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 HireIme.com

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.

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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.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Helene Vece, Media Manager for IME
702-409-1282- Media Calls Only
Office@HeleneVece.com
HireIme.com

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

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