Our First Home As Husband and Wife

My husband and I started looking for our first apartment together about two months before we were married. I was living at home with my parents, and he had his own apartment already. It was too small for the both of us though, so I started looking at bigger Florissant MO apartments just in case it took me a while to find the one that we wanted to live in.

I was so happy when I looked at Crossing at Northpointe, which is a complex that is about midway between both of our jobs. That is really not bad, considering that we only work about six miles from one another! Anyway, the apartment has everything either one of us could want for our first apartment together.

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I Wanted My Body to Look Better

I wanted to lose the little bit of weight that was being stubborn, but I was not finding any good way to do that. I had lost nearly 30 pounds already, but the last 10 or so pounds was being contrary to how I wanted them to be. I knew that there had to be something that I could do, which is why I looked online for some ideas. That is how I found out about coolsculpting in Singapore. I honestly was not sure what I was expecting to find, but I am so glad that this is where I found myself looking for some weight loss help.

The coolsculpting is really neat. I had heard of it before but I really did not know much about it.

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7 Benefits Of Digital Marketing

Digital MarketingThere are many benefits that come with digital marketing. Some of these benefits include:

Connects You To Internet Consumers

It’s estimated that at least 80% of people search for information online. This means that if your website is well optimized you have high chances of attracting a good number of these people. When you are able to get the online customers, you increase your customers which increases your profits.

It Generates Higher Conversion Rates

Researchers have shown that online buyers buy faster than offline buyers. The reason for this is because online buyers are already aware of what they want; therefore, when you provide what the buyers are interested in, you are able to easily sell your products.

Saves You Money

It’s very cheap to promote your products online. This is because the costs of running an online marketing campaign are much lower than those of running an offline campaign. For example, the cost of running a website is much lower than that of renting a physical office.

Enhanced Relationships

Since your customers are able to easily get in touch with you, you have a better relationship with them. For example, if a customer is dissatisfied with your service, he/she only needs to get in touch with you via the contact foam.

Easy To Monitor

In addition to enhancing your relationship with your customers, digital marketing is also easy to monitor. Here you can easily monitor the amount of money that you make from your marketing channels. You are also able to monitor and account for the number of customers that you have. This is very easy if you have an email list.

Get You Ahead Of Your Competitors

It’s a known fact that many small businesses aren’t taking advantage of digital marketing. This means that if you take advantage of digital marketing you automatically get ahead of your competitors. For example, you are able to get more customers than your competitors.

Go Beyond Your Boundaries

Since you will be working on the internet, you are able to reach millions of people who aren’t within your locality. For example, if you provide eCommerce services, you are able to sell your products to not only the people in your country, but to also those out of your continent.

Conclusion

These are some of the benefits that come with digital marketing. For ideal results always be honest with your customers. It’s also wise to brand yourself online.

What Every Coach/Practitioner Should Know About Marketing

MarketingMarketing is a word, a label for something, that’s all.

So why does it drum up so much anxiety or disdain in people?

Well, that’s an interesting question.

A friend shared this on Facebook a couple of days ago and I shared it because it really impacted me and illustrated my point so clearly.

“The same boiling water that softens potatoes also hardens eggs. Everything depends on what you are made of, not your circumstances”

To me, this means that what is happening around us, including the term “marketing”, has absolutely nothing to do with the way we feel. This thing we call “marketing” cannot illicit feelings from us any more than a table or a chair can. And yet it appears to evoke fear, angst, hate, frustration, irritation and lots more negative adjectives for so many.

If I had a penny for every person who has told me they don’t like marketing and/or sales, I’d be a very rich girl!

It’s not the marketing that causes us to feel uncomfortable, it’s the way we think about marketing. Most heart centred practitioners who struggle with marketing think it has to be done in a way that goes against the grain hence the uncomfortable feelings.

When I introduce the idea of service and bridge building, they start to soften a little, see things differently. Something begins to shift and they see how they can do this thing called “marketing” in a way that is authentic and in alignment with their core values.

I talk about it in terms of bridge building.

The way I see it is that it’s our responsibility as the service provider to let our ideal clients know we exist. We know something or have something that can really help them, but they don’t know about us yet. To use a metaphor… Building a bridge from our side of the river to their side of the river means we can now connect. Whether that means they walk over to us, or us to them, or we meet halfway, doesn’t really matter. All that matters is we have given them the opportunity for us to connect and help them in whatever way works.

It’s the same with sales. The old adage of “sales is not something you do TO someone but FOR someone” really speaks to us being of service just as bridge building is of service. If we can see that we are being of service by sharing what is possible for our clients versus trying to convince them of something or hound them in some way, it creates a whole different feeling.

You see we are so driven by our feelings and that’s why it’s so important to understand where they are coming from. Once we wake up to the fact that it’s not the marketing or the sales that are evoking the uncomfortable feelings we are on the path to a new feeling.

Our feelings are beautiful gifts letting us know whether we are seeing life as it truly is – how it works from the insideout. Any sign of discomfort reminds us that we are looking in the wrong direction and to look within.

Thought creates feeling.

If we are looking to our circumstances to change our feelings we are looking in the wrong direction – the outside. So when it comes to marketing and we feel uncomfortable, don’t blame the marketing! Here comes another metaphor… It’s like saying it’s your neighbour’s fault that you burnt your dinner when he was sitting watching tv on his sofa! You smelt the burning and went round and knocked on his door to tell him your dinner is burning! That sounds like a crazy thing to be doing, but it’s no different from blaming the term “marketing” for your uncomfortable feelings. “Marketing” was just sitting there perfectly innocently, minding his own business, watching the TV!

You can see the absurdity of that I hope. And yet we don’t see the absurdity of blaming our feelings on the outside world so much of the time. I know there are times when we can clearly see we are causing our own discomfort, but most of the time we don’t and that’s what causes us to suffer so much and start trying to change the outside world.

And so, I am rooting for this thing we call “marketing” here in this article! Please give “marketing” a break. He didn’t do anything wrong! He’s just being “marketing” and you can think about him as you please, but please don’t blame him for your feelings of discomfort, that’s thought being thought!

How Product Managers Can Manage A Shift

Manage ShiftMany product managers are placed in charge of multiple products. Often, among these products certain products will start to perform better than others. When this happens, it’s very natural for our focus to become fixated on the products and the product development definitions that are doing well and we start to ignore the other products in our portfolio. However, things can change and when that happens, we need to shift our attention. This is exactly what’s happening at the mobile phone firm Blackberry right now.< Happens At Blackberry

Once upon a time, Blackberry made the world’s most popular smartphones. However, as it always does, time marched on. Apple, Samsung, and others have moved past Blackberry and now Blackberry only owns a fraction of the smartphone market. Many managers would have packed it in, gone home, and started to update their product manager resume. However, that’s not what has happened at Blackberry.

The Blackberry managers took a look at their markets and made a major shift decision. They decided that the firm would no longer compete in the highly competitive consumer market. This was a significant change for the company. The consumer market had come to represent a very large part of the company’s revenue along with being the focus of its marketing efforts.

Instead, the Blackberry managers have decided to start to focus on providing secure smartphone technology to the enterprise market. They have not given up on making mobile phones, instead they’ll make a few specialty models. One big change is that they’ve outsourced the production of their phones that will target business customers.

Blackberry’s New Plan

As product managers we always hate to give up working on products that we know and love. What will the Blackberry product managers do now? The company now plans to spend their product management efforts on focusing on the more profitable business of mobile security along with new types of software based services.

The Blackberry product managers have taken a look at what their product is going to be able to produce in terms of new software products and the timeframes that they’ll be able to do it in. What they’ve discovered is that they don’t think that they’ll be able to move fast enough to deliver the products that their customers are going to want. In order to fill in this gap, Blackberry has been buying smaller firms. They’ve bought a company that has a product that can guard against eavesdropping on mobile phones and another who can help companies control employee device costs.

Will this new strategy work out for the Blackberry product managers? A great deal of this comes down to determining if the company can successfully make the shift from being a consumer focused firm to now becoming a business focused firm. Yes, it is possible but it is going to take some very good communication from the product managers to the rest of the company so that everyone knows where they are going and what they want to accomplish.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers just like everyone else can become comfortable with the status quo. We don’t like change any more than anyone else does. However, when a significant market change happens, our product manager job description tells us that we need to react and shift our product management activities.

Over at Blackberry the mobile phone maker is in the middle of a major shift right now. They used to make mobile phones that they sold to the consumer market. However, the arrival of Apple and Samsung has taken this market away from Blackberry. They are now shifting their focus away from the consumer market to the enterprise market. They’ll focus on mobile security and other software products.

Product managers who want to survive a significant change in their market need to understand how to successfully make a shift. This has a lot with being willing to give up what has worked in the past and move on and focus on what you’ll need in order to be successful in the future. Nobody ever said that this was going to be easy, but it’s exactly what good product managers can do well.

Effective Marketing Tips for Image Consultants

Do you struggle with getting more clients in your image consulting business?

Have you tried to advertise with no results?

You might be really good in your dressing and grooming skills. However, when running an image consultation business or any business for that matter, your priority is to find clients.

1. Country Clubs

You could approach country clubs and speak to them about running a short talk or workshop for their members. Most of these clubs are already organsing workshops on lifestyle topics such as gardening, cooking, art classes and more. They might be looking at expanding their list of offerings. Hence you could approach these clubs to explore working with them.

2. Events and Exhibitions

Events and exhibitions are also great platforms for you to reach out to a large audience at any one time. Look out for relevant events and exhibitions that offer speaking spots. While you might be expected to speak for free, these platforms give you the exposure you need.

3. Preview Sessions

You can organise your own preview sessions to market your services too. Give a one-hour talk and excite your audience about how you can help them transform. You could also think about running a promotion and offer a special package for your audience to encourage sign-ups at the end of the preview session. Even if they do not sign up on the spot, preview sessions are great opportunities to build up your list potential clients whom you can continue to market to.

4. Spa and Beauty Services

You do not always have to do the marketing on your own. One great way is to partner up with businesses that share the same target audience as you. Think of the type of clients you are targeting and what businesses might have clients of similar profiles. Businesses that would make good partnerships for your image consulting services are those in the spa and beauty industry. These include hair salon, slimming centres, spa boutiques and more.

5. Clothes and Accessories Stores

Since your business also about dressing, tailors, clothing stores and even accessories boutiques would be terrific partners too. As it helps to promote their merchandise, they would be happy to partner and work with you too.

Each of the above-mentioned platforms offers you a targeted audience to help raise your profile as you reach out to potential clients. So, get in touch with them to explore working opportunities.

What's A Product Manager To Do When Your Product Costs Too Much?

Product manager, just imagine that you find yourself in the following position: your company creates a great product development definition that it uses to make a new product that a large group of people want, in fact they might even need. Then you have the issue of what price you should sell your product at. Generally speaking, you’d want to set your price as high as possible, right? Is there any way that this could cause a problem? Is this going to be the kind of thing that you can put on your product manager resume?

Say Hello To Sovaldi

Let’s be frank here, hepatitis C is a very bad disease to get. The U.S. CDC describes hepatitis C as a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, and transfusions. An estimated 150-200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C.

The pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. has just introduced a new drug called Sovaldi . This new drug has been shown to cure a hepatitis C infection in just a few weeks. Clearly this is a breakthrough in treating this disease. There have been other treatments, but these treatments generally just dealt with patients symptoms. There were a few that went after the disease itself, but often they didn’t work and they had some nasty side effects.

Sovaldi sounds like a miracle cure, right? What’s holding the product managers back from making it available to all of the people who need it? In one word: the price. Sovaldi costs US$1,000 per pill. A typical person’s treatment is going to end up costing them roughly US$84,000. Clearly this solution comes with quite a price tag!

How Product Managers Should Handle Pricing

The Gilead Sciences product managers are facing a real challenge. Advocacy groups and members of Congress are starting to investigate how the price for this drug was reached. There are other expensive medicines out there, but Sovaldi seems to have crossed some sort of magic barrier that has attracted a great deal of attention.

In defense of the product managers involved, it turns out that without the new treatment the cost of treating a hepatitis C patient can be quite expensive over time especially if their liver start to fail. Just as an example, the lifetime cost of treating an HIV patient is estimated to be US$380,000. 60% of the people who contact hepatitis C will end up with chronic liver disease.

So what should the product managers do? It turns out that Sovaldi is actually a good deal – the upfront cost of the medication is less than the long-term cost of treating the symptoms of the disease. Additionally, if you can cure someone of hepatitis C then they can’t pass it on to anyone else. These are both great stories that the product managers need to clearly communicate. What they need to do is to reframe the discussion so that people are not focusing on the per pill cost, but rather on the savings that they realize by using this new drug.

What All Of This Means For You

Every product manager’s dream is for part of their product manager job description to require them to be responsible for a product that has a built-in market: people who both want and need it. In these cases, it’s not if we’ll be able to sell our product, but rather for how much. Very quickly the question of what price we should set for our product comes up.

An example of this situation has arisen in regards to the medication that can cure hepatitis C – Sovaldi . This treatment is currently priced at US$1,000 per pill with a total treatment cost of roughly US$84,000. A great number of people are starting to ask if this price has been set too high.

As product managers, it is our responsibility to control the story around our product. Yes, a high price can easily cause both our potential customers and others to start to question our ethics, etc. However, if we control the story and make sure that everyone fully understands the value of obtaining and using our product, then we can allow both our product and it’s price to be accepted. Keep your eyes open and stay on top of your product’s story!

What's New In Marketing Events – Understand These Rules

Flash mobs are no longer viable, you want something new and happening that will resonate with your users. Event marketing in the modern world is all about the best stunts as standout events are the in things today. Various names for it are participatory advertising, live marketing and numerous other monikers. The aim is to blow everything up to protect, built-in technological overlay of real-world places. It is an art to convince the passersby and make them dance to the marketing tune as a means of engagement. What is the secret to arranging memorable events? It is important to ensure consumer engagement during not only the event but also long-time afterwards.

Creating events within another

It is important to talk with the consumer on a one-to-one basis even when you are communicating with them within a large gathering. In order to achieve this, ingenious marketers create separate events within the big picture. They aim to engage the consumer directly and interact qualitatively. One option is to arrange games and question-and-answer sessions like truth-or-dare questions complete with freebies to keep participants interested. You do not know what the masses are capable of doing once they shed their inhibitions. Dancing in the streets and spilling out personal secrets ultimately prove to be a fun experience for the participants.

Such events also become huge hits on the Internet through social sharing or coverage by the event marketing companies. The best results are possible with mass media as the participants tell their family and friends to watch videos, or go somewhere particular. This helps to create entire social media events that can bring limelight to any business. The main reason behind the success of such events is creation of new experiences for common people. They enjoy everything to the brim and can’t wait to share this with others, just because it’s so cool.

Event real time tracking and GPS

You cannot succeed in the field of marketing today without the proper use of technology. GPS and location can prove to be the tools in the hands of the marketers as it ensures participation of targeted cross sections complete with real-time coverage. Even if you are not present in a particular place, you can participate in the event and enjoy the experience. As people share what they see, it helps in building up of community and press around the event, making even small occurrences huge with big and positive implications.

Adding new dimensions

Most of the potentially transformative technologies are intangible and their use is growing constantly. For example, use of projections, augmented reality, and 3-D technology have become quite common at various events and offer natural experiences. When it comes to project demonstrations use of augmented reality can make a big impact on your audience. It no longer appears awkward a.k.a. special effects in Hollywood movies. Even QR codes are becoming acceptable and more natural making them ideal for interactions.

Why Is It Recommended to Hire Marketing Agencies?

An excellent marketing agency would facilitate businesses, small-mid-large to grow more rapidly and relieve the stress for the business owners or entrepreneurs who own some or the other business. Nearly every single business owner wish his or her company to develop – to make more sales, to augment into new or different industry segments, and to merchandise in new ways that helps in gaining high conversion rate and ROI. If you are a businessperson looking to hire a print marketing agency do not forget to gauge research a little before you hire one.

Since hiring an advertising agency, isn’t something to consider joke You must spend some time to get appropriate information about the agencies you decide to work with and what precisely would be the scope of their work. This is indeed a big decision and you must not start a relationship with an agency without researching about them thoroughly. These are a few of the questions you will need to answer to make a decision whether to administer in-house PR and marketing activities or to outsource. However, let’s take a glance at the perks which you can avail by hiring a reputed digital marketing agency.

Why should you hire a specialized marketing agency?

Answers of these questions will help you decide whether partner an advertising agency or not.

Question #1 Do you have any monetary benefits?

The first and the foremost advantage of choosing to hire an agency instead of an in-house team is the fiscal benefit. You bear no workforces expense means so, you are eradicating one of a huge overhead expense that is incurred by additional staff. It becomes a plain sailing for you to pay out a flat fee for certain services provided by marketing agencies. The agency will employ specialists who would be working on your account, and these experts can bring in fruitful results of the marketing plan or campaign.

Question #2 Do you have experience and expertise in-house?

Basically, marketing agencies have deep knowledge of their industry and business verticals and are well- established that a non- marketing graduate might not have. One of the chief benefits of selecting an agency rather than a full-time employee is the matter that a full team would work on your campaign to make sure that your goals are achieved. Every team member has different background and skills which they utilize in your marketing strategy. They would make use of diverse marketing techniques and tactics to magnify your reach into your target market. Furthermore, by letting the marketing agencies perform on your sales strategy, you will have sufficient time to focus on catering the clients already on your list.

Question #3 Do you have the professionalism of an advertising agency?

Let’s accept the truth that marketing is considered amongst one of those professions where all and sundry thinks they can do it. But often fail. If your business is deprived of a skilled marketing expert in-house you are left with only alternative and that is to partner a marketing agency. There are a lot of agencies, but select the one that adheres to a professional code of conduct that will ultimately give you greater peace of mind.

Question #4 Are you more creative than a dedicated marketing agency?

Generally, marketers should have an imaginative & artistic approach and be able to think transcendental. To put it simple, some business persons simply are not adequately ingenious to manage their own marketing strategy. If you are dubious that you cannot wear the creative hat, connect with an agency to wear it for you.

Thus, hiring a marketing agency could be one of the judicious decisions you will ever make. Now, keep your expenses low, manage other activities, and allow specialists to take control of your marketing campaign.

So, what is bundled Cat6 Multi cable?

That’s a good question. Those who have pulled cable in walls and ceilings and buildings have come to realize certain truths. Bundled Cat6 Multi cable is faster and easier to pull. Another is Cat6 Ethernet cable can become very expensive and costly to wire a building, home or office. Suppose that you have an office and in it you have 5 desks in 5 different rooms and want them all connected to a centrally located server. You also need to connect to video and the internet and even the phone. Now that could mean 4 separate wirings to each desk. With 4 connections or more for each desk.

Should you pull a separate connection for each of the 4 outlets needed? What if each one has to snake through several rooms and each run is about 250 to 280 feet away from the server alone. Not to count your internet router and the phone. Now, for each cable that you have to pull you have to run through all these areas and buy several individual reels. Not only can that be expensive but tedious work. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had all those connections inside one jacket and be able to pull it in just one shot? Composite or combined cable can be Cat5e 4 x 4 cable or even Cat6 4 x 6 cables or even more combinations in one jacket. That means pull once and you’re done, and that’s not the only style. You can get all kinds of combos. Fiber optic with other types like RG6/U or 18-2 security or almost any need can be easier and cheaper.

Many popular combinations are great for home theater systems and even security. Because they are all together in one reel you don’t have to buy 4 reels to have fiber and RG6/U and others hanging around, not to mention the added expense. If you are a non-professional and are going to cable your home or small office, there are plenty of choices for one pull set ups. When you use these multiple types or even Siamese or Triamese runs, that is side by side stuck together similar to a lamp cord, you are able to pull once and take care of many purposes. You could solve video and voice and even data all in one effort. Price wise they are usually priced better than trying to buy individual reels of each type that you need, not to mention the big savings on labor. Having to buy 500 or 1000 ft. of each type for data and video and 18-2 for security will cost more than just the one reel. So, when you’re thinking about cabling and want to get the most in one reel and keep inventory low then think about having it all together under one jacket for simple single pull wiring.

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A Radio Ad Helped Me Find Some Quick Entertainment

Good friends told me that they were going to surprise me with a visit to my town. I was excited about getting to see them, but also feeling very pressured that I needed to come up with ways to keep them entertained. I work about 50 hours per week at work and have a child, so I don’t have a lot of free time. One night, on the way home an ad for http://platinumpartybus.ca came on the radio. I listened intently while the ad continued on to tell me about all the things that ou can do with a party bus. As soon as it ended, I picked up my cell phone and called them. I figured that they could me with keeping my friends happy and entertained.

I was really happy to hear that they offer winery tours.

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Everything You Create Is A Marketing Piece

“We don’t have to worry about the language in this,” the client opined. “It’s a proposal, not a marketing piece.” That’s a deadly comment I’ve heard far too many times.

There’s a common misconception among business owners and managers that only certain things fall under the marketing umbrella. This proposal was a great example. “We don’t need to waste our time making the language flowery or sales-y,” she added. “This is just so we can get all the details together so they can be reviewed. We’ll have other materials where we can do the marketing stuff.”

The simple fact is that anything that represents you before a prospect or customer is a marketing piece. You may not intend for it to serve that purpose, and you may not expect that someone who sees it will react to it as though it’s an attempt to market your business, but in reality, that’s exactly what happens.

Once something leaves your hands, you lose control of where it goes. You have no idea of who in your prospect’s organization may actually review it. Yes, you may have developed your proposal for the buyer or specifying engineer with whom you’ve been working, but he may have passed it along to his boss. And she may have given it to her boss, or another department head. Do all of those people already know you or your company? If not, that proposal will create the all-important first impression.

So if it’s a poorly organized, poorly written document, your company is going to appear to be disorganized and ignorant. If the language is highly technical, the impression will be that you’re unable to communicate with mere mortals. And if it’s nothing more than a dry recitation of the facts, your dynamic organization will be seen as dull and uninspired.

“It wasn’t meant for people who were expecting to see something else!” you protest. “It was for their engineering team!” Or their accounting staff. Or a medical practitioner. Someone who speaks your language and sees the world the way you do. But that doesn’t matter, because it was also seen by someone else who is going to weigh in on the decision.

Besides, it’s a myth that engineers will react only to copy filled with complexities, or that accountants find the Internal Revenue Code entertaining and light reading, or that doctors want everything presented to them using as many syllables as possible. No matter what any of them do during the workday, they’re people. And they react to things just like you and I do. They’re motivated by many of the same emotions and fears, even if they have larger vocabularies or actually grasped whatever it was that Analytic Geometry teacher was talking about.

Companies don’t buy from companies. People at those companies buy from people at other companies. And if you want people to have confidence in your company, you need to connect with them at a human level.

That’s where the kind of language that some people deride as “marketingese” or “flowery” or “hype” can help you. Well-crafted documents and copy are designed to communicate at a one-to-one level. They’re written to draw readers — all readers — in and guide them to the information they need. They contain all the facts and details, but they present them in a conversational, understandable manner.

Just as important, they’re created to mirror the public image your company has worked so hard to earn in our noisy, highly competitive marketplace. Every contact a customer or prospect has with your organization — whether it’s looking at an ad, reviewing your proposal, or reading the instructions for your product — should carry the same voice and attitude.

Great companies achieve that consistency. Next time you visit Starbucks for your double skinny soy mocha latte, pay close attention to all the written material around you, from posters to packaging. The voice and the vibe are the same, and they scream Starbucks. Next time you fly Southwest, pay attention to how everything from the in-flight magazine to the posters in the jetway to the flight attendants’ announcements reminds you which airline is taking you to your destination. You’ll know for certain that you’re not on Delta or American.

Those companies recognize that every contact is really a chance to strengthen their brands, so they take full advantage of every marketing opportunity. Doing the same may not make your company a household name, but it can help you grow your business more effectively.

5 Ways to Recharge and Renew

I’m so tired. I can’t possibly take a break. I am hearing this all over the place these days. These are comments from entrepreneurs who are looking up and looking around feeling as though they are unable to take a break in the summer.

I hear the words and know that this is a mindset issue. I also know and recognize this to be part of the comparison game – a game played by many entrepreneurs on a regular basis. “I’m not as rich as… ” “I’m not as successful as… ” “There’s just no time to get away… ” These statements are a true reflection of your belief system about what is possible for your business.

When I relocated a few years ago and re-launched my business, there was NO way I was taking a ‘real vacation’. One thing I did know for sure is that I needed a break – any kind of a break – so that I could renew and recharge my batteries. In the words of the famous Stephen Covey, ‘you’ve got to sharpen your axe’.

So I got creative. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to get creative and innovative to succeed.

There are plenty of ways to get a break without spending a lot of money – here are just a few recommendations from my first (poor) year:

#1 – TAKE MINI-DAY TRIPS IN YOUR AREA.

In my geographical location, there is a paper called ‘Day Trippin’ – it became my summer bible. I read through that paper and learned a lot about activities in and around the area – all within a few hours’ drive. These events did not cost a lot of money – they got me out of the office and out of the house – and into a new, fun environment for a day. It was great. I did feel rejuvenated!

#2 -SCHEDULE THE TIME OFF.

I made a commitment to myself, in the beginning, to take each Friday afternoon off in the summer months of June, July and August. That gave me a long weekend – and it felt like a real break. I marked that time off in my calendar and I honored my word. That was critically important.

#3 -KEEP IT SIMPLE.

I mapped out my activities for the whole of the summer – one Friday afternoon involved a walk on the beach; another Friday was booked off for a long bike ride in a neighboring city; another Friday afternoon involved a trip to the market in another community. None of these ‘trips’ involved a lot of money – but they sure brought a lot of joy.

#4 -KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL.

This might seem weird or out of place when you consider things to do to renew and recharge – but it’s vitally important to document what you are doing. As the days and weeks go by, you will forget the joy that these simple, inexpensive activities brought you. I know you will. We get busy. Make a commitment to keep a gratitude journal and document these experiences – every time you read it, you will re-visit the experience. That alone will bring you additional joy.

#5 -INVITE A FRIEND.

So often, throughout the year, we have great intentions of connecting with our friends – and then time passes by. On your calendar, mark down the activity you want to experience, the place you want to visit – and then the name of a friend you would like to have join you. This is such a great time to get together and get out and play. Take pictures – and then send a card, a few months later, to say thank you along with an invitation to get together again on a specific date. Live your life intentionally – and keep your friends close!

So what does any of this have to do with running a business? Listen – a happy, healthy entrepreneur runs a happy, healthy business! If not now (this summer), then when?

WHAT WILL YOU DO TO TAKE CARE OF YOU?

W.I.T. – Whatever It Takes Marketing Strategy

On a cool, crisp evening in mid-December, the front door swung opened and the answer machine light was flashing. “Who could it be?” “Kathy”, the alto voice said loudly. “I have a position for you if you are interested”, but I would like for you to know, it involves taking a young lady to the restroom”. “Since I’m calling quite late Kathy”, leave a message, if you are available to interview at 10:00 a.m.

The next morning, the interview begins, and the first question came instantly,” Do you mine taking the young lady to the restroom”, said the interviewer.

“Not at all, it’s important to do for others, the same way, we do for our own children”, Kathy replied.

The rest is history.

Regardless of the outcome, the ultimate goal is to implement the W.I.T. (Whatever it Takes) Marketing Strategy. This strategy allows flexibility to do whatever it takes to create a marketing plan that works for you. It is not a one-size-fits-all. This strategy consists of three fundamentals:

1. Staying Ready: Some may refer to this strategy as preparation, which is fine. The key element is to create your own definition of staying ready. It must be explicit in nature. (i.e. quality wardrobe, keeping an open mind, whatever it takes), For instance, Kathy’s interviewer did not reveal there was another opportunity available. Yet, in still, Kathy clearly understood the importance of dressing for success, speaking from the heart, which resulted in Kathy receiving a higher position than expected. The master teacher reminds us, Matthew 25:13, Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

2. Upgrading Your Associations: This strategy is non-negotiable. For example, it may require joining an association, which supports your niche. On the other hand, it can be rewarding to seek out individuals in your workplace, who may introduce you to others. (i.e. six degrees of separation, meetup groups, spiritual venues)

3. Research: The internet is one the best ways to find information pertaining to marketing, and it allows the ability to analyze the competition. (i.e. target audience, supply and demand, preview your competitors, branding ideas) Most importantly, it provides flexibility on how to channel your resources.

Ultimately, all three strategies can work when applied. It does not require any prerequisites, yet in still, one must do whatever it takes to ensure optimal results. Neil Armstrong’s quote reminds us, ‘Research is creating new knowledge”.

Appreciating The Importance Of the Marketing Process in the Growth Of a Business

Understanding the essential and key steps of the marketing process is vital for anyone trying to develop, manage, or strengthen a successful brand or advertising campaign. The marketing process can therefore be defined as the process in which an organization attempts to create and develop a relatively profitable relationship with their consumers whilst ensuring that their goods or services are also sold at a profit. It therefore makes a lot of sense for businesses to strive to automate or use technology in their marketing process. It is also worth noting that apart from generating new clients, the marketing process must also focus greatly on retaining clients.

The very first step of the marketing process is to analyze and fully understand the current market space. Using technology to help the marketing team to understand what clients need and want is critical, the team must then move ahead to conduct credible and thorough market research about similar products and competitor activity. Once this has been done, the marketing team must then develop an overall plan which is then used to launch the service or product; taking into consideration the franchising, sales methods and partnerships which can be utilized or forged during the product launch.

After identifying a niche that is profitable, a unique strategy must then be developed to market the product to the intended market segment. A well structured market segment analysis must be undertaken so as to break down the population into smaller groups where the target market is located; the main aim of the strategy is normally to find a way of satisfying a customer need in a manner that’s profitable and beneficial for both the company and the client. There are several automated business tools which can be used in this process.

Getting a way to create or develop a product or service that creates consumer value is the next step in the marketing process. A happy consumer is one who feels or knows that he or she is getting value for his money. This usually involves the 4 Ps, the Product must be filling a void and so should be a product that people want, the Price must be right and consumers must be willing or ready to pay that stated price, this usually calls for some serious market surveys, the Place is the next P’ and basically means availing the product where customers are promptly and affordably, the Promotion methods adopted must also truly reflect or represent that particular service or item.

Another key step in the marketing process involves coming up with ways and means of maintaining and improving the levels of customer satisfaction. It is important for the marketing team to be constantly on the lookout so as find, acquire and convince clients to make a purchase. It is also important for to ensure that the reputation of the company is properly maintained.

Finally, the main reason why a good marketing process is key is essential for your business growth is because the bottom line of the entire process should be an increase in profitability of the company either through enhancing market share by introducing new products and services or by expanding the already existing market. If the product or service is well marketed, sold profitably and high client retention rate is maintained the company is bound to grow in leaps and bounds.

Trust, Team and Time

“There’s no way I can take time away from my business!” I have been getting notes and messages from entrepreneurs commenting on my recent 2-week vacation and asking how in the world I could make this happen.

I am going to keep this really simple for you. As I was on the airplane, returning home, I was able to sum it all up in 3 simple points and that’s what I want to share with you today.

#1 – SCHEDULE THE TIME

My 2-week vacation didn’t ‘just happen’. Last October, when I bought my annual wall calendar for my office, I started off by scheduling my vacations for 2015. I knew back then that I would be going away for 2 weeks in July and marked it (in ink!) on the calendar right then and there.

That’s when the planning and preparation began. I knew that some client group monthly calls would need to be rescheduled. I knew that I would need a certain amount of money for the trip. I knew that I wanted to generate a certain amount of revenue leading up to that time. I knew that I needed to communicate this plan to my team – because they like to take summer vacation too and it’s important to coordinate this kind of absence so the wheels stay on the bus while I am away.

So be sure to plan your time off – and do that well ahead of time. Map out your vacations for the whole year – mini vacations, long vacations, a day off here and there just for you. And stay committed to it!

#2 – TEAM.

I have a fantastic team – and what I mean by that is we communicate regularly, openly and honestly. They know the plan for my business for the year, they know my plans for time off, they have a pretty good idea on the revenue goals that are set for certain major events, etc. etc. etc. They are a key component in the success of my business. We discuss what needs to happen while I am away, who will handle what, how emergencies (if any… and which is rare) will be handled, who will be the main point of contact, and so much more. My manager, Denise, knows exactly how to contact me if/when she needs to. Otherwise, my team is very respectful of the time I need away from the business and pretty much run the show without me. And that leads to my last point.

#3 – TRUST.

I know, for a fact, that many entrepreneurs will not take time off because they don’t trust their team to handle things. One of the reasons for this is that communication has been very poor, if it exists at all. So there’s no way the team can step up to the plate and run the show. Lack of planning and communication puts everyone in a very precarious situation.

Trust is built over time. Team members are human – and so are you. Will there be mistakes while you are gone. Of course there will. Is my work of a ‘life or death’ nature? Absolutely NOT. Can some things wait if any team member is uncertain? For sure. But I trust my team – each and every one of them – to know and do what is right for the business, for the client and for me in my absence.

You’ve got to put your trust in your people. If this doesn’t exist, it should start now. It’s part of my secret sauce!

One of the other reasons I find all of this so vitally important is that, as a business coach, I want to model success strategies to my clients! Don’t you?

Pat Mussieux is an author, television personality, internationally acclaimed speaker and business coach.

Her newest book, Stop Compromising and Make All the Money You Want (A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Starting Up and Starting Over) is ideal for audience members at Be the Change! She has also co-written ‘Leadership Gurus Speak Out!” contributing her wisdom and expertise in the fields of Human Resources, Sales, Marketing and Training.