhere else. If you’re truly in a funk, work your way out of it without working alongside the client. If this means refunding money and cancelling a session or service- do it. Your worst performance can be reviewed online and there is no fixing it.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

3 Phrases To Stop Saying Now!

If you look up any marketing or PR strategy, you will notice that visibility seems to be priority number one. Well, yes. Visuals do help any cause but content is always going to be king. With this said, what you say is important and it can harm you, your reputation, your company, or cause major turnover within your company!

So, what are the top 3 phrases you must stop using ASAP?

1. "I need you to be more like..." Wow, so much for treating people like individuals. People are not the same... not even twins. So, why are you expecting certain individuals to live up to the expectations of others? Don't drag other people into the conversation when you're having a one-on-one with anyone. Be specific and be direct.

2. "How do you think you're doing?" This is a set-up. The person on the other side of this question will become defensive and this will turn into a game that you don't want to play personally or professionally. Instead of asking someone how they think they are doing, tell them how they are doing at a job or as a client regardless if the news is good or bad.

3. "Hopefully, soon." This is not a commitment to anything and a waste of words. Again, be direct with people, employees, and clients. Don't give a rough and round about way of when someone is going to get started on something. It is OK to say, "I don't know when but my eventual plans within the next (months, years... whatever) are to have you...." If you can be specific, do so. If you can't, say so.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, August 3, 2015

Business Book Recommendation

I want to start recommending books that I have read and have found helpful in my continuing journey as an entrepreneur. Success doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t come easy. While everyone may have advice for you, the best thing I can say is to create your own path. You should learn from others but apply it to your own situation. Don’t copy others because then you’re simply repacking an existing idea.

All this said, my first Monday Book recommendation is called ‘The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future’. I am in NO way affiliated with this book. I don’t know who wrote it nor do I have a relationship with anyone who worked on it. I simply love the content and feel that it can help so many of you, too. Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon:

It’s over 300 pages and there is a video trailer on the Amazon site for the book. I love this book because it doesn’t present a roadmap as to how you can get rich. Instead, it presents options to really look at yourself, what you want, and how to get yourself in the right mindset to get there… even if it is with only $100!

When you’re doing reading this book, please share your thoughts with me. I am eager to read what you liked and hated about this book.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gaining Control Over Social Media

Tonight I want to address an issue I am seeing on an continued basis. Your personal online content. I read a terrible Facebook rant over the weekend and I’m sickened that a business professional would put her hateful opinions for clients and peers to read on her personal Facebook page.

Now, some of you might say that it is her personal page. Sure it is, it is just archived onto Google’s search engine for the world to read. She is entitled to her hateful opinion but she is going to have business lost to it. Peers will soon catch on and stop referring her too. I will not repeat what she said, only that it is filled with hate and aimed at a certain demographic of sexually orientated people.

I can’t stress enough that nothing you write is personal anymore. Friends can quickly become enemies and take screen shots of your “private” social media accounts for all the world to see. Don’t ever write anything on your personal pages that you wouldn’t want to proudly read- out-loud- in front of a client or potential client.

As a business professional, you don’t have a personal life. Your clients’ lives are your obligation- both personally and professionally when it comes to branding and visibility. Voicing your own opinions online (even via a personal account) will harm your own reputation- right or wrong, this is the culture we live in.

Keep it professional and keep those negative or opinionated posts off of social media!

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Promoting Your Business with PR

Public relations is about managing the media and developing a brand. It isn’t about making someone famous through managing appearances or mingling with celebrities – which is one of the biggest misconceptions to date.

Public relations professionals don’t book work or appearances outside of media interviews, talent or literary agents do this. Public relations professionals book media appearances based on what a client is doing. If you have to do the work yourself (you can’t quite obtain a publicist just yet), please pay attention to my top 3 common PR mistakes listed below.

1. It is two different things entirely to pitch news your clients force you to pitch against your better judgment and pitch something to a reporter without the thought of you believing it is news in the first place.

2. Your timeline isn’t what the press cares about. In fact, you need to care what the media’s timelines are. I recently read this piece of advice and couldn’t agree more. “Let’s say you are sending a Christmas wish list to a monthly magazine. When do you send that pitch? October? August? Try June or July.

3. Know the news. Everyone thinks their clients are special, and they are. However, you will not get your clients picked up by every single news outlet. In fact, for every 500 outlets pitched, expect a 3% return and not right away. Remember, editorial calendars exist!

As you move forward, you will create connections that will make it easier for you to pick up the phone and bump competing press agents and their stories. Until then, follow the rules and don’t make these 3 major mistakes.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to Engage Anyone....

In business you will have to engage and charm anyone and everyone. You have to know how to speak with people. You have to get employees to follow your vision. The media to pick-up your idea. You have to sell clients your concept or products. There is a lot of work to be done in the person-to-personal intercommunications realm. So, how do you do this effectively? 3 simple steps.

1. Treat others as they want to be treated. Don’t treat everyone nicely or how YOU want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated. If someone hates candy, why send a box of candy to all of your clients during a holiday season? Be personal. Call people by name, remember minor details and use them.

2. Say goodbye to your smartphone for two days straight. Yes, two days. Why? It will help you focus on people. When you do this, you will see exactly what I mean. After you do this, and you see the positive results, you will be able to tuck that phone away during meetings and other important events. Showing up is important and you can’t fully do this – or engage anyone- if your head is engaged with your own phone as the primary distraction.

3. Know the difference between a fact and an opinion and use this properly. Don’t talk about people using opinions and don’t talk about business without incorporating facts. Only offer your opinion when you feel it will help someone and never say anything negative about anyone to anyone. It will come back and bite you. Be factual and helpful, not a gossip or a know-it-all.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The One Thing To Know Before Starting A Business

Here is the secret to becoming successful before even opening your business.. Pay talent in equity if you can’t afford to pay them right away. It’s very hard to attract talent w to help you grow your business when you’re strapped for cash. I learned, early on that is, that if you pay individuals with a percentage of ownership of the company then they will be actually invested in your company and not simply invested in a paycheck – plus you’re saving money.

Some people like to hire interns. This action could be a win-win for both parties but it also comes with a risk. At some point the intern is going to leave for a paying job or -worst yet- will start his or her own company. You have to be aware that if this happens that the intern can take anything you may have taught him or her… including clients… can move forward with a bigger, better plan and possibly more money than you have. If you are considering getting an intern, understand that you should also have an NDA and other legal documents in place to protect you and your ideas.

Paying talent in equity is one of the best and most affordable options for people seeking to start-up any type of business. They get to buy into a business without coming up with cash and you gain someone who truly cares about the growth of your company without having to pay cash. Sure, you’re giving away a percentage of equity, but isn’t this a good thing if they can make your company grow?

That’s my food for thought tonight!

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

3 PR Tips for Business Owners

Someone asked me recently if I had a super tip that would blast them into PR wonderland. Well, I have 3 tips that everyone should know about PR and practice, but they aren’t going to “blast you into wonderland.” Publicity is a layered approach and it requires practice and the development of relationships. There is no such thing as overnight success- unless you’re only looking for 15 minutes of fame.

So, here are my 3 PR tips;

1. You need to be your own brand. Don’t let an interview, introduction, or any other opportunity go by without telling someone who you are, how you can help, and what your tag line is.

2. Your tag line should be a phrase that explains what you do and why you’re better! For example, Burger Kind’s is “Home of the Whopper”. They sell Whoppers. They are the only company that sells Whoppers. Period. BTW – There was no Whopper until Burger King branded it this way…..

3. Don’t stop selling – it’s not shameless to plug yourself, as long as you do it honorably. If you meet a radio show host, talk yourself up but do so in a way that he or she would see how having you would benefit the audience- not yourself. Remember, you have to solve a problem for someone in order to present media value. Often, this problem solving comes in the way of providing expertise or industry insight.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 13, 2015

Media Writing Tips 101

I was thinking about the conference the other day when I came across a poorly composed press release. You see, writing separates the stringers from the professionals. No matter how many connections you have, if you can't write- you will fail. Period!

This said, I wanted to share the top 3 writing mistakes YOU need to avoid. If you don't, your peers will look at you like a stringer and you will not obtain any respect within the media relations field.

1. "At the end of the day" - Do not ever use this. You should be able to write your point without having to point it out. If you have to write a "look at me" tag, the rest of your writing is fluff and journalists will hate it and laugh at it.

2. "I know you're busy" - If you're using this in a pitch or a sales letter, slap yourself on the wrist. Everyone is busy. Writing this phrase just wastes more of the reader's time and it sounds corny. Avoid using this phrase at all costs.

3. "In this day in age" - Ok, first- we all assume that you are writing about the present. If not, why are you writing at all. The goal is to be media savvy and relevant. This phrase is ad copy and doesn't have a place in the PR world.

I hope this info. helps you become a better writer and understand what separates the true professional from the wannabe.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, July 10, 2015

PR and Live Events 101

People often believe that because they host a special event that the media will flock to it and blanket it with coverage. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Hosting an event means you have to work harder to obtain pre-press efforts and actually get the media to attend the event.

Here are a few pointers on obtaining actual media coverage for your next event;

1. Promote your keynote speaker. Make sure the press knows who is going to speak, what the overall message is, and then send soundbites after the event is over (within 24 hours).

2. Be clear about a theme. When promoting the event (pre and post production), make sure you explain why it is newsworthy and beneficial to the business industry or community at hand.

3. Don’t have a self-interest. Reporters will see through awards and acknowledgements in exchange for actual media coverage. Instead, invite them for their expertise on a panel and make sure you include social media interaction as part of the event and conversation.

4. Take an outside perspective on the event. Sure, it is important to you, but why would it be important to someone who doesn’t know you? The answer to this question will mean the difference between media attendance and media coverage.

I hope this information helps you secure actual media coverage for your next big event.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wasting Time, It's Serious Business

Do you know how to NOT waste time? Really think about your answer first. In a culture of social media “pings” and feeling like everything has to be done NOW …. more of us actually waste time versus being productive.

The Eisenhower Box method has been tested again and again. It is the best method to use when preventing time from being wasted while boosting productivity. So, what is the Eisenhower Box method?

Basically, this method states one should separate actions based on four possibilities. The possibilities are:

Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).

Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).

Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).

Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

If you look at every single item that comes across your desk, iPhone, tablet, etc. and apply one of these four possibilities to it – you will not waste time. The Eisenhower Box method is all about assessing and addressing by making an immediate decision on every potential and actionable item.

For today, start apply this method and notice how much you get done and how quickly it gets done. I promise you the productivity in your life will go up and you still will have more time left at the end of the day.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Does Social Media Have You Overexposed?

Overexposure is a very real thing. Publicists often have to walk a fine line when working with co-PR management (film, music, cross generational brands, etc.) to ensure that messaging and promotion is effective and not so heavy that fans or customers feel sickened by it.

Molly Tullis recently covered overexposure and I feel she captured it perfectly. She said, “In the summer of 2013, the Jennifer Lawrence love affair was at an all-time high. The Hunger Games had come out a year earlier, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Role in the Silver Linings Playbook, and hit a home-run by saying all the right things about body image and young girls. But by December I was waiting for the imminent backlash. I didn’t have to wait long. Before she could cash her paycheck signed out to Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence was fielding reports that she was obnoxious, ‘everywhere’, and people were incredibly “sick and bored of her.” Ironic that a culture that had obsessively gorged on her girl-next-door charms felt sick soon after. Of course she was everywhere – we put her there. The same phenomenon happened with Reese Witherspoon and Anne Hathaway before her. We loved them, we put them on every cover, we give them sponsorships, and while they’re still walking red carpets, they’re consistently fielding comments such as: “I don’t know why… I just don’t like her.”

Here’s the thing- there is no measurement to predict overexposure. It has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you look at Molly’s comments above, think about Jared Leto. He won the Oscar. He is in a successful band. He has his own streaming company for entertainers. He is practically everywhere and yet- he has no overexposure risk. I think this is because he is collectively evenly spread out (as a brand) across different mediums that cater to different audiences.

My point tonight is this, pay attention to your measurements and what audiences are saying on social media. The moment whispers start to turn south, pull interviews and reevaluate your publicity plan.

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 6, 2015

Increasing Sales.... Write It Down

I’ve been asked time and time again about sales and how to get more of them. Well, there is one sure-fire way to get sales but it is a practiced art and it shouldn’t be the only sales funnel you rely upon. So, what is the one way to actually improve sales?

Notes. Yes, take notes. If you don’t take notes, you likely won’t remember what’s said or what commitments you or the customer made to each other. Plus, when you take detailed notes during a cold call or an initial conversation, you can make your follow-up more personal, which will resonate with the customer and lead to better chances of closing a deal.

I have found that we often spend so much time selling ourselves and pitching our products and services that we fail to listen. We fail to take notes. We fail to solve the problem for the customer vs. selling the customer on solving the problem. Hint: The customer knows they have a problem. They don’t want to hear that you can solve it, they want you to understand how they feel and then have you understand their point of view. Once you can convey that you understand how they feel (again, through detailed follow-up via your notes), then you can ask for their business and start to really close deals and increase sales.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

One Habit Harming Your Business

I’m going to share the most vital of business tip I can – you have a bad habit. In fact, most entrepreneurs do. I had to become aware of this bad habit, which is why I am passing it on to you. Once you become aware of this habit then you can start to work on breaking it.

So, what’s the habit? Living in the past. Yes, the past. You see, dwelling in the past keeps you from moving forward. It is important that you do whatever it takes to bury the past so you can come into the now. You can’t think about mistakes or should’ves. You really have to focus on planning to move forward and think about possibilities.

People who live in the past or judge the present based on how they have experienced the past tend to be dreamers, not do’ers. It is important that you are both. I use to live in the past. I thought about all the money and time wasted learning lessons and thought how impossible it seemed for me to move forward. Then, one day, after realizing that I was frozen by my past , I decided to dive right into my future. I worked on shrugging off irrational fears of what could happen again and made a plan to move forward and prevent these things from happening again. I didn’t become glued to past results, I worked on moving forward because of the past results.

If you can learn to move forward from the past, you will be successful. There is no question in my mind about this strategy. So, I ask you today, what about your past is making you fearful about moving forward today? Whatever it is, address it and then figure out a plan to move beyond it.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PR Advice 101

I want to talk today, a bit more than usual, about DIY publicity. Contacting the press is tricky. You should follow AP standards but you shouldn’t cookie-cut pitches, advisories, etc. Remember, PR is about relationships- not press releases! This said, I have 3 tips for you when it comes to writing and sending emails to the media.

1. Your focus should be on the subject line. Press members are busy! They are pitched by people they do know and don’t know 100 times a day. Plus, they receive emails from peers, their boss, publicists responding to story requests, friends, family, SPAM… their email boxes are flooded. If the email header reads “press release” or “media advisory”… don’t bother sending it. You need a subject line that will stop traffic.

2. Don’t BS a reporter. They hate hype. They can spot hype a mile away. If you use any type of promotional verbs or nouns, they will not only NOT cover you- many will put you on blast via social media. Reporters like quick facts and credible resources.

3. Attach this. Reporters are not going to open an attachment. Forget it. If they’re interested, they will follow a link. Yes, you need to provide two links in your email. One that goes to the media advisory or press release with more information and one that goes to the online media kit.

Remember, you can mess up on AP style, you can pitch the wrong reporter (who will send it to the right reporter almost always), and you can accidentally toss in a spelling error or two- and still get your story covered. Journalists can forgive bad style if the story is good. But, if you’re not doing the basics right (see above), they will never even open the pitch.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Learning to Lead

I was recently asked how I became the leader of my industry. Well, thank you! I love being thought of as the industry leader. But, there is always more to learn and more work to be done. This is why my advice for anyone wondering how to become a leader within their industry is to meet regularly. Yes, touch base with your team. Delegating is a tool to use, not a form of leadership. Don’t let delegating tasks replace regular meetings.

Eric Holtzclaw of Lean Forward recently said,”regular meetings create structure, cohesion and a sense of community. They force accountability, not only for the individuals being assigned tasks or providing updates, but for the leader as well. Regular cross-department meetings encourage communication and learning about what others are doing. Well-run meetings are where strengths and weaknesses are identified faster and improved upon.”

I couldn’t agree more. Mico-managing is not a bad thing. If an employee doesn’t like to be micro-managed, they usually are hiding something. Either they lack accountability, don’t want to be part of the team and the constant meetings irk them, or a whole host of other issues exists. Either way, you’re the boss and you decide how work goes down, right?!

You can’t run a business without checking in and having meetings. You can do this virtually now which means you can take a half hour phone call to get updates from the golf course. You can still live your life and have your freedom without being hands-off when it comes to your business.

Until Friday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Exit Strategy

Not having an exit strategy is always a mistake. I think people fail to think about and plan for an exit strategy because they have the mindset that failure isn’t an option. Um, no. Failure is always an option and avoiding it as a thought process may be setting yourself up failure! The good news is people, like myself, can learn from their failures.

Even with the best training and the most experience, you should always plan an exit strategy in business. In fact, you should always plan an exit strategy when entering into any contract or committed situation. Knowing the worst case scenario up front can help you navigate your future endeavors. So, yes- I recommend making an exit strategy for your business. But how?

1. Write your business plan and write your exit strategy back-to-back.

2. Succession Planning vs. Selling to an Outside Party- which one is right for you? Should things go wrong, how will you sell your company? Will you sell your company? What if things go right? Will you sell your company? If so, to who?

3. Don’t assume your family wants to takeover the business in the middle of your crisis. Talk with your family about handling your business should a medical or other life emergency arise. Would they be able to (and would they want to) take over your company?

4. Consult with advisers now about your exit strategy (either selling because it’s failing or selling because it’s succeeding). If you don’t hire the right financial, legal, tax and business advisers to help shepherd any sale or consult on an exit strategy from the get-go, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

Exit strategies are needed. It’s difficult to address when launching a business, but I promise you its even harder to address when going through a time of great wealth or difficulty.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Do You Mean What You Say?

“I may be wrong, but…” has to be the single most phrase that drives me crazy. I never understood why someone, anyone, would use this phrase. Basically, it implies that you know or think you’re right- but you don’t have the guts or leadership skills to back up your own opinions or knowledge.

Think about it… how many times have you said, “I may be wrong, but….” ? Why did you say it? Did you say it because you truly are full of self doubt? Did you say it because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Did you say it because you didn’t want to come off as arrogant?

Meaning what you say in business is important. There is no room or time for social flattery or playing nice when it comes to being a leader. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say. If someone is saying something that is wrong or that you know will not work, speak up. You will be respected for your opinion. You can present it in a positive manner, too. This said, if you say it with self doubt, no one will be vested in your opinion because you- yourself- are doubting it.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A 1-Question Interview...

We live and operate in a virtual world. In this world, we usually have to interview employees or contractors through Skype of through over the phone. Well, I have one question that will help you pick the right person to hire for your next ‘new hire’ quest – regardless of the position.

So, what is the question? “How is who you are now consistent or inconsistent with the person you were at 10 years old?” Now, look at how they answer the question more than the answer itself. Here’s why; the journey they are on is important. If someone where to say, “When I was 10 I thought I’d be an attorney but I ended up being a computer programmer”- you can ask what happened, get more insight as to thought process, ability to follow through on goals, ability to be distracted easily, schooling for computer programming, accomplishments, etc.

If you pay attention to the journey, the self-descriptions, and what they feel are ‘life events’ of importance between 10 and now- you will discover a lot about the potential new hire and their ability to mesh well within your company’s culture.

Trust me, this question works. A great way to see how effective it is is to simply use it on someone close to you before you use it in an interview. Ask your kids, parents, friends the same question. You will see how much information you gain and learn about them within the scope of their answer(s).

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 8, 2015

Are You Harming Your Business?

There are two schools of thought that have been proving right when it comes to killing business or killing a sale. I wanted to share these tips for you, as a business owner, to help my audience understand what NOT to do when it comes to business. If you follow my advice, you will grow your profit margin. So- without further delay- here are the two things that will kill your business;

1. Thinking the customer is always right.

This will kill your margins. Reducing costs, giving away freebies, comping things.... all of these practices will put you out of business. The customer isn't always right. While you want to try and smooth things over with an annoyed client, you don't want to destroy your business in the duration. Think about how to resolve a problem with value added services, not discounts or freebies.

2. Toxic employees.

This should seem obvious but toxic employees can cost you customers and turn off great employees. Bad HR practices will hurt your company. Even poorly behaved contractors can ruin your company. Avoid this problem all together by looking beyond experience and more at attitude. Remember, external customer service starts with internal customer service.

Don't let these two things ruin your company or potential growth. Know that the customer isn't always right and that your employees' bad behavior will hurt your profit margin.

Until Tuesday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 1, 2015

3 Tips for Obtaining More Business Using Apps

I’m always asked about what apps are the best apps for business. And, of course, there are different apps that work for different day-to-day business operations. And, as suspected, not all apps are the same. Some actually hinder your business while others can help you take control of your business.

Since, I’m asked about this topic often- I’ve decided to list the 3 apps that I feel can help you boost your customer base and close business. Now, this list will work for most people, but not all people. Businesses are unique and you should take my suggestions as recommendations only. Consider these apps and then decide if they will work for your particular business or not.

1. Product Upsell. This app allows you to offer relevant add-on products to customers based on cart content, total $ in cart or even a combination!

2. Sale Rack is awesome. It helps you obtain new clients and upsell existing ones. With this app you can effectively batch update prices, either to a percentage or to fixed amounts. You can also schedule updates, and easily revert them automatically on selected dates.

3. MaxTraffic Exit Offers. This allows you to drive up business with pop-up notifications and special offers as someone exits your website!

Still have questions? Want me to speak at your next event?

Let us talk!

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to Self-Promote & Why!

I had someone ask me how they self-promote without looking sleazy. Here’s the thing… there is nothing wrong with self-promotion. People do it all the time. Lawyers run ads on TV, real estate agents run photo packs on billboards and at bus stops, and online businesses often utilize social media ads to get the word out about their products and services.

Bragging about yourself is part of the online business landscape that many people still need to improve upon. I understand being humble but business is a competitive sport. You have to speak up or you will be left out. One of the best ways to self-promote without feeling “sleazy” is to have your results work as your income advocate.

Find two or three clients who are willing to do a video on your behalf. Before and After photos work well, but often- today’s culture believes they are not real or photo shopped. A video ranks well on Google and YouTube, where photos do only OK. Plus, a video dispels any questions about your client testimony and its validity.

As we head into the rest of 2015, start promoting yourself and the good work you do. Post client result videos and testimonials on your social media accounts and your websites. Remember, branding is 98% visibility.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Know Your Value

I wish people regarded themselves in a better light sometimes. I’m in line at the grocery store recently and a man was speaking with what sounded like his boss on the phone. “OK, I understand if you want to give him the project.” He hung up and looked dejected. Why didn’t he fight harder?

The same thing happened to another woman I know. She has a great business but she fails to go after the “whale” contracts, sticking with small referral business. Why? When I asked her, she said she didn’t have a big corporate office. As a result, and before trying, she assumed the company wouldn’t want to hire a small fish….

We all have value. Assuming a big whale contract would want a big corporate office to contract with is wrong. Not fighting for the project you want is wrong. Many large companies want independent thinkers, not corporations, to contract with. Assuming you can’t or won’t get a contract, or lying down when someone says ‘no’, are bad habits that should be broken.

It’s very important to know your value and to know when to fight and when to say ‘no’. If you don’t understand the importance of these three elements, I highly encourage you to connect with me on Twitter to continue the conversation.

In the meantime, think about your value. What makes you and your service unique?

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ways to Fail at Networking

I recently watched a friend of mine fail at a public cocktail event that had a lot of prospect business in attendance. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was then that I realized, my friend wasn't trying to be bad at networking. She just wasn't a naturally social person and no one had ever taught her how to mix business in a social setting. So, if you can related to my friend- then keep reading. These 5 networking sins are noted to help you learn, grow, and then become a master at networking.

1. It’s all about you….. Well, it’s not. People love to talk about themselves,so let them. I’ve learned to go to these types of events and ask anyone I wanted to meet a simple question… “So, what do you do?” And they’re off. Listening to someone else talk… and I mean really being engaged… will make them like you. They will say they had a great conversation with you— even if it is one-sided. So, instead of pitching yourself, let others pitch you.

2. No follow up. If you leave the event with business cards and wait for the phone to ring, you’re committing a “sin.” Go through the cards and enter them into your mailing list. Then call- yes use the phone, don’t send an email- the contacts you believe can bump up your business and invite the person out for coffee on your tab. Don’t pitch at the coffee meeting either. Instead talk to the person about what they do some more and learn where they can use help.

3. Not offering value. Once you have that coffee meeting and you discover how your potential referral contact can use help, find a way to provide it. Solve their problem for them- no charge- and without pitching yourself. Pretend that you have it all handled and clients are coming through the door. The contact won’t forget this move and YOU will be their number 1 priority when it comes to referring business.

4. Don’t think you’ve failed if none of this works. There are selfish and bad people out there. The system noted above works 95% of the time. Your first time out (maybe first 3 times out) may fall within the other 5%. Keep trying…

5. Stop going to every networking event. You should be selecting your networking events carefully and not by open bar status or what’s on the menu either! If you know a networking event is going to be filled with pediatricians… pass. They may not help your market. If you know an event is going to be filled with people within your industry… go and practice steps 1-4. If you know an event is going to be a mix of professionals you may, one day, sell your services to then go and practice steps 1-4. You may get referral or direct business off of it. Protect your time by picking events that (long-term) can provide you with real ROI. Don’t just network for the sake of meeting people. After all, the goal is to establish your brand and bring in money.

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Friday, May 15, 2015

Does Your Logo Need Help?

Here is a thought for the weekend- "What has your logo done for you?" Think about it. Think about it for you and your clients. Is your logo really a point of visibility or an eyesore? Most think it is visibility and in reality- it is an eyesore!

A logo has to serve a purpose. It can't just "look cool". The branding has to have a short and concise title and the colors have to appeal to the masses. Plus, it has to be immediately identifiable. Think Starbucks... without the lettering, we still know the woman in green means great coffee that is over priced!

Speaking of green, what colors are you using? Certain colors mean different things from a psychological standpoint. Did you know, for example, that the color yellow equates to childhood memories within people? If someone had a poor childhood, they will not be buying your services if you have a yellow logo. If they had a great childhood- they will be buying for life!

Uniqueness has to play a part too. Compel the viewer, don't hit him or her over the head with the obvious. AT&T doesn't have a logo as part of its logo. Instead, it has a globe. Why? Most people think of phones when the hear about AT&T. Well, the communication company offers services all over the globe, which compels the logo viewer.

So, all this said- look at your logo this weekend. Look at the logos of your clients. Are you being too obvious? Too generic? Using the wrong colors? Chances are- all of the above is true. And if you need a brand overhaul, don't be afraid to reach out to me.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Greatness Defined...

I was asked recently how a woman could become or be defined as a great leader. Hmm. What does being a woman have to do with leading? No one ever asks a man how he can become a great leader. Why are we women singled out?

The truth is there are plenty of great women leaders out there and there are plenty of great male leaders out there. The test of leadership isn’t found within your DNA and birth sex, but defined by the following skills. Do you have them? If so, you’re a great leader.

1) You don’t care what people say, you have your vision and you are moving forward. This stands true only if your vision is positive, lifts others up and you’ve done research to have such a provocative opinion about your vision.

2) You collaborate, you don’t delegate. Anyone can delegate. Not everyone is humble enough to collaborate. You need collaboration with other people to build your brand, grow your business and improve your networking (in person and online) circle.

3) You are a life-long learner. If you didn’t throw your degree on the wall and announce “I’m done” then you are a life-long learned. Continued education is the key to being able to pivot your company when new technologies or methodologies are introduced.

You don’t have to be one sex or another to lead. You simply have to follow the three steps noted above to success.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett of

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

LinkedIn… Is It Worth It?

Five years ago LinkedIn was “all the rage” when it came to B2B marketing. Books were composed, experts performed symposiums, and LinkedIn really pushed its professional upgrade service. But now what? Is LinkedIn dying? Yes and No. Like any social media tool, it really depends on how you use it and who is in your professional range of contacts.

B2B marketing has to be about give and take. You can’t just ask for referrals without returning the favor. If you’re not into referral fees or gifts, then you should be providing the same amount of B2B referral favors. This is where the majority of people fail. If you’re not helping others get ahead, you’re not going to have others return the favor to you. LinkedIn isn’t a magic resource for referral business and many people don’t understand this. They setup a LinkedIn account and then sit back waiting for the business to come to them.

You have to work for business. Period. Use LinkedIn to ask others to refer to you and let them know what you’re willing to do for those referrals. If you’re willing to pay a referral fee or barter services, say this. If you’re willing to share a networking list or a PR resource, note this. Don’t just send out blind emails to people you don’t truly know- who are in your “inner LinkedIn circle” because they will not be read or immediately are deleted. Work your contacts and develop real relationships with people- this is what works.

LinkedIn isn’t a bad thing to have. It can be very helpful for B2B marketing if you are genuine and actually offer something of service.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, May 11, 2015

Peer Referrals …. Do They Really Work?

I recently had someone ask me if I get any ROI from attending marketing events or online symposiums. The truth is ‘Yes’ – I do. While I know many people don’t think marketing events or peer referrals truly work, the bottom line is to understand that referrals aren’t a “sure” thing. You still have to work to obtain the business.

Some people say, “Sure, refer me to your source” only to be nice. This is a lead that you will pitch and pitch and will never come through.

Other people say, “Ok, make the introduction” only to see the cost of your services and run away- no matter how valued the relationship is. This lead was never secure to begin with.

Other people are thinkers. Other people are price comparers. And other people are actually interested. Like any type of business, referrals are simply enquires and you have to earn their business. Just because someone knows you and loves your services doesn’t mean the third party will buy on a handshake or virtual introduction.

So, how do you close a referral lead? Simple – just follow these 3 steps.

First, reward those who send you business. If the referring party has a financially vested interest, he or she will help to follow up and close the leads they do send over. Keep in mind, however, that only about 20% of all leads will actually close.

Second, offer a discounted or rewards program to those who have been referred to you. Even with praise and amazing ratings, an incentive-based offer to try your services for a limited time works better than sending over a large contract or long-term service obligation.

Finally, don’t be aggressive. Stop with the daily “follow up” phone calls, sales-ad emails (sent twice a week), and Facebook ‘Likes’. If a potential lead is annoyed with a pushy sales process right off of the bat, he or she will be skeptical of your services. I know it is hard- but be conservative with your follow up efforts.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, May 8, 2015

Working with the Enemy....

We’ve all heard of the movie ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’, right? Well, what if you have to work with the enemy. There is always going to be someone within the office (or your company) whom you dread working with. From personality differences to professional differences, no one gets along with everyone all of the time. However, you do have to overcome differences in order to keep your job or your business. Hey, if you're the boss, you still have to work alongside people you may not like. This is a part of life.

My best advice is to gently exploit your arch enemy if kindness fails. This doesn’t mean go after him or her or their job, it simply means make it noticeable, nicely, to your boss or other employees what this person is doing wrong. If it is a client, you're going to have to help him or her realize they are wrong. This can be touchy since they are the one signing your paycheck!

For example, if the person constantly forgets to put in a proper computer code- you may want to send out an email stating “I know Tasha keeps entering “z” into the “y” spaces. Don’t worry, I had some free time to go in and correct all these mistakes as I am sure Tasha didn’t realize the error and I wanted to be a team player.”

If someone truly is becoming a rival, it has to be addressed. Sometimes a face-to-face can make it worse so polite exploitation may be the right way to go. Use your best judgment but also play fair. Don’t look for trouble unless you are pushed.

Yes, we have to learn to get along with others but there are some times when we're going to have to speak up and take charge.....

Until Monday,
Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Social Sharing, Are You Optimized?

One aspect of social media engagement is utilizing hashtags and key words to not only spread your message to your audience, but to also capture traffic from a seeking social media audience. Yes, this task is a bit of work but it is worth learning because it can drive both traffic and profit.

The best way to start learning social sharing optimization is to start with Twitter or Instagram. Both utilize the hashtag (#) to pull in like-minded searchers / seekers / business owners into a single thought or image and then start a conversation or- at the very least- make a brand introduction.

If you’re really not that familiar with # use right now, go to Twitter and in the search box type in ‘#business’… this is your general audience, your peers, etc. Now, you need to write using social sharing optimization so they can find you when typing in specific key words.

Think you need more help learning how to do this and what tools to cross-train yourself on?

Don’t hesitate, contact me directly for one-on-one business and branding coaching. I'm always available to speak at your company's next event or provide one-on-one training.

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Networking, Is It A time Waster?

I blurted out laughing in line at my favorite coffee house today. Why? Well, I heard someone discussing how terrible they felt about heading to a marketing conference next week. He didn't want to do the "go team" thing during any conference activities because - frankly- "that stuff doesn't apply in my day-to-day operations." His honestly was brutal, his candor made me laugh, and he was 100% right!

Here's the thing, conferences don't have to be a waste of time. Networking events can benefit you. The trick is to know how to navigate these activities.

If you don;t head into a conference thinking about what you will not learn, chances are you will capitalize on the extra time (yes, away from your desk and your clients) to do the following;

Meet new people and potential new employees
Hear amazing speakers and generate ideas for your firm
Crystallize strategies you may have been considering
Forge partnerships with other co-managing PR firms
Learn about new technologies and figure out how to be ahead of your competition
Un-learn bad habits - which happens
Create a notebook full of smart tactics to take back to the office and implement

I think life is all about attitude. Sure, the things learned at conferences will not always fit into your day-to-day operations' plan. But, if you implement them correctly, they can elevate your business overall.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, May 4, 2015

IME Named Official Partner of UNICOM Government, A Division of UNICOM Global.

UNICOM Global has accepted IME of Washington, D.C. as an official partner. The company, IME, has been listed within UNICOM’s U.S. Community Pool.

For Immediate Release:

National. - Investment Management Enterprise (IME), Inc. is a management-consulting firm that specializes in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, Management Consulting Services, Life Cycle Acquisition Support, Information Technology (IT) Support Services, Cyber Security & Computer Forensics, and Construction Program Management. The company was recently named an official partner through UNICOM Global for UNICOM U.S.’ Community Pool, which provides turnkey information, products, and services to public agencies.

“I’m excited to have IME named as an official partner. We’ve been moving the company forward in many ways and continue to provide our clients with amazing resources and a caring touch,” said Twyla Garrett, President of IME. “We’re looking to open up shares of IME shortly to a private sector of investors. This partnerships solidifies the growth efforts we’ve been working on.”

IME was officially awarded residence within UNICOM’s U.S. Community Pool in April of 2015. Through the U.S. Communities contract, UNICOM Government (formerly GTSI) is responding to the business challenges of state and local government agencies with solutions that provide a wide breadth of technology products and professional services.

“IME has shown significant growth within the IT services market, as well as Homeland Security, over the past three years. IME operates within a forward-thinking, cost-saving mindset, which has only been possible thanks to Ms. Garrett’s background and dedication to driving her company’s solution towards the right opportunities,” said Helene Vece, Media Manager for IME.

Members of the press are invited to speak with Twyla Garrett about IME’s official partnership with UNICOM Global.


About IME: Since 2000, IME has worked with government agencies, commercial businesses and private sector organizations nationwide. The company is an award-winning leader that is passionate about delivering its core capabilities to clients and individual communities. IME is a woman- and minority- owned firm that specializes in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, Management Consulting Services, Life Cycle Acquisition Support, Information Technology (IT) Support Services, Cyber Security & Computer Forensics, and Construction Program Management.

About Twyla Garrett: Ms. Twyla Garrett is a three-time author, public speaker, serial entrepreneur, award-winning community leader, philanthropist, and – most recently- a featured executive profile for Forbes Business. She has experience speaking alongside performers like Mary J. Blige and Magic Johnson, as well as at White House events and The United Nations. Prior to opening IME, Twyla started off working for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in downtown Cleveland. Twyla later moved to San Diego, California and held positions of deputy controller NADEP and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Manager for Space and Naval Warfare System Command (SPAWAR).

About UNICOM U.S. Community Pool: U.S. Communities was founded in 1996 as a partnership between the Association of School Business Officials, the National Association of Counties, the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors.


Helene Vece, Media Manager for IME
702-409-1282- Media Calls Only

Friday, May 1, 2015

What Not To Put Up With In Business

New business owners, and even seasoned ones, are always learning from mistake and wins. However, there are three things that you, a business owner, should never tolerate within your company – no matter how big or how small your current company is.

1. Clutter and disorganization. Clutter and disorder cause stress and affect your emotional and mental well-being. The same goes for employees who tend to be disorganized, the can impact your business and your clients. Keep a tidy and well organized “you” space or office. It does make a difference.

2. Distrust. If you don’t trust an employee, why is he or she working for you? The same goes for your clients. You can fire them and if you feel they are not being honest with you, there is no point in working with or for them. Your wealth depends on your ability to trust employees, vendors, etc. After all, no business works well because of one person. If someone is not trustworthy, leave them where they are and move on.

3. Mediocrity. Since when did “good enough” become a standard? If you are only going to do something half-way, why do it at all? It makes you look like you have no pride or don’t care. Make sure you are really giving everything you do 300%. Period. Oh, and if you have employees that don’t follow this rule- fire them.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

An Overview of Branding vs. Ads

There is a difference between branding and advertising. While most people would think these two efforts are one-in-the-same, they’re not. Branding is how people emotionally connect to your products / services within 5 seconds of seeing your logo. They come to know what you do, stand for, etc. all through branding via a multi-layered approach of media and publicity placement alongside content and visual positioning.

Advertising, however, is the campaign vessel to help communicate your branding message. It is a paid effort and it compliments how you develop your branding. It is not a part of your branding. Think about GoDaddy. Their advertising spots are known for being fun, quirky, and to the point when it comes to easy-to-use web-based services. The company’s branding is not who is in the advertising spots. The advertising is a tool to get people to pay attention to the brand so they can further explore it.

Don’t build all your advertising efforts around one single platform. That would be a poor branding choice. Instead, build all of your advertising efforts- on any level or price-point- around what your brand stands for.

Until next time,

Twyla n. Garrett

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What To Do When Money Is Tight.....

I recently met a lady who had given up on her business ownership dreams. When I asked why, she was honest and said money became tight and her family was telling her to “get a real job to help with real problems.” I felt heartbroken. I understand getting a second job while your dreams launch, but “get a real job”- that was a little harsh.

No one will ever understand the pressure and personal pain that goes into launching a business unless they own a business! It is like giving birth. You invest time, manual labor, and money taking a risk that you will birth something beautiful. You work hard today to give yourself, and your family, a better future tomorrow. Money will become tight. Quitting or giving in to family members who don’t understand the challenges that come with being a business owner is easier than doing the work and walking through fire sometimes- but I promise you, in the end, it is worth it!

Don’t give up on your dream or your goals because money is tight. If you have to work two jobs until you can make it happen- do so. But don’t let a temporary or second job become a permanent one. Don’t deny future clients your gifts because of a problem today. Stick with it. Get creative. Get busy. Don’t quit.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, April 27, 2015

Is Your Personality Harming Your Business?

Did you know there are some entrepreneurs out there who don’t ever have success? Shocking, right?! There is a personality trait that separates those who want to do from those who do and succeed. So what is it?

Being a dreamer. That’s right, dreaming big and having ambition isn’t enough. Dreamers don’t succeed. Doers do. The dreamer has lots of big ideas. But every dream needs direction and a system of execution for success.

It is possible for dreamers to not succeed because they are too busy dreaming up what will work, what will happen, etc. that they forget to put the wheels of the dream in motion and nothing ever comes into fruition as a result.

Today is your day. If you have big dreams ask yourself what you’re doing to implement them into materializing. No one is going to come by your desk and sprinkle magic dust over you or your dream. You have to be as much as a doer as you are a dreamer.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, April 24, 2015

Trusting in Business

There are few things in life that are true deal breakers. In business, we tend to get easily offended or we think a service we buy will excuse us from hard work. The truth is, there are three basic deal breakers in business. Everything else can be managed, worked through, or altered.

So, what are they?

1. Lying. Flat out lying. While you may think everyone in business fibs (which is terrible), usually- this isn’t true. If you have a partner, client, or employee who you know lies to you… get rid of them right away. They will put your company in jeopardy at some point.

2. Breach of contract. If you client or business partner breaches a contract, don’t allow this to continue on. Have an uncomfortable conversation first and try to set it right. If you can’t resolve the issue, talk to your legal team about other options.

3. Double-talking. It is very easy to find out when someone is talking negative about you. Why? It spreads within circles. If a client or employee or business partner is saying negative things about you, they don’t need to be affiliated with you. The level of trust is gone. Period.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Helping Clients Truly Understand.....

Clients new to the area you service or provide products for are often the most difficult. I say this in a positive way.They haven't learned the power of your brand yet, so it is understandable when they have trust issues in what we, as professionals people, actually do. Some new clients want the world immediately and without any real time or significant financial investment. Sadly, if you don't deliver- the trust they don't already have with you turns into resentment and more distrust.

There are ways to help build trust among new clients. In fact, below are three ways you can help promote trust between yourself and another party. I’ve tried and tested all of these steps and they do work!

1. Eliminate the cell phone check at a meeting. No one can trust another person who isn’t present at a meeting. If you are going to lunch or a meeting with someone, leave the cell phone in the car. I’m serious. If you have someone’s attention for a whole hour without showing them there is something better on the end of your phone- you will easily gain their trust.

2. Truly listen. This is hard for many people to do as we all want to share experiences and speak about ourselves. Listening and then repeating what we hear to others is a cue that we are trustworthy because we are interested. Paraphrase what you heard at any meeting back to the key people involved to ensure that you are a listener and you are willing to communicate. This practice builds trust!

3. Close the door. Yes, close the door for every meeting you have with a person if you have an office. This shows that you are putting them first and setting the outside world apart. I even like to say “I know this meeting isn’t going to address confidential information but I like to keep my conversations private. It helps me confide in important people, like yourself, should a situation arise.”

Learning to trust and learning to be trustworthy are two different things. As a business owner, you have to be trustworthy in a world that doesn’t reflect this message. Start implementing the three tips above and you will be on your way.

Twyla Garrett, IME
"The Federal Business Lady!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Powerful Lessons I’ve Learned

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” Paulo Coelho

Below are a few powerful lessons I've learned. I want to share them tonight so you have a few tools to help you better your ability to compete within business.

Here we go;

Before you create anything in business ask yourself these two questions: “What problem am I solving for my ideal client/how am I being of service?” and “how does this lead to making money?”

Brain storming is vital for success. When you release all of the ideas in your brain and get them down onto paper you can start to strategize and organize. You can put the pieces of the puzzle together and eliminate the ideas that don’t serve you.

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you have to. You are great at many things but that doesn’t mean you have to do all of them at once. Take that one step further… just because you started out doing one thing and became known for that one thing doesn’t mean you have to continue to do it if it no longer thrills and excites you. Let it go.

Community is critical. There is nothing more comforting than sitting in a room with like-minded people who are taking a risk and opening up about their fears, insecurities and limiting beliefs. It’s not easy to speak your truth but once you release it, you can move past it.

Mentoring is invaluable. I truly believe that the fastest way to success is through mentoring. There are things experience can teach you through the lessons and insights shared by those who have been there and done that.

The only way to grow is to take risks. The surefire way to stay exactly where you are is to do exactly the same thing you are doing right now. It’s a choice. Choose wisely.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Rule the World!

I recently overheard a woman talking about how she could rule the world if she only knew how to feel more energetic. Huh? Ruling the world shouldn’t be a goal. Ruling YOUR world should! I always say that everyone is capable of anything- you just have to try!

You can rule your world if you do the following;

1. Know that you can’t control everything. You can, however, control how your respond.

2. Know that you have to have an exit plan. Things happen.

3. Understand that you have to fail before you can rule. As long as you get back up and seek to better yourself, you can take control over your destiny.

Don’t spend time wishing for things to happen or making excuses as to why they are not. You can be better. You can rule your own world.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, April 20, 2015

Making God A Business Guide

As a woman, who runs a business revolving around Homeland Security, it is important for me to be reminded of the presence of God in my daily life. With any business that I run the bottom line isn't about money, it is about helping others.

Sure, like anyone, I like to get paid. But is that enough? And how much is enough? With the money I make in any of my businesses I have always tried to give back through employment and/or community programs. And, I am convinced that giving back and involving God, or your higher power, is the key to success.

I believe God provides everyone with a special gift, mine was ambition. I came from a place of hell before arriving in a place of heaven. I know it is hard to devote 100% of yourself to your business and also be deeply involved with a gospel community. Serve God by serving others. Bring God into your business by helping others through promotion, fair wage, employment, community donations and more. You will see your business prosper and inspire others to explore their gifts too.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, April 17, 2015

Do Your Customers Feel Cheated?

It happens. We get busy with how to run the business, growing a business, developing our brand, etc. that we forget why we are in business- our customers. I'm listing three ways to tell if you've lost sight of your customers' needs and are cheating them- even without meaning to do so. If so, ask yourself what you can do to correct the situation at hand.

1. You half-ass tasks. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is true. If you perform at your highest level upon first signing a client, but months or years later you could care less if the product/service is amazing or of quality then you've lost focused and are denying your customer what he or she is entitled to.

2. You believe the customer is always right. Um, no. The customer may think he or she is always right, but they're not. You wouldn't sell a standard kitchen oven to someone who wanted to open a bakery would you? No, of course not. If you see a client making a mistake and you don't step in- you're failing that customer.

3. You avoid the evil client. If you ditch a client because he or she is too demanding than you might not be up for the challenge of expansion. Try your best to handle evil clients and resolve inner-conflicts before giving this type of customer the boot.

Dealing with customers isn't always easy. You are not going to have easy clients in life. There will be difficult clients and situations. Remember these three tips and make sure the problem isn't you.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Staying Safe, Advice from an Homeland Security expert

I want to talk today about three easy ways to keep your family safe during a terrorist attack. During an attack, people will panic. Providing a long list of "to dos" sometimes can be counterproductive because we, naturally, panic. So, I broke down three easy-to-remember things to help keep your family safe during an attack.

1. Be aware of your emergency exists. If you start this today, it will be second nature to you. Every single time you walk into a business, amusement park, etc. with your family (and yourself), point out the emergency exits to your family members and then note the ER meeting place. It seems simple, but this is the best thing you can do to save a life during an attack.

2. Know how to handle minor and major medical issues. How? Take a CPR course and a first-aide course. Refresh the course knowledge every year. The information learned will be on automatized recall during a true emergency.

3. Find a police man or EMT and ask where you should go. Don't just head to the ER meeting spot and stay there. Once you collect your family members, ask what the plan is next. Find the closest first-responder and ask where the safest place to move to is.

I hope this information helps you make smart decisions when it comes to keeping your family safe during a terrorist attack, hopefully-however- you will not have to use it!

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Speaking Tips

I speak at many professional conferences and I do different media interviews. Did I take an advanced course in public speaking? No! Am I now comfortable with this task? Yes. However, this wasn’t a born gift or something I loved doing right out of the gate, it took lots of practice.

Tonight, I want to share my top 3 tops for public speaking. I hope you enjoy them.

#1. Cortisol is secreted by your adrenal glands when you’re anxious or stressed. So, how do you get rid of it? Exercise. That’s right, go for a walk or do sit ups about 20 minutes before you have to deliver a speech or a presentation and the anxiety will almost be non-existent.

#2. Set up a goal for the speech. Don’t just think of yourself as delivering a speech. Think about the ROI from the speech- either for you or your company. Next, set up a goal and work throughout the presentation or speech to reach this goal.

#3. Don’t read your slides! People will scan your slides. They don’t want any slides read to them. You are to present and speak to the people, recycling the information in the slide into something that connects with the audience. Simply reading a slide is boring and you will bore the audience.

I’m confident these tips will help you get through your next speech or presentation.

Until next time,
Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, April 13, 2015

Top Business Mistakes in 2015 - So far

I am asked often about common business mistakes, which is why this is my fourth blog post on the subject. The problem with asking general questions is the answers will always be generic. You see, there are different types of industries in business which means there are different types of mistakes to be made. Some you can recover from, some you can’t!

Below are three common ‘general’ business mistakes that I've seen people make in business so far this year:

1. Hiring the wrong people. Don’t trust a resume, vet it. Hiring the wrong person costs time, money and can ruin your reputation in the very delicate first three years of a start-up. Make sure someone doesn’t simply looks good on paper. Call those references.

2. Pricing. Yes, price point is a major issue because it pays the bill. Price something too high and you will not have sales. Price too low and you will not make a profit, maybe you will even put yourself in more debt. Take the time to do your research and really price your item or services within competitive range. Adjust as needed!

3. Being cheap about marketing. No one ever wants to spend money on marketing or advertising or public relations. And when a business isn’t receiving any attention or customers are not walking through the door, business owners question why. It takes money to make money. Whatever you can afford for marketing, double. You need it. Period.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garret

Friday, April 10, 2015

Your Virtual Office - Free Resources

More people are working from home or running their businesses out of their homes. It seems easy, it's not. At home you have more distractions. You're easily tempted to take an early lunch, chat up the mailman or watch Dr. Oz! If you create the perfect virtual office, you're more likely to stay on schedule.

1. Hire a virtual assistant. You can't do everything all of the time. You will need this assistant, especially as you grow. Even if you work for someone else, the virtual assistant can be your dirty little secret to staying on task and focus. I like this website (AskSunday) because the assistants work and are affordable. How affordable? Prices start at $130 a month!

2. A dedicated virtual office phone. You don't want one of your kids grabbing your business phone, right? I really enjoy the services of Grasshopper. Here's the link.

Why I like Grasshopper;
A. Call forwarding to mobile phones - work from anywhere
B. Voicemails via email
C. $12.00 a month!

3. Obtain a professional mailing address. You don't want clients to think the packages they sent to you are sitting around on the dining table, do you? Even if this is the case, presentation is everything! I like Virtual Post Mail. Here's the link:

This service collects your mail for you, allows you to preview it via email (great for those who travel often), and forwards the mail to your home address. The address is not a PO Box, which looks great on any business card or website. Pricing starts at $5.00 per month.

These are the basics for starting a virtual office. If you have more questions, or need recommendations, please get a hold of me via Twitter.

Happy Friday & I'll talk with you again on Monday!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Are You A Horrible Leader?

Do you think you're pleasant to work for? Do you often inspire your employees to do better and grow with the company? While we all might say 'yes', this can't be true 100% of the time. That's why I am posting how to tell if you're a terrible boss. OK, here we go.

Do you promise things that never materialize? If so, you're a terrible boss. What a great way to keep people from wanting to work for you. This happens over and over again in business. "You'll all get bonuses if we meet this month's sales quota." Once the quota is met, no sales bonus and a really bad reason why. If this sounds familiar, it's time to start rethinking your motivation for making empty promises.

No follow up. Nothing irks me more than a leader who sets up goals for the company and the employees engage and each the goals. Why does this irk me? Well, it irks me when the leader doesn't lead by example. No follow up, shows he or she doesn't take the goal(s) serious, etc. If you're too busy to follow up or meet a goal, don't ask your employees to do the same thing. Lead by example.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Tips to Save Your Business

I was recently asked about tips on saving a business before or after it starts. Well, each situation is complex but here are my basic tips;

# 1 -Don't just offer what you know. Expand and find out what your competitors are offering that you don't know- then learn it! Be competitive not complacent.

# 2- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Find a good mentor in your field and ask him or her to identify your weaknesses. This will offer you insight to your business' short comings.

# 3 - Never hire friends, unless you don't value the friendship. Hiring friends is worse than hiring family. Friends can become vindictive, expect favors and usually don't consider holding themselves accountable for mistakes. Hiring friends is always a bad idea.

# 4 - Try to promote from outside. If you promote from within it can cause desertion in the office and between co-workers. You may have a really good, trustworthy employee that deserves a promotion, but you also have to consider the climate of the office. Ask yourself if the person is promoted could other employees become jealous? What are the benefits and the risks?

# 5 - You are running a business. Understand this! Many people think just because they started a business that the business and the employees will run it for you. You need to be present and take the task seriously, if not- you will fail.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is Your Brand Failing?

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 tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, April 6, 2015

Seeking Capital - Yes.

IME is a minority and female owned company that started as a bootstrap idea and has since grown into a multi-million dollar Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness company that frequently contracts with the US Government. IME is currently seeking investment capital for expansion by opening up 30% stake to attract private equity investors. The expansion will include escalating our already competitive and aggressive sales team, the purchase a commercial building, and it will facilitate the purchase of a security product – along with similar services firms - to complement our subsidiary services, which include; Management Consulting Services, Life Cycle Acquisition Support, Information Technology (IT) Support Services, Cyber Security & Computer Forensics, and Construction Program Management.

Since IME’s inception over a decade ago, the company has undergone significant growth clearing 2 million in generated revenue last year alone. IME has become a brand within the Homeland Security and Government Servicing landscape. Twyla Garrett, CEO, has been invited to showcase her business experience running IME at The White House, The United Nations, and The New York Urban League- to name only a few.

The challenges IME is currently facing deal with comfortable growth and a need to secure future technology products that will help both the company and its clients advance into a forward-thinking market run by the next generation of global entrepreneurs. By opening up 30% of the company’s stake, IME will be able to seek out complimentary opportunities that will not only create jobs while boosting profit margins, but will further secure the nation by matching our talented staff and future leaders with the right tools and resources to create and implement new technologies.
We’re seeking not to fund the expansion, but to seed the future of our industry by positioning IME as the cornerstone leader with capability to cherry-pick talent based on ability, drive, creativity, and deliverability. The equity stake money will promote the company’s capacity to challenge the boundaries that exist within our market today by properly utilizing capital to navigate potential talent and then reconnoiter it with our signature training methodologies.

IME is known as “the company with a heart.” We’re pursuing a progressive tomorrow that is truly sustainable as technologies and client demands continue to evolve and grow. By utilizing capital appropriately, our company’s ecosystem will add value and open up forthcoming opportunities for partnering businesses, the U.S. Government, contracted employees, undiscovered talent, and our stakeholders.
IME is currently an American Board for Information Security & Computer Forensics Board Member. The company’s founder and CEO, Twyla Garrett, is also an author on the topic of Homeland Security and has won numerous accolades on behalf of IME - including a 2015 Top Woman Entrepreneur nod.

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Creating Great Customer Service

I talk a lot about customer engagement on this blog. I was asked a great question recently. "How do you keep customers coming back?" It's a good questions because once you offer a product or service, how will you engage that customer to buy more? Well, here is what works for me.

1. Get personal. Stage 5 clinger personal. Follow your customers online. Interact with them. Make follow up phone calls. Always be in a state of reminding them you're around and that you care.

2. Be consistent. Don't do right by your clients some of the time. People love paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks not because it is the best coffee in the world (in fact, it's been proven otherwise), but because the staff makes it their business to be personal and to be consistent.

3. Reward people. Who doesn't love getting rewards. Again, think Starbucks. They have a Gold card system that is awesome. Buy 12 drinks and get anything on the menu for free. There is no minimum, either.

If you buy twelve cups of regular coffee, your free drink can still be a Venti Frap or you can get a chicken salad sandwich- whatever you want. So, think of a way to reward your customers that actually presents value and not percentage discounts.

Until tomorrow,
Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Your Business and Bad Decisions... It will happen

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Care About Your Business....

Someone recently asked me if I had a valuable life lesson that translated to business growth. I do! I wanted to share it on the blog today to help many people understand why I brand my company, IME, as "the company that cares."

My mantra and life lesson is to take everything personally. I hate when people say, "it's not personal, it's business." You are your business as an entrepreneur, therefore everything is personal. If you don't treat everything you do in life and business with a personal investment, what good is it? It you are personally invested in something, you tend to take it more serious. Business means money. Business means your reputation. So, why wouldn't you take it serious?

The most valuable life lesson I have that can translate to business is not taking one specific business deal personally. I had viewed a deal as not "good enough" for my standards. It was just business, not an opportunity. So, I didn't take it personally. I missed out on a great opportunity because I treated the pitch as business. Had I treated it like a personal investment, I probably would have gave it more consideration and would be reaping those rewards today.

My point here is to take everything personally and act from the heart- even in business!

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, March 27, 2015

What type of business leader are you?

There are four main types of leaders. I compiled a lot of information on each type. See if you identify with any of the personality types below to discover what type of leader you are.
1. Do you love to help employees develop their long-term goals and also have them coincide with company growth? Do you love to mentor employees but find you spend to much time on people who don't want to be coached? If so, you're a coach leader. The key is to surround yourself with other people who love to motivate and be motivated.

2. Do you give your employees a lot of freedom? Are your employees very loyal to you as a result of this freedom? Do you sometimes find yourself dishing out praise even when it really isn't deserved? If so, you're a team builder! Surround yourself with people who are tougher than you have no problem dishing out the truth when needed.

3. Does everything and everyone have to be perfect? Do your employees really meet your high-standards? Do you love to micro-manage? If so, you're a general! It might be hard, but try to listen to the ideas more. You might hear a great one!

4. Do you focus on the big picture? Are you results driven? Do you love to show others how smart you are? If so, you're a visionary. Try not to explain to people what your vision is. Instead, have them help you get to your vision!

Have a great weekend! I'll blog more on Monday.

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, March 26, 2015

IME's Photos

Today we launched the photo album portion of IME's website, I will updated it often with photos of our team at events and my speaking appearances. I've teased some photos below, but click the link above to view all the photos so far.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Testing Business Ideas

I recently received a request to write about testing business ideas. While we can prepare for and plan our businesses around concepts and data, there is no real way to test if we're going to be successful or not.
There are some ways to double check if you are or are not on the right path when it comes to business. Here are my top three tips to see if you are on the right path to projected success;

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

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

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

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

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

Until Tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm speaking at The United Nations on 03/25/15

Yes, I'm back and speaking at The United Nations tomorrow! I'm on Panel Two at 11:40 am - 12:30 pm.

“Women and Social Innovation: Disrupting Global Entrepreneurship”
Lead Disruptor
Julie Anixter, Chief Learning Officer, Relevents, Innovation Excellence
Craig Hatkoff, Co-Founder, Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA) & Tribeca Film Festival
Denise Evans, VP Market Development, IBM
Jeanne Sullivan, StarVest Partners, ASTIA, Harvard Kennedy School, ePROVSTUDIO
Jeff Hoffman, Global Entrepreneur & Speaker, GEW, GIST, ColorJar, Priceline
Brandon Frank, Intellectual Property and International Trade Counsel
Craig Hatkoff, Co-Founder, Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA) & Tribeca Film Festival
Dr. Twyla Garrett, CEO and Founder, Investment Management Enterprise
Rabbi Irwin Kula, President, CLAL, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

More here:

Helene Vece for Twyla Garrett of IME.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Out Think Your Competition

People always want to know what the secret to success is. I often get asked how to beat one's competition. It is simple. Have a great product. Products and services that are loved by consumers will sell themselves. That is why you always hear of these bootstrap businesses that started with nothing and made it to multi-million dollar sales status.
Here are my top steps to beat your competition.

First, don't buy into a competitor who is stealing your thunder. Maybe you did have the first idea on a specific service. Months after launching you then notice a new company pops up and is copying your idea. Don't freak out. In fact, don't even worry about your competition. Getting caught up in what the other company is doing, even with your idea, will distract you from moving forward.

Next, stand besides your product or services. Don't discount to meet a competitor's pricing. If you stand by the quality of your products or services, customers will remain or still buy. Why? People prefer quality over a discounted price. Even in this economy women are still buying $20 lipsticks from Macy's. Quality and reputation do mean something to consumers.

Last, love what you do. Some people start businesses to make money, not create a lifestyle or career. Your competition probably is in it for the money. You stay in it because you love what you offer. If you remain passionate, people will pick-up on your enthusiasm. This passion will drive sales, increase customers and allow you to be admired as a leader in the business community!

Have you ever had a business idea stolen by a competitor? Let's talk.

Twyla N. Garrett