All posts by Maze

How to Prepare for Business Networking

Depending on the size of the event, most networking meetings allow each person between 10 seconds and 2 minutes for a personal commercial. There are always those people who have a commercial which is planned and well rehearsed. Those people stand out, don’t they? They exude confidence, authority and expertise. They seem as if they’re ready for business.

Preparation is the Key to Creating Opportunity at Networking Events

People who attend Small Business U events are serious about personal development and business. As a result they make great networking partners.

People who attend Small Business U events are serious about personal development and business. As a result they make great networking partners.

See details about our upcoming Networking and Seminar Events. Click here.
Confucius (and Tony Robbins) said luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. If we show up to networking meetings we are walking into an environment which presents opportunity. That’s why we attend. We are going to get out of it what we put into it. If we go in unprepared, what can we expect? We must present our business, our ideal type of client and the benefits of doing business with us clearly and concisely.

Your Networking Commercial, aka Elevator Speech

See details about our upcoming Networking and Seminar Events. Click here.
By being prepared in this manner, we’re going to make the most of each and every investment of time and money to attend networking events. When we make the investment of time to clarify the most important and compelling speech, given 10 seconds, 30, 60 and 120, we’re going to increase the chance of attracting new customers every single time we make the presentation. Stumbling, stammering and searching for the right words aren’t going to compel anyone to hire you for your services or refer you to their contacts.

Show up prepared. Dress appropriately. Make eye contact with people around the room as you speak. You’ll feel confident. You’ll look confident, positive, and successful. With every event you attend will come the increased chance of attracting new business and referrals.

Preparing a Good Elevator Speech or Personal Commercial

See details about our upcoming Networking and Seminar Events. Click here.
Here’s an exercise you can do which will help you deliver a good networking commercial. Answer these questions in a way you can deliver the answers quickly and backed with a tone of confidence and authority. Use any of them alone or string them together as a networking commercial depending on the time permitted at the event.

1. Who do you serve? Who is your ideal client? If you’re in a room with 50 people at a networking event you will usually only get 10 seconds to state your name and your business name. You can still have time to squeeze in your ideal client especially when you have already eyeballed someone in the room with whom you would like to meet or work.

2. Who is your ideal referral partner? By announcing your ideal referral partners, you’re expanding your reach because you’re potentially tapping into another business-persons cache of clients and connections. When given 30-seconds, you can logically tie in the ideal client plus the ideal referral partner.

3. What is your special talent, expertise or value proposition? This is where the rubber meets the road. Benefits rule here. Be conscious of keeping this message about the benefits your prospective clients can expect as a result of your expertise. This commercial can tie together the facts in the others and consume a minute or two.

Practice this. Regardless of the venue, format or occasion, being prepared with a brief and cogent commercial will always serve you well.

See details about our upcoming Networking and Seminar Events. Click here.

What is Offline-to-Online Marketing?

A huge mistake I see businesses make is a failure to connect their offline marketing to their online marketing. What do I mean by that?  It will be easier to explain when I give you this example of a postcard I received in the mail a couple days ago.

I received a postcard mailing from a senior care facility.  I presume it’s because I am in my early fifties and the assumption is that I have aging parents, which I do. So I am on some kind of list of prospects to eventually be shopping for a senior care facility for a parent. This makes a lot of sense. What does not make sense is that this postcard had only a phone number and the names of 2 contact people and did not have the company website on the card at all.

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What’s the trouble with this? A website is there to do the heavy lifting a small postcard cannot do. A website has unlimited space to go into unlimited detail about the place, the product, the people, the features, and the benefits.

offline to online marketing techniques

Look at the ads in most print publications. They seldom use Landing Pages and this is an epic mistake.

The biggest failure of this and the bigger lesson as it relates to offline to online marketing is that there is no attempt to capture someone’s contact information who may be interested but not ready to make a decision right now. I would venture to say that would be the majority of people receiving the postcard. The solution to this failure would have been to have the website address of the organization and a special page on the website which is specifically created to work in tandem with the postcard. It would look something like this: www.oldageplace.com/freereport. This is called a LANDING PAGE.

 

The postcard should have offered a free report or some helpful tips which could be delivered by email if the recipient would simply fill out an online form. The free report could have been any among an infinite number of topics, such as “7 things you must ask when interviewing a senior care home.” Or, “21 nutrition tips for people over the age of 70. Or, “How to senior proof your home to prevent catastrophic injuries.”

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With a couple hours or so of work, this lead generating procedure could possibly create  dozens or even hundreds of those postcards which were probably sent out to thousands of people into solid leads. Anyone choosing to download these free reports would be an obvious prospect. With this list of their names and email addresses they could be on a list to receive information and reminders indefinitely. It’s what you call a highly-targeted list. The postcard mailing is fairly-well targeted, however, it’s a one-shot deal. It’ll be in the waste basket except for the tiny percentage for which it may be exactly the right thing at the right time.

When you send an email to the people who requested a free report once a month with a single idea or tip for caring for their elders, this organization would be always in top of mind position and also be regarded highly because of their expertise and quality information. Even further the law of reciprocity could become involved considering the good value this company provided prior to ever collecting a single dollar.

I see business is all the time advertising in print an expensive magazines. In Philadelphia there is Philadelphia Magazine. In South Jersey, there is SJ magazine.  These are the magazines which I see because I live in South Jersey. I’m sure there are major magazines in most metropolitan areas. Ads in these types of magazines are expensive. Yet I see most of the ads lack in advertising a landing page. Most businesses have the presence of mind to at least put their website address in their ad but actually that’s not good enough. It a landing page is much more effective than just sending someone to your home page.

Any restaurant, law firm, dentist, spa, massage therapist, chiropractor…ANYBODY who has a website and is not leveraging the power of a landing page to capture contact information of their ideal clients is only using their website as a glorified business card. When you take your customer from print ad to website, to requesting information, you are essentially taking their hand and walking them to your cash register.

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I Have Been Validated by Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. I see him as a combination of Regular Guy, Super Smart, Highly Opinionated, Genuinely Caring, and Highly Focused.

Small business marketing advice

Mark Cuban says one of the most important things you need to be successful in business is to know as much as you can about technology.

Modeling and studying people of great accomplishment is always a great way learn, avoid mistakes and streamline your path to success. I think most people will agree, Cuban is a good guy to follow.

Cuban has a blog called Blog Maverick. He shares a lot of good advice. In a post entitled The 6 Things You Need to Know to be Great In Business, the #3 thing Cuban includes is: Learn As Much As you Can About Technology. I definitely agree. However, what I THINK he was really suggesting is learning about what technology can do and how to use it.

Most business owners put their hands up like a shield over their face and shudder at the idea of learning about technology. We don’t need to know how electricity is generated, sent through a series of transformers, capacitors and wires. We just need to know how to flip the switch.

I started educating myself on the subject of online marketing techniques back in year 2000. It was for the purpose of marketing my wholesale business, Mazer Wholesale, Inc., and the merchandise I sell to retailers. I didn’t learn it all at once. Actually, I learned one thing which was successful for me and it took about 3 years before I learned the 2nd thing. It wasn’t until the 2nd thing started working that I really started to get interested in learning more.

In my book and seminar entitled, The Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online, I simplify marketing online. It’s really not that complicated and I make it easy to understand. I break it down into 7 fundamentals any business owner can understand.

Business owners need to understand technology so they can implement it and manage it. So they know what’s possible. So they can prioritize and make good choices.

It’s not necessary to become a genius, an expert or a guru about technology to become proficient at marketing online. It really comes down to learning the fundamentals. When you understand the fundamentals of marketing your business online, you will know what to do and how to do it. This doesn’t mean you have to do the work. You’ll be able to get someone else to do it for you. It could be someone you already have on staff, a freelancer, or a virtual assistant.

Learn all about the fundamentals of marketing your small business online at The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online seminars. The schedule of upcoming events can be found on the navigation bar at the top of this page.

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online Seminar

The Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online

More and more business owners are ready to take control of their online marketing. They should. It’s not difficult. It’s really very simple. To see all scheduled dates for this seminar, click here.

Andrew Mazer-Small Business University

I’m Andrew Mazer and I’m passionate about helping and supporting small business owners.

Save Money, Make More Sales, Get More Customers-Learn How it Works…Online

What’s more important in your business than saving money, getting more customers and making more sales? Nothing. This is why you must invest a couple bucks and a couple hours. This stuff can change your business and your life. I know…it happened for me! And when I started sharing this information, it started happening for my friends and my clients. It’s the real deal.

I have been using the concepts I teach in this presentation for my businesses and for my clients for 15 years. Even though the internet has changed, computers and internet-connected devices have changed, websites have changed and technology has changed, the fundamentals I teach have not changed. They work and they will make sense to you…even if you’re not a computer-person.

In a 2-1/2 hour seminar, I break it down into 7 basic fundamentals.

  • They’re easy to understand.
  • There’s nothing technical about them.
  • These fundamentals form the foundation (and are really ALL that are necessary) to have a Rock-Solid Online Presence™ which will get you a steady flow of new and existing customers, clients or patients.

Some of the things I’ll be teaching are:

  • How marketing online is similar to marketing a garage sale!
  • How to make sense of Social Media
  • How Google and the other search engines decide which businesses (websites) to show in the search results
  • Lessons of a Cheeseburger
  • Misconceptions about email

How to Become Highly Productive in 4 Hours a Day

The Ultimate Time Management Solution

Replace One Bad Habit With a Good One

Becoming highly productive requires the elimination of habits which are not highly productive. The installation of good habits is required to fill the void.

Bad habits are like weeds. They grow strong and they grow fast. You barely notice them and before you know it, they’re causing trouble in your lawn or garden. They have really strong roots too. Think of a dandelion. You try to pull it out of the ground but to get the entire root out requires a lot more effort the just tugging the top.

Cultivating good habits requires intense energy. Sticking to your resolutions requires energy.

Energy? Yes. Will power is driven by energy. Willpower is necessary for focused attention and especially to create new habits. It’s a very interesting subject. The subject of books, not short articles (though I hope this article helps), and the study of it is powerfully enlightening.

Will power comes in limited supply. We only get a little bit every day. It gets used up in short bursts and after that, the vacuum left in its place is fertile ground for weeds. Touch a button and you’re checking email. Touch a button and you’re checking Facebook. Open the fridge, reach for a smoke…it’s hard to break this habit cycle!

Become Highly Productive in 4 Hours Per Day

As business owners (and this is true for high-level executives), it’s uncommon to get in more than a couple of hours of truly productive work. What is “productive work?” Productive work is the focused attention and action which produces the highest-value. What is “highest value”? Highest value is determined by the results your work will produce now and in the future. To be truly productive requires focused attention on your highest-value tasks for a concentrated period of time and then a period of recovery.

Studies have shown, most people are limited to about one hour of focused attention at a time before their ability to remain focused begins to fade. A break of about 20 minutes, including water and a healthy snack, delivers the necessary recovery for the next hour. 2 of these sessions in the morning and 2 in the afternoon will give you 4 highly productive hours in the day. Do this, and you will still have a couple of good hours to spend in “reactive mode” such as responding to emails, returning phone calls and attending to the minutia on your to-do list.

One thing can make all the difference. What is it? Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Study and work on marketing. Learning and executing marketing is how you are going to get more customers, clients or patients NOW and in the future. Becoming better at and executing marketing activities will make the biggest difference in the success of your business than almost anything else you can do.
  • Make a list of your dream clients. Make a list of 10, 50 or 100. Productive work would be to set aside 1 hour per day doing everything possible to reach those prospects with your message, request an appointment and make a presentation.
  • Develop a new skill (or improve upon one). A new skill, writing, learning a language more of your customers are speaking, desktop publishing…these are things which will have long-lasting benefits and produce profits for your business.
  • Delegate. Delegating the low-value tasks so you can focus on the highest-value tasks still takes a little time. You need to organize what needs to be delegated and you should probably set some time aside to make sure what you’re delegating is being done properly.
  • Exercise. To make your focus time more productive, you’ll need to have a healthier mind and body. Make sure you slot some time for health, meditation, and body movement.

When you invest time into your day in this manner, you’ll know you’re being productive. You’ll know the new you is more productive than 90% of other people. You’ll feel less worked, less stressed and you’ll be invested in your business or career at a much deeper level.

Tip #1: Set a timer to for your 1-hour segments. Your cell phone probably has a built-in timer. If you don’t, the hour will spill into longer periods. Even though it may feel easy for you to blow right through the first hour and keep going, it’s vital to stop and take a the renewal break. This serves more than just the renewal. It also trains your brain to execute at a higher level so your 1-hour’s worth of work gets finished faster and better.

Tip #2: Start your day early. Get the blood and body moving. Get some oxygen flowing through your lungs and brain. Drink water. If you must eat, keep it light. Get 2 sessions in before noon.

Tip #3: Keep the momentum going by having a nutritious lunch. Keep it as light as possible. You want to avoid afternoon-crash syndrome which is generally attributable to a heavy lunch. Don’t even open your email until this time of the day. Be vigilant with your time here and make sure you have your next planned hour of focused productivity scheduled for a specific time and stick with it.

Studies have shown most people accomplish less than 2 hours of productive work per 8 hour day. Imagine the difference focusing on 4 hours on highly productive work for you. Do it for yourself and then help your employees implement this strategy for themselves. Imagine the difference it could make in your business and your life.

 

When is the Best Time to Fire Someone?

Every business owner is faced with the task of hiring and firing. Letting someone go is easy under some circumstances, but it’s often a heavy burden.

The Best Time to Fire Someone is Immediately Upon the First Time You Consider It.

youre fired

Trust your instincts. Your feelings are probably right.

Letting awkward and angry feelings fester are really bad for you and your organization. They affect the whole place. Letting someone stay who just doesn’t blend with your personal style isn’t going to work for either of you. You usually know these things early on. Tolerating behavior like lateness, disrespect, sloppiness or rudeness is going to bring your reputation down. It’s easy to identify these things. Nip them in the bud.

Today, lawsuits are a concern so every employer should have an employee handbook clearly describing your policies. If you describe how employee performance is judged, lay out and follow your warning and reprimand procedures, and you document these, you’ll keep yourself out of trouble when it comes time to drop the hammer.

Never underestimate the power of intuition. If you suspect someone is stealing or is just otherwise not a good fit for your organization, you’re probably right. The pain always grows when you don’t take quick action.

Don’t feel guilty. When you let a person go, you are sending them off with a greater chance of landing in the right place. It’s a good idea to explain this to the person. You can more easily part on good terms. I’ve been fortunate over the course of 30 years in business. Many former employees have stopped by to tell me the time they spent was a good experience and thanked me for it. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a positive person in someones life, even if it came from a graceful firing.

Components of a Good Website

A good website does 3 things:

  1. It gets people who don’t already know you exist to find you and your business because it’s answering the questions they’re searching for.
  2. It makes the visitors comfortable that the website they landed on is the place where they’re going to find what they’re looking for…a place they can trust enough to do business with you.
  3. It delivers some sort of call to action so you can either generate a lead, initiate a sale, or invite a customer to walk in your place or call you.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9O77AIIiEI&w=560&h=315] Beautiful graphics, format, and layout all add to the visitor’s experience and can not be underestimated. But the big prize is getting people to find you and take action. It all starts with people finding you and that’s why your website should be full with all the possible content you can provide about the products and services you make, do or sell.

Small Business Marketing tips

Small Business Marketing Online-Creating a Massive Online Footprint

A website and a  couple social media accounts make up only a fraction of your online presence. One of the most important online marketing strategies, especially for small businesses which serve a specific geographical area is spreading your business information everywhere possible. I call it:

Internet Gravity: Building Out Your Online Presence

This video explains more.

How Do People Find Out About Your Business Online?

Think of having your business or professional profile and advertisements in dozens print publications. What would an ad all the most important and relevant magazines, newspapers and trade publications mean to you and your business? What if there were billboards with a photo of you or your company logo and phone number on the major roadways around town?

Thanks to the power of the web, you and your business can show up on dozens of highly visited websites, search engines and directories, pretty much for free. Doing so may not be quite as powerful has having ads in dozens of magazines, newspapers and on roadside billboards, however, it’s still very effective.

The Magic of a Good Online Presence Happens When People Find You Who Don’t Already Know You Exist

Google, Yahoo, Bing, all the social media platforms and dozens of other directories give us places where we can describe our business with words, pictures and details which all matter to people when they’re looking for a business like yours. Just about all the details about your business which exist on these sites is aggregated and delivered to people when they’re looking for a business or services like ours.

If you have been in business for more than a year, it’s probable you have already made it onto a number of online directories. However, it’s really important to be proactive and modify the information, enter your website address, check all details for accuracy, add images, and descriptive detail and generally take advantage of all the resources each of these directories allows.

There could be dozens more places you COULD be listed online with rich descriptive information about your business but you’re not. Use this FREE tool to find out where you could benefit by having a stronger online presence http://www.mazermarketing.com/local-business-search/

This Works for All Kinds of Businesses, Home Based, Services Businesses, Coaches, Advisers, Consultants, Realtors, Everyone

I have been using this method as the cornerstone of my efforts in improving the visibility to my business and my clients’ businesses for many years. It’s fundamental to marketing a local business (one which serves a specific region as opposed to a national company).

This is a core concept shared in The Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing Online book and seminar. Learn more, click here.

For help on this subject, contact Andrew Mazer by sending an email directly to andrew@smallbusinessu.org

ONE Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Business, Your Income and your Life

Over the last several months I’ve been studying the concept of single-minded thinking as it pertains to business.  What I mean by single minded thinking is focusing major time on the most important and high highest value task. NOT tasks (plural). Task (singular).  It’s not an easy thing to do. Much of the reading done on the subject describes how focused thinking is one of man’s most difficult of all tasks.

Single Minded Thinking on the Highest-Priorities

The big question is this: what is your highest value task, which, if you spent 4 concentrated hours per day on it, would make the biggest difference in your income and the quality of your life?  Do you know what it is? Have you given it much thought? Even if you have, are you sure this is the thing which is the most important and highest value task?

We often tend to pull ourselves by having a long to do list. But you know what? If you were to focus on your highest value task which produces the most new business, additional business and flat out income, most of the other things on your list would either become obsolete or you could easily afford to outsource them to an underling or Virtual Assistant for pennies against the value of your own time.

Do You Struggle With Focusing on the Activities Which Produce the Most Value?

Why am I studying this and writing about it? Because I struggle with it too.   It’s a very important subject and it’s a very real subject for almost all of us. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all the things you already KNOW you should be spending more time, MAJOR time to improve your chances of growing your business. Sure, there’s probably more than one. Pick one. Pick the most important one which, if you were to spend 4 hours of uninterrupted time on it per day, would make a long-term impact on your business and your life.

Have you ever noticed how you have the ability to look at someone else’s business and know what they’re doing wrong? Pretty interesting isn’t it? Guess what? So can other people can look at your business and tell you what you’re doing wrong. Well maybe I shouldn’t say what you’re doing wrong but rather what you could be doing better or more of to improve any one of a number of areas in your business.

The Power of the Mastermind

The power of the mastermind puts a small group of like minded, forward thinking and dedicated people together in a positive spirit to help you see the things in your business you can’t see yourself. They bring a lifetime of experiences, resources and ideas from different angles which you could not otherwise get sitting all alone with pen and paper.

I know of mastermind groups which charge tens of thousands of dollars to join, meet only 4 times per year and member fly in and pay for hotel rooms just so they can be in the presence and brainpower of the other members of the group.

A mastermind group is a great place to run your ideas and your to do list or your priority list to get feedback. Another aspect of the mastermind is the stuff you learn from the general discussion going around the room even when you are not the focus of the conversation. The ideas that bubble and bristle in a mastermind meeting are dramatic.

A mastermind group is much more than just a networking group yes it is a place for members of the group to share referrals but it is more for sharing ideas and experiences. For asking questions. For getting answers.

As one of my mentors, Jim Rohn, used to say everybody wins when somebody shares.  And interestingly he also said “The more you pour out, the more will be poured in.” So when you do join one, be active in it and share.

Get your own mastermind group put together or find one to join.   Try it. Many of the most successful people in the world are part of one.

Ideas for Self-Promotion and Business Promotion

Marketing yourself and your business by giving away a door prize is a great idea but most people don’t know how to leverage this for optimal visibility and economy.

At the end of each Small Business University event we give away door prizes. This, of course, is a common practice at events of all kinds. The door prizes more than just giving something away and making the recipient happy.

Door Prizes are a Great Way To Promote Yourself, Your Business and a Partner

An opportunity that doesn’t typically come to mind is that the door price you sponsor does not necessarily have to be one of your products. For example, Joseph Cronin is a business litigation and personal injury attorney. He doesn’t really have something tangible to give away as a door prize. However at the last event Mr Cronin gave away a gift basket which he purchased from a local gift basket company. In this particular case, the gift basket company got visibility and Mr. Cronin got visibility by “sponsoring” the door prize. This gives Mr Cronin the advantage of being able to make it deeper connection with both the owner of the gift basket maker and the recipient of the door prize. Very smart.

Restaurant Marketing Idea: Sponsoring a Door Prize

In another scenario, restaurants are often happy to give away a discount certificate for such promotions. For example, I can go to a restaurant where the owners or manager recognize me and tell them that if they give me a gift certificate for their restaurant they will get free visibility at an event where dozens of business owners will be in the audience. We will market the door prize and giving the restaurant  visibility to everyone in attendance. I get visibility for being the sponsor of the gift certificate, The restaurant gets a new customer who will most likely won’t be dining alone AND most likely will be spending money in excess of the value of the gift certificate. Everybody wins.